In Fitbit's family of wearables, you now have your pick of the Fitbit Versa 3 and the Fitbit Sense.
The Versa 3 and the Fitbit Sense are now the last generations of Fitbit smartwatches, but while both share a strong physical resemblance, there are key differences.
The Fitbit Sense is the company's health watch and it brings ECG, stress sensing, and a skin temperature sensor.
The Versa 3 doesn't offer any of those features, but still has SpO2, GPS, and all the Fitbit tracking you'd expect. Essentially, it's the Sense without the bells and whistles.
So if you're trying to get to grips with how the Versa 3 matches up to the Sense, read on.
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Design and comfort
As mentioned, the design language used across these two watches is nearly identical.
While the Ionic, Fitbit's now retired debut smartwatch, went with a more angular look, the Versa's softer curves and smaller case gave it more mass appeal.
So it's no surprise to see that Fitbit is sticking to that same formula. You still have that square watch case paired up with an interchangeable band with Fitbit offering a range of different band styles.
- Compare: Fitbit Versa 3 vs Versa 2
In terms of dimensions, the Versa 3 and Sense measure the same 40.48mm x 40.48mm x 12.35mm, making them slightly thicker than the Versa 2.
You're also getting the same 1.58-inch display with a 336 x 336 resolution display to glance at your data.
Fitbit Versa 3
For colors, the Sense is available in carbon with a graphite stainless steel case or white with a soft gold stainless steel case.
With the Versa 3, you're getting three different looks. A blue band with a soft gold aluminum case, a black band with a black aluminum case, and a blue band with a soft gold aluminum case.
These watches use different case materials and it seems likely that the use of stainless steel on the Sense is tied to the additional sensors it houses.
If you care about bands, you're going to be well served here whichever watch you go for. There are sports bands, woven bands, and Horween leather bands when you need to dress things up.
There will no doubt be a raft of third-party apps that will play nice with these two watches too.
There's no separating these two when waterproofing is concerned either.
Both watches come with a 5ATM waterproof rating, making them fit to go swimming up to 50 meters depth. That also means you don't have to take them off then you jump into the shower.
While these two watches a near identical in terms of design, it's here where the major differences are found.
The Sense is Fitbit's health watch, so you can expect more in the way of what it can track and monitor outside of steps and sleep.
Let's do a sensor check first.
Both devices get Fitbit's latest PurePulse 2.0 optical heart rate sensor and a temperature sensor.
PurePulse 2.0 is supposed to offer better heart rate tracking accuracy than previous Fitbit devices.
And both devices can read your body temperature, but this data will only be visible to Premium subscribers.
Both devices retain the SpO2 sensor is also present letting you see your night's SpO2 range amid your sleep data – and now Fitbit Premium subscribers can track blood oxygen trends too.
Women's cycle tracking is included and you can still view key insights on the watch itself as well as inside the companion phone app.
The Fitbit OS 5.2 update launched in June 2021 also brought high/low heart rate notifications to the Versa 3 – and you can see nightly SpO2 scores without using the dedicated SpO2 watch face.
Fitbit Sense health features
The Sense matches that but also has the addition of an ECG app, which brings the ability to take medical-grade heart rate readings to help detect signs associated with conditions like atrial fibrillation (afib).
The Sense uses the PPG sensor to offer high and low heart rate alerts, should your bpm rise or fall sharply when at rest.
The Sense also comes with a stress-focused EDA Scan app. When you place your palm over the watch, it will detect small electrical changes in the sweat level of your skin to gauge your body's response to stress.
The Fitbit Sense will also look for other signs of stress and will generate a Stress Score, using a host of data points to measure physiological signs of stress. This is linked to a questionnaire on how you feel, and there's mindfulness content, guided meditations, and breathing exercises to help you overcome stressful feelings.
Bottom line, if you want in the way of serious health monitoring features and cutting-edge sensors, it's the Sense that you'll want in your life and on your wrist.
Fitness and sports tracking
Fitbit's two smartwatches still cover 24/7 step, sleep, and heart rate tracking – and have a decent array of sports tracking features too.
The good news is that both watches include an accelerometer to track indoor exercise like treadmill running and to track steps too.
Sleep tracking is a strong point of Fitbit's tracking features, and both devices provide insights on sleep stages and a Sleep Score to better understand your overall sleep quality. As we mentioned, both devices will use the SpO2 sensor for blood oxygen during sleep.
Both pack Fitbit's PurePulse 2.0 heart rate sensor technology, which it says improves accuracy from the previous generation sensor.
This is used for continuous heart rate monitoring, working out in heart rate zones, and viewing Active Zone Minutes to make sure you're regularly getting your heart pumping.
It also unlocks workout intensity maps to view the most intense segments of a running or cycling route.
That outdoor tracking is boosted by built-in GPS and GLONASS satellite support, while swim tracking (still pool only) is available on both the Versa 3 and the Sense.
There's also an altimeter to track elevation and the 20+ exercise modes are bolstered by automatic exercise recognition for a range of activities too.
When it comes to fitness and sports tracking, you can't separate these two smartwatches.
Like sports and fitness tracking, the Versa 3 and Sense give you an identical experience when you tap into their smartwatch features.
These watches work with Android phones and iPhones, giving you the ability to view phone notifications, download watch faces and apps, make payments using Fitbit Pay and pile on music from your collection or supported services like Deezer and Pandora.
Both watches offer a digital assistant in the form of Alexa or Google Assistant - the latter is now available in the US with a wider rollout expected before the end of the year.
Building on the microphone added to the Versa 2, Fitbit throws a speaker into the mix. That now enables the ability to deal with phone calls from either watch, and that feature has landed thanks to Fitbit OS 5.1. This only works when you're nearby of your smartwatch as it relies on being connected via Bluetooth.
Android users can also respond to text messages via voice.
That microphone is also used for smart assistant support as Fitbit introduces Google Assistant to join Amazon's Alexa to give you the choice of two assistants to deal with your queries and questions.
Battery life differences
Fitbit Versa 3
Not to sound like a broken record, but again, you can expect the same in the way of battery life. Fitbit's smartwatches have impressed us so far with their staying power, and it's more of the same on the Versa 3 and the Sense.
Fitbit promises 6+ days of battery life depending on usage. Using features like continuous heart rate monitoring and having the always-on display mode will impact that.
Fitbit's fast charging technology is on board on both devices, giving you the ability to get a day's worth of battery from just a 12-minute charge.
These two smartwatches are evenly matched, except when it comes to deep health insights.
Whether you're talking about how they look, how they track your fitness, or what they deliver with those smartwatch staples.
It's the health tracking that separates them.
Choose the Fitbit Sense if...
You want the most data about your health. The Fitbit Sense's additional EDA and temperature sensors offer unrivaled, and its ECG sensor works well too. As we look at our health more closely, the Fitbit Sense fits the bill, but do remember that some extra insights into HRV and breathing rate do require a Fitbit Premium subscription.
Choose the Fitbit Versa 3 if...
But there's a lot to like about the Fitbit Versa 3. The addition of GPS, the heart rate sensor, and those improved smartwatch features mean it's going to be a solid choice once again. And the price undercuts the Apple Watch SE and Samsung Galaxy Watch 4.
The sleep tracking is fantastic, and the blood oxygen data is as good as you'll find on any smartwatch. While it's not quite the health data powerhouse as the Fitbit Sense, the fitness tracking is unrivaled – as you'd expect from a Fitbit.
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