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Fitbit Surge vs Fitbit Charge 2

The Fitbit Surge’s sleek design and innovative features mean that it is hailed as the best of the best by many consumers. On the other hand, the less expensive and highly rated Fitbit Charge 2 gives it a run for its money. To help you figure out which one is the best for you, we’ve complied this Fitbit Surge vs Fitbit Charge 2 review. We will give you an in-depth look at both and compare all of their features side-by-side so you can decide for yourself which one will provide you with the features you need.

The Fitbit Charge 2

The Charge 2 is one of Fitbit’s upgraded models and has a lot of enhanced features to help you maximize your fitness activities. It is durable, yet compact so you hardly notice that you are wearing it and it has heart rate monitoring for more accurate statistics. Statistics include steps taken and quality of sleep for an overall picture of how healthy you are. It is also water resistant, so you can run in the rain without having to take it off.

The Charge 2 main features include:

  • Continuous, 24-hour heart rate monitoring from your wrist, so you don’t have to wear those annoying, cumbersome chest straps.
  • Multi-sport mode, so in addition to tracking steps it also tracks elevations climbed and records entire workouts to analyze every aspect of your exercise regimen.
  • OLED screen shows smartphone notifications, so you never have to worry about missing an important call while you are exercising.
  • A slim, lightweight band conforms and moves with your wrist, working with you instead of wearing you down.
  • Automatically syncs with your smartphone or computer so you can review your overall daily progress in greater detail.
  • Sleep tracking and all day activity tracking, for a comprehensive look at your overall health.

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The Fitbit Surge

Consumers can’t stop raving about the Fitbit Surge, thanks to enhanced features that make it feel more like a smartwatch than a fitness tracker. With GPS capabilities and integrated Caller ID functions, it has everything you need right at your fingertips. Although it is larger than most trackers it is made from flexible, high-grade materials that make it very comfortable to wear. It can track all your daily activities, monitor you heart rate and even record and differentiate between different activities for a comprehensive fitness overview. It is water-resistant, so it can handle rain and sweaty workouts.

The Surge’s key features are:

    • Built in GPS tracking, so you can monitor and compare split times, go over routes used and track distance, pace and elevation with pin-point precision. Best of all, with the GPS you can track without carrying your smartphone on you.
    • Multi-sport tracking lets you record individual stats for cardio, cross-training, running and more so you know how much you are burning and how hard you’re working at each activity.
    • LCD touch-screen display allows you to see call and text notifications so you are never out of touch and can work out without worry. You can also control your music on your smartphone too.
    • Pure Pulse heart rate monitoring gives you non-stop tracking of your heart rate so you can fine tune your movements or slow them down depending on how hard you’re working out.
    • Long battery life – track all day and night for up to 7 days.
    • Elevate your exercise routine with SmartTrack automatic tracking and music control on your wrist.

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Surge vs Charge 2: Similarities

Both the Charge 2 and the Surge have great features and work with the excellent Fitbit app. There are also some key features that they share.

Band

The Charge 2 has a slimmer, more streamlined band that is lighter than the Surge. It is made of an elastomer material that flexes and moves and it comes in two colors: black, blue, and plum. It is available in two sizes, small and large, and the bands are exchangeable. The Surge has a larger band to accommodate the LCD screen, but is still lightweight and flexible thanks to an elastomer material normally seen in sports watches. It bends with your wrist so it’s never in the way. It also comes in three sizes: small, large and extra-large, and is available in black or red. You cannot change out the bands, however, so the Charge 2 has the advantage if you want to customize your look.

Display

The Surge has an LCD touch-screen that comes equipped with a backlight so you can see clearly in almost any light. You not only see calories burned or steps taken, but you also see smartphone notifications including missed calls and texts. You can also shuffle between songs from your smartphone. The Charge 2, on the other hand has an OLED display that shows daily stats and missed calls and text. It also doesn’t have a backlight so it can be hard to see the screen in certain lighting. While both allow you to see your statistics the Surge is the clear winner here thanks to its advanced capabilities.

