Product Comparisons

The better fitness device? Fitbit Surge vs Apple Watch – 5 Differences

 

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Need help choosing between the Fitbit Surge and Apple Watch?

(Scroll down for the written review)

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Fitbit Surge vs Apple Watch – Which is better for you heart?

So between the Fitbit Surge and the Apple Watch, which is the better fitness device? We’re going to give you 5 differences between the Fitbit Surge and Apple Watch to help you choose the best smart device for your fitness needs.

Now, if you own an iPhone, there aren’t too many smartwatch options out there right now as you’re pretty much stuck with either a Pebble, Fitbit Surge and the Apple Watch and to be fair, Fitbit doesn’t really call the Surge a smartwatch as its a “fitness super watch” (it really sucks as a smartwatch).

Based on our time with both of these smartwatches, we’ve given the Fitbit Surge a score of 3.8 Eh’s out of 5 and the Apple Watch a score of 4.1 Eh’s out of 5. This comparison is based on our time with both of these devices so if you need more information, check out the full reviews for the Fitbit Surge and the Apple Watch.

The question you need to ask yourself when choosing between these two devices is this:

How serious are you about your fitness?

 

  Compare With other
 
 Fitbit SurgeApple Watch
 
Header
(out of 5)

Full Review

(out of 5)

Full Review
PricePrice:
$299.95 USD
Price:
$399.00+ USD (42mm Model)
$349.00+ USD (38mm Model)
Top Buy Buttons
ProsPros:
- Continuous Heart Rate Monitoring
- Feels comfortable
- Proactive fitness monitoring
Pros:
- Very comfortable to wear
- Practical
- Very refined
ConsCons:
- Limited smartwatch functionality
- No 3rd Party App support
- Limited notifications
Cons:
- Poor battery life
- Expensive
- Works only with iPhones
Potential ProblemsPotential Problems:
- Heart rate monitoring may not be accurate due to the movement of the Fitbit Surge
Potential Problems:
- None that we found
Design Rating
DESIGN
DESIGN
DesignDesign (1.5/5):
- Doesn't show excessive wear/tear
- Strap is noticeable (especially when using a laptop)
- Looks bulky and awkward
Design (5/5):
- Incredible detail to physical aspects of the watch
- Able to wear long-sleeved shirts easily
- Rounded edges on the watch won't catch on things as easily
- Bands are uniquely designed
Durability Rating
DURABILITY
DURABILITY
Battery LifeBattery Life (5/5):
- 7 day battery
- Charges using a custom cable type
Battery Life (2/5):
- Approx. 1 day battery
- Wireless charging not compatible with other devices (Not Qi-standard)
- Need to be careful with usage as long workouts will drain battery
ProtectionProtection (5/5):
- Water resistant to 5 ATM
- Scratch resistant against keys and coins
Protection (4/5):
- Water resistant
- Scratch resistant against keys and coins
Functionality Rating
FUNCTIONALITY
FUNCTIONALITY
SoftwareSoftware (3.5/5):
- Mobile & desktop sync
- NO 3rd party app support
- Fitbit software works well
Software (3.5/5):
- Syncs only with an iPhone (iOS)
- Apple Watch apps integrate with Apple's App Store (lots of apps available)
- No desktop/web sync
HandlingHandling (4.5/5):
- Touch-enabled
- Navigation accomplished using both touch and buttons
- Viewable in direct sunlight (backlight for darker environments)
Handling (5/5):
- Intuitive navigation as buttons are useful (especially the digital crown)
- Touch (and Force Touch) work well
- Viewable in direct sunlight
Information DisplayUI (2.5/5):
- Limited smartwatch features
- Notifications only for calls and texts (you can't answer phone calls)
- Limited number of clock faces
UI (5/5):
- Apple Watch UI isn't as linear as other smartwatches
- Not completely customizable but certain watch faces can be customized with information that you want
- Addition of glances allows for additional information
- Taptic engine produces physical notifications that feel quite nice
SensorsSensors (4/5):
- Can accurately track workouts and running
- GPS
- Heart Rate
- Accelerometer/Compass
Sensors (3.5/5):
- Heart rate sensor is more accurate than Fitbits
- NO GPS (needs to in range of iPhone for navigation)
- Accelerometer/Compass
PracticalityPracticality (1/5):
- Useful only for fitness
Practicality (5/5):
- Will make your life better in general
- Not gimmicky
- Not too specialized
- 3rd Party App support will greatly add to the Apple Watch's functionality over time
Bottom Buy Buttons

 

Difference #5 – The Fitbit Surge has the stamina to last

Fitbit Surge Vs. Apple Watch - Battery Life

The Fitbit Surge will last longer. Their website claims that it has a 7 day battery life which we have seen with the Fitbit Surge (this included 3 workouts per week). This is almost a magnitude better than the Apple Watch as 2 hour workout will take approx. 25% of your battery on that device.

