Fitbit Charge HR and Surge Smarts Up

November 25, 2015

With the exception of new colour variation releases for the Fitbit Charge HR and Fitbit Surge, it’s been quiet over at the Fitbit front towards the end of this year; no rumours of new products nor acquisitions. It seems Fitbit has been  focusing on enhancing both product user experience and app features to making fitness tracking fun with the announcement of 3 new features.

SmartTrack with Fitbit Charge HR and Surge


From today, both Fitbit Charge HR and Fitbit Surge will be able to automatically recognise and track exercises and sports such as:

  • Biking
  • Hiking
  • Running
  • Basketball
  • Soccer
  • Tennis

All you have to do is set the duration which you have to engage in the activity for it to count. Data such as activity type, calories, duration and heart rate stats will then be captured within the Fitbit mobile app. Fitbit has stressed that only activities with continuous movements or high movement types of sports will be recognised.

Improved Purepulse heart rate technology


This new update improves, in the words of Fitbit, heart rate tracking performance and tracking experience. Does this mean accuracy? Consistency perhaps? Honestly, just a simple “more accurate” will suffice. In my reviews of the Fitbit Charge HR and Fitbit Surge, I thought both activity trackers provided good estimates of heart rate during exercise. Maybe it’s time to dust out my Surge and Charge HR to test out this new Purepulse update.

Weekly Exercise Goals


If steps, distance, calories and active minutes no longer excite you, the new stat introduced by Fitbit should get you on your feet again, hopefully. You can set weekly goals on the number of days per week you wish to be active and embark on meeting that target. Users of Fitbit Charge HR and Surge will have their workouts automatically tracked towards this weekly exercise goals. Other Fitbit users can manually log their workouts or rely on the Mobile Run feature within the Fitbit mobile app. This feature is available to iOS and Windows users now with the Android update slated for release soon.

Basis was first to commercially introduce activity recognition technology with their Body IQ that identified and recorded walking, running and cycling automatically. Yet a year later, Fitbit is charging into this activity recognition domain in full force with 6 activities including sports. In the last 2 months, Garmin, Polar and Xiaomi have all stormed into the fitness wearable market with their own renditions of wrist based heart rate monitoring. Fitbit has countered and upped the ante by improving the heart rate tracking performance of their own activity trackers.

The fitness wearable market is a brutal and ruthless one. It would be naive to say it’s a marathon. It’s a sprint, a long sprint that requires the best of innovation and efficiency. The first to rest gets overtaken. It’s heartening to know that one of the world’s biggest fitness tracker company isn’t resting on its laurels but working hard to curate the best in the market for implementation in their current line of products; by making them smarter and easier to use.

If you’re on the lookout for a fitness tracker, do give Fitbit’s line of products a browse.

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