FitBit Surge review: Part two

OK, in the first part of my review of FitBit’s Surge (Super Fitness Watch) I covered some basics about the watch itself. Today, I’m looking at how it actually functions during exercise (I mean, that’s what it’s primarily for, right?)

FitBit's smart phone app tracks all your exercise so that it's easy to go through.
FitBit’s smart phone app tracks all your exercise so that it’s easy to go through.

Over the past two weeks I’ve used the Surge during bike rides, walks with the dog and walks/runs during the week. The exercise function is accessed by pressing the button on the watch’s left side, which gives you the option to record runs or exercise.

The exercise option is broken down into several options:  Currently I have Hike, Workouts, Weights, Spinning, Biker and Walk but the watch will let you customise up to seven options ranging from Kickboxing and Yoga to Stair climbing and Golf.

I was particularly interested to see how the Surge worked with bike rides and while I don’t ride my bike as much as I used to, I still like to pedal the tarmac a couple of times a week. I was particularly interested in having an active heart rate monitor that didn’t require me to wear a cumbersome chest strap.

Not long before I got the Surge, Strava, a bike recording app, had announced it was compatible with the Surge so rides would be saved to the Strava app, which is great because I use that app on my LG smart watch to record bike rides as well as a Magellan Cyclo 100 cycle computer. I was also interested to see out of the Surge & the Magellan which was most accurate.

Starting the Surge to record activity only requires a couple of button presses and I found that it generally found GPS satellites quickly (there is an option to do a quick start which starts recording your activity and will vibrate when it’s located satellites).

I found that the Surge found satellites much quicker than my Magellan cycle computer, which I was most pleased with. During one ride, the Magellan didn’t lock onto a GPS signal until about 2 minutes after I’d actually started my ride, meaning it was already behind recording my activity.

The Surge will track overall distance using GoogleMaps and its inbuilt GPS.
The Surge will track overall distance using GoogleMaps and its inbuilt GPS.

The bike setting recorded all the stats that I needed: Average speed, distance covered and heart rate and I noticed that when I put in a really hard effort, such as sprints or climbing, the heart rate would pop onto the display. Uploading the details to my PC broke down the information even further, telling me how long my HR had been in the peak, cardio and fat burning zones.

My heat rate broken down by the FitBit Surge into peak, cardio and fat burning periods.
My heart rate broken down by the FitBit Surge into peak, cardio and fat burning periods.

Looking at the information in more depth, graphs for speed, calories burnt and HR actually have sliders which can show you exactly what speed you were doing at each point during your ride, how many calories you were burning a minute and what your heart rate got up to.

For example, when I was averaging 30km/h, my HR was peaking at 158bpm (beats per minute) and I was burning 7.6 calories a minute. That’s quite mind-blowing.

Overall, I was impressed with FitBit’s Surge, given that it’s a good all-rounder for a variety of exercise options. I like it so much that it’s knocked my LG Smart Watch off my wrist and it’s making me keep active during the day.

While it might not be cycling-specific (if you’re the kind of person who wants a cycling-specific monitor then you’ll probably want to look at something from Garmin, perhaps), the Surge ticked all the boxes for me as someone who likes to do a variety of activities.

The Surge gets two thumbs up from me.

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