Versa-tile Fitness Watch

Fitbit Versa 3

Fitbit Versa 3

The Apple Watch for Nearly Everyone

Apple Watch SE

Apple Watch SE

The newest Fitbit Versa received some significant upgrades from the previous version, like onboard GPS, Active Zone Minutes, improved heart rate monitoring, and an upgraded case and band design. It's a price increase over the Versa 2, but still cheaper than the Apple Watch SE.

$230 at Amazon

Pros

  • Onboard GPS
  • Access to Amazon Alexa and the Google Assistant
  • Improved heart rate and SpO2 monitoring
  • Active Zone Minutes feature
  • Always-on display
  • Works on Android and iOS

Cons

  • No LTE option
  • Fitbit OS is underbaked compared to Apple's WatchOS
  • Processor is noticeably slower than on Apple Watch

Some may dismiss the Apple Watch SE at their own peril, but it's primed to be the most popular Apple Watch of the year. It brings forward much of the design and specs of the Series 4 and 5 at a price $200 lower than the Series 6. But it only works on iOS.

From $279 at Apple

Pros

  • 90% of the premium Apple Watch for hundreds less
  • Available in Wi-Fi or LTE models
  • Apple processor is faster than what Fitbit offers

Cons

  • More expensive than Versa 3
  • Doesn't work with Android phones
  • Doesn't have the newest Apple silicon
  • No always-on display

You might think it a bit odd to pit the Apple Watch SE vs. the Fitbit Versa 3 here on Android Central since you can't even use an Apple Watch with an Android phone. But these two smartwatches have a lot more in common than you might realize. Plus, we know many of our readers either also carry an iPhone or have a friend or family member who does. That's why it's important to understand how it matches up against one of our favorite smartwatches for Android users.

Apple Watch SE vs. Fitbit Versa 3: How they stack up

Apple Watch Se 2020 LifestyleSource: Luke Filipowicz / iMore

These two smartwatches look an awful lot alike, at least from a distance. The Apple Watch SE comes in a broader range of options, but the Fitbit Versa 3 also has its own advantages.

Fitbit Versa 3 Apple Watch SE
Display 1.58-inch AMOLED, 336x336 1.53 for the 40mm and 1.73 for the 44mm
394x324 for the 40 mm and 448x368 for the 44mm
Dimensions 40mm 40mm
44mm
Colors Black, gold Space gray, silver, gold
Sensors GPS + GLONASS, optical heart rate sensor, gyroscope, 3-axis accelerometer, altimeter, SpO2, ambient light sensor GPS + GLONASS and Galileo, optical heart rate sensor, gyroscope, accelerometer, altimeter, SpO2, ambient light sensor
Connectivity
Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n 5.0, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
Battery life 6+ days Up to 18 hours
Water resistance Value Value
Onboard GPS 5ATM Value
NFC payments Fitbit Pay Apple Pay
Music playback Onboard storage for Deezer and Pandora
Spotify app controls
Onboard storage and streaming (LTE version)
LTE option No Yes
Service is an additional expense through a carrier
Microphone Yes Yes
Speaker Yes Yes
Third-party watch faces Yes No
Voice assistant Alexa
Google Assistant
Siri
Subscription plans Fitbit Premium
free for first 6 months
$9.99/month after
Apple Fitness+
free for first 3 months
$9.99/month after
Special features Active Zone Minutes Fall detection
Noise monitoring
Compass

Apple Watch SE vs. Fitbit Versa 3: Apple advantages

Apple Watch Se 2020 LifestyleSource: Luke Filipowicz / iMore

When it comes to ecosystem integration, the Apple Watch SE wins hands-down here; at least if you have an iPhone. With an iOS device, you get industry-leading software smoothness and integration, the best wearable processor available, and tons of buy options.

Apple watches are available not only with adjustable bands (and oh, how many bands to choose from) but in different case sizes as well. You can opt for a GPS-only watch (which is all you get with Fitbit), or GPS + LTE for making calls and texts on the go or streaming audio from your data plan (although that's an additional expense).

When it comes to ecosystem integration, the Apple Watch SE wins hands-down here; at least if you have an iPhone.

Even though Apple has broken with tradition (or at least, that's the perception) of only offering expensive products, it has continued introducing more wallet-friendly options over the past few years. The Apple Watch SE certainly fits in nicely among a lineup that includes the standard 10.2-inch iPad, regular AirPods, and iPhone SE.

