Fitbit Charge 5 vs. Fitbit Versa 3: Which should you buy?

Athletes have two main camps when it comes to choosing a fitness device for their wrists: They either prefer health and wellness trackers that look like sports bands, or smartwatches that resemble wristwatches with larger faces. You either prioritize comfort and simplicity, or more visible data and a more traditional design. 

With the Fitbit Versa 3 and Charge 5, it's really down to that same debate, as both have very similar tools packaged in very different forms. So, which should you choose?

Fitbit Charge 5 vs. Fitbit Versa 3: Comparing specs

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Before we do a deep dive into the design and feature differences between the Versa 3 and Charge 5, here is an overall look at how the two compare:

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell - Column 0 Fitbit Charge 5Fitbit Versa 3
Battery LifeUp to seven days (five hours with continuous GPS)Up to six days (12 hourswith continuous GPS)
Display1.04-inch AMOLED 1.58-inch AMOLED
Weight29 grams40 grams
Display Resolution326ppi300ppi
Water-ResistantUp to 50 metersUp to 50 meters
TrackingBuilt-in GPSBuilt-in GPS
Music StorageNoneDeezer, Pandora
ConnectivityWi-Fi, BluetoothWi-Fi, Bluetooth
NotificationsYesYes
Heart Rate MonitorYesYes
AltimeterNoYes
Other SensorsSpO2, ECG, skin temperatureSpO2, skin temperature
Access to AppsNoYes
Voice AssistantNoYes
Tap-to-payYesYes
ColorsBlack/Graphite, Lunar White/Soft Gold, Steel Blue/PlatinumMidnight/Soft Gold Aluminum, Black/Black, Pink Clay/Soft Gold, Olive/Soft Gold, Thistle/Soft Gold
CompatibilityAndroid, iOSAndroid, iOS

While these two wrist-worn devices share similarities in features, there are some notable differences as well that go behind their design. Getting down to the nitty-gritty will help you decide which one is the best for you.

Fitbit Charge 5 vs. Fitbit Versa 3: How they differ in look and style

Fitbit Charge 5

(Image credit: Jeramy Johnson / Android Central)

Our Fitbit Charge 5 review described the tracker's design as "rounded, organic, and overall more refined than the blockier look" of older Charge trackers, while also "better conforming to the contours of my wrist." Its bright AMOLED display is easily visible in direct sunlight, and its mere 1.02 ounces weight is feathery on your wrist.

For comparison, our Fitbit Versa 3 review praises the wide "squircle" design, the "attractive and sturdy aluminum alloy" casing, and the new band attachment design that improves on the older Versas. I'll note here that both the Versa 3 and Charge 5 use proprietary bands, meaning you can't swap in your favorites from your other favorite fitness trackers and watches.

The Charge 5's small band fits wrists with a circumference of 130-170mm, while the large is from 170-210mm. The Versa 3's fits 140-180mm and 180-220mm, respectively, so those with thicker wrists might prefer the Versa 3. Though keep in mind that both work with a variety of optional accessories, including other bands.

Fitbit Versa 3 Heart Rate

(Image credit: Jeramy Johnson / Android Central)

The Charge 5 is fully reliant on its touchscreen, while the Versa 3 has a single faux button that makes you squeeze the watch to activate the face or return to a previous screen. In both cases, this can cause UI issues. The Charge 5 touchscreen is "very hit or miss" when your fingers get sweaty, which can lead to frustrating moments trying to check something during a workout. 

As for the Versa 3, its side button can be finicky, though post-launch firmware updates have really helped on that front. If you're at all concerned, the Versa 3 at least gives you more control options. 

The Charge 5 comes in black/graphite stainless, lunar white/soft gold, or steel blue/platinum, while the Versa 3 comes in midnight/soft gold aluminum, black/black, pink clay/soft gold, olive/soft gold, or thistle/soft gold, giving you more finish options. 

Both have an AMOLED screen, and while the Versa 3's is obviously larger and has more room for notifications to spread out and for watch faces to breathe, the Charge 5 technically has better resolution per inch.

Fitbit Charge 5 vs. Fitbit Versa 3: Fitness and wellness features

Fitbit Versa 3 Profile

(Image credit: Jeramy Johnson / Android Central)

Both the Charge 5 and Versa 3 have 20+ exercise modes, so you can do everything from a workout to a run with SmartTrack that will automatically recognize certain exercises and log them for you if you forget to set it up beforehand.

They both have SpO2 sensors and skin temperature sensors, which give a clear sense of how well you're sleeping and recharging energy overnight for a Daily Readiness Score: Of the two devices, the Charge 5's design will likely feel a bit more comfortable worn overnight, if you plan to regularly wear one to bed.

Both devices also include built-in GPS so you can go for a walk, run, or cycle, and track your route while leaving your phone at home.

