Even as other companies plow ahead with their plans to put a smartwatch on every wrist, Fitbit is staying focused on fitness tracking via simpler wearables like the Flex and the Charge/Charge HR. But that doesn't mean the company is content with being outshone. With the Surge, Fitbit upped its game not just by including standard activity and sleep tracking, but also by packing in a GPS radio for more serious runners. However, despite those ambitions, we found it mildly cumbersome and lacking compared to more robust options from Polar, Garmin and TomTom. Indeed, we recommended it mostly for users "willing to sacrifice some style and comfort in the name of best-in-class step counting and sleep tracking." But judging from the reviews on the Surge's product page, it hasn't quite mastered the latter either.
"Feels good to the touch and is very comfortable." -- metric152
Readers were pretty frank with their complaints about the Surge's look and size, with andyaddict calling it "bulky and obtuse" while Yogibara found it downright ugly thanks to its wedge-shaped form factor. Still, despite describing it as "a big, fat watch," falleninsea says it "looks good on the wrist," while metric152 finds the strap is "the best Fitbit has to offer" and the body may be "quite a bit larger, but not uncomfortable."
Of course, given the recall of the Fitbit Force early last year, the big elephant in the room is how well the Surge gets along with your skin. And although most users seem to have had no problem with it, Yogibara claims the Surge gave him "a terrible rash on my wrist," even after he followed the company's care instructions. Meanwhile, andyaddict had an entirely different sort of issue, complaining of a "funk" emanating from the three buttons on the face, thanks to water getting caught in them.
"I ran the same route every time and the Fitbit spat out different numbers every run." -- andyaddict
Get past its look and feel, though, and the Fitbit Surge has plenty to offer the casual fitness fan, with metric152 liking its "simple and straightforward" menus and battery life "ahead of Android Wear." Falleninsea was happy with its four to five days of battery, which didn't quite match that of the Fitbit One, but at least blew his Moto 360 out of the water. But more advanced users might find the Surge's limitations a bit frustrating, with Yogibara noting its "GPS acquisition is slow" and ARbatman doesn't even use the GPS because "it really sucks the battery." Those who value accuracy are likely to be even more disappointed, with andyaddict noting the step and distance tracking didn't match up to his treadmill, and metric152 finds it "isn't as precise as the H7 Polar chest band" in a direct comparison. In fact, while using an elliptical, he noticed "the reading was 5-15 bpm off from the chest band," although the calorie count was "not perfect, but very close" with only a 10-calorie difference between the two devices.
Overall, users seem to feel that the Surge isn't the best Fitbit has to offer right now, with falleninsea recommending that users go with the Charge "if they are looking for a Fitbit with a display that you want on your wrist." He doesn't think the Surge is worth the $120 premium, and andyaddict ultimately finds it "has a lot of issues for something that runs $250."
Was the $250 purchase worth it for you, or a dud? Let us know by writing a review here. Or let your feelings be known on other products like the Pebble Time or the LG Watch Urbane, and your user review may be featured in a future post.