Here is my quick take comparison on the Fitbit Surge versus Polar M400 fitness tracking devices.
DISCLAIMER: This is just a quick comparison of the two devices listed. You can find my in-depth review of the Fitbit Surge right HERE, and my in-depth review of the Polar M400 right HERE. Below is just a quick look at what I like about each one, and why I feel one might be better than the other. Enjoy!
Fitbit is still my favorite brand on the market today for the general consumer. Their products reach the largest overall audience, and the quality of their app reigns supreme. One thing I really love about the Surge is the mixture of a touch screen with buttons. Also the device works for a wide variety of sports.
Some of the key features of the Surge include GPS for outdoor activities, all day step tracking, built-in heart rate monitoring, and on-device notifications. Battery life is a modest 4-5 days of real world use. Comfort when wearing is great. At a retail price of $249 the Fitbit Surge is a good option but definitely at the higher cost of this market segment.
For those seeking a smart watch, this is not the right option. Neither of the devices in this comparison are, actually– as they are both fitness items, with no 3rd party app support for things like games, or silly things like that.
In comparison, the Polar M400 doesn’t really come off as casual a device as the Fitbit. Something about Polar’s style just screams athlete, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Interface on the Polar is quite similar to the Fitbit, though I did feel like the data the Polar shows was richer in context, greater feedback, etc.
When comparing companion apps (using my iOS devices) both worked quite nicely though the Fitbit was more reliable for sync options, with the Polar needing the occasional manual sync to work right. However, Polar is working more directly with third parties and I suspect there will be more export functionality in the future compared to Fitbit. Plus, the Polar web site is better suited for hard-core athletes who want better visibility into their goal training, making it easier to see progress towards time-based or distance-based goals, and so forth.
One downside to the Polar is that it doesn’t have built-in heart rate tracking. You can link it to your chest strap or similar heart monitor device, but this does require an additional item. However the excellent battery life on the M400, coupled with the year-long battery life most chest straps achieve, makes this a better buy for those who don’t want to charge every week. The unit feels a bit bigger and bulkier, but it feels more like a sports watch than an activity tracker. And again, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Cost wise the Polar M400 is the same $249 retail when you add in the chest strap, and marginally cheaper than the Fitbit if that is a feature you don’t care about (read: if you buy just the watch alone).
These two devices really cater to slightly different audiences, but are both excellent buys.
In one hand you have the Fitbit Surge, suited nicely to casual runners who also want the benefit of all-day activity tracking and the trusted brand of Fitbit. Yet in the other hand you have the Polar M400, a device that works for a broader spectrum of training, and comes from a brand known for being serious about fitness and athleticism.
If your main goal is general health, fitness, and some “smart” notifications, then check out the Fitbit Surge. It works great for any exercise, thanks to the on-board heart rate monitor. If you are more focused on goal-oriented athletic training, you may want to consider the jump over to the Polar M400 for a more serious workout companion. Both are equally as awesome devices. Good luck!