Amazfit v Fitbit: the wearables, apps and features

How the two big wearable rivals match up
Amazfit v Fitbit
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While Fitbit is the king of fitness tracking (and a big smartwatch player), Amazfit is the new kid on the block when it comes to fitness tracking tech.

Amazfit is owned by Huami, which makes Xiaomi's devices – including the eponymous Mi Band 5. But lesser known brand Amazfit is becoming the Chinese powerhouse's fitness forward brand. It's already going head-to-head with the Garmin Fenix with it's cheap Amazfit T-Rex, and the Amazfit GTS 2 and GTR 2 also come at alluring prices.

But this is no knock-off technology. Amazfit devices pack a lot of the same features as a Fitbit in the realms of health, sleep and fitness monitoring. Often for less money than its more established rival.

Essential reading: Best Fitbit devices 2020

Over the last few years, Amazfit has emerged as a genuine alternative to Fitbit’s devices, offering feature-rich, innovative options that can often cost less than a Fitbit.

But how do the two platforms compare and is one comfortably better than the other? We’ve spent a fair amount of time with devices made by both, getting to know their strengths and weaknesses.

We break down how Fitbit and Amazfit compare as ecosystems to help you decide which is the best fit for you.

Amazfit or Fitbit: The hardware

Amazfit v Fitbit update

As mentioned above, Fitbit makes fitness trackers and smartwatches at different price points and with different feature sets.

Amazfit now does the same having introduced its Amazfit Band 5 budget fitness tracker to its collection of devices. If you like the band-style form factor, Fitbit offers a bit more variety with with the Fitbit Charge 4 and Fitbit Inspire 2. You can still pick up its Fitbit Inspire and Inspire HR fitness trackers too.

While Fitbit has a quite streamlined collection of wearables, Amazfit takes the opposite approach. You can find around 18 smartwatches in its collection. It also makes headphones and other connected fitness tech like smart treadmills. So, there’s no shortage of options available here.

Amazfit GTS 2/GTR 2 v Fitbit Versa 3 and Sense

Amazfit v Fitbit update

GTS 2 / GTR 2: $179.99 | Versa 3: $199.99 | Sense: $299.99

When you want to spend a decent amount of money on an Amazfit or Fitbit smartwatch, there's a few devices you can look to. In the Amazfit corner, you have the GTS 2 and the GTR 2, but also the GTS 2 Mini and Amazfit GTS 2e.

In the Fitbit corner, you have the Versa 3 and then there's a bit of a leap up in price with its health tracking-centric Sense watch.

If you want good fitness tracking features and an attractive smartwatch, the cheaper GTR 2 and GTS 2 certainly fit the bill. For those same features and more fully formed smartwatch ones, the Versa 3 and the Sense are a better fit.

The Versa 3 is Fitbit’s most recently launched smartwatch building on the second Versa by introducing new heart rate monitor sensor technology, built-in GPS to make it better for sports tracking and tweaked design. It also brings additional smart assistant support in the way of Google Assistant and can now take calls over Bluetooth.

It adopts largely the same slim, square-like design that carries a waterproof rating up to 50 metres offering swim tracking in the pool only. It’s got the best that Fitbit has to offer in terms of fitness tracking including advanced sleep tracking and women’s health monitoring. You can also track 15+ exercise modes and it also includes Fitbit's automatic exercise tracking recognition on board too.

Smartwatch features include notifications, built-in music player, Fitbit Pay for payments and support for downloading apps and watch faces.

The Fitbit Sense gives you all the same features, but for the extra money gives you big health monitoring features like an ECG sensor to take medical grade heart rate measurements, the ability to monitor body temperature during sleep and it delves deeper into stress monitoring.

Amazfit v Fitbit update

Fitbit Sense (left) and Amazfit GTR 2 (right)

The Amazfit GTS 2 closely models its look on the Apple Watch with a slim, rectangular metal frame and a high quality 1.65-inch AMOLED touchscreen display. The round GTR 2 also features a metal case and a similarly high quality AMOLED display. Both match the waterproof rating on the Versa 3 and the Sense and also tracks your swimming action in the pool in addition to open water swimming, which Fitbit's smartwatches can't do.

In terms of fitness features, both Amazfit watches offer 15 exercise modes in total with GPS and an optical heart rate sensor on board. Smartwatch features include notification support, modular watch faces, music playback controls and event reminders. It's also added a built-in music player, Amazon Alexa and its own offline voice assistant to offer hands-free control to core features like music and sports tracking.

The GTS 2 promises up to 7 days battery life in typical use with the GTR 2 capable of offering double that. You'll get much longer in basic use. The Versa 3 and the Sense offer around a week of battery life and also has a useful feature in the form of its quick charge technology. That will give you a day's play from just a 12 minute charge.

