Wearables have been around for a while now, eye-catching and constantly improving. It’s no wonder why we’re pretty much addicted to them. But this is more than a passing tech trend. It’s a multi-billion market, in the process of being filled with all kinds of gadgets. Everyday, a new product is brought forth to an awe-struck public that just waited to be told what new item they have been badly needing.
Wearables come in so many shapes and colors that it’s virtually impossible and sometimes intimidating to be aware of all the features they have been equipped with just to make our lives better.
Sometimes it’s preferable to stay focused and acquire a niche product (What? Niches already in such a shape-shifting market? You bet!) that does just the thing you need.
Like fitness trackers, for instance.
Comparing trackers is tricky, so to speak. Featuritis is the buzzword that comes instantly in mind when you look into this category. Forget about clearly specialized, well defined specs and try to check out one of the two:
- what can each do for you within the same price range
- what price is more competitive for the same feature range
So we picked two fitness trackers that have more or less compatible services to offer.
First we looked at PEAK from Basis and then searched around for a worthy competitor among peers. We came up with Surge, offered by Fitbit.
When you talk Basis you don’t talk basic at all. PEAK is a well tuned ensemble of state of the art sensors. You have a heart rate sensor, a skin response transducer, in charge of detecting skin humidity, a skin thermometer and a 3-axis accelerometer. These are feeding their information into a powerful Intel logic unit that delivers data on your wrist, via a high contrast touch screen. The incorporated Bluetooth device maintains WiFi connectivity with other devices. Everything fits into in a waterproof stylish forged aluminum case that can take up to 5 atm. pressure shocks and accommodates also a battery that can last up to 4 days before recharging.
Basis went the extra mile towards the smart watches area, incorporating smart notifications for calls, email, text, calendar alerts. It also added on top of the regular fitness tracking features an advanced sleep monitoring logic that helps the user improve his sleeping habits and, thus, life quality.
The sleek, intuitive app available for iOs and Android completes the bundle.
As surprising as it might appear, judging after the reduced size, SURGE has more sensors than its contender, although somewhat different. Besides the optical heart rate monitor and 3-axis accelerometer, it comes with ambient light sensor, that monitors exposure to natural and artificial light and enables the logic to warn you if you lack exposure to either of the two. The other sensors – GPS, 3-axis gyroscope, a digital compass and an altimeter – are useful for hiking or cross cycling, for instance, but not only.
No touch screen for this baby, instead you have a side button you use to navigate between screens. WiFi connectivity is present and battery life is comparable (5 days) if you don’t use GPS, otherwise it’s dead in … 5 hours. Ugh!
Surge does have some smart notifications available, limited to calls and text, and the sleep tracking is also present, although not as sophisticated as Peak one’s. On the other hand, the data related to all kinds of activities is processed by the app – iOS, Android and Windows – in a much more complex way, due to the extra sensors.
However, as far as we could tell, it does look beautiful, plus it comes in black, orange and blue, not just black or white, as the other. Too bad that it has limited water resistance, so you can use it for swimming in shallow waters only.
And since nice design is always there for a price, this one is higher too, $249 price tag.