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The Fitbit Surge vs Garmin Vivoactive: A Clash of The Titans

This week saw an explosion of new wearables hit the market and none were more popular than the Fitbit Surge and Garmin Vivoactive. These 2 devices have rightfully been referred to as super smartwatches thanks to advanced capabilities and premium designs that make each part tracker, part smartwatch and part perfection. Both devices appeal to casual and serious fitness enthusiasts and contain the latest technological innovations to get consumers excited about their health. Since they are both similarly priced and both have GPS tracking, choosing between the 2 can be hard, but hopefully our Fitbit Surge vs Garmin Vivoactive review will help you decide which one is right for you.

Compare Fitbit Surge vs Garmin Vivoactive Head-to-Head

1/7/2016 Ken: Fitbit Blaze (2016) was announced in CES 2016. Check out the Head-to-Head Comparison between Blaze and Vivoactive Here.

The Fitbit Surge: Power And Perfection

The Surge is Fitbit’s first crack at a smartwatch and it is a roaring success. Fitbit already has a line of successful trackers and now they have added to it with this premium device that is a smartwatch and fitness tracker all in one. The Surge is the first Fitbit offering to be fitted with GPS tracking and continuous heart-rate monitoring to offer superior health statistics that are precise and up-to-date. It is an unique blend of power and performance that other wearables don’t come close to.

Let’s review the key features that make it such hit:
  • GPS Tracking so you can monitor your activities in real-time and more importantly, it lets the device differentiate what activities you are doing for detailed and accurate statistics. GPS also lets users map out different routes to take when hiking or walking without fear of getting lost.
  • PurePulse Heart-rate Tracking for automatic, around the clock heart-rate monitoring, so you get a portrait of how hard your body is working at any given time.
  • Smartphone Notifications via Bluetooth sync so you can receive alerts when you get a call or text message, so you can exercise without having to take your phone. with you since it syncs with your smartphone.
  • Multi-sport Tracking so you can program The Surge to whatever activity your performing, like biking or hiking, letting it distinguish your movements and record your stats accurately.
  • Superior Design Features: The Surge is water resistant up to 5 ATM and has vibration modes, so it can wake you or send a notice discreetly, without interrupting a meeting or waking up anyone in your home.

The Garmin Vivoactive: The Next Big Thing

Garmin is a pioneer when it comes to GPS, so it’s no surprise that their new Vivoactive smartwatch is a groundbreaking wearable consumes can’t stop raving about. It is an ingenious combination of smartwatch, fitness tracker and GPS navigator for a complete one-of-a-kind experience that will appeal to those with even a passing interest in sports and fitness. The Vivoactive has GPS tracking and customization screens for a device that can be tailored to suit your every need. It has such a rare blend of features and the GPS is used in so many ways that is definitely the next big thing.

Let’s examine The Vivoactive’s key features:

  • GPS Integration that can track your location as well as individual metrics depending on the activity you are performing. The GPS works in tandem with the program you have inputted, whether it’s swimming, running or golfing to give unparalleled information like the angle you use to swing to pool lengths.
  • Advanced smartphone Functions that can actually display text messages and be synced so you get social media alerts from Facebook and Twitter, for a completely interactive experience.
  • Customized Data Pages and Connect IQ lets you program the data pages that appear on your screen to show the information you want to see instead of the normal pre-set pages. .
  • Premium Design Features: The Vivoactove is water resistant up to 50 meters, so you can swim and record statistics, a real added benefit over other smartwatches. Most don’t record or monitor swimming activity, giving you a wider range of sports to include in your itinerary.

The Fitbit Surge versus The Garmin Vivoactive

After reading the reviews for both smartwatches it may still be hard to decide which is the better option, so let’s compare the 2 devices side-by-side to see how they differ in key categories:

  • Design: Both devices are quite similar, sporting square faces and are larger than many tracker/smartwatch options.
  • Band: The Surge comes in black and has a band made from elastomer, making it extremely durable and capable of withstanding temperature and weather changes. The material is also quite flexible and works with you instead of against you. It also comes in 3 colors: blue, black and tangerine and 3 sizes, from small (5.5″ to 6.7″ wrist) to large (7,8″ to 9.1″).The Vivoactive comes in black or white, but there are also several color options since the band can be swapped out and even a leather option to make it look more dressy. The band is also waterproof and can be adjusted to fit most wrist sizes. In this category it is mainly a matter of preference, as both bands are equally comfortable and lightweight. Personally, I feel The Surge has a slight edge since it has more movement to it.
  • Display: The Surge has a 1.25″ LCD square shaped touch screen with a built-in backlight so you can see the screen clearly day or night in natural or artificial light. It can show stats for every activity you perform and smartphone alerts if someone contacts you, but cannot display actual messages and has a standard resolution.The Vivoactive, on the other hand, has a color touchscreen display that automatically adjusts in any light so there is no glare. It is also shaped in a square design, but is slightly thinner than The Surge. The screen is slightly smaller at 1.13″ but it has a higher resolution and better quality.

