Garmin Forerunner 55 vs. Fitbit Versa 3: Which is right for you?

Garmin Forerunner 55 Vo2 Max
Garmin Forerunner 55 Vo2 Max (Image credit: Courtney Lynch / Android Central)

Fitbit Versa 3

Fitbit Versa 3

Those who want a well-rounded smartwatch the addresses numerous needs will love the Fitbit Versa 3. You won't be confined to one specific focus. This watch offers GPS, activity/sleep tracking, blood oxygen monitoring, Active Zone Minutes, Fitbit Pay, voice assistants, and much more.

Fitbit Versa 3

Endless possibilities

Activity/sleep tracking
Active Zone Minutes
Google Assistant & Alexa
Attractive design
Shorter battery life
Previous Versa bands aren't compatible

Garmin Forerunner 55

Garmin Forerunner 55

In some cases, you might be better off with a watch that focuses on a specific need. This is especially true for runners who want to track their runs and improve their performance over time. Some perks include GPS, activity/sleep tracking, advanced running metrics, and 2 weeks of battery life.

Garmin Forerunner 55

Focus on running

Activity/sleep tracking
Newly added sports apps
Advanced running perks
Two weeks of battery life
No NFC for Garmin Pay
Bland design

Garmin Forerunner 55 vs. Fitbit Versa 3

Some smartwatches have one specific focus while others take a broader approach, which is the case with the Garmin Forerunner 55 and Fitbit Versa 3. So if you're searching for a running watch that's focused on helping you track your runs and improve your performance, you'll want to check out the Garmin Forerunner 55. On the other hand, if you're looking for an Android smartwatch that covers more ground, you'll be better off with the Fitbit Versa 3.

Focus on running with the Garmin Forerunner 55

Garmin Forerunner 55 Activities

Source: Courtney Lynch / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Courtney Lynch / Android Central)

Garmin's Forerunner line varies from entry-level models to super-advanced powerhouses. The Forerunner 55 falls at the lower end of that spectrum, but it's still an incredible running watch with a lot to offer. When comparing the Garmin Forerunner 55 and Forerunner 45, many improvements make it a solid upgrade.

The successor comes in a lightweight 42mm plastic case with a 1.04" sunlight-visible, transflective display. Keep in mind there's no touchscreen, so all of your navigating will be done with the five side buttons. It's compatible with 20mm Garmin Forerunner 55 bands that are easy to change.

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Header Cell - Column 0 Garmin Forerunner 55Fitbit Versa 3
Dimensions42 x 42 x 11.6mm40 x 40 x 12mm
Display1.04-inch sunlight-visible, transflective1.58-inch AMOLED
SensorsHRM, accelerometerHRM, gyroscope, 3-axis accelerometer, altimeter, SpO2, ambient light sensor
ConnectivityBluetooth, ANT+Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
Battery lifeSmartwatch mode: up to 2 weeksGPS mode: up to 20 hours6+ days
Water resistance5ATM5ATM
ColorsBlack, White, AquaMidnight Blue / Soft Gold, Black / Black, Pink Clay / Soft Gold, Thistle / Soft Gold, Olive / Soft Gold
Mobile payments✔️
Music storage✔️
Built-in mic/speaker✔️
Voice assistant✔️

Most people will agree that one of the best features of the Garmin Forerunner 55 is the endless battery life. The watch will last for up to 2 weeks in smartwatch mode and 20 hours in continuous GPS mode. Of course, this can vary depending on usage, but it's far more than you get with most smartwatches on the market these days.

While the battery life is certainly attractive, most users will be interested in the Garmin Forerunner 55 for the advanced running perks. For example, you'll receive cadence alerts that tell you when you've gone outside your target cadence range. This feature is handy when you're working to improve your running form, which is useful when you're aiming to improve your running form.

The Forerunner 55 has a recovery time feature that tells you how long to rest between efforts.

The Forerunner 55 has a recovery time feature that tells you how long to rest between efforts. This feature will come in handy when you're training for your next big race. It can be tempting to participate in back-to-back training sessions, but recovery is crucial for success, and your watch can help you stay on track.

Another perk is PacePro technology, which provides personalized guidance and allows runners to customize their efforts to a specific running course or distance. These are just some advanced running features that make the Garmin Forerunner 55 an excellent fitness smartwatch for runners.

With all that said, you'll also have the usual health/fitness tracking features found on most Garmin smartwatches. Some examples include built-in GPS, activity/sleep tracking, heart-rate monitoring, Body Battery, female health tracking, and stress monitoring. There are some new sports apps, including pool swimming, track running, virtual running, HIIT, and pilates.

Considering running is the main focus, it's worth noting that you won't get a whole bunch of smartwatch features from the Forerunner 55. You don't get music storage or Garmin Pay, for example. It also lacks some perks found on some of the more advanced models, including a Pulse Ox sensor for tracking blood oxygen saturation levels and an altimeter for tracking floors climbed.

Explore more possibilities with the Fitbit Versa 3

Fitbit Versa 3 Steps 1

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

As the name suggests, the Versa 3 isn't the first model in the lineup. Over the years, the models have continued to improve, and this one is no exception. As a result, when comparing the Fitbit Versa 3 and Versa 2, you'll enjoy many upgrades.

Let's start with the improved design. It might look the same as the previous models, but some subtle improvements will enhance your experience. You get a larger, bigger display area and a higher resolution, for starters. The 40mm aluminum case comes in Soft Gold and Black, but there are other color options to pick from. Perhaps the biggest upgrade is the new Fitbit Versa 3 bands, which now have a quick-release system that's much easier to use.

While battery life was already pretty good on the Versa 2, the Versa 3 took things a bit further. You'll now have 6+ days of battery life on a single charge. There's also a fast charging feature on this smartwatch. So when you're short on time, you can charge your device to a full day of battery life in less than 15 minutes.

Fitbit Versa 3 Heart Rate

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

Fortunately, everything that Fitbit users already loved about the Versa lineup is still available, including an array of health/fitness features. You'll have built-in GPS, 24/7 heart-rate monitoring, activity/sleep tracking, 20+ goal-based exercise modes, blood oxygen tracking, and female health tracking.

The new Active Zone Minutes feature alerts you when you enter your target heart rate zone during activities.

While the tried-and-true features are great, some new ones will help you better understand your performance during workouts. For instance, the new Active Zone Minutes feature alerts you when you enter your target heart rate zone during activities. The new PurePulse 2.0 technology also promises improved heart-rate monitoring.

The Fitbit Versa 3 offers some smartwatch features that you won't have on the Garmin Forerunner 55. For example, there's a built-in microphone speaker so that you can make Bluetooth calls from your watch. There are also two voice assistants: Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. The other perks include NFC for Fitbit Pay and music storage via streaming apps such as Spotify, Deezer, and Pandora.

Garmin Forerunner 55 vs. Fitbit Versa 3: Which is right for you?

While both of these smartwatches have strong suits, the one you choose will depend on how you plan to use your wearable. Those who want to focus solely on running and won't be disappointed about the lack of bonus features will likely prefer the Garmin Forerunner 55. It's affordable, lightweight, and easy to use for beginners and experienced users alike. Not to mention that the battery will last for 2 weeks on a single charge.

If running isn't your only focus and you don't have a problem spending more money on extra features, the Fitbit Versa 3 is the superior option between the two. You get some perks the Garmin Forerunner 55 lacks, including an altimeter, blood oxygen tracking, Fitbit Pay, a mic/speaker, voice assistants, and music storage options. Additionally, the Versa 3 is more attractive than the Forerunner 55, which is great for those who want a watch that's fashionable and functional.

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.