Choosing the right Fitbit tracker
Fitbit is one of the global leaders in wearables sales. There is a reason its trackers sell so well. They are simple to use, reliable, look smart, provide great vitals statistics and have an excellent app behind them.
Essential reading: Top fitness trackers and health gadgets
Last year the company has consolidated its range of devices for tracking steps and calories by replacing the Alta and Alta HR with Inspire and Inspire HR. This also means the Flex 2, and much older Zip and One trackers are a thing of the past. You can still purchase all of these, though, while stocks last. So far in 2020, we saw the release of Charge 4.
Inspire | Inspire HR | Charge 4 | Versa Lite | Versa/Versa 2 | Ionic | Ace/Ace 2
First released: March 2019
Fitbit’s new fitness band comes with a touchscreen, on-device dashboard, all-day activity, sleep tracking, female heath tracking and smartphone notifications. It has an OLED touchscreen, and is swim-proof (water resistance up to 5 ATM).
There’s a single physical button on the left. You navigate the device by tapping the screen, swiping up and down, or pressing the button. To preserve battery (which lasts up to 5 days), the tracker’s screen turns off when not in use.
The device keeps tabs on all-day steps, distance, active minutes and calories burned. It automatically recognises workouts like walks, runs, swims, bike rides and more, then records them for you in the Fitbit app.
This is a decent fitness device that will suffice for many. But if you want more bang for your buck, we suggest opting for the slightly more expensive HR version.
A clip-on accessory is available, so the tracker can be detached from the strap and attached on to clothes. This is to cater for those who would previously have opted for Zip.
Fitbit Inspire HR
First released: March 2019
Launched alongside Inspire, the HR version slaps on a heart rate monitor to Fitbit’s new tracker. This allows it to do some more clever things.
Inspire HR will dish out heart rate info, sleep stages (light, deep, & REM) and 15+ goal-based exercise modes. There’s also Vo2Max/Cardio Fitness Level, as well as breathing exercises. The only thing that’s missing is an altimeter for counting floors. Not a deal-breaker for most.
It will even link to the GPS on your smartphone to provide more precise data on pace and distance when you’re running while recording a map of your route in the app. No built-in GPS though.
Fitbit Charge 4
First released: April 2020
Next up the chain is Charge 4. This is a sleek looking, water-resistant device which comes with everything an average person needs to keep tabs on their activity 24/7 including an altimeter for counting floors. There’s also something Fitbit calls a relative SpO2 sensor. This measures blood oxygen levels at night and could be used to identify sleep apnea in the future.
Built-in GPS is another important feature. It allows for phone-free training outdoors as you don’t need your smartphone’s satellite signal for precise tracking of distance. Charge 4 keeps tabs on over 20 different types of workouts, including swimming.
Outside of that you get something that looks like a “traditional” fitness band. There a small, grayscale display on-board that is fully responsive to touch. This, along with a single physical button is used to navigate the menus.
Battery life is an excellent 7 days on a single charge. Switch on GPS and this falls to a perfectly respectable 5 hours.
Last but certainly not least are the smart features. Charge 4 comes with call, calendar, text and smartphone app notifications. There is a host of Fitbit and third-party apps, too, along with Fitbit pay for contactless payments.
Fitbit Versa / Versa 2
First released: April 2018 / August 2019
Fitbit Versa is smaller and better looking than the Ionic, which should appeal to the female demographic. It’s water resistant and ticks most boxes when it comes to 24/7 activity monitoring. In addition to everything from the lower-spec models, you also get on-board storage for music and NFC payments (selected models).
With a battery life of 5 days, this is a stylish device which represents a great compromise between a fully fledged smartwatch and fitness tracker. It’s no wonder it is one of Fitbit’s most popular wearables.
There are a few differences between Versa and Versa 2 you should be aware of. The second iteration comes with an AMOLED display instead of an LCD one, it has 5 day instead of 4 day battery life and you also get some extras such as Amazon Alexa support.
Fitbit will probably phase out Versa now so expect big discounts on the tracker in the coming months.
Fitbit Versa Lite
First released: March 2019
Fitbit says the stripped back version of Versa is designed for people who have been left out of the smartwatch market. The fact that the new watch has cut some corners means that it sells about $40 below the full edition price.
What’s missing as compared to the full version are two additional physical buttons for navigating the display, an altimeter for counting floors, on-board storage for music and NFC for contactless payments. If you opt for the Lite version, you will also miss out on guided workouts on-display and lap tracking for swimming.
First released October 2017
With its blocky, retro design, Ionic is not exactly a looker but at least it packs some decent specs under the hood. The most important difference as compared to the other devices on this page is the inclusion of built-in GPS. This allows for a phone-free experience when running and cycling outdoors.
The exercise mode captures real-time stats on 20 different types of activities such as biking, golfing, kickboxing and tennis. Because the watch is water-resistant down to 50 metres, it will track your swim sessions too, with lap count, duration and calorie burn.
Just like on Versa, you also get 2.5GB of internal storage for music, notifications and a built in NFC chip for payments. There is also an App store with Strava, Accuweather, Flipboard, Starbucks and more.
Fitbit Ace / Ace 2
First released October 2017 / March 2019
This is an Alta lookalike that is specifically designed for kids 8 and older. The showerproof device automatically tracks steps, active minutes, sleep and provides encouragement to be active. It has up to 5 days of battery life and comes in two vibrant colours.
Because it has an OLED tap display, your kid can see their progress in real time. The tracker dishes out rewards for moving with celebratory messages and fun, collectible badges. And, if you have a Fitbit yourself you can promote a bit of friendly family competition.
Fitbit has introduced a new family account which allows parents to safeguard their kids’ privacy and stay on top of their activity. The Parent view lets you navigate between your view and your kid’s view to check their activity and progress. It also allows you to manage who your children connect with and what information they see.
The company has recently introduced Ace 2. This tracker is designed for the 6 and up. The kid-friendly device is quite a bit more durable than its predecessor. The screen is also larger, so much that the gizmo looks more like a smartwatch than a fitness tracker. Availability is expected this summer.
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