When it comes to smartwatch dominance, two names stand above the rest: Apple and Fitbit. Apple with the clock and Fitbit with the Ionian and Versa. Finding the right one for you can be a challenge.
There used to be fitness trackers and smartwatches. But over time, the lines are blurry. Today, most fitness trackers are decent smartwatches and most smartwatches are decent fitness trackers. This could not be truer than the Apple Watch, the first to be a smartwatch and the second a fitness tracker, and Fitbit, the Ionic, and Versa's latest offerings, which are the first fitness trackers and second smartwatches.
But here's the thing: they're both really good at being smartwatches and fitness trackers. However, when choosing the watch that best suits your life, there are a few key points to consider.
Before we begin, we should talk about the operation of both watches.
What you can get from both watches.
There are some basics that you get either way. With each watch, you get activity monitoring, step count, calorie consumption, notification mirroring and quick answers. You can (to a degree) adjust the dial for both watches and download a range of first and third party options.
The same goes for app support ̵
First things first: Which phone do you have?
This may be self-evident but to cover all the basics, we first need to talk about your phone. If you're reading this, you probably have an iPhone. Perfect! The Apple Watch and all Fitbit models are compatible with your phone. It does not matter which iPhone you have – as long as it's relatively new, you can get started.
If you have Android on the other hand, guess what? The Apple Watch is out of the question. You can still use any Fitbit you want. However, if you want to purchase an Apple Watch, you must completely change the platform. Sorry, Fam.
Against this background, we now assume that you are an iPhone user. It just makes sense, right?
Consider what you want on your wrist
What information do you want to see at a glance? ? This is the first question you should ask yourself when looking at a new smartwatch. Apart from the time (which may be surprising on both devices), would you like to access health data? Would you like to see your heart rate, number of steps, calorie burning and the like?
Or would you rather have quick access to your language assistants and calendar events? These define the characteristics of each watch. Sure, the Apple Watch can show some health data on its dial, but if you're looking for all your health data in quick, bite-sized portions, the Fitbit is for you. The Ionic, Versa and Versa Lite models all have excellent dials that display steps, active minutes, calories and heart rate. If you find the right face, you can also view weather data and battery level directly on the main screen.
The Apple Watch is much more versatile. You can use the Siri dial to quickly access your favorite digital assistant, calendar events and the like. There are countless other dials to choose from, offering a number of different options.
So, if you want health metrics and that's about it, Fitbit will fit your needs perfectly. If you only want more at a glance, the Apple Watch may be the better choice.
What kind of app support do you want?
If you want to do more with your watch and less with your phone, app support is important. And from the beginning, the Apple Watch is the clear winner of the app support – it offers a lot of other options. There are some good tips in the Fitbit ecosystem, like Strava and Pandora, but if you're looking for a niche or something specific, it probably will not work with Fitbit.
Thanks to Notification Mirroring, you can get some basic app-like features for specific applications on a Fitbit – like simple music controls. If you need to disrupt music and turn over titles, you can do so. But do not expect deeper integration at any level – with no app. As I said before, Versa and Ionic are first fitness trackers and then smartwatches. You certainly will not buy an app support fitbit – you buy it for tracking activities and so on. The smartwatch features are just a bonus.
But with the Apple Watch, there's a lot of great app support. Best of all, apps sync automatically from your iPhone. So if you already have something on your phone and have a watch app, you do not have to bother with a separate installation. This is not the case with Fitbit – if you want to see it on your watch, you have to look around the Fitbit (not great) App Store to get it. The Apple Watch complements the use of the phone with your watch. You know, that's mostly a smartwatch.
But if you just want to operate your watch and only need the basics of your wrist, the Versa or Ionic may be better.
What kind of fitness tracking and support do you want?
Here's a funny one – and where things are getting more and more complicated. The Apple Watch is an excellent smartwatch, but is also praised by many as a great fitness tracker. And for the most part it is! It is not perfect though.
The use of the Apple Watch as a fitness tracker with continuous heart rate monitoring and ECG function (Series 4 only) offers many advantages, but is not sufficient in certain areas. For example, there is no native sleep tracking. There are apps that do that, but I still have to find one that is as good as the ones I get from my Versa.
And even though sleep tracking does not seem like a make-or-break feature of a fitness tracker, it's honest crucial to make the most of your fitness. Damn, this is generally true for follow-up – taking, exercising and sleeping are the cornerstones of a healthy life. Therefore, it is important to keep an eye on all these things. And that's where Fitbit comes from, because you can keep up with all these things in one place.
With the Apple Watch, you need an app to track your food intake (which is technically done on the phone) and another app to monitor sleep. Put a few different apps in the mix if you also want to track different workouts. But with Fitbit everything is in one place, both on the clock and in the app.
Between the clock and the Fitbit app, you can cover pretty much all of your fitness basics. You can track activities from your watch and food from the app. The sleep data acquisition is automatically based on your heart rate and is synchronized with the app. The tracking of water intake is available both in the app and on the clock. If you're just thinking about fitness information, Fitbit is as good as an all-inclusive package.
Also, you do not need to use in this way. Do you want to pursue activities in Strava? You can! Do you prefer MyFitnessPal as a food tracker? No problem – use what you want. You can also set these two options to sync the information back to Fitbit so you can get your food and workouts in the Fitbit app alongside your water intake and sleep information.
And that's the biggest selling point for Fitbit products as a fitness tracker: It's flexible enough to use your favorite apps if you want, but still have everything you need convenient in one place. It is brilliant.
Let's talk about the price in the end.
When it comes down to it, there are only a few different Apple watches to choose from, and Fitbit offers the Ionic, Versa and Versa Lite models. Oh, and the Versa Special Edition. Oof. Here is a [not so] quick and dirty glitch:
As you can see, prices vary quite wildly . The most expensive Fitbit (Ionic) is usually still cheaper than the cheapest Apple Watch (although the latter is cheaper to buy). There is always the opportunity to purchase an older generation of the Apple Watch, but we currently only consider the watches sold by Apple.
But yes, when it comes to price, it's hard to beat Fitbit.
So, which One Will It Be?
Now is the time to ask yourself the most important question: Would you like a smartwatch with fitness or a fitness tracker with some good smartwatch features? If you can answer this question easily, you already know which is the best choice for you. If you have opted for a Fitbit, have a look at our Fitbit Buying Guide. It will help you figure out which fitbit is best for you.
However, if you still can not decide what to use then you need to find out what suits your life best – or the life you want to live . This is an important consideration because if you're looking to change your lifestyle to control your health, the Fitbit Versa or Ionic is the better choice in my opinion. You get everything you need, in front and in the middle. The easy way to have everything in one place (the Fitbit app) means you're more likely to actually use this stuff. If you initially complicate things with four different apps and a steeper learning curve (see Apple Watch), you're less likely to use them. I'm just saying it.
But here's the best: After all, both are great. I have both and can say with certainty that you are satisfied with both. But if you are curious, you will find the Versa on my wrist daily. Unbeatable for my active lifestyle.