I wrote this entry to improve my writing.
My Garmin Forerunner 220 is awesome, but it lacks 3 things .. step counter , sleep tracker and ability to measure various types of activities . Not a big deal, because everything else is simply awesome. Anyway .. I was started to look for device that will measure steps and my sleep pattern. I heard a lot about Fitbit and I got a Fitbit Surge.
This is a long'ish review , if you fancy to know what is good and bad about it, go to my findings section under exceptions.
- Accurate measurement of steps and distance
- Sleep tracker
- Heart rate monitor that works continuously
- 8-10 hours to work on GPS and 2-3 weeks to work on idle mode
In one sentence ,It was one of most disappointed product I bought for ages. I felt I bought a prototype not a full product.
What know more ? Read my review.
Installation and first impressions
I was really excited to use it out of the box ,so I unpacked and turned on and discover that I cannot use it. Sadly I saw message on screen that I need to configure device using website . Configure device using website? Weird . Anyway .... I tried to install software on Windows 10 and then after I spent 2 hours on trying to detect device and install firmware ,I gave up.
Problem was .. well , I don't know really as error message say "it was unable to install ,please try again" .
I tried to install on Windows 7 and I managed to do it after few attempts.
On side note, after I installed firmware on Fitbit Surge , after some time Windows 10 start detect watch ( for short period time but it works).
When I finally managed to use Fitbit , I hoped it was just bad first impression and from now it will be just better. Oh boy, I was so wrong .
On next day , I flew for holiday,so I thought I can setup everything later .
As it turns out, it was a big mistake , because watch almost doesn't have any settings (you can turn on/off Bluetooth , check info .. and something else ).
Setting time ? You need other device to do that.
Setting alarm ? The same
I would like to set .. .in 90% answer will be ,you can setup through pairing with device or on website or you cannot do at all.
What I like about Fitbit is that they selling watch with various wristband size , which is a good thing. Wristband is not bad, but for some reason I experienced some itchiness while I use on daily basis . I didn't experience that with other watches.
So my first impression was quite bad as I got frustrating as nothing went straightforward.They were few good things like backlight.
Walk / Steps
Step counter is an awesome feature and it works very well. Accuracy from my test is 95% which is great. It gets even better overtime.
Problem starts when you are using GPS to track distance it as battery doesn't hold long enough to measure 'a day out' activities . According to Fitbit battery should be enough for up to 5 hours. Well. for first 2 months it is almost truth ,but in reality it will be up to 4.5 hours when you using GPS.
+ step counter is very accurate
Running and doing other exercise
I went for running and first thing I noticed is ... there is no speedometer!
Yes, I know professionals using a pace meter, but I feel comfortable with speedometer.
You will see distance and stopwatch and on bottom you can select one from a very few elements like pace, or heart morning ,but no speedometer! It made me angry . I am very disappointed. .
I have notice that you cannot delete activity on watch.
Everything else seems be OK
+ distance measurement is OK.
- almost no customisation of what you want to display
- no speedometer
- unable to delete activity on watch.
It sounds cool in beginning but it doesn't work very well in practice for some time.
For me, it was a random number generator .... not floor counter.
I walked a 8 floors , it counts 5 ... I took Tube to work .. I did 20 floors (current record) while I sitting comfortable on my ass.
After sometime, . I have noticed that it improved a bit over time, but inaccuracy ruin everything.
It will be awesome if you can manually control when you count these things, but sadly you cannot
- measurement is very inaccurate
- unable to switch of this feature
Fitbit measurement are usually higher than Garmin one but it is acceptable.
I think, it works as expected.
+ No need to use HRM belt!
+ measurement is OK.
This is one of the most crap feature on this watch. Calories burnt monitor is rubbish.
When I read about it how they calculate it I was really happy and I was looking to use it to track my calories and try use this knowledge to help me lost weight, but I quickly notice that results are so unreliable that I feel like they were made up.
Compare with expected results. actual are ... so wrong. According to my calculation I burnt 3200 kcal ,where according to Fitbit I burnt like 4300 kcal!
- lack ability to set some values make this feature uselesss
- DON'T USE IT FOR WEIGHT LOST ! You will put on weight if you will follow it.
Watch doesn't display anything about sleep, but website contains lots of stuff about it.
Battery is average. It should be enough for anybody who use this watch only for exercise up to for 4 hours ,but If you want measure "day out" activity then ... you cannot use GPS.
My expectation for sport watch are simple. It should hold 8 or more hours while using GPS and more than 2 weeks holds in idle mode ,so I can go for day out trip without worrying about taking a charger or go for 2 weeks holiday. Fitbit Surge fails in both cases.
It is specially annoying ,because Fitbit using own USB plug.