Winner: The Versa 3 and Sense wins on more complete smartwatch features like music and notifications. It also has great platform to support fitness tracking and the option of some big health features with the Sense.

Amazfit Band 5 v Fitbit Inspire 2 v Charge 4

Amazfit v Fitbit update

Band 5: $49.99 | Inspire 2: $99.99 | Charge 4: $149.95

The Fitbit Inspire 2 is Fitbit's newest entry level fitness tracker that builds on the Inspire/Inspire and HR with an improved display and the longest battery life available on any Fitbit device.

It still covers 24/7 activity tracking including continuously monitoring heart rate and automatic sleep tracking. It supports up to 20 exercise modes including pool swim tracking carrying a waterproof rating that makes it safe up to 50 metres.

You can view notifications and change watch faces, but smartwatch features are pretty limited.

Battery life is up to 10 days, which is five more days than the Inspire HR and the Charge 4.

If you can spend more on want the best fitness tracker Fitbit has to offer, then it's the Charge 4 you want. It offers all the same features as the Inspire 2 albeit with a larger display and band, built-in GPS, blood oxygen monitoring and contactless payments via Fitbit Pay. Battery life drops to around 7 days though.

The Amazfit Band 5 features a full color touchscreen AMOLED display and sporty silicone band that offers the same waterproof rating as the Inspire 2.

It's capable of tracking steps, sleep and heart rate continuously and during exercise. There's support for SpO2 readings to take blood oxygen measurements, stress tracking features and connected GPS to track outdoor activities with help from your phone.

You can view notifications and control music playing on your phone and it also includes Amazon Alexa offering the cheapest way to get access to the smart assistant on your wrist.

Battery life is up to 15 days, which is five more days promised by the Inspire 2.

Winner: Amazfit Band 5 wins for offering a better display, more smartwatch features and bigger battery life for considerably less money. If you want those bigger features like payments and built-in GPS, it's the Charge 4 you want.

Amazfit Bip U Pro v Charge 4

Bip U Pro vs Charge 4

Bip U Pro: $99.99 | Charge 4: $99.99

The Charge 4 and the Amazfit Pop U Pro might come in different forms, but at around the same price, these are options worth considering and comparing.

The Pop U Pro has a larger 1.4-inch TFT color touchscreen display. It might pale in comparison to the AMOLED screens of better smartwatches, but smashes the Charge 4's inferior monochrome display.

Both offer 24/7 fitness tracking, continuous heart rate monitoring, smartwatch features like notifications and music controls and both have built-in GPS for tracking outdoor activities. Both include Spo2 for blood oxygen monitoring, and will do this via sleep.

Advanced sleep tracking is available on both devices, although Fitbit's is better, with smarter analysis and is much more sensitive. Amazfit' tends to over-estimate your sleep and it's harder to get a critical assessment of your slumber.

The Bip U uses the PAI score to measure your activity level in a single score while Fitbit uses Active Zone Minutes - both of which are good systems.

The Bip U Pro goes even further offering tracking of stress which it's possible to monitor 24/7.

While the Amazfit Bip U Pro promises double the battery life of the Charge 4's seven days, it actually works out to around the same as Fitbit's tracker. And for a cheaper price too.

Amazfit The Amazfit Bip U pro offers a superior display and solid health and fitness tracking for a lower price.

Also consider...

Amazfit v Fitbit update

There's some other devices across the ranges that are worth casting your eye over. If you want a Fitbit smartwatch but want to save some money, you can look at the Versa 2, which is available for $129.95, putting in around the same price as Fitbit's Charge 4 fitness tracker. It gives you a similar design to the Versa 3, but lacks features like built-in GPS and latest heart rate sensor technology. Elsewhere, it should offer a similar experience.

On the Amazfit front, if you really don't want to spend big you can take a look at something like the Amazfit Bip S. Priced well below $100, it gives you music controls, notifications, built-in GPS, a heart rate monitor and up to 15 days battery life.

If you like the idea of owning a rugged watch built for the outdoors and can't stomach the price of a Garmin Fenix or Instinct, you can also consider the Amazfit T-Rex.

Along with a military-grade MIL-STD-810G rating, you'll get a 1.3-inch AMOLED display and it promises up to 20 days battery life. While you won't get any mapping and navigation features, it offers built-in GPS and tracking modes for hiking, climbing and open water swimming.

Amazfit or Fitbit: The apps

Amazfit v Fitbit: Which brand nails the wearables, apps and features

It’s fair to say that on the hardware front, both Amazfit and Fitbit do great jobs in terms of offering well-built, feature-rich devices that actually look like wearables you’d want to wear.

