While not directly Disney related, I know I have a lot of runners that read this blog and I recently got the FitBit Surge, so I wanted to share some of my thoughts on it. I’ve never had a running watch before, though I’ve been wearing a FitBit for over a year.
Here’s my history with FitBit: I got the Force for Christmas last year and was completely in love with it. Then, as you might have heard, it got recalled for giving people a rash. A few weeks after they announced the recall I got the rash, so I sadly sent it back and got the Flex instead. That was okay, but nowhere near as good as the Force. Then I had been thinking about buying a running watch in addition to my Flex when they announced the Surge. I figured it would be perfect to replace my Flex and get a running watch!
- I want something I can wear every single day. The nice thing about the Force/Flex was that they were really unobtrusive – they were small and sleek and cool looking. The Surge is understandably bigger, but I’m slowly getting used to wearing it every day.
- The band itself is very comfortable. Mind you, I am used to wearing something on my wrist every day. I got the small size, and I go in between notches depending on if I’m sweating and how swollen my wrist is!
- The screen display itself is really nice. It’s touch screen, and you can easily swipe to get the different stats. Numbers are big, easy to read, and clear.
- It comes in three different colors: black, blue, and orange.
- Clock: Shows what time it is, which is nice because unlike the Flex it can double as a watch. You can choose if you want the time displayed in 12 hour mode or 24 hour (military) mode.
- Step count: Shows how many steps you’ve taken, and a bar displaying how much of your daily goal you’ve achieved.
- Heart rate: One of the new things to FitBit is the heart rate monitor. This setting will show you what your current BPM is.
- Miles: Displays how many miles you’ve gone that day.
- Calories: calories burned.
- Flights: How many flights of stairs you’ve climbed that day (sometimes if you go uphill it will count it, even if it’s not stairs, like if you’re running).
- The Surge has a GPS, so you can use it to track your outdoor runs. Mine had a little trouble finding the GPS signal at first, but I used the quick start option and it picked it up a couple of seconds after I started running. If you do quick start it estimates how far you’ve gone based on your step count before it gets the GPS signal, and it seemed pretty accurate.
- The display in running mode has the time block in the biggest numbers in the middle. Then above it you can see how far you’ve gone.
- Below the time there are various stats you can scroll through, and leave it on whichever one you like best. You can scroll through and see any of them during your run. They include current pace, average pace, heart rate, calories burned, steps taken, and clock.
- I found the GPS to be pretty accurate. I ran RunKeeper with it as well and they were only a tiny bit off from each other, and from what I’ve heard it could be RunKeeper that’s a little inaccurate.
- I did a 13.1, 2 1/2 run and the battery lasted throughout all of it, despite the fact that I hadn’t charged it in 3 days. I did have to charge it after my run, though.
- When you finish they run it displays all of your stats from that run, and you can also access that information in the app later.
- There are a couple of additional modes aside from the GPS running mode. In exercise, you have the choice of hike (which uses GPS),Weights, Elliptical, spinning, yoga, and the more general workout. I only used workout mode, but it tracks how much time you’ve spent in a workout, your heart rate during the workout, and an estimated amount of calories burned.
- Under the run category, you can also track a treadmill run or lap run (also uses GPS) in addition to the free run. I tried the treadmill run. This is good for keeping track of your time spent on the treadmill, heart rate, and calories. It does show you the distance, but it was waaaay off from what the treadmill was showing, so I wouldn’t rely on it for that.
- I really liked the idea that Fitbit could track my sleep on the Force and the Flex – but you had to remember to turn it on before you went to bed and off when you woke up. The Surge does something wonderful: it automatically records your sleep patterns without having to do anything. It guesses by your movement when you fall asleep and when you wake up. It tells you how much you slept for and how many minutes you were awake or restless during the night.
- You can set a silent alarm using the Surge. It will go off by vibrating. You can turn it off manually, otherwise it will keep going off every 9 minutes. You can also press a button to make it snooze or turn off.
- The vibrating was not enough to actually wake me up – I tested the alarm when I took a nap the other day, and I slept right through the alarm. It may work for lighter sleepers. However, I figure it would be handy if you need a quick reminder of something during the day.
- You have to set up the alarms from the app or website, but once it’s set up you can switch it from on to off from the Surge.
- If you had a FitBit before, the app is pretty much the same with added features for the Surge. If you’re not familiar with FitBit, the app is another way you can access your stats for the day (steps, distance, heartrate, calories burned, floors, active minutes, etc.)
- It also keeps track of stats that aren’t on the actual Surge display. This is where you can view those sleep stats. It also provides your very active minutes, tracks your exercise that you’ve recorded through the surge, how many calories you’ve eaten (if you put that info into an app like My Fitness Pal and link them), and how much water you’ve had.
- If you have other friends that own a FitBit, you can add them on the app and it will keep track of the 7 step totals in a leaderboard, so you can see which of your friends is walking the most. There are now also Challenges that you can invite friends to, to see who might get the most steps in a weekend, a 5 day work week, or just one random day.
- The Surge will automatically track exercise when you use that mode, but you can view your exercise habits on the exercise screen. It keeps track of what you’ve done on what day, and displays a calendar that fills in which days of the week you’ve worked out. If you enter a workout through My Fitness Pal and have them synced, it will display on this screen as well.
Calls, Texts, and Music
- The Surge can also notify you when you are receiving a call or a text, if your phone is within 20 feet of you. You can even read the text on the Surge. I tried to set this up but haven’t gotten it to work yet, so I’ll have to look into troubleshooting that. I’m getting an error message, even though my phone is listed as a supported device for these features.
- If you have an iOS device (I don’t), you can also use the Surge to “control” the music that it’s playing – pause it, skip a track, etc. Kind of like a remote control on your wrist!
- I haven’t been able to see how long the Surge “regularly” lasts, because I keep using the GPS feature for runs, which drains the battery a lot more quickly. I can say that I charged it on a Tuesday afternoon and then on Friday afternoon I did a 2 1/2 hour run on GPS mode. It lasted through all of that but was displaying low battery by the end. I charged it Friday afternoon and just today (Thursday) got the message that the battery was low. This is including about 40 minutes on GPS mode during the week. I’d say it might last for at least week or regular mode, and at least 3 hours in GPS mode. Pretty good!
- The battery also charges pretty quickly. After an hour or two of being plugged in it is fully charged.
Overall I really love the FitBit Surge! The biggest highlight for me is the run tracking (it accurately tracks my runs and displays all the info I would want during the run in an easy to read display). It does everything my old Force used to do and more. The battery life is better than I expected for something like this. I love the automatic sleep tracking. The only negative for me so far is that the phone notifications didn’t work when I tried to set them up – but I haven’t really looked into the issue yet. I would say if you’re looking for a fitness tracker and you plan to use the GPS run feature, definitely get this one. If you’re not going to use GPS, look into the FitBit Charge – it sounds like it does a lot of what the Force used to do and more.