The second generation Fitbit Sense is now available to the public. The new Fitbit Sense 2 was announced alongside the Fitbit Inspire 3 and Versa 4, and keeps the tradition of its forerunner by tracking stress via electrodermal activity (EDA) instead of heart rate.
In addition to the Fitbit Sense 2 wearable, Fitbit also has the Charge 5 fitness tracker with ECG functionality. Now, people looking for a wearable with this functionality may save a lot of money if they don’t need the additional features of the fuller smartwatch. Consumers seeking the highest value ECG should consider how these models differ and where they intersect.
Although Fitbit’s Charge 5 tracker is similar to the much more expensive Sense 2 watch in many ways, some functions are only available on the Sense 2.
Then there’s the Versa 4. Released in September 2022, and is the company’s premium fitness tracker and smartwatch offering. For superior health tracking, Fitbit released the Sense 2, a little more expensive product with health monitoring capabilities absent from the Versa series.
So let’s have a look at which one is best for you, the Fitbit Charge 5, Fitbit Sense 2 or Versa 4.
Fitbit band or a Fitbit watch?
If you already have a favorite watch, you may want to go with a Fitbit band so you don’t have to wear two watches.
Some folks just do not like watches and would like something smaller like the Charge 5. In our testing, we concluded that this is purely down to personal preference. Some people find that their clothes can get caught on a bigger smartwatch and that the band looks better on smaller wrists.
However, in giving up the smartwatch option, you are also giving up more in-depth data on the screen. Therefore with a band, you are going to be more reliant on using the app on your smartphone after exercising.
Many people associate Fitbits with achieving 10,000 steps a day, but they’ve evolved a lot to include heart rate tracking and analysis, ECG as well as resting heart rate and sleep monitoring in the Sense 2, Charge 5. The Versa 4 does not have ECG tracking hardware.
So which should you go for?
The original Sense, the firm’s first product with an electrocardiogram app, came out in 2020. It’s able to identify heart conditions, including atrial fibrillation, using the ECG. Apple has made this feature famous with its Watch Series 4 smartwatch in 2018.
The Fitbit Sense 2 comes with a new Electrodermal Activity sensor (EDA) that tracks sweat to tell wearers how stressed they are. As a smartwatch, it can display alerts from your smartphone and use applications to make its features more useful.
The EDA sensor analyses the electroconductivity of your skin, and it’s impacted by perspiration. More active glands equal more perspiration, and the more conductive your skin becomes.
To use the EDA feature, simply start the app, lay your hand over the screen of the Fitbit Sense, and the watch will send a very little electrical current through your skin and measure the minute-to-minute variations in conductivity. An individual’s level of stress increases as the number of reported alterations (or “EDA responses”) increases.
The Sense 2 incorporates your EDA data into a Body Response alert, which may serve as an early warning system for stress and lead you through some simple relaxation techniques. You can shut them off if you believe they’re going to be more obtrusive than beneficial.
Fitbit’s sensor set is the same on both watches. The long list features 3-axis accelerometers, 3-axis gyroscopes, optical heart rate monitors, temperature sensors, vibration motors, and NFC chips for contactless payments. Also, there’s built-in GPS for monitoring outdoor activity without a smartphone.
While the Sense 2 does offer Fitbit Pay, but I find that it’s not as widely accepted as Apple Pay or Garmin Pay, for example. So you might find that you can only use it in a handful of places.
There is no altimeter on the Charge 5, unlike on the Sense 2. This is an odd choice for Fitbit, and we are unsure why they made it. Besides that, the fitness band uses the same sensors as the Sense 2.
The pair has excellent water resistance, as you’d expect from Fitbit, at 5 ATM.
The Fitbit Charge 5 introduced several additional health sensors in a compact design. However, it lacked the music streaming features of its predecessor, the Charge 4.
The Fitbit Versa 4 would be an ideal fitness tracker if it included a wider variety of offline music listening choices. We also hope that the Fitbit Versa 4 will incorporate some of the Sense’s capabilities. The Fitbit Charge 5 comes with the Sense’s EDA (electrodermal activity) stress monitoring sensor and ECG (electrocardiogram) heart rate sensor. We find it a shame that the Versa 4 does not have them, given that they fit in the Charge 5.
