Image source: Fitbit

Fitbit Sense vs Versa 3 vs Charge 5: comparison feature

The Google acquisition has gone through earlier this year but that is not stopping Fitbit from churning out new wearables. This includes upgrades to some of its most popular devices.

In the past few days Charge 5 was announced (check price on Amazon). It refreshes one of the best selling fitness bands in the world with some pretty sizeable upgrades. It is now one of the most high-specs Fitbits out there.

The other one that packs a lot is Sense, a health focused smartwatch that marks the beginning of a new range. It was released last year alongside Versa 3.

All three of these are very good options for someone after a health and fitness wearable. But which should you buy? Read on to find out.


Fitbit Sense vs Versa 3 vs Charge 5: Hardware and design

Let’s start off with the two smartwatches. Most of the differences between Sense and Versa 3 lie under the hood. Having said that, there are a few subtile ways to distinguish the two.

While both come with the same squarish design with curved edges, Sense has aluminium and more premium metal parts in its chassis. This makes it about 5 grams heavier. As far as the display, it is exactly the same as the one you’ll find on Versa 3.

The Charge 5, on the other hand, is an entirely different animal. It takes the form of a classic fitness band, ideal for someone who wants something more discreet on their wrist. The thing measures 36.78mm x 22.79mm and 11.2mm in depth, so is 10% thinner than before.

The Charge 5 screen has received an important upgrade. It is a 1.04 inch AMOLED with 260 x 170 pixels in resolution. This puts it on par with the display that can be found on Sense and Versa 3. They pack a 40.48 mm x 40.48, 336 x 336 pixel AMOLED. Up to 1000 nits, it comes with Corning Glass 3 protection. Needless to say, this makes it pretty easy to read stats, even in the middle of a run. 

All three of these devices have the always-on option. But switching it on will eat into battery life.

fitbit sense vs versa 3 vs charge 4 comparison feature 1 - Fitbit Sense vs Versa 3 vs Charge 5: comparison feature
Fitbit Versa 3 vs Sense vs Charge 5 | Image source: Fitbit

You navigate all three of these via the touchscreen and single haptic button. Charge 5 has the latter on the left, Versa 3 and Sense on the right.

Essential readingTop fitness trackers and health gadgets

The more interesting differences are under the hood. This is the important stuff.

All of these come with the standard gamut of Fitbit sensors. The long list includes a 3-axis accelerometer, 3-axis gyroscope, optical heart rate monitor, temperature sensor PulseOx, vibration motor and NFC chip for contactless payments. There’s also built-in GPS for smartphone-less tracking of outdoor exercise.

Unlike the other two Charge 5 is missing an altimeter for counting floors. We’re not sure why Fitbit has made this decision as it is a strange one. Apart from that, the fitness band has the exact same sensors as Sense.

Versa 3 is the one that packs less under the hood. It lacks the ECG sensor and an electrodermal activity (EDA) sensor. This makes it a much less serious health device.

As you’d expect from Fitbit, at 5 ATM, the trio has excellent water-resistance. The same can be said for battery life. Charge 5 is good for about a week on a single charge, and Sense and Versa 3 a day less. This, of course, drops quite a bit with GPS switched on.

Here’s a table showing the specs in detail.

Sense
Versa 3
Charge 5
 
Screen size
40.48 mm x 40.48 mm
40.48 mm x 40.48 mm
36.78mm x 22.79mm
Depth
12.35mm
12.35mm
11.2mm
Display type
Hi-res touchscreen (up to 1000 nits). Corning Glass 3 display.
Hi-res touchscreen (up to 1000 nits). Corning Glass 3 display.
AMOLED full touchscreen
Display resolution 
336 × 336 pixels
336 × 336 pixels
260 x 170 pixels
Battery life
6+ days. Charge time (0-100%):2 hours. 12 minutes on charger tops it up for 24 hours.
6+ days. Charge time (0-100%):2 hours. 12 minutes on charger tops it up for 24 hours.
up to 7 days or up to 5 hours with GPS. Use of the always-on display and SpO2 features will require more frequent charging. 
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
Weight
45g
40g
15 grams (without strap)
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
Optical heart rate tracker,
3-axis accelerometer,
SpO2,
temperature sensor,
multipurpose electrical sensors compatible with ECG app & EDA Scan app,
vibration motor,
ambient light sensor
Microphone & speaker
Yes
Yes
No
Built-in GPS
Yes
Yes
Yes
NFC
Yes
Yes
Yes
Storage
Yes
Yes
No
RRP
$329
$230
$179

Fitbit Sense vs Versa 3 vs Charge 5: Features

Fitness and health tracking

No point in delving too much on the fitness tracking abilities of these devices. Fitbit is a pioneer in the wearable tech space and has this side of things nailed down. Let’s just say, if you’re after something to track your activity and sleep around the clock any of these devices will suffice.

Built-in GPS

Now with the addition of built-in GPS, they are also more serious exercise trackers. It means you can leave your phone behind and still get detailed stats and maps of your outdoor runs and cycling adventures. The good thing is that Fitbit has allowed for the Connected GPS option. If you’re running low on battery, switch to this and your wearable will keep going longer.

fitbit sense vs charge 4 comparison feature 1 - Fitbit Sense vs Versa 3 vs Charge 5: comparison feature
Fitbit Sense | Image source: Fitbit

The benefit of having Sense or Versa 3 is that they have a larger display than Charge 5. This makes them a more user friendly workout tracker. Meaning, you are actually able to read the stats on the go, plus the screen can show more info at the same time.

