Image source: Google

Google Pixel Watch vs Fitbit Sense 2 vs Versa 4: what’s the difference?

In this article we compare Pixel Watch vs Fitbit Sense 2 vs Versa 4. This is the first comparison that springs to mind following today’s launch event considering that Fitbit has been under Google ownership since 2021. This means the company’s tech and software can be found in Pixel Watch.

What is clear is that Google is positioning Fitbit devices as fitness watches. Hence, they fall short when it comes to certain smarts. In fact, some of the abilities of the predecessor generation Fitbits are not present in the current generation. This includes music storage and music smartphone control, ability to install third-party apps and more.

Google Pixel Watch is perhaps the most anticipated smartwatch ever. The device is there to compete squarely against the likes of the Apple Watch and Samsung Galaxy Watch. So it is something for those that are looking for a fully fledged smartwatch experience.

Essential readingTop fitness trackers and health gadgets

But what exactly are the differences when we pit Google Pixel Watch against Fitbit Sense 2 and Versa 4? Read on to find out. The three devices are right for everyone. It depends, very much on what you are looking for in a watch.

Jump to

Design & hardware
Technical specs round-up
Activity & health tracking
Smartwatch features
The bottom line


Google Pixel Watch vs Fitbit Sense 2 vs Versa 4: Design and hardware

In terms of looks, Sense 2 and Versa 4 couldn’t be any more different that Pixel Watch. Fitbit has stuck to its tried and tested design with a plethora of square shaped devices. These feature a lightweight aluminium build.

Google, on the other hand, has adopted a circular shape with a domed top glass that curves all the way to the recycled stainless steel sides. Which means it comes with slightly more premium material than the Fitbits.

The Apple Watch with its square, functional design has attracted a loyal following. It remains to be seen whether Google’s device gets the same type of reception. Round watches are better looking, but they do not offer as much screen space as their square counterparts.

Whether you choose a Fitbit or Google watch, you’ll get a lightweight device, water resistance down to 50 meters and a full colour, touch sensitive, high quality display.

The one of the Fitbit’s measures 1.58 inches so there’s lots of room there for viewing your fitness stats and messages. Google Pixel Watch packs a 1.2 inch display and a rather thick bezel around its edges. But its quality is excellent, hence you get a higher screen resolution than on the Fitbits. Having said that, it would have been much nicer if Google had managed to extend the screen size to be closer to the edges.

Google Pixel Watch vs Fitbit Sense 2 vs Versa 4
Fitbit Sense 2 vs Versa 4 vs Google Pixel Watch

All these devices have an always-on screen option and come with a plethora of watch-faces. Unfortunately, on the Fitbit’s there’s no option to connect to the company’s App Gallery. So you can only choose from Fitbit-made options. Google with its WearOS system allows you to choose from a wide selection of watch-faces, including third-party ones. If you’re up for it, you might even attempt to design a watch-face of your own!

All of these watches also come with physical buttons. Versa 4 and Sense 2 have a single physical button which you use in combination with the touch display to navigate the menus. Google Pixel watch has something entirely different. It packs a bottle cap-shaped crown that rotates and can be pressed. There’s a further button just above it.

Fitbit is known for allowing users to customise the look of their devices with a multitude of band options. Google is no different. Its watch comes with a proprietary mechanism for swapping bands. Simply insert them at a tilt and snap into place.

There’s a plethora of strap options for your Google watch including a sporty silicone band, Fabric band, Stretch band, a couple of leather strap options, Link bracelet and a Milanese-style mesh band. No doubt, lots of third-party options will appear in the coming days and months.

Considering the design between the Fitbits and Google Pixel Watch is nothing alike, it comes down to personal preferences. Do you want something that looks like a traditional watch (bezel complaints aside) – than the obvious choice is the Google option. If you’re after something more functional – go for one of the Fitbits.

Under the hood – lots of sensors

The differences continue below the surface.

