Activity monitors (well, and a GPS watch from an activity monitor brand). And you will say... what does this have to do with a running blog? Well, a lot, especially since Fitbit is the leader in the activity monitor market.
After certain problems in 2014 with your Force monitor (some users complained of skin allergies from the material usedLike the Fitbit Force, Charge has not only an accelerometer, but also an altimeter, capable of measuring steps, distances, stairs climbed and estimate the total calories consumed. But the novelties presented in front of Force come mainly in its software. Now it has automatic sleep detection (ie, it will know when we are sleeping and when we wake up, without having to put a specific mode) and also, connected to our phone, will have call alert.
This last detail is a bit of a surprise, but quite understandable. In the year of smart watches capable of doing everything, including reading messages (and replying to them), reading emails (and replying to them) and even watching funny photo montages by WhatsApp (these are not usually answered), it's surprising that a product is launched on the market that is only capable of informing you of who is calling us - if you are still being called. But as I said, you can understand, since the Fitbit Charge screen can't do more, given its small size.
This is what Fitbit will launch "now", but they have another activity monitor in the chamber. Their recipe is a pinch of Fitbit Charge seasoned with an optical heart rate monitor. It simmers until the beginning of 2015 and we have FitBit Charge HR ready to eat.
Fitbit Charge HR
Fitbit adds "PurePulse" technology, as they call it. For everyone else it will be an optical heart rate monitor, like the ones we have already seen in products like TomTom Cardio Runner or Mio LINKAnd as in these cases, its main novelty is not seen when we wear it.
Therefore, if we add to the Fitbit Charge activity monitor, the calculation of calories will be done using the heart rate, instead of estimating them by counting steps. This way we get more accurate data of calories consumed since it will take into account sports such as pilates, weight training, or window cleaning; activities in which the number of steps we take are not relevant to the calorie expenditure.
Here what we will have to check is the reliability of that PurePulse optical monitor. We will have to see how often it takes the data, because if it spends a lot of time to increase autonomy, it will make many averages in the calculation so the final result will not be as real as it should be. We have to wait to check it.
Fitbit Surge will surely be the product that raises most expectations, firstly because it is the first product of the brand that incorporates GPS technology, and secondly because it will see Fitbit enter a market dominated by big brands such as Garmin or Polar.
Fitbit Surge is a GPS watch with constant activity monitoring through the optical monitor, and it also has smart clock functions. That's what we've all been thinking about when we saw a Motorola Moto 360 or a Sony Smartwatch 3, but no one had yet dared to go closer to the "fitness" side than to its purely technological side. And all this will come at a theoretical price of 250 euros. Expectancy is rising!
The recipe for this Surge is similar to the one we have seen before. If we add GPS functionality and a larger touch screen to the Charge HR, we get this model. It also has a multitude of sensors that we are more used to seeing in mobile phones than in watches. Compass, accelerometer, gyroscope and light sensor will make up a watch that, rest assured, will be quite advanced
As in the case of the Charge HR, we'll have to check the work Fitbit has done with the "PurePulse" technology, but in the case of Surge, we'll also have to see how the software that will accompany it is, not only on the phone and web applications side, but mainly on what the phone provides. We still don't know if it's simply a GPS watch that will provide us with the rhythm we run, heart rate and little else, or if it's a device designed for training where we can program intervals, that is, if it's a product for the occasional runner or on the contrary it's designed for the more advanced profile runners.
Availability and price
The Fitbit Charge goes on sale now, probably at the beginning of November. To buy the other two models, Charge HR and Surge, we will have to wait until 2015. The estimated prices are 130 euros for the Charge, and 150 euros and 250 euros for Charge HR and Surge respectively.