Fitbit Charge 3 vs Versa
Fitbit introduced two exciting new trackers last year in the Fitbit Charge 3 and the Fitbit Versa. One is the company’s smartest fitness tracker yet and the other is its second — more successful — attempt at a smartwatch.
In this Fitbit Charge 3 vs Versa comparison, I’ll cover the design, features, accuracy, specs, and a few alternatives you may want to consider. I’ll also offer some final thoughts based on my personal experience wearing and using the devices in everyday life.
The Fitbit Charge 3 looks like your typical fitness tracker wristband, while the Fitbit Versa looks more like a traditional watch, albeit with more of a square than a circular watch face design.
Another difference is the new inductive button on the left side of the Fitbit Charge 3 rather than the physical buttons that the Versa has (one on the left, two on the right). This likely helps with the waterproofing and may make the Charge 3 even less susceptible to water than the Fitbit Versa.
Winner: Comes down to personal preference
Battery Life and Charging
The Fitbit Charge 3 has an amazing battery life of up to 7 days, which is more than two days longer than the Versa’s stated battery life of 4+ days.
Both trackers still require a proprietary non-standard charging cable and the Fitbit Charge 3 does have a different charging cable than the Fitbit Versa. The Charge 3’s charging cable clips onto the sides of the tracker, while the Versa’s cable is a cradle style.
All-Day Activity Features
The Fitbit Charge 3 and Versa are two of the best fitness trackers you can buy in 2018. As such they can both track your all-day activity including your steps, distance, calories burned, active minutes, and floors climbed.
Both the Fitbit Charge 3 and the Versa are waterproof so you can wear them in the shower, pool, or ocean. They also both have an optical heart rate sensor and a relative SpO2 sensor, as well as a wide selection of interchangeable bands.
The Fitbit Charge 3 Special Editions, Fitbit Versa Special Editions, and regular Fitbit Versa non-US versions all have an NFC chip that allow you to make wallet-free payments from your wrist.
Unfortunately, neither have the ability to connect to an external heart rate strap nor do they have on-board GPS, though both can use your phone’s GPS to map your route during workouts.
The Fitbit Versa gets a leg up over the Charge 3 here with the ability to store and play music and to connect to bluetooth wireless headphones.
Both the Fitbit Charge 3 and Versa have adjustable brightness displays that can display the time, and both have customizable clock faces, but only the Fitbit Versa has access to 3rd party clock faces and the ability to keep the display always-on during exercise.
Both trackers can also display for females where they are in their cycle and all of your health stats are displayed on a personalized dashboard called Fitbit Today.
Both the Fitbit Charge 3 and Versa have Automatic Exercise Detection and allow you to track specific exercises with 15+ exercise modes. You can also view your Cardio Fitness Level and Minutes Spent in Each Heart Rate Zone in the Fitbit Companion app.
The Fitbit Charge 3 introduces the ability to start a goal-based workout for those times when you want to exercise for a certain amount of time, a specific distance, or to burn a set number of calories. I would be surprised if the Versa doesn’t get this feature in a future firmware update.
Neither the Fitbit Charge 3 nor the Versa have built-in GPS, but you can connect to your phone’s GPS to record a map of your workout route and have it appear in the Fitbit app. Both can also record pool swimming stats, but not open water swimming stats. Additionally, the Versa has on-screen workouts.
The Fitbit Versa allows you to customize which stats are displayed on your screen during a workout and you can even set the screen to be always-on during workouts. On both Versa and Charge 3 you’ll get a nice summary of your stats on the screen after you finish your workout.
Fitbit trackers are hands-down the best wearables for tracking your sleep and, while other brands are still trying to catch up, Fitbit has introduced a few new Sleep Features with the launch of the Fitbit Charge 3.
Both trackers can track your sleep automatically, measure your resting heart rate, and wake you with a silent vibration. They can also measure how much time you spend in each Sleep Stage and give you Sleep Insights. Additionally, the Fitbit app can help you set a Sleep Schedule and give you a Bedtime Reminder.
