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Fitbit Ionic vs Versa 2 (A Comparison Review & Guide)

The Fitbit Ionic was the very first smartwatch installment from Fitbit while Fitbit Versa 2 came in later with upgrades and new-age technology, so which of the two is better?

Fitbit ionic smartwatch against the red background.

Fitbit Ionic vs Versa 2 – it’s like a matchup between Superman vs Batman. One is chockfull of new-age gadgetry and tricks while the other has that old age, stoic “I’ve been through it all, and I’m still standing” thing going for them.

Since the Fitbit Ionic was the very first smartwatch installment from Fitbit, it’ll probably be Superman in this analogy, and Fitbit Versa 2 with all its awesome upgrades and new-age technology will be Batman.

They are both awesome at what they do – kicking behinds! But they can’t both be as good as the other or can they? Does one have to be better, or can both these incredible smartwatches co-exist in a market space that takes no prisoners?

Okay, enough with the comic book analogies. Which smartwatch is best for you when it comes to Fitbit Ionic vs Versa 2?

Fitbit Ionic vs Versa 2: The History

Black Fitbit versa on top of its original box.

The Fitbit Versa 2 truly is almost everything you would want in a new age smartwatch. Not only does it have an amazingly appealing design, but it also comes with a gorgeous OLED display, an incredible 5-day battery life, and even your very own onboard assistant (Alexa).

However, even the best of the best had to start from somewhere. When it comes to Fitbit’s foray into the smartwatch market, their very first entry was the Fitbit Ionic in 2017, which, surprisingly enough, is still on sale today and still a force to reckon with in its own right.

Although Fitbit Ionic is three years old, it still has an array of impressive features that make it an iconic smartwatch and the preferred choice for hardcore fitness wearables fans. For starters, it has a battery that can last for an entire week, and it also comes with an onboard GPS.

Fitbit has since then released several smartwatch installments, including the first Versa watch in 2018, which was followed by the Versa Lite as well as the Versa 2 in 2019.

While it is true that the Versa 2, which is the third and latest iteration of the smartwatches from Fitbit, is by far the most advanced entry, there are some things that it still doesn’t do well when compared to the original Iconic.

Let’s have a look at some of those things and take an objectively comparative look between the two titans of the smartwatch world (yes, we have moved away from the Supermans and Batmans of this world).

What Kind of Fitness Buff Are You: Elite Athlete or Easy-Going Weekend Warrior?

Usually, the first thing that most people look at when comparing two of anything is price closely followed by features. When it comes to price, there isn’t that much of a difference when you look at Fitbit Ionic vs Versa 2; the two are comparably matched, and whatever differences there are won’t exactly make or break your bank.

Since that is the case, the next best thing we have is to look at the features. Granted, as Fitbit strived to build a better, more advanced smartwatch, there are some concessions that the company had to make.

Let’s take a close side-by-side look at the two watches to see just where the “fat was trimmed” and whether or not it was worth it!

Fitbit Ionic Fitbit Versa 2
Operating System Fitbit OS 4.1 Fitbit OS 4.1.1
Screen Size 1.42 inches 1.34 inches
Weight 50 grams About 38 grams
SpO2 Sensor Yes Yes
Music Storage Up to 300 songs Up to 300 songs
Waterproofing Up to 50 meters Up to 50 meters
Alexa Support No Yes
Female Health Tracking Yes Yes
Battery Life 7 days 5 days
Fitbit Pay Yes Yes

Now, since both watches come from Fitbit, it’s logical that they will both have relatively the same kind of software, which makes using them so much easier and user-friendly. The Fitbit app that connects to both watches provides you with a world of health data that will not only help you keep track of the workouts but give you tips on how to be better.

In fact, through both watches, you have an on-device connection to Fitbit Premium. This subscription-based service offers you adaptive workout audios, videos, coaching, and some in-depth insights as well as better analytics, which all go to improving your sleep, nutrition, fitness, and mindfulness. You also get a SpO2 sensor on both, which means that you can now easily monitor your blood oxygen levels.

