Fitbit has become a popular and very common name associated with fitness trackers since its arrival in the market. However, the past few years the company has tried to dip its toes into the smartwatch industry to compete with other smartwatch kings including Apple and Fossil.
Fitbit has numerous activity trackers in its arsenal. The Fitbit Charge 3 and Versa are two budget-friendly trackers that were launched by this tech giant. Charge 3 was released towards the end of 2018, as a pocket-friendly fitness tracker.
While Charge 3 is an efficient fitness tracker the Versa possesses a combination of smartwatch and fitness tracking features for a reasonable price. Versa was released in early 2018, showcasing a sleek and attractive activity tracker with promising features.
Charge 3 is a fitness band while Versa was advertised as a proper sports watch. If you are looking to buy one of these watches to keep up with the trend, Charge 3 would be the best choice. It is comfortable to wear all day long and because it is a classy looking watch you can choose to wear to your workplace or any occasion.
The Versa is more of a basic activity tracker that looks like an Apple Watch, though the system isn’t nearly as robust as Apple’s smartwatches. If you want a small, attractive tracker with a great battery life Versa can be an excellent choice.
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Breaking It Down
When it comes to fitness trackers, there are multiple features that are designed to attract consumers. Sometimes it’s the design, but mostly it is the special features of the watch that drives the interest of the consumers. Features like GPS, activity recognition, smartphone integration, heart rate monitor, and swimming support is essential for even basic fitness tracker.
The user-friendly interface is an important factor that you should consider when buying a fitness tracker or a smartwatch. Since the screen is small and it can be cramped to read the text, an easy user interface is necessary for both fitness trackers and smartwatches.
Fitbit Charge 3
Featuring a subtle curve, the watch is a sleek, attractive looking device in line with modern fashion trends. It is comfortable to wear every day even while you sleep because it perfectly fits the contours of your wrist. It is lightweight so it will be quite comfortable while you are working out.
The watch showcases a slim shape with a button on the side. The button doesn’t stick out giving the watch a streamlined design. Pressing the side button always brings you back to the previous screen, holding it opens a quick settings box to disable notifications or automatic screen waking. Pressing the side button also lets you cycle through the different modes.
Charge 3 has an OLED touchscreen display. There is a full greyscale touchscreen with a simplistic UI. You can flick your wrist, tap the screen or press the side button to wake the watch. However, the touchscreen’s responsiveness lags when you choose to switch it on by flicking your wrist.
- Tracker Standards
The Fitbit Charge 3 possesses an inbuilt heart rate sensor which constantly provides stats on your home screen. Every time you lift your wrist or touch the screen it will show steps totals and heart rate data. A swipe up from the bottom of the screen opens a summary of any metric, from calories burned to minutes active to water consumed.
Besides the heart rate monitor, Charge 3 includes a SpO2 sensor that measures blood oxygen. With the SpO2 sensor, Charge 3 can also track sleep patterns. Essentially, the SpO2 sensor works alongside the optical heart rate monitor and detects blood oxygen levels while you are asleep. This information is useful as high variation in your oxygen levels can show underlying sleep conditions, such as sleep apnea. If you detect sleep variations don’t forget to consult a doctor.
To manage your sleep better, Fitbit has a sleep score program. However, this is only available to owners of Fitbit devices with PurePulse HR tracking.
If you are a swimming enthusiast the tracker has a swim mode that can track laps and distances in the water. The data is synced with the Fitbit app. Charge 3 is water-resistant down to approximately 164 feet (50 meters).
Another noteworthy feature is the goal tracking. You can set specific goals ahead of your workouts and follow a custom workout pattern. You can set 5 laps of swimming or 100 pushups on the watch and it will vibrate once the goal is achieved.
One major drawback of Charge 3 is the absence of the GPS feature. You will have to connect the Charge 3 to your smartphone during your runs or walks for it to track your location and distance covered.
Another feature it lacks is music connectivity; this needs smartphone pairing as well. Also, there is no music storage, this might be a major snag for many people because these days workout goes in tandem with some hep music to relax during workout sessions.
- Battery Life
Unlike other famous smartwatches, Charge 3 doesn’t give up by the end of the day. The battery lasts seven days long even with the heart rate monitor in full swing. Read all your notifications, track your exercise and sleep, the Charge 3 will last through all activities.
