Fitbit Luxe vs Sense vs Versa 3: specs & feature comparison

If you are worried whether Fitbit will continue to churn out devices after the Google acquisition, you can put your fears to rest. It’s business as usual and the company has just released its latest fitness band called Luxe.

So it seems the collaboration with the search giant has not changed much, at least for now. As far as Google, we are yet to see something released under its moniker. But there is lots of talk. Rumors are we might finally see the long-awaited Pixel Watch in the latter part of this year.

Essential reading: Best fitness trackers and health gadgets

In the meantime you have a healthy choice of Fitbit-branded fitness bands and smartwatches to pick from. Along with the always popular Charge 4 (and now Charge 5), the best of the lot are recent additions which include Luxe, Sense and Versa 3. Here’s how the trio compares.


Fitbit Luxe vs Sense vs Versa 3: Hardware and design

Overall look

When comparing the three devices it is important to note that Sense and Versa 3 come in the form of smartwatches, Luxe is a fitness band. Hence their design is quite different.

Fitbit is not really experimenting too much in the looks department. All of these devices stick to the tried and tested designs. But each subsequent generation improves on its predecessor in multiple ways.

Sense and Versa 3 look practically identical. The way to distinguish the two is in the detail. Sense has some more metal parts in its build which make it look a fraction more premium. But in reality, there’s very little in it.

Luxe, on the other hand, couldn’t look more different. The main distinguishing factor is its size. It measures only 17.5 mm in width and 10.1 mm in depth. The other two come in at 40.48 mm in width and 12.35 mm in depth. This makes Luxe a much better fit for someone who wants a low-key device on their wrist.

Display

Fitbit has over the years gradually improved the quality of display. Gone are the days when their devices had tiny black & white screens which were hardly readeable. The latest crop of wearables comes with a beautiful AMOLED touchscreen. This is up to 1,000 nits and is protected with Corning Glass 3 against accidental drops and scratches.

The difference, once again, is in size. Versa 3 and Sense pack a 40.48 mm x 40.48, 336 x 336 pixel resolution display. The one on Luxe is of the same quality. However its measurements are smaller – 33.5 x 17.5 mm which equates to a 124 x 206 pixel resolution. The larger displays makes the first two more conducive for reading your activity stats on the go.

This is particularly the case if you’re in the middle of a run. Needless to say, you can only fit so many metrics at the same time on a screen the size of Luxe.

Fitbit Luxe vs Sense vs Versa 3: specs & feature comparison
Fitbit Versa 3 vs Sense vs Luxe | Image source: Fitbit

What all three have in common is the touchscreen. You use this to navigate through the menus. Versa 3 and Sense have the benefit of a single haptic button. This can also be used to wake up to display and navigate your way around.

Take all this into account and it’s clear that Versa 3 and Sense are for someone that wants something on their wrist that will be easily readable – a smartwatch. Luxe is for those after something more discreet, but doesn’t skim on build quality.

Under the hood

The differences continue under the hood. The most high high-spec of the three is Sense. It comes with all the tech that can be found on Versa 3 (optical heart rate tracker, 3-axis accelerometer, gyroscope, altimeter, SpO2, vibration motor, Ambient light sensor, temperature sensor, built-in GPS, NFC), plus some additions. These come in the form of a multipurpose electrical sensor for taking ECG measurements, along with an electrodermal activity (EDA) sensor to help with accuracy of stress measurements.

Essential readingTop fitness trackers and health gadgets

Luxe misses out on the built-in GPS and NFC for contactless payments. It also does not have the extras Sense brings over Versa 3. But it does have everything else which makes it a very capable fitness band – probably one of the most high-spec devices in its category.

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As you’d expect from Fitbit, at 5 ATM, the trio has excellent water-resistance. The same can be said for battery life. All of these can go for about 5-6 days on a single charge. Which is not bad. This, of course, drops quite a bit with GPS switched on. Or if you opt for the always-on display option.

Here’s a table illustrating the specs in detail.

Sense
Versa 3
Luxe
 
Build material
Includes a band made of a flexible material similar to that used in many sports watches, as well as an aluminium watch case and buckle.
Includes a band made of a flexible material similar to that used in many sports watches, as well as an aluminium watch case and buckle.
Housing is made of stainless steel. Band is made of silicone and fastens with an anodised metal buckle and tang.
Screen size
40.48 x 40.48 mm
40.48 x 40.48 mm
33.5 x 17.5 mm
Depth
12.35 mm
12.35 mm
10.1 mm
Display type
AMOLED. Corning Glass 3 display.
AMOLED. Corning Glass 3 display.
AMOLED. Corning Glass 3 display.
Display resolution 
336 × 336 pixels
336 × 336 pixels
124 x 206 pixels
Battery life
6+ days. Half with always-on feature. 12 hours with GPS switched on.
6+ days. Half with always-on feature. 12 hours with GPS switched on.
up to 5 days
Water resistance
up to 50 metres (swim-proof) – 5 ATM
up to 50 metres (swim-proof) – 5 ATM
up to 50 metres (swim-proof) – 5 ATM
Sensors
Multipurpose electrical sensors, multi-path optical heart rate tracker, 3-axis accelerometer, gyroscope, altimeter, SpO2, vibration motor, Ambient light sensor, temperature sensor
Optical heart rate tracker, 3-axis accelerometer, gyroscope, altimeter, SpO2, vibration motor, Ambient light sensor, temperature sensor
3-axis accelerometer, Optical heart rate monitor, Vibration motor, Red and infrared sensors for oxygen saturation (SpO2) monitoring, temperature sensor
Microphone & speaker
Yes
Yes
No
Built-in GPS
Yes
Yes
No
NFC
Yes
Yes
No
Storage
Yes
Yes
No
RRP
$329
$230
$150

