Apple Watch Three vs. Fitbit Versa: Which smartwatch must you purchase?


The Fitbit Versa ($163 at Walmart) and Apple Watch ($199 at Apple) are each succesful smartwatches that even have the added advantages of keeping track of your well being and health. The Versa is the extra fashionable and extra inexpensive sibling to the Fitbit Ionic ($160 at Walmart), costing round $150 (£149, AU$249) whereas the most cost effective Apple Watch is $199 (£199, AU$319).

So, how do you select between the Fitbit Versa and the Apple Watch 3? CNET’s Vanessa Hand Orellana and Lexy Savvides wore them each final yr for a few week aspect by aspect to determine which greatest match their wants.

We selected to check the Fitbit Versa to the Apple Watch Collection 3 (fairly than the Collection 4) as a result of it is a fairer taking part in discipline: they’re nearer in worth and general options. Fitbit has additionally launched a less expensive model of its watch referred to as Versa Lite, which misses out on some options together with music storage and swim monitoring, and the Versa 2, which is an up to date model. Discover the comparability between the Fitbit Versa 2 and the newest Apple Watch Collection 5
right here.

Learn extra: Fitbit Cost Four overview: GPS is a recreation changer for runners

Sarah Tew/CNET

For those who’re out there for an Apple Watch, however do not wish to pay an excessive amount of, the $199 Apple Watch Three continues to be an amazing alternative. It has many of the options because the Apple Watch Four and 5 apart from the bigger display on each and the all the time on show on the Watch 5. 

As such it nonetheless has a heart-rate monitor, GPS and the power to answer texts from the watch itself. Between the Versa and the Watch 3, that is the only option for iPhone customers. 

Learn our Apple Watch Collection Three overview.

Android customers ought to select the Fitbit Versa because it’s each Android and iOS appropriate. It is also the selection if lengthy battery life is necessary to you. It would not have almost as many options because the Apple Watch, but it surely’s additionally about $40 cheaper. 

Learn our Fitbit Versa overview.

How we examined


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Apple Watch vs. Fitbit Versa: Head-to-head



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Design and sturdiness

The 2 watches share an analogous design, interchangeable straps, a number of metallic finishes and quite a lot of watch faces to customise the look. They’re each water-proof to 50 meters, so you may put on them within the bathe or use them to trace laps within the pool.

These are the information, however this is just a few issues we like and dislike about every watch’s design:

Fitbit Versa

  • It is actually comfy to put on, as a result of it is so skinny and sits flush in your wrist, and since it is so mild.
  • There are three completely different buttons on the Versa and it is complicated to work out which button does what.
  • Altering the band is an actual battle — it is extraordinarily fiddly.

Apple Watch

  • Swapping the straps out is a breeze.
  • The display has slimmer bezels than the Versa, so it has a smaller footprint on the wrist. 
  • However the LTE model is thicker and the sensor on the underside bulges out and might dig into your pores and skin when the strap is pulled tight.

Learn extra: The 13 greatest Apple Watch bands to get on Amazon

Smartwatch options

Whereas each mirror notifications out of your cellphone, solely the Apple Watch provides you limitless responses. Android customers can program fast replies on the Versa, however its lack of microphone means you may’t dictate or scribble a response like you may with the Apple Watch.  

Fitbit Versa

  • It is appropriate with Android and iOS.
  • Vibrations are fairly weak, even at max vibrate, so it is simple to overlook notifications.
  • Not all third-party app notifications got here via after we had been testing.
  • There is a restricted variety of apps accessible within the retailer on the time of writing (listed below are just a few price your time).
  • Fitbit Pay is simply accessible if you happen to purchase the Particular Version, which prices $30 extra within the US. However elsewhere on the earth, the Versa comes with NFC for cell funds by default. The record of supported banks is not as massive as Apple Pay.

