Fitbit Charge 3 Reviewed And Compared To Fitbit Versa

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Fitbit has been on the upswing ever since they released the Fitbit Versa, its still a fitness tracker first, and smart watch second… but everything its supposed to do it does it very well. And I still think the Versa is still the best fitness tracker in Fitbit’s line up. But now we have the Fitbit Charge 3, it does almost everything the versa does but in a much smaller and inconspicuous package. 

The new base model Fitbit charge 3 retails for $150 and the base model Fitbit Versa retails for $200. And in classic Fitbit fashion both of these trackers have limited edition variants. Besides coming with an additional more premium wrist band the only technical difference between a base model Fitbit and limited edition Fitbit, is a built in NFC chip so you can use your Fitbit for contactless payments. Personally, I always recommend going for the limited edition variant cause you’re getting an additional wrist band at a discounted rate. So if you want to pick either of these Fitbit’s up I’ll have links in the description below and if you use the links it really helps out the channel. 

At first glance, the new Fitbit charge 3 looks identical to the previous Charge 2. And thats not a bad thing, the charge 3 has a very inconspicuous design for people who want to wear a fitness tracker but without broadcasting to the whole world that they’re wearing a fitness tracker. But the charge 3 does bring some very welcomed physical and technical improvements from the charge 2. First up, it is much easier to remove the wrist bands on the charge 3 compared to the charge 2 and even the versa, you just press a button on the bottom, and it pops right off. So swapping bands is going to be much less of a headache. The charge 3 also now has a solid state home button similar to what you would find an iPhone. Fitbit did this so that you can swim and track your workouts with the charge 3. Where as you couldn’t swim with the Charge 2.  

But perhaps the most notable difference between the Charge 2 and Charge 3 is the new touch screen. The charge 2 had a haptic touch screen meaning that it wasn’t actually registering your inputs like a smartphone does, it was registering the force of your tap. So in order for it to register an input you had the tap it hard enough. This method did work pretty well but it did lead to a lot of failed inputs. But the advantage of having a haptic touch screen on the Charge 2 meant that it was still pretty usable even when the screen was covered in sweat or water. Where as the Charge 3 now has a traditional touch screen. Meaning that its going to register your taps and swipes just like any other smart phone and just like the Versa. And using the touch screen on the Charge 3 is pretty easy. But things do start to get a little tricky when the screen is wet. And this is pretty normal for touch screens. But as long as you wipe it down, you’ll be alright. 

Just like before, the charge 3 still has a black and white OLED screen similar to the Charge 2. And this screen is very easy to see even in the brightest of days. But if you’re hard of seeing then you’ll might be better off springing for the Versa. I’ve found that even with the Charge 3’s largest text option some people were still having issues even just telling the time on the Charge 3. 

But now lets talk about what the charge 3 can actually do. From an activity tracking standpoint, the charge 3 can track everything the Versa can. They can both track your steps, calories burned, heart rate, floors climbed, various different workouts, sleep, and they both have female health tracking capabilities. And all of the data that these fitness trackers collect gets sent over to Fitbit’s app. And Fitbit’s app is still one of the best fitness tracking apps out there. It manages to display your stats in a very easy to read and understand manner, but if you really want to dig in deep to see more detailed stats about your workouts then you can do that. Now even though the Charge 3 and Versa are both able to track the same things we did find slight performance differences between them. Heart rate tracking accuracy between Charge 3 and Versa is relatively the same… but we did notice step tracking and automatic workout smart tracking was little less accurate on the Charge 3 than on the Versa. Mainly the charge 3 had a harder time automatically detecting when a workout had started and ended and the charge 3 on a regular basis did over estimate how many steps were taken or how far a user had ran. And the charge 3’s lower accuracy could possibly have something to do with its lack of a 3 axis gyroscope. Something that the versa does have. 

Now if you’re an avid runner both the Charge 3 and Versa support connected GPS meaning that if you want to get more accurate stats about your runs or jogs then both trackers can connect to your phone and use its GPS so you can map out your runs and get a more accurate pace read out. But this also means you’re going to have to bring your phone along. Now the reason neither of these Fitbit’s have have built in GPS is because Fitbit wanted to keep costs down and they also wanted to keep their trackers as small as possible. So if you’re ok with brining your phone along on your runs or jogs then a Fitbit will be fine, or if you really need something with built in GPS then you’ll might want to look into something from garmin or maybe even an apple watch. 

Another upgrade the Charge 3 has over the Charge 2 is that it now has an advertised battery life of 7 days versus 5 days. But we found that with all day and night wear and with one hour of daily interval training the charge 3 is really good for 4 and half days maybe even 5 from a full charge. Where as the versa has an advertised battery life of 4 days and under the same circumstances its really only good for 2 and half… maybe 3 days from a full charge. 

And to charge the charge 3 you have to use one of Fitbit’s many proprietary charging cradles. Now even though having to keep track of this proprietary charger isn’t a big deal I just want to take a minute to say this is one of our least favorite things about the Charge 3. There have been a lot of times where we have dropped the Charge 3 to charge and only to come back a while later to find that it didn’t actually charge cause it wasn’t perfectly aligned. I just want to point this out cause this wasn’t an issue with the previous charge 2 and its not an issue with the versa.

And finally, lets talk about what the versa can do that the charge 3 cant. Both the versa and Charge 3 can show you call, text, app, and calendar notifications right on the screen. You can even quickly respond to texts with caned messages on both of these trackers, but only if you’re using an android device. But obviously since the Versa has that larger full color display you’re going to get larger and fuller read outs of those notifications. You can also download third apps to the versa like you would on an apple watch. But these apps aren’t as fleshed out and there aren’t as many apps available compared to the Apple Watch. But if you want to customize your versa there is a pretty extensive library of free and paid watch faces. And in general, the Versa’s larger screen just makes it much easier to see your stats and navigate through its menus than the charge 3. 

But in general, I think choosing between the Charge 3 and Versa these days is mostly about form factor. They both track the same activity stats as one another but the Versa does it a little more accurately than the charge 3. But still the accuracy difference between the Charge 3 and Versa isn’t really going to make or break your fitness progress, you’re still going to have to get up and put the work in. The Charge 3 is a good little fitness tracker if you want something small and inconspicuous to help you keep track of and quantify your daily activity. And not to mention that multi-day battery life is still pretty impressive. But still the versa is the best fitness tracker in Fitbit’s line up. Keyword being fitness tracker. The Versa is a good looking fitness tracker first and smart watch second. The fuller notifications and downloadable app’s make it more useful for when you’re outside of the gym but I wouldn’t go comparing it to an Apple Watch. If you’re looking for a smartwatch… get a smartwatch. Cause since you cant talk to your voice assistant, answer calls, or respond to texts directly from the Fitbit Versa then I wouldn’t consider it a smart watch… and given its price point thats ok. Some people just want a smart watch so they can track their workouts. And even though the Series 4 apple watch kind of stole the show at apple’s latest iPhone event its lowest bar of entry is $400. So if you just want something to track your workouts with then the Charge 3’s and Versa’s $150 and $200 price points maybe more palatable.