FitBit Surge

Last updated date: February 21, 2019

DWYM Score
7.5

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We looked at the top 1 Fitness Trackers and dug through the reviews from 10 of the most popular review sites including BestReviews, CNET, Tech Radar, Trusted Reviews, Wearable, Engadget, PC Magazine, Tom's Guide, Expert Reviews - UK, Tech Advisor and more. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Fitness Tracker you should buy.

Overall Take

In our analysis of 124 expert reviews, the Fitbit FitBit Surge placed 10th when we looked at the top 13 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

Editor's Note May 15, 2019:
Checkout The Best Fitness Tracker for a detailed review of all the top fitness trackers.

Expert Summarized Score
8.2
10 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
6.0
7,840 user reviews
Our Favorite Video Reviews
What experts liked
Off the charts in terms of capabilities and functions. Compatible with data-sharing devices. Does not require a chest strap.
- BestReviews
The big design does allow for a larger battery, though. The Surge will last up to seven days, or up to 10 hours with an active GPS signal.
- CNET
June 30, 2016 | Full review
There's good reason for that label. The final version I tested has built-in GPS, a heart-rate monitor and real-time workout data, all fan-requested capabilities that raise the price.
- Tech Radar
February 15, 2018 | Full review
Fitbit still offers smartphone and web app support so you can sync data over Bluetooth 4.0 or use the supplied USB Bluetooth dongle to do it via your Mac or PC.
- Trusted Reviews
October 12, 2016 | Full review
The Fitbit Surge's battery life is stated to be over a week, and in original tests we barely managed three days when heavily using the on-board GPS for outdoor workouts, which is a serious battery drain.
- Wearable
July 10, 2017 | Full review
The Surge solves some of Fitbit's problems with better food and sleep tracking, while adding GPS and heart rate monitoring to the mix.
- Engadget
March 12, 2015 | Full review
It not only tracks your steps and sleep, but also alerts you to incoming phone calls and text messages, keeps tabs on your heart rate with a built-in optical heart rate monitor, uses GPS to track outdoor activity, and has much more functionality especially for runners.
- PC Magazine
January 29, 2015 | Full review
The Surge also lets you control music from your smartphone, but that feature requires a special Bluetooth pairing process.
- Tom's Guide
January 26, 2015 | Full review
The Surge is dominated by a touch-sensitive monochrome LCD display. You can swipe the screen left or right to cycle through the plethora of data the Surge is constantly recording.
- Expert Reviews - UK
May 29, 2018 | Full review
Aside from the heart-rate monitoring (much more on which below) the Surge beats all other Fitbits and most other activity trackers with its wide range of multi-sports and exercise functions, although the Charge 2 and Blaze come close (albeit without the Surge's built-in GPS).
- Tech Advisor
January 26, 2017 | Full review
What experts didn't like
Expensive, but its features and performance are worth the cost.
- BestReviews
This isn't it. Fitbit doesn't recommend swimming or showering with the Surge, which is odd considering the watch has been tested to withstand up to 5 ATM (50 meters) of water pressure.
- CNET
June 30, 2016 | Full review
While the Fitbit Surge functionality is more advanced, the square look and bigger size is akin to a dated, '80s digital watch. It's not fashionable, yet stands out more than previous Fitbits. It doesn't help that it comes in only black, with blue and tangerine "coming soon."
- Tech Radar
February 15, 2018 | Full review
Our initial concern, as is always the case when a watch says it has GPS and a heart rate sensor, is how the battery is going to hold up. batterly life not great.
- Trusted Reviews
October 12, 2016 | Full review
If you're planning to go swimming with either of these then you're out of luck. Both are considered water resistant, the Surge is 5ATM and the Blaze is 1ATM, but Fitbit doesn't advise taking them for a dip or taking them in shower.
- Wearable
July 10, 2017 | Full review
But its bulky, utilitarian design and high price will limit its appeal.
- Engadget
March 12, 2015 | Full review
Without GPS enabled (standard mode), the Surge's expected battery life is five days, and that's with the continuous heart rate monitor running.
- PC Magazine
January 29, 2015 | Full review
Phone calls are more limited; the Surge vibrates until the call is answered. Again, you can press the same action button to see who is calling you.
- Tom's Guide
January 26, 2015 | Full review
In terms of screen quality, it isn’t particularly exciting or inspiring. I’m not too keen on the width of the borders surrounding it, it’s pretty drab to look at and not particularly large either at 1.25in from corner to corner, but it is at least a practical display.
- Expert Reviews - UK
May 29, 2018 | Full review
Some users have reported getting a skin rash from the Fitbit Surge. Fitbit replied in a statement: "The reactions we are seeing with new products are not uncommon with jewellery or wearable devices that stay in contact with the skin for extended periods.
- Tech Advisor
January 26, 2017 | Full review