Dimensions

The Charge 2 has three sizes: small (5.5 – 6.7 inches), large (6.3 – 7.9 inches) and extra-large (7.8 – 9.1 inches). The Surge also has three sizes: small (5.5 – 6.5 inches), large (6.3 – 7.9 inches) and extra-large (7.6 – 9.1 inches). Although they are quite similar in sizing the Charge 2 weighs less, coming in at 30 grams while the Surge comes in at 32.

Water Resistance

Neither of these devices are waterproof, only water resistant.

Battery Life

The Surge has a lithium-polymer battery that can last for up to seven days on a single charge and takes 1-2 hours to charge fully. The Charge 2’s lithium-polymer battery lasts up to five days and also charges in under two hours. With the added two days of battery life the Surge is the clear winner.

Surge versus Charge 2: Differences

The primary differences in features is that the Surge simply comes with more. Since it’s quite a bit more expensive, that is to be expected. Here’s a breakdown of the advantages of the Surge:

      • The LCD touchscreen is a key feature because it allows you to see and do more. With this screen there is no excuse not to get moving because no matter where you are you can stay in touch thanks to a Caller ID that also shows text messaging. You can also control your music without having to stop and grab your smartphone- so you can blast those tunes without interrupting your flow.
      • The GPS function is another great feature that gives you a more well-rounded workout experience. It makes sure you know precisely how many calories you burn or how far you travel. It also lets you track your routes when running or hiking so you can see where you were and how you did throughout the course. Best of all, the GPS helps you to compare times side-by-side so you know how on track your routine is.
      • “Always on” clock and better visibility thanks to backlighting
      • More water resistant 

On the other hand, the Charge 2 has a few additional perks that the Surge does not. The Charge 2 is much sleeker and more customizable than the Surge. It also has reminders to move and guided breathing, which the Surge lacks.

Which One is Right For You?

As our Fitbit Surge vs Fitbit Charge 2 review shows, there are a lot of great features with both of these devices, making either one a great choice. The Surge, with its GPS feature, multi-sport tracking and enhanced Caller ID is a good value for your money. It gives you more accuracy in your readings and a broader experience that is worth the investment. The Charge 2 comes close though with lower price, and has a lower profile style that is more appealing to plenty of customers. Whichever one you choose you really can’t go wrong. Consumers can’t stop raving about both of these trackers, which is why Fitbit is tops in the field of wearable fitness devices. Both devices motivate you and put you on track to better health and wellness.

