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When you talk about fitness trackers and smartwatches, Fitbit has you covered. Of course, the company is already a household name in the fitness tracker and smartwatch space. But what if you are on the lookout for a crossbreed between the two? Like maybe a fitness tracker with some smartwatch capabilities? Well, Fitbit has it, too. In fact, there are two you can choose from Fitbit Blaze and Fitbit Surge.
Both Fitbits have something cool to offer. But they each have unique features, too, and these might be the things that you are looking for. So read on to see which one of these two wearables is the ideal choice for you.
Contents (Jump to)
- 1 The main differences between Fitbit Blaze vs. Fitbit Surge
- 2 Fitbit Blaze
- 3 Fitbit Surge
- 4 Who should buy these Fitbits?
The main differences between Fitbit Blaze vs. Fitbit Surge
The Fitbit Surge has a more low-key design than the Blaze. Unlike the Blaze, the Surge does not get a color display. Instead, it has a monochrome 1.25-inch OLED touchscreen. Navigation is done via the two buttons on the right for the menu selection and the single button on the left to move through the daily stats and the sports tracking function. You can also swipe on the screen to switch between activity and notification modes.
The Surge also has a thicker band than the Blaze. And no, its straps are not interchangeable, so you are stuck with black, blue, or tangerine.
What the Blaze doesn’t have that the Surge has is a built-in GPS. This onboard GPS makes the Surge ideal for those who don’t like lugging their phones around while they run, jog, or bike.
Another difference between these two is their battery life. The Surge offers a battery life of over a week, but this can be cut down to five days with the built-in GPS activated. For the Blaze, it is the color screen that shortens its battery lifespan.
When the Fitbit Blaze was released, it was marketed by the company as a smart fitness watch. It is more of a fitness tracker when it comes to function and a watch when it comes to design. It allows you to optimize your workouts, monitor your progress, and assess your performance, on top of offering some basic smartwatch functionality.
While Fitbit has discontinued the Blaze in favor of its official smartwatches (Ionic and Versa) and its other fitness trackers (Charge 3, Inspire, and Ace), you can still get them from third-party retailers.
Design and features
The Fitbit Blaze looks like a pretty stylish wrist accessory that you can wear the entire day, whether you are at work, shopping, working out at the gym, or just out for drinks. It has an angular steel frame that holds an LED touchscreen. The screen has a resolution of 240 x 180 pixels, giving you bright color display, and it shows you your stats with just a swipe of your finger.
The Blaze measures 1.58 x 1.58 x 0.31 inches without the straps and weighs 45.36 grams. You can swap the frames and the default elastomer bands to personalize the look and color of your Blaze.
The Fitbit Blaze has multi-sport tracking capability, allowing you to keep track of a variety of sports and activities you do, like running, biking, cross-training, and cardio workouts. You are able to see your real-time stats displayed on the screen. And thanks to the SmartTrack feature, the Blaze can log and record activities automatically.
Moreover, with Fitbit’s proprietary PurePulse technology, you get continuous wrist-based heart rate monitoring. This means you can check the intensity of your workouts.
The Blaze can also track the number of steps you have taken, the amount of time you have been active, the distance you have traveled, and the calories you have burned. All those metrics, thanks to its built-in accelerometer. It has an onboard altimeter, too, which measures the number of floors you have climbed based on atmospheric pressure. It considers every 10 feet of elevation as one floor.
Moreover, the Blaze can automatically track your sleep. You can get a picture of your sleep patterns based on the different sleep stages: light sleep, deep sleep, and REM sleep.
And while the Blaze does not have a built-in GPS, you will be able to connect to your smartphone’s GPS. It will have to piggyback off your phone’s GPS to give you your data or stats when you are running.
It is Fitbit’s personal trainer program. Through this built-in app, Blaze offers a collection of on-screen workouts and coaching. Fitbit has included three free FitStar workouts with the Blaze: a pre-workout warm-up program, a seven-minute all-body workout, and a 10-minute abs session.
Notifications and music control
You can sync your Blaze with your phone via Bluetooth. This means that call, text, and calendar event notifications on your phone will pop up on the Blaze. However, you cannot interact with or do something about these notifications. Also, all notifications are automatically removed every day, and you can delete individual notifications by swiping right on the display.
You can use the Blaze’s music control feature by syncing it with your phone. This feature will allow you to play and pause music, control the volume, and skip tracks on your phone’s music apps — like Spotify, Apple Music, and Pandora — by simply clicking buttons on the Blaze.
When you are done with your exercises or when you are stressed, you can use Fitbit’s Relax Guided Breathing mode to help calm your mind and body. It’s also an excellent way to lower blood pressure or reduce stress and anxiety. This feature offers you a choice between two-minute and five-minute sessions that are personalized according to your breathing rate.
The Fitbit Blaze uses a lithium polymer battery. On a single charge, this gives you five full days of battery life.
Ratings and reviews
The Fitbit Blaze gets a rating of 3.5 out of 5 stars from more than 9,000 users on Amazon. Many are happy with the Blaze’s helpful and useful features. However, some users complained that their Blaze just stopped working after some time or stopped charging. Many also said their Blaze was not accurate in counting their steps and tracking their other activities.
On TechAdvisor, the Blaze gets an expert’s rating of 4 stars out of 5. They say it is a stylish activity tracker that is supported by cool apps. They also like how the device has a way to keep users motivated through competition with friends, badges, rewards, and collaborative challenges.
