Fitbit and Apple are the two biggest players in the smartwatch industry. So, the majority of consumers will pick either a Fitbit or an Apple Watch. But what’s the difference between these two brands?
Well, it has been said that Fitbits are primarily intended to be fitness trackers whilst Apple Watches are primarily intended to be personal assistants.
Whilst this might be half-true, I don’t think it’s a very helpful contrast to make, because both watches offer a range of features. Indeed, both watches can be considered hybrids, so I don’t think it’s fair to pigeonhole them as either a ‘smartwatch’ or a ‘fitness tracker’.
What are the differences between a Fitbit and an Apple Watch?
If you’re feeling confused, then don’t worry. In this article, I’ll show you how Fitbits compare with Apple Watches in terms of cost, battery life, fitness tracking, and extra features. So, let’s begin!
1. Heart rate tracking
Firstly, it should be said that both watches are very good at tracking heart rate (HR). Fitbit were actually the first company to offer continuous HR tracking on a wrist, so consider them trailblazers in this industry.
Nevertheless, Apple’s HR tracking technology is now superior. In fact, their sophisticated watches can detect the first signs of atrial fibrillation (an irregular heartbeat). Indeed, that’s why we should celebrate the Apple Watch as a health tracker (not just a smartwatch).
2. Activity and fitness tracking
Both watches perform highly in this category, though Fitbit may just have the edge. This is because some Fitbits offer on-screen workouts, and these are great for keeping you motivated.
Nevertheless, both watches offer automatic activity detection – which makes fitness tracking so much more convenient. As a result, either watch would make a great activity/fitness tracker.
- GPS model lets you take calls and reply to texts from your wrist
- Large Retina OLED display
- Up to 2x faster processor than Series 3
3. Female health tracking
Fitbit have offered female health tracking since 2018, but Apple only joined the party this year (2019). Although they were late adding this feature, this press release from Apple suggests that the new technology holds huge potential for the future.
However, Apple aren’t elaborating on how the technology works, which suggests they may still be in the testing/tweaking stage. However, some people predict that Apple’s female health tracking technology is going to be far superior to the tech used by Fitbit and Garmin (which explains why we’ve had to wait so long for it).
So, if menstrual/female health tracking is important to you, investing in an Apple watch may be worth it. In fact, all Apple technology will have this feature, so you may even consider switching to an Apple handset.
4. Cost (and value for money)
You probably don’t need me to tell you that Apple watches are expensive! (Although there are places you can find cheap or used Apple watches). Bought new, the latest Apple Watch is more than 3 times the price of the Fitbit Charge 3. Also, it used to be double the price of the Ionic, which was the most expensive Fitbit. With the introduction of the New Fitbit Sense, this is no longer the case. Worth mentioning is the newly released Fitbit Versa 3 which gives Apple a good fight for the money.
With Apple, you are partly paying for the brand. But, at the same time, the watch is packed full of features, so you are getting a lot for your money. If you want to get the newest and greatest – head for the Apple Watch 6. For the budget conscious, have a look at the new Apple Watch SE.
However, you won’t be getting value for money if you’re paying for features you don’t use. So, for some people, Fitbits do offer better value for money.
5. Battery life
When it comes to battery life, Fitbits are far superior (see table below). In fact, one of the biggest complaints about the Apple Watch is its battery life.
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- An on-wrist skin temperature sensor tracks yours each night so you can see how it varies
6. Style and design
One of the positive things about Fitbits is that they are lighter, thinner, and smaller than most other smartwatches (including the Apple Watch). As a result, this makes them ideal smartwatches for girls.
7. Smart/tech features
When compared to Fitbits, Apple watches can be considered more hi-tech. For example:
- Both watches allow you to receive phone calls and texts, but the Apple Watch lets you reply to texts.
- In addition, the Apple Watch provides you with a personal assistant (SIRI). Unfortunately, Fitbits do not offer this feature.
- Also, there are 10,000+ apps available to download on Apple Watch. In contrast, Fitbit offers around 150+.
- Finally, you can live stream Apple Music on an Apple Watch, whereas you’ll have to download your music onto your Fitbit.
So, if you like having the most up-to-date technology, then the Apple Watch may be for you.
How does each Fitbit compare to the Apple Watch?
So, we’ve explored the main similarities and differences between Fitbit and Apple, but there is more than one type of Fitbit. In fact, they range in price from around £80 to £250. If you’re unsure how these all compare then read on. Below, I compare the four most popular Fitbits with the most recent Apple Watch 5.
|Fitbit Versa 2||Fitbit Ionic||Fitbit Charge 3||Apple Watch SE|
|Battery||5+ days||4+ days||7+ days||1+ day|
|GPS||Connected only||Yes||Connected only||Yes|
|Heartrate||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes + Atrial fibrillation|
|Pay feat.||Yes||Yes||Only special edition||Yes|
|Music||Stores 300 songs||Stores 300 songs||Connected only||Streams Apple music|
|Compat.||IOS & Android||IOS & Android||IOS & Android||IOS|
Should I buy a Fitbit or Apple Watch?
So, this article has shown you the key differences between Fitbit and Apple watches.
Even with all this information, choosing between these brands can be difficult. Personally, I find the Fitbit Charge 3 or Versa 2 good options. For me, these watches are great ‘hybrids’, so they are certainly good value for money.
But I do think Apple’s technology is more impressive. Firstly, the Apple Watch has the power to detect an irregular heartbeat. Also, it seems that Apple’s female health tracking technology is going to superior to anybody else’s.
So, if these things sound exciting to you, and you have a healthy budget, the Apple Watch is unlikely to disappoint.
Still undecided? We have a helpful guide for choosing a smartwatch.
Last Updated on October 6, 2020
A highly experienced writer, with expertise in health and technology.
Rachael had a masters degree in psychology (with distinction) and a bachelors degree in English literature (with first-class honours) from reputable UK universities. Rachael has worked for two years as a research associate and reporter for a high-profile UK media company.