Apple Watch vs Fitbit Charge 4 Best Fitness Tracker in 2020

Though they cater to different segments, there’s no doubt that in a contest between the Apple Watch Series 5 and the Fitbit Charge 4, the Apple Watch will always come out on top. This is thanks to features like the bigger OLED screen, as well as support for third-party apps among others.

ProductBrandNamePrice
AppleApple Watch Series 5 (GPS, 40mm) - Silver Aluminum Case with White Sport BandCheck Price on Amazon
FitbitFitbit Charge 4 Fitness and Activity Tracker with Built-in GPS, Heart Rate, Sleep & Swim Tracking, Black/Black, One Size (S &L Bands Included)Check Price on Amazon

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Fitness tracking is one of the essential parts of our lives and there are several devices out there that can help us track our workouts. Some manufacturers have seemingly bridged the gap between a fitness tracker and a watch, known as a smartwatch. Prominent among modern-day smartwatches are the Apple Watch Series 5, launched in late 2019, and the Fitbit Charge 4 that broke cover in March this year as a successor to the equally popular Fitbit Charge 3.

So it’s clear that the Charge 4 and the Apple Watch are relatively new in the marketplace and are hence competing with each other for the somewhat crowded wearables space. It’s no secret that Apple makes some of the best smartwatches out there with fitness tracking and even calling features available depending on the model you pick.

So how does the Fitbit Charge 4 fare in front of a competitor like the Apple Watch Series 5? Let’s find out in this detailed comparison.

Apple Watch Series 5 vs Fitbit Charge 4

Apple Watch Series 5

Design

Apple didn’t particularly go back to the drawing board while upgrading the design of the Series 5 after having launched the Series 4. But this is not necessarily a bad thing as customers still get the premium aluminum finish in attractive finishes like Gold, Silver, and Space Gray.

Much like older versions of the Apple Watch, the company makes this available in a base version with built-in GPS and a cellular model, with the latter being significantly more expensive than the GPS variant. The cellular version also has a distinctive red marker on the digital crown which puts it apart from its GPS-only siblings. Further, customers also have the choice between 40mm and 44mm versions of the Series 5.

Features

The Apple Watch, as per many, didn’t see a lot of upgrades from Series 4. While this is partially true, saying that will be ignoring all the new features that the company has packed into the 2019 variant. To start with, the Apple Watch Series 5 now has an Always-On Display, something that’s been long-awaited on the Apple Watch lineup. This basically means that the watch face can be viewed at any time without having to wake the display, something that older Apple Watch models aren’t capable of.

It also comes with a dedicated ECG application that can get you an electrocardiogram without having to visit a hospital. This is in addition to the electrical and optical heart rate sensors that are included by default.

Also new to the Apple Watch Series 5 is the Noise app which can detect background noise around you and warn you with a notification when it’s getting too loud. Expectedly, users can also set the Noise app as a watch face complication.

There are also a wide range of fitness tracking features with the Nike+ app built-in. Additionally, users will also get access to the Activity app (requires an iPhone) which can help you compete with your friends and family towards achieving your fitness goals. Naturally, the wide range of third-party fitness apps is also available on the App Store.

As for the buttons on the Apple Watch Series 5, the digital crown also acts as a home button, while long-pressing it can activate Siri, Apple’s default voice assistant across Macs, iPhones, as well as the iPad. There’s a secondary button that serves as a multitasking key, with a single press taking you to the list open apps, while double-pressing it can activate Apple Pay wireless payments if enabled.

The inclusion of Bluetooth on the Apple Watch is not just limited to pairing it with your iPhone as it can also pair with any Bluetooth compatible wireless earbuds. Pairing takes a few seconds and can be done without the help of a paired smartphone.

Much like previous iterations of the Apple Watch, the Series 5 retains the waterproofing, making this wearable swim-proof. This smartwatch also has a set of swimming-related activities that are worth checking out for frequent swimmers.

While the predecessors have had speakers on board, Apple mentions that the Series 5 sports louder speakers for more clarity for notifications and even voice calls. Given that the Apple Watch (cellular) can be used without an iPhone, having a better quality speaker does make a great deal of sense.

Even though Apple offers every feature you could ask for, it’s somewhat disappointing that there’s no dedicated sleep tracking feature on the wearable. However, users can always download third-party sleep tracking apps from the App Store.

Battery Life

As per Apple’s official website, the Series 5 comes with a battery life of 18 hours. The company says the cellular variant can return the same battery life as it uses a slightly bigger battery unit underneath. However, as with any device, you’re likely to experience shorter battery life if you’re constantly using its features (for ex: music via Bluetooth headphones, phone calls, voice typing, and so on).