Fitbit Luxe vs Sense vs Versa 3: Functionality

Health and fitness tracking

We’ve come to associate the word Fitbit with health and fitness tracking for a reason. As one of the pioneers in this market, the company has this side of things nailed down.

You can rest assured all three of these devices will suffice on that count. And all three work with the same simple to use and comprehensive app.

The devices will also track some more advanced stats such as blood oxygen, heart rate variability, respiration rate and skin temperature variation. For some of these you can only see the latest week of data. For more detail and longer term trends you’ll need to opt for the Premium Subscription.

The one thing that lacks on Luxe is built-in GPS. So you’ll need to rely on your phone for detailed tracking of outdoor running or cycling. This will make a difference to some, but it won’t make a bit of difference to others. If you’re serious about outdoor exercise, we suggest you go with a device that has built-in GPS. The primary reason for this is the convenience factor of leaving your smartphone behind.

Our other suggestion for those serious about running or cycling is to go with a device that has a larger display. As good as Luxe is, its small screen inevitably makes it more difficult to read stats while on the move.

One other omission on Luxe is the lact of an altimeter. This is used on devices to track floor counts. Its a useful metric to be able to access, but not a must-have. Anyone that regularly checks their floor count knows the metric can fluctuate wildly on some days as many factors (including weather!) can effect the reading.

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Sense offers more

Moving on to Sense and we get some more goodies that you won’t find on the other two.

The most important is the ability to take ECG readings. If this is important to you, Sense is the only device from Fitbit that has the ability to measure it.

The only other health and fitness extra that you get on Sense are the comprehensive stress readings. These tap into info from the electrodermal activity (EDA) sensor (which reads moisture in the skin) to form a single figure that ranges from zero to 100. The higher your score the less stressed you are. This is also disected into its constitutive components for your convenience (Responsiveness, Exertion Blance, Sleep).

Having said that, Luxe and Versa 3 also come with their own stress metric. But it lacks the input from the EDA sensor. So just relies on info on resting heart rate, HRV, temperature and activity.

Sense
Versa 3
Luxe
 
Satellite connection
Built-in GPS
Built-in GPS
Connected GPS
Altimeter
Yes
Yes
No
ECG
Yes
No
No
Stress score
Yes (more comprehensive)
Yes
Yes
Apps you can install
Yes
Yes
Basic access to a few apps and watchfaces
Smart assistant
Yes
Yes
No
Music streaming
Yes
Yes
No

Smart functionality

As far as non-fitness functions Versa 3 and Sense are the clear winner over Luxe. After all, they are smartwatches so go further than the ability to view smartphone notifications.

Versa 3 and Sense also have a large choice of apps and watch-faces you can install. On Luxe, you are limited to a basic few. Plus there’s access to music streaming services and Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant functionality. Finally, Fitbit’s smartwatches also have the ability to accept or reject calls, and contactless payments via the NFC chip.


Fitbit Luxe vs Sense vs Versa 3: The verdict

The fitness space is competitive and Fitbit is not resting on past laurels. The company is raising its game, no doubt helped by the Google acquisition and resources it now has at its disposal.

If you’re after a health and fitness device you won’t go wrong with a Fitbit. If you’re after a fully fledged sports watch with lots of performance metrics, we suggest you go with other brands such as Garmin, Polar or Suunto.

Fitbit Luxe vs Sense vs Versa 3: specs & feature comparison
Fitbit Luxe
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Along with Charge 4 – Fitbit Luxe, Sense and Versa 3 are the best of what Fitbit has on offer. Luxe is ideal for those that want something beautiful yet discreet on their wrist. It comes with everything the other two have, apart from built-in GPS and an altimeter for floor counts.

ECG readings are also missing and these can only be found on Fitbit Sense, along with a more-comprehensive stress score. Versa 3 and Sense are for those that are after a smarwatch experience. They have the added functionality of lots of apps and watches faces, NFC for contactless payments, voice assistant and access to various music streaming services.

So which should you go for?

Well, it depends on what you are after. If you want something low-key, Luxe is the obvious choice. Yes, it doesn’t have built-in GPS but you can always opt for Charge 4 if this is important to you.

Those that want a smartwatch will need to choose between Sense and Versa. There’s around a $100 price difference so this is something to take into account. With its $150 price-tag, Luxe is much more budget-friendly (check current prices on Amazon).

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