Powering everything on the Google Pixel Watch is Samsung’s Exynos 9110 chipset. It works in parallel to a co-processor and a massive 2GB of RAM. That’s actually better than what is offered by other WearOS watches. Users also get a sizeable 32GB of storage which is double that of existing devices. The chip is from a few years ago, but the presence of the co-processor means certain tasks can be offloaded.

Fitbit has never disclosed information on processors powering its devices. So we can’t make an actual comparison. Having said that, its safe to assume that Google Pixel Watch has more processing power than Fitbit Sense 2 or Versa 4.

As you’d expect, all of these devices are jam-packed with sensors. They also have satellite connectivity so you can exercise outdoors and track your stats in detail without the need for a paired smartphone.

Versa 4 lacks ECG and the cEDA (electrodermal activity sensor) sensors of Sense 2, but it includes everything else. This includes an ambient light sensor, SpO2, optical heart rate sensor, accelerometer, gyroscope, skin temperature sensor and altimeter.

Google Pixel Watch also lacks a few things as compared to Sense 2. This incudes the cEDA sensor, SpO2 sensor and skin temperature sensor. But it has the addition of a compass, and its altimeter is always-on.

Fitbit Sense 2 vs Google Pixel Watch
Fitbit Sense 2 vs Google Pixel Watch

Moving on and there is also the cellular connectivity of the Google Pixel watch. We are yet to see an LTE-enabled Fitbit. It doesn’t look like we will, at least in the near future.

Other tech below the hood includes an NFC chip for contactless payments. And while that can be found on all three devices, built-in storage for music is only available on Google Pixel Watch.

Battery life – no comparison

At 24 hours, battery life on Google Pixel Watch is not much better than what can be found on other WearOS timepieces or the Apple Watch. This has always been a stumbling block of fully featured smartwatches. For the most case, you’ll be charging then pretty much every day. In the case of the Pixel watch, with a magnetic puck with USB-C on the other end.

Fitbit Versa 4 and Sense 2, on the other hand, come with a perfectly decent 6 days on a single charge. This is possible due to their more lightweight operating system and limited smart functionality. But turn on their always-on display option and this will halve. So that’s something to be aware of.


Google Pixel Watch vs Fitbit Sense 2 vs Versa 4: Technical specs roundup

Google Pixel Watch
Fitbit Sense 2
Fitbit Versa 4
Case material
Stainless steel
Aluminium
Aluminium
Sizes
41mm
40.5mm
40.5mm
Display type
Always-on AMOLED
Always-on AMOLED
Always-on AMOLED
Display protection
Corning Gorilla Glass 5
Corning Gorilla Glass 3
Corning Gorilla Glass 3
Display size
1.2 inch
1.58 inch
1.58 inch
Display resolution 
450 x 450 pixels
336 × 336 pixels
336 × 336 pixels
Battery life
24 hours
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.
Water resistance
5 ATM
5 ATM
5 ATM
Weight
36 grams
40 grams
40 grams
Sensors
Optical heart rate sensor, accelerometer, gyroscope, always-on altimeter, multipurpose electrical sensor, compass, ambient light sensor
Optical heart rate tracker, 3-axis accelerometer, Electrical sensor to measure skin conductance (cEDA), gyroscope, altimeter, SpO2, vibration motor, temperature sensor, ambient light sensor
Optical heart rate tracker, 3-axis accelerometer, gyroscope, altimeter, SpO2, vibration motor, temperature sensor, ambient light sensor
Built-in GPS
Yes (GPS, GLONAS, BeiDou, Galileo)
Yes (GPS, GLONAS, BeiDou, Galileo)
Yes (GPS, GLONAS, BeiDou, Galileo)
NFC
Yes
Yes
Yes
LTE
Optional
No
No
Microphone & speaker
Yes
Yes
Only microphone
Built-in music storage
Yes
No
No
Operating system
WearOS 3.5
Proprietary
Proprietary
Memory
32GB storage, 2GB RAM
Stores your data for 7 days
Stores your data for 7 days
Processor
Chipset: Exynos 9110 (10nm), Cortex-M33 co-processor
n/a
n/a
Smartphone compatibility
Android
iPhone, Android
iPhone, Android
RRP
$349 (WiFi), $399 (cellular)
$300
$230

