Apple Watch Series 3 v Fitbit Versa 2: Which $200 smartwatch is best for you?

We compare the two affordable smartwatches to help you decide
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With the arrival of the latest Apple Watch, the older Series 3 has been given a price cut that brings it in line with the Fitbit Versa 2.

It gives those trying to find the best smartwatch for under a hard decision to make, with these two devices the most impressive at that price point.

In-depth verdict: Apple Watch Series 3 | Fitbit Versa 2

However, they're also quite different watches, and appeal to different kinds of users. So, to help you pick which is the right one for you, we've outlined the biggest differences between them.

Head over to our full reviews for an extensive look, but jump down below if you want a comparison between the Versa 2 and the Apple Watch Series 3.

Apple Watch Series 3 v Fitbit Versa 2: Specs compared

Apple Watch Series 3 Fitbit Versa 2
Price (GPS)
Battery life
18-hour battery life 5-day battery life
GPS Yes No
Yes (on cellular model) No
Size 38mm and 42mm 40mm
Waterproof Water resistance up to 50 meters Water resistance up to 50 meters
Contactless payments Apple Pay Fitbit Pay
Music storage 8GB (GPS-only), 16GB (GPS + cellular) 300 songs
Colors Space Grey, Silver Copper Rose, Mist Grey, Carbon
Heart rate monitor Optical sensor Optical sensor
Smart assistants Siri Alexa

Apple Watch Series 3 v Fitbit Versa 2: Design and display

Apple Watch Series 3 v Fitbit Versa 2: Which $200 smartwatch is best for you?

Both of these smartwatches have a square body, and you'll struggle to find a device that'll get mistaken for the Apple Watch more than the Versa 2.

The giveaway, of course, is the Apple Watch's Digital Crown – which, on the Series 3, is an eye-catching red if you opt for the cellular model. The Fitbit doesn't have anything of that sort, with navigation all performed through the touchscreen and singular side-button.

So, which has the nicer display? Well, since both displays are AMOLED, it really depends on how big you want the screen.

In truth, these screens are as vibrant and responsive as each other. The only real difference is that Fitbit allows for an always-on mode – something only the Series 5 can provide in Apple's range.

Related reading: Best Apple Watch bands

The 38mm Series 3 offers a 272 x 340 pixel resolution display, with the 42mm model bumping that resolution to 312 x 390. The Versa 2 brings a 40mm case with a 300 x 300 resolution screen, by comparison, sitting around the same size as the 38mm Apple smartwatch.

So, if you want the biggest screen – something we'd recommend for those with average/large wrists – you're likely best served with the 42mm Series 3.

Luckily, whichever watch you decide to buy, bands are easily switchable. Both companies have scores of official straps that you can purchase separately (though Apple does offer more premium options), and you also have options when it comes to case color, as we listed above.

Apple Watch Series 3 v Fitbit Versa 2: Features

Apple Watch Series 3 v Fitbit Versa 2: Which $200 smartwatch is best for you?

The first thing to clear up with these watches is any confusion regarding phone compatibility. Essentially, while those with an iPhone can choose between either of these devices, those with an Android won't be able to use the Apple Watch. That's non-negotiable.

It's worth pointing out that the iPhone users with a Versa 2 will miss out on Quick Replies to notifications, and message dictation through the built-in microphone, but they're minor features in the big picture. Fitbit is a clear winner when it comes to phone compatibility.

And, in our view, it's also edges out the Apple Watch when it comes to smart assistants. Unless you're a Siri apologist with a firmly established HomeKit setup, or you really want read-outs from the Apple smartwatch's speaker, Alexa is far superior at handling your requests.

However, that's where the victories in this section ends for Fitbit. And, for most people, the biggest advantage the Apple Watch Series 3 has over Fitbit is the option for 4G/LTE.

You'll have to pay an extra and the monthly fee, which varies depending on your carrier, but this allows you to truly cut the cord from your phone.

Taking calls, answering messages and receiving notifications is all possible when your phone isn't near. The same can't be said for the Fitbit Versa 2, which will only pull in these kind of notifications when connected to a phone over Bluetooth.

The Apple Watch also excels in music playback, letting Apple Music subscribers sync offline playlists and play on-the-go (if you have an LTE model).

While the Versa 2 does allow for 300 songs, you'll have to drag and drop MP3 files from your computer – a total hassle. There's a Spotify app available for both smartwatches, but, well, it's extremely limited at present.

