Fitbit Vs. Apple Watch | Best Smartwatches 2022

Fitbit Vs. Apple Watch | Best Smartwatches 2022

Smartwatches, such as an Apple Watch or Fitbit, add a touchscreen to your wrist to free up your hands while you work or exercise. These wearables go far beyond relaying the time by checking on your vitals, capturing workout data, storing credit card info for paying at stores, and showing notifications such as your incoming calls or text messages. And with work calendar integrations and smart home controls available at a tap, these smartwatches streamline your daily tasks for a boost in productivity. But while both brands’ watches feature capacitive touch displays, are water resistant down to 50 meters for swims, and store digital payment methods, they cater to two different lifestyles. With Apple Watch, the focus is on replacing your smartphone, while Fitbits are complementary accessories that prioritize rich health readouts and advanced workout tracking. I tested each company’s current lineup to determine which is best based on your priorities as well as provide my overall impressions of each selection to the rest of the landscape.

See quick info below on the top watches from our testing, then scroll down for buying advice and in-depth reviews of these models.

Best Apple Watch vs. Fitbit




        User Interface, Battery Life, and Features Make The Difference

        Apple Watches only work with the iPhone lineup, which is disappointing for those not invested in Apple’s walled garden. Fitbit, on the other hand, is a fitness-focused wearable that plays nice with both iOS and Android smartphones. The Apple Watch boasts a bold design complete with a physical dial, called a digital crown, as well as a side button. Each model features durable Ion-X front glass, but the Series 7 steps things up by including an IP67 rating that’s both water- and dust-proof. Fitbit watches are slick and simple, complementing—not replacing—your phone, with an easy-to-use UI. Visuals and graphics are toned down, which helps get the battery life to as much as seven full days from a single charge. Fitbits allow for more customization with more clock faces and apps but suffer from a rudimentary app store that’s not too far off from the original Pebble—the first smartwatch to hit the market almost a decade ago. However, the simpler Fitbit benefits from lower prices and advanced health sensor performance when tracking activities or sleep.

        smart watch

        Trevor Raab

        WatchOS for the Apple Watch is the key differentiator between the two brands since it blends natively with your iPhone. Messages, notifications, Apple Wallet, calendars, and more are just a tap or swipe away to create a phone-like experience on your wrist complete with calls and texts that seamlessly handoff between the watch and phone. From here you can do things like scroll through news feeds, play games, and glance at your daily scheduled meetings while customizing your layout either in a grid or list for scrolling. In addition to a frictionless layout, multi-tasking is smooth, apps are fully featured with visual elements, and you can talk to the Siri smart assistant on all models. This power and display costs battery life, which in our testing is often just over a day and a half with moderate use. Overall, the UI is seamless and a cut above Fitbit’s for usability in everyday tasks but missing in-depth fitness tracking. Basic details like specific workout types or the max heart rate you’ve hit on a run to actionable sleep advice and in-depth tracking of the Fitbit are lacking on the Apple Watch.

        smart watches

        Trevor Raab

        If your primary focus isn’t for scrolling through information on Reddit or replacing your phone but briefly seeing notifications at a glance, tracking in-depth health metrics, and exercise often, a Fitbit is an excellent option. The brand’s sleep and workout tracking is best in class, plus Fitbit hosts leaderboards and awards achievements to add a gaming element to the process. Fitbit’s operating system varies by device, but all three models below feature an always-on display, which means you can see the time whether your wrist is raised or not. (This option is only found on the highest-end Apple Watch, the Series 7.) On the entry-level tier, the Charge 5 uses a simplified display and limits apps to just essential tools like timers, scans, and payments to create a functional smartwatch. You can tap and drag to swipe between panels for each of these categories. The touch screen is incredibly slim, but the haptics are responsive. Upgrade to a Versa 3 and you’ll find the interface is like the Apple Watch with downloadable apps like Spotify Controls, Find my Phone, and even Yelp. Graduate to the Sense at the top of the class, and you have a viable alternative to an Apple Watch with the many apps, faces, and sensors. Fitbits (with the exclusion of the Charge 5) allow for different voice assistants like Google or Alexa. They aren’t as cohesive as the Apple Watch lineup, which delivers a similar app experience across all of its devices.

