Fitbit was one of the first to the smartband party with its Flex health tracker – but now that everyone and their granny is getting in on the wearable tech market, it needs to step up its game.
Fitbit’s responded with a wave of new smartbands – ranging from the budget Fitbit Charge to the smartwatch-rivalling Fitbit Surge.
At the entry-level end of Fitbit’s new smartband line-up sits the Fitbit Charge, effectively a Fitbit Force replacement with Caller ID functionality.
The Charge tracks steps, distance, calories burned and floors climbed, displaying them on a OLED screen; you also get automatic sleep detection and a silent alarm to rouse you from your slumber, plus a promised 7 days battery life.
Fitbit Charge HR
The Fitbit Charge HR adds continuous heart rate tracking using Fitbit’s LED-powered PurePulse optical heart monitoring technology; you also get a proper buckle clasp instead of the Charge’s snap-in band.
The addition of the heart rate monitor puts a dent in the Charge HR’s battery life, though, dropping it to 5 days on a full charge.
At the top of the range sits the Fitbit Surge; the sports smartwatch offers a promised 7-day battery life despite packing in an array of sensors to track your activities. The Surge features GPS, 3-axis accelerometers, a compass, a gyroscope, an ambient light sensor and a heart rate monitor, enabling the smartband to monitor your pace, distance, elevation, split times and route history.
The Fitbit Surge sports an LCD touchscreen with customisable watch faces; you can display your sports activities with tailored metrics, along with real-time stats and workout apps. The Surge also syncs up with your smartphone, delivering Caller ID and text alerts, plus control over your music.
You’ll be able to pick up the entry-level Fitbit Charge from November, with an SA date still pending. Either way you’ll have to wait a bit longer if you want to wrap the Charge HR or Fitbit Surge around your wrist; they won’t land until “early 2015.”