Fitbit Charge 4

Design

As most are probably aware at this point, the Fitbit Charge 4 has a completely different form factor. It’s a rectangular display that wraps around the shape of your wrist perfectly. This is also because the company is marketing this as a comprehensive fitness tracker and not particularly a smartwatch. The Fitbit Charge 4 is available in Black and Redwood colors while the company also offers some special edition watch bands for the wearable.

Features

The Fitbit Charge 4 uses a monochrome LED display, which means it can only display one color. However, the fact that it sports an OLED panel means that the screen should be comfortably readable even in sunlight.

Though the Fitbit Charge 4 is not a proper smartwatch, Fitbit mentions that it can still show you notifications from your phone for calls, texts, and even some third-party apps. One of the biggest upgrades on the Fitbit Charge 4 as compared to the predecessor is the inclusion of built-in GPS. This effectively means the wearable can track workouts on its own without needing your phone. Though it can’t function completely on its own as the Apple Watch can.

Since fitness tracking is front and center here, the Charge 4 comes included with features like Active Zone Minutes which basically sends you an alert when you’ve reached your target heart rate zones during workouts. Given that the Apple Watch also sends timely alerts with regard to your fitness goals for the day, there’s no real difference between the two wearables in this regard. However, Fitbit stands out with its 20+ goal-based exercise modes.

As with the Apple Watch Series 5, the Fitbit Charge 4 comes with a heart-rate sensor underneath. However, it doesn’t have an ECG sensor like the latest iteration of the Apple Watch.

Fitbit Charge 4 also comes included with the company’s dedicated wireless payments service, known as Fitbit Pay. Though this feature is available on multiple Fitbit devices, it’s not nearly as popular as Apple Pay which is available internationally as well.

Since there’s no dedicated app store on this wearable, customers are limited to using whatever apps come onboard the Charge 4.

Keeping your overall health in mind, the Charge 4 also includes a sleep tracking feature that can give you a sleep score based on how well you’ve slept. The Fitbit smartphone app then lets you go through your sleep data to compare what works best for you.

The Fitbit Charge 4 supports Spotify playback, but it’s limited to controlling the music that your phone plays. Given the form factor used by Fitbit, there’s simply no room for a speaker here. So it’s clear that the Apple Watch Series 5 has a clear advantage in this area.

Battery Life

Keeping in line with the Charge 3, Fitbit mentions that the Charge 4 can last for up to 7 days on a full battery. However, the battery life comes down significantly if you’re using GPS. As per the company, users can only operate the wearable for 5 hours at a time with the GPS turned on. This is a major disadvantage as compared to the Apple Watch, though it comfortably beats the Apple Watch in terms of standby time. Another advantage here is that the Fitbit Charge 4 wearable doesn’t take a lot of time to charge up.

Verdict

Now that we’ve had a closer look at both the Fitbit Charge 4 and the Series 5 Apple Watch, it’s clear that there can only be one winner. The Apple Watch, despite being a relatively expensive wearable, makes a great deal of sense considering that it has the combination of the best hardware as well as the software we’ve seen from a wearable device.

The Fitbit Charge 4, on the other hand, comes with a more traditional fitness tracker design, which has its own appeal. Though it lacks features like cellular connectivity and native music playback, it does offer a lot in terms of workouts and exercises. Both wearables come with a heart rate sensor and are water-resistant, so you should have no trouble using them when it’s raining or at the pool. Though both models come with fitness tracking features, the Charge 4 is undoubtedly the better model in terms of fitness tracking.

Users will also need to be aware that the Apple Watch has extremely limited compatibility on Android devices as these wearables are designed to work with the iPhones. However, none of these issues exist on the Fitbit Charge 4 as it can be used on practically any Android phone or iPhone with the help of the Fitbit app. This makes the Charge 4 more accessible to the users as compared to the Apple Watch.

So as you can see, users can’t really go wrong with either the new Apple Watch or the Fitbit Charge 4 as there’s something for everyone.

ProductBrandNamePrice
AppleApple Watch Series 5 (GPS, 40mm) - Silver Aluminum Case with White Sport BandCheck Price on Amazon
FitbitFitbit Charge 4 Fitness and Activity Tracker with Built-in GPS, Heart Rate, Sleep & Swim Tracking, Black/Black, One Size (S &L Bands Included)Check Price on Amazon

* If you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. For more details, please visit our Privacy policy page.