At first glance, comparing an Apple Watch to a Fitbit might seem a little one-sided. Fitbit are known for fitness bands that often incorporate some kind of watch face and notifications from your mobile device. An Apple Watch is a full-blown smartwatch. However, the Fitbit Vera is a smartwatch in its own right, and ready to challenge the Apple Watch Series 4. The gloves are on, the combatants are squaring up – let’s see who wins this fight!
Round 1: Price
One of the first decisions to make when comparing smartwatches is to determine what your budget is. Even if a smartwatch has every conceivable feature you could ever want, it can’t be considered if it is too expensive.
With that in mind, the clear winner in round 1 is the Fitbit Versa, with a price tag that is approximately half that of the Apple Watch Series 4. The Versa comes in at around $200, where the Apple Watch is around $400 (or more depending on the exact model and options).
Prices vary depending on the store you visit, but as a rule of thumb, the Fitbit is considerably cheaper – so the Versa wins Round 1.
Round 2: Basic features
As smartwatches, the “watch” feature is sometimes overlooked in favor of the gadgetry that is available. Both watches are capable of telling the time with an assortment of different watch faces which can replicate either a digital or analog watch face.
The physical faces of the watches aren’t too large or too small. They are clearly readable, and won’t look oversized on smaller wrists.
The Apple Watch includes a bezel on the side for control, while the Fitbit Versa has three buttons instead. Both incorporate touchscreens.
For the most basic features, there’s nothing to choose between them – Round 2 is a tie.
Round 3: The Hardware
The most visible part of the hardware is of course the screen. The Versa screen comes in a single size and has a 300 x 300 pixel display. The Apple Watch 40mm screen is 324 x 394 pixels, while the 44mm screen is 368 x 448 pixels.
The processing power is not directly comparable, as Fitbit do not give full details on the hardware inside their devices. Both smartwatches include wi-fi and Bluetooth connectivity, with NFC as standard on the Apple Watch but only on certain editions of the Versa. GPS is also standard on the Apple Watch, but not available for the Versa – “connected GPS” is Fitbit’s solution, which means if you want GPS features you need to take your smartphone with you.
Cellular connectivity is available on the higher-priced versions of the Apple Watch, and again is not available on the Versa.
The winner in Round 3 is the Apple Watch Series 4, with a higher screen resolution and greater connectivity options.
Round 4: Fitness and Health Tracking
Both smartwatches include heart-rate monitors, and will record the number of steps you take, the number of floors you climb, and how many calories you burn.
The Fitbit Versa monitors your sleep and gives a report on how well/long you slept for, while the Apple Watch relies on third-party apps to supply this information.
The convenience of built-in GPS with the Apple Watch make going for a run or a bike ride much easier.
The Fitbit also includes female health tracking, while the Apple Watch has sensors that are capable of detecting falls – should you trip during exercise, the watch can automatically notify others that you may need assistance.
The Apple Watch also includes an ECG monitor which works by placing your finger on the crown. It can warn you of any potential problems with the function of your heart – it’s not a replacement for a doctor, but can give you an indication that you may need to get a problem checked out.
For convenience and the extra features available, the Apple Watch wins Round 4.
Round 5: Can you go swimming?
With both smartwatches, the answer is yes, so Round 5 is a tie. Both watches claim water resistance to 50m.
Round 6: Being a Smartwatch
The Versa is compatible with both Android and iOS, giving a wider range of devices it can be used with. The watch will give notifications and can be used to make NFC payments. Quick replies to messages are available when connected to an Android device.
There is an app store available, but the number of apps is limited.
The Apple Watch only works with iOS devices, and allows notifications and quick replies. Apple Pay is available, and the app store has more apps available than its Fitbit counterpart.
Furthermore, the Apple Watch can make calls on the cellular model, and includes Siri – so you can issue voice commands direct to your watch.
Although only working with other Apple devices, the Apple Watch has a greater feature set and so wins Round 6.
Round 7: Entertainment
Both watches allow music to be stored on the watch itself. The Apple Watch will synchronize with your iPhone, allowing you to listen to both music and podcasts without the phone being nearby. Additionally, the Apple Watch can stream Apple Music directly.
The amount of space reserved for audio storage is around 2GB on both devices, excluding the Apple Watch Series 4 LTE version, which has 8GB reserved.
The Apple Watch Series 4 wins Round 7 easily.
Round 8: Design
The face of both watches is very similar, square with rounded corner. Both are sensibly sized, and have removeable straps so you can change up the look. Alternative straps can be leather, metal, elasticated, and a range of colors – almost every kind of strap imaginable is available.
Both are light enough to wear all day, are sensibly sized, and comfortable.
There’s not much to choose between them, so Round 8 is another tie.
Round 9: Battery Life
The Apple Watch will run for around 18 hours on a full charge, meaning it must be recharged daily. The Versa can last for 4 or 5 days on a single charge, potentially making it more convenient for sleep tracking as well as reducing the amount of time you have to spend charging the device.
The clear winner in Round 9 is the Fitbit Versa.
Round 10: How long will it last?
Both companies, Apple and Fitbit, are known for updating their products regularly. However, software updates are often made available for quite some time, bringing newer and better features to older devices as time goes on.
Both of these smartwatches are relatively new, and so should receive updates for a few years yet.
As far as build quality goes, both are well-made, and should withstand regular use for an extended period of time.
Round 10 is a tie.
And the winner is…
While the Versa wins on cost and on battery life, the amount of power the Apple device uses is clearly down to the number of extra features included.
The Apple Watch Series 4 won 4 of our rounds, 4 were tied, and the Fitbit Versa won in just 2 rounds.
If you’re on a budget, the Versa will provide you with a decent set of features at a great price. If you can afford the Apple Watch, you’ll get a whole lot more features that may revolutionize the way you view your watch.