Fitbit vs. Apple Watch 2023: Which Is Better?

Fitbit vs. Apple Watch


Whether you're new to activity tracking or looking to change devices, you might be wondering which wearable is right for you—Fitbit or Apple Watch? The Fitbit lineup includes some of the top fitness trackers in the industry, including the advanced Fitbit Charge 5 and the company's budget-friendly option, the Fitbit Inspire 2. They also feature a line of smartwatches, including the Fitbit Versa 3 and Fitbit Sense.

Apple hit the scene with its first smartwatch in 2015. Since then, the company has been fine-tuning the design and features with each new model, including the Apple Watch SE, Apple Watch Series 3, and Apple Watch Series 7.

The Fitbit versus Apple Watch debate swings both ways, depending on your preference. However, the Apple Watch's reliance on the rest of the Apple products is one thing that sets the two apart. For example, you need an iPhone to activate the watch and operate it at the highest level. The Fitbit products, on the other hand, are compatible with both iOS and Android.

Here, the ACTIVE Reviews Team digs deeper into the similarities and differences between these two wearables so that you can decide which one is right for you.

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Fitbit vs. Apple Watch

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Apple Watch SE

Apple Watch SE

SPECS

  • Battery Life: Up to 18 hours
  • Fitness tracking: Running, cycling, swimming, walking, elliptical, rower, stair stepper, HIIT, hiking, yoga, functional strength training, dance, cool-down, core training, Pilates, Tai Chi, wheelchair, multisport, and other
  • Features: GPS, high and low heart rate notifications, irregular rhythm notification, emergency SOS, fall detection, crash detection, integration with iPhone, water-resistant

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Looking for a smartwatch that covers all the basics without a sky-high sticker price? Then check out the Apple Watch SE. This economical wearable is Apple's entry-level alternative to the more pricey Series 6 or 7 watches. It has several key features like texting, answering phone calls, fitness tracking, emergency SOS, fall detection, workout modes, heart rate notifications, and even crash detection. Plus, you can access new workouts every week with the Apple Fitness+ app.

We also like the Family Setup feature that allows you to connect with family members who don't have an iPhone. The SE is available in a 44 or 40mm aluminum case size with colors including midnight, starlight, and silver. The Solo Loop wristband provides a secure and comfortable fit, especially while exercising.

And while it lacks the more advanced health tools like blood oxygen readings and other respiratory features, the SE is a solid option. Overall, we like the Apple Watch SE for its budget-friendly price and extensive fitness tracking and smartwatch features.

What We Like

  • Larger display than previous models
  • Priced right starting at $249
  • Water-resistant up to 50 meters
  • Cellular version and GPS-only version available
  • Added safety features like fall detection, crash detection, and irregular heart rhythm notification
  • Comes with the latest-gen Apple chip

What We Don't Like

  • Battery life lacking compared to other fitness trackers and smartwatches
  • Display does not have the always-on feature
  • Requires iPhone for set-up and maximum functioning

BUY: Apple Watch SE

Apple Watch Series 7

Apple Watch Series 7

SPECS

  • Battery Life: Up to 18 hours
  • Fitness tracking: Running, cycling, swimming, walking, elliptical, rower, stair stepper, HIIT, hiking, yoga, functional strength training, dance, cool-down, core training, Pilates, Tai Chi, wheelchair, multisport, and other
  • Features: GPS, high and low heart rate notifications, irregular rhythm notification, blood oxygen app, emergency SOS, fall detection, integration with iPhone, water-resistant

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The Series 7 is one of the latest models in the Apple Watch lineup. This new generation features a larger screen, an always-on retina display, and faster battery charging, among others. While the new version has some noticeable upgrades, it still comes with a lot of the same fitness tracking abilities and health features as the SE like fall detection, irregular heart rate notifications, and emergency SOS, plus texting and answering phone calls.

However, a few notable changes are the ability to measure your blood oxygen level with the on-watch sensor and compatible app—a useful feature for many people—and an ECG, which alerts you to signs of atrial fibrillation. Plus, you can access new workouts every week with the Apple Fitness+ app. The Series 7 is available in a 45 or 41mm aluminum case size with colors including midnight, starlight, green, blue, silver, and red.

