With the launch of the Fitbit Sense, Apple has yet another impressive smartwatch to contend with. Priced at $329, the Fitbit Sense undercuts the Apple Watch Series 5 by $70, and has many of the same features, including GPS, mobile payments, a heart rate monitor, and an aFib detector.
So when it comes to the Fitbit Sense vs. Apple Watch Series 5, which should you go for? We've compared both watches on price, features, and more to help you figure out which one the best for you.
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Fitbit Sense vs. Apple Watch 5: Price
Let's start with the obvious: The Fitbit Sense costs $329; the Apple Watch Series 5 starts at $399. That's a difference of $70, without all the other add-ons you can get with the Apple Watch.
Fitbit Sense vs. Apple Watch 5: Design and display
The Fitbit Sense and the Apple Watch Series 5 share a similar "squircle" design. (Yes, I'm getting tired of that portmanteau, too). Both are squares with rounded corners, but the Sense is more squarish, and has more gently curved corners.
The Apple Watch 5 has a digital crown on the right, as well as a button beneath. (A pervasive Apple Watch 6 rumor says that the crown will be replaced with an optical sensor). The Sense has no physical buttons, but rather a touch-sensitive indentation on its left.
The Sense's 1.58-inch display has a resolution of 336 x 336 pixels; the 40mm Apple Watch 5 has a resolution of 324 x 394, and the 44mm model has a resolution of 368 x 448 pixels.
The Fitbit Sense is offered in just one size, a 40.48-mm case, whereas the Apple Watch 5 comes in both 40mm and 44mm case sizes.
The Sense is made of stainless steel and comes in two finishes; the Apple Watch is available in aluminum, stainless steel, ceramic, and titanium, and comes in gold, space gray, silver, and black stainless.
Both smartwatches have interchangeable bands, with a plethora of options.
Fitbit Sense vs. Apple Watch 5: Fitness and health features
Once it gains FDA approval, the Fitbit Sense will be able to alert wearers that they're experiencing atrial fibrillation (AFib), a life-threatening condition where the heart is beating fast and irregularly. It's a feature that's been available in the Apple Watch for a while, and has been credited with saving people's lives.
Both devices have heart rate sensors, which can be used for a number of things outside fitness. Both watches are able to tell you if your heart rate is abnormally high or low. The Sense also uses the heart rate sensor to monitor your sleep, and Fitbit Premium subscribers ($79/year) can also access additional metrics, such as resting heart rate.
GPS is a welcome addition to the Fitbit Sense, a feature that's been sorely missing in Fitbit's products until this year. Of course, the Apple Watch has had this since the first models.
There are a few health features exclusive to one device or the other. The Apple Watch 5 also has fall detection, and can automatically call emergency services if you take a spill and are unresponsive. It also has a noise level monitor, and can alert you if things get too loud.
The Fitbit Sense has an EDA (electrodermal activity) sensor, which can track the amount of electricity going through the sweat on skin; it's a way to tell if you're under a lot of stress. The watch will then guide you through some de-stressing activities, and also suggest things you can do to avoid or mitigate stress. The Sense also has a skin temperature sensor, which can indicate the early onset of an illness, menstrual cycle, and other conditions.
At the moment, native sleep tracking is a feature only available on the Fitbit Sense (something Fitbit has had for a while), though Apple is adding sleep tracking with WatchOS 7.
Fitbit Sense vs. Apple Watch 5: Voice assistants
It's Siri vs. Alexa and Google Assistant. Naturally, the Apple Watch has Siri built in, while the Fitbit Sense will have Alexa and (later this year) Google Assistant. In previous years, we had compared all three voice assistants, but Siri has fallen so far behind the other two that it became an unfair fight.
Fitbit Sense vs. Apple Watch 5: Smartwatch features
As it was designed as a smartwatch first, the Apple Watch 5 is just better at smartwatch-y type functions. For example, you can get it with LTE, so you can leave your phone at home and still receive calls and the like on the road. If you're overseas, you can even make calls to emergency services.
The Apple Watch 5 also has a built in map and compass, so you can use it to navigate around unfamiliar places.
While you can change the watchface on both the Apple Watch and the Fitbit Sense, only the Apple Watch lets you further customize those faces with complications you want.
Both watches have a form of mobile payments, handy if you're out on a run without your wallet and want to grab a bottle of water. It's also helpful if you're trying to avoid touching things in public locations.
Fitbit Sense vs. Apple Watch 5: App store
Another area where the Apple Watch shines is its App Store, which has thousands of third-party apps that really add to the functionality of the watch. From fitness to finance, chances are that the app on your smartphone is available as an Apple Watch app.
Another area where the Apple Watch shines is its App tore, which has thousands of third-party apps that really add to the functionality of the watch. From fitness to finance, chances are that the app on your smartphone is available as an Apple Watch app.
Fitbit Sense vs. Apple Watch 5: Battery Life
Since the first Apple Watch arrived on our wrists, its battery life has remained pretty consistent, at around 18 hours. That means you'll have to charge it every day or night.
The Fitbit Sense crushes the Apple Watch 5 with up to six days of battery life and up to 12 hours when using GPS. That's good for a dedicated sports watch, much less a smartwatch.
Fitbit Sense vs. Apple Watch 5: Verdict
In this head to head between the Fitbit Sense and the Apple Watch 5, the Fitbit Sense comes out on top in terms of price, health and fitness features, voice assistants, and battery life. If you're looking for the more fitness-focused of the two, the Fitbit Sense is the way to go, as it natively does more in that area.
However, if you're looking for a more well-rounded smartwatch, the Apple Watch 5 is still tops, as it has a more robust ecosystem of third-party apps. You do need an iPhone to use it, though, whereas the Fitbit Sense works with both Android and iOS devices. It also remains to be seen what the Apple Watch 6 and WatchOS 7 will bring to your wrist.
We hope to have the Fitbit Sense in our hands soon, so stay tuned for our full review.