Fitness trackers are a hugely popular trend for both techies and exercise buffs, with all kinds of wearable devices created by retailers from Nike to Apple. Fitbit unveiled a trio of new trackers on Monday -- Charge, Charge HR and Surge -- designed for everyone from casual joggers to cross-training fiends.
All three new Fitbit trackers are worn on the wrist, and like the previous devices they can track activity including daily steps taken and floors climbed. But each of the new bands includes additional features.
- Fitbit Charge ($129.95) has a sleep-tracking feature that is now automatic (previously, users had to press a button when they went to bed and click again when they woke up). Wearers can also opt to connect wirelessly to their phones and get Caller ID notifications on the wristband when they receive a call. The battery lasts about seven days.
- Fitbit Charge HR ($149.95) is a step up: It does everything the Charge can, and it also includes a heart-rate tracker. LED lights bounce off the skin to detect changes in blood volume to determine just how fast wearers' hearts are pumping. The heart-rate tracking, which Fitbit calls "PurePulse," is meant to help fitness buffs maximize their workouts by watching their heart-rate zones. The system also offers more accurate calorie burn tracking for a wider array of activities like spinning and yoga. The Charge HR's battery can go about five days.
- Fitbit Surge ($249.95) is much beefier than the Charge models -- and that's because it's a full-on smart watch. In addition to having all the Charge HR's features, the Surge includes GPS for tracking the distance and elevation of a run, the ability to receive text-message notifications and comprehensive workout summaries for different activities. This model features eight sensors, including a light sensor in addition to the GPS and heart-rate tracker. And, of course, it tells the time. The Surge watch's battery stays charged for about a week.
The Fitbit Charge is available for purchase starting Monday. But if the Charge HR or Surge are more your speed, you'll have to wait; both higher-end devices won't go on sale until 2015.
Fitbit is surely hoping this new trio of trackers launches without incident. Back in January, some users of Fitbit's Force wristband complained the device had given them contact dermatitis, or red itchy skin that's often caused by an allergic reaction. The company offered refunds or replacements for unhappy Force users.