One of the applications of wearable technology are fitness-focused devices, with these so-called fitness bands offering users, ranging from serious athletes to casual joggers, a number of features that will help in maintaining their health and wellness.

Three options for people looking to purchase a fitness band are the HTC Grip, Fitbit Surge and Microsoft Band, with each device having its own advantages and disadvantages.


The HTC Grip has a rugged, rubberized feel, which makes it look sporty. However, while the device comes in three sizes, its construction is stiff, which could turn away users looking for a more flexible device.

The Fitbit Surge has a big size, and its design does not particularly stand out. In addition, the strap is not replaceable, which could have added a bit more color to the device.

The Microsoft Band is similar to the HTC Grip with a stiff design. Even as the device is small, it is deceptively thick. Some users, however, may appreciate the simplicity of the Band's design, with no contrasting colors and a sleek finish.

Display and Controls

The HTC Grip has a curved monochrome OLED touchscreen with a capacitive circle that will bring the display to life. However, with no physical buttons on the device, navigating by swiping and tapping on the touchscreen could become troublesome once the user has become sweaty from working out.

The Fitbit Surge features an always-on touchscreen much larger than its predecessors, which allows for more information to be displayed. The device comes with three physical buttons for easier navigation of options.

The Microsoft Band has a color OLED touchscreen with two physical buttons, one of which is for waking up the display and the other is for activating certain functions of the device. Unlike most fitness bands, tapping on the screen does not immediately turn on the Band's display.

Fitness features

The HTC Grip is able to measure running, sleep, exercise and estimated calories burned, with an onboard GPS for measuring runs. In addition, the device is geared to work with the popular Under Armour Record app. However, it does not include a heart rate tracker, as the device will instead pair with chest-worn heart rate monitors through Bluetooth.

With eight sensors, including an altimeter and GPS, the Fitbit Surge is able to track data such as steps taken, distance traveled, calories burned, floors climbed and running route taken. An optical heart monitor is located underneath the device, along with an automated sleep function that can detect if the user is sleeping to begin sleep tracking.

The Microsoft Band also includes GPS and a heart rate tracker, in addition to the usual fitness band sensors for tracking data. The device is also able to download workouts that the wearer can perform while in the gym, with instructional videos for beginners. The device works with the Microsoft Health platform, which shows promise in getting users to focus on their fitness.

Battery Life

The HTC Grip has an expected 5-hour battery life, the Fitbit Surge has an expected 7-day battery life and the Microsoft Band has an expected 2-day battery life.


The HTC Grip and Microsoft Band have $199 price tags, while the Fitbit Surge can be purchased for $249. The HTC Grip will be available in spring of this year.

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