Read on for a comparison of the WHOOP strap 4.0 and Fitbit’s flagship timepiece, the Sense. We’ll analyze the activity and sleep tracking capabilities of these popular fitness trackers and tell you which one is the better option. We won’t spend too much time discussing the smart features, however; because the WHOOP lacks these, it wouldn’t be fair to focus on this element in much detail. Keep reading for our take on the WHOOP vs Fitbit Sense.
WHOOP Vs Fitbit Sense – How Do They Differ?
Naturally, there are lots of Fitbit devices we could have compared to the WHOOP, such as the Fitbit Versa 3 or the new Charge 5. My decision to go with the Sense was influenced by the fact that it was the brand’s first smartwatch, and until that point, I’d been a die-hard Fitbit band wearer.
Fitbit Sense and WHOOP also share a lot of technology, so I expected them to perform similarly in terms of accuracy.
Keep in mind that the Fitbit Sense’s activity, health, and sleep tracking features are only available if you subscribe to Fitbit’s premium service.
WHOOP Vs. Fitbit Sense: Inside and Out
The Fitbit Sense and WHOOP 4.0 both use three LEDs: green, red, and infrared.
The original Fitbit Sense is among the few fitness trackers I’ve worn that includes all of the sensors needed to effectively monitor your sleep and activity. In particular, Sense’s body temperature and electrodermal activity sensors stood out to me. Other than WHOOP, none of the sleep trackers I have tested has had these sensors (which are important for accurate sleep data).
I also like how the Fitbit Sense uses infrared, green, and red LEDs to measure SpO2 (blood oxygen saturation). Furthermore, one of Sense’s built-in applications is capable of capturing EKG readings.
In comparison with WHOOP’s sample rate, the Fitbit Sense takes your heart rate data at a fraction of WHOOP’s pace. As a result, the Sense may miss sudden variations in heart rate, lowering its accuracy when tracking sleep and activity.
WHOOP, on the other hand, collects heart rate information 100 times every second.
The Fitbit Sense’s optical heart rate monitor may be affected by how well the strap stays in contact with your skin.
In contrast, WHOOP’s SuperKnit strap keeps the sensor in close contact with your skin at all times while remaining extraordinarily comfortable and simple to adjust.
For comparison, WHOOP 3.0 came with the ProKnit, which in our opinion is far better than Fitbit’s silicone band. Silicone, on the other hand, has the benefit of being simple to clean, requiring only a simple rinse with soapy water. This is advantageous while working in a setting where germs are a problem, such as in a hospital.
Sensors and algorithms in low-mid-range activity trackers such as the Fitbit Sense and WHOOP, among others, are now monitoring a range of biological signs. Your heart rate patterns and movement are used to discern between various types of exercises automatically.
Both the WHOOP and the Sense use an optical heart rate sensor in conjunction with a three-dimensional gyroscope and accelerometer to identify whether you are walking, running or swimming.
Each device has its own manner of tracking your everyday activities, although there are certain similarities.
The Fitbit Sense uses a GPS system and stride length to measure steps walked and calories burned, and matches these to your predetermined fitness objectives (which can be daily or weekly). The goal is to motivate you to be active during the day.
The Zone Minutes from the Sense also includes a statistic for measuring a user’s overall health. These Zone Minutes are estimated based on how long you spend in a higher zone.
Fitbit Activity Monitoring
When it comes to Fitbit’s activity tracking, it’s all about heart rate zones.
Fitbit divides activity that causes an increase in heart rate into three separate zones:
Each minute spent in the fat-burning zone earns you a Zone Minute. For every minute spent in the Cardio or Peak zones, you earn two.
Your earned Zone Minutes count toward your 7-day fitness goal, which is 150. (because the AHA recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week).
WHOOP’s purpose is to track your activities in a unique way. Familiar metrics like steps, distance traveled (it lacks GPS), and floors climbed are not tracked by this gadget due to its absence of GPS. WHOOP calculates your (cardiovascular) strain by evaluating the amount of time you spend in that high heart rate zone.
WHOOP Strain Rating
A person’s personal heart rate reserve is determined by taking the difference between their resting heart rate and their maximum heart rate. As a result, if you have a maximum heart rate of 195 and a resting heart rate of 55, you have a 150 heart rate reserve. When your heart rate reaches 30% of its reserve, you start to feel the strain.
WHOOP monitors your heart rate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It could reveal that even when you’re not exercising, your muscles may be overworked. Why? Because simple things like retrieving groceries from your car can cause your heart rate to rise and put stress on your cardio system. WHOOP makes recommendations based on the recovery score you’ve obtained.
