Fitbit Versa 2 vs. Fossil Gen 4: Which should you buy?

Fitbit Versa 2
Fitbit Versa 2 (Image credit: Joe Maring / Android Central)

Fitbit Versa 2

Fitbit Versa 2

The Fitbit Versa 2 is a dedicated workout companion that can do pretty much anything when it comes to health and fitness tracking. You'll enjoy 15+ exercise modes, automatic workout detection, 5 ATM water resistance, heart-rate monitoring, and activity/sleep tracking.

Fitbit Versa 2

Track your workouts

5+ days of battery life
Fitbit Pay
Amazon Alexa built-in
Heart-rate monitoring
Automatic workout detection
No onboard GPS
App selection is lacking

Fossil Gen 4

Fossil Gen 4 Explorist

The Explorist HR is one of the Fossil Gen 4 smartwatches that's designed to stand out. It's available in multiple gorgeous finishes, including gunmetal, black, rose gold, and more. It also has onboard GPS, heart-rate monitoring, activity tracking, Google Pay, and Google Assistant.

Fossil Gen 4

Dress to impress

Built-in GPS
Google Pay
Google Assistant
Heart-rate monitoring
Fancy design
Lesser 3 ATM water-resistance rating
Mediocre battery life

When it comes to choosing a smartwatch, you'll have your work cut out for you. There are tons of options these days and you want to feel confident you're getting your money's worth. If you're looking for a fitness smartwatch that's going to be a reliable workout companion, the new Fitbit Versa 2 is going to treat you right. You'll have connected GPS, 15+ exercise modes, 5 ATM water resistance, 24/7 heart-rate monitoring, and more.

Some people prefer a smartwatch that boasts a fancy design while still offering plenty of features. If that's what you're seeking, you might be better off with a Fossil Gen 4 smartwatch. One example is the Explorist HR, which comes with heart-rate monitoring, onboard GPS, music storage, Google Pay, and a lot more.

You'll find there are many overlapping features here with a few key distinctions that should help you determine which one is right for you. We recommend the Fitbit Versa 2 for those who are committed to tracking their activity and overall health. Alternatively, those who want a beautiful smartwatch with an alluring design and awesome features will be in good hands with a Fossil Gen 4 smartwatch.

Ready to get fit?

The Fitbit Versa 2 isn't your traditional smartwatch. It's got an original square design with rounded edges, which is a nice change from the usual circular design. The 40mm case is made of brushed aluminum and comes with a silicone band. Not everyone is a fan of the proprietary bands and changing them on the Versa 2 has proven to be a hassle, but this small flaw isn't deal-breaker material. 

A new addition to the Versa 2 is the crisp and colorful 1.4-inch AMOLED touchscreen display, which is especially helpful when using the on-screen workouts feature. There's one side button instead of the previous three. You can set it to open up Amazon Alexa, Fitbit Pay (now a standard feature), or any favorite app that you want to access quickly.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell - Column 0 Fitbit Versa 2Fossil Gen 4
SensorsOptical heart rate3-axis accelerometer, altimeter, SpO2 sensor, ambient lightHeart rate, accelerometer, ambient light, gyroscope
ConnectivityBluetooth 4.0 Low Energy / Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/nBluetooth® 4.1 Low Energy / Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
Water resistance5 ATM3 ATM
Battery life5+ days1 day
Onboard GPS✔️
NFC payments✔️✔️
Music Storage✔️✔️

Another improvement the Versa 2 brings to the table is its incredibly long battery life. With the original version, you could expect the battery to last for at least four days. Now, Fitbit is promising five days or more depending on your usage. For example, if you activate the always-on display feature, you'll have to charge it more frequently. Still, five days of juice is rare for a fitness smartwatch and most people will love not having to take it off and charge it every day or two.

Where the Versa 2 really succeeds is its health and fitness features.

Where the Versa 2 really succeeds is its health and fitness features. Fitbit covered many important bases in this area, which is why it's a good choice for those who want to track every detail of their day. While we're still longing for built-in GPS, the wide selection of features balances it out. FitbitOS has made some great strides over the years, but some might still find the app selection a bit limited.

You still get all-day activity tracking for steps, distance, calories burned, active minutes, hourly activity, and stationary time. There's also 5 ATM water resistance plus swim tracking, 15+ exercise modes, sleep tracking and stages with a personalized sleep score, a cardio fitness score, automatic workout detection, female health tracking, 24/7 heart-rate monitoring, and guided breathing sessions.

Beauty and brains

Fossil Gen 4

Source: Fossil Pictured: Fossil Explorist HR (left), Fossil Venture HR (right) (Image credit: Source: Fossil)

The Fossil Gen 4 lineups consists of the Explorist HR and Venture HR. One look at these watches and you may not expect to receive more than what's on the surface. While they're undoubtedly designed for fancy folks, you might be surprised at how many features they come with. These beauties come in a 45mm stainless steel case with a 1.4-inch color AMOLED touchscreen display. Depending on which finish you pick, you'll get either a leather, silicone, or stainless steel interchangeable band. There are two customizable side buttons along with a smooth rotating crown for easy navigation. 

There's not much to say about the Fossil Gen 4 battery life except that it's disappointing.

There's not much to say about the Fossil Gen 4 battery life except that it's disappointing. You can expect the battery to last a day before you need to charge it. While these watches had a lot of potential, a big part of the letdown is that they're running on the old Snapdragon Wear 2100. Soon after the mid-2018 release, Fossil finally moved over to the new Snapdragon Wear 3100 platform, which allowed for improved performance as well as multiple battery-saving modes. Unfortunately, Fossil Gen 4 missed the boat.

As the 'HR' in the name indicates, both watches offer heart-rate monitoring. They will automatically track your heart rate when you record a workout with Google Fit. You can also manually take a reading whenever you'd like. Throughout the day, the Fossil Gen 4 smartwatch will tracks steps, distance, and calories burned. If you want to record your route during a run, you'll have access to onboard GPS without needing to bring your phone with you. While there is 3 ATM water resistance, it's only designed to withstand splashes so you should still be cautious around water. 

Bottom line

If you want a smartwatch that offers superior battery life, never-ending health and fitness tracking, 5 ATM water resistance, NFC payments, and heart-rate monitoring, you'll be pleased with what the Fitbit Versa 2 has to offer. It might not be quite as stylish or fancy as the Fossil Gen 4 lineup, but it has more to offer in terms of performance and tracking features. You won't have built-in GPS and your app selection might be more limited, but don't let that deter you from investing in a fitness smartwatch that will be the perfect workout companion.

Those who aren't too worried about health and fitness tracking but do care about fashion will probably favor the Fossil Gen 4 smartwatches. You'll be able to pick from a range of lovely finishes and enjoy a big, beautiful display. There are still some solid features here, like heart-rate monitoring, activity tracking, onboard GPS, Google Pay, Google Assistant, and music storage.

Courtney Lynch

Courtney Lynch is a freelance writer at Android Central. She's obsessed with all things health, fitness, and music. At any given time, she can be found checking out the latest and greatest gadgets while simultaneously petting her dog and sipping iced coffee.