Which Fitbits have GPS?

You finish running this incredible route through rolling hills and with very little traffic from cars. You want to do it again tomorrow, but when you get home, you realize that you completely forgot how you got there. You could have used the GPS in your phone and the Fitbit app to track your route, but you didn't take your phone with you because you wanted to avoid the constant interruptions of texts and calls.

And, let's face it, smartphones aren't getting any smaller! If you'd had a fitness tracker with GPS, your problem would be solved, wouldn't it? Let's take a closer look into GPS and find out which Fitbits have it.

What is it?

GPS stands for Global Positioning System. It's that thing in your phone that tells you where you are, and that you can use to find your way in an unfamiliar area. Developed by the U.S. military, the first GPS satellite was launched in 1978. It had strictly military applications until 1996, when President Clinton made the system available for public use.

GPS has three working components. The first thing it needs is a satellite, one of 28 that orbit the Earth from 11,000 nautical miles up. Next it needs a receiver, for example, your phone when you have GPS turned on. Finally, it needs a station, one of five located around the world to ensure that the system remains operational. Here's an interesting fact about GPS: regardless of where you are on Earth, there are four GPS satellites around that can track you.

Why is it important?

Having GPS on your fitness tracker can be a cool gimmick or a useful feature, depending on your purposes. For example, if you want to measure how much your running speed has increased since you started training, then GPS uses the information about your location, where you started from, and how long it took you to get there to calculate your speed.

It can also tell you your elevation, important if, for instance, you want to measure how fast you're able to reach the top of that hill on your route. Lastly, it can show you the route you took on your run, something cool to know, and needed if you wanted to repeat it.

Which Fitbits have it?

The only Fitbit to date that has onboard GPS is the Surge. It gives you information about distance, elevation, pace, split-times, and shows you your routes.

It includes a dedicated GPS battery that gives you about 10 hours of use between charges.

Interestingly, the upcoming Blaze uses the GPS on your phone to give you similar statistics, but it will not include a GPS tracker in the unit itself.

So, if having onboard GPS is important for you, then the Surge is the way to go.

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Cool factor 5,000

Whether you're a runner who wants to track everything or you're just a fitness geek who wants to show off your gadget that can do everything, except take out the trash, having a fitness tracker with onboard GPS, such as the Surge, has a high cool factor. Admit it – you want it – you know you do!

Kathy McGraw

Girl gamer, bookish sort, sci-fi and fantasy lover and writer. Now creating helpful content for Mobile Nations.