One feature upside of the Charge 5 is the addition of an ECG, which lets you check for atrial fibrillation (AFib) on demand. However, both the Charge 5 and Versa 3 can now passively check for AFib using the standard heart rate monitor, so the ECG is mainly useful if you need to check for the issue quickly. Otherwise, the Versa 3 is arguably just as useful for keeping tabs on your health. 

Its other exclusive sensor is its electrodermal activity (EDA) scanner to better measure your stress levels, which pairs with your heart rate data to give you a clearer sense of whether stress is impacting your health and energy recharge.

EDA Scan

(Image credit: Android Central)

Both also include Vo2 Max levels to check your cardio fitness level, and both can report Active Minute Zones, so you know how many minutes per day you have logged active zone minutes to work towards reaching goals. 

One thing worth noting is that the Fitbit Charge 5 does not include an altimeter (the Versa 3 does), so if you like tracking stair climbs or tend to do a lot of hikes and want to see the altitude, you won't get this stat with the Charge 5.

You'll also be able to measure other aspects of health and wellness with both, including menstrual health for women and detailed sleep tracking and Sleep Scores.

Fitbit Versa 3 Google Assistant

(Image credit: Jeramy Johnson / Android Central)

The Versa 3 adds a few other elements to the equation, including guided breathing sessions you can access right on the watch face, the ability to access music from Deezer or Pandora right from the watch, and Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa integration. 

Plus, not only can you answer calls on your wrist if your iPhone or Android phone is nearby, you can also respond to texts with voice recordings or voice-to-text (though only on Android).

The Fitbit Charge 5 comes with a 6-month trial subscription to Fitbit Premium for accessing content like guided workouts and mindfulness exercises, while the Versa 3 comes with three months. At $9.99/month, if you plan to use it, the extra three months with the Versa 3 would be worth the additional $30 savings. 

Considering the Charge 5 is already more affordable, this could make the tracker even more attractive to thrifty shoppers.

Fitbit Charge 5 vs. Fitbit Versa 3: Other features and battery life

Fitbit Versa 3

(Image credit: Jeramy Johnson / Android Central)

Beyond using these two devices as fitness companions, they can both display notifications from a connected smartphone, including incoming messages, calendar updates, and more. Both have Fitbit Pay for making contactless payments at compatible terminals from a connected credit card. And they're both compatible with any smartphone running Android 8.0 or higher or iOS 12.2 or higher.

Fitbit has continued to update both devices with new features, mainly bringing the Charge 5 in line with what the Versa 3 can do. For instance, the tracker received the "Find Phone" update in July 2022, nearly two years after launch. Now both it and the Versa 3 can trigger the Bluetooth-connected phone to emit a loud noise if it's within 30 meters.

If the Charge 5 has a deal-breaker, it's the battery life. Technically, it outlasts the Versa 3 in standard mode (seven days vs. six days) and neither will last more than two days maximum with always-on display activated. But once you activate GPS tracking for workouts, the Versa 3 shines with 12 hours, whereas the Charge 5 will only hit five hours max at full charge — less if you haven't charged it recently. 

Fitbit had to trade something off to make the Charge 5 so lightweight, and it matters here if you're worried about losing tracking during a long event like a marathon. But for casual use, it's not a huge deal as long as you don't mind fairly frequent recharges.

Fitbit Charge 5 vs. Fitbit Versa 3: Which do you choose?

Fitbit Charge 5 Lifestyle 3

(Image credit: Jeramy Johnson / Android Central)

If you're a busy professional and serious about workouts, you might lean more towards the Versa 3. It's a full-featured smartwatch with swappable watch faces, the ability to answer calls, or you can talk to Google Assistant or Siri with your phone in your pocket, along with more reliable battery life during workouts. The addition of an altimeter will also matter to a certain class of athlete. It's certainly among the best fitness smartwatches available today.

On the other hand, we consider the Charge 5 to be the best fitness tracker available, and many of you will prefer this model because of its lighter and more understated design, the addition of new health sensors, and the more affordable price. It gives you more health data than the Versa 3; you'll just have less display space to look at it.

With all of the latest tracking and sensors, from ECG to skin temperature, SpO2, Active Zone Minutes, and the Daily Readiness Score with a Premium subscription, along with the usual suspects like detailed sleep tracking (Fitbit is among the best for this), SmartTracking of workouts, continuous heart rate, and a waterproof design, it's arguably Fitbit's Goldilocks model.

When looking at the Fitbit Charge 5 vs. Fitbit Versa 3, the price difference makes the Charge 5 a really attractive proposition if you can do without the larger screen and app access. However, if you prefer the smartwatch design, the Versa 3 is still a great option and one of the more affordable ones that still include the top features.

Christine Persaud is a freelance writer for Android Central who has been writing about tech since long before the smartphone was even a "thing." When she isn't writing, she's probably working on her latest fitness program, binging a new (or old) TV series, tinkering with tech gadgets, or spending time with her school-aged son. A self-professed TV nerd, lover of red wine, and passionate home cook, she's immersed in tech in every facet of her life. Follow her at @christineTechCA.

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