Should you pick Fitbit's new Versa smartwatch over the Ionic?

The Fitbit Ionic and Fitbit Versa are surprisingly similar pieces of hardware. They support almost identical feature sets and are in the same price range. A few specific features and design differences will be key when deciding between these devices, specifically the inclusion of GPS and Fitbit Pay.

What do you track?

Both the Ionic and the Versa track exercise and can be taken to just about any workout, including running, cycling, and working out in the gym. Both have up to 50 meters of water resistance so you can take them swimming, too. The one significant difference is that the Ionic can track your location without a phone. It has built-in GPS, which allows you to track your exercise routes without the aid of a smartphone. The Versa doesn't have a built-in GPS so you'll have to use a smartphone on your jogs.

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Header Cell - Column 0 Fitbit VersaFitbit Ionic
Operating systemFitbitOS 3.0FitbitOS 3.0
Heart-rate sensor✔️✔️
Waterproofing✔️ (up to 50 meters)✔️ (up to 50 meters)
Fitbit Pay✔️ (only on Special Edition)✔️
Music storage✔️ (up to 300 songs)✔️(up to 300 songs)
Battery lifeOver 4 daysUp to 7 days

Fitbit has been in the wearable industry for a long time, and fitness tracking is accurate on both of these devices. You can use each of them for guided workouts, tracking your measurables such as heart rate and sleep, and recording your steps, cycling activity, and swimming activity.

You can also take your music with you on the go. Both wearables support local storage up to 300 songs.

Sleek vs. powerful

When it comes to fitness tracking, both of these watches are almost identical, but there is a more noticeable difference between the watches in terms of design. The main difference is that the Ionic is thicker than the Versa, and where the Ionic is square, the Versa rounds a few corners to make it sleeker. The Ionic feels boxy compared to the more elegant Versa. The Versa shares some design queues from the Apple Watch and other wearables that are fashionable.

That being said, there are still several similarities between the watches. Both feature bright watch faces, and both allow you to switch out wrist straps depending on your preference. Each device also has the same three-button setup for navigating the watch and run the same operating system.

Features for money

The features for these devices are practically identical. The only differences are that the Ionic has a built-in GPS and that you have to purchase the more expensive Fitbit Versa Special Edition to get Fitbit Pay on the Versa. Both have Bluetooth music support, the same exercise tracking, notification support, Fitbit Coach, and several other features.

When the Versa was released, it was noticeably cheaper than the Ionic, but now the Ionic can often be found on sale for close to the price of the Versa. In fact, the Special Edition of the Versa is more expensive than the Ionic depending on sale prices. Since the prices are about the same for these devices, picking one comes down to features and design. The Fitbit Versa is sleeker than the Fitbit Ionic and has almost all of the same features. The Ionic can feel bulky and chunky at times, especially when doing certain activities like typing.

Unless you absolutely need a built-in GPS, the Fitbit Versa is a better choice for most people. You'll get the best of Fitbit at a lower price than the Ionic.

Sean Endicott