Fitbit Luxe vs. Apple Watch: Which should you buy?
The obvious reason for choosing the Fitbit Luxe over any activity tracker, not just the Apple Watch, is its sleek, unobtrusive, and elegant design. It's the activity tracker for those who want something simple that won't stand out on their wrist. Yet, it also tracks many of the most important fitness and sports data, making it a viable workout companion for someone serious about their fitness.
Apple Watch Series 3
The Apple Watch is an enticing option for iPhone users, and the Series 3 version is a really affordable entry into the space. Combined with three months of free Apple Fitness+ access and it's a good deal. It's only compatible with iPhone, but it offers really compelling upgrades over the Luxe if you own one. That said, it is an older model that is quickly becoming outdated.
Apple Watch Series 3
For die-hard Apple fans
When you want to decide what to put around your wrist to track activity, sleep, and more, design plays a small part in the decision. But most important is finding a smartwatch or activity tracker that will meet your specific needs. For example, when looking at the Fitbit Luxe vs. Apple Watch, there are some obvious differences. It's easy to assume the Apple Watch is better for notifications and workouts while the Luxe is better for everyday tracking of basic stats. But both devices do the opposite pretty well, too.
If you own an Android device, you can't even consider the Apple Watch as it won't work. But if you own an iPhone, you might be trying to decide if it's worth it to invest in an Apple Watch or if the Fitbit Luxe will do. And with the Apple Watch Series 3, in particular, being an affordable entry into the category, the decision becomes even more difficult. Do you go with the older model yet still premium Apple Watch Series 3 or opt for the slightly more affordable, smaller, and brand-new Fitbit Luxe?
Before delving into the pros and cons, here's a breakdown of the main specs of each.
|Header Cell - Column 0||Fitbit Luxe||Apple Watch Series 3|
|Operating System||Fitbit OS||WatchOS|
|Battery Life||Up to 5 Days||Up To 18 Hours|
|Mobile Payments||None||Apple Pay|
|Display||1.43-inch AMOLED||1.65-inch Retina OLED with Force Touch|
|Display Resolution||126x36 pixels||312x390 pixels (42mm), 272x340 pixels (38mm)|
|Water-Resistant||Up to 50 m||Up to 50 m|
|Music Storage||None||16GB (GPS + cellular), 8GB (GPS)|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, LTE (optional)||Bluetooth 5.0|
|Built-in Sleep Tracking||Yes||Yes|
|Heart Rate Monitor||Yes||Yes|
|Size||36.3 x 17.5 x 10.2mm||38.6 x 33.3 x 11.4mm (38mm), 42.5 x 36.4 x 11.4mm (42mm)|
These two devices not only look very different from one another, but they are quite different. The Apple Watch Series 3 tracks a lot more data, but if you are looking for the basics, including tracking daily steps, exercises and sports, sleep, heart rate, the Fitbit Luxe can actually be a pretty good fitness companion, too.
Fitbit Luxe vs. Apple Watch Series 3: How they look
The most marked difference between these two devices is immediately noticeable upon looking at them: the Fitbit Luxe is a slim and sleek activity and fitness tracker, while the Apple Watch Series 3 is a full-blown smartwatch. The Luxe has a long and narrow face and a small band that's suitable for smaller wrists. The Apple Watch has a larger, square face that can display notifications and daily stats and information from apps and even workout animations.
Because of this, the Fitbit Luxe isn't suitable for those with larger wrists: the tiny device, which is similar in size to the Fitbit Ace 3 for kids, can be paired with a small band to fit on wrists from 140-180mm in circumference. With the large band, it will fit people with wrists from 180-220mm. If your wrist circumference is bigger than that, you'll have to look beyond the Luxe.
Meanwhile, the Apple Watch Series 3 comes in two sizes: 38mm and 42mm, so it will fit wrists of all sizes and shapes, and it won't look out of place. The Luxe is made from stainless steel with bands from a variety of materials, including silicone. The Apple Watch Series 3 comes in aluminum or stainless-steel options with bands made of various materials.
