The Surge is Fitbit’s latest sports watch, a definite step up in form and function from the Flex, the highly popular fitness tracker. But even though the Surge comes with a big billing, and a similarly large price tag, it’s fundamentally flawed in terms of what a multisport athlete needs. The centrepiece is the optical heart rate technology, which allows the tracker to take a reading from your wrist instead of requiring you to wear a chest strap. And while we found it accurate, the tracking is terribly slow. During intense efforts there’s an unacceptable lag, meaning you can be working hard for 10–20 seconds before the readings catch up with your body. By contrast, the GPS tracking works perfectly well, and if you want something to record where you’ve been running or riding, the Surge gets the job done. For a triathlete, though, the choice of sports is limited. Although you can select running, the default cycling option is ‘spin’ and Fitbit recommends that you don’t wear the unit in the shower, so swimming with it is out of the question. Wireless syncing via Bluetooth is good, although the call/text notification option sometimes interferes with syncing, making you wonder what the point of having both of those functions is if one inhibits the other. While it looks great and the daily activity tracking is a lot of fun, it shouldn’t be looked at as an option by anyone looking to improve their performance across all three triathlon disciplines.
Looks great, but not suited to the needs of triathletes