Fitbit Blaze vs Fitbit Surge: Two Fitbit Icons Fight To The Death
Fitbit Surge, the fitness focused wrist wearable, has been around since 2014, giving us plenty of time to judge its fitness tracking performance. Fitbit Blaze is a newer entrant, announced in January 2016 at the CES show in Las Vegas. Blaze brings together a fitness tracker and a smartwatch in an attempt at creating an all round wearable, good for the gym and good too for the office. For lovers of the Fitbit brand, choosing between the two products can be a dilemma. On one hand here is a wearable designed specifically for fitness. It even comes with inbuilt GPS tracking. On the other hand, you have a wearable that brings to the table many more features and is more like a smartwatch than a fitness tracker. Enter our Fitbit Blaze vs Fitbit Surge competition.
Fitbit Blaze price when reviewed: $179.95
To be sure, neither Surge nor Blaze has any groundbreaking technology. They are not the feature packed Garmin wearables or the SIM-accepting Samsung Gear S2. So do not expect anything revolutionary from either gadget. But for what each is designed to accomplish, they perform quite well.
To help you make a choi
ce between the two, we put them side by side, weighing their similarities and differences including cost, design and features.
Fitbit Surge price when reviewed: $239.95
Design is one area Fitbit could have done much better in regards to both devices. They lack the simple elegance of Apple Watch, the rugged style of Garmin watches and the chic look of Samsung Gear Smartwatches.
The Fitbit Surge is, in a word, dull. It features a color-sucking grayscale display that does not even work well in the glare of sunlight. It is also big and bulky, something you will not lobe if you love minimalist designs. The bulkiness makes it unappealing for use away from the track or gym.
As for the Fitbit Blaze, the design is not much better. It still spots the same bulkiness that makes for an awkward office style. Even worse are the sharp corners around the face. Looking at the outline, it actually resembles an octagonal stop sign. Some might like the many-sided design but for most, it is a bit over the top. It lacks the modern feel of most Smartwatches and fitness trackers. It almost feels like a retro piece from several decades back. But at least, the straps are replaceable. There are many band colors and styles available on the Fitbit website and other online stores such as eBay.
In our opinion, the Surge and Blaze are big fails in terms of design. Users are also complaining of the lack of variety in watch faces, with only four options available in both gadgets. Seems like the company focused too much on the practical side of things forgetting just how crucial style is in wearables.
1. Fitness tracking
If you are seeking a Fitbit device, chances are that you are primarily interested in fitness tracking. You could be a fitness enthusiast, a professional athlete or just someone who goes on a run every morning. This is why, for our features comparison between Surge and Blaze, we begin with the all-important fitness tracking.
As mentioned earlier, Fitbit Surge is the most dedicated device towards fitness tracking. Here are some of the features it comes with to help you track your performance and metrics.
- GPS – GPS is one of the most important features when it comes to fitness tracking. With Surge’s inbuilt GPS capabilities, you can track distance, speed, steps and elevation. You can also plan running/cycling routes and review those that you have already taken before.
- Heart rate monitor – another essential that has become a basic feature in almost all fitness trackers and even Smartwatches. Fitbit Surge comes with an optical heart rate sensor located at the back. It is not the most accurate heart rate monitor, but it will do for non-professional fitness training. Thankfully however, Fitbit seems to have made some improvements regarding the accuracy issue.
- No swim tracking – Fitbit advices users never to swim or shower with the Surge on their wrists. This means that you cannot track your swimming and add it to your daily fitness metrics. This alienates a lot of people for who swimming is an essential part of their daily workouts.
- All-day activity tracking – the device monitors your activities all day long. This includes number of steps, calories, active minutes, floors climbed and stationary time.
- Multi-sport tracking – it does not just work for running; you can also track your performance when cycling and engaging in a variety of other workouts.
Fitbit Blaze also has plenty of fitness tracking features but it balances them out with new smartwatch capabilities. Here are the features that can help with your workouts.
- Connected GPS – in Blaze, Fitbit has decided to do away with built-in GPS. Instead, the watch depends on your Smartphone’s GPS to monitor your distance and speed and track your routes. This means you have to carry your phone with you if you want to use GPS. On the upside, that is one less battery hog.
- Heart rate monitor – this is a basic feature that does not come as a surprise to any of us. Blaze comes with a much more accurate heart rate monitor, almost as accurate as a chest strap sensor. The watch also displays heart rate zones, which are an important indicator of your overall workout intensity and performance.
- FitStar workouts – you can now get workout coaching and instructions right on your watch. This can be especially helpful in expanding your workout variety.
- Multi-sport tracking – similar to Fitbit Surge.
- SmartTrack – you do not always have to tell your watch you are starting a workout session. Through this feature, it can automatically recognize various exercises and log them for you.
- All day activity tracking – similar to Fitbit Surge.
Just comparing the two gadgets in terms of fitness tracking, the Fitbit Blaze easily looks like the winner. It has almost all the features of Surge with one or two extras. It also has added smartwatch capabilities that we will describe shortly.
