Friday, September 16, 2016

An Open Letter to Fitbit - From A Surge User

The Apple Watch Series 2 has been announced. Reviews are coming out and people seem to agree that this Series 2 is what the first Watch should have been. The addition of GPS is a big heaven-sent especially for those who love to run outside. The fact that you could run outdoors (and swim in the open waters) without bringing your phone is a big plus for the Apple Watch Series 2.

But the thing is, that feature, the GPS, had been in the Fitbit Surge for more than a year now. I have been using the GPS functionality on all of my outdoor runs in my Fitbit Surge and I am happy to say that the distance I've run are fairly precise.

So, for me, the Surge is much, much better when it comes to fitness tracking and for actually measuring "the quantified self".

However, there is one thing that I wish Fitbit would do for us Surge owners: give us more watch faces. Or at least one more.

Hear me out...

See, with the big display of the Surge, Fitbit can do a lot of things with it. But what I want the most is to have the following on the default display:

  • Time
  • Date
  • Steps
  • Heart Rate

I so wish that I don't have to swipe left and right just to get these information. I wish Fitbit would have a feature with these, so-called, complications. Just consider the default watch face that I use:

The reason I use this is because I can easily see the time and the date. But how I wish I can see my other metrics as well! See, the Surge, and all the other Fitbit devices that have heart rate sensors, measure your heart rate 24/7 as long as you have it on your wrist. Compare that to the Apple Watch that only measures your heart rate when you open an app or when you are absolutely still (and when you activate the workout app).

So, in terms of your heart rate, the Surge paints a more wholistic picture!

And people would be better informed if they can see their heart rate right away. Like, I read somewhere that someone was saved because he saw that there was something wrong with his heart rate...  After he opened the app on his Apple Watch. But just imagine if he just ignored what he felt and he didn't open the app. The result would have been fatal!

But, if he used instead a Surge that measures his heart rate every time, and if this detail is kept displayed on the device, then the user would be better informed. All of us Surge users would be better informed.

Or, last use case, a personal one: when I run, I don't include my warm ups and cool downs in the running app on my Surge. This is so I can really tell what my actual pace is. So, I don't start the exercise app before I actually run, and I stop it after I've met my goal (a run of 5 mph for 40 minutes. Also, there is the 10 minutes of warm up and 10 minutes of cool down). When the exercise app is open, I choose to have my heart rate displayed so that I will be able to tell at what heart rate zone I am in (normal, fat burn, cardio, or peak). If I want to check my pace (on outdoor runs), I swipe on the bottom of the screen to check my pace.

But the thing is, after my run, I still want to see how my heart rate is doing. I want to see if my heart rate is slowing down to normal levels during cool downs. But, the moment I end my exercise, the watch defaults to the stock watch face and I am left with just the date and the time... And if I want to see my heart rate, I would have to swipe left and right to find the heart rate display...

I wish I can see it with just a glance...

So, please, Fitbit, help us Surge users out. Please update the Surge OS to accommodate this additional feature. I don't care about more notifications, I don't care about a fancy color display - I just want to track my fitness and health level. I believe you are still better than the Apple Watch when it comes to this metric so I hope this simple wish would be added to your to-do list.

If you can do it with the Fitbit Charge 2 with its small display, maybe you can do it with the Surge too with an OS update.


Photos shot with an iPhone 6s+ using the iOS app Hipstamatic

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