8 reasons you should buy Fitbit's smartwatch instead of an Apple Watch - and save thousands of rands
- The Fitbit Versa is a R3,489 smartwatch aimed at the everyday consumer.
- While the Apple Watch has long been the leader in the smartwatch category, there are plenty to reasons to choose Fitbit's Versa instead.
This article has been updated below.*
Buying a smartwatch these days is anything but a simple process.
On one side, you have the Apple Watch, the undisputed queen of the smartwatch category and the best-selling watch in the world.
On the other side, you have a wide array of smartwatches that work with various platforms and at all price points. There's the vast lineup of watches running Google's Wear OS, as well as heavy-duty devices from companies like Garmin and Samsung.
But in recent months, a new competitor has arrived on the scene: the Fitbit Versa, a R3,489 smartwatch aimed at the everyday consumer. The Fitbit Versa is the closest thing the Apple Watch has to a real competitor, and it's an excellent watch in its own right.
So while there are plenty of reasons to love the Apple Watch, here are eight reasons to choose the Fitbit Versa instead:
1. The Fitbit Versa is significantly cheaper than the Apple Watch.
2. The Fitbit Versa is smaller than the Apple Watch.
The Fitbit Versa is 24 mm wide and 24 mm tall, making it slightly smaller than the smallest available Apple Watch, which is 38.6 mm wide and 33.3 mm tall.
A smaller watch may not be important for everyone, but the Fitbit Versa does fit better on women's wrists.
3. The Fitbit Versa has better battery life than the Apple Watch.
Fitbit says the Versa can get up to four days of battery life. In my tests, I got almost five full days on a 90% charge.
The Apple Watch, on the other hand, gets only about 18 hours of battery life.
4. The Fitbit Versa has fewer apps than the Apple Watch.
The Fitbit Versa has only a handful of apps preloaded, and none of them are messaging, email, or traditional social apps. Instead, it has things like Starbucks, as well as weather- and meditation-related apps.
You don't even have the option to load on Gmail or Twitter, meaning you're not constantly being pelted with notifications or distracted by frequent buzzes on your wrist.
Apple, on the other hand, is slowly paring down apps on its watch - third parties are also choosing to discontinue their apps - but you still have the option to be inundated by iMessages and emails.
Again, it's all personal preference, but for me, the fewer apps on a smartwatch, the better.
5. The Fitbit Versa can track your menstrual cycles.
Fitbit says women's health tracking is one of the most requested features from Fitbit users, and it introduced it on the mobile app and the Versa earlier this month.
People can now use the Fitbit Versa watch to track where they are in their menstrual cycle, check when to expect their period, and keep tabs on their fertility.
Apple does not offer a similar service for the Apple Watch.
6. The Fitbit Versa has built-in sleep tracking.
Fitbit has a feature called Sleep Stages that lets you keep track of how well you're sleeping if you wear the watch at night. You can also set a sleep schedule, track your awake time, and check your sleep averages over time.
While there are several third-party apps for tracking sleep on the Apple Watch, Apple does not make a sleep-focused app for it.
7. The Fitbit Versa has an SpO2 sensor, meaning it could eventually track conditions like sleep apnea.
The Fitbit Versa - and last year's watch, the Fitbit Ionic - have an SpO2 sensor, which measures blood oxygen levels. While it's not able to track health conditions like sleep apnea quite yet, the possibility is there.
The Apple Watch Series 4 has plenty of built-in sensors - including an advanced heart-rate sensor and an electrical heart sensor that can measure EKGs - but it still lacks an SpO2 sensor.
This article was updated on 6 December to remove the 8th reason to get a Fitbit rather than the Apple Watch: the 45-day money-back guarantee. Fitbit in South Africa points out that the US return policy does not apply in South Africa, where the window for returns are set by individual retailers.
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