Apple Watch vs Fitbit Versa: which fitness tracker watch is right for you?

Posted:
in Apple Watch edited August 14
We're taking a look at the Apple Watch vs Fitbit ecosystem to see how the Apple Watch Series 4 compares to the top of the line Fitbit Versa to answer the question: which smart watch and fitness tracker is right for you?

Fitbit Versa vs Apple Watch Series 4
Fitbit Versa vs Apple Watch Series 4


Fitbit is mostly known for its fitness trackers, but it also offers products that border on being a smartwatch, such as the Versa. The Apple Watch Series 4 on the other hand is generally considered a smartwatch first, and a fitness tracker second, which for some is a deciding factor in the Apple Watch vs Fitbit showdown.




Similar looking design, but one offers more options

When it comes to build quality, the Apple Watch comes in two different flavors. There's an aluminum variant which is what most people buy, and there's also a more expensive version that is made out of stainless steel which is more luxurious and arguably better looking.

The Apple Watch Series 4 comes in three different colorways: silver, space gray, and gold.

Apple Watch Series 4 in space gray aluminum finish
Apple Watch Series 4 in space gray aluminum finish


The Fitbit Versa is crafted out of an aluminum casing as well, but they don't offer a stainless steel option and it only comes in black, and silver. Both are incredibly well made, and you won't be disappointed with either device.

Apple also offers two different size options, at 40mm and 44mm, whereas Fitbit only offers one. To cap it off, Apple offers an LTE version for the Series 4 where you can use the watch independently and leave your phone at home.

Fitbit Versa
Fitbit Versa

When you go OLED it's hard to go back

While design may be similar in some ways, the displays are a completely different story.

The Fitbit Versa doesn't have a terrible screen - it's big enough to see all your information, and text is legible. But, the Apple Watch's OLED display and higher resolution screen looks a lot nicer with better color reproduction, deeper blacks, and less pixelated visuals compared to the Versa.

Apple Watch Series 4 vs Fitbit Versa: OLED is clearly the far more superior display tech
Apple Watch Series 4 vs Fitbit Versa: OLED is clearly the far more superior display tech


The Versa's screen looks outdated when compared to the Apple Watch Series 4.

Apple Watch vs Fitbit Versa Software integration

One of the major differences between the Apple Watch and Fitbit is software and how it integrates with your smartphone and everyday life. The Apple Watch Series 4 can only be used with an iPhone, whereas the Fitbit Versa can be used with an iPhone or Android device.

Summary screen on the Fitbit Versa after a workout
Summary screen on the Fitbit Versa after a workout


With Fitbit, there is only one app you need to download to check the watch's battery life, your health information, and workout information. With the Apple Watch you have multiple apps, such as the Health app, Watch, and Activity. We think Fitbit's app is more streamlined than Apple's offering -- but that's not necessarily a good thing.

Overall, we think software on the Apple Watch Series 4 is far superior versus the offerings on the Fitbit Versa. The Apple Watch is a lot easier to use, and the overall user experience is faster, a lot cleaner, and more fluid than what you get with the Versa. Despite the streamlining, the Versa's user interface is dated and lags every now and then when quickly going through menus.

Apps on the Apple Watch Series 4
Apps on the Apple Watch Series 4


The Apple Watch can also be used as a relay device for your iPhone to take phone calls or be used as a walkie talkie since it has a built-in speaker. And it has Siri, which works great on the Series 4.

The Fitbit Versa can't take calls or send voice messages to your friends. It also can't ask a voice assistant to figure out what the weather is tomorrow, or when your favorite team is playing next.

Features and Pricing

When it comes to health and fitness, both devices excel at fitness tracking and offer nearly the same level of detail in information when working out and tracking daily activities. Both the Apple Watch and Fitbit Versa offer heart rate, steps, calories, and workout tracking. They are also both waterproof up to 50 meters.

However, there are some features that one has that the other doesn't, and vice versa.

Starting with the Apple Watch Series 4, the Series 4 has GPS built-in so if you rely heavily on this feature for your workouts, the Versa doesn't offer this. The Apple Watch also offers ECG in the US to track any abnormal measurements and potentially helping to detect atrial fibrillation.