Further fitting with its fashion focus, the Fitbit Luxe comes in several finish options: a linear white band with a soft gold stainless steel tracker, black with graphite stainless steel, orchid with platinum stainless steel, or the special edition gorjana soft gold with stainless steel parker link bracelet (which comes in at a slightly higher price.) The Apple Watch Series 3 comes in either white or black and special edition models, like the Nike sport band. Both devices, however, have a myriad of interchangeable band options from which to choose, and it's super simple to swap them out. So, you can truly customize the look however you want.
The Apple Watch Series 3 has a ton more watch face options from which to choose, easily downloaded and changed from the app. Likewise, there are a few watch face options for the Luxe, but only a fraction of what you can get to customize the look of the Apple Watch.
Fitbit Luxe vs. Apple Watch Series 3: What fitness can you track?
The most important aspect of any fitness tracker or smartwatch is what it can do. So despite its diminutive size, I was pleasantly surprised with how much the Fitbit Luxe could track when it comes to sports and fitness.
Both devices can track daily steps, exercise, active minutes, heart rate, specific sports and exercises (including automatic tracking through sensors if you forget to actively start a workout), and more. Apple's "rings" are really motivating, slowly closing throughout the day as you reach targets for moving, exercise, and standing. With Fitbit, you can set customized daily goals and receive encouragement through the day as you work toward achieving them. With both, you can check on the device's screen or within the partner app to see how you're doing.
The Apple Watch Series 3 has a barometric altimeter, optical heart rate sensor, accelerometer, gyroscope, and ambient light sensor. It can track stair climbs and elevation, while the Luxe cannot. While both track heart rate, the Apple Watch Series 3 will also provide notifications on heart irregularities. While it doesn't track Sp02 yet, the Fitbit Luxe will receive an update sometime soon to add this feature, while the Series 3 Apple Watch does not track Sp02.
While both come with free trials to the respective fitness services, Fitbit with six months of Fitbit Premium access and Apple Watch Series 3 with three months of Apple Fitness+, you can actually view the workouts on the Apple Watch's screen. With both, you can also display the workouts on the TV screen, though you might find the experience more seamless with Apple, especially if you own an Apple TV or a smart TV with Apple AirPlay access.
Fitbit Luxe vs. Apple Watch Series 3: Beyond sports and fitness
Both devices can track menstrual health and detailed sleep, though the Apple Watch Series 3 uses a separate sleep app while the Fitbit Luxe leverages Fitbit's strong foothold in the sleep tracking space. The Luxe will provide very detailed sleep data that you can trust.
Both also include mindfulness activities and displays details about incoming phone calls and messages. Since the Luxe is so small, the text will appear in a vertical orientation, and you can swipe up to continue reading. It's tiny, so if you have issues seeing close up (i.e., you're far-sighted), you might have trouble reading it. However, the text is bright and clear. Naturally, since the screen of the Apple Watch is much bigger and the screen much higher resolution, it is easier to read. You'll also get more information on the screen.
Speaking of which, the Apple Watch Series 3 is compatible with a variety of apps, from Apple Pay for paying for items at compatible payment terminals to Uber, Maps, and more. You can also use the built-in mic to raise the watch to your wrist and ask Siri a question, and even call emergency services if you have fallen or gotten hurt and need assistance.
Fitbit Luxe vs. Apple Watch Series 3: Battery, GPS, music, and more
Battery life is where there's a big discrepancy: the Luxe can last for up to five days per charge, while the Apple Watch needs to be charged daily, lasting for up to 18 hours (potentially less when using GPS). This could be a dealbreaker for some, particularly if you don't want to miss out on crucial steps or sleep data. That said, both charge pretty quickly, so you can easily give them a battery boost while you're sitting at your desk getting work done.