Looking good and being suitable for the gym is just one piece of the puzzle though. The software that puts that hardware to good use is equally as important and may ultimately sway your decision choosing between the two platforms.

Fitbit app

Fitbit’s companion app is available for smartphones and as a web app. Though it’s likely your interactions will be mainly done on the phone app.

Fitbit prides itself on designing an app that's easy to use and that’s exactly what you get.

See a snapshot of your day’s fitness tracking, check in on friends and groups in the Community section and discover new programs and challenges to add to your routine. It's a clutter-free app making it easy to find the data you care about most.

Amazfit v Fitbit: We compare wearables, apps and features

Fitbit sleep tracking

Fitbit offers its own Premium subscription service giving you additional features like wellness reports, audio and video workouts and richer sleep insights to help you on the journey to better bed time. You will have to pay for the pleasure of getting access to those features.

The Fitbit app also works with a range of third party apps including Strava and MyFitnessPal to offer alternative ways to track fitness and diet outside of Fitbit’s own built-in features.

Zepp app

The Zepp app is the official name for the Amazfit ecosystem, confusingly. But it acts as a place to keep a close eye on your health and fitness data. It’s also a place to manually track activities like walking, running and cycling.

You can’t download apps and watch face support varies by device. You can see daily heart rate trends, a breakdown of sleep and fitness trends like VO2 Max and Training Load insights if you care about recovering from workouts and optimising fitness levels.

Some Amazfit devices also use the PAI score, which was developed by wearable tech company Mio. It's a single health score derived from heart rate and is designed to make sure you're working that heart on a regular basis.

Amazfit v Fitbit: We compare wearables, apps and features

Amazfit fitness and sleep tracking

In terms of support for third party apps, it’s not quite as expansive as it is on Fitbit’s app, but there's some important big ones there. You can connect Chinese messaging service WeChat, though a more useful integration is support for Strava. It also works with Amazon Alexa for those devices that offer the support. It now also works with the app Relive to let yousee videos of you outdoor activities and Google Fit.

As a companion app it's one that manages to feel sparse and busy at the same time. It’s clearly not as slick as Fitbit’s app, but it should have everything you need as far as tinkering with settings and reviewing your vital health and fitness data.

Fitbit v Amazfit: Fitness tracking

Amazfit v Fitbit update

All of Fitbit’s and Amazfit’s wearables offer basic tracking, which include monitoring daily step counts and sleep tracking. Depending on your device, you may find additional features like tracking elevation to offer richer insights.

Fitness tracking

At their core, both platforms offer the ability to view steps, distance covered and periods of inactivity. These are based on similar motion sensor setups and unique software algorithms to convert wrist movement to motion data. No two devices ever deliver identical data, but the devices we’ve tested across both platforms didn't throw out wildly inaccurate data.

Winner: Fitbit

Heart health

Both platforms offer heart rate-based health insights based on optical, light based sensors. The Fitbit Sense also offers the kind of medical grade-style ECG sensor found in the newest Apple Watches too.

Both claim their respective heart rate sensor technologies can help detect signs associated with heart disorders like atrial fibrillation. Fitbit and Amazfit also offer richer sleep insights using that heart rate data. We'd say Fitbit does a better job of it though.

While Fitbit does offer heart rate based exercise tracking, Amazfit does push more into the sporting realms with its Training Load, VO2 Max and PAI Health scores.

Winner: Draw (go Fitbit for lifestyle, Amazfit for sport)

Sleep

From a presentation side of things, Fitbit definitely has the edge here. It neatly and simply presents the components of your sleep in a way that most should be able to understand it. Whether that’s sleep stages or additional sleep scores available via Fitbit Premium. What's more it offers more insights than Amazfit on the tracked data.

Amazfit certainly doesn’t shirk its responsibilities as far as offering sleep breakdowns and sleep quality analysis – and you still get that single number sleep score. It's trialling out new features like breathing quality analysis similar to Fitbit. We were also impressed by the accuracy, but Fitbit is years ahead in the data and algorithms – and that does shine through.

Winner: Fitbit

Stress and recovery

If you care about mindfulness and tracking your mental state, there’s only one winner here and that’s Fitbit. It offers guided breathing on many of its devices making use of the onboard heart rate monitor to create personalised breathing options. With its newest Sense watch, it goes further to tracking stress at a much deeper level.

Amazfit does also offer stress tracking via heart rate variability measurements, though Fitbit clearly offers more in the way of helping you keep closer tabs on your mental wellbeing.

Winner: Fitbit

Women’s health tracking

It’s another win for Fitbit in terms of offering features specifically built around women’s health. Fitbit offers the ability to show menstrual and fertility cycles via the Fitbit mobile app. It also makes some of that data viewable on its smartwatches.