What We Like

  • Always-on retina display
  • Cellular version and GPS-only version available
  • Added safety features like fall detection, crash detection, and irregular heart rhythm notification
  • Ability to measure blood oxygen levels
  • Faster battery charging
  • Smaller bezels and larger, curved screen for easy viewing
  • IP6X dust-resistant certification
  • ECG app

What We Don't Like

  • Battery life lacking compared to other fitness trackers and smartwatches
  • Requires iPhone for set up and maximum functioning
  • Minimal upgrades compared to older model

BUY: Apple Watch Series 7

Apple Watch Series 3

Apple Watch Series 3

SPECS

  • Battery life: Up to 18 hours
  • Fitness tracking: Running, cycling, swimming, walking, elliptical, rower, stair stepper, HIIT, hiking, yoga, functional strength training, dance, cool-down, core training, Pilates, Tai Chi, wheelchair, multisport, and other
  • Features: GPS, high and low heart rate notifications, irregular heart rhythm notification, emergency SOS, integration with iPhone, water-resistant

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Finding an affordable Apple product is not easy. But with the Apple Watch Series 3, you get a solid entry-level smartwatch with excellent fitness tracking, heart rate monitoring, emergency notifications, texting capabilities, phone calls, and much more for a cost-friendly price of under $200. Plus, you can access new workouts every week with the Apple Fitness+ app. And the Series 3 is available in a 38mm and 42mm aluminum case sizes—a smaller size than newer models. While the perks are plenty, there is a big downside to this device. Just this month, Apple discontinued the Series 3, but you can still purchase it at various retailers and online.

What We Like

  • Low price starting at $199
  • Available in cellular version and GPS-only version
  • 38mm case size for smaller wrists
  • Excellent fitness tracking for someone wanting an entry-level Apple Watch

What We Don't Like

  • Battery life lacking compared to other fitness trackers and smartwatches
  • Apple is discontinuing this model and not supporting updates
  • Display does not have the always-on feature
  • Requires iPhone for set up and maximum functioning

BUY: Apple Watch Series 3

Fitbit Charge 5

Fitbit Charge 5

SPECS

  • Battery life: 7 days in regular mode; if you use built-in GPS regularly, up to 4 days; if you use built-in GPS continuously, up to 5 hours; if you turn on always-on display, up to 3 days
  • Fitness tracking: Bike, boot camp, circuits, elliptical, golf, hike, interval, kickboxing, martial arts, outdoor workout, Pilates, run, swimming, tennis, treadmill, walk, weights, yoga
  • Features: ECG monitoring, GPS, EDA scan, SpO2 monitoring, skin temperature tracking, breathing rate, heart rate variability, menstrual cycle tracking, sleep, daily stress score, mood, blood glucose tracking, smart pay

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The Charge 5 is Fitbit's most advanced health and fitness tracker. This sleek and stylish wearable device comes equipped with an on-board GPS for tracking fitness activities, making it a great choice for runners, cyclists, and hikers who don't want a costly smartwatch. It also offers excellent tools for collecting personal health data, including an ECG app for your heart and an electrodermal (EDA) sensor to monitor your stress levels.

Rounding out the top features are sleep monitoring, water resistance, an always-on touchscreen, and a very comfortable fit. That said, the Charge 5 does not have music controls, which could be a deal breaker for some people.

What We Like

  • Compatible with iOS and Android
  • Contactless payments
  • On-board GPS for tracking fitness activities
  • Slim design
  • Long battery life
  • Always-on display option

What We Don't Like

  • Not as functional or feature-rich as a smartwatch
  • No music controls
  • Pricey for a fitness tracker

BUY: Fitbit Charge 5

Fitbit Inspire 2

Fitbit Inspire 2

SPECS

  • Battery life: Up to 10 days
  • Fitness tracking: Bike, boot camp, circuits, elliptical, golf, hike, interval, kickboxing, martial arts, outdoor workout, Pilates, run, swimming, tennis, treadmill, walk, weights, yoga
  • Features: Water-resistant up to 50m, sleep tracking, Active Zone Minutes, smart notifications, heart rate tracking, stress tracking, menstrual cycle tracking

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If you're looking for a basic fitness tracker to boost your daily activity, measure heart rate, or help with accountability, the Fitbit Inspire 2 is worth considering. This budget-friendly model is simple, easy to use, and gives users plenty of workout analytics and other health metrics like sleep data.

