For anyone looking to pick up a smartwatch for under $250, the Apple Watch SE 2 and Fitbit Versa 4 are great options, but which one is worth buying? The Versa 4 was announced alongside the Sense 2 in Aug. 2022 as Fitbit’s new smartwatches for the year. While it shares the same design and many of its features with the more expensive Sense 2, some significant differences set them apart.
With the launch of the Apple Watch SE 2, the Versa 4 now has another rival other than Garmin’s Venu Sq 2, which sits in the same $250 price range. Although Apple’s 2nd generation budget smartwatch may not look different from its predecessor, it has received some internal upgrades, such as a new chip. This is the same one inside its more expensive siblings – the Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch Ultra.
The Apple Watch SE 2 and the Fitbit Versa 4 are similar in that they both have a square dial. In addition, they also have an aluminum case and are water-resistant up to 50 meters. Of course, Apple’s watch has the signature digital crown and a secondary pill-shaped button, while the Versa 4 settles for a single button on the left. The Apple Watch SE 2 is available in 44mm and 40mm sizes, with three color choices for the case and many bands to choose from. On the other hand, the Versa 4 is sold in only one size but is available in four color options, all of which have the same type of band. However, Fitbit also sells other band types as additional accessories.
Neither Watch Has An ECG
The Apple Watch SE 2 has a retina LTPO OLED display but doesn’t have support for an always-on display. On the other hand, the Fitbit Versa 4 has an AMOLED display with support for an always-on display. Apple says the Watch SE 2 is powered by the S8 chip and packs 32GB of storage for audiobooks and podcasts. However, Fitbit doesn’t say what chip is inside its watch nor if the Versa 4 has built-in storage for playlists, podcasts and audiobooks. In addition, the two watches have an optical heart rate sensor for all-day heart rate monitoring and will notify users if their heart rate is high or low. However, they both lack an ECG sensor. Nevertheless, there is support for irregular (heart) rhythm notification which can also check for signs of AFib on the Apple Watch SE 2 and Fitbit Versa 4. The two watches also track heart rate variability (HRV), the time between heartbeats, sleep tracking and menstrual cycle tracking. Unfortunately, the Apple Watch SE 2 also lacks blood oxygen level monitoring. On the other hand, Fitbit has equipped its watch with red and infrared sensors for blood oxygen saturation (SpO2) monitoring. It also has stress tracking and can measure breathing rate. Neither of the two watches has a temperature sensor, but the Versa 4 can measure skin temperature variation using existing sensors. Fitbit says the Versa 4 can track more than 40 activities with auto-detection for some. Apple doesn’t say how many the Apple Watch SE 2 is capable of, but it covers the most popular ones, including HIIT, yoga, Pilates and rowing. In addition, the two smartwatches have built-in GPS for real-time tracking when outdoors.
Apple bests Fitbit in additional safety features such as fall detection, crash detection and emergency SOS. Both watches have Bluetooth 5, NFC for payment, and Wi-Fi. Apple’s watch also has optional LTE, so users can take and make calls even when their phone isn’t on them. There’s a microphone and speaker on the Versa 4 for taking Bluetooth calls. The two watches also have a voice assistant (Siri for the Watch SE 2 and Alexa for the Versa 4). Fitbit’s watch is also compatible with Android and iOS devices, while Apple’s watch isn’t designed to work with non-Apple devices.
Regarding battery life, the Apple Watch SE 2 will last up to 18 hours on a single charge and go up to 36 hours in low-power mode. However, it is no match for the Versa 4, which has six-plus days of battery life. The Fitbit also has a fast charge – a 12-minute charge will provide a day of use. At $229, the Fitbit Versa 4 is cheaper than the Apple Watch SE 2, which starts at $249 for the base model with Wi-Fi + GPS. It also comes with a free six-month subscription to Fitbit Premium, after which users will have to pay $9.99 per month to get features such as advanced insights to tracked metrics, workouts and mindfulness sessions, a wellness report, etc. Apple’s smartwatch costs more and lacks essential features such as a SpO2 sensor. Its battery life also means users will have to charge it every day. However, features such as fall detection, crash detection, and built-in storage justify its higher price tag.