        Things To Consider Before Deciding On A Smartwatch


        Which mobile device you use will determine whether you go with an Apple Watch or a Fitbit. Android owners can scroll to each Fitbit by price tier to see which works best for their goals and budget, since an Apple Watch is off limits. But even if you own an iPhone, don’t write off Fitbit entirely, as you may prefer the richer health data and connected fitness experience. Otherwise, Apple Watch offers a seamless iPhone-like experience on your wrist so you don’t need to get distracted by pulling out your phone as much or even bring it around if you add your watch to a cellular plan.

        Health Sensors

        Health sensors relay your vitals. Every watch below can measure your heartbeat, but higher-end devices with electrocardiograms (ECG) can check for irregular rhythms. Electrodermal Activity (EDA) scanners measure perspiration to help you monitor stress levels and control them. Blood oxygen is measured in SPO2 and checks for circulatory system functionality from organs like your heart and lungs. Premium watches can even monitor temperature variability from your skin to let you know if you’re getting sick.


        The size of your smartwatch screen determines how much room you have to read texts or view notifications and interact with your finger by touch. Bigger isn’t always better, as seen by how the Charge 5 activity band we recommend below makes the most out of its limited screen space. However, with a proper capacitive touchscreen like on the large Series 7, you can better type, navigate, and see visuals from your wrist—good for those with poor eyesight or larger fingers.

        How We Tested

        To put together a pool of watches to test, I ordered both Apple and Fitbit’s current lineups—from their entry-level devices to their most premium offerings—breaking them down into three categories based on price and performance. While I’ve owned some devices, specifically the entry-level Apple Watch Series 3 and Fitbit Charge 5, I took testing notes on each device over the course of one week. I integrated each smartwatch into my daily life from tracking my sleep to ten hours of daily desk work and a nightly one-hour exercise session consisting of weightlifting and cardio. This gave me an idea of the performance accuracy of each watch, real-world battery life expectations, and overall usability across different scenarios such as checking information while banging out work or starting a workout routine up. I used each app to dive deep into advanced functionalities, like the Apple Watch 7’s ability to check SP02 on the fly and the Fitbit’s diet planning and achievement system, thoroughly exploring every nook and cranny to see what works and what doesn’t.

        —ENTRY LEVEL (SUB-$199)—

        At the most basic level, smartwatches provide notifications and health data on your wrist. Apple cuts advanced features to keep pricing low, but Fitbit takes an interesting approach by scaling down the essential health features to an activity band. By doing this, its budget Charge 5 option provides all the major health sensors and features like tap to pay at the cost of productivity apps or on-wrist communication.

        Fitbit Charge 5 Band

        Platform: Android or iOS | Sensors: Heart rate, SP02, ECG, EDA, and GPS | Screen: 0.86 x 0.58-in. AMOLED

        Charge 5 Watch



        $119.25 (34{ad04e458d8a67bb381461aa5bab353250a5c3a294cd93826b3ec944a191540bb} off)

        • Ultra-thin and comfortable band
        • Always-on screen and long battery life
        • Limited access with just a few basic apps

        At $169, the Fitbit Charge 5 is a lightweight smartwatch that punches far above its weight in comfort and health features. Not only does it feature an EDA stress and SP02 blood oxygen sensor usually found on higher-end watches, but also an always-on display similar to the most expensive Apple Watch Series 7. You won’t have access to an app store, so you can’t download lifestyle software like Starbucks or Uber like you can with every other option on the list. Instead, you simply tap and swipe the full color AMOLED touchscreen to kick off a workout or set a smart alarm that can wake you up as you exit REM sleep.

        Since the display is smaller and there’s no background apps fetching data, I’ve gone as long as six days on a single charge. This is surprising since there’s a built-in GPS for tracking my admittedly short 1-mile runs. I’ve been able to leave my phone behind while running around my apartment complex and solely need to carry keys and my license. The smaller screen size isn’t perfect, as swiping left or right can be initially annoying. But once you get the hang of swiping on the space it’s a breeze to navigate the streamlined interface. With a tap, I can check out at any store that accepts tap to pay just as easily as I can start tracking a weightlifting session without any fussing around between apps or menus—especially important if I need to poke at the screen in the middle of a workout.