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31 Comments

  • Ken July 2, 2019 at 6:33 pm from FL
    I agree these older eyes require larger font size for heart rate monitor I returned my recently purchased tracker. Impossible to read the #s and I don’t workout with reading glasses. Really obvious bad design!!!
  • Cindy September 10, 2017 at 8:15 pm
    Between the two, Surge & Charge 2, which one is the most accurate for counting calories burned? Which one detects the additional calories used while walking up a hill (slight or steep)? In other words, is there one of these 2 that can tell the additional calories burned when walking up a hill as well as decipher the additional calories it takes to walk up a steep hill versus a slight hill? Hope, that makes sense!
    • Emery September 11, 2017 at 7:30 pm
      Hi Cindy, The overall calorie count should be similar between the two trackers. Both will detect elevation change so they should count the extra calories burned by stairs, steep hills, and so forth. Basically, I think you'll get the same from either of these devices, so you might have to base your decision on a different feature! :) Hope that helps. I'd love to hear from other Fitbit users who have additional input on this!
  • 217-549-9545 December 1, 2016 at 8:55 pm
    WILL THE CHARGE HR 2 GIVE ME DISTANCE AND PACE AFTER COMPLETING A RUN? wILL THE SURGE GIVE ME DISTANCE AND PACE AFTER COMPLETING A RUN? AND CAN YOU SET A PACE REMINDER ON THE SURGE?
    • Ken L. December 10, 2016 at 4:16 pm
      Yes, it shows like 18' 40"/mi eg. It took 18 minutes and 40 seconds to walk a mile in my case. I don't think you can "set a reminder". You may look up Garmin GPS watches that can do more for those kind of tracking and monitoring especially for running.
  • Jordyn February 4, 2016 at 4:00 am
    Hi, thank you so much for your review and comparison! So helpful! I do have one question, though. Do either of these have a specific setting for roller skating? I know the GPS will be better at telling me if my speed improves, but I can't be sure that either will give a good representation of calories burned while skating at Roller Derby practice. Thanks again for the great reviews!
    • Ken L. February 12, 2016 at 1:58 pm
      Jordyn, that's a very good question. I can't tell how accurate the Calories burned measured with roller skating. It should track your miles with GPS.
  • Carol January 26, 2016 at 5:18 pm
    Does the surge have the larger font.? I need a large font that will show continuous heart rate when I'm on exercise bike or cybex. I want foot steps count and phone notification is nice. Other suggestions? I can't see the font on the one I have and I don't like having to push the button to see heart rate.
  • Liz January 6, 2016 at 1:15 pm
    My daughter just sent me a link regarding the fitbit blaze. I was considering it's purchase as an upgrade to the Charge HR to which I own now. After seeing your review. I think I will just hang on to the HR for now. Thank you for your service in comparisons. I appreciate it so much!
    • Ken L. January 6, 2016 at 2:25 pm
      Liz, very welcome. I love my Charge HR, it's light, has heart-rate monitor, and all I need. I wish it's more water-proof. (I don't need GPS as it tracks with my phone too as Blaze.)
  • Danny January 1, 2016 at 2:47 am
    Any notable discrepancy in the two when it came to number of calories burned tracking? Thanks.
    • Ken L. January 2, 2016 at 7:23 pm
      They are pretty closed as calories burned based on your weight and no of steps or movement you have on them.
  • Elena December 30, 2015 at 10:14 am
    Thanks for the fine review! I was wondering about the time for showing HR, I read that the Charge hr only shows HR for a short amount of time before going back to the clock (like seconds), how's the Surge handling this?
    • Ken L. January 9, 2016 at 4:43 pm
      Elena, Shrge does the same, and you can see the graph of history of your HR when you sync with your phones.
  • Madhu December 29, 2015 at 11:48 am
    Looking to buy a fitbit for a 30 year old. Does fitbit monitor heart rates only while working out, or will the continuous heart rate monitor mean it will monitor heart beat rate even otherwise? I'm particularly looking at this becuase, doctor has asked us to ensure heartbeat rate doesn't go up high normally other than the times he's working out (for example, really stressful day at work, as it tends to go up for him during such times). I feel monitoring this regularly will help in better control.
  • Jay December 12, 2015 at 3:32 pm
    Great review thank you. Getting a fitbit for my mom. She has the Nike Fuel but wants more. Specifically she say the Nike doesn't track steps and other activities such as running on a treadmill or climbing stairs. In terms of tracking on treadmill or similar, does the Charge HR and Surge function the same way? I'm with you in that the text and gps features are not worth the price and extra bulk...but I'm not clear on exactly what the Surge"s multi-sport feature means and if that solves the features she's looking for versus what the Charge HR can do.
    • Ken L. December 24, 2015 at 4:55 am