Sleep Tracking and Coaching
WHOOP’s Sleep Coach calculates your sleep needs depending on the amount of stress you’ve experienced over the course of the day. Sleep deprivation grows in direct proportion to the amount of work your heart and the circulatory system must do daily.
The WHOOP app also tells you whether the level of stress you’ve put on your body over the day is beneficial to your recuperation and fitness. The WHOOP app will also recommend a daily target strain based on your unique recovery score.
As opposed to simply delivering raw data and letting you interpret it, WHOOP gives context and tangible advice about the health data and indicators it measures.
If you have no established workout or training routine and difficulty moving during the day, the Fitbit approach is good because it holds you responsible for taking 10k (or your chosen number of) steps and hitting those Zone Minutes. This system is similar to WHOOP in that it tracks how long you spend in an appropriate high heart rate zone. This method is comparable to WHOOP’s strain score.
Sleep Tracking: Differences Between WHOOP and Sense
WHOOP’s Sleep Coach can assist you in getting a better night’s sleep. A healthy circadian rhythm is very important to me, and I keep a very strict sleep schedule to ensure that it is not disrupted.
I’m a big fan of sleep-tracking apps because they help me better understand my sleep quality, and how my daily choices impact that.
Considering the Fitbit Sense is the only wearable I’ve tried that has the sensors required for monitoring sleep accurately, such as skin temperature and conductance (EDA), I was keen to see how it compared to WHOOP’s sleep tracking capabilities.
So long as you sign up for Fitbit premium, the WHOOP strap and the Fitbit Sense appear to be on equal footing in terms of features. Without that subscription, you only get the basic Sleep Score, comparable to the Apple Watch SE or cheaper Fitbits.
Based on sleep data it has acquired thus far, I believe my Fitbit Sense is having problems distinguishing light from REM sleep. This means that while the Sense is more accurate than other wrist-based sleep trackers that I’ve tested, it falls short of the WHOOP Strap’s precision and convenience of use.
This, I assume, is due to WHOOP’s employment of a more sophisticated algorithm to decode the raw data. Because they are both “active” stages of sleep, light and REM sleep may have identical heart rate patterns, and Fitbit’s algorithm may have difficulty distinguishing between them.
Which Is More Accurate?
Despite the fact that Fitbit features sensors for electrodermal activity and skin temperature, they are not used for sleep tracking. WHOOP’s algorithm may have been trained using more/sophisticated data than other systems, which could explain the difference.
Because REM and deep sleep account for around 25% of your total sleep score, the Sense’s inability to correctly identify REM sleep will bias your entire sleep score. A calculation of resting heart rate and restlessness is also significant, accounting for 50% of the total sleeping time (25 per cent).
WHOOP, on the other hand, does a much better job than Sense at relating lifestyle and exercise decisions to sleep patterns. Sleep and recovery evaluations can be tied to over 50 WHOOP data points. Alternatively, the WHOOP Journal is a website that allows you to answer a set of questions every morning, and then correlates sleep patterns, sleep quality, and recovery with these questions.
For example, when I get out of bed in the morning, I use the WHOOP app to capture stuff like:
- Consumption of alcoholic beverages
- Nutritional supplements
- Specific diet (low/no carb, meat-based, etc.)
- Meals later on in the evening
WHOOP creates a weekly and monthly report based on my responses, which indicate a link between these changes and the length of REM and sleep, and more.
It is up to you to make these linkages using Fitbit’s data on your own. My advice is to avoid becoming overly focused on the amount of REM sleep or your total sleep score if you want to use it as your primary sleep tracker.
WHOOP is an excellent choice if you want accurate sleep data from a wrist-based device and wish to connect your everyday behaviors to your sleep patterns.
I like the WHOOP because it works out a daily recovery score, which indicates how effectively my body adapts to exercise, stress, food, and other variables.
WHOOP evaluates my heart rate variability during deep sleep, which is an indirect sign of how effectively my neurological system is working.
Essentially, when your HRV is higher than your resting state, the parasympathetic nervous system (in charge of digestion and sleep) is activated. As a result, your body is prepared to handle greater stress.
A low HRV may be caused by stress or an infection, whereas a high HRV shows that your body is working hard to repair muscle tissue damage.
WHOOP considers your resting heart rate (in comparison to your baseline) and sleep quality when calculating how well you’ve recovered. WHOOP’s WHOOP Journal also enables me to track how my recovery score has changed as a result of the lifestyle changes I’ve implemented.
Fitbit has a “Stress Management” score as well, referred to as such by the company. Fitbit derives this number from an amalgamation of biometrics collected both at night and throughout the day.
