Garmin Fenix 6 vs Fitbit Versa 2 (Cheerleader vs Captain)

garmin fenix 6 fitbit versa 2 main screen

I have come to realize that the more sports-oriented a watch, the less likely it will have features that are available in a general-purpose smartwatch.

The Garmin Fenix 6 is an amazing watch but its productivity features are just a bit lacking. You won’t be able to avoid using your phone for many tasks that you would be able to with an Apple Watch or a Samsung Galaxy watch.

The Fitbit brand, on the other hand, brings with it a gregarious and congenial personality and the Versa 2 is its best cheerleader who seeks to improve your lifestyle too. So where does it stand?

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Comfort

Every time I take off the Garmin Fenix 6, it feels like coming home after a long day of work and changing into my pyjamas — that feeling of losing a tight belt and tight underwear. It’s quite an uncomfortable watch that is guaranteed to leave an imprint on my wrist. If it weren’t strapped tightly, the Fenix 6 would be slipping all over the place like Vancouver drivers in a snowstorm.

Smaller watches with less of a flat surface on the back tend to be more comfortable, and the Fitbit Versa 2 falls into this category. It’s much lighter and has a nice flat silicone strap (as compared to the Fenix 6’s ridged strap). Going from a Fenix 6 to a Fitbit Versa 2 felt like I was not wearing a watch at all!

Winner: Fitbit Versa 2 

garmin fenix 6 fitbit versa 2 weather

Productivity

Let’s start off by saying that the Fenix 6 does not have a microphone nor a speaker. It only has a buzzer for aural notifications. It doesn’t have a microphone either so it won’t listen to you. Nor does it have a touchscreen.

The Fitbit is just a little more complete. It has a microphone but no speaker nor buzzer. It has a touchscreen where you will do most of the interaction. That also means it has just one button as compared to the Fenix 6’s five buttons. Five buttons might seem overkill, but each is essential to interacting with the watch.

garmin fenix 6 fitbit versa 2 alexa voice assistant

Voice assistant

The Versa 2 comes with Alexa and I found this to be a major advantage as compared to the Fenix 6, which does not have a voice assistant.

You can ask Alexa to search for information, directions and do tasks as you would with the assistant on your smartphone. Just be aware that Alexa’s functionality is not as complete as a Siri or Google Assistant. For example, when you ask for a pharmacy, it will tell you the names and the distance of the pharmacies but will not be able to give you detailed directions to these places. Comparatively, the Versa 2’s smartwatch counterparts, Google Assistant and Siri, would be able to follow through with detailed directions shown on a map.

I consider having a voice assistant a very critical part of a complete general-purpose smartwatch and in this case, the Fenix 6 does not fulfill this criterion.

Winner: Fitbit Versa 2

garmin fenix 6 fitbit versa 2 replies

Interacting with notifications

You can interact with email, text, WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger notifications on both watches provided you are using an Android. On an iPhone, notifications are read-only.

The Versa 2 has a major advantage here in that you are able to narrate your replies through the speech-to-text function provided by Alexa. On the Fenix 6, you can only use pre-composed replies, which you can customize on the Garmin Connect app.

You will not be able to make phone calls on either smartwatch as both of them do not have a speaker. You can accept or decline incoming calls and will have to chat on your smartphone.

Winner: Fitbit Versa 2

Battery Life

In the good old days of Casio digital watches, you would change its battery once a year or less. Smartwatches are more like smartphones in that they require frequent charging.

The Garmin Fenix 6 is most impressive in this regard. After nine days of usage, the battery went from full to 24%. The Fenix 6 also tells you the battery lifespan in days and hours, rather than a percentage. When full, it read 13 days of lifespan, but that gets whittled down quickly as you use the backlight, music, GPS and maps functions. The Fenix 6 uses a transflective LCD which means it’s a lot more efficient on battery power because it does not require the use of a backlight except in very dark places.

Conversely, the Fitbit uses an OLED screen typical of smart devices, but it can last at least two days reliably, which is excellent. To put it into context, the more feature-rich Apple Watch with a similarly high-quality and equally-sized screen lasts a maximum of 36 hours.

For its superior battery life, the Garmin Fenix 6 wins.

Winner: Garmin Fenix 6

garmin fenix 6 fitbit versa 2 exercise

Exercise and health

I got a sense that Fitbit and Garmin are marketing their watches to the fitness-focused crowd. Fitbits have always been for the casual fitness enthusiast while Garmin’s Fenix line of watches have always prioritized the elite fitness and data aficionado.

Workout tracking

The Garmin Fenix 6 is superior in exercise and workouts. Runners would love that Garmin Connect smartphone app can develop a training plan for your next race and the Fenix 6 can also measure your VO2Max from your wrist. I’m a cyclist so I really enjoyed how the Fenix 6 would tell you how your training has helped you in aerobic and anaerobic areas, as well as overall fitness. There are also other non-running exercise plans on the Garmin Connect app that you can use.

garmin fenix 6 fitbit versa 2 exercise log

Fitbit Versa 2 users can get similar exercise plans with a Fitbit Pro subscription. Otherwise, the Fitbit has a beautiful exercise interface with a sleek, modern look. The Versa 2 also interprets exercise zones in a unique way, telling you whether you’re in the “fat burning” zone or “cardio” zone rather than the more scientific names that the Fenix 6 has

Connectivity

A key takeaway here is that the Fenix 6 can become the centre of all your exercise data collection while the Versa 2 cannot. In a sense, the Fenix 6 can connect to power meters and chest heart rate straps through Bluetooth or ANT+. The Versa 2 cannot.

The Versa 2 also does not have an integrated GPS, which means you will have to bring your smartphone around for GPS location data.

On the other hand, the Fenix 6 is significantly more self-sufficient. You can use it for days without a smartphone and it will function really well. One feature that it has maps on the Pro/Sapphire editions. The maps do not require a data connection like on other smartwatches.

Winner: Garmin Fenix 6

Sleep and stress

fitbit versa 2 sleep app

Both watches have great sleep tracking analytics, especially in their respective smartphone apps (Fitbit above, Garmin below) which are beautifully laid out and will tell you when you slept and when you woke up with great accuracy. It will also break up your sleep into different sleep cycles.

garmin fenix 6 stress tracking

What I really liked about the Fenix 6 is the unique approach to giving you a complete view of your day. Not only does it track your sleep, but it also tracks your stress levels and has a Body Battery meter. The Body Battery tells you how well you’ve recharged overnight and how much you’ve spent during the day with consideration towards your activity levels and stress measurements.

Winner: Garmin Fenix 6

Verdict

Regular folk can get away with the Fitbit Versa 2’s low price, great comfortable feeling and many features. It’s a great watch, has very user-friendly information and has a voice assistant that the Fenix 6 doesn’t.

Only if you want the ultimate training watch and don’t mind the bulk would you get the Garmin Fenix 6. It’s an excellent watch but at its starting price, it’s meant for people who really know what they are trying to achieve and need a tool to help them do that.