Basis Peak v Fitbit Surge: Battle of the super trackers

We compare these two supercharged fitness trackers
Basis Peak v Fitbit Surge

In 2015 the humble fitness tracker got supercharged, and the Basis Peak and Fitbit Surge are the first of this new breed of super tracker.

Boasting heart rate monitoring and notification features, these two devices will certainly catch the eye of fitness fans looking for the best tracking features the wearable world has to offer.

Essential reading: Best fitness tracker round-up

But which is best? We've put them through their paces to find out.

Fitbit Surge v Basis Peak: Design

The Basis Peak was described by an Intel exec as looking "better from the back", and it's true: the Peak is not a looker. It comes in black and white, and the square face hardly screams style. Plus, at over a centimetre thick, it's chunky to boot.

The screen is a 1.25-inch monochrome affair, which you use to swipe through stats. There's a backlight accessible by swiping up the right hand bezel, which is totally obscure.

The Fitbit Surge comes in a range of colours – although good luck getting hold of anything other than black for the foreseeable. It comes in three sizes and is made from a flexible, durable elastomer material.

Again, there's a basic LCD monochrome screen, which you can cycle through live stats by pressing the physical button to the left.

Finally, the last thing to mention is the difference in waterproofing. The Surge can survive a session in the shower at best, while the Basis Peak is waterproof to 50m.

In terms of colours, we'd say the more vibrant Surge is the better looking, while the screens are a dead heat. The best looking sports watches out there, they are not.

Fitbit Surge v Basis Peak: Sports tracking

The Fitbit Surge is the company's first a multi-sport device, which means it's designed to track proper activities, rather than just steps and sleep like the Fitbit Flex. Running, cross-training, biking, strength and cardio workouts are all tracked, as well as the usual steps, sleep and calories.

The GPS means that the Surge will track your running and cycling split times, pace, distance and routes, and the continuous heart rate monitoring adds your bpm details and how long you spent at peak load. However, as we found in our review, its accuracy was lacking compared to Garmin and Polar watches.

On the flip side, the Basis Peak can automatically track cycling, running and walking data, while keeping tabs on steps, time taken and calorific burn. Its major headline feature is heart rate tracking, so you can keep an eye on your HR zones, and get feedback from any sporting activity.

However, the Basis Peak isn't really set up as a sports watch. It has no dedicated detailed running mode nor GPS, so its stats lack usefulness. What's more, you can't assign bursts of activity to particular sports, nor compare or group sessions together.

As a sports tracker, the Basis Peak is severely lacking, and for runners and gym goers, the Fitbit Surge has it beaten hands down.

Fitbit Surge v Basis Peak: Sensors

In terms of the richness of sensor tech, the Basis Peak is one of the leading lights.

The Peak constantly tracks your steps, calories and heart rate, but also galvanic skin response (sweat levels) and skin temperature, as well.

The heart rate info means that you can track the burn pf indoor and outdoor activities more accurately. What's more, the ANT+ tech means you can pair the Peak with running apps or watches and have its data imported, making it a lot more useful.

As well as the heart rate sensing tech, the Fitbit Surge also packs the usual 3-axis accelerometer, gyroscope, compass and altimeter. Unlike most fitness trackers that exclusively use these types of movement sensors, the Surge can mix this data up with its heart rate info, for a better all round picture of your workouts.

While the impressive array of exotic sensors makes the Basis Peak an attractive proposition, the Surge actually ends up being more useful blending traditional fitness tracker stats with GPS and heart rate data in one device.

Fitbit Surge v Basis Peak: Apps

The Fitbit app lets you see your workout history, workout details, as well as general daily activity data. Runs and cycles are displayed with maps of your route, and graphs showing your pace, distance and elevation which can be displayed in the web app and on the Fitbit website.

Fitbit is still the only major fitness band that works with Windows Phone – and of course there's support for iOS and Android too.