Lots of health tech on-board

All three of these devices have some pretty sophisticated sensors on-board. This includes the ability to read skin temperature and blood oxygen levels. The bad news is you will need a premium subscription to access the metrics beyond the latest seven days. It runs at $9.99 per month or $79.99 per year after the 3 month trial run expires.

fitbit versa or ionic what s the difference - Fitbit Sense vs Versa 3 vs Charge 5: comparison feature
Fitbit Versa 3
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review qlipp tennis sensor 8 - Fitbit Sense vs Versa 3 vs Charge 5: comparison feature

The premium subscription also allows you to access raw heart rate variability (HRV) data. This is useful for fitness buffs as it gives them an insight into how stressed their body is. A low value as compared to your baseline is an indicator you should take it easy that day. Respiratory rate can be found as well.

Another metric that sits behind the pay-wall is something called the Daily Readiness Score. Fitbit introduced it with Charge 5 but it will also come to Versa 3 and Sense. It takes into account the account your activity level over the past few days, HRV data and sleep info to let you know how fatigued you are. A glance at the reading (which ranges from 0 to 100), and you’ll be able to decide whether to exercise hard that day or take it easy. Fitbit also has activity recommendations which tap into this metric so can suggest appropriate exercises for you.

Sense and Charge 5 go further than Versa 3

Moving on to Sense and Charge 5 and we get some more goodies. They have the ability to measure your electrocardiogram. The Apple Watch has made headlines with its ECG sensor a couple of years ago but now other companies, such as Samsung and Withings, are getting in on the fun. To take a reading you’ll need to place your fingers on the corners of the case.

The other novelty is the stress score. It combines info from a number of sources including resting heart rate, HRV, temperature and more. This is put together with info from the electrodermal activity (EDA) sensor (which reads moisture in the skin) into a single figure that ranges from zero to 100. The higher your score the less stressed you are.

Versa 3 can also dish out a stress figure. However, this it is simplified in the sense that it doesn’t rely on information from the EDA sensor.

But Charge 5 is missing an altimeter for floor count

As mentioned above, Charge 5 is missing one fitness feature that can be found on Fitbit Sense and Versa 3. It doesn’t have an altimeter for counting floors climbed. This is not a big deal as the metric can be inaccurate at the best of times. But for those of us that are used to having a floor count it is an annoyance.

Sense
Versa 3
Charge 5
 
Altimeter
Yes
Yes
No
ECG readings
Yes
No
Yes
EDA stress readings
Yes
Basic stress readings (without EDA sensor)
Yes

Smart functionality

As far as non-fitness functions Versa 3 and Sense are the clear winner over Charge 5. Not surprising as they are smartwatches, not fitness bands. What’s common across the range are notifications, the ability to accept or reject calls, and contactless payments via the NFC chip.

fitbit versa or ionic what s the difference - Fitbit Sense vs Versa 3 vs Charge 5: comparison feature
Fitbit Sense
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review qlipp tennis sensor 8 - Fitbit Sense vs Versa 3 vs Charge 5: comparison feature

However, Versa 3 and Sense has a wide choice of apps you can install, in addition to Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant functionality and the ability to send voice replies. Finally, they also provide access to music streaming services. Charge 5 owners will need to take comfort in the knowledge they have Spotify control.


Fitbit Sense vs Versa 3 vs Charge 5: The bottom line

If you’re after a fitness band, Charge 5 is one of the best options out there. It tracks a wealth of stats, has decent water resistance and battery life, along with a functional design which now comes with a beautiful colour display. The ECG and EDA sensors make it a serious health device.

Versa 3 and Sense are for those that are after a smartwatch experience. They have the benefit of a larger display and additional functionality such as Google Assistant & Alexa, access to various music streaming services and more.

Sense will set you back an extra $100 over Versa 3. For that you get EDA and ECG sensors. These will provide you with a more in-depth look at your health. You also get this tech on the Charge 5 but will not have an altimeter for floor counts.

fitbit charge 4 vs charge 3 should you upgrade 108x300 - Fitbit Sense vs Versa 3 vs Charge 5: comparison feature

Fitbit Charge 5
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review qlipp tennis sensor 8 - Fitbit Sense vs Versa 3 vs Charge 5: comparison feature

It all really depends on what you are after. If you want a smartwatch experience Versa 3 is a decent option. Sense (Amazon link) will pique the interest of those after all the health tracking bells and whistles. Fitness band lovers won’t go wrong with Charge 5 (Amazon link). It is also the least expensive option of the three.

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13 thoughts on “Fitbit Sense vs Versa 3 vs Charge 5: comparison feature

  • Excellent article and comparison. Extremely helpful.

    Reply
    • Great review! Ease my confused mind .

      Reply
    • I’ve been looking everywhere for this detailed comparison. Thanks so much!

      Reply
  • Thank you for excellent article and comparison information. It helps with making a decision on which to purchase.

    Reply
  • Very helpful comparison, thank you!

    Reply
  • Good info and to the point, very helpful in laying out the differences. Thank you

    Reply
  • Great great article.

    Clear outlay of the benefits.

    Reply
  • Anyone knows if Fitbit changer 5 is coming out..

    Reply
  • Thank you so much for this comparison article. It is very helpful. I was debating between the Versa 3 and the Charge 5, but they each had something I wanted that wasn’t available int the other. I did not know about the Sense and it seems to have what the other 2 lacked individually. This article really helped me decide. Thank you so much.

    Reply
    • Thanks! 🙂

      Reply
  • Thanks for these detailed comparisons. The charts are especially helpful!

    I do wish you’d talked about build quality in terms of a problem some Fitbits have: the connectors for the band are plastic and break off, rendering the device unwearable.

    Finally, I’m pretty sure “electrodiagram” is not a thing. Did you mean “electrocardiogram”?

    Reply
    • Yes, thanks for the correction. Regarding build – Charge 5 is not out yet so until then difficult to comment on that aspect.

      Reply

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