Google Pixel Watch vs Fitbit Sense 2 vs Versa 4: Features

Activity and health tracking

Despite the poor battery life, a big focus of the Pixel Watch is health and fitness. Not really surprising considering the Fitbit integration. In fact you can use the Fitbit software ecosystem to view all your stats – just like on existing Fitbit devices. With the addition of Google Fit.

fitbit-versa-3

Fitbit Versa 4
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Google Pixel Watch vs Fitbit Sense 2 vs Versa 4

As far as fitness and exercise, you get all the basics which ever device you choose. So all the usuals like step count, distance, calories, heart rate stress, HRV, sleep, 40+ exercise modes, female health tracking etc.

As mentioned, all of these also come with built-in GPS. So while they are not the equivalent to Garmin-type sports watches, they do spit out running and other exercise metrics that will suffice for the vast majority of people. Unfortunately, none of these can be connected to external devices such as heart rate chest straps. So if that’s what you are after, look elsewhere.

Another negative that we would like to flag up is the Fitbit premium monthly subscription. It will leave you $10 per month out of pocket if you opt for it. If you don’t you’ll still be able to use your watch, but will not have access to long term trends for some metrics and certain detailed insights. Unfortunately, Google Pixel Watch also taps into this subscription.

Google Pixel Watch vs Fitbit Sense 2 vs Versa 4
Image source: Google

What are the fitness and health tracking differences?

Starting with Pixel Watch, it has the most accurate Fitbit heart rate tracker to date. The device monitors heart rate like time – once every second, regardless if you are exercising or at rest. So while Pixel Watch cannot connect to an external heart rate chest strap, its readings should be pretty accurate. Its other extras over the Fitbit Sense 2 include a compass and the fact that its altimeter is always on.

However, as mentioned above, it lacks a few things. It doesn’t have the EDA sensor for detailed measurements of stress. Sense 2 is capable of monitor electrical changes in your skin’s sweat levels around the clock. This is through a new Body Response metric.

Pixel Watch also lacks the skin temperature sensor, low and high heart rate alerts, and irregular heart rhythm notifications via the PPG sensor. Other omissions include information on swim strokes and the ability to auto-start and stop exercises. Finally, the sleep stats on the Fitbits are slightly more detailed as they include Sleep Profile, Smart Wake alarms and Mindfulness content for sleep.

As far as blood oxygen readings, the Pixel Watch does have the necessary sensor. But it is inactive. Presumably, at some stage Google will enable it via a software update.

Also coming on Google’s watch is Fall detection. The functionality will contact emergency services on your behalf if it deems you have taken a stumble or fall. This is something not yet available on any Fitbit.

FitbitSense

Fitbit Sense 2
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Google Pixel Watch vs Fitbit Sense 2 vs Versa 4

So it’s clearly a mix. Fitbit Sense 2 remains as the top end device for health and fitness tracking. Versa 4 lacks the ECG and EDA sensors so is an option for those who do not need all the bells and whistles of its big brother. Google Pixel watch lacks some of the functionality of the Fitbits but also comes with a few features of its own.

Google Pixel Watch vs Fitbit Sense 2 vs Versa 4: Recap of differences in health & fitness smarts

Google Pixel Watch
Fitbit Sense 2
Fitbit Versa 4
ECG with Afib detection
Yes
Yes
No
EDA sensor for stress measurements
No
Yes (continuous)
No
SpO2 monitoring
No (sensor inactive)
Yes
Yes
Compass
Yes
No
No
Auto-start, stop and pause of exercises
No
Yes
Yes
Swim strokes
No
Yes
Yes
High and low heart rate alerts
No
Yes
Yes
Irregular heart rhythm notifications
No
Yes
Yes
Emergency SOS & emergency international calling
Yes
No
No
Fall detection
Coming this winter
No
No
Altimeter
Always-on
Yes
Yes
Skin temperature sensor
No
Yes
Yes

Smartwatch features – Pixel Watch far ahead

When it comes to smartwatch features, there is no comparison – Google Pixel Watch trounces the Fitbits. For starters it runs on WearOS 3.5. This means it has access to a long list of third-party apps and watch faces.