Basically, the Fitbit score is made up of:
- Responsiveness (30 per cent)
- Exertion (40 per cent)
- Sleeping patterns (30 per cent)
- Heart rate variability during deep sleep from the night before (same as WHOOP).
- Elevated heart rate while at rest from the day before.
- Sleeping heart rate while at rest from the day before (as with WHOOP).
- Electrodermal activity from the day before based on the EDA Scan app (done manually).
In my opinion, I believe that 2 and 4 are a bit pointless. You don’t need to monitor your resting heart rate during the day if Fitbit is already monitoring it when you’re sleeping; doing so provides unreliable data.
Assume I’m watching a film and my heart rate rises despite the fact that I’m not actually moving. Or, I ride a bike and don’t move my wrists at all? Even if Fitbit assumes I’m sleeping, a jump in my heart rate may be detected and interpreted as a sign of stress.
- Weekly activity
- A comparison of exercise and tiredness.
I feel Fitbit should completely exclude exertion from the computation because it is irrelevant and reduces accuracy. This category accounts for 40% of the overall score when it comes to stress management.
As it turns out, the amount of activity you perform has little bearing on how your body responds. In other words, if you’re used to it, your body (and neurological system) won’t have any trouble dealing with a certain degree of exercise. However, if your body is having a hard time adjusting to a new type of activity, your heart rate variability will reflect this.
As a result, I don’t see the need to gather data on your everyday activities when assessing your stress response.
Whoop vs Fitbit Sense: Apps
Apps like FitBit and WHOOP make it simple to examine your most important biometric data and stats right away.
When you start the app, the Today tab displays a customizable list of essential biometrics, like activity (Zone Mins, steps, and floors; kilometers and calories walked; stress management; skin temperature; sleep statistics, and resting heart rate). You can then get into the nitty-gritty of things.
A membership is required to access the majority of Fitbit’s guided programs. Fitbit’s “Community” feature, similar to a social network, allows users to post messages and photos.
WHOOP, on the other hand, has a stress and sleep coach who can advise you on matters such as when it’s time to sleep and get a good night’s rest (based off of recent sleep patterns and strain and how much stress you should place on yourself (based on your recovery rating).
Furthermore, WHOOP allows you to start or join groups of other WHOOP users, allowing you to compare your data such as total sleep time, strain and recovery ratings, and so on.
Fitbit’s Community tab, which you can get to via the app, has a similar role. What you’ve been up to can be seen by friends and groups, but you can establish your own group and join others also.
Fitbit’s community features appear to be more akin to a social networking site, where group members can contribute photographs and texts that others can like or comment on.
Both Fitbit and WHOOP have a battery life of up to 6 days.
The battery life of WHOOP is not affected by how long you spend in a high heart rate zone, as it does with the other wearable. This implies that WHOOP continuously measures your heart rate at a rate of 100p/second, whether you’re at your desk all day or out running a lengthy marathon. In any case, the battery will last a minimum of 5 days.
How long your Fitbit Sense’s battery will last depends greatly on how frequently you use your Fitbit. A greater frequency of heart rate data collection during physical activity depletes the device’s battery faster than when the user is sedentary.
Fitbit promises you’ll receive up to 6 or more days of battery life, which is about right. If you charge the Fitbit Sense for 12 minutes, you may extend its battery life for another day. It takes about 40 minutes to charge the battery from 10-80%.
However, I like WHOOP’s charging technique because it does not require me to remove my wristband. Alternatively, I can use a battery pack that will charge the WHOOP from 0-100% in less than 90 mins. I can remove the pack from my strap and charge it separately with the included USB-C adapter.
Both brands’ data sharing capabilities are increased by their interaction with third-party platforms.
Fitbit supports a variety of third-party apps, including MyFitnessPal, Runkeeper, Endomondo and Apple Health.
WHOOP now only supports a few third-party programmes, like TrainingPeaks, Strava and Apple HealthKit (starting in early 2022).
The subscription issue makes comparing Fitbit and WHOOP a bit problematic.
To get the best experience from a Fitbit Sense, you’ll want to join Fitbit’s premium subscription, which will cost you $9.99/month or $79.99/year.
The Fitbit Sense costs just shy of $300. Right now (and pretty consistently across the Fitbit range), people who buy the Sense will receive a free 6-month Fitbit premium trial.
WHOOP, on the other hand, is a service that requires a subscription. You do not own the hardware; rather, you pay a monthly fee, the length of which varies.
A rolling monthly subscription to WHOOP costs $30. If you sign up for a year, you’ll pay $24 per month. And if you sign up for an 18-month contract, you’ll only have to pay $18 per month.