A quick note on contactless payments, as well. Both of these smartwatches have their own platforms – Apple Pay and Fitbit Pay – that work nicely from the wrist. Apple's platform is the more supported outside of the US by banks, but there's little to separate the two if you're stateside.

Apple Watch Series 3 v Fitbit Versa 2: Fitness and health tracking

Apple Watch Series 3 v Fitbit Versa 2: Which $200 smartwatch is best for you?

For many people, fitness and health tracking is at the heart of why they want a smartwatch. And while both of these can log activity, they're suited to slightly different users.

Simply put, the Versa 2 is the best option for those who want a more rounded view of their health.

When partnered with the excellent Fitbit app, you're able to check in on automatically monitored sleep (with feedback on the stages of sleep and a Sleep Score), log food, water and weight (syncing with a Fitbit smart scale, if you own one) and check continuous resting heart rate measurements and VO2 Max estimates.

Essential reading: Fitbit Premium guide

Naturally, you'll also get daily tracking basics, like steps, calorie burn, active minutes and current heart rate, and track a range of different workouts, such as running, weights and swimming.

However, you won't have GPS for standalone location tracking, so you'll have to rely on the built-in accelerometer or your phone's GPS connection.

The Apple Watch Series 3, meanwhile, is less concerned with your 24/7 health and more concerned with your workouts and daily activity.

It won't be able to track sleep (though you can use third-party apps, if you think it has enough battery to last the night), factor in your food, water or weight, but it does, through the Activity Rings, give you a real incentive to move, stand up and exercise more.

Apple Watch Series 3 v Fitbit Versa 2: Battery

Apple Watch Series 3 v Fitbit Versa 2: Which $200 smartwatch is best for you?

Exactly how much life you manage to squeeze out of each smartwatch depends on individual use, but, even so, these two devices have very different estimations.

The Fitbit Versa 2 is the undisputed champion here, with Fitbit suggesting you can get around five days of regular use and around two days if you have the always-on mode selected.

From our testing, we typically found this can stretch out to around six days on average, unless you use it for outdoor workouts and music more than once during that time.

Read next: Best cheap smartwatch 2019

If you buy the Series 3, you're going to have to live with daily charging. Whether that's every night next to your phone or during the day while you're at your desk, it doesn't matter, but around 18 hours is Apple's estimate.

And, from our own testing over the years, that's about right. Sure, you can eke out a bit more if you turn off certain modes and dim the screen, but, well, you may as well avoid an Apple Watch if battery life is a dealbreaker.

Apple Watch Series 3 v Fitbit Versa 2: Price

Apple Watch Series 3 v Fitbit Versa 2: Which $200 smartwatch is best for you?

As mentioned up top, the reason you're likely to be picking between these two smartwatches is due to the price.

However, while the standard models both rest at around , they also have pricier editions to be aware of. For the Versa 2 Special Edition, which gives you a fancier band and three months of Fitbit Premium, you'll have to pay .

The Apple Watch Series 3, as we say, is the same for the GPS-only model, though that tag rockets by if you want the cellular edition.

Of course, it's also important to be aware of the constantly happening deals surrounding each of these models. Check out our Apple Watch deals and Fitbit deals hubs for the latest offers.

Apple Watch Series 3 v Fitbit Versa 2: Which is best?

These are two excellent smartwatches, and you can't go too far wrong whichever you decide is best for you.

However, to condense what we've outlined above, we'd suggest those who prioritize battery life, more rounded tracking and don't necessarily care for features like GPS or LTE to go for the Fitbit Versa 2.

The Series 3 is by no means a slouch, and is still superior to Fitbit in terms of the features list and workout tracking, but it may not be the perfect pick for your first smartwatch. Those looking to upgrade on a basic tracker, however, will be well served with Apple's smartwatch.

TAGGED Smartwatches

How we test

Conor Allison


Conor moved to Wareable Media Group in 2017, initially covering all the latest developments in smartwatches, fitness trackers, and VR. He made a name for himself writing about trying out translation earbuds on a first date and cycling with a wearable airbag, as well as covering the industry’s latest releases.

Following a stint as Reviews Editor at Pocket-lint, Conor returned to Wareable Media Group in 2022 as Editor-at-Large. Conor has become a wearables expert, and helps people get more from their wearable tech, via Wareable's considerable how-to-based guides. 

He has also contributed to British GQ, Wired, Metro, The Independent, and The Mirror. 

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