Well , according to battery specification can hold up to 7 days and ONLY 5 hours on GPS .
In order to see battery indicator you need go to activities to see battery indicator. Low battery indicator appear on main screen but then it is usually to late to get back to home to charge.
It happens to me few times that I didn't wear watch as battery just flat out.
Another problem is usb cable is quite lose so it happens few times that watch haven't been charge,.
Battery capacity is minimum that can be acceptable but too small for long walk exploring or hiking.
+ Battery is mediocre
- Low battery indicator appear too late
- You cannot see battery indicator on main screen.
- Battery is not good enough for day outs or weekend activities.
- Charging battery can be problematic due cable to stick to Fitbit can be loose.
- USB uses not standart plug, so if you lose it , you need buy new one.
It is a touch Monochrome LCD .
Display is clear and sharp.
Using touch while running is good.
Automatic backlight works very well.
Main problem is that watch display time, if you want see steps, you can swipe ,but it will stay there for few seconds .. and then back to display time. It is really annoying.
+ white-black display is cool . It is clear and sharp.
+ Quite responsive
- Unable to set what you want to display while watch is idle.
I used Android application on my Nexus 9 and desktop application for Windows 7 and 10.
On Windows 10 .Nothing seems to work.
It was problem with install software, but after 3rd attempt it was installed and then things went much worse. I was unable install firmware for Fitibit because I saw error .. "Unable to install ,try again" or something like that. I had no idea why .
Sync between device and Fitbit works sometimes. However I saw usually a message "Windows is not responding as expected" . What does mean ? ... if UX designer of Fitbit read this review, then please 0read/ watch 10 Usability Heuristics for User Interface Design by JAKOB NIELSEN and learn how to handle error message !
- Desktop application for Windows 10 is CRAP!
- I had many problems to install on Windows 7 ,but I managed to do it.
- Sync between watch and my tablet requires GPS
- UI is simple but UX is CRAP.
+ Silent Alarm works smoothly. One of the best working feature . There is a tiny problem , if you want setup alarm clock, then you need use application .
+ Timer works and unusual for Fitbit, you can set timer in watch :). I used twice and I nearly feel "time out" as it is vibrate for short period time and that's all
- It is water resistance but not waterproof ,so accidental swim or shower. .
EVERYDAY USE AND GENERAL IMPRESSION
For example ... on website ...sometimes you need save data by press save button ...but sometimes not.
I think Error handling was inspired by Windows 95 famous errors like "Error occurred". What happen ? Don't know? What should I do ? In best case scenario .. try again.
Changing time ? What could possible go wrong ?
In Garmin Forerunner ...turn on GPS to pick up current time ... it doesn't matter where are you .
In Fitbit , you need sync with laptop or tablet .
No big problem but if time changed due summer/winter or you just land in different country then ...well as long as you have internet, then it is a problem. If you don't have then ... like me you will need use wrong time for 3 days ..
That's not all ...
By default Fitbit use 12 hour system , which I am sure sounds awesome for many people but as I use 24 hour system it wasn't most optimal solution,so I decided to change it.
I expected to be able to do it in watch settings ...but I was wrong , so I check application on Android but I couldn't do it either . After quick search , I discover that you can do it using ... Fitbit website .
Automatic time zone didn't work either.
How to sync tablet with device? ...You just need turn on Bluetooth and GPS .
Why you need turn on GPS for sync ?
If you don't see logic in this don't worry.Logic is not something that you should use when you use Fitbit. However , I must admit that Fitbit clearly warn about this somewhere in manual or website
Sadly, this is a typical experience with using this watch wit most features.
Can I say something good ?
I haven't been so disappointed since I bought Samsung Mobile.
This could be sport smartwatch ,if they will be done job properly.
Sadly ,It looks like Fitbit Surge suffers from MVP disease (MVP stands for minimum viable product and it is a product with the highest return on investment versus risk.) If is somebody told me that's prototype then I will say ...it is awesome and I am looking forward for final version .problem is ...it is a final version and it is unacceptable. In most features I found major problems.
I feel I bought 'Chinese cheap imitation' of some amazing product .
Is jt worth buy? No.
Is it worth money ? No.
Fitbit Surge is a failure. I will never buy Fitbit product again.
Fitbit states The ultimate fitness super watch but it isn't .It is a prototype of cheap imitation of fitness watch.
Garmin forerunner maybe doesn't have step counter and automatic backlight, but when you need fitness watch for walking running or hiking then it does job well.I am sure there are many better
My mark is +0/4 (2/5 or 3/10), which means DON'T BUY IT
4 - Epic,Legendary
2- (very) Good
1 - Ok.Average
0 - Poor ,Rubbish,Crap