The wearable tech market in the US is expected to almost double within the next three years and we can imagine the UK are not much further behind. Two of the most popular brands are Apple and Fitbit but which is the better option for your lifestyle? Apple has dominated the smartwatch market, but Fitbit popularised wearable fitness tracking.
We are both Fitbit wearers and do not own an Apple Watch but we do know lots of people that do. We love our Fitbits and have had several different ones over the years and each of them have served us well. But if you are undecided about which is more suitable maybe think about it this way; Fitbit is fitness focused with the add-on of smart technology, the Apple Watch is all about smart technology with the add-on of fitness tracking. Still undecided? Here is our comparison of the two leaders in the fitness smartwatch arena.
Fitbit devices work with both Android and iPhone, but their iPhone functionality is limited.
As you can probably guess, the Apple Watch only really works with iPhone. It can function without one but is extremely limited.
Both feature a square watch face and offer a variety of bands; Apple’s range is much larger though there are plenty of third-party bands and accessories available for Fitbit devices at places like Mobile Mob. Regarding screen size, the Fitbit Versa comes with a 34mm display and a 300 x 300 pixel resolution.
This is slightly smaller than the 38mm Apple Watch 3 with a resolution of 272 x 340. The 42mm version of Apple’s series 3 watch has a 312 x 390 resolution. The Fitbit Ionic is 36mm with a 348 x 250 pixel resolution. The new Apple Watch 4 comes in both 40mm (394 x 324 pixels) and 44mm (448 x 368 pixels) sizes.
Both the Apple Watch (versions 2, 3 and 4) and the Fitbit Ionic have built-in GPS while the Fitbit Versa needs to connect with your smartphone for GPS functionality.
The Apple Watch and Fitbit measure steps, distance and calories burned. Both show you how many minutes you’ve been active and track your progress over time, storing some historical data.
Fitbit models include every day and active fitness as well as sports and performance fitness such as running, biking, strength and cardio workouts.
One key difference in fitness tracking is that Apple limits goal setting to calorie burn. Fitbit goes further allowing you to set yourself specific goals for Calories Burned, Active Minutes, Steps, your Hourly Activity Goal, Distance, and Floors Climbed.
The Apple Watch tracks your heart rate with a wrist-based electrocardiogram (ECG). This goes beyond just your heart rate, also following your heart’s electrical signals and their activity-based variations.
Fitbit’s continuous heart-rate tracking is an impressive feature used to provide fitness guidance, monitoring your sleep and guided breathing sessions.
The Apple Watch has no built-in sleep monitoring, but third-party sleep monitoring apps are available. However, with the limits of Apple’s battery life but it’s likely you will need to charge your watch during the day to use them.
Fitbit has built-in sleep monitoring and can examine your different sleep stages in much greater detail than Apple’s third-party app. Fitbit estimates sleep stages through a combination of heart-rate patterns and movement building a record of your night’s sleep.
The multi-use functionality of the Apple Watch results in poorer battery life than its competitors. According to Apple, 18 hours of active and passive use is possible, but nightly charges will be required unless you only use the most basic of functions.
Both take close to two hours to recharge but at around five days, Fitbit devices last longer between charges. Regular GPS use will result in a considerable drop in battery life for both. With GPS turned on the Apple Watch fades by five hours, compared to 10 hours by the Fitbit Ionic.
The latest Apple Watch Series is waterproof up to 50 metres, but deep-water activities are not recommended.
Fitbits are also safe in the water at 50m as well as being rain, sweat and splash proof. Fitbits swim-proof ability is a nice feature, and they even include some basic features to track swimming.
The Apple Watch allows you to make and receive calls, with the availability of Siri for hands-free calling. The Fitbit cannot make and receive calls.
The Apple Watch has an impressive 16GB of storage, and other applications include Apple Maps, Calendar and Weather. Fitbit storage is only 2.5GB and its applications are almost solely focused on fitness.
This is the bottom line for most customers. The latest version of the Apple Watch (Series 4) starts at $399 and goes up to $1,499. The most expensive Fitbit is the Ionic which starts at $269, so even the costliest Fitbit comes in cheaper than the least expensive Apple Watch (Series 3 at $279).
If you are looking for a less expensive, fitness-focused smartwatch, then Fitbit is for you. But if you want a more general smartwatch with increased functionality, then Apple is a more suitable choice.
We hope you enjoyed reading our review!