Fitbit’s newest tracker, the Charge 5, offers a surprising number of features that are typically found in more expensive models. As with the Fitbit Sense 2, the Fitbit Charge 5 has ECG and EDA capabilities that distinguish it from other Fitbit watches and trackers.
In both devices, the screen can utilize an always-on mode with its bright, vivid displays. I definitely noticed that the display was particularly colourful and smooth.
The Fitbit Sense 2 has the best battery life of any smartwatch. It’s suggested that it holds six days on a full charge. However in reality, and of course depending on your use of the device, you’re really getting closer to 5 days. Although, any Apple SE user which is a comparable device will tell you that five days is a dream.
It’s the Charge 5 that wins this category, lasting a full day longer.
As for the Versa 4, an added bonus would be increased battery life. With the Versa 3’s six-day battery life (compared to the Versa 2’s three- to four-day life), we’d love to see the Versa 4 last a full week. A greater capacity may be required to compensate for the battery life loss that occurs when utilizing onboard GPS and when adding offline music storing and playing.
Display and design
Fitbit Sense 2
The Fitbit Sense 2 stands apart from its precursor in one major respect: the presence of a button on the watch’s metal shell. Even though the Versa 3 and the first Sense did away with the button in favor of sensors, users complained that they found it hard to use while sweating.
This means that the button is once again present on the Fitbit Sense 2, making it functionally and aesthetically indistinguishable from the Fitbit Versa 4. Both include a 336x336px AMOLED Gorilla Glass 3 display and the famous rounded form, but the new slimmer profile is meant to rest more comfortably on the wrist.
The Sense 2 is 15% lighter and 10% thinner than its predecessor. Both come with interchangeable silicone straps, but classier leather alternatives are also available for purchase. The chassis is almost identical to the last one.
Fitbit Charge 5
The Fitbit Charge 4 was a great fitness tracker last year, but it was let down by an obsolete grayscale display and cheap plastic construction. Fitbit’s most popular gadget, now in its fifth version, boasts an AMOLED colour touch screen and a metal shell, making the Charge 5 a wearable you’ll really want to wear.
As such, the Charge 5 is a totally different creature from both its predecessors and the Sense 2. Its appearance is similar to that of a traditional fitness band, making it perfect for those who prefer something more subtle. The device is 10% slimmer than previously, measuring 36.78mm x 22.79mm and 11.2mm in depth.
I couldn’t help but notice just how comfortable this device is. However, as with a lot of Fitbit bands, I have seen others commenting on the strap being quite uncomfortable in that it trapped sweat. Some have experienced a red mark on their wrist. Personally, I didn’t, however, I have seen this complaint across the brand’s range.
Fitbit Versa 4
Recent models of Fitbit’s wristwatches (such as the Charge 5, Sense, Versa 3, Inspire 2, and Luxe) all have a similar design aesthetic, including rounded corners and clean lines. Fitbit attributes this to the success of its “Biologic Industrial Design Language,” which takes into account how people really use their gadgets and adapts their designs accordingly.
The metal casings have a brushed surface, and the colours are subdued (mostly black, cream, soft pink, and midnight blue). With the company’s apparent dedication to this design language, we anticipate that the Versa 4 will follow suit.
Following the company’s Biologic Industrial Design Language, the Fitbit Versa 4 has a rounded square face, brushed aluminium casing, and smooth lines similar to the Versa 3 and Sense. (Photo by Fitbit)
Charge 5 benefits
The Charge 5 has been upgraded significantly in terms of its screen. 260 x 170 pixels are displayed on the 1.04-inch AMOLED screen. In this regard, it is at the same level as the displays in the Sense 2 and Versa 3 devices. They have a 40.48 mm x 40.48 mm AMOLED display with 336 x 336 pixels. It has Corning Glass 3 protection and can produce up to 1000 nits of light. As a result, even in the middle of a run, reading the data was a breeze.