Both devices are made out of high quality aluminum
Both devices are made out of high quality aluminum


The Apple Watch has a much-heralded Fall Detection feature which detects if you've taken a hard fall and will call emergency if you're unresponsive for a minute. But, all of these features takes a toll on battery life, and the Apple Watch Series 4 battery will only last you about a day and a half, maybe two if we're being careful about power consumption.

When comparing the Apple Watch vs Fitbit Versa, battery is a primary concern
When comparing the Apple Watch vs Fitbit Versa, battery is a primary concern


On the other hand, the Fitbit Versa has sleep tracking which Apple doesn't offer natively. Apple Watch owners can use third-party apps for sleep tracking, though. The Fitbit Versa can easily last four or five days on a single battery charge with regular usage, and if you're looking for a smartwatch that you don't have to constantly plug in every night, the Fitbit Versa is a top contender.

The Fitbit Versa retails for $199, while the Apple Watch Series 4 40mm starts at $399, though the AppleInsider price guide regularly has discounts of $20 or more. Still, that's a pretty big jump in price and could be a big factor when deciding which is the better device for you.

Smartwatch vs. Fitness Tracker

We had a lot of hope for Fitbit's smart wearables following its acquisition of Pebble, but that doesn't appear to have paid off as much as we wanted it to. If you're looking for the best smartwatch in the market, the Apple Watch Series 4 is the best device out right now, but it comes with a premium price tag.

Track your daily health and workout goals on the Fitbit Versa
Track your daily health and workout goals on the Fitbit Versa


However, if you're strictly looking for a great, basic fitness tracker -- and effectively only a fitness tracker -- that will go days without a charge, that happens to have some smartwatch capabilities to notify you of your missed calls or text messages, the Fitbit Versa may be the right device for you.

Where to buy

If you've decided on an Apple Watch vs Fitbit, but need to find to find the lowest price, the AppleInsider Apple Watch Price Guide delivers daily deals at your fingertips. Apple Watch Series 4 devices are regularly on sale with savings at press time of up to $70 off GPS + Cellular units.

Those looking to enter the Apple Watch ecosystem while adhering to a budget can also pick up an Apple Watch Series 3 for $199.

Prefer the Fitbit Versa? Shoppers can order the fitness tracker from Amazon, often with double-digit savings. From a price perspective, the Fitbit will ring in cheaper when comparing the Apple Watch vs Fitbit.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 28
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 4,958member

    ...

    Features and Pricing

    When it comes to health and fitness, both devices excel at fitness tracking and offer nearly the same level of detail in information when working out and tracking daily activities. Both the Apple Watch and Fitbit Versa offer heart rate, steps, calories, and workout tracking. They are also both waterproof up to 50 meters.
    ...

    Well, that's only true for casual exercisers....   For serious runners, there is only one:   Garmin.   In fact, they start our runs by saying "Start your Garmins".
    The difference is due to a couple things:   
    -- The Garmin has "better" software -- mostly because the Apple Watch software is mostly attuned to casual athletes.  However, as the article noted, it is aided by the fact that you can install third party trackers on it - Strava is very popular.   I use iCardio.
    -- The Garmin has an 'always on' face 
    -- The Garmin is controlled by physical buttons which are easier to use while exercising

    Plus, for the Apple Watch, once you engage all the features, the battery may not make it through a long race.

    Among serious runners that I know, only one uses an Apple Watch -- me!   (It's other benefits out weigh its limitations)
    beowulfschmidtsandor
  • Reply 2 of 28
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 4,958member
    There is another aspect to the FitBits as well:   They offer the thin little (1/2" wide) step counters that some people prefer.   My friend won't use an Apple Watch simply because she doesn't want to deal with big, regular sized watch on her wrist.   But the 'cute little' Fitbit step counter helps her join in with her crowd and the step counter feeds her Weight Watchers app.
  • Reply 3 of 28
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 2,443member

    ...

    Features and Pricing

    When it comes to health and fitness, both devices excel at fitness tracking and offer nearly the same level of detail in information when working out and tracking daily activities. Both the Apple Watch and Fitbit Versa offer heart rate, steps, calories, and workout tracking. They are also both waterproof up to 50 meters.
    ...

