Fitbit Versa 3 vs. Apple Watch 3: Which smartwatch should you buy?

Fitbit Versa 3 vs. Apple Watch 3
(Image credit: Future)

If you’re in the market for one of the best smartwatches but don’t want to spend $400 for the Apple Watch Series 5 or Samsung Galaxy Watch 3, you can get excellent alternatives at half the price.

The new Fitbit Versa 3 and Apple Watch Series 3 cost $229 and $199, respectively, and deliver great features for much lower prices than their premium counterparts.

Although the Versa 3 isn’t hitting shelves until September, you might be wondering if the new watch is worth waiting for, or if you should pick up the Apple Watch Series 3 right now. Both fitness-focused wearables offer plenty of features for their prices, so this Fitbit Versa 3 vs. Apple Watch 3 face-off can help you figure out which is better for you.

Fitbit Versa 3 vs Apple Watch 3: Specs compared

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Header Cell - Column 0 Fitbit Versa 3 Apple Watch 3
Battery LifeUp to 6 days Up to 18 hours
Size40.5mm38mm, 42mm
Display Size336 x 336272 x 340 (38mm), 312 x 390 (42mm)
Colorsblack aluminum, soft gold aluminum, soft gold aluminumSilver, space-gray aluminum
Music StorageYesYes
Water Resistance50 meters50 meters
LTENoYes ($100 more)
Heart Rate MonitorYesYes
Mobile PaymentsFitbit PayApple Pay

Fitbit Versa 3 vs Apple Watch 3: Price

Although the Fitbit Versa 2 bears the same starting price as the Apple Watch 3 — $199 — the Fitbit Versa 3 costs $30 more. All three of its color variants will cost $229, which edges the Versa 3 out of consideration for our best cheap smartwatches rankings. 

It’s not often an Apple Watch model has a price advantage over competing smartwatches, but given the Series 3’s age you can get it for under $200, and often less thanks to the best Apple Watch deals any given month. It’s important to note that adding cellular support or opting for a larger size will change how much you end up spending on an Apple Watch.

Fitbit Versa 3 vs Apple Watch 3: Design and display

(Image credit: Future)

Which squircle is more stylish? The Versa 3 and Apple Watch 3 share a similar rounded square aesthetic instead of a circular one, like a traditional timepiece. But Apple's watch has a more distinctive look thanks to its near-bezeless design.

Whichever you get, you’ll benefit from interchangeable bands. This lets you dress up your smartwatch with leather bands for a night out, or dress it down with sport bands for a workout. Apple has some of the best Apple Watch bands in terms of variety, although Fitbit is catching up.

(Image credit: Fitbit)

Both smartwatches have full-color, OLED touchscreen displays, though Fitbit’s is always-on. You’re limited to the Apple Watch Series 5 if you want an always-on screen, which we found improves the overall experience of being an Apple Watch user.

Fitbit Versa 3 vs Apple Watch 3: Health and fitness

Unlike the Versa 2, the Versa 3 is as capable (if not more) a fitness tracker as the Apple Watch 3. It finally has on-board GPS, meaning you don’t need your phone in range to track runs or other outdoor adventures. While Fitbit’s watch may not show as many mid-workout metrics on its display as the Series 3, we’ll need to test its new interface to make a final judgement.

The Versa 2’s built-in sophisticated sleep-tracking analysis is once again present on the Versa 3, but it’s no longer a leg up on the Apple Watch. Apple Watch sleep tracking is arriving to the Series 3 via the watchOS 7 software update. It’s less insightful than Fitbit’s sleep tracking, but may help you meet desired sleep goals and establish a bedtime routine.

(Image credit: Future)

But when it comes to everyday health- and fitness-tracking, the Series 3 and Versa 3 are close competition. Fitbit says it improved its heart rate sensor, meaning it could catch up to Apple’s sophisticated metrics. It also has Active Zone Minutes in its artillery now, which monitors the time you spend in the fat burn, cardio or peak heart-rate zones while exercising.

Fitbit Versa 3 vs Apple Watch 3: Voice assistants

When you have an Apple Watch, you have Siri’s superpowers on your wrist. You can ask the voice assistant to make calls, send texts or control any of your Homekit-compatible smart home devices. If you use Siri regularly on your iPhone or iPad, the Apple Watch will mesh well with your habits. 

However, if you don’t use Siri much (or don’t have an iPhone), you’ll get more compatibility options with the Fitbit Versa 3. The Versa 3 comes with Amazon Alexa and offers Google Assistant support, meaning you can access many of the best Alexa skills and best Google Assistant commands by speaking to your Fitbit.

Fitbit Versa 2

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Fitbit Versa 3 vs Apple Watch 3: Special features

When watchOS 7 rolls out, the Apple Watch 3 will get watch face sharing, a hand-washing buddy and more. The Versa 3 doesn’t have these features, but it will get some of the mindfulness tools coming to its pricier sibling, the $329 Fitbit Sense.

Both watches offer mobile payments (Fitbit Pay on the Versa 3 and Apple Pay on the Series 3), as well as on-board music storage. But the Versa 2 only supports offline playlists from Pandora or Deezer, which aren't the most popular services. Meanwhile, Apple's watch supports offline Apple Music storage, which is useful for running without your phone. Both offer Spotify controls, thankfully.

(Image credit: Future)

When you get the Fitbit Versa 3, you’ll have the option to subscribe to Fitbit Premium, which costs $9.99 per month. The service offers personalized insights and training plans based on your health metrics and activity data.

But if you buy the $299 LTE Series 3, you’ll get cellular connectivity. If you subscribe to a line from your mobile provider, your watch can operate independently of your smartphone. The Versa 3 is still dependent on your phone, and there’s no LTE option.

(Image credit: Fitbit)

Fitbit Versa 3 vs Apple Watch 3: Battery life 

There’s no competition between the Fitbit Versa 3 and Apple Watch 3’s battery lives. Even if the Fitbit Versa 3 falls short of its advertised 6-day battery life, it will outlast the Apple Watch 3’s 18 hours. However, both durations will vary on display settings, workout tracking and GPS usage.

We still need to test the Versa 3’s battery life to see how well it lives up to Fitbit’s claims, but we are looking forward to seeing how its new fast-charging feature works. 

Fitbit Versa 3 vs Apple Watch 3: Outlook

Both the Fitbit Versa 3 and Apple Watch 3 make attractive cases for your money, but which one you should buy depends on your needs. If you need a smartwatch right now, the Apple Watch 3 is your answer. The same can be said for whether you need cellular support or Siri on your wrist.

Otherwise, wait until late September for when the Fitbit Versa 3 launches. At that point the Apple Watch 6 could be on the scene, too, and a newer Apple Watch model might receive a discount. You’ll have more options, and we’ll have conducted a full Fitbit Versa 3 review laying out the pros and cons of the fitness tracking brand’s newest mid-tier smartwatch. 

Kate Kozuch

Kate Kozuch is the managing editor of social and video at Tom’s Guide. She covers smartwatches, TVs and audio devices, too. Kate appears on Fox News to talk tech trends and runs the Tom's Guide TikTok account, which you should be following. When she’s not filming tech videos, you can find her taking up a new sport, mastering the NYT Crossword or channeling her inner celebrity chef.