The Fitbit Versa has been out for a little while now, so it’s a great time to talk about how it stacks up to the Apple Watch for those of you who are considering between the two. There are some obvious differences between the Versa and the Apple Watch, but we’ll talk about the specific similarities and differences in tracking, interface, and style so you can make an informed decision.
We’re talking here about the Apple Watch Series 3, but you can read our review of the 3 and learn the differences between it and the Series 1 and 2 here.
Table of Contents
Key Features & Design
Both of these smartwatches offer a smartwatch-y appeal, though the Fitbit feels less smart and more fitness-focused than the Apple Watch. Whichever one you get, however, you’ll enjoy these key features:
- Water resistance to 50 meters
- Music control
- Alerts and notifications
- Activity tracking
- Heart rate monitor
- Fitness tracking and goals
The design of both is fairly similar, with Fitbit making a move toward a more universally-friendly design after the widely-panned Ionic. The Versa has a slightly more squared face versus the Apple Watch, but the biggest difference is button placement. Overall these two are similar enough but one over the other is likely to appeal to most consumers (we prefer the Versa!).
These are the primary similarities between these two smartwatches. Essentially, you can assume you’ll have a smartwatch feel in either one, with options like customizing the look, adding apps, and basic notifications and controls. Either offers great fitness and activity tracking capabilities, so you don’t have to sacrifice the fitness features if you choose one over the other.
Both offer music storage, though the preferred app and method vary (iTunes vs. Pandora). Both have plenty of accessories available, though Apple’s tend to be more plentiful and better overall.
There are many more differences than there are similarities, so let’s take a look at those next.
For a lot of consumers, built-in GPS is a huge selling point in today’s technology. It comes at a higher price tag, however, so many devices have only connected GPS, which simply means the device has to have a nearby smartphone with GPS capability and it will connect to it. This is the case with the Versa, which has only connected GPS, whereas the Apple Watch has built in GPS. Sure, you’ll pay more, but if you want to have GPS built-in, your only option of the two is Apple.
The fitness tracking on the two devices is the same in that they both track things like steps, flights of stairs climbed, exercise, and so forth. But the manner of showing you data and helping you set goals and whatever else is decidedly different. Fitbit does a nice job of offering universal activity and exercise tracking within the app itself. With Apple, many users actually download other apps to handle the fitness data (though Fitbit also has many of the same big name apps like Strava).
This is hard to call a winner on because both do a good job with tracking, but the interface and functionality are very different, and users tend to strongly prefer one over the other. We call this a tie, but we do prefer the Fitbit tracking over Apple.
Related: See our full review of the Versa here.
No question here: the Fitbit kills the Apple Watch in battery life, with around 4 days of battery life. The Apple Watch, on the other hand, only gives you up to 18 hours. Even on a bad day, the Versa will far outperform Apple in this category.
This is related to the last category because sleep tracking just isn’t an option with Apple because of the battery life. Plus Fitbit’s sleep tracking is fantastic, so there’s just not contest here.
One of the absolute greatest things about the Fitbit Versa is its price. At under $200, it’s practically a steal given the price of other smartwatches, and given all of its features. The Apple Watch Series 3 is at least $130 more.
Note: You can buy the Series 1 for around the same price, but you won’t get water resistance or a few other features.
OS and Compatibility
Here’s the thing: The Apple Watch is only going to work for you if you have an iPhone. The Fitbit Versa will work for either Android or Apple, but quick replies are only available on Android.
Both of these watches offer a special edition version that gives you something extra. For Fitbit, the Special Edition simply means you can have contactless payments through Fitbit Pay and a fancier band. The Apple Watch gives you an option to add LTE, so you can truly go phone-free and have everything you need.
Overall, we prefer the Versa because of its battery life, price tag, and the Fitbit app. It simply offers more at a lower price, and it feels more universal. The Apple Watch will appeal to a certain niche, however, and you won’t really lose out on anything by picking it. No matter which smartwatch you end up with, you’ll get smartwatch capabilities, fitness tracking, and an attractive device.