- Excellent battery life
- Large screen
- Lightweight case
- Completely waterproof
- Smartphone notifications
- No onboard GPS
- Monochrome screen
- Proprietary charger
The Versa is 11.2mm wide, 37.6mm in length, and weighs just 23 grams. Versa is super light, even if you are using one of the heavier metal link bracelets. You can swap the wrist band for one of the 16 leather or fabric bands. The tracker also has a small lever that controls a standard 22mm watch pin.
Versa’s display measures 1.34 inches with a square touchscreen LCD and has a 300 x 300 resolution. It employs an ambient light sensor to automatically adjust brightness for different lighting conditions. The screen is very bright and crisp and presents no problem while viewing it under direct sunlight.
- Tracker Standards
The Fitbit Versa is for all the fitness conscious people out there. The device has a Fitbit Today feature, which allows you to access your daily and weekly health and fitness stats, historical activity, and recent exercises. More convenient than the earlier practice of opening the Fitbit app to view most of this data.
This feature brings more detailed sleep and exercises stats to the dashboard of the device. You can also view your heart rate and hourly activity stats. You can log water and food intake from the watch. Additionally, the update lets you create goal-based exercises, which was first debuted on the Fitbit Charge 3.
Unlike Fitbit Charge 3, the Versa has 2.5GB of available space for music storage. You can load up around 300 songs to create a playlist, listen to stations from Pandora, and playlists from Deezer. Music needs to be loaded onto the watch from a computer. The syncing process is a hassle as its snail-paced and requires a decent amount of time to finish uploading your favorite tracks.
The Fitbit Versa received a major update in May 2018. As a big benefit for all the women around the world. The company introduced a female health tracking feature to help women stay on top of their menstrual cycle, record symptoms, and compare trends directly on the Fitbit app.
Fitbit’s proprietary algorithm adjusts itself to get smarter and more accurate as women log their period every month. The metrics of the cycle will always be available on the wrist as well. With diseases like PCOS, it is necessary that every woman keeps track of the regularity of their menstrual cycle to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Another feature Fitbit Versa rolled out in May 2018 is the ability to respond to smartphone notifications from their watches. You can reply to any message from the Versa using preset responses on the watch. For many apps, you can use Google’s Smart Replies to respond to messages as well. This makes the Versa much more reliable and feature-filled tracker compared to the version of Versa at its launch.
Android users have an additional feature referred to as Quick Replies, which makes notifications from Android phones more actionable. Fitbit offers a few of its own preset texts, such as “Yes,” “No” and “Sounds good.” You can add your own custom phrases as well. Customizing your own preset messages is quick and easy. However, if you are not in the Bluetooth range of your phone or if your Wi-Fi network is sketchy, the tracker might not receive the message.
Unfortunately, the tracker doesn’t have onboard GPS, so you will have to link the watch to your smartphone to access location and distance features if you decide to go on a long run.
- Battery Life
The battery life may not be as impressive as the Charge 3, however, considering the Versa has more updates features this affects the battery. It can last for four days after constant sleep and heart rate tracking.
- Sleek, lightweight design
- Four-day battery life
- Exclusive female health tracking features
- Detailed sleep analysis metrics
- No on-board GPS
- Restricted response to notifications
The Winner is the Fitbit Versa
Even though both the trackers use the same operating system, the Versa has more features deemed essential for a fitness tracker. It is more enticing to the female population because of its female health tracking feature and charms the fitness conscious category of people with its excellent tracking features.
Both watches require smartphone integration for GPS to be functional however, Versa’s onboard music storage feature plus its ability to play music from different music streaming services make it more desirable as a fitness tracker. Since most people like to listen to their favorite tracks while working out and it has become a common thing even at gyms, music storage should be considered essential for any tracker or smartwatch.
If you have a habit of popping into a grocery store after a run to pick up a few essentials on your way back home Fitbit Pay could be a great way to save some time. For a few extra bucks, the Versa offers the Fitbit Pay. This can let you pay the utility bill without even getting your phone out of your pocket.
A few things to consider while buying an activity tracker if you are a fitness-centric person are mode detection, heart rate monitor, sleep tracking, and GPS positioning. Plus a connected app will make stats of your workout more insightful and detailed.
The Fitbit app is one of the easy to use fitness apps. All your important information can be found on the dashboard of your home screen. You will be able to view your step, calorie, and active minute stats for the day. It can also evaluate sleep, heart rate, and many more stats. Clicking on any one of these sections will give you more detailed information on that particular metrics.