Polar Vantage V vs Fitbit Versa 2 (Fitness watches go head-to-head)

polar vantage v fitbit versa 2 main screen

The difference between the Polar Vantage V and the Fitbit Versa 2 is one that defines what a pro and an amateur.

It’s Usain Bolt versus a father who takes first at the annual marathon in his city. Both are champions at different levels of competition. One is fully invested in running, the other runs in the evenings but otherwise has to put on a necktie and go to work. There are few people who live like Bolt does. Most people live like the dad.

The realm of smartwatches is similar. There are few smartwatches like the Vantage V, who is very, very good at just one thing. Most other smartwatches, like the Fitbit Versa 2, are more versatile. Unlike most other smartwatches, the Versa 2 is geared towards people looking to improve their health and fitness, and the Vantage V takes that even further.

Fitbit Versa 2 second app menu

Productivity

The Fitbit Versa is a great watch for productivity, but only in comparison with the Vantage V, and primarily because the Vantage V is even less versatile.

polar vantage v fitbit versa 2 notifications

Handling notifications

The Polar Vantage V will receive notifications from your smartwatch but that’s it. It won’t let you reply to messages or emails.

The Fitbit Versa 2, on the other hand, will receive notifications and allow you to reply as long as you are on an Android smartphone. Replying to notifications is done through either a canned response or through the Alexa speech-to-text interpreter. While it’s not always accurate, it does well for the most part.

Fitbit Versa 2 Alexa listening

Neither watch has a speaker and therefore you can’t take calls on either watch.

Winner: Fitbit Versa 2

Fitbit Versa 2 Alexa speech to text

Voice assistant

On the Fitbit Versa 2, you can ask Alexa to find information, directions and do tasks as you would ask Siri or Google Assistant. That’s very convenient as long as you are within range of your smartphone which functions as the bridge between the Versa and the internet.

Alexa can’t compare to Siri or Google Assistant, and one area of weakness is in navigation. On both competitors, you can ask them to take you to a place and they will be able to do so and navigate you there with the help of Apple Maps or Google Maps respectively. The information provided by Alexa is a few lines of text with the names of the places and distance from you, but no useful information as to how to find it.

Now why is the Fitbit Versa 2 superior to the Polar Vantage V in this regard? Because the Vantage V has no such function.

Winner: Fitbit Versa 2

polar vantage v fitbit versa 2 stopwatch

Daily Wear

The Fitbit Versa 2’s thin case, silicone strap and its lightweight are pluses in the area of comfort. The Polar Vantage V, on the other hand, is larger, heavier and requires a tighter grip on your arm in order to stay in position making it less comfortable.

Both watches come with excellent sleep tracking functions, but the Vantage V really becomes uncomfortable if you wear it to bed. Any pressure you place on the watch will be felt very palpably, such as when you place your arm under your pillow. The Versa 2 can still be felt, but not as severely as the Vantage.

The Vantage also comes with five buttons which is a bit difficult to master. I found myself pressing the wrong buttons even after wearing it straight for a week. The Vantage V has a touchscreen but it is not designed as the primary source of interaction. The Fitbit Versa 2 comes with just one button and everything else is done on the touchscreen. It’s a lot simpler.

Winner: Fitbit Versa 2

Battery Life

The Fitbit Versa 2 can last about two days if you use it frequently. The Polar Vantage V will last probably just under a week even if you use it with an equivalent frequency. Both of these tests were done with the always-on screen activated.

Winner: Polar Vantage V

Fitness

This is where the Fitbit feels like a prosumer product while the Vantage V excels like a professional product.

Both watches are definitely more fitness, workout and healthy lifestyle oriented than most other watches, but the lead that the Polar Vantage V has on the Versa 2 is by a large margin.

The six watch faces that the Vantage V has speak to the different aspects of your health including daily activity tracking, quality of sleep and Cardio Load, which measures your training load.

Workouts

polar vantage v polar flow cellphone app

The Polar Vantage V also has a few programs that will help you with a training regime. It will suggest a few workouts daily, divided into cardio, strength building and supportive exercises, based on the data it collects.

If you’re a runner, you can also use the web Polar Flow app to design a running program based around the goal of running a race from 5k to marathon. Runners can also benefit from the power output calculator, which uses an algorithm to find out how much power you’re producing from running.

Fitbit also offers similar programs on their smartphone app, but you can

fitbit versa 2 app heart rate

not access them unless you pay for a Fitbit Premium subscription. Many of the more advanced features such as more complex sleep analytics are paywalled.

Winner: Polar Vantage V

Sleep tracking

Polar Vantage V Sleep chart

Both the Fitbit and Polar offer great sleep tracking and analytics. Both accompanying apps give you a great user interface which tells you how you’re sleeping. Both apps will break down your sleep into their sleep stages, what time you went to bed and what time you woke up.

The Fitbit won’t tell you your sleeping heart rate unless you paid for Fitbit Premium, but the Polar will.

The Polar also goes further and uses your sleep data to calculate its Nightly Recharge score. The score judges your sleep quality and how your autonomic nervous system calmed down during the early hours of your sleep. This score gives you a basis of knowing whether your sleep was restorative compared to the demands of the day.

The more data, the better these two watches perform so you do have an incentive to wear it as much as possible. Unfortunately for Vantage owners, it can be quite uncomfortable to sleep with the watch on.

Winner: Polar Vantage V 

fitbit versa 2 sleep app

Verdict

The Polar Vantage V is a very complex watch and you should read its full review to get a better sense of how it influences your life through its data. It had a positive effect on my life.

Head to head, the Vantage V and the Versa 2 are great watches. For most people, the $149 Fitbit Versa 2 offers great value and analytics to help you improve your lifestyle while bringing many conveniences that a typical smartwatch would.

The Polar Vantage V is a watch that is meant for a specific group of people, especially since it lacks smartwatch features and costs $499. It is an excellent sportsperson’s watch otherwise.

If it doesn’t sound like you want a watch that leans towards fitness, then you should consider the other watches available on the market that run on the Wear OS platform, the Apple Watch or the Samsung line of watches. All of them can track your workouts and their suite of productivity apps are much wider than either watches reviewed here.