        By focusing on the most essential features and tools, the Charge 5 doesn’t need to be a jack of all trades—what is on the device functions well. It embraces simplicity so you don’t get bogged down. Swipe and select your exercise. Swipe up and see notifications and quickly access a digital version of your credit card. Blending form and function into a compact and comfortable body, the band eliminates the issues I’ve had with extensively wearing a smartwatch 24/7. For example, I rarely slept with my Apple Watch Series 3 because the head would push into my wrist bone and the material traps sweat. With the smooth band and small face, the Charge 5 rests cool and comfortably against my wrist whether I’m in an intense, sweaty cardio session covered in sweat or sleeping. I contracted Covid while testing this watch, and this, while unfortunate, gave me the opportunity to use the Charge 5 to keep tabs on my stress and blood oxygen levels during recovery.

        Each morning I checked my daily readiness score (a combination of my previous workout, sleep tracking, and HRV to tell me how hard to push the day’s workout average heart rate), at a glance before heading to work. My apartment complex is filled with stairs, which made the lack of an altimeter apparent and potentially a dealbreaker if you like to hike or climb and track your elevation. Outside of fitness-tracking, notifications are too small to be useful, and there’s no smart assistant. So I can’t tell Alexa to unlock my door or turn on my lights when I get home like I do with the more expensive Fitbit options or use Siri and HomeKit like with the Apple Watch. Lastly, the watch is heavily reliant on the app to input your diet and mood information, meaning you will fish your phone out quite a bit more than with a pricier Fitbit.

        smart watch

        Trevor Raab

        With that said, the weeklong battery life impressed me. The bright AMOLED display pops with color even after six days without a recharge. Where this Fitbit can’t stand up against an Apple Watch is in the feature department. Particularly when it comes to replacing a phone for things like browsing through feeds or making calls from your wrist. By not trying to compete with WatchOS its simplified interface and strong fitness performance stand out that much more. Not only does this affordable smartwatch pack some of the most health monitoring technology of all options, but it’s also far and away the most comfortable.

        Apple Watch Series 3

        Platform: iOS | Sensors: Heart rate | Screen: 1.3-in. OLED

        Apple Watch Series 3 42mm



        • Affordable Apple Watch with up-to-date software
        • Sport band
        • Lack of modern health sensors
        • Minimal storage space

        The Apple Watch Series 3 has been my loyal smartwatch companion for over five years since its launch back in 2017—which is important for context but doesn’t give the Series 3 a head start over the competition. I’ve taken it across the world on vacation, put it through hell on various beaches, and it even took a nasty lowside off my motorcycle. It’s still fully functional while running the latest WatchOS updates and has unbelievably light scratches for sliding a few feet on the road. Somehow, the device still retains a full two days of actual battery life though Apple claims only “up to 18 hours.” If you want an advanced yet durable everyday smartwatch, the Apple Watch Series 3 will survive workouts, swims, and drops without breaking a sweat or the bank.

        Unfortunately, the age of this watch holds it back since it’s missing now-standard health features like an SP02 sensor, fall detection, or even a heart ECG. This watch is great for someone that wants notifications on their wrist, to view news with visual info at a glance, or to check basic vitals like heart rate. But without the benefits of the newer models, it’s a tougher sell, especially when the slightly more expensive SE measures more health information on a bigger screen and offers four times more storage space and a faster processor. At a paltry 8 GB of storage space, most memory is eaten up by system software. So don’t presume you can load this model up with more than a handful of apps or songs, which is perhaps the biggest drawback of this watch.

        Even after all this time, the Apple Watch Series 3 is still a reliable device with plenty of smarts since it uses the latest WatchOS 8 ecosystem as the more expensive options below. This enables things like finding other devices, such as an Airtag, with a tap. If you can put up with a slight animation lag and short but noticeable hang ups when opening apps, then this is the best Apple Watch for your needs on a budget. Health tracking through third-party apps isn’t as precise as on the Fitbit Charge 5, and the onboard trackers provide less detail—noticeably in sleep tracking records and workout breakdowns. But unlike older Fitbit models, this watch is still supported with the latest updates and handles more complex computing so you can scroll through pictures on Reddit, check emails, and even control your iPhone’s camera. You should keep this watch backed up frequently, especially prior to an update, as you often need to clear it out to make room for new software, which can mess with your layout and app data if wiped.

        —MID-RANGE ($200-$299)—

        Mid-range smartwatches give you a mix of health sensors and features that are cut from less expensive options to keep the price low. You can expect to see bigger screens, longer battery life, and improved tracking.

