I’ve talked a lot lately about the Apple Watch Series 3. I’ve mentioned what I like about it and what I think you will like about it. But what I haven’t really talked about is how it stacks up next to the Fitbit Ionic. The big difference I hear from people is that you don’t have to charge the Fitbit every single day. But the Apple Watch has been king of the jungle when it comes to smartwatches since its inception. And with Series 3, the fitness capabilities have improved. So which is actually better from a fitness perspective?
As far as they look, for the most part, the two are similar. Both are made from the same aerospace-grad aluminum. Both have the ability to change the straps. Whether you want it to look fancy, or sporty. Both offer the ability to switch it up. But the Apple Watch does this better. The Fitbit Ionic offers three “sports” colours – gold, silver and black. They also offer leather straps in “Cognac” Brown or Midnight Blue. But the Apple Watch 3 comes in three different casing colours: gold, silver and black. But you can then choose a fabric or silicone strap that comes in up to five colours.
Pay a bit more and you can get the stainless Steel Apple Watch 3. It comes with stainless steel, leather and silicone strap options. It’s not over yet. There are also ceramic “Edition” Apple Watches, Nike branded ones and those with Hermes straps. We recommend a lie down before choosing an Apple Watch. You may need it. But forget all the expensive fluff for now, though, because there’s a big style difference between the Watch 3 and Fitbit Ionic. The Fitbit looks much, much sharper. Not Hugo Boss and cufflinks sharp, the lines are all aggressively angular, while the Watch 3 has a much softer, less abrasive look.
Perhaps you want to know what they do in terms of fitness? Both watches have an HR scanner on the back. They can connect to Bluetooth headphones. You can wirelessly pay for stuff with a quick swipe across a payment terminal. Although, Fitbit has yet to confirm which banks it will support. Both have built in GPS, that lets you properly track you runs rather than just guessing based on the number of steps you take. They both have Wifi, so they don’t always have to rely on a connection to your phone.
The big difference is the fact that the Apple Watch 3 comes with LTE. Both watches do some pretty neat things with heart rate data, like tracking how your resting heart rate changes over time. However, Apple has the edge at the moment as the Watch 3 also monitors your recovery times. How quickly you get down from “my heart’s going to explode” 180bpm to your resting rate is a decent sign of how fit you really are.
Fitbit wins when it comes to battery life. Apple claims that the Series 3 will last up to 18 hours. Which is actually a lot if you think about how much you are actually using the watch. When it comes down to GPS use, however, the Apple Watch 3 will only last for about 7 hours, whereas the Ionic will last for 10 hours of GPS use.
So which one is better? Still the Apple Watch in my opinion. The Ionic is still new, so we don’t really have a good idea of what it can do or how it will work long term. Apple has perfected the latest version of their smartwatch, and they’ve cornered the market in this way. When it comes to internet connectivity, obviously the answer is the Apple Watch because the Ionic doesn’t have that capability. But if you are simply comparing apples to apples, the Apple Watch non-cellular version still wins every time.