Fitbit Versa vs Apple Watch 4: two of the greatest smartwatches clash

Fitbit is mostly known for fitness trackers, but it also offers devices that are more or less full smartwatches, such as the Fitbit Versa. The Apple Watch 4 meanwhile is mostly thought of as a smartwatch, but it also has an enviable number of fitness features. 

With that in mind it’s not unlikely that you might be choosing between the two.

Of course, the Versa and the Apple Watch 4 do have many differences, not least their price. But if you want a smart fitness tracker or a smartwatch with real health and fitness skills and aren’t sure which to pick you’ve come to the right place.

We’ve put these two wearables head to head, comparing their key similarities and differences, so that you can make an informed choice as to which – if either – to buy.

Fitbit Versa vs Apple Watch 4 display

The Apple Watch 4's screen comes in two sizes

The Apple Watch 4’s screen comes in two sizes

Both the Apple Watch 4 and Fitbit Versa have a fairly square screen, but the Apple Watch 4’s is bigger, at a choice of 40mm or 44mm, while the Fitbit Versa’s comes in at 34mm.

You’ll note also that this means you get a choice in sizing for the Apple Watch 4, which is absent on the Fitbit Versa, and the extra size generally doesn’t hurt when it comes to interacting with the screen, but some people will want a more compact device, like the Versa.

The Versa's screen is more rounded than the Apple Watch 4's

The Versa’s screen is more rounded than the Apple Watch 4’s

The corners of the Versa’s screen are slightly more rounded than the Apple Watch 4’s and the bezels are slightly larger, but both devices have color screens and both are bright, reaching up to 1,000 nits.

It’s worth noting though that the Apple Watch 4’s display is higher resolution, coming in at either 324 x 394 (if you get the 40mm model) or 368 x 448 (if you opt for the 44mm), while the Fitbit Versa is 300 x 300.

Fitbit Versa vs Apple Watch 4 design

The Apple Watch 4 has a stylish build

The Apple Watch 4 has a stylish build

While you don’t have any choice in the size of the Fitbit Versa’s screen, you do get both a small and large strap included with it, so as with the Apple Watch 4 this is suitable for all wrist sizes.

The Versa’s strap is a basic, plastic one ideal for working out in, but there are classier straps sold separately, and there’s also a ‘Special Edition’ version of the watch which comes with a woven strap. 

The Apple Watch 4 meanwhile comes with a choice of different straps, such as silicone or a Milanese loop, but some push the price up.

The Fitbit Versa can look a bit cheap

The Fitbit Versa can look a bit cheap

As for the body of the watch, the Versa is clad in anodized aluminum, which is lightweight, making it comfortable to wear, but can feel cheap. The Apple Watch 4 on the other hand can be bought in stainless steel or aluminum and it looks and feels like a classier, more expensive device.

Fitbit Versa vs Apple Watch 4 fitness

The Versa has lots of tracking tools

The Versa has lots of tracking tools

If you’re reading this then fitness features are probably a major factor for you. Fortunately, both watches excel in this area.

The Fitbit Versa is water-resistant to 50 meters and can track your swims, including the likes of laps and duration. It also has over 15 other exercise modes, such as running, cycling and weights.

There’s a heart rate monitor here too, plus sleep tracking, guided breathing exercises and general daily activity tracking, including steps, active minutes, calories burned and more.

The Versa is even smart enough to tell when you’ve paused during a run and to automatically start and stop tracking it as appropriate. The one major omission to its fitness arsenal is GPS. However, it does offer connected GPS, so it can still track you just as long as you bring your phone out with you as well.

There's no shortage of fitness features on the Apple Watch 4 either

There’s no shortage of fitness features on the Apple Watch 4 either

The Apple Watch 4 is also water-resistant to 50 meters and capable of tracking swims. Plus it has a heart rate monitor, GPS, automatic exercise detection, and the ability to track numerous types of exercises, such as running, cycling, yoga and strength training. If you’re in the US, there’s also access to an electrocardiogram (ECG).

So there’s a lot of crossover between these two devices when it comes to fitness, but if GPS is important to you then the Apple Watch 4 probably has the edge.

Fitbit Versa vs Apple Watch 4 battery and features

The Apple Watch 4 can go around 2 days between charges

The Apple Watch 4 can go around 2 days between charges

The Fitbit Versa claims to offer over 4 days of life on a single charge. In practice our review found that it lasted roughly 3-4 days. The Apple Watch 4 meanwhile supposedly offers 18 hours of life, but in our review we found it could sometimes stretch to two days.

So Apple seems to have underestimated the life of its watch while Fitbit seems to have overestimated, yet the Fitbit Versa still lasts longer overall. These estimates do depend on how you use the devices though. Regularly use GPS on the Apple Watch 4 for example and the life will be significantly less.

You can make contactless payments on both watches

You can make contactless payments on both watches

As for features, other than the ones we’ve covered, highlights of the Fitbit Versa include smartphone notifications, such as texts, calls and calendar events, as well as NFC for contactless payments through Fitbit Pay. It also sports customizable watch faces, space for music, and a well-designed app.

The Apple Watch 4 also supports contactless payments, music and smartphone notifications. There’s less choice in faces but some amount of customization there too.

There are, however, more apps available for the Apple Watch 4, which is a big point in its favor. There’s optionally also an LTE version of the Apple Watch 4, if you don’t want to be reliant on Wi-Fi or a connection to a phone.

Fitbit Versa vs Apple Watch 4 OS and power

The Apple Watch 4 runs watchOS 5

The Apple Watch 4 runs watchOS 5

The Fitbit Versa runs Fitbit OS, which puts a focus on fitness, letting you see your stats at a glance, but as noted above, also offers a lot of customization.

The Apple Watch 4 meanwhile runs watchOS 5 and has some handy navigation options like a Digital Crown, which can be both pushed and rotated. You can also add complications (essentially widgets) of your choice to the watch face.

Fitbit hasn’t revealed the exact specs of the Versa, but we know that the Apple Watch 4 has a dual-core Apple S4 chipset and 16GB of storage. It’s likely the more powerful device, but in our review we found the Fitbit Versa was plenty responsive enough.

Fitbit Versa vs Apple Watch 4 price

Fitbit's wearable is a lot cheaper than Apple's

Fitbit’s wearable is a lot cheaper than Apple’s

The Fitbit Versa starts at $199.95 / £199.99 / AU$299.95, rising to $229.95 / £219.99 / AU$349.95 if you want the Special Edition version, which comes with a nicer woven strap (as well as a standard Classic Band), and is available in different colors.

You can often find it for less than the prices set out above though, so be sure to shop around.

The Apple Watch 4 is far pricier starting at $399 / £399 / AU$599 for the smallest model without LTE, and rising to $429 / £429 / AU$649 for the larger model.

If you want cellular connectivity, you’ll pay at least $499 / £499 / AU$749 for the small model and $529 / £529 / AU$799 for the large one, and the price goes up depending on which strap you opt for.

In other words then, the Apple Watch 4 costs at least around twice as much as the Fitbit Versa and potentially a lot more than that.

Takeaway

The cost is likely to be the biggest factor for a lot of people here, as Apple’s watch costs at least twice as much as Fitbit’s.

You do get more for your money though, most notably GPS and a more premium design, but other things too, such as an ECG (though only in the US).

The Fitbit Versa wins out on battery life, and lack of GPS aside is probably the smarter choice if you mostly want a fitness-focused device, but the Apple Watch 4 is a top all-round smartwatch.

social experiment by Livio Acerbo #greengroundit #techradar http://www.techradar.com/news/fitbit-versa-vs-apple-watch-4