The Apple Watch has built-in storage, so you can download Apple Music playlists to it to listen offline (Note: A subscription to Apple Music is required). Because it has built-in GPS, you can also leave your phone at home and go for a run or bike ride while still being able to log your route to view it on a map. When I tried the Apple Watch Series 3 years ago, I loved going to the gym and leaving my phone in the locker while still listening to a downloaded Apple Music playlist from my connected Bluetooth headphones. The Luxe has connected GPS, so you can still track runs and cycling, but you have to bring your phone. And since it has no built-in storage, you'd have to bring your phone for music anyway as well.
Both devices are swim-proof, down to 50 meters, so you can confidently go for a swim or shower with it on without hesitation.
Fitbit Luxe vs. Apple Watch Series 3: Which do you choose?
At first glance, looking at the same Fitbit Luxe vs. Apple Watch Series 3, these two devices seem like comparing apples to oranges. The Apple Watch Series 3 and Fitbit Versa 3 seem more in line with one another (and you might very well be trying to decide between those two smartwatches instead.) But deep down, they both accomplish the same thing, which is effectively acting as your workout companion. How much assistance you need, or want, will help decide which one to choose, particularly since they are pretty close to one another in price.
If you like to run, cycle, walk, hike, or jog and want to be able to do so as freely as possible, the Apple Watch Series 3 makes more sense since it can track your route and serve as a music source without having to be tethered to a phone. That said, I do all of the above several times per week and don't really have an issue bringing my phone with me. A waist pouch, devices like the Flipbelt, or those handy workout tights or shorts with built-in phone pockets on the side are great solutions (I love those!)
If you are looking for a good workout app, I have many friends and family members who have recently switched to Apple and absolutely love Apple Fitness+. Three months free is nothing to sneeze at. You do, however, get twice as much access with the six months free access to Fitbit Premium with the Luxe. However, you'll be doing most of the work by connecting to the TV screen since you can't get actual workouts on the Luxe's tiny screen. You'd probably do the same with Apple Fitness+, but the cool thing about that service is that it will sync with the Watch, so you'll see data and prompts on the Watch related to what you're doing on screen.
I really love being able to track Sp02, so the fact the Luxe will soon be able to do that is a plus. Its small and elegant design is also a nice change from having a large, sportier-looking device on the wrist. But that really comes down to preference: some people like the bigger faces on their wrist. And if you happen to have larger wrists, it's the only choice that will fit between the two anyway.
You get better value for money with the Apple Watch Series 3, but keep in mind that it's an older model. While the newest Apple features can work as far back as the Series 3, it's only a matter of time before that model becomes obsolete. So, you run the risk of not being able to take advantage of the latest and greatest Apple features down the line. On the other hand, the Luxe is a newer model, so it will be current for some time to come. And it really does track a lot more than you realize. I used one in place of my more feature-rich Fitbit Sense for several weeks and didn't feel I was missing out on getting any crucial data from my workouts, exercise, sleep, heart rate, and more. If you rely on notifications and app use, you might feel like the Luxe doesn't measure up to your needs. But if those are just nice-to-haves and the fitness tracking is the most important thing, the Luxe might be a perfect fit.
A solid workout companion
Does more than you think
It might not look like it, but the Fitbit Luxe is actually a pretty feature-rich workout companion. It might look like a glorified bracelet that can track your steps, but it can do a lot more. It tracks sports and activities, heart rate, stress, sleep, and more and can even show notifications, albeit in tiny lettering. It's a solid option for even serious fitness enthusiasts.
Oldie, but goodie
Affordable entry into Apple Watch
iPhone owners get all the benefits of the Apple Watch at an affordable price, which is tough to pass up. You also get a ton more features than you do with the Luxe, from emergency SOS to heart health notifications, built-in GPS, and storage for music. But this is an older-model Apple Watch that will soon become really outdated. So that's worth factoring into your decision.
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Christine Persaud has been writing about tech since long before the smartphone was even a "thing." When she isn't writing, she's working on her latest fitness program, binging a new TV series, tinkering with tech gadgets she's reviewing, or spending time with family and friends. 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.