The Fitbit Charge 3 follows the trend of Ionic and Versa with an on-board relative SpO2 sensor that may one day help diagnose sleep apnea (though it does not currently and there is no certainty that it will ever actually do so).
Fitbit also announced a Sleep Score beta that will provide a nightly score of your overall sleep quality and said it would be available in late 2018 to trackers with advanced heart rate tracking like the Charge 3. I assume the Versa is considered to have this enhanced heart rate tracking and will get this feature too.
Finally, if you’ve ever wanted to see how much sleep you got on your tracker’s display, the Fitbit Charge 3 will be the first Fitbit tracker to show your sleep duration on its dashboard display (note that you still do have to sync with your phone first). It hasn’t been confirmed, but I’m assuming the Versa will get also this feature in a future firmware update.
Winner: Tie (assuming Fitbit Versa users will get the Sleep Score beta and sleep duration shown on the display in a future firmware update)
The Fitbit Charge 3 really ups the ante over its predecessors when it comes to Smart Features, but it isn’t quite at the level of the Fitbit Versa.
Both trackers can display call, text, and calendar notifications as well as push notifications from other apps on your smartphone. You can also accept or reject calls from your wrist and Android users can even respond to texts on the go with pre-populated or custom quick replies.
While the Fitbit Charge 3 does include some basic apps including Alarms, Timer, Weather, Calendar, and Fitbit Leaderboard, it does not have access to the same Fitbit App Gallery that the Versa does, nor can it control the music playback on your smartphone like the Fitbit Versa can.
Guided Breathing Sessions are available on both the Fitbit Charge 3 and Versa. You’ll also get Reminders to Move on both trackers and the ability to customize the reminders and see your Hourly Activity history in the Fitbit companion app. The app for both trackers also allows you to log your food, water, and weight.
Additionally, females can use the Fitbit app to track periods, record symptoms, see a predicted ovulation calendar and more. Both the Charge 3 and the Versa can also let you know where you are in your cycle on its display.
The Fitbit companion app for both the Charge 3 and Versa allows you to add friends and compare your step counts in a rolling 7-day leaderboard. You can also create challenges with some or all of your friends to see who can take the most steps in a day, workweek, or weekend.
If you want some extra motivation you can try Fitbit’s Adventures and take a virtual hike with your daily steps, or discover like-minded people through topic-specific communities with Fitbit Groups. Fitbit even has their own Feed where you can see updates from your friends and groups.
All-Day Activity Tracking Accuracy
We’ve got two Fitbits being put up against each other in this Fitbit Charge 3 vs Versa comparison, so the algorithms used to track all-day activity stats like steps, distance, active minutes, and floors climbed are identical.
Heart Rate Tracking Accuracy
Back in January 2015, Fitbit introduced the first wearable technology that could automatically and continuously measure heart rate from the wrist. This has been ground-breaking new technology, but it hasn’t been without its flaws.
Although Fitbit trackers are often quite good at measuring heart rate while you are sleeping, sitting, or doing low-intensity activities, they can often be hit or miss at measuring heart rate accurately during higher-intensity exercise, even if you follow Fitbit’s own tips to get accurate heart rate readings during workouts.
Because of my own personal experience with inaccurate heart rate readings during high-intensity exercise, no Fitbit has yet to appear on my list of the best wearables for tracking your heart rate during exercise.
You can be sure heart rate accuracy during exercise will be one of the first things I test once I receive my Charge 3, but I suspect it won’t be any more or less accurate than the Versa.
Sleep Tracking Accuracy
Though Fitbit did introduce some new sleep-related features with the launch of Charge 3, they didn’t announce any improvements to its sleep tracking accuracy.
