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Fitbit Drops 3 New Bands, Including The Surge ‘Fitness Super Watch’ — Complete With GPS And Heart Rate Monitor [Product]

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Well now we’re getting somewhere.

For the longest time I’ve been anti-fitness band, mainly because they’re all seemingly overpriced, glorified pedometers. Apps like Argus track steps, distance, calories burned, GPS routes, and even sleep—completely gratis—which makes dropping $100+ on a wristband feel utterly pointless.

Especially when you don’t need to strap on an additional piece of hardware, besides you know, your iPhone; which is already perpetually glued to your being.

If that wasn’t enough, look at sophisticated, game-changing fitness trackers like PUSH and Atlas. They’re pushing the limits of fitness tracking by automatically recognizing and gauging advanced weight-lifting metrics, including things like force, power, velocity, and explosive strength. And then there’s Athos, who is literally reinventing the definition of “fitness wearable,” by developing EMG-based intelligent clothing.

We’re there. The landscape of fitness wearables is evolving in a MASSIVE way. Finally. And big players are starting to take a hint.

The latest? Fitbit. They’re finally beefing up their arsenal with the launch of 3 new fitness bands — the Charge, Charge HR, and Surge.


 

The Fitbit Charge, Charge HR, and Surge


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Image: Fitbit

Fitbit’s least sophisticated (and exciting) entrant is the Charge. It’s effectively a revamped Fitbit Force, which was recalled and discontinued earlier this year due to a massive skin-irritation issue. It’s a sleek band that measures all of the basics you’d come to expect from a competent fitness tracker — steps, calories burned, distance, floors, and active time, with an added caller ID readout.

The biggest upgrade from the Force? Automatic sleep detection. In the past you’d have to manually activate sleep tracking, which became a pain in the ass, especially if you passed out unexpectedly. That’s over. Now it detects sleep and tracks it automatically. It just knows.

As a base model, the Charge is nothing revolutionary. Things start to get interesting, and actually useful, with the addition of a heart rate monitor. And not one that requires a painfully annoying chest strap. The Charge HR continuously tracks heart rate right on the wrist, through a set of LED lights that detect changes in blood volume.

That’s completely game-changing and has massive power, both as an exercise and lifestyle device. During a workout, you’ll get a more accurate reading of calories burned and a direct proxy for exercise intensity. Intensity is everything. It’s an easy way to find your zone and determine which exercises, movements, and training techniques really get your heart screaming (cough, HIIT). You’ll know when you’re slacking and when you need to push harder.

And because the HR monitor works 24/7—it runs on a 5 day battery life—you’ll gradually get a vivid look at your resting heart rate (RHR), random fluctuations, and trends over time. Together, that can help identify times when you’re stressed or in a gloriously blissful state of peace, and paint a picture of overall heart health.

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Finally, there’s their “Fitness Super Watch,” the Surge. It’s loaded with a bigger LCD touchscreen and 8 sensors (3-axis accelerometers, a gyroscope, compass, ambient light sensor, GPS and heart rate), the only major addition being the baked-in GPS. It’ll automatically map routes, track distance and elevation, and spit out split times. That’s cool as a do-everything device, but apps like MyFitnessPal and Runkeeper already provide the exact same outputs.

The Surge also offers smartphone music control via Bluetooth, but keep in mind, it’s limited to a 20 foot range (there’s no music storage).1

 

Fitbit Charge, Charge HR, and Surge — The Takeaway


The Charge is currently available for $129.95, while the Charge HR and Surge will be available in early 2015 for $149.95 and $249.95, respectively.

Your move: Wait for the Charge HR. Heart rate is the biggest sell here and really the only function you can’t get from a free app. The Surge doesn’t offer enough added value to justify dropping an extra $100.

Bryan DiSanto

Bryan DiSanto

Founder & Editor-in-Chief at Lean It UP
ELLO ELLO I'm Bryan DiSanto. I'm the Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Lean It UP, a CPT/CSN/Fitness Coach, Chef trained at Le Cordon Bleu – Paris, NYU graduate, ex-fat kid, and all-around fitness junkie.

I also contribute to Men's Health Magazine.

When I'm not working on my abs (or somebody else’s), whipping up avocado roses and avocado toast, or running a Tough Mudder, I'm probably yelling at a Carolina Panthers game somewhere.

Come be friends with me on Snapchat (BRYDISANTO).
Bryan DiSanto
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References, Notes, Links

  1. Fitbit Blog — Fitbit Charge, Charge HR & Surge: Welcome to a Whole New World of Fitness []