Get Them Here
While I was working on my Fitbit Versa review I realized, huh, Fitbit has a lot of fitness trackers to choose from. So instead of just comparing the Fitbit Versa to the Fitbit Ionic, I thought I would also break down Fitbit’s line up and hopefully help you choose the right Fitbit for you.
Fitbit’s wearable line up currently consists of the Flex 2, Alta, Alta HR, Charge 2, Versa, and Ionic. This line up starts off at $59.95 and goes all the way up to $299.95. And Fitbit also has premium leather and metal wrist band options to choose from for most of these trackers which are sold separately of course. So there should be a Fitbit for almost everyone’s budget. 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. Check them out cause fitbits routinely go on sale so you might get lucky.
Ok, lets start off with the Fitbit Flex 2. What actually does all of the tracking is this little piece here which you slip into its silicon wrist band. Its sleek, light weight and you have multiple ways wear it. Its water proof so you can track your swimming, its going to automatically start tracking your workouts, it can track your sleep and its going to track your steps. But since there is no built in heart rate monitor… the calories burned it reports is just going to be a very rough estimate. There are also some LED’s on the front which mostly tell you how close you are to hitting your daily step goal, but they also flash and vibrate when you get a phone call, or text message.
Next up is the Alta HR, and first thing first is this guy is not water proof. Its sweat and splash proof but you cant swim with it. But for the most part the Alta HR is a suped up Flex 2 with an OLED screen on the front thats fairly easy to see in direct sunlight. It can easily show you your daily baseline stats and incoming phone notifications directly from your wrist. And as the name implies the Alta HR has a built in heart rate monitor… so you’re going to be able to track your heart rate throughout your day and during your work outs. And the amount of calories burned the Alta HR reports should be a little more accurate than the Flex 2. And aside swimming, the Alta HR can track everything the Flex 2 does.
Ok, now lets move on to the Charge 2 which is very similar to the Alta HR. Just like the Alta, the Charge 2 has a screen on the front, Heart Rate monitor on the back, and you cant swim with it. Even though the Charge 2 costs the same as the Alta HR, there are some key differences to keep in mind. First, the charge 2 has a built in altimeter which can be used to track your elevation change during runs and it can also track how many floors you’ve climbed during the day. The Charge 2 also supports connected GPS so if you bring your phone along you’ll be able to map out your runs and get more accurate stats regarding your speed and pace. And with the Charge 2 you can manually initiate workout tracking so you can get a real time read outs from your wrist and your tracking should be a little more accurate as well. And both the Charge 2 and Alta HR use haptic touch screens, so instead of swiping though the menus like you normally would on your phone you tap or flick these trackers. It useful if you’re cycling through the menus if the screen is sweaty, but it can be very hit or miss sometimes.
Next up is Fitbit’s current crown jewel… the Fitbit Versa. And like I mentioned in the full review, I really like it. The Versa does everything the Charge 2 does and then some. Most noticeably it has a touch screen LCD display, its super low profile, it has smart watch capabilities, it doesn’t look like a fitness tracker and you can swim with it. As a fitness tracker the Versa tracks everything the Charge 2 does and it also relies on connected GPS to map out your runs. Obviously thanks to the touch screen display its much easier to navigate through the menus, track your workouts, and see your baseline stats for the day. As a smart watch, you can download apps, you get full notifications for incoming calls, texts, and emails… and if you get the special edition versa theres an NFC chip for contactless payments. Think of the Versa as better looking and more useful Charge 2 for when you’re outside of the gym.
And finally theres the bigger and more expensive Fitbit Ionic. Just know its 6 months older than the Versa… and again, the Fitbit Ionic does everything the Versa does. But the premium price tag does bring a few key improvements. First up its more premium, the silicon band is better and has a cool textured design, its easier to swap out the wrist bands, and I really like the gnarling found on the side buttons. Under the hood, every ionic comes included with an NFC chip and the Ionic has its own built in GPS. So with the Ionic you can leave your phone behind and still map out your runs thanks to the built in GPS. Which remember, the Versa cant do because it still relies on your phone’s GPS.
