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Of course, these are both sport watches and they’re designed to cover all your basics in terms of activity tracking. Both the Versa and the Ionic will track your sleep, steps, distance, calories, etc..
With both watches, you get on-board music storage and playback. The Versa and Ionic can store 300+ songs, so you can play your music without a streaming service. Although both watches also support some streaming services, like Pandora and Deezer.
Here’s a little recap on how the music storage/playback feature works:
One of Fitbit’s newer conveniences is Fitbit Pay. Fitbit Pay allows you to pay from your watch anywhere that accepts contactless payment. You just set up your credit or debit card (or cards) in the Fitbit app, and then pay at select contactless payment terms. Fitbit Pay is only available on the Versa Special Edition.
Fitbit Versa App Gallery
Fitbit also has it’s own App Gallery where you can find 3rd party apps that are compatible with your device. There aren’t that many apps yet for the Versa, but there are few that you’ll recognize: Starbucks, Strava, Pandora, and Deezer, to name a few. There are way more apps available for the Ionic right now.
Both the Versa and Ionic are waterproof fitness watches. You’re good down to 50 meters and both are rated for pool swimming. They track your laps, duration, and calories burned. However, despite both watches having a wrist HR sensor, you don’t get HR data while swimming.
More on the Fitbit Versa
In a lot of ways, the Versa and Ionic are very similar, but we do think there are a few details that might have you leaning towards the Versa.
First off, there’s a pretty significant price difference. The Versa is priced at $200, while the Ionic comes in at $300. $100 is nothing to sneeze at. Having said that, as of this post, we’ve seen the Ionic down to around $250. You can check current Fitbit prices on Amazon.
The Versa is also a slimmer, more compact watch. It’s still clearly a fitness watch – there’s no hiding that – but it isn’t quite as “Hey, look at my fitness watch!” as the Ionic. Our resident tiny person (Kaite Kale at sub-100lb) says the face of the Ionic is too big for a small wrist, but the Versa is manageable. The Versa also feels less clunky on your wrist. It’s just a more streamlined device than is the Ionic.
Fitbit Versa on Kaite Kale’s tiny wrist.
Although it’s a “coming soon” thing, the Versa has a Female Health feature (or, it will, when the update comes out). You’ll be able track your monthly cycle and symptoms in the app, and while that’s really not special – there are a hundred period tracking apps – it also lets you compare your period log to other health stats, like weight and sleep data.
Overall, the Versa seems to be targeted more towards just generally active people and gym-goers, as opposed to aerobic athletes.
The Ionic also has it’s perks, the first of which is a longer battery life. The Versa is supposed to have a 4-day battery, although that really depends on usage. The Ionic’s batter life is also affected by usage, but it takes the win here with approximately 5 days on a full charge.
What is probably the biggest advantage the Ionic has over the Versa is it’s built-in, proper GPS. The Versa uses Connected GPS, which means it grabs data from your phone, which in turn means that you have to have your phone with you to get GPS data on your watch. But since the Ionic has GPS built in, that’s not an issue.
Music storage feature / Pandora on Ionic.
Especially considering the GPS feature, the Ionic is probably a better fit for runners, cyclists, and hikers. In fact, now that the Versa is out, we see the Ionic targeting more specifically that run/cycle/swim/outdoor community rather than just typical gym-goers. Anyone that really values to the GPS element should consider the Ionic over the Versa. That’s not to say that Connected GPS is bad (it definitely isn’t), but a built-in GPS chip is more convenient for running, cycling, and hiking.