Fitness trackers are everywhere these days, and the line between them and smartwatches can sometimes blur. Fitbit Surge is the smartwatch-like activity band from Fitbit that looks and acts like a sports watch.
So we got a hold of a Moto 360 Sport from Motorola (the sporty version of the company’s flagship Moto 360 smartwatch) to see how they match up in terms of functionality and usability.
Fitbit Surge ($249.95 at Fitbit.com)
My roommate is a marathon runner, gym bunny, and constantly on the go. She swears by Fitbit and went straight out to buy the Fitbit Surge a few months ago when her first generation band finally wore out.
Unlike most other Fitbit models, the Surge has a built-in GPS tracker, meaning it can track your runs without a phone. It can also detect when you’re engaged in certain activities like playing sports, practicing yoga, etc., making it an all-around fitness tracker.
On runs, the Surge performs as well as Moto 360 Sport without a phone, tracking within 100m on a 5k run.
It does, however, take 10-15 minutes to realize you’re working out, so short interval training renders this feature almost useless. Still, it’s a nice touch and a step (pun intended) in the right direction for wearable fitness technology.
The square face of the Fitbit Surge looks similar to the Apple Watch, and its ability to easily connect to both Android and iOS phones gives Fitbit a slight edge over Android Wear watches and Apple Watch. However, the connectivity isn’t as powerful as what you’d get from the other platforms.
Fitbit has a comprehensive platform that can track your activity throughout the day (so long as you have a second tracker to wear while the other is charging). It’s extremely reliable, which is the reason Fitbit is the name you think of for activity trackers.
However, as an all-in-one device, Fibit struggles, making it a one-trick pony that’ll appeal mostly to athletes.
Moto 360 Sport ($199.99 at Motorola.com)
Released at the beginning of 2016, the Moto 360 Sport is a sporty, durable version of the second generation Android Wear smartwatch from Motorola. It’s the second watch (Sony’s SmartWatch 3 is the first) to include GPS functionality, and its UV-coated silicone band comes in black, white, and flame.
The bands aren’t interchangeable, so once you pick a color, you’re stuck with it. Luckily, Motorola sent me the murdered out version, which has a classic style that reminds me of the old Casio calculator watch I wore as a kid in the 20th century.
Although it’s a $200 watch, it doesn’t look like much more than a toy. I never felt like I was overblinging and drawing too much attention. Despite its looks, Moto 360 Sport has the same powerful features as every other Android Wear watch, but with a few unique touches.
It’s also well-ventilated, so my wrist never sweats while wearing it (although to be fair, it is winter now. In the summer, this could change). If you do sweat, there’s no worries, because the Moto 360 Sport is water resistant. I didn’t have the stomach to hold it under water to see just how resistant, but it withstood moderate rain, showers, and hand washing.
The LCD display (which Motorola calls AnyLight) is easily readable in both daylight and night time. Reading emails and checking notifications was a breeze. There’s even plenty of space to play the few Android Wear games available on the Gorilla Glass screen, which has a resolution of 360×325 and 263 ppi.
Although it comes with Moto Body, Motorola’s proprietary activity tracking app, you can install any third-party program from the Play Store. Moto Body’s GPS tracking feature works best without the smartphone though and the data can be synced with Fitbit, Under Armor, Nike, and other fitness tracking platforms, which is a nice touch.
The tracking sensors and software employed by Motorola is top-notch, and the GPS quickly pings location satellites to maintain an accurate reading even without the phone. Still, other activities like cycling, boxing, weightlifting, and yoga aren’t tracked as well.
Moto 360 Sport holds up as a running tracker just as well as Fitbit Surge, but without the additional activity tracking capabilities. Still, the Android Wear connectivity provides many more bells and whistles, like notifications, games, and more.
Although Fitbit Surge does have a comprehensive software platform, Moto 360 Sport can sync fitness data with it. In addition, Moto 360 has full Android Wear capabilities to include notifications, app control, weather updates, gaming, music, and more. All this comes at a price tag that’s $50 cheaper than Surge.
If you’re solely interested in a fitness tracker with none of the bells and whistles, a Fitbit is probably your best bet, but Surge is the only one that has GPS run tracking without a phone, a feature you’ll get for cheaper on Moto 360 Sport.
Winner: Moto 360 Sport