Now both the Versa and Ionic are using bluetooth 4.0 so you can pair your wireless ear phones to them and stream any music you might have stored locally on the device. And both watches are able to store around 300 songs give or take. But one of the draw backs of Fitbit’s in general is that you can’t connect an external heart monitor to them. The wrist mounted heart rate monitors on these watches is good, but don’t expect it to be as accurate as a chest mounted one. When it comes to touch screen responsiveness and over all performance of these smartwatches I cant help but notice the Versa is a little snappier than the ionic. Which isn’t surprising cause the Ionic is 6 months older. And when it comes to design I prefer the Versa over the ionic mainly because of the screen to bezel ratio. Theres more screen real-estate on the Versa than on the Ionic. The screen on the Ionic has richer colors and is a little wider, but the Versa’s apple like minimalist design just looks overall better.
I feel the Versa and ionic do just enough to skate by as a smart watch. They show you quick notifications and you can download certain apps… but I still look at these Fitbit’s as fitness trackers first and smartwatches second. Since you cant directly reply to your notifications aside from the pre-made responses if you’re using an android or talk to your voice assistant from these watches I don’t think they should be directly compared to the apple watch or android smartwatches.
But no matter which Fitbit you choose to go with they all work with Fitbit’s mobile app. And Fitbit’s Mobile app is the best fitness tracking app out there for your casual gym goer. But in order to get the most out of the Fitbit app you do need to get the Charge 2, Versa, or Ionic. Since the Flex 2 doesn’t have a heart rate monitor and since the Alta HR doesn’t have an altimeter you’re going to be missing out on pretty important stats. But through Fitbit’s app you’ll be able to get a better breakdown of your daily activity and hopefully be able to better program your exercise or diet plan for better results. And through Fitbit’s goal settings and challenges hopefully you’ll actually stay consistent which is what matters most if you’re trying to get results at the gym. And for the ladies… Fitbit’s app can also help you track your cycle but that feature is only available if you have a Versa or an Ionic.
But now lets talk about battery life, and its a little funny cause each of these trackers have their own proprietary cables. Depending on how much you work out and what features you actually use all of these battery lives will vary. Both the Flex 2 and Alta HR will last about 5 days with all day and night wear. The Fitbit Versa advertises a battery life of 4 plus days and both the Charge 2 and Ionic advertise a battery life of 5 days. But with all day and night wear and with a Monday to Saturday workout routine of 1 hour of interval training and 30 minutes of cycling… the Versa managed to last 2 days and 16 hours, the Ionic lasted 3 days and 6 hours and the charge 2 lasted 3 days and 12 hours. And keep in mind this was without using the connected GPS on both the Versa and Charge 2, without using the built in GPS on the Ionic, and without streaming music off of the Versa or Ionic. So depending on which features you actually use on each of these trackers, your battery life will vary. But if you just drop them in their charger for 10 or 20 minutes every night they should have no problem keeping up with you and they shouldn’t die on you by mid day like other smart watches out there.
If you’re trying too choose between either of these Fitbit’s I feel that for the best experience you should either go with the Charge 2 or the Versa because you’ll be able to get the most out of the Fitbit mobile app. Since the Flex 2 doesn’t have a heart rate monitor and since the Alta HR doesn’t have an altimeter you are going to be missing some crucial data. The Fitbit Ionic is geared towards more serious runners with its built in GPS, but since you cant connect a chest strap heart rate monitor and since it doesn’t really fully function as a smartwatch I feel its kind of hard to justify that $300 price tag. If you want a smartwatch get the apple watch and if you’re a serious runner you’ll be better off with something from Garmin. But I feel the Versa for the price does exactly what it needs to do, it helps you quantify your daily activity so you can maximize results at the gym… but its notifications, non-fitness tracker looking design, and apps help for life outside of the gym. I just wish there was a larger case size to choose from.