So, on these fronts, the watches are very much a match for one another.

What Makes the Versa 2 Better than the Fitbit Ionic?

Woman hand wearing a smartwatch.

Since the Versa 2 is the third entry in the product line as well as two whole years newer than the Ionic, it is logical that it would be better on a lot of fronts, especially when it comes to the design, processor speeds, and software features.

Thankfully, yes, the Fitbit Versa 2 does have a nicer screen (depending on your personal taste), newer software features thanks to the newer OS version on which it runs, and a hipper look.

One of the first things that you will notice about the Versa 2 is that it has a vibrant OLED display that is not only more colorful but also more visible in outdoor light, which is more than can be said for the Ionic.

As far as the design is concerned, the Versa 2 was designed for better mass appeal. It has that Apple Watch looks with a soft, squircle design. It also features subtler colors than its older predecessor.

Another thing is that the Versa 2 relies heavily on the responsive touch screen as far as navigation is concerned. Unlike the Ionic, this smartwatch only has one button on the side as opposed to three.

However, the most outstanding feature that separates the Versa 2 from the Ionic is the fact that it comes with an onboard assistant in the form of Amazon’s Alexa. To give your assistant instructions, all you have to do is push and hold the single button on the side of your watch.

While you can give Alexa voice commands, thanks to the onboard microphone, she can’t exactly speak back to you because the watch has no speakers. She can, however, text you back, which is kind of a let-down, but it works.

Through Alexa, you can:

  • Get answers to your queries (try and keep them simple)
  • Take notes
  • Set reminders
  • Control a host of your smart home devices

Unfortunately, Alexa only works with Android options.

What Makes the Ionic Better?

iPhone X and a Fitbit ionic smartwatch connected wireless via Fitbit app.

The first fact that should remain at the top of your mind is the fact that the Ionic is a 2017 watch! The fact that it’s still being compared to 2019, an arguably a more advanced version of itself should tell you all you need to know about how iconic this watch is and just how impressively it was built.

Unfortunately, when it comes to the design, with the Ionic, you either love it, or you hate it. There are no middle-grounds here. It has dramatically geometric hard lines, and oversized casing, and a kind of utilitarian feel for it, which makes it perfect for hardcore workout buffs but not so much so for the fashion-forward weekend warrior.

Two main features make the Ionic a better smartwatch than the Versa 2:

  • The built-in GPS: Which is important for a host of reasons including tracking your sleep, counting your steps, and monitoring your heart rate. This built-in GPS comes in handy during your post-workout analysis as it gives you a complete performance summary that shows things like elevation climbed as well as a map of the route used.

While it is true that you can still do this with the other watches, you would have to do it through your phone, which makes the whole process kind of cumbersome for those who don’t like jogging or going for a run with their phones in tow.

  • The long battery life: While the Versa 2’s 5-day battery life is an incredible improvement on most smartwatch battery life and certainly an improvement on its immediate predecessors (Versa and Versa Lite), it is still no match for the Ionic. At an astonishing 7-day battery life, Ionic is one of the best smartwatches in the industry as far as battery life is concerned.

So which one is better for you? The Fitbit Versa 2 or the Ionic?

In all honesty, the Fitbit ionic vs Versa 2 battle is a very close call. It comes down to personal preferences because the prices are almost similar, and so are the operating systems.

The difference (and preferences) here hinge on the fact that one has Alexa on board while the other has built-in GPS. If you are leaning one way or the other, then you must choose the smartwatch that has your preferred feature.

If, however, none of that matters to you, then any one of these smartwatches will serve you just fine. The Versa 2 does have more options as far as looks are concerned, though! So there’s that to consider.

=> Skip to the chase: Our Epic guide on the best smartwatches for different uses and devices
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