Three continents, two months, one Fitbit: Fitbit Surge Impressions

Intro

This isn’t a review.

It is a collection of bullet point lists mixed with off the cuff remarks about what stands out to me after nearly three months with this device. While the other reviewers out there might have worn theirs around San Francisco for a month mine instead has seen some serious business for the last two and a half months involving;

  • Mountain climbing
  • Marathon training
  • Trekking
  • Watersports
  • Hiking
  • Walks nearing 50,000 steps per day
  • Clubbing until 2am on Khaosan Road in Thailand

Monkeys have even played with this thing…anyway this is my subjective impressions of the device and while I was tempted to count my steps for an entire day and compare them to the tracker this never came to pass…

 

Unboxing

 

Context

My experience with trackers comes from being obese for a great part of my adult life and through my experiences in loosing over 35kg and maintaining this loss for five years a few things have become apparent to me;

  • Consistency counts and makes or breaks change
  • Keeping records of your activities in your mind and scraps of paper will drive you mad
  • Data and data accessibility is key.

Cons:

  • Charging cable easily disconnects from the device and can stop charging if moved slightly (on one occasion the vibration of the device, which is how it  indicates a successful connection of the charging cable, was enough to stop it charging…)
  • Touchscreen is unresponsive from time to time (4 times in 80-90 days) requiring a hard reset to fix
  • Getting a GPS lock can be hard
  • Proprietary connectors mean if I loose the charging cable while travelling I am fucked
  • Heart-rate monitoring is not as accurate as I expected and the Surge appears to be working with some complicated equations to pick an average instead of a “real time” display of your actual heart rate…take it off your wrist for a while…it will still measure display your heart rate and will continue to go slightly up or down. Also responses to spikes in activity take time to be displayed on the device
  • Annoyingly you need to remember to reposition the device further up your wrist for accurate readings during exercise.

Pros:

  • Device feels like it has the potential for many new additional features on top of an already solid feature-set
  • Stairs Climbed reading is always scarily accurate
  • Bluetooth connectivity is extraordinarily robust and functional (take note GoPro)
  • Battery life is an amazing change to what devices have made us expect these days
  • Well Built and ruggered
  • Interface is responsive and intuitive and is effectively used to display your data
  • Not having to tell the Surge when I am going to bed and waking up is a god-send (that fucking double tap on the Flex)
  • Getting texts on my wrist on a device that actually makes sense is so cool and the battery life for all the extra data this things offers above a Flex is good.

Photos

 

Summary

I am happy with the device.

If you need a powerful tracker with a good battery life which can provide you with solid accessible data that you don’t have to worry about protecting just go for it, there isn’t anything better out there at the moment. The Apple Watch is/will be a high maintenance device, and will be a bigger worry (scratches, theft, battery life etc) than this. With the Surge you just put it on your wrist and forget it.

 

 

Even More Context Surrounding this Article

 

  • It was a corporate sample purchased on eBay ahead of release and it actually arrived
  • It arrived the day before I left Australia for 1 year despite being scheduled to arrive after I had left (Awesome)
  • When I was waiting for my flight out of Australia I could not get the screen to work and thought I had been sold some not fully functional pre-release sample, a hard reset fixed this issue for me.

 

 

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