The level of connectivity of a wearable determines how well it works with your Smartphone and other devices. For fitness trackers, it is essential that they be compatible with a range of devices from your Smartphone to heart rate sensors. Being the smartwatch, Fitbit Blaze provides more advanced connectivity options compared to Surge. Here is a comparison of both wearables.
Fitbit Surge easily and quickly connects to most Smartphones and computers to wirelessly sync data to your Fitbit App. Through the app, you can see your goals, workout summaries and progress reports. Aside from workout data syncing, it has some decent smartwatch features. When connected to your Smartphone, wither iPhone or Android, it will show you incoming text messages and calls. However, it does not show emails nor does it work with any third party apps.
Fitbit Blaze functions as a decent smartwatch as well as a fitness tracker. For this reason, it comes packed with more connectivity features. Like most wearables, it can connect to most phones and computers. This allows it to wirelessly upload activity data onto the Fitbit app. When connected to your phone, the watch can receive smart notifications including texts, emails, calendar alerts and calls. You can also control music playback on your phone using your watch.
As you will notice, Fitbit Blaze does not venture too much into smartwatch land. It is perfect for those who hate the complexity of a full smartwatch and are just looking for something with basic features. At the same time it appeals to those who engage in regular workouts though serious athletes and extreme fitness buffs may want to look elsewhere for a more capable fitness tracker.
3. Sleep tracking
This feature is present in both Fitbit Surge and Blaze. Just wear either gadget to sleep and it will track the length and quality of your snooze. It will tell you for how long you slept, the amount of time you were in deep vs. light sleep and will wake you up in the morning with a silent vibration on your wrist.
In terms of sleep tracking, we wouldn’t call Surge or Blaze top products. They provide the bare minimum. If monitoring your sleep is an essential for you, try one of the many dedicated sleep trackers available in the market.
4. Battery life
Battery life is a big part of any wearable. There is no need of something you have to keep charging after just a few hours. Both Surge and Blaze perform fairly well when it comes to battery life.
Fitbit Surge leads the way with 7 days of battery life, though this can vary between 4 and 7 days depending on your usage. But if you leave your GPS signal on, it will not last a whole day.
Fitbit Blaze has around 4 to 5 days of battery life under average usage. Of course, this will go down if you connect to your phone often or go on runs multiple times a day. With heavy usage, it can last between 1 and 3 days.
For both gadgets, battery performance is industry standard. This is where most wearables range. Of course we would love a longer battery life but what Surge and Blaze bring to the table is adequate for most people.
Pricing is a major consideration for most people comparing among various fitness trackers. The best wearables are those that are able to strike a balance between providing great features and keeping the price affordable.
You can get the Fitbit Blaze for as low as $200. The price changes depending on what style you have chosen. For example, a Blaze watch with black Gunmetal styling will cost you an extra $30.
In a bit of a surprise, Fitbit Surge is the more expensive of the two despite having fewer features and a more boring design. It starts at $250, perhaps due to the inclusion of built in GPS.
Generally, both watches are in the same budget range meaning that price is not a really important factor in comparing between the two.
Summary Fitbit Blaze vs Fitbit Surge
Here is a quick rundown of the pros and cons of each watch.
- Comes with built-in GPS, allowing easier activity tracking.
- Can be used in multiple sports and workouts.
- Includes a heart rate monitor whose accuracy has been improved.
- Sleep tracking and monitoring.
- Adequately long battery life, though GPS can be quite the hog.
- An always-on display for increased convenience.
- Not usable when swimming, making it useless for people who include swimming in their daily workout schedules. The company also advises against use of the wearable when showering, meaning that it might also not do so well if you are running in the rain.
- Few customization options. For one, the bands are not removable meaning you cannot put in your own custom ones. When buying the tracker, you can only buy it in tangerine, blue or black.
- Few watch face varieties. You can only choose from four watchcases to display on the screen.
- Cannot receive email or calendar alerts, only texts and calls.
- Poor display in bright sunlight.
- Comfortable design with large easy to see display. Works well in bright sunlight.
- Extremely accurate heart rate monitoring.
- Automatic activity detection through SmartTrack.
- Access to FitStar workouts.
- Better connectivity options. You can receive text, call, email and calendar alerts when connected to your Smartphone.
- Sleep and multi-activity tracking.
- Replaceable bands, which means an almost limitless variety to choose from, including third party straps.
- No built-in GPS. To use GPS, you have to carry your phone with you, which can be a huge inconvenience in some instances.
- Limited watch faces with only four options available for display.
- Large blocky design that is not appealing to most people. Could do with a simpler more elegant style like that of Samsung or Apple.
- Not a full smartwatch, which is a disappointment for those expecting more smartwatch features.
The more we look at Fitbit Blaze the more we feel like it is just an updated, and cheaper, version of Fitbit Surge. It is just lacking in GPS. It has more features, more styles and a better display. The Fitbit Surge is great for average fitness tracking but we strongly feel like Blaze is the better of the two.
Which one appeals more to you between Fitbit Surge and Fitbit Blaze? Leave your comment below.
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