        Apple Watch SE

        Platforms: iOS | Sensors: Heart rate, accelerometer with fall detection, compass | Screen: 1.78-in. LTPO OLED

        Apple Watch SE 44mm

        • Fast performance and health sensors
        • Built-in GPS

        The Apple Watch SE is Apple’s mid-range smartwatch that feels way more expensive than it actually is. It’s leaps and bounds better than the older entry-level Series 3 in that it’s much faster thanks to the S5 chip, incorporates higher-end health features like an improved optical heart sensor, and offers haptic feedback on a larger screen, all for under $300. You get modern vital tracking and fall detection, as well as a majority of the most important features (outside of the newer concave screen and bike fall detection on the 7). This is the smartwatch for any iPhone owner: a 32 GB productivity powerhouse on your wrist with advanced health and fitness tracking to rival even the most expensive Fitbit at an excellent value.

        smart watch

        Trevor Raab

        The smaller bezels and 30 percent bump in screen space from the entry-level Series 3 made it easier for me to see text and interact with the screen. Dictation, scribble, and emojis are less congested than its predecessor but much more responsive, making it easy to communicate. Speaking of communication, the second-generation speaker and microphone are much clearer and louder. Whether I took an incoming call while on the run or driving my car, I found myself less likely to repeat statements to those on the other end of a call or Siri. Tasks take place in half the time of the Series 3 for a fluid app opening animation and scrolling through feeds without any hang ups. Unfortunately there’s no always-on display like the competition from Fitbit. And a SPO2 sensor for blood oxygen levels is missing. However, if you’re a trail runner or into hiking, the built-in compass is a neat touch.

        Overall, the SE offers everything you can want in a smartwatch except for an always-on display. This leaves it tied neck and neck with the Charge 5 for best overall.

        Fitbit Versa 3

        Platforms: Android or iOS | Sensors: Heart rate, SP02 | Screen: 1.6-in. AMOLED

        Versa 3 Watch



        $179.95 (22{ad04e458d8a67bb381461aa5bab353250a5c3a294cd93826b3ec944a191540bb} off)

        • GPS, Heart, and ECG sensors
        • Large always-on display
        • Not as good of a value as the Sense

        Fitbit’s Versa 3 is a huge step up from the Charge 5 thanks to a wider band and larger clock face. Once it’s connected to Wi-Fi, you can download hundreds of apps and clock faces from an app store. Unlike the Charge 5, the larger 1.6-inch screen can take calls, set up a built-in Google or Alexa voice assistant, and store your music using Deezer. Android owners can respond to texts directly from their wrist, but head-to-head with the Apple Watch the experience is night and day; the chunkier face bezels, basic apps, and non-existent layout adjustments clearly show the strengths of WatchOS. But with advanced health tracking front and center, the Fitbit’s lifestyle apps are enough for those who want some smart functionality, as it’s clear lifestyle apps are secondary. The slick watch band snaps in with ease, the face sits centered on the front of your wrist, and there’s a haptic button that pulls up your control panel with things like music controls, your smart assistant, and your digital credit card to offer a solid smartwatch experience.

        smart watch

        Trevor Raab

        Unlike the entry-level Charge, there’s surprisingly no ECG sensor. And the Versa 3 comes with just three months of Fitbit premium as opposed to the six that comes with the budget device. You get your daily readiness score, new connectivity indicators tell you about phone connection strength and battery level, and the Outdoor Workout Mode tracks your routes, pace, and distance with built-in GPS. Navigation and app icons are incredibly basic, similar to the first-gen Pebble interface. You swipe down for notifications and swipe upward for widgets. Running your finger right pulls up quick settings and a swift left stroke takes you to your apps. Holding the haptic button quickly accesses a shortcut to main functionalities like voice assistants, payments, music, or timers.

        While faces and apps are plentiful and allow you to really customize your Fitbit to your liking, the interface feels nearly a decade old. From the app icons themselves to the disheveled app store functionality, the interface doesn’t come close to an Apple Watch. For example, when I tried to use the news app I see basic text headlines where on Apple Watch I see a full story with images. And navigating the app store feels like an afterthought—I often spend a ton of time going through categories to buy or download a rudimentary app like Streaks, where, on Apple Watch, I have a snappy and clean UI broken down into categories for minimal scrolling. For productivity and work, stick to an Apple Watch if your hardware supports it. Fitbit has always been fitness-focused, as implied by the brand name. Its expertise is clearly there instead of wrist computing.

        Fitness is where this watch delivers. Whether I was running or lifting weights, the Versa 3 proved to stay in place while delivering important information via an always-on display. The SPO2 tracker measured a downtick in SP02 and checked functions while I slept. At the end of the day this is a decent watch, but the Sense is often on sale for just $20 more and offers so much more bang for the buck.

