Fitbit Surge review: The most expensive Fitbit, but not the prettiest

Price when reviewed

Right now, there are eight Fitbit fitness trackers you can buy. The cheapest of these is the now long-in-the-tooth Fitbit Zip, for £50. For the cost of four of these, you can buy the most expensive and fully featured Fitbit on the market: the Fitbit Surge.

That may sound a lot, but it does around four times as much, so it’s no contest. Comparing it to mid-range members of the Fitbit family makes things a little bit blurrier, though. The Surge first launched around a year ago, and it’s fair to say the range has got sleeker, if not as feature packed, since. Is the Fitbit Surge still worth buying in 2016?

Call yourself a fitness enthusiast? If so, you’ll probably want to know about the Fitbit Fifty. Simply put, it’s a massive running and cycling tour of the UK that starts at Buckingham Palace, winds its way up to Edinburgh Castle, and comes back down again. Oh, and it takes 50 hours. Interested? This is what it’s like to do it.

Fitbit Surge: Design

There are plenty of positives about the Fitbit Surge, but like most Fitbits before they found their stylish flair with the Alta and Blaze, appearance is not one of them. It’s definitely form over function, with utility and battery life pushing style down the list of priorities.[gallery:2]

That isn’t to say the Surge is horrible looking, but it’s more of a sports wearable than a fashionable timepiece, even if it does function as a watch alongside its other duties. At its widest point, the band is over an inch wide, and the monochrome screen has thick black borders that take up around a fifth of the watch face’s limited real estate. Fitbit has embraced the angular style, though, and it kind of works, with three buttons next to the screen to augment its touch capability. That’s useful because touchscreens tend to act up when you get wet or sweaty.

The band and “brain” of the unit are connected, so there’s no switching out the colours. What you buy is what you’re stuck with, unless you’re prepared to do some low-level surgery yourself, and from the looks of it that would involve screwdrivers, a fair bit of patience and a voided warranty.

The strap itself is rubbery, like that on the Fitbit Charge HR, and although it’s slightly more comfortable for extended wear, you’ll still want to take it off from time to time.[gallery:3]

Fitbit Surge: Features

This may sound like I’m down on the Fitbit Surge, but actually, it has a hell of a lot going for it. While the more basic Fitbits only tackle sleep and steps, the Fitbit Surge ticks every single box on the Fitbit site. It’s the firm’s current top-of-the-range tracker, and it’s hard to imagine much more the dedicated runner or cyclist could want without going into the truly specialist end of the fitness tracker spectrum.

It tracks steps, heart rate and sleep patterns; offers some basic smartwatch capabilities such as displaying text and WhatsApp messages and controlling music; and it has a built-in GPS radio so you can run without your phone. Sadly, it doesn’t have any storage for music, so if you don’t like running to just the sound of your feet you’ll need to plan accordingly. Nonetheless, it leaves all other Fitbits in the dust when assessed on pure specifications:fitbit_comparison_table_which_fitbit_should_i_buy_png

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