The Fitbit Versa is Fitbit's latest outright smartwatch, and it has all the smarts you'd want in a wearable, including quick replies to texts, notification support for everything you get on your phone, the ability to store up to 300 songs, and a selection of apps from names like Uber, Walgreens, Starbucks, and United Airlines.
FitbitOS 2.0 powers the software experience of the Versa, and it's a valiant effort from Fitbit in its attempt to compete against smartwatches from Apple, Google, and Samsung. FitbitOS isn't nearly as smooth as watchOS on the Apple Watch and there's still a lot of work that needs to be done when it comes to app availability and quality, but for such a young platform, it's admirable just how far it's already come.
The Fitbit Charge 3 is Fitbit's newest tracker, and in addition to providing a rock solid fitness feature-set, you'll also find some extra smarts that make it feel like a smartwatch/fitness band hybrid. There's full notification support from your phone, you can send off quick replies to texts, and use basic apps to check on the weather, start timers, and view your calendar.
Those smartwatch-like features are great, but a smartwatch the Charge 3 is not. The smaller display works great for quickly checking fitness stats, but the Versa is much better-equipped for using apps and scrolling through notifications. Also, I wouldn't hold my breath anytime soon for lots of new apps coming to the Charge 3. What you see on your wrist out of the box is essentially what you get.
|Fitbit Charge 3||Fitbit Versa|
|Heart rate monitor||✔||✔|
|Quick replies (Android only)||✔||✔|
|Female health tracking||✔||✔|
|NFC payments||Only in special edition||Only in special edition|
|Personalized on-screen coaching||✔|
The main difference here, and what should ultimately be your deciding factor, is whether or not you want a smartwatch. Really take a look at the features and consider whether or not it's prudent for you to spend the additional $50 on the Versa.
If you don't think you'd use the apps or on-screen coaching once the novelty wears off, then don't bother with the Versa. The Charge 3 is one of the most capabale fitness bands you can buy and does a good job at replicating some basic smartwatch features.
If you're just looking for a tracker, then the Fitbit Charge 3 is pretty much the best you can do before going full smartwatch. That 24/7 heart rate monitoring means a better overall picture of your sleep and cardio health, and there's been just enough of a redesign to make it look fresh and more modern than the last iteration.
Fitness and smarts for less
If you'd like smartwatch features along with excellent fitness tracking, grab the Versa.
For a $200 smartwatch, the Fitbit Versa is excellent. If you want great fitness tracking, lots of apps, and a good-looking smartwatch, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better option.
For pure fitness tracking prowess, the Fitbit Charge 3 is top dog.
Excellent heart rate monitoring, accurate activity tracking, smart notifications, and quick replies all combine with a great design to make the Fitbit Charge 3 a force to be reckoned with in the realm of fitness trackers.
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