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Fitbit has long been the top dog in the wearable tech industry. You can find their devices everywhere, including on the wrists of million of people globally. In this post we are going to explore who wins in the Charge 3 vs Versa debate. But before we do that, let’s cover the features that you’ll get with both devices.
– Connected GPS: Both have the ability to map workouts (with the help of your phone)
– Swim Tracking: Monitor pool swimming and track distance, pace, laps, and calories
– Activity Tracking: Fitbit does a great job of tracking your steps, calories, distance, heart rate, etc.
– Sleep Tracking: Monitor your sleep at night, including REM sleep.
– Wrist HRM: They both have a built-in wrist heart rate sensor.
– Unisex Construction: Both men and women should appreciate the design of these devices.
– Multiple Band Options: Fitbit and others sell replacement bands for these devices.
– Smartphone Alerts: Get notifications on your wrist from certain apps on your smartphone.
– Android/iOS App: The Fitbit app is one of the top fitness apps available today. It houses all of your health and fitness data.
– Workouts: You can track more than just running, cycling, and swimming. They can monitor HIIT, cardio, yoga, etc.
That’s most of the big stuff that you can expect with both the Charge 3 and Versa, however, they do have distinct advantages/disadvantages that we should cover as well. These will be the reasons that you get one over the other.
Fitbit Charge 3 vs Versa Smartwatch
As of this post, the Charge 3 is the newest Fitbit device. It makes some nice upgrades over the Charge 2, but just because it’s newer, doesn’t mean it’s a must-have over the Versa. Here are the chief reasons that you’d opt for the Charge 3.
Charge 3 is a fitness band
The Charge 3 is a fitness wristband, while the Versa is a proper sports watch. If you’re looking for more of an accessory, the Charge 3 makes more sense. It’s smaller, sleeker, and looks like less a fitness device than does the Versa, which is great for office environments, weddings, etc.
The Charge 3 has a unisex design
Charge 3 is more affordable
Pretty straightforward. The Charge 3 has an MSRP fo $150 [check price on Amazon]while the Versa is around $200 [Amazon]. If you want most of the same features, but want to spend less, go with the Charge 3.
Battery life is key
Despite being the smaller device, the Charge 3 actually has better battery life than the Versa. The Charge 3 gets around 7 days on a single charge, while the Versa is 4 days (give or take).
Proprietary charge cable for both Fitbit devices
If you travel a lot or don’t want to constantly worry about charging your device, the Charge 3 is probably the better pickup. That’s not to say that the Versa has poor battery life (you can actually do much better than 4 days), but it’s not quite on par with the Charge 3.
Even though the Versa is about 5 months older than the Charge 3, it is still the outright winner in several categories.
Watch style design
Just like there are advantages with the Charge 3 being a fitness band, there are some nice upsides to the Versa being a watch. Not only is the screen easier to read, but Fitbit has made it color rather than on a grey scale. Also, as you’ll see in the sections below, there are some pretty neat features that are available if you have more screen space.
Versa on Kaite’s very petite wrist
The Versa has storage for up to 300 songs so that you can play music directly from your watch, phone-free. You can load your personal music or playlists from Pandora and Deezer (with the premium subscription, which starts at $5/month).
Use Pandora or Deezer for music on the go.
All you need is the premium subscription and Bluetooth headphones and you’re good to go. It’s actually a pretty neat experience to leave your phone behind, but still have your music during a run or workout.
Fitbit App Gallery
Given that the Versa is a watch whereas the Charge 3 is a bracelet, you have more screen real estate on the Versa. This has enabled Fitbit to make the Versa a proper smartwatch with its own app store.
Fitbit App Gallery
As you can see in the image above, there are plenty of 3rd party apps available for the Versa, including the New York Times, Starbucks, Philips Hue, and STRAVA. The Versa doesn’t support as many apps as does the Apple Watch 3, but Fitbit is committed to adding more and seems like they’re doing a good job of attracting more developers.
There’s an app for the Versa called Fitbit Coach, which by default has three static workouts and one dynamic workout.
On-screen workouts via Fitbit Coach
If you pay for the premium Fitbit Coach subscription you can get additional dynamic workouts. Fitbit Coach is available for the Versa and Ionic as well as on your phone/tablet. It’s an entire workout system that has beginner, intermediate, and advanced workouts.
That’s up to you. The Charge 3 is a smart fitness band with some nice features, including Connected GPS, swim tracking, 7-day battery life, and a wrist heart rate monitor. The Versa is a smartwatch with many of those same features, plus music storage, 3rd party apps, and access to Fitbit Coach.
Common questions about Fitbit devices
Although this is a comparison post, we think it might be helpful to go over some common questions that you’ll encounter with Fitbit.
What is Connected GPS?
Rather than equip these devices with an actual GPS chip, Fitbit allows them to monitor running, cycling, and hiking by using the GPS from your phone. This is simultaneously a good thing and a bad thing. It’s good because it likely reduced the price of the product and it’s better than nothing, but it’s bad because it’s not that convenient to always need to bring your phone with you on a run or bike ride if you want to collect GPS-based data such as pace, distance, etc. You will, however, see that information show up on your wrist.
Data collected using Connected GPS
As you can see, the Versa (just like the Charge 3 and Blaze) will display your pace and distance on your wrist despite that info actually being collected by your phone. It works well, but Connected GPS isn’t our favorite feature ever. Again, better than nothing, but not 100% ideal. Fitbit’s argument though, is that vast majority of people run with their phones, so why add proper GPS? Agreed. But we’d always rather have more than less.
Can they pair with chest strap heart rate sensors?
No. Both devices only collect heart rate data from your wrist. They record at 5-second intervals throughout the day and 1-second intervals during workouts.
Is the wrist heart rate monitor accurate?
It’s pretty good, but there are limits to the technology. It won’t be as precise as a chest strap HRM, but the PurePulse sensor will be good enough for the majority of people out there.
Does Fitbit track your weight and diet?
Not on the devices, but within the Fitbit app. They have a separate section just for diet, hydration, and body measurements. Fitbit even sells a weight scale called the Aria 2.
What Bluetooth headphones can the Versa pair with?
It can pair with virtually any modern Bluetooth headphones/earbuds, including the Fitbit Flyer. We’ve even managed to pair the watch with a Bluetooth speaker.