Fitbit's new smartwatch can do 3 important things that the Apple Watch can't (AAPL)


Fitbit Versa 2

  • Fitbit’s new Versa 2 comes with a few useful features the Apple Watch still doesn’t have.
  • These include an always-on display, multi-day battery life, and native sleep tracking.
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Apple and Fitbit are two of the largest smartwatch makers in the world by market share. And for years, they’ve been competing to be first when it comes adding new features to their respective watches. 

The Cupertino, California-based iPhone maker may be ahead of Fitbit in certain aspects, especially when it comes to its larger App Store and unique health-oriented features like electrocardiogram monitoring. But Fitbit’s newest smartwatch, the $200 Versa 2, pulls ahead of Apple in three important ways. 

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Always-on display

The Versa 2’s new AMOLED screen comes with an optional always-on display, which means the screen will stay on to show information like the time, date, and battery life, even when it’s not activated. That makes the Versa 2 much more useful as a wristwatch, since you can just glance down to see the time without having to press a button or move your wrist.

The Apple Watch, by comparison, requires that you wake the screen either by raising your wrist, rotating the crown up, or tapping the screen. When you tap the screen to wake up the watch, you can choose to have the display stay on for 15 or 70 seconds before it times out.  

Multi-day battery life

Fitbit says its new smartwatch should last for more than five days on a single charge, meaning you shouldn’t have to worry about remembering your charger if you go away for the weekend. That’s far longer than the Apple Watch, which in my experience usually lasts for 1.5 to two days before I have to charge it. 

It’s unclear how well Fitbit’s claims live up to reality, but in my previous experience, Fitbit’s first-generation Versa was able to last for around the same amount of time. 

But if you choose to take advantage of the optional new always-on screen, your watch will probably only last for roughly two days.

Sleep tracking

Fitbit devices have long offered basic sleep tracking, and the company is expanding that yet again with the Versa 2. The company is rolling out a new feature called Sleep Score, which rates the quality of your sleep based on factors like your heart rate, how long you’ve slept, and how much time you’ve spent in light, deep, and REM sleep.

If you want to track your sleep with the Apple Watch, you’ll need to download a third-party app, some of which cost money.