The Inspire 2 is also a great choice if you want something small and lightweight. Plus, the battery lasts up to 10 days, so you don't have to worry about charging it all the time. That said, it does not have a built-in GPS, so you won't see analytics like mileage while you're running unless your phone's GPS is connected to the device. You'll also need the premium Fitbit app to track and view a lot of the health metrics.

What We Like

  • Compatible with iOS and Android
  • Affordable price point
  • Extra long battery life
  • Free one-year Fitbit Premium subscription
  • Extra long battery life

What We Don't Like

  • Does not come with GPS
  • No music features
  • Lacks the health features of the other models

BUY: Fitbit Inspire 2

Fitbit Versa 3

Fitbit Versa 3

SPECS

  • Battery life: Up to 6 days in regular mode; if you turn on always-on display, up to 2 days; if you use built-in GPS regularly, up to 12 hours
  • Fitness tracking: Bike, boot camp, circuits, elliptical, golf, hike, interval, kickboxing, martial arts, outdoor workout, Pilates, run, swimming, tennis, treadmill, walk, weights, yoga
  • Features: Heart rate tracker, GPS, irregular heart rhythm, voice assistant, SpO2, breathing rate, menstrual cycle tracking, stress management, water resistant to 50m

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If you like the activity tracking features of the Charge 5 but want the full smartwatch experience, the Fitbit Versa 3 is worth trying. This wearable is larger and more technical than the traditional Fitbit tracker. Plus, you get Alexa and Google voice assistant capabilities, advanced health metrics like SpO2 and breathing rate, heart rate monitoring, always-on display, and superior fitness tracking for 20 different activities.

While the Versa 3 is definitely one of Fitbit's top-rated devices, it's still more of a fitness tracker than a smartwatch like the Apple Watch. But if you don't have an iPhone or want a more affordable wearable, the Fitbit Versa 3 is a great alternative.

What We Like

  • Compatible with iOS and Android
  • Affordable smartwatch
  • Always-on display feature
  • Health metrics like SpO2, breathing rate, and variations in skin temperature while sleeping
  • Alexa and Google voice assistant capabilities

What We Don't Like

  • Advanced features require Fitbit Premium subscription
  • Basic features compared to other smartwatches

BUY: Fitbit Versa 3

Fitbit Sense

Fitbit Sense

SPECS

  • Battery life: Up to 6 days in regular mode; if you turn on always-on display, up to 2 days; if you use built-in GPS regularly, up to 12 hours
  • Fitness tracking: Bike, boot camp, circuits, elliptical, golf, hike, interval, kickboxing, martial arts, outdoor workout, Pilates, run, swimming, tennis, treadmill, walk, weights, yoga
  • Features: Alexa and Google Assistant, ECG, GPS, SpO2, stress tracking with EDA sensor, high and low heart rate alerts, sleep tracking, store and play music, water-resistant to 50m

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If you're a fan of original models, then the Fitbit Sense is for you. This advanced health smartwatch is one of Fitbit's premium offerings with a more comprehensive set of metrics, health tracking, and extra features than some of the other Fitbit models.

Like the Charge 5, the Sense has built-in GPS and excellent tools for collecting personal health data, including an ECG app for your heart and an electrodermal (EDA) sensor to monitor your stress levels.

But the added features that come with this wearable make it a smart choice if you're in the market for a full smartwatch and fitness tracker experience. We also like how accurately the Sense monitors sleep habits and nighttime breathing patterns to support better sleep. And the Smart Wake feature is pretty impressive, too!

What We Like

  • Compatible with iOS and Android
  • Alexa and Google voice assistant capabilities
  • Health metrics like stress tracking with EDA sensor, SpO2, ECG, and skin temperature
  • Moderate-priced smartwatch
  • Ability to customize Bluetooth smartphone notifications
  • Smart Wake feature for optimal sleep cycle

What We Don't Like

  • Advanced features require Fitbit Premium subscription
  • Smartwatch features like sending and receiving messages require a nearby phone with Bluetooth activated and the Fitbit app running

BUY: Fitbit Sense

Fitbit vs. Apple Watch Features

Both the Fitbit and Apple Watch score high points when it comes to features like heart rate monitoring, steps, calories burned, and sleep. But Fitbit's sleep features are superior to many trackers, including the Apple Watch. On the flip side, every Apple Watch has a built-in GPS, but only certain Fitbit models have this feature built-in. In addition, the Apple Watch relies on its rings to meet your activity goals, while Fitbit uses Active Zone Minutes to encourage you to get 150 minutes of exercise each week.