        —HIGH-END ($300-$399)—

        At the highest end is where both brands outfit their flagship devices with the most features and technology advancements. Apple Watch 7 may be superior in terms of screen size and is full of mobile computing features, but the Fitbit Sense’s tracking, comfort, and price elevate health metrics to the next level. The Sense can often be found for well below its listing price (hovering around $240) but it is the highest-end Fitbit offering available.

        Apple Watch Series 7

        Platforms: iOS | Sensors: Heart rate, SP02, ECG | Screen: 1.9-in. LTPO OLED

        Apple Watch Series 7 GPS

        • Largest screen with full typing
        • Advanced sensors and fall detection
        • IPX6 dust resistance

        The Apple Watch Series 7 is the latest smartwatch in the tech giant’s lineup. A large 1.9-inch, always-on OLED display shows the clock face even when your wrist is down, and the concave screen shape provides more surface area for your view. New USB-C compatibility means the watch recharges 33 percent faster than the SE when you use the included cable. I was able to get eight hours of battery life for sleep tracking in just under eight minutes of charging; from fully drained, the watch climbed up to 21 percent battery in that time. At 45 millimeters, the face of our test model is nicely sized for the average wrist but can feel a tad bulky. These features are some pretty major boosts to warrant an upgrade for those looking for a bigger screen and the latest health sensors. Plus, the Series 7 comes in the most finishes beyond stainless steel, with aluminum and titanium options as well.

        Like the 3 and SE, the Series 7 simply connected and paired with my iPhone in under one minute straight out of the box. The UI is the fastest of any Apple Watch, with virtually instant response times between presses and actions. But truth be told, it doesn’t feel that much faster than what I experienced with the SE. Exclusive to the 7 are the passive and on-demand SP02 checks, which I used to measure my blood oxygen during workout sessions with and without a mask. Also not found on the lower levels of the Apple Watch is an ECG, which works using your wrist and thumb to check your heartbeat rhythm and warn you of signs of atrial fibrillation. Besides the screen, the IPX6 dust resistance is perhaps the biggest upgrade to the watch. There is an updated fall detection algorithm, which now supports workout and biking collapses and can prompt the watch to alert emergency services in worst-case scenarios.

        If you need the bigger always-on display and desire the latest health and safety features, you should lean toward the 7—it has 50 percent more screen real estate than the Series 3 and 20 percent more than the SE. But if you simply want to access apps, notifications, and smart features on your wrist, the 3 and SE are more than capable.

        Fitbit Sense

        Platforms: Android or iOS | Sensors: Heart rate, SP02, ECG, skin temperature, and EDA | Screen: 1.6-in. AMOLED

        Sense Watch



        $199.95 (33{ad04e458d8a67bb381461aa5bab353250a5c3a294cd93826b3ec944a191540bb} off)

        • All major sensors
        • Comfortable strap
        • Big clear screen
        • Feels unpolished for a high-end watch

        The Fitbit Sense feels more like a side-grade than an upgrade from the Versa 3. It shares the same exact design and dimensions as the Versa 3, with three additional health sensors for checking skin temperatures, stress levels, and heart rhythm over an ECG. Outside of this, the stainless steel finish (an upgrade from the Versa 3’s aluminum) and bands are too similar to differentiate between a higher tier. And, ultimately, if you don’t feel you need these readouts, leaning toward the $100-cheaper Versa 3 saves some serious cash.

        This flagship offers all of the features of a Fitbit, with an advanced EDA scan app for measuring stress, high and low heart rate alerts, on-wrist skin temperature variations, and a more accurate 24/7 heart rate. Readings were on par with all of the other smartwatches I tested during workouts and sleep, with the most notable stand out being smoother animations and slightly shorter load times over the Versa 3. For example, swapping between app pages felt buttery smooth, and I was able to hop directly into the apps without having to wait. On the Versa 3, the page swipe animation slightly dragged, and apps took a second longer to open.

        Overall, the Sense is an impressive health tracker that doesn’t feel too premium. For the high price tier this sits in, the older UI feels unpolished and the design doesn’t scream high-end smart watch. Thinner bezels and an upgraded band could really help in this area. If you can get the Sense on sale, it’s a better version of the Versa 3, but there’s no noticeable boosts to battery life, tracking accuracy, or overall comfort.

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