​Fitbit Surge: Essential tips and tricks for getting more from your device

How to get more from your fitness super watch
Wareable is reader-powered. If you click through using links on the site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

If you've bagged yourself a new Fitbit Surge or you're thinking about picking up the all-in-one fitness tracker and sports watch, you'll want to know how to get the most out of it.

The most powerful Fitbit to date is packed with hidden features for improving accuracy and getting more from your daily life.

Fitbit recently released a pretty major software update as well, which brings a host of new features like along with promises to boost battery life when you're using the GPS and improved accuracy for step tracking.

Essential reading: Which Fitbit should I buy?

So listen up Fitbit Surge owners, here's some quick tips for getting more from your super sports watch.

Wear it properly


Next time you're strapping on your tracker, take a second to make sure it's properly in position. Fitbit says to measure a finger's width from the wrist bone. Also, don't strap it too tight, or it can affect circulation and HRM results.

Automatically track your exercises

Arguably the biggest new feature in the latest Fitbit software update, your Surge (and the Charge HR) can now recognise a selection of exercises and activities giving you details on estimated calorie burn and duration. It's called SmartTrack and will only work with exercises that involve continuous, high movement. So it's good for running and a game of tennis, but not so much for a round of golf.

You'll need to be doing those exercises or activities for at least 15 minutes for SmartTrack to go into action. There is the option to change this to 10 minutes inside the Fitbit app though.

You can see a full list of supported SmartTrack activities on the Fitbit website.

Keep it tracking

During exercise, Fitbit advises wearing the tracker higher up your wrist. It reckons the blood flow is stronger higher up your arm, so slipping it a few inches higher can improve accuracy. If you're hitting the weights, a flex in your wrist can affect the reading too, so keep it locked or relax your hand after to let the Surge get a take on your bpm.

Boost accuracy


The accelerometer and movement sensors in the Fitbit Surge can be skewed depending on the hand it's worn on. Your dominant hand, for example, will do more work, and can lead to the Surge feeding back increased miles. In the Settings menu in the smartphone app, make sure you choose the hand you intend to wear the Surge on – and stick to it.

Track splits in real time with Run Cues

It's an essential on pretty much every sports watch and now Fitbit has decided to get in on the act by adding the ability to view splits with. If you're new to running and don't know what that is, it's basically a breakdown of your run whether that's miles or kilometres to give you an idea if you're running at generally the same pace or you're saving your energy for the end of your run.

Keeping that heart rate signal strong


Fitbit claims it's improved the reliability of its PurePulse optical heart rate sensor for continuously measuring your heart rate. But there will no doubt be the odd occasion when the signal drops out. There's a couple of things you can do to make sure it doesn't happen on a regular basis though. Like making sure it's high enough on your wrist or making sure it's not strapped too tightly to your wrist, which can restrict blood flow.

Customise the watch face

The Surge can be customised with different watch faces for a more individual look. To change the watch face just log in to Fitbit.com using your details, and select Settings. Choose Clock Display on the left and click a clock face. When you're done just sync your Surge to complete.

Get a faster GPS lock


There's nothing worse than standing outside in your running gear, trying to get a GPS lock. Next time, while you're changing into your sports garb, pop the Fitbit Surge on a window sill and stick it into run tracking mode. When you return, it should have found the satellites already and you can hit the pavements in double-quick time.

Change exercise list

If your favourite exercise isn't listed on the Surge, or frustratingly last in the list, you can change it to work your way. First, log in to your Fitbit.com dashboard and go to Settings. Choose Exercise Shortcuts on the left and then add items to the list. You can drag to reorder the exercises, which will change the way they appear on your Fitbit Surge. Just sync up to finalise the changes.

Control your tunes

Ensure that your phone and Surge are properly paired via Bluetooth. If not, go to your Surge and go to the Settings menu. Check that Bluetooth Classic is turned to pair and then go to the Bluetooth settings menu on your phone and finish the job.

When playing music on your phone, press the Home button on the Fitbit Surge to get 'now playing' information. The Select button pauses your music and the Action button skips to the next track, right from your wrist.


How we test

James Stables


James is the co-founder of Wareable, and he has been a technology journalist for 15 years.

He started his career at Future Publishing, James became the features editor of T3 Magazine and T3.com and was a regular contributor to TechRadar – before leaving Future Publishing to found Wareable in 2014.

James has been at the helm of Wareable since 2014 and has become one of the leading experts in wearable technologies globally. He has reviewed, tested, and covered pretty much every wearable on the market, and is passionate about the evolving industry, and wearables helping people achieve healthier and happier lives.

Related stories