    Well, that's only true for casual exercisers....   For serious runners, there is only one:   Garmin.   In fact, they start our runs by saying "Start your Garmins".
    The difference is due to a couple things:   
    -- The Garmin has "better" software -- mostly because the Apple Watch software is mostly attuned to casual athletes.  However, as the article noted, it is aided by the fact that you can install third party trackers on it - Strava is very popular.   I use iCardio.
    -- The Garmin has an 'always on' face 
    -- The Garmin is controlled by physical buttons which are easier to use while exercising

    Plus, for the Apple Watch, once you engage all the features, the battery may not make it through a long race.

    Among serious runners that I know, only one uses an Apple Watch -- me!   (It's other benefits out weigh its limitations)
    I have purchased my last Garmin product. Yuck. 

    My Apple Watch 4 is a huge improvement over the original. Much longer battery.
    macpluspluslolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 28
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,293member
    In two years Garmin will no longer make smart watches. And most likely shopping their IP to be bought out or go bankrupt. 2018 Net Income: - $694 million. It's imploding.
    pscooter63lolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 28
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 8,298member
    It’s easy — if you want to invest in a dying platform which keeps your personal data to itself, get the FitBit. Otherwise, Apple Watch. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 28
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 8,298member
    There is another aspect to the FitBits as well:   They offer the thin little (1/2" wide) step counters that some people prefer.   My friend won't use an Apple Watch simply because she doesn't want to deal with big, regular sized watch on her wrist.   But the 'cute little' Fitbit step counter helps her join in with her crowd and the step counter feeds her Weight Watchers app.
    I don’t know how anyone could claim the smaller AW sizes are big. Plenty of cute straps, too. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 28
    Comparing a fit bit with an apple watch which is double the price is silly. I love my fit bit and the fact that it goes for 7 days without recharging is wonderful. I used to own an apple watch and  having to recharge it every  night ughhh  and the thing weighs a ton !  Double the price fashion accessory, thats all it is really 
    bigtds
  • Reply 8 of 28
    Apple Watch wins because it can be worn as jewelry - at any time, at any event, with any clothing. 
    The Fitbit looks only good when you are wearing athletic wear. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 28
    philboogiephilboogie Posts: 7,451member

    ...

    Features and Pricing

    When it comes to health and fitness, both devices excel at fitness tracking and offer nearly the same level of detail in information when working out and tracking daily activities. Both the Apple Watch and Fitbit Versa offer heart rate, steps, calories, and workout tracking. They are also both waterproof up to 50 meters.
    ...

    Well, that's only true for casual exercisers....   For serious runners, there is only one:   Garmin.   In fact, they start our runs by saying "Start your Garmins".
    The difference is due to a couple things:   
    -- The Garmin has "better" software -- mostly because the Apple Watch software is mostly attuned to casual athletes.  However, as the article noted, it is aided by the fact that you can install third party trackers on it - Strava is very popular.   I use iCardio.
    -- The Garmin has an 'always on' face 
    -- The Garmin is controlled by physical buttons which are easier to use while exercising

    Plus, for the Apple Watch, once you engage all the features, the battery may not make it through a long race.

    Among serious runners that I know, only one uses an Apple Watch -- me!   (It's other benefits out weigh its limitations)
    Good point; many runners use a Garmin. In fact, it's the world's #1 brand for sporters. Indeed, the physical buttons will surely be one of their top features, when comparing it to an Apple watch. Their model with the largest battery lasts for over 32 hours during a workout, something no other brand has. They also have watches designed for triathletes, which do work excellent for that specific goal.

    Plus they have Garmin Pay in my country for over 2 years now. Apple just introduced it here, but I've yet to come across someone actually using that. Even in the Apple Store people just use cash or PIN anyway; Apple is simply too late.

  • Reply 10 of 28
    philboogiephilboogie Posts: 7,451member

    In two years Garmin will no longer make smart watches. And most likely shopping their IP to be bought out or go bankrupt. 2018 Net Income: - $694 million. It's imploding.
    Hmm, awkward post. When I look at their ticker I see they went up from $19 in Dec '08 to $79 now. Their watch lineup is more populair than ever. They are the #1 in the world for sport devices. Expanding their product line, expanding their IP portfolio (Dynastream!)

