Fitness fans at all levels will find a lot to love with both the Fitbit Charge 2 and the Apple Watch Series 2. Both trackers are sleek and well-designed and can record your workouts and monitor your heart rate. If you get lost, the GPS in either model can get you back on track.
But while the two have some similarities, there are also quite a few differences, starting with the price. The Apple Watch Series 2 starts at $369, while the Fitbit Charge 2 starts at $179.95.
If price isn’t an issue, how do you choose? We put the two to the test to help you decide which one is right for you.
At a glance
The Apple Watch Series 2 is much more than an activity tracker. It’s a smartwatch that lets you answer calls, read texts and change the face to fit your mood. The Fitbit Charge 2 gets down to the business of fitness, and you can also get alerts from your smartphone.
|Fitbit Charge 2||Apple Watch Series 2|
|Price||Starts at $149.95||Starts at $369|
|Battery life||Up to five days on one charge||Up to 18 hours|
|GPS||Connected GPS via mobile phone||Yes|
|Heart rate monitor||Yes||Yes|
|Mobile notifications||Call, text and calendar alerts via mobile phone||Yes|
|Swim-proof||No (splash-resistant)||Yes; water-resistant to 50 meters|
|Sleep tracking||Yes||No (though you can install a third-party app to track sleep as long as you don't charge your watch overnight)|
The most obvious difference between the trackers is their appearance. The Apple Watch Series 2 looks like the original Apple Watch, featuring a square, touch-responsive OLED Retina display. The tracker comes in colored aluminum, black or silver stainless steel and white ceramic. Band choices range from a simple sport style to lush leather.
The successor to the Fitbit Charge HR, the sleek Fitbit Charge 2 is more streamlined than the Apple Watch, even with an OLED display that’s four times larger than the previous version. The screen isn’t touch-sensitive, but its bigger size means it’s easier than ever to read the time, your heart rate or an alert letting you know your mother has texted. You can change the Fitbit’s band to match your mood or outfit.
Both the Fitbit Charge 2 and the Apple Watch Series 2 have many features to help you become more fit. Both will:
- Track your activities. Wondering how many steps you’ve taken or how many calories you’ve burned today? Either tracker will let you know — Apple with a series of colored rings that signal standing, moving or exercising; the Fitbit by tracking steps, distance, floors climbed and other activities.
- Remind you to move. If you work a desk job, you know how easy it is to look up and discover you’ve been sitting for hours. Both of these will remind you to get up and move around a bit, with the Fitbit encouraging a minimum of 250 steps an hour.
- Tether you to your phone. As long as your phone is within syncing distance, both watches will send an alert when you get a call or text. If you’re wearing an Apple Watch Series 2, you can respond to texts and answer calls.
- Allow you to style it yourself. Fitbit gives users a choice of colored or leather bands, while Apple has a wide variety of material, color and texture choices.
- Monitor your heart rate. The Charge 2 retains the HR’s PurePulse feature. Like Apple’s heart rate sensor, it keeps you informed about how hard your ticker is working during a workout.
Advantages of the Apple Watch Series 2
- You can take it for a swim. While the Fitbit Charge 2 is splash-resistant, you can dive into the pool or ocean with the Apple Watch Series 2. It’s waterproof up to 50 meters, and not only will it keep track of your laps, it’ll even play music underwater.
- Use your favorite apps. You’re not limited to the apps that come preloaded onto the watch. You can download your favorites from iTunes.
- It can give you directions. Unlike the Fitbit Charge 2, which has GPS but needs to be within syncing range of your smartphone for you to use it, you can dash out the door unencumbered with the Apple Watch and it’ll still tell you how to get from Point A to Point B.
- You can make it more you. The Apple Watch Series 2 lets you choose from a variety of cases, bands and faces. Serious athletes can opt for the Nike collaboration, or if you want to go full-on fancy, there’s even an Hermés model. The Fitbit Charge 2 only allows for band changes.
Advantages of the Fitbit Charge 2
- You can take it to bed. Scientists agree that sound sleep is pivotal to good health, and the Fitbit’s five-day charge means you can use it to monitor the time you spend in bed. Because the Apple Watch Series 2 needs to be tucked into its charger at night to be fresh in the morning, it can’t measure your sleep.
- Longer battery life. The Fitbit Charge 2 is the clear winner in this department, giving five days of use on a single charge. The Apple Watch Series 2 can go at best 18 hours without charging; if you’re using it often, you’ll need to recharge it a lot sooner.
The Apple Watch Series 2 works with an iPhone 5 or later. The Fitbit Charge 2 is compatible with iOS, Android or Windows devices.
Which one is right for you?
Both of these trackers have a lot going for them. If you’re an Apple devotee with a yen for the latest tech and a love of swimming, the Apple Watch Series 2 is the only choice. If you’re more motivated by results and don’t need a lot of techy extras — and would be happy to save a few bucks — the Fitbit Charge 2 is a solid option.