Apple Watch

  • You are tied into the Apple ecosystem, so you may solely use it with an iPhone ($900 at Enhance Cell), not Android.
  • It has many extra smartwatch options than the Versa, like having the ability to ring your cellphone or unlock a Mac. 
  • Transferring playing cards out of your digital pockets to the Look ahead to Apple Pay is easy.
  • With the ability to go away your iPhone behind (when utilizing the LTE model) means you do not really feel disconnected if it’s worthwhile to hail an Uber or Lyft, or get a name or message throughout a exercise.
  • In case you have a number of languages setup in your cellphone, voice dictation would not all the time select the precise language.

Well being and health monitoring

For those who’re doing a number of out of doors actions, leaving your cellphone behind is probably not an choice with the Versa due to its lack of GPS. In our real-world use, we did not miss the GPS as a lot as we thought, however you will not get as correct a learn of tempo and distance when it isn’t paired to the cellphone.

The Versa also can act as a private coach with the Coach app that comes with just a few primary exercises, or fork out $40 (£30, AU$60) a yr for limitless entry. It reveals you the strikes proper in your wrist — and having the ability to provoke a guided coaching session in your front room is a recreation changer if you happen to’re tight on time. Fitbit’s stand reminders are additionally higher than on the Apple Watch: By requiring 250 steps an hour to “win,” it is extra targeted on motivating common motion.

fitbit-versa-coach

The Coach app on the Versa has a number of exercises and guides you thru every transfer.


Lexy Savvides/CNET

Visible cues on the Apple Watch solely offer you notifications to face or hold transferring throughout the day fairly than information you thru exercises, though there are many third-party apps that may assist fill that hole. And it is very easy to turn out to be hooked on closing your rings if you happen to’re motivated by these types of notifications.

The Versa features a feminine health-tracking function on the watch, which you’ll be able to see whenever you swipe up from the lock display. Log your final interval on the Fitbit app and it predicts your subsequent fertile window, primarily based on this information. You may’t log the data straight on the watch, however you may see how lengthy you’ve got till your subsequent window straight out of your wrist. The Apple Watch has third-party period-tracking apps that do the identical factor, however they don’t seem to be baked into the interface.

Learn extra: One of the best well being units that sync along with your iPhone and Apple Watch

Deciphering your exercise

Each allow you to dive right into a deeper breakdown of your health information over time. Fitbit consolidates all this into its principal cellphone app, whereas the Apple Watch splits this throughout the Watch app, the Exercise app and the Well being app on the iPhone.

Having your health metrics throughout three completely different apps might be complicated if you happen to’re trying to observe progress over time. Once more, there are many third-party apps accessible for the Watch that allow you to discover all the things in a single place. Vanessa’s a fan of Nike Plus Run Membership for runs or AllTrails for hikes, whereas Lexy prefers Strava to trace progress towards earlier exercises and different customers.

The Fitbit app was higher at translating heart-rate readings into helpful data, like telling you if you happen to had been in a fat-burning, cardio or peak zone throughout a exercise. Apple’s heart-rate information within the Exercise app might be arduous to interpret by itself as a result of there is not any baseline to check it to. The closest function is the color-coded route map that reveals you how briskly you had been going throughout every a part of your journey — inexperienced is quick and crimson is sluggish. However the Apple Watch now has higher exercise monitoring options with WatchOS 5, together with higher instruments for runners which will give it an edge over the Fitbit. 

apple-watch-hr-map

The coloured overlay reveals your tempo at every stage of your exercise when utilizing the Apple Watch with GPS.


Screenshot by Lexy Savvides/CNET

Our largest grievance concerning the Fitbit app? It would not present you elevation achieve for particular person actions, so for hikes uphill the one approach to determine altitude is from the abstract web page on the watch, though this appears to vanish after you end a exercise. 

Each have third-party apps, although many huge companions appear to be much less invested in growing wrist-based apps, with Google Maps, Amazon, eBay and Instagram all leaving the Apple Watch platform within the final yr or so.