    After 30 years, not 'imploding'.
    bigtdsGeorgeBMac
  • Reply 11 of 28
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 4,958member
    There is another aspect to the FitBits as well:   They offer the thin little (1/2" wide) step counters that some people prefer.   My friend won't use an Apple Watch simply because she doesn't want to deal with big, regular sized watch on her wrist.   But the 'cute little' Fitbit step counter helps her join in with her crowd and the step counter feeds her Weight Watchers app.
    I don’t know how anyone could claim the smaller AW sizes are big. Plenty of cute straps, too. 
    LOL,,,,  When its more than twice the size, its big.  Even the strap of an Apple Watch is considerably wider than the narrow style 1/2" wide FitBIt.
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 12 of 28
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 4,958member
    Comparing a fit bit with an apple watch which is double the price is silly. I love my fit bit and the fact that it goes for 7 days without recharging is wonderful. I used to own an apple watch and  having to recharge it every  night ughhh  and the thing weighs a ton !  Double the price fashion accessory, thats all it is really 
    And, double the functionality.  But yeh, that functionality comes with trade offs -- like shorter battery life.
  • Reply 13 of 28
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 4,958member
    Apple Watch wins because it can be worn as jewelry - at any time, at any event, with any clothing. 
    The Fitbit looks only good when you are wearing athletic wear. 
    Or, the opposite:   My friend won't wear an Apple Watch -- which she calls big and clunky.  Instead she prefer a narrow style, 1/2" wide fit bit which she wears everywhere to count her steps.

    I think Apple recognized that appearance in any wearable would be an issue for some from the beginning -- which is why they initially emphasized fashion and appearance over all else.  They even tried to make it a status symbol with a ridiculous $10,000 version.  

    While they can clean it up a bit, I still have to agree with my friend that it looks like I have a computer strapped on my wrist.  The difference is:  I'm geeky enough to think that a computer on my wrist is incredibly cool!
  • Reply 14 of 28
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 8,298member
    Comparing a fit bit with an apple watch which is double the price is silly. I love my fit bit and the fact that it goes for 7 days without recharging is wonderful. I used to own an apple watch and  having to recharge it every  night ughhh  and the thing weighs a ton !  Double the price fashion accessory, thats all it is really 
    Since you have to charge your iPhone, the device the Watch is currently an accessory to, it’s rather moot test you have to charge the Watch too. Most people sleep at night and let their devices charge. (I myself wear Watch for sleep tracking and charge it while getting ready in the morning).

    It does not weigh a ton, or even an amount I’ve ever noticed. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 28
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 8,298member

    ...

    Features and Pricing

    When it comes to health and fitness, both devices excel at fitness tracking and offer nearly the same level of detail in information when working out and tracking daily activities. Both the Apple Watch and Fitbit Versa offer heart rate, steps, calories, and workout tracking. They are also both waterproof up to 50 meters.
    ...

    Well, that's only true for casual exercisers....   For serious runners, there is only one:   Garmin.   In fact, they start our runs by saying "Start your Garmins".
    The difference is due to a couple things:   
    -- The Garmin has "better" software -- mostly because the Apple Watch software is mostly attuned to casual athletes.  However, as the article noted, it is aided by the fact that you can install third party trackers on it - Strava is very popular.   I use iCardio.
    -- The Garmin has an 'always on' face 
    -- The Garmin is controlled by physical buttons which are easier to use while exercising

    Plus, for the Apple Watch, once you engage all the features, the battery may not make it through a long race.

    Among serious runners that I know, only one uses an Apple Watch -- me!   (It's other benefits out weigh its limitations)
    Plus they have Garmin Pay in my country for over 2 years now. Apple just introduced it here, but I've yet to come across someone actually using that. Even in the Apple Store people just use cash or PIN anyway; Apple is simply too late.
    Huh? Apple Pay has been out for many years now. It’s just NFC tap to pay, you can use it practically anywhere with a modern NFC POS terminal all over the world. 

    Conversely, I’ve never heard anyone use, ask, or talk about Garmin Pay. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 28
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 8,298member


    In two years Garmin will no longer make smart watches. And most likely shopping their IP to be bought out or go bankrupt. 2018 Net Income: - $694 million. It's imploding.
    Hmm, awkward post. When I look at their ticker I see they went up from $19 in Dec '08 to $79 now. Their watch lineup is more populair than ever. They are the #1 in the world for sport devices. Expanding their product line, expanding their IP portfolio (Dynastream!)

