The Apple Watch Series 5 and the Fitbit Versa 2 share a strong resemblance, especially our review units.
Both had black straps and a thin, black watch case. The only distinction from afar is how the Fitbit Versa 2 is more of a square while the Apple Watch is more of a portrait rectangle.
As you get closer, their differences become clearer and clearer in both hardware and software aspects. Note that you cannot use the Apple Watch on an Android.
The Apple Watch stands squarely in the general-purpose watch category while the Fitbit Versa 2 is just a little more of a fitness-focused watch, but not to the extent as some higher-end Polar or Garmin watches.
The Apple Watch deserves special commendation for how they managed to pack a full-feature watch into such a small package. It’s probably the same size as the Versa 2 in volume but has features that significantly outdo it’s lookalike.
Before I set them apart, let me just comment that the Apple Watch and Fitbit Versa 2 are both the most comfortable watches I have ever worn, along with the Fossil Sport Smartwatch. All of them are light, compact and have a great strap.
These two watches do not leave an imprint on your arm even when worn snugly. You barely notice they’re there. Whereas taking off a larger, heavier watch like the Polar Vantage V is reminiscent of the great feeling of coming home and taking off your tie, untucking your shirt and loosening some buttons.
Winner: Both watches are winners
Calls, messages, emails
The Fitbit Versa 2 does not have a speaker but has a microphone, whereas the Apple Watch has both. That means that you can’t take calls on the Versa 2 nor make them, whereas you could on an Apple Watch.
For iPhone users, the Versa 2 will allow you to read your notifications but not respond to them. Whereas for Android users, you can read and respond to them, but you can only input text using the speech-to-text system. Either way, there is no system to directly retrieve your messages nor any way to access your emails. It’s either you interact with them when the notifications come or else you’ll have to reach for your phone.
On the other hand, the Apple Watch allows you to call people and speak to them on your wrist. You can also send messages, access your inbox for both emails and messages. You can input text using a speech-to-text system, by sending a canned response or by using Scribble, which is a system where you draw letters and it becomes text.
Call quality is good, according to the people who I have called.
Winner: Apple Watch Series 5
The apps that come with the Apple Watch are far superior to the ones that come with the Fitbit Versa 2. This extends to the variety of apps you can download in their respective app stores too.
The Apple Watch comes with a great number of useful apps including a noise meter, a compass and a translator, and you can download even more apps such as Facebook Messenger and Apple Maps from the App Store.
Fitbit’s line of apps are very limited — see screenshot above . Compared to the Apple Watch, the amount of third-party apps you can download will not really help you much in terms of productivity unless you need a calculator, Starbucks Card app, United Airlines app or a flashlight. Luckily, it comes with Strava and Spotify since those apps are always desired on sport smartwatches.
Winner: Apple Watch Series 5
The battery life of the Apple Watch is about a-day-and-a-half, and since it won’t make it through the second day, this is a smartwatch that you will have to charge daily.
The Fitbit lasts for a minimum of two days and that is with the always-on screen running. The Fitbit Versa 2 also lacks an integrated GPS which is great for battery life.
Winner: Fitbit Versa 2
The Apple Watch comes with Siri while the Fitbit Versa 2 comes with Alexa from Amazon. Both are good at interpreting what you say but Siri comes out ahead because of its superior integration.
For example, if you wanted to find directions to the closest pharmacy, Alexa will be able to deliver that information to you in text form but it is unable to provide you any navigational help unlike the Apple Watch which can segway a Siri request into an Apple Maps route.
Winner: Apple Watch Series 5
Fitness and workout
Both watches have a very good range of workout and fitness options that include workout tracking, breathing and steps tracking. A major difference between the Apple Watch and the Fitbit Versa 2 is the lack of a GPS on the latter. This means you will always have to bring your smartphone out with you in order to have GPS tracking. Both watches can be taken underwater for swimming.
The Apple Watch’s Workout app has almost 60 options to choose from including the standard running, cycling and swimming and so does Fitbit, with 12 options to offer by default.
The Apple Watch uses the Health app on the smartphone as it’s companion while Fitbit uses its app of the same name to show you your workout and sleep data. The Apple Watch does not natively track sleep unlike the Fitbit.
Both apps present data in a very friendly way. What I really liked about Apple is the “rings.” These rings track your movement, exercise and standing goals and can help you keep a healthy routine.
On the topic of keeping routines, Apple has healthy lifestyle challenges you can complete which you will earn badges for. You can also compete with other friends who are Apple Watch users, but in my circle they are in short supply.
In addition to the features mentioned above, Fitbit approaches this by connecting you to its own social network. You can follow feeds on various topics including nutrition or running and interact with others on that platform.
One annoyance is that Fitbit keeps some data behind a paywall. Certain analytics are not available unless you get a Fitbit Pro subscription. There is value in the subscription because it gives you access to training programs but otherwise it’s more of a “pay me if you want to know” deal.
Both watches provide excellent workout analytics and data so it’s a tie on this one.
Both watches provide excellent workout capabilities but for an iPhone user, only the Apple Watch can provide such seamless integration.
The price difference is significant here and it would be advisable that you consider how important being able to call, message, email and integrated GPS is. You would have to pay the Apple Watch’s premium to get those on your wrist.
Otherwise, the Fitbit Versa 2 is an excellent sports companion and provides basic functions for productivity. Just make sure to bring your smartphone if you want GPS information.