With the launch of the new Google Pixel Watch 2, there’s a new Android flagship in town.
But those eyeing up the new Pixel Watch 2 will naturally have their eye drawn to the older Fitbit Versa 4 and Sense 2.
While they’re nowhere near as powerful as the Pixel Watch 2 as a smartwatch, the Fitbit pair boasts the same fitness tracking and has a much longer battery life.
But there are natural sacrifices to be made. Here’s how they stack up in this ultimate showdown.
The Pixel Watch 2 boasts a sustainable and lightweight 100% recycled aluminum case.
Its slim profile makes it comfortable to wear during workouts and daily life. It’s just 41mm and there’s only one case size, so it might not fit larger wrists well – but it’s very unisex.
The AMOLED display is fairly small at 1.2 inches but crisp thanks to the 450x450 display.
The Fitbit's Versa 4 and Sense 2 are different, with a square “pebble” shape, and are thin and light with an aluminum case. They also come in a 43mm case, so there's not much to pick between them in terms of case size, and both can be considered unisex.
The AMOLED screen isn’t quite as sharp and contributes to a far less premium feel overall.
Operating system and features
Google's Pixel Watch 2 runs on the new Qualcomm Snapdragon W5+ platform, which promises better performance and battery efficiency. It’s snappy to use, and there has been a modest improvement in battery life which we’ll come onto later.
Wear OS 4 runs the show – the latest version of the OS – and that brings full access to the Google Play store so there are apps aplenty, including music and fitness services.
However, it only works with Android smartphones.
Wear OS is also filled with handy features, such as Tiles, which do a great job of providing you with glanceable information from your apps and services.
And Google Pay is also one of the better contactless payment services.
The Sense 2 and Versa run on the old Fitbit OS. Google has been stripping this of smart features over the past year, and it seems unlikely it will back a Versa 5/Sense 3 – at least on this platform.
There are no apps to speak of, and the feature set is minimal.
It supports notifications from a paired smartphone, and unlike the Pixel Watch 2, it’s compatible with iOS and Android.
The Pixel Watch 2 takes advantage of Google’s ownership of Fitbit by putting its health-tracking features front and center. So you get essentially the same features on both the Sense 2 and Pixel Watch 2.
Both feature a continuous electrodermal activity sensor (cEDA) and a skin temperature sensor, enhancing stress-tracking capabilities.
Both feature ECG, so you can spot-check heart rhythm health, and both watches will also track your heart rate rhythm passively, using the PPG sensor.
The Health Metrics Dashboard displays HRV, SpO2, breathing rate, resting heart rate, and skin temperature, providing quick insights into your baselines and trends.
And there’s of course step and sleep tracking – and its sleep monitoring features are some of the best in the business.
The Fitbit Versa 4 is a much more pared-back health-tracking experience.
It eschews ECG and the EDA sensor but still has all the other core health-tracking metrics.
The Pixel Watch 2 is an adept workout tracker, and improvements to the heart rate sensor have boosted accuracy during high HR activity.
There are plenty of sports modes, and there’s GPS on board, which we found to be accurate in our testing.
Thanks to Wear OS 4 apps, you can also download key fitness platforms such as Strava.
And Wear OS 4 also adds some excellent heart rate zone training features, which complement the heightened accuracy well.
The Sense 2 and Versa 4 also boast GPS, and you can sync workouts to Strava, even if there’s no official app.
Accuracy in terms of GPS and heart rate isn’t as good as the Pixel Watch 2, although casual runners are unlikely to find too much fault.
Otherwise features most of the same workout profiles and the same post-workout analysis in the Fitbit app.
When it comes to battery life, the Pixel Watch 2 promises 24 hours with the always-on display enabled. We just about managed that, even with a workout during the day – but managing the battery and finding time to charge is certainly something that’s always on your mind.
Fitbit's Versa 4 and Sens 2 provide a competitive six days, ensuring it won't leave you searching for a charger every day.
In this category, the Versa 4/Sense 2 wins hands down with an impressive balance of health features and battery life.
The Pixel Watch 2 starts at $349/£349, a reasonable price point considering its sustainability and the inclusion of Fitbit Premium for six months.
The Versa 4 was priced at $229/£199, offering a blend of smart features and fitness tracking. The Sense 2, with its advanced health monitoring capabilities, is priced at $299.99/£249.
However, there are healthy discounts already for the Versa 4 and Sense 2 – so you could pick them up for far less.
The Pixel Watch 2 impresses with Wear OS and top Fitbit integrations which make for a powerful all-round experience.
But battery life is still the key reason to look elsewhere and is the big compromise here. If you can look past that, this is the smartwatch for you.
The Fitbit Sense 2 has all the same health credentials and a week of battery life, but it’s a poor smartwatch experience.
The Versa 4 is less health-focused and also a very average smartwatch that provides the basics only. But the battery life is solid, and tere will be some great deals around.
How we test