    It can be tailored to show stats on each screen according to your preference, making it easier to find the info you want instead of having to scroll through the various pages. The screen also shows more information, displaying sender names and entire text messages, making The Vivoactive the clear winner once again.

  • Do you prefer Vivoactive or Surge yourself?
  • Battery: The Surge has a lithium battery that will last 5 to 7 days on a single charge, even with multiple screens running.The Vivoactive also has a lithium battery but can last up to month with all applications running or 10 days with continuous GPS running. The Vivoactive is once again the winner since it has superior battery life.
  • Water-proofing: Both are waterproof, but the edge once again goes to the Vivoactive since the device can actually function in water, not just be worn while swimming or showering like The Surge.
  • Heart-monitoring: The Surge has automatic heart-monitoring included with every device while The Vivoactive only has it on some models. Heart-monitoring is a key component to working out, as it is the bets indicator of how effective your regimen is, so this is a clear advantage for The Surge.
  • Pricing: The Surge and The Vivoactive currently retail for $249, making them both equally affordable and a great value for the price.


The Surge Versus The Vivoactive Features

As we have seen so far, both these devices offer excellent health tracking built around high-tech GPS technology for extremely accurate recordings and data analyzing. They both give you all the traditional tracking statistics, like steps climbed, sleep monitoring, calories burned and distance traveled as well as advanced features, like providing maps for route plotting and are waterproof. However, The Vivoactive goes one-step further in it’s offerings since it lets YOU customize your device and has more smartphone capabilities, to really elevate your overall experience:

  • The Smartphone notifications really go above and beyond The Surge and other devices. Each can sync to your smartphone and uses Bluetooth for notifications, but The Vivoactive displays more messaging info from more sources, making it the more well-rounded device. This is a clear advantage as individuals who need to stay connected, like EMT’s and parents can see what they need to know instantly for faster. Even though you can’t answer you will know if you need to immediately or can finish working out first.
  • The Multi-Sports programs and customization offered by The Vivoactive helps make your experience your own. For starters it offers more sports programs, including swimming and golf, so you can do more with it. This means you can see more stats for a wider range of activities, for total all-day calorie counting without guesswork. Plus, individual screens for each program can be tailored to display the stats you need.For example, you can program it to show laps and lengths only when you swim or complete info, including time and pace- whatever you want. The Surge has different programs, but they do not include swimming or golf and can’t be adjusted.
  • The waterproof feature lets you swim and record statistics, something The Surge doesn’t offer. This means more athletes can use the device and more information can be gathered and added to your statistics.

People look great with these Fitness Gadgets, And you?

Are you a Fitbit or Garmin person?

A photo posted by fitbit (@fitbit) on

The Bottom Line: Choosing Between The Surge and Garmin Vivoactive

When comparing The Fitbit Surge vs Garmin Vivoactive, either one makes an excellent addition to anyone’s life. The Garmin Vivoactive is regarded as the superior wearable when it comes to function for sports minded individuals while The Fitbit Surge is seen as an elite smartwatch for everyday use. While both are on the same page when it comes to style and price they each offer different extras and are geared towards different buyers.

Those who are serious about getting in shape will appreciate The Vivoactive, which makes the most of its ground-breaking technology to provide a more complete experience. You can do more and get more out of their smartwatch, making it the “smart” choice if you’re looking to get healthy: athletes, trainers and fitness buffs will love it.

On the other hand, if you want to be healthy without obsessing about it The Surge is perfect for you: it offers detailed analysis that is easy to understand as is perfect for office workers, moms and students. Whichever you choose just know that you have chosen wisely, as both are the best in class and worth every penny.


  • google trends May 25, 2015 at 2:19 pm
    Thank you for another wonderful post. Where else may just anyone get that type of info in such an ideal means of writing? I've a presentation next week, and I am on the search for such information.
  • Tina February 17, 2015 at 1:43 am
    Thank you for the review. Good comparison.

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