Sport Watch Review: FitBit
History: I first ventured into the world of FitBit back around April 2015 when I purchased the Surge after finding the Garmin Vivoactive was not quite what I had hoped. I really enjoyed having the Surge and the FitBit platform in general. I am hoping that they upgrade their only GPS watch so I can possibly come back to this brand.
Likes: In general the Surge was a pretty solid watch. There were no robust workout features, however, the watch was able to be loaded with specific activities like hiking, cycling, walking, weights, running, yoga, etc. which made labeling workouts really easy. With the TomTom Spark I tend to go back into the platform and manually edit the title of the activity so I actually know what I did rather than just a generic “gym” for everything besides running, cycling, or swimming. The sleep tracking was on point; it very accurate in determining exactly when I fell asleep and when I woke up. The app further provided data on the quality of sleep along with the ability to set a sleep time goal and reminders for when to fall asleep. FitBit in general is one of the top brands for activity tracking since they were one of the firsts in the area. With the FitBit platform I always felt more incentivized to reach my goals than I do now with my Spark. For example, back when I was using my Surge the app had cute challenge where you could use your actual daily steps to journey through areas like New York City and Yosemite. After meeting a certain step goal I could see a picture of where I was in my journey and get some fun trivia facts as well. Overall the app and desktop client are very clear, colorful, and intuitive more geared towards motivation than the TomTom client. I also loved that the FitBit had smart notifications for texts and phone calls. From the watch I could see actually who called or texted me as well as the first few words of a text. This is a feature I really miss having, more than I thought I would.
Dislikes: Like most other GPS watches the design is very clunky and large. When I first got the watch it seemed to attract the eyes of everyone because it was such an obtrusive monstrosity on my wrist. I did eventually get used to it, but I would like another option for a classy-looking GPS watch besides the Apple Watch. I also do not like that the bands are not interchangeable because the strap on my Surge ended up breaking to the point where it was too uncomfortable to wear. If I was able to just buy another strap I probably would have continued using the watch. Also the port by which the watch charges is too insecure. For me charging the watch became cumbersome as it would only charge in a very particular position and could too easily fall out of that position. Too many times I came back to the watch after leaving it for an hour or so only to find it was still running on empty. The FitBit platform also does not sync with the Nike+ app so I had to manually enter my runs for that app, however, it did automatically sync with Strava which was nice. On the Surge you can set multiple silent alarms for discrete reminders throughout the day and there was a timer/stopwatch. The TomTom Spark has neither of those things which seems odd for a watch at that price point.
In summary, I loved the FitBit Surge. If the price had gone down when my strap broke or if FitBit had another updated GPS watch (perhaps with a color screen) I probably would have stayed within that ecosystem. I did try out the Charge HR 2 to see if I could perhaps use that most of the time and save my uncomfortable Surge for workouts. I liked the design of the watch, the breathe component, and the reminders to move. However, the reminders to move became quite annoying, the screen didn’t stay on so I had to do the whole wrist flick to see the time, and if I were to use for workouts (it is advertised as a watch you can wear for running and other activities) however there was no way to pause a workout! I was shocked to see that FitBit expected people to workout with a watch they could not pause. I do not know how anyone could go for a run without this simple feature. In the end I returned the watch because I knew I could spend even less getting a robust GPS watch like the Spark along with its Bluetooth headphones.
FitBit Adventures: https://www.fitbit.com/challenges/adventures
FitBit Surge: https://www.fitbit.com/surge
FitBit Charge 2: https://www.fitbit.com/charge2