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What are the major differences between these two devices and why would you get the Fitbit Versa over the Apple Watch 4 and vice versa? That’s what we’re covering in this post. Before we do that though, let’s run through a few of the items that you’ll get with both devices.
Fitbit Versa vs Apple Watch 4 – Similar Features
As you’d expect, there is some natural overlap between the two devices. In other words, there are some baseline features that you’ll get with both the Versa and Apple Watch 4.
Apple Watch 4
Personal, Pandora, Deezer
Personal, Apple Music
Cost of Music Services
Starts at $5/Month
Starts at $10/Month
Special Edition Only
Yes (Pool & Open Water)
Yoga, Cardio & More
3rd Party App Store
Yes (Fitbit App Gallery)
Yes (Watch OS App Store)
Why Get the Versa Over the Apple Watch 4?
The way we see it, there are three compelling reasons to get the Versa over the Apple Watch 4. These are practical advantages that don’t really have anything to do with the capabilities of the watch.
The Versa is a sleek sport watch / smart watch combo (much like the Apple Watch)
If you’re choosing on price alone, the Versa is the clear winner, especially considering the AWS4 is $400 for the 40mm GPS option. If you want the 44mm GPS option, that starts at $500. We’re talking double the price, at minimum.
Versa is Better at Activity & Sleep Tracking
While the Apple Watch has a fairly good system for tracking your daily activity, this is just Fitbit’s bread and butter. They’ve been in the activity tracking space for years and are really good at this stuff.
Inside the Fitbit app
First off, the Apple Watch doesn’t even natively track your sleep, so if you care about that, you’re going with the Versa. On top of that, Fitbit does a great job of aggregating your daily activity and health stats into a single app. In the Fitbit app, you’ll have everything from steps to workouts, sleep to diet, competitions with friends to hydration levels, and everything in between.
Bottom line: if what you’re looking for is mostly a fitness tracker with some smart features added on, that’s the Versa. The Apple Watch is the opposite.
Versa Has Better Battery Life Than the Apple Watch
Expect about double the battery life on the Fitbit Versa as compared to the Apple Watch. You’ll get about four full days on a single charge with the Versa and about 30-36 hours with the Apple Watch 4.
You’ll get about 4 days of battery life with the Versa
While neither device achieves a full week on a single charge, there’s no denying that the battery life is better with the Versa. And since both devices require proprietary charging cables, battery life will be key for anyone that travels frequently or simply plans to be a power users with the watch.
Final Thoughts: Why Get The Versa
The Versa really relies on being a nice blend between a sport watch and smart watch. You’re not getting the Versa because you want the most capable smartwatch. You get this device if you want some fitness features and some smart features, but your budget is $200.
What it does, it does well. For instance, it’s a great activity and sleep tracker. It’s a pretty good running watch (assuming you have your phone with you). It’s pretty good at relaying notifications from your phone. The whole music storage feature works well, but it’s not something you’ll want to tinker with everyday.
What I’m trying to say is get the Versa if you want a step up from the Charge 3, but the Apple Watch seems like overkill at this point. For most people, I assume, that is the case.
This is the best Apple Watch, by far. It has more features than prior models, but it’s also lightyears better in terms of speed. The Apple Watch 4 is the first Apple Watch that I would seriously consider using as my daily driver watch—it’s that good.
The Apple Watch 4 feels like a premium device
Why Get the Apple Watch 4 Over the Fitbit Versa?
I’m going to keep this list brief, but if you were to really get into the weeds, there are dozens of smaller reason to get the AWS4 over the Versa. As an example, it has an app that allows you to control the shutter on your iPhone. It’s a brilliant app that I found myself using fairly often. No such app exists for Fitbit.
There are a million (hyperbole) other features that the Apple Watch has that the Versa does not. Let’s get that out of the way up front. We’ll be focusing on the big stuff—the major differentiators for Apple.
Apple Watch is the Smarter Smart Watch
There are so many little features that I had to just bundle these all together.
Look at that display!
The Apple Watch 4 is available in two different configurations: GPS and GPS + Cellular. The GPS version is more affordable, but the Cellular version gets you access to calls, messages, Apple Music, and certain apps on the go, phone-free.
The Apple Watch also has Siri, which doesn’t seem like a big deal, but Siri could be the best part oft the watch. Siri allows you to create reminders, call people, message people, and more with just your voice (I know, you know how Siri works). Suffice it to say that Siri is actually pretty helpful (and fast) on the Apple Watch 4. Fitbit does not have a virtual assistant.
Giving Siri a whirl
There are vastly more 3rd party apps available for the Apple Watch than exist for the Versa, despite the fact that Fitbit has its own App Gallery. Apple gives you access to productivity apps such as FantastiCal, workout apps such as Runkeeper, news apps such as Bleacher Report, and travel apps such as Citymapper.
Inside the App Store for the Apple Watch
It is true that Fitbit has access to STRAVA, Starbucks United Airlines, and the NY Times, but the list of 3rd party apps for the Versa is about 5% of what’s available for Apple.
Also, on a more minor note, the Apple Watch comes standard with Apple Pay, but you have to upgrade to the Versa Special Edition to get Fitbit Pay.
Playing around with Apple Maps on the AWS4
And not to beat a dead horse, but the native mapping system for the Apple Watch is pretty neat (and totally unmatched by Fitibt). It allows you to search for, and navigate to, pretty much anywhere you want. It even provides turn-by-turn directions.
The Apple Watch is Actually The Better Sport Watch
While both watches track workouts and have wrist heart rate monitors, the Apple Watch actually has two big advantages in the workout space over the Versa.
Inside the workout app on the Apple Watch 4
First, the Apple Watch 4 has GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, and QZSS, which allow it to map and track your outdoor workouts such as running, cycling, and hiking.
The Versa just has Connected GPS, which basically uses the GPS from your phone to monitor your workout. Connected GPS works just fine, but it does mean that you need to bring your phone with you if you want to see a map of your run, for example.
You can see the optical HRM and EKG sensor on the Apple Watch 4
Second, the Apple Watch pairs with external Bluetooth heart rate monitors, whereas the Fitbit does not. External HRMs such as chest strap monitors are a lot more accurate than the optical sensors. A chest strap is preferred if you’re training for something, like a marathon.
Apple Music vs Pandora & Deezer
Both watches allow you to store music natively, however, the Apple Music setup is better than what Fitbit has. For example, Fitbit allows you to transfer music from Pandora and Deezer, both of which are unequivocally less appealing to consumers than Apple Music.
A look at the music screen on AWS4 (streaming from iPhone)
To be fair, the whole Pandora/Deezer system works just fine with Fitbit, but it takes a long time to transfer music and it’s just more clunky than the Apple setup. Let’s put it this way, if I had to choose based on the music storage feature alone, I would go with Apple over Fitbit.
Final Thoughts: Why Apple Wins
You should get the Apple Watch if you care mostly about the smart features—if you want more interactive notifications, a nicer display, and a more premium feel.
While Fitbit is better at the basic activity tracking stuff, the Apple Watch is actually the better sport watch. What it really comes down to is price vs features—what do you care about most?