So, the Fitbit Charge 3 and Versa are likely equally accurate at sleep tracking and two of the best wearables you can buy for tracking your sleep.
|Fitbit Charge 3||Fitbit Versa|
|Release Date||October 2018||April 2018|
|Smartphone Compatibility||Android, iOS, Windows Phone||Android, iOS, Windows Phone|
|Battery Life||Up to 7 days||4+ days|
|Hardware Features||Fitbit Charge 3||Fitbit Versa|
|External Heart Rate Strap Connection|
|GPS||Can only connect to your phone's GPS||Can only connect to your phone's GPS|
|Bluetooth Wireless Headphones Connection|
|Music Storage & Playback|
|Payments||Special Edition Only||For US: Special Edition Only (available on Regular and Special Editions for all other countries)|
|Relative SpO2 Sensor|
|Display Features||Fitbit Charge 3||Fitbit Versa|
|Displays Time of Day|
|Customizable Clock Faces||Limited selection|
|3rd Party Clock Faces|
|Always-on Display||Only during workouts|
|View Fitbit Leaderboard||Coming Soon|
|View Sleep Duration|
|View Female Health Stat|
|All-Day Activity||Fitbit Charge 3||Fitbit Versa|
|Total Calories Burned|
|Exercise Features||Fitbit Charge 3||Fitbit Versa|
|Automatic Exercise Detection|
|Multi-Sport Exercise Tracking|
|Goal Based Exercise Tracking|
|Customizable Data Fields During Exercise|
|Customizable Alerts During Exercise|
|Post-Workout On-Screen Summaries|
|Minutes in Heart Rate Zones|
|Cardio Fitness Level|
|Open Water Swimming|
|Sleep Features||Fitbit Charge 3||Fitbit Versa|
|Automatic Sleep Detection|
|Basic Sleep Tracking|
|Resting Heart Rate|
|Sleep Score Beta|
|Smart Features||Fitbit Charge 3||Fitbit Versa|
|Accept or Reject Calls|
|Quick Text Replies||Android only||Android only|
|Smartphone App Notifications|
|3rd Party Apps|
|Smartphone Music Playback Control|
|Wellness Features||Fitbit Charge 3||Fitbit Versa|
|Reminders to Move|
|Female Health Tracking||In App||In App|
|Water Logging||In App||In App|
|Food Logging||In App||In App|
|Weight Logging||In App||In App|
|Social Features||Fitbit Charge 3||Fitbit Versa|
|Friends||In App||In App|
|Groups||In App||In App|
|Feed||In App||In App|
|Challenges||In App||In App|
|Solo Adventures||In App||In App|
|Adventure Races||In App||In App|
|Where to Buy||Fitbit Charge 3||Fitbit Versa|
|Fitbit||Buy at Fitbit||Buy at Fitbit|
|Amazon||Buy at Amazon||Buy at Amazon|
The Fitbit Charge 3 and Versa are both great fitness trackers, but maybe you want a tracker that’s slimmer or has built-in GPS. Or maybe you want a smarter smartwatch or more accurate heart rate during exercise. If so, here’s a look at some of the best alternatives to the Fitbit Charge 3 and Versa.
- Built-in GPS
- Slim charging cable
- Significantly higher price
Fitbit Alta HR
MSRP: $129 Check Price on Amazon →
Released: March 2017
Compatibility: Android, iOS, Windows Phone
Battery Life: Up to 7 days
The Fitbit Alta HR is essentially a slimmer Charge 2. It’s the one to get if you want the smallest Fitbit that can track your heart rate (as long as you don’t need your fitness tracker to be swimproof).
- Slimmest Fitbit tracker that can measure heart rate
- Not swimproof
- No multi-sport tracking
- No connected GPS
- No floors climbed stat
- No Guided Breathing
If you’ve narrowed your decision down to the Fitbit Charge 3 vs Versa, it’s a balance of which tracker you prefer the looks of, what features you really want vs those you can live without, and what price you’re willing to pay.
Both are among the best wearables you can buy in 2018 and they will definitely be the two best-selling Fitbits this holiday season.
Best Fitbit Smartwatch
Best Fitbit Fitness Tracker
Fitbit Charge 3
If you’re on a budget or you prefer the look of a fitness tracker to a smartwatch, it’s hard to go wrong with the Fitbit Charge 3. You’ll get an ultra-modern, swim-proof tracker that can optionally display your smartphone app notifications directly on your wrist.