If you haven’t already, go check out my Fitbit Versa review.
I will probably be repeating myself with things I mentioned in my Fitbit Versa review, but it is important to explain the differences.
Just so everyone knows, I am comparing the Apple Watch Series 2. While there is a newer version, the Series 3, other than speed and a newer battery, I think this comparison will hold true to most Apple Watch generations.
Size & Design
Lets face it, when trying to put a computer on your wrist, it is more than likely that the finished product will not be pretty. The Fitbit Versa and Apple Watch look very similar. Both have somewhat square bodies that will definitely let everyone know that it is a smartwatch. If you have had Fitbit’s previously, this will be a totally different setup. It is not the small fitness band that it used to be. There is only one size for the Fitbit Versa. It is a 39mm watch which comes in just a little bigger than Apple’s smallest offering.
The Apple Watch has not changed sizes since its release in 2015. Apple offers a 38mm and 42mm watch size. It is nice having two options for different size wrists. I have used the 42mm size since its release and the Fitbit Versa has made me rethink that size.
You cant go wrong with either device as far as it comes to size, in my opinion. I am loving the size of the of the Versa and you have multiple options when it comes to the Apple Watch.
I will tell you up front, the winner is the Fitbit. This is also where my Series 2 starts to show its age, compared to its newest iteration, the Series 3. As mentioned in my Fitbit review, I got three full days and about halfway through a fourth, with the Versa. This blew my mind.
With the my nearly two year old Apple Watch, I get one full day. I have just gotten in the habit, since day one, to throw it on the charger overnight, just like my phone. I will take up for Apple here and say that a new Apple Watch does get better battery life. My fiancé recently got the Series 3 (38mm version–which has a small battery) and she can get two days easily.
While I know both batteries will degrade over time, the Versa is clearly the winner here. Knowing I don’t have to charge it every-night is a huge benefit when it comes to consumer electronics. Apple, take note here
Fitbit’s entire business is based around fitness. So clearly this will fall under the pro category for the Versa. At a quick glance, you can see your steps, distance, heart rate, calories burned, floors climbed and how many active minutes you have moved. As far as workouts are concerned, you can choose from run, bike, swim, treadmill and weights. An awesome feature, that I was surprised to see, was that Fitbit recognized when I started a run and also when I finished.
The Apple Watch’s fitness functionality has grown quite a bit over the years. Now, it is one of the primary reasons I love my watch. Currently, the Apple Watch can track runs, walks, elliptical workouts, a bike workout, rowing, a stair stepper workout, High Intensity Interval Training (life cross-fit) and swimming. Coming this fall, in iOS 12, the Apple Watch will be gaining hiking and yoga workouts. As it stands today, Apple Watch cannot recognize when you start and stop a workout like the Versa does. It will be gaining this feature with iOS 12, as well.
When it comes to the exercise portion of these devices, I would have to say it is a draw and you are getting a top notch fitness device with either.
Focusing on notifications, the Fitbit Versa can receive and display text messages and give you phone call alerts, and that is it. Those notifications are better than nothing but compared to the Apple Watch, it is lacking.
The Apple Watch will give you notification alerts for pretty much every application that you have installed on your phone.
Another benefit the Apple Watch has over the Fitbit Versa, for me personally, is the on screen music/podcast/audio controls. When listening to my podcasts, if I want to skip a couple of seconds ahead, I can simply do that from my watch. Also, when listening to music, I can play/pause/skip track, all from my watch. You cannot do this with the Fitbit.
As far as functionality on these watches, the Apple Watch is, hands down, the winner.
Remember this paragraph when you get to the price part of this post. GPS. The Apple Watch (Series 2 and later) has GPS built in. The Fitbit Versa does not. If you want a Fitbit similar to the Versa with GPS, you have to opt for the Fitbit Ionic, which is an extra $100. The GPS is nice if you like to map your runs or walks. If you take your phone with you on these workouts, the Fitbit Versa will use connected GPS by using your phones GPS connection. For me this was not a big deal since I do take my phone with my on walks and runs.
Apple…please read and re-read this part. Bring third-party Apple Watch options to the Apple Watch. This was probably one of my favorite features of the Fitbit Versa. There were thousands of different watch faces and ways to customize them.
The Apple Watch is very limited in the watch face department. While there are options, in true Apple fashion, you are limited to what Apple wants you to have.
I have to give Fitbit a huge win here as it has proven that third party watch faces are cool and would be awesome on the Apple Watch.
The Fitbit costs $199.95 and $229.95 for a special edition that adds the option for NFC payments and a special charcoal or lavender band.
The Apple Watch costs $329 for the smaller 38mm and $359 for the 42mm versions.
If you are a long-time Fitbit fan and have years of statistics logged through the Fitbit app, I cannot recommend their newest fitness device enough.
But the Versa is just that, in my opinion, a fitness device. The Apple Watch offers so much more if we are talking about smart watches. It is still difficult for me to call the Versa a smart watch in its current state.
So here is where I stand, if you want a smart watch, get the Apple Watch. If you are looking for a fitness device, save a few extra bucks and go with the Versa. You will not be disappointed with either.
Let me know which on you are planning on getting!
Images courtesy of Apple and Fitbit
Disclosure: Some links in this post are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will make a commission if you decide to purchase after clicking the link.