As a result of its one-inch screen, the Fitbit Charge 5 offers a longer maximum battery life than the Fitbit Sense 2 due to its smaller screen. Upon testing, we found this to be realistic also; giving an extra day in comparison.
Because of this excellent battery life, there is no worry about using it for sleep tracking. Although you will need to use the Fitbit app to see your data, the data you do get is excellent. As we’ve come to expect with most Fitbit devices you get six months free Fitbit premium.
Compare prices and choose your favorite merchant in the table below.
|Fitbit Charge 5
|Fitbit Charge 5
|Fitbit Charge 4
|Fitbit Charge 5
If you are primarily concerned with affordability in addition to ECG capabilities, the Fitbit Charge 5 wins hands down. With current deals, it costs under $99, significantly less than the Fitbit Sense 2, which sells for just under $200. The Versa sells for around $159 at the moment, but this may go up slightly in 2023.
The latter is the most expensive offering from Fitbit so far, but that’s to be expected as it is also the smartest device they have produced to date. So if you want advanced metrics and more smart features than your average Fitbit, you bring yourself into the smartwatch world and we think this is a fair price if you look at it from that perspective.
Of course, the Fitbit Sense 2 offers simple access to Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, allowing you to set reminders, make quick inquiries, and manage smart home devices.
Personally, my home is full of smart devices which are controlled by Alexa. So, I found this particular feature to really open up the efficiencies of running my household. All I had to do was talk to my watch instead of shouting at an Amazon Echo device somewhere in the room.
Additionally, it includes a Bluetooth connection so you can talk hands-free and answer incoming calls. Sense 2 users may find that jogging and other activities are more enjoyable when listening to music.
So this is why our testers believe that the Fitbit Sense 2 is worth the extra cost if you want a smartwatch that can offer you enhanced customization and advanced capabilities.
Fitness and health features
Both the Sense 2 and Fitbit Charge 5 Fitness Tracker give you a comprehensive view of your overall health and fitness. Having tested both, we can’t really differentiate which is better on the actual device itself, because you have access to the data through the Fitbit app. So I guess the question is if you want to see some details on-screen (then get the Sense 2) or if you’re happy to use your smartphone (then get the Charge 5).
With the Stress Management Score, you can find your optimal amount of stress and manage it. The EDA Sensor in both devices will monitor your body’s stress response and gives you tips on how to better cope with stress.
PurePulse monitors your heart rate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so you can maximise your exercise. You’ll also be alerted if something goes awry.
Heart rate abnormalities and fibrillation are detected by the ECG app. It also alerts you if your heart rate rises or falls outside of a certain range.
You’ll get a wide range of information and the ability to create your own personal goals by tracking your Active Zone Minutes, heart rate, and sleep.
I went for a run with the Charge 5. The built-in GPS eliminated the need for any smartphone. After my workout, I used the Fitbit app to see my speed, distance, and a route map.
A note on Fitbit Premium
Fitbit Premium is a premium membership service that gives Fitbit customers with extra statistics, instruction, and fitness programmes. Consider it like any other freemium service: anybody may download and use the Fitbit app for free, but if you want access to the whole Fitbit ecosystem, you’ll have to pay a monthly charge.
Throughout the day, Fitbit devices capture a lot of fitness and health data. Premium’s purpose is to help you understand how your metrics influence different aspects of your life. Premium, according to Fitbit, “turns data on your wrist into tailored suggestions.”
Fitbit Premium includes guided programmes, training videos, tailored insights based on your health and fitness level, and a unique Health Metrics dashboard, which aren’t accessible in the basic Fitbit app.
Fitbit Premium works with any device. It works with all Fitbit devices available today since it links to the Fitbit smartphone app rather than your wearable. This includes fitness trackers like the Charge and Inspire lines, as well as smartwatches like the Versa and Sense 2 lines.
Which is best?
Sale pricing is sometimes offered on the Sense, which debuted in 2020, putting prices closer together. (Plus here’s a tip from us to you that when a new version is in the making or due to be released, the previous versions go down in price).
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Last Updated on December 6, 2022
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