[Health Tech] Major Firmware Update for the Fitbit Surge

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For those of you out there with a Fitbit Surge we are happy to say that , what appears to be, a major firmware update released a couple of days ago.

What’s in the update?

A quick trip over the ‘What’s changed in the latest tracker update?’ page on the Fitbit help site provides the following change log for the new Version 16.34.5.14 firmware:

 ‘This release provides the following new features and improvements:

  • Surge now provides timer and stopwatch functionality.
  • You can track your splits in real time while running with the new “run cues” feature.
  • Added ‘quick view’ support—when you turn your wrist to view the time, Surge uses ambient light to determine whether the backlight comes on.
  • When fully charged, Surge can now track up to 10 hours of GPS activity.
  • Fine-tuned the step-counting algorithm to further improve accuracy during bike rides.
  • Call and text notifications are removed after 24 hours.
  • Various bug fixes and additional enhancements’

What does this mean?

As you can see, there is much more than just bug fixes in this update, with the introduction of ‘run cues’, the doubling of the battery life when GPS tracking is enabled, the addition of ‘timer’ and ‘stopwatch’ functionality and ‘quick view’ support, albeit somewhat different to ‘quick view’ on the Fitbit Charge and Fitbit Charge HR which we discussed in a previously article.

 Having testing the new functionality provided by this updated, here are our findings:

  • ‘Run Cues’ – Now you can receive automatic updates on your Fitbit Surge based on a set distance or time interval when in ‘free run’ mode, providing distance/time, pace and heart rate information.
  • ‘Timer’ –The countdown timer duration is set/changed by tapping on the small cog icon in the top right corner. Once on the set/change screen the desired time in set by swiping up or down in the minute and second sections of the screen.
  • ‘Stopwatch’ – The stopwatch is just that.

  • ‘Quick View’ – This functionality means the screen illumination no longer needs user interaction, as the Surge now uses its ambient light sensors to assess if the screen needs illuminating when you turn your wrist to look at your watch. Unlike ‘quick vue’ on the Fitbit Charge and Fitbit Charge HR, the Fitbit Surge stays on all the time with the ‘quick vue’ merely automating illumination when it deems that there is insufficient ambient light to read the screen.
  • ’10 hours of GPS tracking’ – Prior to
    this update the Fitbit Surge was only expected to last 5 hours whilst GPS tracking prior to the battery needing a recharge. The wizards at Fitbit have use their magic skills to double this to 10 hours enabling the Fitbit Surge to better support the long distance athletes among us. We have not yet had the chance to test the impact of this increased endurance on GPS accuracy after the update and will talk more about this in our forthcoming Fitbit Surge review.

What would we like to see next?

Whilst we love what we are seeing in this update there are a few things we would love to see next:

  • Save more power and extent battery life by providing the option to have ‘quick view’ turn the Fitbit Surge screen off completely until you turn you wrist or tap/swipe or press a button.
  • Use the ‘timer’ set-up interface to provide a Tabata/interval workout mode, where you can set the two countdown durations, one for training and one for recovery along with an overall number of cycles between the two.
  • Use the ‘timer’ set-up interface to enable setting of alarms on the Fitbit Surge instead of having to log onto the Fitbit website.

What would you like to see next?

Let us know what you would like to see next in the comments section bellow or on Twitter or Facebook.

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