The extra battery power also means that the Fitbit Surge is a better sleep tracker than the Apple Watch and from a fitness standpoint, we do believe that how well you sleep does have an impact on how hard you can push yourself.

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Difference #4 – Its easier to track your fitness with the Fitbit Surge

Fitbit Surge vs Apple Watch - Workout Types

The Surge is a little easier to track what you’re doing in my opinion. I’m primarily a cross-training and weight lifter and the Surge has all those options. On the Apple watch, my weight lifting goes under “Other”. Now, we’ve given this some thought and don’t think what the device calls it makes a big difference since both are just measuring your heart rate and calculating the calories from that but being able to differentiate different types of exercises is nice.

On the flip side, the Apple Watch has the ability to track outdoor cycling whereas the Surge doesn’t so cyclists may say that the Apple Watch is better in that regard.

Now tracking your fitness is most likely going to change with the Apple Watch as developers find better/smarter ways to capture what you’re doing exactly. We’ll elaborate on this a bit more in difference #1.

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Difference #3 – The Apple Watch will get lost

Fitbit Surge Review - There's a GPS receiver in that?

Despite all the hardware magic that Apple has placed into the Apple Watch, they didn’t put a GPS into the device. To get directions and to track the user, the Apple Watch relies heavily on the GPS of the tethered iPhone.

On the other hand, the Fitbit Surge will track wherever you’ve gone (if you’ve set it to the right workout). This is a benefit to those who don’t feel the need to bring their massive iPhone 6 Plus’s with them while then try to run.

This difference is really only a deal breaker if you’re big into running.
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Difference #2 – The Fitbit App is easier to use

Fitbit Surge Vs Apple Watch - App Differences

The Fitbit Surge has one purpose. To track how well you’re doing.

The Fitbit app reflects that singular purpose as its much easier to use than Apple’s Health app. The Fitbit app doesn’t have the depth of the Health app but all the basics are there and the layout of the app is much easier to deal with.

Apple’s Health app, despite having the potential to store way more information but looks like something a typical engineer would love (aesthetically bleak with lots of numbers and graphs).

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Difference #1 – The Apple Watch gets better with time

Spine Apple Watch Accessories Review

The Apple Watch will get better over time. The Fitbit Surge will not. From my perspective, the Apple Watch is a blank slate, like the iPhone, which will allow people/developers to do whatever they want.

For example, as of right now, both watches can track a workout but it can’t count the reps. There’s an app called VimoFit that’s trying to be smart enough to count your reps automatically. It currently works on Android Wear and partially on the Apple Watch but isn’t compatible with the Surge as there’s no Fitbit app platform.

Another example revolves around the different types of add ons that you can use with the Apple Watch. In the next year, we’re going to see an influx of attachments that are going to add additional functionality to the Apple watch. Watch straps with spare batteries and protective shells (hopefully waterproof ones) will give the the Apple Watch the edge of the Surge as it will become a little more useful across more situations.

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Now with everything said, we do have to talk about the price difference between the two as the cheapest Apple Watch incarnation is still going to be $50 dollars cheaper than the $300 Fitbit Surge.

Let’s go back to the question “How serious are you about fitness?” For the serious fitness buff, we’d would recommend taking a close look at the Fitbit Surge. It won’t offer as much extra functionality as the Apple Watch but it will definitely provide you with a great fitness-tracking experience.

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Callista

    August 20, 2015 at 3:39 am

    Aaron, I know that this is not related to your post but could you please do a comparison between the Silver/Gold (white front) iPhone vs Space Gray (Black Front) iPhone? I am planning to get the iPhone 6s next month and it would also be my first phone (yes, I know that I am so late) so I am not really sure which one to get. Thank you!

    • Aaron Ho

      August 20, 2015 at 10:05 pm

      I’m not sure what I would compare. They are identical except for the color…what would like to know?

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  3. Eric

    December 11, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    Hey Aaron, your Amazon link for the Surge actually searches for “Pebble Watch”. Just a heads up!

    • Aaron Ho

      December 12, 2015 at 5:42 pm

      Bugger. Thanks for pointing that out.

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