Amazfit has recently introduced its own women's health tracking features with the ability to track periods and predict menstrual cycles sending notification reminders on supported devices.

Winner: Fitbit

Fitbit v Amazfit: Sports tracking

Amazfit v Fitbit: We compare wearables, apps and features

Both of these platforms are built with fitness and sports tracking at their core. If you want to take things beyond step tracking, these devices across the board are well equipped to do that.

There are certainly ones that perform better for more advanced sports tracking if that’s something you’re after.

GPS tracked workouts

Fitbit’s smartwatches and fitness trackers offer dedicated modes for the likes of running and cycling and more basic workout modes. Those devices that are fit for the water, only track activity in the pool. Where GPS isn’t available, it’ll use motion sensors to track metrics like distance, which is never going to be as reliable as GPS.

Outside of the Versa, Ionic, Sense and Charge 4, that GPS tracking is also done via your phone, which does mean you’ll need to be out with your handset to get that data hit.

Amazfit offers built-in GPS on pretty much all of its wearables. Whether that's budget options like the Amazfit Bip S or you go for something like the GTS 2 or the more rugged T-Rex. There’s a wealth of sports modes on most of its watches including outdoor activities like hiking and you can get open water swimming tracking where available. The data is reliable on the whole, but like Fitbit, is more designed for casual fitness folk.

and you do have support for Strava if you want to review data in a more familiar place.

Winner: Amazfit

Swimming

Amazfit v Fitbit update

More Fitbit devices than ever are waterproof and designed to track swimming. As we’ve already mentioned, that’s pool swimming only. Fitbit’s smartwatches offer the nicest screens to review data in real-time and accuracy on the whole is solid.

Many of Amazfit’s devices offer both pool and open water swimming giving you similarly rich swim metrics including SWOLF, pace and stroke analysis. You’ve got nice, bright screens to review your swim data and the accuracy is there too, which give it the edge in this particular department.

Winner: Amazfit (If you want open water swim tracking too)

Heart rate in workouts

Amazfit v Fitbit update

This is an interesting one. Of the Fitbit wearables that include a heart rate monitor you can work to heart rate zones and view resting heart rate data to get a better gauge of your fitness level. You’ll also get something called a Cardio Fitness Score, which is related to VO2 Max as another source of insight into your fitness levels.

Amazfit also offers similar functionality during workouts and additional insights like VO2 Max inside of its companion smartphone app. You will also get a rich level of detail as far as your HR data and how it’s presented in the Amazfit app. There’s no support for external heart rate monitor chest straps on most Amazfit devices, though you can generally broadcast HR data to compatible devices and apps to open up the possibilities of what you can do.

From an accuracy point of view, we think it's a bit of a mix-bag across both platforms. Fitbit's newest devices like the Charge 4, Versa 3 or Sense offer more reliable data based on our experience. But these devices have their moments of throwing up questionable data too.

Winner: Draw

Fitbit v Amazfit: Verdict

Amazfit v Fitbit update

Why choose Fitbit?

You choose Fitbit over Amazfit for the simple fact that it currently offers more as an ecosystem. It does the fitness tracking well and compared to Amazfit, does a better job on the smartwatch front too. It’s got apps, payments, watch faces and improving music features too.

Its devices are really easy to use as well. It generally just works and it’s most user-friendly for a wider range of ages. There’s trackers for kids as well as people who want something a bit more capable in the smartwatch and fitness tracking department. It offers good sports tracking, though there’s clearly room for improvement.

It excels as a platform in covering the bases. It’s not perfect, but what you get as a package is generally very reliable. Fitbit’s wearables look better than they ever have and that makes them easier to recommend too. The Versa and the Charge are standout devices and crucially, are available at a good price too.

Why choose Amazfit?

Don’t be put off by the fact that Amazfit has been on the scene for less time than Fitbit. It has already shown it can make really attractive, well-built wearables that offer big features for not a lot of money.

Our issue has always been around the software foundations that allow that hardware to shine, and while it’s still a little clunky and buggy in places, things on that front have improved massively. You’re getting well presented health and fitness data along with useful insights into that data.

Where Amazfit really delivers, perhaps more so than Fitbit is on sports tracking and pushing the boundaries of battery life. You’re getting richer support for features beyond basic tracking. There are more outdoor activity modes that offer useful metrics beyond the basics you get on Fitbit. It delves a little more in the realms of optimising training and recovery too.

With the arrival of the GTS 2 and GTR 2 watches, its abilities to perform as better smartwatches is improving too with new music and smart assistant features.

If these are the kind of features you value, more so than making payments from your wearable, you’ll be better served here.