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

Fitbit Charge 5

Fitbit Charge

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The newest member of the Fitbit family, the Charge 5 combines a slim and sleek design of a tracker with premium features you typically only find in a smartwatch along with built-in GPS and an ultra-bright display. Plus, it comes in at an affordable price, to boot.

Fitbit Charge 5

Sleek and feature rich

Reasons to buy

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Battery lasts up to a week
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Built-in GPS means you can leave phone at home
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Sleek and slim design
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Premium tracking features like ECG (coming soon), skin temperature, and SpO2
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Affordable

Reasons to avoid

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No voice assistant compatibility
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No app support
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Limited watch face options

Fitbit Versa 3

Fitbit Versa 3

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For those who prefer the smartwatch design to get detailed notifications about incoming calls, messages, and calendar updates and who want to access apps, music, and more, the Versa 3 is a solid choice. It costs a bit more and will look bigger on the wrist. But it is just as great a workout companion as well.

Fitbit Versa 3

Keep track of your life

Reasons to buy

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Fast charge option for battery
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Access to apps, voice assistants
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Premium tracking features like Sp02, skin temperature
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Store and play music from Deezer

Reasons to avoid

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No ECG sensor
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More expensive
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Only comes with three months of Fitbit Premium

When it comes down to deciding what to wear around your wrist to track workouts, receive notifications, and more, there are two main camps: health and wellness trackers that look like sports bands and smartwatches that resemble wristwatches or have larger, square faces. Typically, the latter kind includes more features, though, as I discovered when switching from a Fitbit Sense to a Fitbit Luxe for a time period (I still haven't switched back!), you can get quite a lot more from a fitness band than you might realize. Thus, when it comes down to choosing between the new Fitbit Charge 5 vs. Fitbit Versa 3, it might seem like you're comparing apples to oranges. But both accomplish very similar tasks and have similar features, just different designs. However, each has its own advantages and core features that could be a dealbreaker to some. So, which should you choose?

I'll dig deeper into everything from how they look to what functions they include. But first, let's look at them from a straight-spec standpoint.

Fitbit Charge 5Fitbit Versa 3
Operating SystemFitbit OSFitbit OS
Battery LifeUp to 7 Days (5 Hrs with Continuous GPS)Up To 6 Days (12 Hrs with Continuous GPS)
Mobile PaymentsFitbit PayFitbit Pay
Display0.86 x 0.58 inches AMOLED1.58-inch AMOLED
Display Resolution326ppi336x336 pixels
Water-ResistantUp to 50 mUp to 50 m
ChargingProprietaryProprietary
GPSBuilt-inBuilt-in
Music StorageNoneDeezer
ConnectivityWi-Fi, Bluetooth,Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
NotificationsYesYes
Built-in Sleep TrackingYesYes
Heart Rate MonitorYesYes
AltimeterNoYes
Other SensorsSp02, ECG (coming soon), Skin TemperatureSp02, Skin Temperature
Access to AppsNoYes
Voice AssistantNoYes
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, iOSiOS

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 Relax

Source: Fitbit (Image credit: Source: Fitbit)

Looking at these two devices, it's obvious that the new Fitbit Charge 5 is a sports band/fitness/health and wellness tracker, while the Versa 3 employs more of a smartwatch design with a larger, square face and ample screen. Thus, the latter is better suited to those who want to see things on a big, bright screen. However, you will still get text-based updates on the Charge 5's screen, which is vertical around your wrist like a bracelet.

The Charge 5's small band fits wrists with a circumference of 130-170mm while the large is from 170-210mm while 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.

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, though the Versa 3's is obviously larger, though both offer the same resolution. Indeed, the Charge 5's screen is twice as bright as the previous generation Charge 4. But the Versa 3's screen can display hundreds of clock faces, and you can even store up to five on the watch itself to quickly and easily flip among them.

Fitbit Versa 3

Source: Jeramy Johnson / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Jeramy Johnson / Android Central)

Both are water-resistant down to 50 meters and have always-on displays.

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

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 (the Charge 5 in specific markets) and skin temperature sensors to detect changes in skin temperature and 24/7 continuous heart rate tracking. The Charge 5 will soon also include ECG through the app so you can check your heart function. Both 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.

Fitbit Charge 5 Outdoor Hike

Source: Fitbit (Image credit: Source: Fitbit)

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

Source: Fitbit (Image credit: Source: Fitbit)

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 right from the watch, and Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa integration.

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. With Fitbit Premium, you'll also get a Daily Readiness Score (coming soon) with the Charge 5 that will advise you of the best times to workout based on when your body is at its best to maximize results.

Fitbit Charge 5 vs. Fitbit Versa 3: What else can they do?

Fitbit Versa 3

Source: Jeramy Johnson / Android Central (Image credit: Source: 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. With the Versa 3, you can also access various apps, like Spotify, United Airlines, and Uber. As noted, it also includes a speaker and mic with Google Assistant and Alexa compatibility so you can use your voice to perform tasks. There are also Quick Replies with compatible Android smartphones, so you can send a quick, pre-defined reply to someone to let them know you'll call them back, for example, or will be there soon. The Charge 5 does, however, offer Google Fast Pair for easy set-up with a compatible Android device.

Both have Fitbit Pay for making contactless payments at compatible terminals from a connected credit card.

As with every other Fitbit device, both the Charge 5 and Versa 3 work with almost any smartphone, including both Android and iPhone, though check compatibility with the operating system version you have. You're best off with an Android 8.0 or higher and an iOS 12.2 or higher device.

Fitbit Charge 5 Canoe

Source: Fitbit (Image credit: Source: Fitbit)

Battery life can be a dealbreaker for some. The Charge 5 offers a slightly higher rated battery life at up to seven days per charge versus the Versa 3's up to six days. Where they truly differ is when you have continuous GPS running, at which point the Charge 5 drops to just up to five hours while the Versa 3 is a more respectable up to 12 hours. If you only plan to use built-in GPS for the odd walk or run, this might not be a big deal. But if you're someone who will be using it often, that might lean you towards the Versa 3. But overall, the Charge 5's battery will last a day longer. Ideally, you should charge both at least once a week, and, like other Fitbits, they only take about an hour to fully recharge.

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

Fitbit Charge 5 At Home Workout

Source: Fitbit (Image credit: Source: Fitbit)

If you're a busy professional and serious about workouts, you might lean more towards the Versa 3, which is a full-featured smartwatch that can both help you workout as well as keep on top of calendars, appointments, messages, and more.

But it's tough to beat the amazing price of the new Charge 5, along with the slim and sleek design. You'll miss out on a few things, including apps, altimeter, the larger screen, and built-in music access. If none of these are dealbreakers, it's tough to ignore how feature-rich the Charge 5 is.

With all of the latest tracking and sensors, from ECG (coming soon) 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 for 2021.

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.