24/7 heart rate monitoring and GPS on the go but which one is right for you?

- Sep 07, 2017 -

We recently put the Microsoft Band and the Fitbit Charge HR head to head but, given the GPS capabilities of one of 2015's most anticipated wearables - the Fitbit Surge - we thought it was only right that we order another showdown.

The Microsoft Band went on sale earlier this year and, while consumer expectations are seemingly now as low as the stock levels (i.e. non existent) following a spate of below-par reviews, the Redmond giant's first fitness band still has enough impressive hardware packed in for it to be a viable option.

The Fitbit Surge has been released in limited quantities so far, with an official launch expected early in the new year. Like Microsoft's effort, it boasts an impressive spec-sheet.

The Microsoft Band is a monstrosity. It's the beefiest activity tracker we’ve tried on and, honestly, if you think you’re going to be sleep tracking with this beast on your wrist, you can think again.

Its discomfort isn't a slow-burner, as with many fitness trackers, it’s uncomfortable from the moment you put it on. That’s because of the shape of the thing. The top part is completely flat, with not a curve in sight until you hit the straps. Have a look at the top of your wrist, it’s not flat is it?

The Microsoft contender is available in three different sizes but just the one colour: black. It's constructed from a thermal plastic elastomer and the adjustable fit clasp is actually pretty solid. It is a pretty uninspiring design although the colour display does give it a bit of life.

Speaking of the display, it's a 1.4-inch TFT colour touchscreen and you'll find a Windows-esque UI on board.

The Surge’s display is a touchscreen, monochrome, 1.25-inch LCD one with a backlight on board for low light visibility. Fitbit is keeping quiet on the display resolution of the Surge at the moment though but whatever the pixel count, it's clear that Microsoft wins the screen battle.

With regards to design and comfort, however, the Surge is streets ahead. It comes in three sizes; with the smallest of which suitable for wrists sized 5.5 to 6.7 inches, the largest 7.8 to 9.1 inches.

The rubber strap, which comes in black, blue and tangerine is made of a flexible, durable elastomer material similar to that used in sports watches and it also has a surgical-grade stainless steel buckle.

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