What you’d like about Fitbit Blaze
The Blaze has a great way of motivating you to achieve your fitness goals. For one, it has Enhanced Idle Alert, which reminds you to move if it senses that you are just staying still. This alert stops when you have taken at least 250 steps. It also has fitness challenges to help you stay driven. You will get medals for reaching certain milestones, and you can compete against friends who are also using Fitbit.
Aside from its exercise and sleep tracker, the heart rate monitor is an excellent feature for any active fitness enthusiast. It will help you maximize your training and plan how to more efficiently burn energy or calories and maintain intensity during workouts. It can also help you analyze your all-day and resting heart rate trends.
Furthermore, the Blaze allows you to set weekly workout goals via the Fitbit app and check summaries of these workouts to let you know where you are in this goal. And if you want personalized workouts and coaching, the FitStar is a feature that you would find very useful.
You’d also love the features that are not related to fitness, including the timer, the alarms, the customizable watch face, the music control, and the five-day battery life.
What can be better
A lot of people don’t dig the Blaze’s square screen design, finding it outdated and unattractive. There are also some who find the thick bezels on the Blaze’s side too bulky. So, many are saying that it would have been better if a lot more thought was put into the Blaze’s design and if it was made to look more stylish.
Another thing that needs improvement is that the Fitbit Blaze relies on your phone quite a lot. It can track the distances you’ve covered, but that means you have to bring your phone with you and activate its GPS when going out for a run. You also need to have your phone if you want to listen to music while working out or if you need to answer incoming calls and respond to text messages. This means you won’t be able to do away with the added bulk that comes with carrying your phone.
Additionally, if you are planning to go swimming or to shower with the Blaze, you are out of luck. The watch is water-resistant enough to be sweat-, splash-, and rain-proof, but nothing more.
Fitbit Surge is another device you can classify as a fitness tracker watch. However, based on its design, many consider the Surge as more of a running watch than an all-day and all-night activity tracker.
What are the features it shares with the Blaze? And what are their differences?
Ratings and reviews
The Surge gets an expert’s rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars on TechAdvisor. They said that the Surge’s level of functionality and price are just right for the power user.
Meanwhile, on Amazon, the Surge gets a rating of 3 stars out of 5 from more than 7,500 users. Users gave it above-average marks for accuracy, sleep tracking, and mobile app. Those who gave the Surge low ratings complained about defective units and flaws in tracking and heart rate monitoring.
A rundown of similar features with the Fitbit Blaze
Coming from the same manufacturer, the Surge and the Blaze shares similar features.
But first things first: just like the Blaze, the Surge has been discontinued by Fitbit. There may still be third-party retailers, though, that sell the watch at discounted prices.
In terms of tracking, the two devices are pretty much the same. Like the Blaze, the Surge can automatically detect and log an activity. It can also count your steps, calories burned, and distance traveled. Moreover, it can automatically tell when you are sleeping so it can monitor your sleep pattern and sleep quality.
The Surge also has the PurePulse technology that allows it to monitor your heart rate continuously.
As with the Blaze, the Surge gives you smart notifications by syncing it with your phone. But unlike the Blaze’s wider range of notifications, you can get alerts only for calls and text messages on your Surge. And yes, the Surge also offers music control, allowing you to select and shuffle songs on your phone.
Both watches are also water-resistant, with the Surge at 5ATM and the Blaze at 1ATM. These water-resistance levels may not really make much of a difference as both of them can’t be taken for a swim or a shower.
Which one is better?
The Blaze and the Surge each have their own strengths and weaknesses.
In terms of design, the Fitbit Blaze wins, with its more polished, more stylish, and more customizable look. The Blaze also stands out in terms of everyday comfort. Both the Surge and the Blaze are comfortable to wear out of the box. However, the Blaze sits much flatter on your wrist due to its frame’s angular design. The Surge has an additional half-inch of bulk. Plus, it helps that the Blaze’s straps can be swapped with a softer one made of genuine leather.
When it comes to notifications, the Blaze is more superior, as it can give call, text, and calendar event alerts that pop up in an easy-to-read display. The Surge does give call and text notifications, but they are harder to read at a glance, and it has a clunky interface.
Fitness features and activity tracking for both wearables are basically the same, so its pretty much neck and neck. However, if you need a personal trainer program, the Blaze has FitStar integration. And if you are more into outdoor workouts, it’s the Surge that has a built-in GPS. This GPS advantage, however, is something the Blaze makes up for by offering GPS connectivity with your phone.
When it comes to battery life, the Surge earns extra points for its seven days of uptime versus the five days that the Blaze offers.
Who should buy these Fitbits?
Both Fitbit Blaze and Fitbit Surge are fabulous wearables for those who are either fitness conscious or want to take on a more fit and active lifestyle. You can pick either one if you just want a fitness tracker with basic smartwatch functionality.
However, if you want a sleek-looking device with a colorful and attractive interface that works smoothly, go for the Blaze. It is also the ideal choice if you want a personalized coaching feature, thanks to its FitStar integration.
The Surge, on the other hand, is excellent for those who are more into tough, sweaty workouts. With its built-in GPS, it is also perfect for those who love exercising outdoors and instant feedback while running, yet do not want to lug their phones around.
The Surge is also great if you want something with a more low-key look. It is a good choice if you don’t like anything that’s flashy or if you don’t need to customize and mix and match straps.
Alvin has been reviewing different types of technology from QR codes to the latest smartphones and robot vacuums for over a decade. Outside of technology, he writes about a wide variety of topics, including buses, travel, bankruptcy, healthcare, and cannabis. He was once so addicted to online shopping that he was on a first-name basis with delivery guys and courier services — and he shares his passion with all of you!