I’m the type of person who hates wearing any sort of jewelry or accessories and I have been this way my whole life. There is just something about a piece of metal or a device touching my skin that is uncomfortable to me. In fact, about 3 weeks after getting married, I asked my wife if I could switch my very nice metal wedding ring to a rubber ring because I hated the feel of metal on my hand.
So, when it comes to wearables, you could say I’m just a little picky. That said, I am on a new health kick so I wanted something that could track my activity and keep me on pace for my fitness goals.
After doing some research, there was really only two devices I was considering; The Apple Watch Series 3 and the Fitbit Versa. These devices seemed to check all the boxes for what I was looking for so I bought both to compare them and see which one I was going to keep. For those of you who are more visual learners, my video review is below.
After taking both the Fitbit Versa and the Apple Watch Series 3 out of the box I was impressed with their designs. The Apple Watch seemed like it had a little more weight to it and felt a little more solid. The Fitbit was much lighter than the Apple Watch and is also a bit thinner.
I was surprised by how similar they look to each other. It almost seemed like Fitbit took a look at Apple’s sales with their device and decided to clone it to try to capture a share of that market.
One big difference is their bands. The Apple Watch Series 3 Nike+ has one of the most comfortable band I have ever worn. The Fitbit Versa band is the exact opposite. It is stiff and uncomfortable like something you could find at the dollar store. Good news is that you can find plenty of knock of bands for the Versa on Amazon and easily change them out. I personally bought this one that looks like my Apple Watch band.
While both seem to have great build quality, I personally liked the Fitbit Versa a little more because it was lighter and less noticeable on my wrist. However, I think the materials used in the Apple Watch look and feel superior.
Winner: Apple Watch Series 3
Fitness tracking is going to be one of the main reasons most people are going buy one of these devices. After wearing both of these devices for over 2 weeks, I have to say they both track extremely well.
I wore both of these during a couple different workouts and found that they reported nearly identical numbers in terms of steps, calories, heart rate, and more. However, I did find that the Fitbit Versa heart rate monitor caught up to my heart rate faster at the beginning of my workouts than the Apple Watch.
On a couple occasions, I would be 2 minutes into my workout and my Apple Watch would still be at 90 BBM for my heart rate and my Fitbit would be at 120 BBM. But, by the 3-minute mark, they would both be showing 120 BBM.
Other than that, they track nearly identical so I can’t pick a clear winner.
The second reason many people will be buying one of these watches is for smartwatch apps and notifications. Personally, I don’t use apps on my wrist because I find them small, awkward, and extremely basic. I would rather just take out my phone if I need to use an app.
However, I know that not everyone is like me and some may want to just use their watch and leave there phone at home. If that is the case, the Apple Watch is the clear winner. The Apple Watch app store blows the Fitbit Versa out of the water. I mean, it’s not even close.
The Fitbit Versa will relay notifications like calls and texts from your phone (which is all I really want anyway) but that is about it. The app store is pretty much a joke on the Fitbit but they are pretty new to the smartwatch game so they might grow it soon. In the meantime, if you want apps, go with the Apple Watch.
Winner: Apple Watch Series 3
Just like how the Apple Watch blows the Fitbit Versa out of the water in terms of apps, Fitbit returns the favor when it comes to battery life. I easily get 4+ days of battery with the Versa and only 1.5 days with the Apple Watch.
The real bummer about the Apple Watch battery life is that it is tough to do sleep tracking when you have to charge it so often. With the Fitbit, I get a solid 4 nights of sleep tracking before I have to charge it again.
I found myself always checking the Apple Watch battery to make sure it would last if I went out and did something. With the Fitbit, I forget its on my wrist sometimes because I can go days without having to worry about the battery.
This one is no contest.
Winner: Fitbit Versa
This is a little subjective but I liked how Fitbit keeps everything in one easy to access location. I felt like with the Apple Watch that I was jumping around apps to access different information. Tracking was in one app, app store in a different app, fitness records in another app, etc.
I really liked Fitbit’s dashboard with a real-time heart rate and easy to access fitness information. However, I felt like Apple did a better job with smartwatch features like watch faces, notifications, and apps.
I feel like the learning curve for Fitbit’s app is much less than what it is for the Apple Watch. For this reason, I am giving the nod to Fitbit.
Winner: Fitbit Versa
Just like with any Apple product, you will have to pay the extra “Apple Tax” on the Apple Watch. You can find the Apple Watch Series 3 for $359 or it may be on sale here.
The Fitbit Versa goes for a very manageable $199. You can find it on Amazon here.
Even though you could argue you get more with the Apple Watch, I believe the best bang for your buck is the Fitbit.
Winner: Fitbit Versa
To say that there is a clear winner that everyone should choose would be a lie. There is some give and take with both of these devices but, at the end of the day, they are both awesome. It really comes down to preference. I ended up sticking with the Fitbit Versa and here’s why.
First and foremost, I liked the design of the Fitbit better than the Apple Watch. I liked that it was lighter and more flush with my wrist. I sometimes forget I’m wearing the Versa because it is that comfortable. The Apple Watch felt bulky to me and I didn’t like how the heart rate sensor protruded from the bottom which made the device sit higher on my wrist.
Second, the battery life is a big deal for me. I was getting VERY sick of charging the Apple Watch every day and I couldn’t do sleep tracking because I had to charge it at night. The Fitbit goes 4-5 days and has built-in sleep tracking (unlike the Apple Watch).
Third, I wanted a smartwatch to track my fitness and, occasionally, show me notifications. I don’t want or need to use apps on my wrist. I just want something to show me a text or call if my phone isn’t close to me to see if I need to reply. The Fitbit Versa does this perfectly. I just didn’t use all the features on my Apple Watch.
Last, I couldn’t justify the extra $150 for the Apple Watch. I found myself using the Fitbit Versa more than the Apple Watch anyway so why not save some money and keep the device I enjoy more?
Like I said, this is my preference so don’t hate me Apple enthusiasts. The Apple Watch is a terrific device but I found the Fitbit Versa better suited for my needs.
Overall Winner: Fitbit Versa (for me)