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13 Oct

New Fitbit Charge 3 and Versa—Which One Will Make Your Life Easier?

2018 has been a big year for Fitbit. Back in the spring, the company released a brand new—and more successful—smartwatch called Fitbit Versa; then following close on its heels the new fitness tracker, Fitbit Charge 3.

Both of these devices track fitness and health. But they also give you the capability of viewing and answering texts, they provide app notifications and allow you to refuse or accept calls—all directly from your wrist! Both bands come with the basic apps; however, it should be noted that the Fitbit App Gallery is different for the Versa than the Charge 3. The Fitbit Companion app lets you join Fitbit Groups and Fitbit Adventures as well as add friends and create step challenges on both wearables.

"So how in the world can I choose?" you ask. Well, that's where we can help by pointing out their differences, no matter how subtle.


Display and Design

The first thing you're sure to notice if you compare these two side by side is the Fitbit Versa ($200.00) has a bigger, vividly colored LCD touchscreen. In fact, the Versa—looking a lot like the Apple Watch—has a display that's almost two times bigger than the Charge 3. This device is great for wearing either day or out on the town at night and women may find it more attractive than other Fitbit smartwatches.

The Fitbit Charge 3 ($150.00) has a slim, grayscale OLED touchscreen display with an inductive button rather than an actual button on its right side. While its display is smaller than the Versa, it's about 40% larger than the Charge 2 display; thus, making it easier to read your stats with just a glance.

Both are lightweight, have changeable clock faces and modifiable brightness displays; but you can only get third-party clock faces on the Versa. Each comes with easy-to-change watch straps. However, Fitbit has decided to get rid of the variety of sizes and just include small and large straps in each box.

The Fitbit Versa Special Edition ($229.00) and Charge 3 Special Edition ($170.00) let you make payments all on your wrist with the handy built-in NFC chip. How convenient!

You'll also be pleased to hear that the Versa and Charge 3 are waterproof to a level of 50 meters. They'll continue to track smoothly, and you can even track your pool laps as well.


Workout Features

Before we get into how each is different, let's cover the similarities.

If you're one that has a hard time remembering to record workouts, no worries! The Versa and Charge 3 have Automatic Exercise Detection which logs those forgotten workouts for you; there are also over 15 exercise modes which let you monitor particular exercises. If you're not moving around enough during the day, the wearables will send you motivational notes encouraging you to get up and move. Everyone needs those from time to time, right?

Each gadget also comes with the Female Health Tracking function to help monitor a woman's cycle as well as Breathing Sessions to aid in reducing your stress level. You'll also appreciate that each device has some more sophisticated metric features like VO2 Max. During your highest intensity of exercise, this feature informs you how well your body's using oxygen. Pretty cool!

Of course, both apparatuses contain the necessities: advanced sleep monitoring; a continuous heart rate monitor that includes details on heart rate zone, resting and current heart rates; and the ability to track travelled distance, active minutes, steps, climbed floors and burned calories. Regrettably, both of these devices aren't equipped with a built-in GPS so you'll have to use your smartphone's GPS to plan out your runs; likewise, you can't attach a heart rate strap to either wearable, but the on-board heart rate sensors do a decent job of monitoring your heart rate. 

Okay, now let's move on to the differences…

A big difference is the Charge 3 only displays a limited number of fitness details and only present-day workout info. So if you want to see your previous fitness routine stats, you'll need to jump on the smartphone app. This may be an issue for some people. Yet the Versa shows you a week's worth of heart rate, steps, burned calories and more.

The Versa also has a fantastic "always on" feature which allows the display to stay on while you're exercising. You can even modify the stats that are shown on the screen while you're working out and the watch is equipped with on-screen workouts too. After your workout, a helpful summary of your exercise details is displayed. It's unknown if Charge 3 will be upgraded with these features in the future.

One other huge difference is, sadly, the Charge 3 isn't capable of playing or storing any music—but that could change with future updates to the software. However, the Versa lets you log on to Deezer and Pandora and can store 300 songs to listen to offline. You can even use wireless Bluetooth headphones. Wow!

There are two little distinctions between these apparatuses when talking about exercise. The Charge 3 has a terrific feature for runners called auto-stop. Say you have to tie your sneaker or stop at an intersection; this feature will automatically pause the exercise mode while you're stopped and start tracking when you begin to run again! How awesome is that?

The other small workout difference that sets the Charge 3 apart from the Versa is the brand new feature known as goal-based exercise modes. This will allow you to create a goal for a duration, burned calories or distance. For instance, if you're a runner and you set a goal of a 3-mile run, the gadget will tell you how far you have left to go. You can view your progress and real-time info as you strive to accomplish your goal. What a magnificent motivator!


Sleep Tracking

When it comes to sleep monitoring, Fitbit is the top dog of all other tracker brands. Fitbit is always trying to improve their sleep features as everyone else is busy playing catch-up—and they didn't disappoint with some great new features for the Charge 3.

Did you ever want to see what your sleep duration was without looking at your phone? Well, now you can because the Charge 3 is the first fitness tracker to display sleep duration on its dashboard!

Even better is a feature being released later this year to the Charge 3 and all trackers with enhanced heart rate monitoring called Sleep Score. This fabulous feature will give you a sleep quality score every night. What will they think of next? There's a good chance that the Versa will also receive the Sleep Score in the future too.

Each gadget has automatic sleep monitoring, will measure the duration in each sleep stage, track resting heart rate and awaken you with a vibrating alarm. Through the Fitbit app, you can create a sleep schedule and receive bedtime reminders and sleep insights.


Battery Life

Many smartwatches out there have batteries that won't last longer than a day or two before needing a charge. But the Versa's battery lasts about 4 days before you must set it in its charging cradle. Awesome!

The Charge 3 isn't as graphic-detailed as the Versa so it won't drain the battery as much. Fitbit says you'll get 7 days of use before needing to clip the charging cable to the fitness tracker's sides. That's outstanding!



Except for style, there's really not much difference between the Versa and Charge 3. They each have a boatload of fitness tracking sensors, are waterproof, have good battery life, connectable GPS and are quite accurate in their fitness tracking. Add to that the non-workout features and the Versa can't be beaten. Yet the Charge 3 gives a bit better exercising experience due to its extra perks.

So it really boils down to cost and what your personal preference is—you can use our Comparison Tool to help you choose. Either way, these two wearables are the best ones of 2018 and will certainly be Fitbit's best-sellers this coming holiday!


Photo Credit: Wearable Technologies

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