It's a close race between the Fitbit Versa 2 and the Apple Watch Series 3, both fantastic smartwatches that can track activity (and lack thereof), specific sports, heart rate, burned calories, and more, plus show notifications from your smartphone. While the Apple Watch Series 3 has some serious advantages for iPhone and AirPods users, including seamless connectivity and Apple Music support, the Fitbit Versa 2 inches out ahead for versatility. Plus, its battery life is world's better, sleep tracking, and an app dashboard can't be beaten.
Two of the best smartwatches you can buy
In fairness, the Fitbit Versa 2 is the newer of the two devices; the Apple Watch Series 3 was introduced in 2017 and the Versa 2 in 2019. But Apple hasn't improved much on battery life with its latest Watch version, nor has it added sleep tracking. For those looking for the most versatile smartwatch option that can track all of the essentials, and do it well, the Versa 2 is a winner.
It has many of the same features as the Apple Watch Series 3, including being water-resistant (you can swim with it), different exercise modes, mobile pay options, guided breathing sessions, and a bright screen. Still, you won't lose out on features, no matter what phone you own.
But let's take a closer look at how they compare.
|Versa 2||Apple Watch Series 3|
|Battery Life||6+ Days||18+ Hours|
|Mobile Payments||Fitbit Pay||Apple Pay|
|Weight||1.87 oz.||1.41 oz.|
|Display||AMOLED||OLED Capacitive Touchscreen|
|Water-Resistant||Down to 50 Meters||Down to 50 Meters|
|Display Brightness||1,000 nits||1,000 nits|
|Music Storage||Up to 300 Songs, Connect With Deezer Playlists||Up to 16GB, Download From Apple Music|
|Body||Anodized Aluminum||Stainless Steel|
In terms of the basics, they both track daily steps, activity, specific sports and workouts, calories burned, steps climbed, and more. Both also do continuous 24/7 heart rate tracking.
The Apple Watch Series 3 does have a slight edge in this respect because it can not only track your heart rate, but it can also send a warning if it notices that your heart rate is unusually high or low for no logical reason, such as working out. The later versions of the Watch actually let you take an ECG. So, if heart health is of utmost importance to you and you decide to go with an Apple Watch, consider forking over some extra dough for a Series 5 edition.
All the tracking and workouts
Let's look at what both options offer in terms of fitness and how it holds up for any type of athlete or everyday fitness enthusiast. Both offer on-screen guided coaching and workouts which can be handy to help you along when you aren't sure what to do at the gym or just want a quick 15-minute workout at home. They each have different exercise modes, like bike, treadmill, run, swim, and weights.
The Apple Watch has special features for runners, including cadence and pace alerts. But the Versa 2 has neat features, too, like real-time pace and distance. Connect it to your phone's GPS, and you can even see a map of your route in the app. And both can automatically sense a specific workout if you start and forget to input it into the watch, tracking it for you.
Water-resistance can be a dealbreaker, especially if you want to go swimming with the watch, but even just for showers, washing dishes, and other instances when it could get wet. Both are water-resistant, allowing you to swim with them up to 50 meters underwater, and keep track of swimming stats. This means you can also safely shower with either of them on, go for a run in the rain, or wash dishes.
Sleep features and extra life
Sleep tracking is one area where the Fitbit Versa 2 really shines. It offers detailed sleep tracking, including not only how many hours you got of sleep per night, but also how many of those hours were in light, deep, and REM sleep stages. You can also see a graph of your sleep patterns and generate a Sleep Score that will tell you how well you're doing.
The app keeps track of sleep data over time and even provides useful tips. You can see if patterns emerge and what might be impacting them. For those who recognize that sleep is a huge part of health and wellness, this is an essential differentiator for the Versa 2. With the Apple Watch, you can track sleep using a third-party app; SleepScore is one of the best. But the integration isn't as seamless since you have to access a separate app to view stats.
If you want to eat, sleep, and workout and pretty much track everything, battery life may be pretty important to you. It's also another significant area where the Versa 2 has a leg up. With only 18 hours of life per charge, chances are you might not even be able to wear your Apple Watch while sleeping unless you find some time during the day to charge it up.
By contrast, the Versa 2 battery lasts a rated 6+ days (realistically, it's closer to about 4) and charges up in full in under an hour so you can give it a boost twice a week as needed and you're good to go all day and night.
You've got the look
In terms of aesthetics, they look similar, and both are comfortable to wear all day and at night, employing a slim and sleek design. The Apple Watch does have the neat digital crown on the side that makes navigating through the menu settings and functions on the screen a breeze. The Versa 2 has a single button on the left side and different swipe side-to-side and up-and-down motions to scroll through screens and options, which is pretty simple, too.
Both have customizable watch face options, ranging from basic digital clocks to analog designs as well as more playful and stylish options. There are some really fun and interactive ones with the Apple Watch, like Disney imagery with characters moving about on the screen. For Fitbit, you can download different screen looks, too, from boxy digital clocks to elegant analog faces and more fun options. You can even use a Bitmoji character from Snapchat, so you see your own avatar doing everything from running while you are working out to chomping on a burger when it's lunchtime.
Both also offer a myriad of band options from which to choose, from basic colors to woven fabrics and blingy jewelry. They're both lightweight and sleek. Both options have a great variety of downloadable screen faces and band options to make for a personalized look. So really, this one comes down to personal taste.
It's a close race
It really is a close race, but choosing just one, I'd give the slight edge to the Versa 2, namely for a few features that I deem hugely important when it comes to fitness and overall health and wellness tracking. The sleeping tracking detail is paramount, and it's great to seamlessly keep on top of your sleep duration and patterns and compare it to others of the same age. Having it all accessible in the same app makes things simple, and the detailed data will become the first thing you look at every morning; trust me!
The second factor that gives the Versa 2 the edge is battery life. The whole idea behind a smartwatch is to be able to wear it 24/7. Sure, I understand you are going to have to charge it at some point, whether it's during that hour when you are sitting down for dinner or right before bed when you're relaxing on the couch. But it's essential that a watch can at least last for a full day to get you through the day at work or school, your time at the gym, and the rest of the night. Battery life has been the most significant limitation of the Apple Watch thus far, and the problem still hasn't been solved.
Finally, the Versa 2's versatility and a focus on fitness tracker without a lot of other bells and whistles make it a winner. If you're looking for a top-notch fitness companion to use with any phone, the Fitbit Versa 2 is an all-around smartwatch for the everyday user. But if you live within the Apple ecosystem, the Apple Watch Series 3 is a great choice, too, that will provide a seamless connection with your iPhone, AirPods, and other iOS devices.
Best bang for your buck
Everything you need on your wrist
This is the perfect smartwatch for just about anyone, no matter what phone you use. It's stylish, thin, and lightweight so you can comfortably wear it all day and night (and the battery will last, too.) It tracks everything you'd want, from activity to sports, sleep, heart rate, calories, and more. You can see your smartphone notifications on your wrist, access on-screen coaching, and even swim with it. When it comes down to versatility and ease of use, you can't go wrong with the Versa 2.
The multitasker's dream
Keep track of more than just fitness
For those looking to track more than just fitness and health, including being able to keep on top of calendar appointments, make phone calls (yes, from your wrist with the Cellular version), access Apple Music, set reminders, and more, the Apple Watch Series 3 is a great option. It will save you a few bucks versus going with the newest edition. Plus, like the Versa 2, you can track activities, heart rate, and more. You won't get seamless sleep tracking (though you can use a third-party app), and the battery life isn't nearly as good. But for an iPhone owner, it's a perfect companion.
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