Can a Fitbit watch challenge Apple? Fitbit Surge versus Apple Watch Series 2

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In a wave of fitness trackers and smartwatches that have come crashing down on us in the last few years, Apple, Xiaomi, and Fitbit have been the some of the few companies that have stayed afloat above everyone else. Apple and Fitbit particularly have both provided consumers with some of the most popular wearable technology around, and flagship products, like the Fitbit Surge and Apple Watch Series 2, have become the faces of what a smartwatch and fitness tracker can do.

But when you put the two devices head to head, you start to realize the stark differences. Let’s take a look.

Specs

Fitbit Surge

fitbit surge, apple watch

Apple Watch Series 2

fitbit surge, apple watch

GPS Enabled Yes Yes
Processor Unlisted S2
Operating System Proprietary OS watchOS3
Body (Dimensions) Stainless Steel

1.34 x .82 x 0.96 inch

Band lengths: Small (5.5 to 6.3-inches in circumference), Large (6.3 to 7.8-inches), and XL (7.8 to 8.9-inches in circumference).

Aluminum & Stainless Steel case

38mm

1.52 x 1.31 x 0.45 inch

42mm

1.67 x 1.43 x 0.45 inch

White Ceramic case

38mm

1.54 x 1.34 x 0.46 inch

42mm

1.68 x 1.44 x 0.45 inch

Resolution (pixels) Resolution unlisted 38mm: 272 x 340

42mm: 312 x 390

Weight 32 grams Aluminum case

38mm: 28.2 grams

42mm: 34.2 grams

Stainless Steel case (Sapphire Crystal)

38mm: 41.9 grams

42mm: 52.4 grams

Ceramic Case (Sapphire Crystal)

38mm: 39.6 grams

42mm: 45.6 grams

CPU Unlisted Dual Core
Screen Gorilla Glass 3 Ion-X strengthened glass (aluminum cases)

Sapphire crystal glass (stainless steel and ceramic cases)

Waterproof Splash resistant only Waterproof up to 50 meters
Available Ceramic Casing No Yes
Display Monochrome LCD Second-generation OLED Retina display with Force Touch (1,000 nits)
Base Price $200 $370
Review 3.5 out of 5 stars 4 out of 5 stars

Two years can feel more like a decade in the tech world, and there’s no better example of that than when you see the specs of the Surge (released in 2014) against the Series 2 (release in 2016.) The Surge holds its own in areas like weight, screen protection, and GPS capabilities, but it really flounders when you put its Monochrome LCD screen against one of the best displays on a smartwatch ever. The Surge also lacks the coveted waterproof stamp, but seeing as people have gotten by without waterproof watches for centuries, we won’t mark it down too much for that. Even with its glaring shortcomings on the spec sheet, we only rated the Surge half a star below what we consider the best smartwatch we’ve ever used, and that’s saying something.

The Surge puts up a good fight, but in terms of hardware, the Series 2 looks flawless compared to its competitor.

Winner: Apple Watch Series 2

Design and durability

fitbit surge, apple watch

The Series 2 is the antithesis of the Surge when it comes to design.

The Surge fits in well while you’re working out, but its huge, rectangular touchscreen and clunky design look outdated. The Surge becomes a bit of eyesore beyond the rec room because it lacks customization, so it’s hard to blend the watch in with work attire or formal garb. The Series 2 on the other hand, has a plethora of customizable design options, from band accessories to interfaces. Even without the added bells and whistles, the watch is still worth clamoring over as-is.

For durability, the Surge is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3, which means its going to take a lot to crack its screen. Its also sweat, rain and splash resistant, but it’s not waterproof. The Series 2 is waterproof up to 50 meters, and although it doesn’t have Gorilla Glass protection, it does have strengthened glass that’s just as durable as any other smartwatch. The stainless steel and ceramic models come equipped with Sapphire Crystal glass, which is twice as hard as regular glass.

Part of Apple’s credo has been to integrate design and function in a beautiful way, so the Surge never really had a shot against the Series 2. Even though Surge has great protective glass, it can’t compare to the Series 2’s impressive waterproof capabilities.

Winner: Apple Watch Series 2

Battery Life

fitbit surge, apple watch

Although Fitbit claims the Surge can go for seven days without a charge, our review of the watch noted that we were only able to get four or five days out of the battery. Still, that’s better than the Series 2, which generally lasts a day.

Winner: Fitbit Surge

Software

fitbit surge, apple watch

The Surge is fitted with Fitbit’s proprietary operating system, which does a decent job of tracking your steps, calories, sleep and other activities, but not much else. It has a heart monitoring feature, but there has been a lawsuit over the tech’s inaccuracies. You can also read text messages and control music, but there’s no app store for the Surge.

With Apple’s WatchOS, you’re able to access an array of apps and and control your iPhone right from your Series 2 watch. And unlike the original Apple Watch, the Series 2 comes preloaded with workout options so you can properly track your progress for a myriad of activities.

Both watches come with GPS, and the Surge does a great job of mapping out your run, and tracking your distance and speed. The Series 2 does that too, but you can also use the GPS for things like navigating through a new city or stepping up your golf game.

Winner: Apple Watch Series 2

Pricing and Availability

fitbit surge, apple watch

Since the Surge is an older model, you might have a harder time finding it as readily available as the Series 2 at physical stores, but Fitbit sells the smartwatch at all of its online shops, so you can have it shipped and on your wrist in a matter of hours.

Although it’s always a little tricky to get a hold of a new Apple product the first few weeks after release, it’s gotten easier to find a Series 2 at retailers. The Series 2 is also available in a bunch of styles and designs, including the Nike Plus model. The only style options available for the Surge is what color band you want.

The Series 2 costs $369, and the Surge costs $200. You’re getting a lot of bang for your buck with the Series 2’s price tag, but you might not want or need everything that the Series 2 offers you. Since both watches are readily available, we have to base the winner off price point, so the Surge easily wins.

Winner: Fitbit Surge

Overall Winner: Apple Watch Series 2

Sure, the Surge is cheaper and has a longer battery life than the Series 2, but it’s running on outdated technology. It might seem like a smart buy right now, but whether it’s the Series 2 or something else, you’ll see another smartwatch that’s way better than your Surge, and you’ll feel like you just wasted 200 bucks.

The Series 2’s countless workout features, waterproof capabilities, and integration with your iPhone makes it a watch that can fit into your everyday routine for years to come. If you’re not an Apple Cultist and don’t own an iPhone, the Series 2’s capabilities are lackluster, but you’re still better off buying any of the Android Wear watches available over the Surge.