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Review: FitBit Surge

From: Amy LaPanne

Review: I’ve owned 4 different Fitbits so far. The Surge is definitely the coolest & most advanced one of them so far.

What I love:
Fitbit’s app & dashboard. It’s fantastic. It’s very customizable and you can track your sleep, water intake, calorie intake, weight, food plans, and more. You want motivation? You got it. Add some of your friends who own Fitbits, which could be a lot of friends knowing this community, and challenge each other in a Weekend Warrior challenge, or maybe a Workweek Hustle to see who can get the most steps in. If you don’t want to participate in challenges, you can hit a little button and “cheer” or “taunt” them, or just send a message.

When you’re working out, unless you tell it what exercise you’re doing, the Surge will make an educated guess. For example, I went on a hike one night and it guessed that I was mountain biking. I went into the app, edited the activity and updated it in just a few moments. The connected GPS is a great feature on this tracker. I don’t always carry my phone with me, so it’s great to be able to keep track of my routes without carrying more stuff on me. You get a nice map on your dashboard showing your route and mile markers when you’re done. Sometimes it can take a little while for the GPS to find you, which is annoying when you want to get moving, but only once in the deep woods have I ever had an issue with it losing where I was. Smartly enough, the GPS tracking is available for certain activities, like biking, hiking, or walking, and not for things like yoga, lifting weights, or the elliptical.

The Surge is really easy to use, even for someone with limited tech skills like me. Setting up the device can be a little tricky but the instructions on line are good and their customer service is very good. They have live chat and phone options for assistance, and a great community section where you can often find answers to your questions for any Fitbit device.

The face display is customizable to 3 different ways to view, but the thing I love the most is that it’s so easy to read in the bright sunlight. It automatically adjusts to the brightness of your surroundings so that you can always read it. You can set the Surge to brighten when you raise your arm, or leave that feature off and just tap the Gorilla Glass face and it will brighten then for you.

What I don’t love:
It’s still not waterproof. Now, having said that, a friend wore hers in the ocean and in the pool with just some waterproof medical tape over the charging port, and it was fine.

It’s not a good device for karate/kickboxing and other contact sports. IMO, it’s just too big. One time it left bruises on my wrist from moving around and making impact. Another time I ended up leaving bruises on my partner’s wrist when we were practicing punching & blocking. The good news is that if you have a second Fitbit device because you upgraded, you can use the other device and still get credit for your steps when you sync the devices. I have a ChargeHR that I will often wear to karate instead, and after class I edit the activities to record the karate class.

You have a choice of 3 colors: Tangerine (yikes), Blue, or Black (which ends up looking sort of like a felon’s tracking device that you wear on your wrist instead of your ankle). You can’t change the band out either, so if you break it, you’re screwed. Fitbit encourages you to wash the band with some gentle soap to avoid skin irritation, and it’s important to know that some people have had some significant allergic reactions to it.

Overall, it’s probably more of a fitness tracker than I need, but I really like it & would recommend it. Fitbit has really good customer service. I started wearing the One in 2012, upgraded to the Force (later recalled), then the ChargeHR, and now the Surge. The devices come with a one year warranty. NOTE: You CANNOT buy an extended warranty from Fitbit, though you can if you buy the device at one of their Authorized Retailers.

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