From The Manufacturer

GPS Tracking- See distance, pace and elevation climbed & review routes and split times Get continuous, automatic, wrist-based heart rate and simplified heart rate zones Track workouts & view workout summaries; plus all day activities including steps, distance, calories burned, floors climbed and active minutes Monitor your sleep automatically and wake with a silent alarm See call and text notifications on the touchscreen display Sync stats wirelessly and automatically to your computer and over 120 leading smartphones

Overall Product Rankings

1. Fitbit Versa
Overall Score: 8.8
Expert Reviews: 10
2. Lintelek Activity Tracker
Overall Score: 8.4
Expert Reviews: 2
3. Garmin vívoactive 3
Overall Score: 8.0
Expert Reviews: 11
4. Fitbit Charge 3
Overall Score: 8.0
Expert Reviews: 6
5. Fitbit Flex 2
Overall Score: 7.9
Expert Reviews: 9
6. Samsung Pro Fitness Band
Overall Score: 7.8
Expert Reviews: 8
7. Garmin Vívosmart 4
Overall Score: 7.7
Expert Reviews: 15
8. FitBit Zip
Overall Score: 7.7
Expert Reviews: 9
9. Garmin vívosport Fitness Tracker
Overall Score: 7.7
Expert Reviews: 10
10. FitBit Surge
Overall Score: 7.5
Expert Reviews: 10
11. Fitbit Alta
Overall Score: 7.5
Expert Reviews: 6
12. Withings Go Activity Tracker
Overall Score: 7.0
Expert Reviews: 10
13. Garmin vivofit 3 Fitness Tracker
Overall Score: 7.0
Expert Reviews: 8

An Overview On Fitness Trackers

Fitness trackers are truly the must-have accessory for a healthy lifestyle. It’s no surprise either. These handy devices offer a wealth of health knowledge right at your fingertips — or, more accurately on your wrist. Armed with the right fitness tracker, you can record and analyze your way to the healthiest you yet. If you haven’t tried them yet, prepare to be amazed and converted.

Wearable tools can be just as important as the recipes, nutrition and fitness accessories in your arsenal. Together, they help you achieve your goals and understand exactly when you’ve done that. Fitness trackers are like mini-supercomputers right on your wrist. They record and monitor movement and fitness-related activities. They track the number of steps taken, distance walked, sleep duration and quality, heart rate and more.

While the category started simple and basic, they have become very advanced over the years. There are separate modes that enable them to track specific types of exercise and can distinguish between swimming, running and cycling, as well as keep logs of your favorite routes. No matter what model you have, you can connect and upload all the stored data to your computer or smartphone to analyze and learn from your activities.

It’s not a passing trend either. In fact, the global fitness trackers market clocked in at just under $18 billion in 2016. That value is expected to grow to more than $62 billion within the next four years. Smartwatches, specifically, are driving most of the predicted growth. Some of the leading fitness tracker manufacturers include Fitbit, Samsung, Nike, Adidas, Google and Apple. Some lesser-known manufacturers, like Lintelek, have also launched products in the fitness tracker category. In fact, the budget-friendly Lintelek Activity Tracker is the only non-Fitbit to make the list of recommended devices.

Fitbit, which has two of the four top picks on this list, is one of the most popular fitness tracker manufacturers. The company launched its very first tracker back in 2007 and continues to lead the category with innovative new technology and features.