    After 30 years, not 'imploding'.
    Are you serious? Runner watches is about as niche a product market as you can get. You can’t build an empire on that alone; see Fitbit and their struggles. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 28
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 8,298member

    There is another aspect to the FitBits as well:   They offer the thin little (1/2" wide) step counters that some people prefer.   My friend won't use an Apple Watch simply because she doesn't want to deal with big, regular sized watch on her wrist.   But the 'cute little' Fitbit step counter helps her join in with her crowd and the step counter feeds her Weight Watchers app.
    I don’t know how anyone could claim the smaller AW sizes are big. Plenty of cute straps, too. 
    LOL,,,,  When its more than twice the size, its big.  Even the strap of an Apple Watch is considerably wider than the narrow style 1/2" wide FitBIt.
    If we’re going to use relativity as our determining factor for what’s big on a wrist, then I’ll cite a gold bracelet — making the Fitbit huge.

    No, the smaller AWs remain dainty.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 28
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 8,298member

    Apple Watch wins because it can be worn as jewelry - at any time, at any event, with any clothing. 
    The Fitbit looks only good when you are wearing athletic wear. 
    Or, the opposite:   My friend won't wear an Apple Watch -- which she calls big and clunky.  Instead she prefer a narrow style, 1/2" wide fit bit which she wears everywhere to count her steps.

    I think Apple recognized that appearance in any wearable would be an issue for some from the beginning -- which is why they initially emphasized fashion and appearance over all else.  They even tried to make it a status symbol with a ridiculous $10,000 version.  

    While they can clean it up a bit, I still have to agree with my friend that it looks like I have a computer strapped on my wrist.  The difference is:  I'm geeky enough to think that a computer on my wrist is incredibly cool!
    If you friend thinks an AW looks like a computer but her janky plastic Fitbit doesn’t, what can we say? Don’t do drugs, kids. I wear the steel Watch with nice leather straps and there’s nothing computer-y about it. Looks great at dinner, the theatre, etc. 

    The $10,000 AW did it’s job — got celebrities wearing them, generated buzz, and helped make the AW something that normals are completely comfortable with as a hidden-tech accessory that matches your existing style. Pick a material, a color, and straps for all occasions. 

    I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing a janky plastic Fitbit to a fancy dinner, job interview, etc. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 28
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,642member
    When a Fitbit was fairly inexpensive and you could get them BOGO at Costco, I guess people did not care if they failed or broke on a regular basis. Now Fitbit is trying to step up their game and play in the Apple space they need to figure out how to make a better quality product.

    I know a couple of people who I been unsuccessful at convincing them to get an Apple Watch who still insist on using Fit bit. I think a few now just are doing so they do not have to admit they are wasting their money.  I can tell you a few of them are on their 3 or 4th Versa from Fitbit. They has various issues with the Versa and the ones prior to it. At one point Fitbit allowed them to upgrade to the Versa at discount after they had a number of failures of a pervious Fitbit products.

    The one friend had bands that broke or the color faded which Fitbit would not replace, so they ended up buying third party bands on amazon and believe it or not those held up better than the Fitbit one. He also had two devices replaced because the screen would just blackout and would not come back on unless you forced a reset. If Fitbit is going to charge near Apple pricing their quality better be the same or better. When you sell Sub $100 items I guess it is okay to have it break all the time. 

    I did finally convince one co-worker to go to an Apple watch, it was after her husband and a incident on a running trail and passed out We was lucky someone came along less than a minute after going down and found him on the trail. He was taken to the hospital, since he was unconscious and he could not tell the hospital anything about himself or who to contact. I told the friend about the Apple SOS and medical alert information and she go him one.  She now has an apple watch since she notice how well the Apple watch worked her husband and dose not fail.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 28
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,642member
    Comparing a fit bit with an apple watch which is double the price is silly. I love my fit bit and the fact that it goes for 7 days without recharging is wonderful. I used to own an apple watch and  having to recharge it every  night ughhh  and the thing weighs a ton !  Double the price fashion accessory, thats all it is really 
    I give the charge it every night took a little getting use to, coming from a watch which I replaced the battery once every 3 yrs or my self-winding watch it was a hard switch over. I also get your weight issue, I have gone back an forth on watch weight. I even had Titanium self-winding watch which you barely knew was on your wrist. I also had heavy stainless steel watches and I tend to like heavy over too light which I found the Titanium watch being too light for various reason. One which is you tend to forget you have it on. The Apple watch is not too light nor too heavy, it just heavy enough to know it is there.

    watto_cobra
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