Music

You may sync songs to every watch whereas they cost. The Versa has 2.5GB of storage put aside for music, which is round 300 songs, whereas the Apple Watch has 8GB for music on the LTE mannequin (2GB when you’ve got a non-LTE model).

Fitbit Versa

  • Syncing music is a problem as a result of it’s worthwhile to use the desktop app. It takes a very long time if you happen to switch plenty of songs.
  • You may solely load music you personal and nothing with DRM safety.
  • For those who pay for Deezer or Pandora, you may sync playlists and stations for when you do not have your cellphone (Pandora is US solely).

Apple Watch

  • Syncing music is simpler than the Versa as a result of you are able to do it out of your cellphone. However it’s a must to have the songs in your Apple Music library (Spotify is obtainable on the Apple Watch, however solely to manage playback from the app in your cellphone).
  • Streaming over LTE is feasible via Apple Music so long as you are a paid subscriber, or you may hearken to Beats1 radio if you happen to do not subscribe.
  • However streaming music over LTE is a serious drag on battery life.

Battery life

The place the Fitbit actually shines is battery life. After 5 days sporting the Versa all day throughout exercises, however not listening to music, it nonetheless had about 10 % battery remaining.

The Apple Watch struggles by comparability, particularly if you happen to’re utilizing battery-intensive options reminiscent of LTE and GPS. For those who’re simply monitoring a exercise, mirroring notifications or responding to texts, you may get a few full day’s use earlier than it’s a must to cost it — something additional is a bonus.

Each use proprietary chargers, however they do juice up pretty shortly.

apple-watch-power

The Apple Watch has an influence reserve function that allows you to preserve battery but it surely disables all options other than telling the time.


John Kim/CNET

Learn extra: The 7 greatest Apple Watch chargers you should buy on Amazon

Futureproofing

As a substitute of updating the Versa with a wholly new mannequin, Fitbit launched a Lite model of the watch in 2019 with a less expensive worth and a few options lacking. This is our information that will help you select between just a few completely different Fitbit trackers. The https://www.cnet.com/information/fitbit-charge-4-is-the-perfect-alternative-to-bulky-fitness-watches/ was additionally just lately introduced. 

The Apple Watch is a distinct story. Apple launched the Collection 4 in September 2018, with added well being options and a barely bigger display, however nonetheless shares a number of the identical options because the Collection Three with the newest WatchOS 5 replace. The Apple Watch Collection 5 goes one step additional with an always-on display. 

And our winner is?

Vanessa: I ended up sporting the Fitbit extra, solely for the longer battery life. Even once I forgot to cost it I may seize it as I used to be operating out the door within the morning realizing it might a minimum of have sufficient juice to get me via the day. However the Apple Watch is a way more versatile machine — I did miss a lot of its options, particularly GPS and the textual content responses, which allowed me to interrupt free from my cellphone.

Lexy: For those who’re an iPhone consumer and desire a smarter companion that may additionally free you out of your cellphone on occasion, the Apple Watch is probably going a greater match. I like that the Versa is so comfy, works throughout Android and iOS and has wonderful battery life, however I would decide the Watch as a result of it will probably accomplish that rather more.

The Fitbit Versa and Apple Watch Collection Three acquired the identical general score from our CNET editors after they had been reviewed, Eight out of 10.

Apple Watch Three vs. Fitbit Versa

Apple Watch 3 Fitbit Versa
Show 38mm: 1.5-inch OLED; 42mm: 1.65-inch OLED 1.34-inch LCD
Decision 38mm: 340×272 ; 42mm: 390×312 300×300
Wi-Fi Sure Sure
GPS Sure No
LTE Sure No
Fall detection No No
Coronary heart-rate sensor Sure (optical) Sure
Ambient mild sensor Sure Sure
Waterproof Sure Sure
Value $199 $162 (Walmart)

Fitbit Versa overview: One of the best fusion of smartwatch and basic health tracker below $200.

Apple Watch Collection Three overview: Nonetheless the most effective smartwatch.



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