      Jay, the new Fitbit app does detect if you are doing Elliptical or running. Surge does support multiple sport mode that Charge HR doesn't.
  • Rami December 11, 2015 at 8:16 pm
    I just need one answer in order to decide which one to buy. I actually don't care for the GPS, notification and music features. I'm a weight lefter and cross fit player, will the surge be able to track and identify these sports with (Multi-Sports) feature? Also, I don't understand what's the benefits of the new feature in the surge called "Continuous heart rate" Best Regards
    • Ken L. December 24, 2015 at 4:57 am
      Probably that multi-sport doesn't track those weight lifting activities. Continue Heart Rate means it monitors your heart rate on-going and shows the data in graph.
  • Robert December 7, 2015 at 11:04 am
    Thanks so much for this review. Excellent job! I'm going to move from the Fenix 3 to one of the Fitbit bands looking for a heart rate integrated feature (and smaller size - You can image what its like to wear a Garmine Fenix 3 on a daily basis) Most of my activities are cycling + swimming + Fitness so I was wondering if 'Charge HR' has activity tracking to set up through the Mobile app or it just records heart beat? Thanks for your recommendations!
    • Ken L. December 8, 2015 at 9:36 am
      Robert, thanks for checking. <a href="https://investor.fitbit.com/press/press-releases/press-release-details/2015/Fitbit-Charge-HR-and-Fitbit-Surge-Now-Automatically-Track-Common-Exercises-Like-Biking-Hiking-Running-and-Sports-Including-Basketball-Soccer-and-Tennis/default.aspx" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Fitbit app recently updated to include SmartTrack</a> tracking varies of activities including Cycling and Running. However, Charge HR may not good for swimming.
  • Penny November 26, 2015 at 5:04 am
    The video was informational. My husband and I have started riding bikes. We ride about ten miles. Which one would work the best for cycling?
  • Nina November 18, 2015 at 2:48 am
    Thank you so much for doing a video comparing the two fitbit products. I am currently trying to figure out which to buy, one for my 20 year old daughter and one for my 52 year old husband. Both have wanted one but I found it difficult to READ the differences. I think from your video, the Charge HR seems to be the one fit for both of them. Aside form the text app, which you an't reply to anyway, the gps and the size difference, there really isn't much difference and for 100 dollar difference ( 200 for two) it seems to make sense to get the Charge HR. My only question is, my husband has short arm syndrome...lol and I was wondering how small the display is? Would he need to put on his glasses to see the numbers on the HR? Anyway, thanks again for the video. I am not a techy person so having someone else test for me as very helpful. Nina
    • Ken L. November 18, 2015 at 3:20 pm
      Nina, thanks for dropping by. The text is not very small. Also one can use iPhone / Android to see those fitbit data too. Hope it helps. Make sure to grab the discount as it's 11% off now. Black Friday / Cyber Monday may even have $30 off.
  • Barry Walter October 29, 2015 at 10:49 am
    I was given a Fitbit Charge HR for Fathers day to help me get my motivation back.. I found it a very useful tool however as my weight has lowered I have tried my exercise bike and Rowing machine but they don't register as activities even though I am doing strenuous activities.. The Charge HR only seems to register steps and floors as activities. Do I have to update to the Surge but I don't want to upset the family as they are impressed with my progress or is there a setting to measure these activities on the Surge HR.. Many Thanks Barry
    • Ken November 1, 2015 at 3:09 pm
      Hi Barry, I am afraid that Charge HR doesn't track those activities. Anyway, the heart rate is a good index telling you how exercise goes. Surge can't help me either, unless you run or bike for miles. Keep it up! Very happy to hear your progress.
  • Carol October 14, 2015 at 8:28 pm
    Your review indicates that you can shower with the Fitbit but the Fitbit website indicates you should NOT shower with it: http://help.fitbit.com/?p=charge_hr
  • Rick September 26, 2015 at 6:53 pm
    You mentioned in the video that you had done a comparison of the Surge vs the Charge HR in terms of the accuracy of their heart rate monitoring. I can't find the link to that in this article and I'm really interested because it doesn't seem like the Charge HR matches very closely to my own measurements of heart rate. (I know about needing to move it further up the wrist when exercising.)
    • Ken October 8, 2015 at 1:21 pm
      I have been using Charge HR for 2 months. I will look it up and email you later. Thanks for checking, Rick.
  • David September 2, 2015 at 10:06 pm
    1- Is the font size bigger on the surge vs charge hr? How much bigger and do you think this significant. 2- is the display on the surge brighter / easier to see than on the charge hr ? Thanks
    • Ken September 4, 2015 at 5:25 am
      Yes, David. Surge font size is bigger but I can’t tell how significant it is. I’m not sure about if Surge screen is brighter. I’m happy with my Charge HR so far.

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