Tuesday, 28 October 2014 12:14

Fitbit takes next-gen Charge with renewed Surge!

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Three new fitness trackers are on the way from fitness wearables leader, Fitbit, with long awaited auto heart rate tracking, smartwatch functionality with GPS, auto sleep tracking, the time finally being displayed and plenty more.

The updates Fitbit had to make are finally here, inside three new models - the Fitbit Charge, Charge HR and the Fitbit Surge - which could put a smile on the dial of people named Serge, and fitness wearable fanatics in general!

The Charge gives “all-day activity tracking”, real-time fitness stats and Caller ID.

The Charge HR is more advanced, with that previously mentioned auto wrist-based heart rate tracking (which is what the HR presumably stands for, as opposed to Human Resources) and the rest of the Charge’s feature set.

The Surge (not Serge) is sleek, with GPS and smartwatch functionality.

I’ll get to see these new devices when I meet up with Fitbit’s regional MD, visiting Sydney from Melbourne, later today - and can give you some first-hand impressions, rather than going from the media release as I am now, although it is great to see that each model promises to display the time

This is great news as the Fitbit Flex I am using constantly triggers my muscle memory that I have a watch on, even though I haven’t worn a watch for years since the smartphone revolution.

This is primarily because after 20 years of extremely loyal Casio calculator watch ownership across endless models, I was disappointed that Casio really hadn’t advanced its “smart” watches of the time beyond a few design changes - no PC connectivity, no touch, fiddly buttons etc.

James Park, the CEO and Co-Founder of Fitbit said of the new models that: “Our mission has always been to deliver innovation through exceptional, wearable design in a way that empowers consumers with greater knowledge of their overall health.
 

“That being said, we understand that everyone’s approach to fitness is different. With the addition of these new products, Fitbit offers the widest variety of trackers—at affordable prices across all mobile platforms—ensuring that everyone can find the right fit for their lifestyle and their goals.”

Cool features of the Charge include an OLED display, 7 days of battery life, Caller ID, all the fitness and exercise tracking features you expect, water-resistance with a better clasp and more.
 
The Charge HR goes further with PurePulse for optical heart rate tracking and more.
 
And Surge (not Serge!) is Fitbit’s most advanced tracker with clever GPS functionality that even has a backlit touch screen!
 

There’s also a new “Challenges” app which works on iOS, Android and Windows Phone.

The Charge will be available in stores from mid-November for $149.95, but it’s a shame that Fitbit is missing out on the enormous pre-Christmas opportunity with the Charge HR ($179.95) and the Surge ($299.95) as they won’t be released until early 2015.

With the Apple Watch coming out in “early 2015”, too, Fitbit will need all the charging and surging it can get to ensure people - or at least, non iPhone owners - get themselves Fitbit’s new products over and above what will clearly be a much more expensive Apple Watch.

Fitbit also has the benefit of having days of battery life, as opposed to the single day of battery it appears the Apple Watch will deliver.

Either way, the battle for smartwatch and fitness wearables is on like Donkey Kong - we’ll all be smart to watch this space, and smarter still to buy one of these devices to use to truly improve our fitness!

You can find plenty more detail include several YouTube video here at Fitbit’s official blog

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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