Last Updated: November 22, 2018

Fitbit Charge 3 vs Versa

Fitbit Charge 3 vs Versa

Fitbit has introduced two exciting new trackers this 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.

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Design

Fitbit Charge 3
Fitbit Charge 3
Fitbit Versa
Fitbit Versa

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

Display

Fitbit Charge 3 Display
Fitbit Charge 3
Fitbit Versa
Both the Charge 3 and the Versa have a touchscreen interface and a display made of Corning Gorilla Glass 3, making them both more durable and less susceptible to scratches than previous generations of Fitbits.The Fitbit Charge 3, however, only has a grayscale display compared to the colorful display of the Versa, and the Versa's display is significantly wider than the Charge 2's display, which allows for more information to be shown on a single screen.

Winner:  Fitbit Versa  (for a color display that is also wider)

Battery Life and Charging

Fitbit Charge 3 Charging Cable
Fitbit Charge 3
Fitbit Versa Charging Cable
Fitbit Versa

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.

Winner:  Fitbit Charge 3  (for over 50% longer battery life)

Features

All-Day Activity Features

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.

Winner:  Tie

Hardware Features

Hardware Features

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.

Winner:  Fitbit Versa  (for having music storage and playback)

Display Features

Display Features

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.

Winner:  Fitbit Versa  (for 3rd party clock faces and the ability to have the display always-on during workouts)

Exercise Features

Exercise Features

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.

Winner:  Fitbit Versa  (for on-screen workouts, customizable stats for different exercise modes, and an always-on display option during workouts)

Sleep Features

Sleep Features

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)

Smart Features

Smart Features

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.

Winner:  Fitbit Versa  (for having 3rd party apps and the ability to control smartphone music playback)

Wellness Features

Wellness Features

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.

Winner:  Tie

Social Features

Social Features

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.

Winner:  Tie

Accuracy

All-Day Activity Tracking Accuracy

All-Day Activity Features

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.

Winner:  Tie

Heart Rate Tracking Accuracy

Exercise Features

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.

Winner:  Tie

Sleep Tracking Accuracy

Sleep Features

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.

Winner:  Tie

Specs

 Fitbit Charge 3Fitbit Versa
Fitbit Charge 3Fitbit Versa
MSRP$149$199
Release DateOctober 2018April 2018
Smartphone CompatibilityAndroid, iOS, Windows PhoneAndroid, iOS, Windows Phone
Battery LifeUp to 7 days4+ days
Hardware FeaturesFitbit Charge 3Fitbit Versa
Interchangeable Bands
Heart Rate
External Heart Rate Strap Connection
Waterproof
GPSCan only connect to your phone's GPSCan only connect to your phone's GPS
Bluetooth Wireless Headphones Connection
Music Storage & Playback
PaymentsSpecial Edition OnlyFor US: Special Edition Only (available on Regular and Special Editions for all other countries)
Relative SpO2 Sensor
Display FeaturesFitbit Charge 3Fitbit Versa
Displays Time of Day
Customizable Clock FacesLimited selection
3rd Party Clock Faces
Always-on Display
Only during workouts
Color Display
Touchscreen
Adjustable Brightness
Fitbit Today
View Fitbit Leaderboard
View Sleep Duration
View Female Health Stat
All-Day ActivityFitbit Charge 3Fitbit Versa
Steps
Distance
Total Calories Burned
Active Minutes
Floors Climbed
Exercise FeaturesFitbit Charge 3Fitbit 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
On-Screen Workouts
Cardio Fitness Level
Pool Swimming
Open Water Swimming
Sleep FeaturesFitbit Charge 3Fitbit Versa
Automatic Sleep Detection
Basic Sleep Tracking
Resting Heart Rate
Silent Alarm
Sleep Stages
Sleep Schedule
Bedtime Reminder
Sleep Insights
Sleep Score BetaComing SoonComing Soon?
Smart FeaturesFitbit Charge 3Fitbit Versa
Call Notifications
Accept or Reject Calls
Text Notifications
Quick Text RepliesAndroid onlyAndroid only
Calendar Notifications
Smartphone App Notifications
Basic Apps
Weather App
3rd Party Apps
Smartphone Music Playback Control
Wellness FeaturesFitbit Charge 3Fitbit Versa
Hourly Activity
Reminders to Move
Guided Breathing
Female Health TrackingIn AppIn App
Water LoggingIn AppIn App
Food LoggingIn AppIn App
Weight LoggingIn AppIn App
Social FeaturesFitbit Charge 3Fitbit Versa
FriendsIn AppIn App
GroupsIn AppIn App
FeedIn AppIn App
ChallengesIn AppIn App
Solo AdventuresIn AppIn App
Adventure RacesIn AppIn App
Where to BuyFitbit Charge 3Fitbit Versa
FitbitBuy at FitbitBuy at Fitbit
AmazonBuy at AmazonBuy at Amazon

Alternatives

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.

Fitbit Ionic

Fitbit Ionic

MSRP: $299  Check Price on Amazon →
Released: October 2017
Compatibility: Android, iOS, Windows Phone
Battery Life: 5 days

The Fitbit Ionic is Fitbit’s first smartwatch and the one to get if you've got your heart set on a Fitbit with built-in GPS.

Pros:

  • Built-in GPS
  • Slim charging cable

Cons:

  • Significantly higher price

Fitbit Alta HR

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).

Pros:

  • Slimmest Fitbit tracker that can measure heart rate

Cons:

  • Not swimproof
  • No multi-sport tracking
  • No connected GPS
  • No floors climbed stat
  • No Guided Breathing

Fitbit Charge 3 vs Versa Alternatives

Final Thoughts

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

Fitbit Versa

Fitbit Versa

If you want a Fitbit smartwatch and don't need built-in GPS, then look no further than the Fitbit Versa.

Best Fitbit Fitness Tracker

Fitbit Charge 3

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.

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