There has never been a better time to get a new Apple smartwatch with the recent release of the fifth generation. There has never been a better time to get a new fitness tracker with Fitbit’s Versa release, as the two items have different features and a different overall focus, so it’s not clear which device should be on your wrist for your next marathon. Let’s break down a few key differences and help you decide which ones earn your hard-earned dollars.
At first glance, Fit Versa 2 is very easy to mistake for almost any Apple Watch. Pairing a slim design with rounded shapes and rounded edges, it helps to look amazingly familiar to Apple fans. When it comes to Apple’s design, known to those who have seen the Apple Watch Apple, Apple designs various case materials, including aluminum, titanium and white ceramic, as well as various available bands.
Versa 2 is available in aluminum only. Right off the bat, if it seems to be the most important, the Apple Watch is the clear winner, with both units always on, meaning you’ll be able to see notifications and fitness data without having to raise your wrist. When it comes to taking the edge on Apple design choices, the Versa 2 doesn’t have a tendency in the appearance category, which means you can’t go wrong with either option.
Since there is no clear cut winner in the design section, we have to move to another category. Fitness capabilities will become the primary focus here, but battery life is very close second in importance. If battery life means the most, the Versa 2 is a clear winner with the promise of about five days of battery life. Compare this to Apple’s 18 hours of battery life. If you’ve always disabled it on the Apple Watch 5, you might be able to shake for a bit longer if you find yourself pulling away from a charger or forget to plug in the Versa 2 after a morning run, but you won’t wake up with a dead unit. Versa 2 is the winner of any fitness fanatic who values battery life.
When it comes to capabilities, units are split up here. Power is the meat and potato of any purchase decision. The Apple Watch is a smartwatch first and fitness tracker second. However, both devices are capable and regular enough for regular wear. Swimmers will prefer 50 meters of water resistance on both devices. Any fitness fan who wants to run, bike or walk without a phone can grab any Apple Watch with LTE capability and leave the phone at home.
Both watches include an optical heart-rate monitor, Apple incorporates an ECG (electrocardiogram) monitor, dividing the series into 4 and 5. Separately, Versa 2 contains sensors to measure blood oxygen levels. Unlike the Apple Watch, Versa has built-in sleep-tracking capabilities, which is a welcome addition. The only other way this fits in with fitness tracking in Versa 2 is by showing how serious they are to your entire 24/7 health cycle, not your thirty to sixty minute workout.
As a fitness-first device, you can expect Versa 2 to escape with this category. However, there is one important area where Apple wins the accuracy competition – GPS. Oddly enough, the Versa 2 lacks GPS capabilities and is an odd omission for a fitness-centric device. If you want to properly track outdoor workouts you need to carry your smartphone. The Apple Watch 5 has both GPS and Compass (Watch 4 only has GPS) allowing for more accurate fitness tracking. But there is something to be said for a single-app approach that fits all your workout information. Apple requires at least three applications: Health Apps, View Apps and Activity Apps.
At the end of the day, the right fitness tracker for you is completely subjective. There is a strong argument for both parties. For example, Android users will absolutely need to see version 2, as they cannot connect to Apple Watch. Users who value strong battery life will want to give the Versa 2 a hard look, with nearly 400% more battery life than the Apple Watch 5. The same can be said of prices. Where the Apple Watch 5 starts at about double that. For anyone who values a large App Store full of personalization and thousands of fitness apps you can’t go wrong by any means, but Apple Watch has won close to a win for its deep features offering.