Now, Fitbit, Apple, Garmin and more offer a wide variety of different fitness trackers and smartwatch models from affordable to splurge prices. There are high-tech models with detailed data tracking for serious athletes, as well as simple watches for those just dipping their toe into fitness tracking and data. There are also fitness trackers made for children ages eight and up, meant to encourage movement and healthy habits early. Whether you’re trying to make fitness fun for youngsters or start your own health challenge,  there is a Fitness tracker for everyone and every goal.

Fitness trackers are designed to seamlessly track every part of your day — including activity, exercise, food, weight and sleep. That can be a bit overwhelming. However, Fitbit says they will “help you find your fit, stay motivated and see how small steps make a big impact.”

They monitor heart rate with PurePulse. The newest watches, like Fitbit Charge 3, Fitbit Versa and Fitbit Ionic, include SmartTrack. This innovative technology automatically senses different types of exercises and records them accordingly in the Fitbit app. For example, if you hop on a spin bike and start pedaling, the watch will begin recording as a cycling activity.

The current Fitbit smartwatches, like Fitbit Versa, also incorporate apps and features like wallet-free payments, calendar alerts and text message updates. Today’s Fitbits and fitness trackers are so much more than step counters. They also enhance and simplify many everyday tasks.

In addition to encouraging healthy lifestyles, Fitbit, and other fitness tracker apps connect all users in a like-minded community. In the apps, you can share your goals and find motivation from people around the world. It also opens up the opportunity for fun competitions with friends, family or coworkers. You can compare on a variety of statistics to push yourself farther and hit goals faster.

All those tracker insights add up to real lifestyle changes. In fact, researchers from Arizona State University discovered that the combination of wearing a Fitbit Zip activity monitor and expressing more mindfulness throughout the week increased levels of physical activity. For a relatively low cost (most models range from $50 to $250), fitness trackers help motivate you to kickstart and stick with a fitness plan, hold you accountable, encourage goal setting and, best of all, help you lose weight.

Pick the right fitness tracker, and you’re well on your way to living your healthiest life and achieving goals you haven’t even dreamed of yet.

DYWM Fun Fact

The very first fitness trackers date back to Renaissance times. Yes, really. Leonardo Da Vinci sketched what looked like an early version of a pedometer. Then, in 1788, Thomas Jefferson introduced the first pedometer in the U.S. Pedometers are basic devices used to track the number of steps taken.  Historians believe his inspiration for the device could have come from the motion sensor of the Swiss or French watches.

It took a few hundred years more before pioneers developed high-tech trackers. Fitbit founders Eric Friedman and James Park recognized the potential of wireless technology in the fitness industry. With the first product, they “embarked on a journey to create a wearable product that would change the way we move.” Suffice it to say, they succeeded and went on to realize that potential and then some. More than 10 years later, both original founders still lead Fitbit and continue to introduce new and innovative fitness technology each year.

The Fitness Tracker Buying Guide

  • Fitness trackers range in price depending on included features. Some cost under $100 while others fall under $250. The more advanced the tracking features, the higher the price points.
  • Fitness trackers and smartwatches run on rechargeable batteries. When drained, they require re-charging by plugging into power sources or outlets.
  • The battery life of different trackers varies based on the activities tracked, but some can last up to five days between charges.
  • Fitness trackers use special sensors to monitor and record vital health stats throughout your day. Some of the info recorded includes activity, heart rate, food, weight and sleep. The more advanced models incorporate a built-in GPS for improved accuracy and ease of use.
  • The models with GPS can also produce and follow maps of specific routes, making workouts more streamlined wherever you are.
  • Fitness trackers, including Fitbits, Garmin, Lintelek and more, often come with an app that connects the device and information recorded on your phone or tablet. Some also bring users in a global online community together to connect, compete and learn from each other.
  • The fitness trackers sync data to your computer or smartphone so that you can access additional analysis and progress reports.
  • Many fitness trackers feature water resistant and waterproof components, so they can be worn in rain and while swimming without worrying. Make sure your model has this capability if that’s an important feature to you.