Fitbit Vs. WHOOP FAQ
Is the Fitbit Sense a good buy?
The Fitbit Sense is great, and worth your money if you’re a Google/Android lover. As an iPhone user, if you don’t want a wristwatch or just want the most comprehensive activity tracking device, I’d recommend WHOOP.
As a result, I consider WHOOP to be the best wearable tracker for athletes. Those looking simply to improve their health may benefit from the simple fitness and sports tracking on the Fitbit platform.
Does the Fitbit Sense work with an iPhone?
My iPhone 13 Pro worked flawlessly with the Fitbit App.
The Fitbit Sense claims to be precise, but is this true?
In terms of tracking calories and heart rate, the Fitbit Sense falls short of comparable wrist-based gadgets like the Garmin Forerunner 935. I have found the Fitbit Sense to be fairly accurate in tracking sleep.
Is a Fitbit Sense a decent watch?
The answer to this question depends on your alternatives. In comparison to the Apple Watch, the Fitbit Sense is good but not great.
Although the Fitbit Sense was comfortable to wear, I found myself yearning for the Apple Watch and all of its features, such as an always-on display (which consumes less power and does not require a different watch face to be downloaded), actionable notifications, and the more popular Apple Pay (I find Fitbit Pay to be rarely accepted).
What is the frequency of the Fitbit Sense’s heart rate sensor?
During exercise tracking, the Sense will measure your heart rate every second, and every five otherwise.
The Fitbit Sense does not disappoint when it comes to water resistance
Fitbit’s wearable devices, including the Sense, are all waterproof to 50 meters. This means you won’t have to worry about your Fitbit Sense becoming wet or damaged when swimming or showering.
How does the Sense stack up against other Fitbits?
Fitbit’s top-tier wearable combines the most cutting-edge sensors possible with an extremely small design. The Fitbit Versa lacks a few of the Sense’s features, including skin temperature monitoring, electrocardiogram (ECG), electrodermal activity (EDA), and stress monitoring.
The Fitbit Charge is a terrific fitness tracker with many of the same functions as the Sense, but it is not a smartwatch. To put it another way, you can’t use it to make or receive calls or manage things like smart devices.
The Charge’s battery lasts an entire day longer than the Sense’s, but the device is significantly less expensive.
Using the Fitbit Sense’s built-in pulse oximeter, you can monitor your SpO2 levels while sleeping. You will receive a report detailing your SpO2 values in the morning.
The Fitbit Sense does not monitor blood oxygen saturation levels. To monitor blood oxygen saturation, Fitbit (and WHOOP) use red and infrared LEDs to flashlight on your skin and blood vessels. Fitbit can tell the difference between well-oxygenated blood and under-oxygenated blood because the latter reflects less infrared light than the former.
Is the Fitbit Sense equipped with a fall detection feature?
As of this writing, the Fitbit Sense does not include fall detection. Though we’re hoping to see this on the Fitbit Sense 2.
Is a Fitbit wristband required?
Fitbit doesn’t offer any other options for wearing the device besides on your wrist. For an additional price, WHOOP offers a line of functional clothing that allows you to wear the sensor elsewhere.
Is a WHOOP Strap or Fitbit Sense worth the money?
If you’re interested in wearable smart and fitness technology, the Fitbit Sense is the device for you because it offers a number of additional features that go beyond fitness monitoring.
Also, because the Fitbit Sense is both a wristwatch and a fitness tracker, it may be appealing to individuals who are already involved in the Android (or Google) ecosystem (as opposed to Apple users).
Upgrade especially if you use Google Pay (to pay for goods at merchants that accept it) or Google Assistant/Alexa voice commands.
Who might benefit from the WHOOP Strap?
If you have a smartwatch already (or don’t care about having one) and want the best wearable available — one that measures activity, sleep, and recovery — the WHOOP Strap is for you.
It’s the best I’ve ever tested in terms of sleep and recuperation monitoring, and the activity tracking is quite accurate. Only the lack of smartwatch capability is a disadvantage IF that’s important to you.
I had high hopes for the Fitbit Sense based on my previous experience with Fitbit’s wearable technology. And I wasn’t disappointed.
Specifically, I was impressed by the number and variety of functions crammed into the Fitbit Sense. The Fitbit Sense also surprised me with its capacity to accurately detect the majority of sleep periods (with the exception of REM sleep).
However, I decided to ditch my Fitbit Sense in favor of WHOOP, which does a better job of monitoring activity, sleep, and recovery. (Though if I am really honest, my Apple Watch beats all of my previous wearables, hands-down). Tell me what you think below.
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