When it comes to overall features, Apple definitely has more to offer than Fitbit. In addition to health and fitness metrics, the Apple Watch supports the app store, phone calls, music, text, notifications, alarms, timers, Siri, emergency SOS, fall detection (some models), and much more. But we like the versatility of the Fitbit since it can pair with an iPhone or Android phone, unlike the Apple Watch, which requires an iPhone for setup, updates, and optimal functioning. Finally, the Apple Watch screen, colors, bands, and style seems to be a fan-favorite compared to the Fitbit device.

Fitbit vs. Apple Watch Battery Life

The Fitbit versus Apple Watch debate can get blurry at times, but one area that is clear is the battery life. Hands down, the Fitbit is the top pick for the best battery life in most cases. Apple Watches are good for up to 18 hours before needing a charge, whereas the Fitbit Inspire 2 can hold a charge for up to 10 days. However, once you start using GPS mode or the always-on display feature on certain Fitbit devices, the battery life decreases significantly.

Fitbit vs. Apple Watch Fitness Tracking

Fitness tracking is the main reason many people consider purchasing a Fitbit or Apple Watch. Both devices are designed to measure and store steps, activity minutes, calories burned, distance, flights of stairs climbed, and more. The more advanced models offer sports and performance metrics and various workouts.

If you're only interested in an activity tracker for fitness and you want to save a few dollars, Fitbit is the way to go. But if you have an iPhone and don't mind the cost, consider the Apple Watch. You'll get excellent fitness tracking abilities plus all the other features that come with this clever Apple device.

FAQs About Fitbit vs. Apple Watch


Are Fitbits as accurate as Apple Watches?

When it comes to accuracy, both the Fitbit and the Apple Watch do an excellent job of measuring and reporting heart rate through the sensors on the underside of the wristband. They're also evenly matched in the activity tracking department, with both providing users with solid step counts, exercise minutes, and floors climbed, among other fitness features. The Apple Watch has built-in GPS, making it a top pick for runners and cyclists wanting accurate mileage. However, not all Fitbits have a built-in GPS, so make sure to read the fine print if this is a feature you want in a tracker.

Can you text on a Fitbit?

According to Fitbit's website, users who have their device paired to an Android phone can use quick replies to send responses to text messages and messages from certain apps with the Fitbit Charge 3, Fitbit Charge 4, Fitbit Charge 5, Fitbit Inspire 3, Fitbit Ionic, Fitbit Luxe, Fitbit Sense series, or Fitbit Versa series. If you have an iPhone, you can only respond to Fitbit app notifications.

Which is better for weight loss: Fitbit or Apple Watch?

The question of which is better for weight loss comes down to how you plan on using the device. A smartwatch or fitness tracker is a tool you can use when losing weight, but it is not a substitute for exercise and diet. Both devices help you count calories burned throughout the day. They also have features for setting goals and receiving rewards when you hit a personal best or milestone, which may help contribute to weight loss.

If you have weight-loss apps on your iPhone, you can view and use those on an Apple Watch. In general, a smartwatch like the Apple Watch or the Fitbit Versa 3 or Fitbit Sense may be a better choice for weight loss than a standard Fitbit fitness tracker.

Can I use an Apple Watch without an iPhone?

You need an iPhone to set up and update an Apple Watch. However, once you've set up the watch you can view all of the health and fitness data on the display screen without having to reference your phone. You also don't need an iPhone to charge an Apple Watch. But, an Apple Watch is designed to work with your personal Apple ID and device, so for maximum use, it makes sense to have an iPhone.

Do Fitbits work with iPhones?

Yes, Fitbits work with iPhones. The Fitbit app requires a compatible iPhone or Android device running Apple iOS 14 and higher or Android 8 or higher.

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