The Basis Peak app shows your daily activity stats, and enables you to work towards goals. The most detailed analytics are offered through its web portal at However, runs are often fragmented, and it doesn't pull them out from any other burst of activity, making it a frustrating tool for fitness fans.

As we mentioned, the Basis Peak can be used to add heart rate data to RunKeeper and other fitness apps, which negates the need to use its app, unless you want to look at detailed graphs of your heart rate, sweat level and body temperature.

Fitbit Surge v Basis Peak: Notifications

The Fitbit Surge will display calls and texts, and control your music. Forget third party support though – so if you use services like WhatsApp, Facebook or Twitter, you're bang out of luck.

On the Basis Peak calls and texts are displayed in full on the watch for five minutes before being automatically cleared. While it may sound extreme, the feature does a good job at stopping you getting swamped with notifications. Like the Fitbit Surge, there's no third party support.

Fitbit Surge v Basis Peak: Price

The Basis Peak is available for $199/£169, which puts it at the very top end for heart rate sensing fitness trackers, and the budget end of running watches. However, given its lack of suitability for specific sports tracking, it only truly competes with standard fitness bands.

The Fitbit Surge weighs in at the more expensive £199/$249, yet the extra $50 gets you a tonne of decent sports features, and puts the Surge in the league of Garmin and Polar smartwatches.

Fitbit Surge v Basis Peak: Verdict

While the Fitbit Surge isn't without its flaws, it trumps the Basis Peak in nearly every department. The Surge does a better job of tracking the fitness stats that matter and presents them better than the Peak, and overall, is the more complete sports watch.

Make sure you check out our full reviews of the Basis Peak and Fitbit Surge for more in-depth coverage.


  • jcalbano says:

    I was in the beta test of the Fitbit device for one month. I returned it for Basis Peak.

    The Basis Peak is much better device because:

    1. It tracks sleep very accurately. Fitbit tries but fails.

    2. It's water proof. Fitbit isn't

    3. It has glass face, scratch free. Fitbit dosen't.

    4. Strong metal design, not plastic.

    5. No buttons.

    6. auto detect activity, just wear it.

    7. Happy I switched, never looked backl!

    • 2spike says:

      I love love love my peak and am heartbroken about the recall. Just wondering what you might consider to take its place?

      • j.stables says:

        Having used both, I don't think you'd look back from the Garmin Vivoactive HR.

  • njusko says:

    How in the world did you miss an evaluation on sleep tracking?

    • samtuke says:


  • samtuke says:

    The review should also mention accuracy if tracking. Read e.g. Amazon reviews of the Basis Peak and you'll find a litany if complints about missed steps, misread light sleeps, and misdetected runs. * Also, access to data is a crucial difference between these two. Fitbit charges an annual subscription on top of the purchase price to get access to more detailed data that their devices generate. Even with the sub, the bulk of stats are still unavailable however. I believe the peak makes all data available to users for free, which is as it should be!

  • gc66 says:

    I would have to disagree with samtuke. I returned my Fitbit Charge HR as the step count was awful. counting 300 steps while washing up for min, same in shower, getting dressed and in the car. Surge uses the same sensors so I would expect the same. Loads of people in the fitbit forums are complaining about this and fitbits response it's an activity tracker and these things are activity.  The Peak seems to wait till you've maybe done x amount of steps in a time period and then decides they are valid, crediting you with these once it's 'happy' these are steps and not arm movements. I've had the same issue with miscounting on a garmin vivofit. I've also tried loads of pedometer apps on my S4 and the only one I've been happy with is 'S health' , all others suffer similar issue to the above. Peak does autosleep tracking, and is the only one that I have found that details REM sleep. Peaks app does needs to be better, and Basis do need to listen to it's customers, and be more open on updates and faster at delivery

  • Panthaleo927 says:

    Let it be noted that this comparison made mistakes, the basis does allow third party notification support, it is not in the manual but should one open the menu on their phone and go to playground, there is a button to toggle third party notifications, something that the fit bit doesn't support. Basis peak should have made this more obvious although the point is thats its there.

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