This version is not the cheapest Apple Watch ever (that distinction goes to the still-available Apple Watch Series 3), but it is the most affordable new watch the company has released. Respect and recognition should be given to Apple where it is due. However, at its cheapest, the SE is still nearly $50 more expensive than the Versa 3. Once you consider a 44mm model with LTE and accessories, that price difference increases by $100 to almost $500 depending on the band you choose.

Another major bummer is that the Apple Watch SE and its siblings won't work with Android phones, much to our dismay. I can name dozens of Android faithful that would happily rock an Apple Watch over just about anything that Wear OS, Fitbit, or other Android smartwatches can offer, but it's just not meant to be.

Finally, Apple had to make a few sacrifices to bring the price down on the Apple Watch SE, and one of those sacrifices is a lack of an always-on display. You may scoff at this omission, but once you've had an always-on display like the one available on the Fitbit Versa 3, you don't want to lose it.

Apple Watch SE vs. Fitbit Versa 3: Fitbit Versa-tility

Fitbit Versa 3Source: Fitbit

The Versa 3 is the best Versa yet and the standard-bearer in its popular line of Versa smartwatches, but it's no longer the top dog in Fitbit's world. That honor goes to the new Fitbit Sense holistic health smartwatch.

Even though it's not technically the top-of-the-line, it should still be the most popular Fitbit smartwatch due to its balance of style, features, and price. The Versa 3 also has quite a few advantages over the Apple Watch SE, including battery life, voice assistant access, and OS flexibility.

The Fitbit Versa 3 should be the most popular Fitbit smartwatch due to its balance of style, features, and price.

Compared to the Apple Watch SE's paltry 18-hour battery life, the Versa 3 can last up to six days or more on a single charge! And while Siri is useful for iOS and WatchOS users, nothing beats the flexibility of having not one, but two voice assistants at the ready. Versa 3 users can choose between Amazon's Alexa or the Google Assistant, which they can access on their wrist thanks to the built-in microphones and speakers. And now that the EU seems to have paved the way for Google's Fitbit acquisition to be approved, we expect more good Googly features in the future!

As Android users, what ultimately matters the most to us is whether we can use a smartwatch with our phone, and guess what? The Versa works not only on iOS but also on Android. In fact, you could argue that it works even better on Android since on Android, you can do things like responding to messages and notifications. In contrast, you can only see the notifications on iOS.

All that being said, there are a few drawbacks to the Versa 3 when compared to the Apple Watch SE. For one, the software experience of Fitbit OS pales in comparison to how smooth Watch OS is on an Apple Watch (though to be fair, all watch operating systems fall short here).

Additionally, while you can download music from apps like Pandora and Deezer to your Fitbit Versa 3, and even control Spotify from an app on your wrist, the Versa 3 does not have LTE. Hence, there is no music streaming available. The same goes for on-the-go communication. Without your phone, you're incommunicado.

Apple Watch SE vs. Fitbit Versa 3: Which should you choose?

Fitbit Versa 3 Source: Fitbit

It's hardly a surprise as an Android site that we would favor a watch that, you know, actually works with an Android phone. Of course, that's not the only reason we're siding with the Fitbit Versa 3 here, but it's the deciding factor. With the Versa 3, you get nearly all of the benefits of an Apple Watch, plus a few extras, for much less.

It is also worth noting that both watches come with a limited free trial of each company's respective fitness services. The Fitbit Versa 3 comes with six months of Fitbit Premium, which is then $9.99/month, whereas the Apple Watch SE comes with three months of Apple Fitness+, and then users can opt to continue for $9.99/month.

Good Enough for Most

Fitbit Versa 3

Fitbit Versa 3

Iterative updates to one of our favorites

The Versa 3 brings a slightly refreshed case design and better band management to Fitbit's popular line of fitness watches. This version also adds on-device GPS, an improved heart-rate sensor, Active Zone Minutes, and Google Assistant.

The Other Half

Apple Watch SE

Apple Watch SE

A more accessible Apple Watch

The SE is the Apple Watch for the masses. With an approachable price point and most of the features of the Series 6, this looks to be among the best values in the smartwatch space. But remember, it's iOS only.

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