Apple Watch Series 3 vs. Fitbit Versa 2: Which $200 Smartwatch Wins?

(Image credit: Future)

If you’re in the market for a smartwatch but don’t want to shell out $400 for the new Apple Watch Series 5, you’ve got two options that cost less than half the price. The Apple Watch Series 3 and Fitbit Versa 2 both sell for $199, and both watches offer a slew of features without breaking the bank. Read on to see which smartwatch is worth the money.

Apple Watch Series 3 vs. Fitbit Versa 2: Specs compared

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Header Cell - Column 0 Apple Watch Series 3Fitbit Versa 2
Starting Price$199 (GPS) $299 (GPS + LTE)$199
Battery Life Up to 18 hoursUp to 5 days
Size38mm, 42mm40mm
Display Size272 x 340 (38mm), 312 x 390 (42mm)300 x 300, 1.4-inch square
ColorsSilver, space-gray aluminumCopper rose, carbon, mist grey
Music Storage8GB (GPS), 16GB (GPS + LTE)Up to 300 songs
Water Resistance50 meters50 meters
GPSYesWhen connected to smartphone
LTEYes ($100 more)No
Heart Rate MonitorOptical heart rate sensorOptical heart rate sensor, Sp02 sensor
Mobile PaymentsApple PayFitbit Pay
Special Featureshigh/low heart rate detection. Emergency SOSFitbit Premium ($9.99/month personalized insights and training programs)

Series 3 vs. Versa 2: Design and display

(Image credit: Future)

The Series 3 and Versa 2 share a similar rounded square aesthetic — more like a mini wrist computer than a traditional timepiece. But Apple's watch has a more distinctive look, particularly the signature red crown on the cellular version.

Both watches have OLED touchscreen displays, though Fitbit’s is always-on. You’ll have to splurge for an Apple Watch Series 5 if you want an always-on screen.

Fitbit Versa 2

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Both watches are also aluminum. The Versa 2 comes in Copper Rose (a rose gold), Carbon (black) and Mist Grey (silver) with a classic sport band. For an extra $30, you can snag a special edition Versa 2, which comes with both a sport band and a woven band. The Series 3 comes in silver and space gray with a sport band out of the box.

The Series 3 has the upper hand, because Apple offers two sizes, 38-millimeter and 42mm, while the Versa 2 is one-size-fits-all with a 1.4-inch square display. Apple also offers a wider array of band materials and colors than Fitbit does, from fleuroelastomer and nylon loop sport bands to mesh, stainless steel link and leather Hérmés options.

Winner: Apple Watch Series 3

Series 3 vs. Versa 2: Health and fitness

(Image credit: Future)

The Versa 2 isn't as capable a fitness tracker as the Series 3. It lacks GPS unless you work out with your phone, which you’ll also need to have handy if you want the Versa 2 to track your run. Fitbit’s watch also can't show as many workout metrics on its display as the Series 3 can, and Apple’s watch lets you leave your smartphone behind for workouts.

There is one feature that sets the Versa 2 apart: built-in sophisticated sleep-tracking analysis. No Apple Watch offers a native sleep-tracking app, so Fitbit wins points on that front.

But when it comes to everyday health- and fitness-tracking, the Series 3's on-board GPS, high and low heart rate alerts and irregular heart rhythm notifications are more advanced than anything the Versa 2.

Winner: Apple Watch Series 3

MORE: Best Fitness Trackers

Series 3 vs. Versa 2: Voice assistants

Fitbit brought Alexa on board with the Versa 2 to compete with Siri on the Series 3. It's not quite as seamless an experience, however. You have to have an Alexa account linked to your Fitbit account and have the Fitbit app running in the background on your phone (which must be in Bluetooth range of the Versa 2) to ask Alexa questions on your wrist. Then Alexa is slow to respond in some instances, which defeats the point of putting an assistant on your wrist.

Fitbit Versa 2

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Siri isn't perfect by any means, but you don't have to create a separate Siri account or do any work to start asking Siri questions. All you have to do is raise your wrist and start speaking to summon Siri on the Series 3.

Winner: Apple Watch Series 3

Series 3 vs. Versa 2: Battery life

In our testing, the Versa 2 lasted about three days on a charge, easily beating the Series 3's 18-hour battery life. The Versa 2's charger is clunky compared to the Series 3's sleek magnetic charging disc, but the solid battery life more than makes up for the design shortcomings.

Winner: Fitbit Versa 2

Series 3 vs. Versa 2: Special features

When watchOS 6 rolls out Sept. 19, the Series 3 will gain a new women's period-tracking feature. The Versa 2 already offers cycle-tracking, so now the Series 3 will be on a par.

Both watches also offer mobile payments (Fitbit Pay on the Versa 2 and Apple Pay on the Series 3), as well as on-board music storage. But the Versa 2 only allows you to store playlists offline if you subscribe to Pandora or Deezer, which aren't exactly the most popular services. Apple's watch supports offline Apple Music storage, which is useful for running without your phone.

MORE: Best Smartwatches

(Image credit: Future)

Fitbit will soon start offering a $9.99-per-month Premium plan that will offer more personalized insights and training plans based on your activity data. That’s not something you’ll find with the Apple Watch.

But you do have the option to add cellular connectivity if you buy the $299 LTE Series 3, which makes the watch fully independent of your smartphone. The Versa 2 is heavily dependent on your phone, and there’s no LTE option.

Winner: Apple Watch Series 3

Series 3 vs. Versa 2: Smartphone compatibility

Fitbit's Versa 2 works with both iOS and Android phones, which makes it more versatile than the iOS-only Series 3.

However,  when you use the Versa 2 with an iPhone, you lose some of the features that make smartwatches convenient to wear, such as the ability to respond to messages on your wrist. The Versa 2 has more capabilities with Android devices, such as a feature that lets you use the microphone to dictate text messages.

Being able to use one device across platforms — and compete against friends regardless of which phone they own — gives Fitbit the edge.

Winner: Fitbit Versa 2


Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell - Column 0 Apple Watch Series 3Fitbit Versa 2
Design and displayXRow 0 - Cell 2
Health and fitnessXRow 1 - Cell 2
Voice assistantsXRow 2 - Cell 2
Battery lifeRow 3 - Cell 1 X
Special featuresXRow 4 - Cell 2
Smartphone compatibilityRow 5 - Cell 1 X

If you own an iPhone, the Apple Watch Series 3 is the clear winner. The tight integration with iOS makes the watch an extension of your phone, with the ability to compose texts, ask Siri questions, respond to emails, store Apple Music playlists offline and more. Apple's watches also offer more advanced health and fitness features.

For Android owners, the Versa 2 is a solid sub-$200 smartwatch worth buying for the sleep-tracking and battery life alone.

Caitlin is a Senior editor for Gizmodo. She has also worked on Tom's Guide, Macworld, PCWorld and the Las Vegas Review-Journal. When she's not testing out the latest devices, you can find her running around the streets of Los Angeles, putting in morning miles or searching for the best tacos.