Previous generation Fitbits have the ability to connect to App Gallery. And while its choice is much smaller than what you can get on WearOS, it does provide some options. Unfortunately, Versa 4 and Sense 2 have no ability to install third party apps and watch-faces. Has this been done on purpose by Google in order to position Pixel Watch as the device of choice if you are after a fully fledged smartwatch? Perhaps.

The smartwatch advantages of the Pixel Watch do not end there. It has the ability for music control and there’s on-board storage for music so you can play your tunes untethered from a watch. None of this is available on the Fitbits.

And lets not forget cellular connectivity. When you are away from your phone, Google Pixel Watch automatically switches to the cellular signal. Third party apps can tap into this signal as well.

The smart functionality on Versa 2 and Sense 4 consists of the NFC chip for contactless payments, Alexa, text and calendar alerts, and a few other bits and pieces. Much more is available on Google Pixel Watch as shown in the table below.

Google Pixel Watch vs Fitbit Sense 2 vs Versa 4: Recap of differences in smartwatch features

Google Pixel Watch
Fitbit Sense 2
Fitbit Versa 4
LTE calls
Yes (optional)
No
No
Bluetooth calls
Yes
Coming soon
Coming soon
Google Assistant
Yes
No
No
Alexa
No
Yes
Yes
Contactless payments
Google wallet
Fitbit Pay
Fitbit Pay
Google maps
Yes
No
No
Gmail notifications
Yes
No
No
Youtube music
Yes
No
No
Built-in storage for music
Yes
No
No
Google Play
Yes
No
No

Google Pixel Watch vs Fitbit Sense 2 vs Versa 4: Verdict

While Google Pixel watch, Fitbit Sense 2 and Versa 4 all pack Fitbit activity and health tracking smarts, there are quite important differences to be aware of. In essence, the first is for someone looking for a fully fledged smartwatch experience, the other two are primarily fitness tracking devices. So two very different market segments.

For starters there’s the design. Fat bezels aside, Google Pixel watch is for those after something that looks like a traditional timepiece. It has a domed, circular appearance, rotatable crown and button on the end. Plus there’s its high-res screen. The Fitbits are more about function, with their sporty no-nonsense appearance.

As far as fitness tracking functionality, all three of these devices tap into Fitbit’s software ecosystem. But Pixel Watch lacks blood oxygen readings, the EDA sensor and skin temperature sensor. So Sense 2 is the top choice if health tracking is what you are after. Versa 4 is lower spec as it lacks the ECG and EDA sensors of its big brother.

And while on paper Pixel Watch might come across pretty much on par with the Fitbits as far as activity tracking, its small display and 24 hour battery life make it much less useable for that sort of thing. You certainly don’t want the hassle of charging your device every day if you are primarily interested in activity and health tracking.

FitbitSense

Google Pixel Watch
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Google Pixel Watch vs Fitbit Sense 2 vs Versa 4

If, however, you are interested in both activity monitoring and lots of smart functionality, Google Pixel Watch is the clear choice. Running WearOS with its rich selection of apps and watch faces, it comes with built-in storage for music, optional cellular connectivity and more. It is a solid first effort from Google, and the watch is a perfect companion for those with a Pixel phone.

To sum up, those after a general fitness tracking device should probably look at Versa 4 – as it provides the most value for money (check price on Amazon). Fitbit Sense 2 is a bit more high spec due to its ECG and EDA sensors (Amazon link). Google Pixel watch does not work with iPhones, but if you have an Android phone and are looking for a fully fledged smartwatch – it is a decent option (Amazon link).

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