Fitbit Surge Review

A look at Fitbit's most expensive fitness tracker

Sarah Silbert

The Fitbit Surge is the latest and highest-end device in Fitbit's lineup of activity trackers, so it's no wonder I was excited to test it out. It's currently available for purchase both through Fitbit and a number of other retailers for $249.95. That price isn't cheap, and in fact many top-of-the-line fitness trackers cost significantly less. Still, the Surge has a heart-rate monitor, GPS tracking and plenty of other goodies to satisfy those who take their workouts seriously.

As a fan of the elliptical trainer who also walks around NYC plenty, I found that many of the Surge's features were more than I needed to keep track of my daily activity. Still, the generous feature set made me more aware of my vital stats, and in general I enjoyed wearing this activity tracker. Read on for more of my impressions!

Design

The embedded heart-rate monitor may be a boon for many users, but it also seems to necessitate a larger band than I'd prefer. The Fitbit Surge actually feels quite light and comfortable on the wrist, so it's not an issue of it being bulky, but rather it looks decidedly un-sleek. High-end looks aren't to be expected with serious activity trackers, but since you really reap the benefits of this device when you wear it consistently, it would be nice if it looked a little spiffier. (I wouldn't wear this out to a nice dinner, for example.)

The Surge features a black and white touchscreen, so you can swipe between screens to view stats such as calories burned, distance traveled, current heart rate and steps taken. The button on the left-hand of the watch face is the home button, while the ones on the right-hand side serve different functions, such as starting a timer or pausing, depending on what you're doing.

My favorite aspect of the design is the long battery life that's made possible by the low-energy display. Throughout my time testing the Surge, I only had to recharge it once or twice — it's rated to last for 7 days (though less when GPS is on)!

Features

Perhaps the biggest draw of the Fitbit Surge is its built-in heart-rate monitor. Directly from the device's display, you can view your current BPM and see which zone you're in (e.g., Fat Burn, Cardio, Peak, etc.). This is quite useful when you're exercising and want to make sure you're getting a sufficiently vigorous workout. If you're really serious about tracking your heart rate, you can even set custom zones to be notified when you fall below or above a specified range.

The other big feature here is the GPS data, which is most relevant for runners or bikers logging routes outside. GPS tracking also allows you to view run time, distance, pace and elevation. 

Clearly, the Surge is mostly a fitness device, but it does include some other cool features, such as the ability to control music playback from your phone by tapping on the tracker's home button. You can also get notifications for new calls and texts when the device is paired with your phone — I just wish you could get notifications for emails too. You can also set silent alarms and monitor your sleep without having to press a button — I didn't test these out because I didn't find this comfortable to wear at night, though.

Finally, one of the strongpoints of Fibit in general is its well-organized, comprehensive online dashboard and mobile app, both of which display all the stats gathered by your device. The Fitbit Surge automatically syncs to these applications, so your information will be up to date.

Bottom Line

The Fitbit Surge isn't the most stylish fitness tracker, but it may just be one of the best advanced options out there. I love the ability to swipe the screen to view all my latest calorie, steps and distance counts, and the heart-rate monitor is great to have when you're exercising.

If you're a more casual workout enthusiast, you could probably spring for another, cheaper Fitbit model, but if you want the widest array of features alongside the benefits of Fitbit's great software, this is a solid choice.