Not long after they were leaked online, three new devices from Fitbit were officially unveiled by the company today. While none of them would necessarily qualify as “smartwatches” in the same ways as the wearables coming from Google and Apple, Fitbit’s new devices certainly provide more than ample competition for people’s wrists. Check out SpotTheWatch‘s take on the recent features that are added to the new designs. They review all various types of wristwatches, from dive to smartwatches.
The new gadgets are the Fitbit Charge, Fitbit Charge HR, and the “superwatch” called the Fitbit Surge. The late-2014 Charge and early-2015 Charge HR are largely the same device, and both are essentially the newest iterations of the discontinued Fitbit Force. The Charge and Charge HR have small displays that can offer users the time, as well as caller ID and fitness tracking information like steps taken, distance traveled, calories burned, and active minutes. The Charge HR has the added bonus of active heart rate monitoring through PurePulse. That information might be pretty important to people looking to get the most data out of their workouts, so the HR certainly offers a solid edge for a $20 price difference (the Fitbit Charge will cost $130, while the Charge HR will be $150).
The Fitbit Surge, however, is the real star of today’s reveal. At $250 and also set for an early 2015 release, the superwatch does everything that the Charge and Charge HR do, but with a whole lot more functions and a bigger display. It’s packed with a GPS sensor, PurePulse heart rate monitoring, as well as call and text notifications from your smartphone. The Surge also gives users control over their phone’s music player, another new trick for the Fitbit line. In short, this is as close to a “smartwatch” as you can get from the company, and it’ll be cross-compatible with both iOS and Android smartphones. That’s a trick you won’t find in the Apple Watch or in any Android Wear devices.
Even still, $250 is a decent chunk of money for a very fancy fitness tracker. That’s roughly the same price as the most expensive Android Wear devices, which feature full-color, animation-capable touchscreens. The Sony SmartWatch 3, for instance, costs $250, will launch within the next few weeks, and also boasts an internal GPS sensor, and music control. The Moto 360, also priced at $250, may lack the GPS sensor, but it does include the heart rate monitor.
The Fitbit Surge does both of these, but with a grayscale screen, and with somewhat less style than its Android Wear competitors. It seems to have more in common with the Pebble line of smartwatches, which are also cross-compatible, and recently discounted to boot.
Will the Fitbit Surge compete on the same field as the smartwatches from Google and Apple? Or are they in different categories, for different people?