Apple Watch vs Fitbit Ionic Best Smartwatch 2020

The Apple Watch is without a doubt one of the most recognizable pieces of wearable hardware available in the market today. However, this wearable is not without ample competition. Manufacturers like Fitbit have been constantly pushing the envelope by offering advanced smartwatches with an advanced focus on fitness tracking.

ProductBrandNamePrice
AppleApple Watch Series 5 (GPS, 44mm) - Space Gray Aluminum Case with Black Sport BandCheck Price on Amazon
FitbitFitbit Ionic GPS Smart Watch, Slate Blue/Burnt Orange, One Size (S and L Bands Included)Check Price on Amazon
AppleApple Watch Series 4 (GPS + Cellular, 44MM)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.

Keeping this in mind, it’s not so easy to recommend the Apple Watch right away, not today anyway. One of the prominent among the Apple Watch competitors is the Fitbit Ionic. This wearable has been around for a while and offers a completely different experience as compared to the Apple smartwatch.

If you’re on the hunt for the best smartwatch out there, the Apple Watch and the Fitbit Ionic are some of the top names that stand out today. Taking this into account, we’ve decided to take a closer look at both smartwatches to give you a better understanding of their features as well as key differences.

So let’s take a look.

Fitbit Ionic vs Apple Watch

Apple Watch

Design

Though the Apple Watch has been around for quite some time now, it hasn’t seen any radical changes in terms of design. Though size options have become more standardized since the arrival of the Apple Watch Series 3 a couple of years ago. In its current form, customers can get the smartwatch in 40mm and 44mm variants, with the latter being slightly bigger and suited for larger wrists.

The company offers a stock silicone watch band with the wearable, though customers can buy additional watch bands from Apple or via third-party retailers. Choosing the latter option may also prove to be cost-effective for many customers.

Users can currently get the smartwatch in stainless steel which includes color options like gold, silver, and space black while aluminum options are also available silver, gold, and space grey. There’s a dedicated hardware button on the right hand side of the wearable, while the iconic Digital Crown is also present. The crown can be used to scroll through the app screen or even messages. There’s also a microphone located nearby, which picks up your voice for Hey Siri commands.

Features

The Watch really shines with its onboard hardware. Newer models of the wearable come with an OLED display which basically allows the display to remain on at all times, pretty much like a watch is supposed to be. Models like the Apple Watch Series 3 lack this particular aspect, so customers need to be sure they know which model they’re getting. It’s quite clear that the Series 5 has made quite a leap as compared to the Apple Watch Series 3 and Series 4 (no longer officially sold by Apple).

In terms of sizes, the 44mm Watch has a 977 sq mm display area while the 40mm version comes with a 759 sq mm display area. This may not seem like much, though it’s pretty significant.

The latest version of Watch comes with a dual-core 64-bit S5 processor, which allows it to be more powerful than ever. One of the other features worth considering here is the boosted storage capacity. Apple offers up to 32GB of internal storage with the newer models of the Apple Watch, whereas most competitors max out at 16GB. The wearable also comes with 1GB of RAM, putting the Watch in a league of its own in terms of hardware features.

As has been the case with the past few iterations of the Apple wearable, there’s a dedicated heart rate sensor present here, keeping you informed of fluctuating heart-rates. Unfortunately, the wearable lacks a dedicated sleep tracking application, though one can be downloaded from the App Store.

Users will be pleased to know that Apple offers a handful of fitness-related features, including activity tracking. There are preset workout modes built into the Watch. Wireless payments have been enabled with the past few iterations of the Watch, thanks to the inclusion of an NFC chip. This allows you to use your wrist to make one-tap payments at compatible terminals.

Customers can currently pick up the Apple Watch Series 3 or the Apple Watch Series 5. Though Watch Series 4 is officially not available for purchase, you can still find some good deals for the smartwatch, like the one here.

Battery

Battery performance is an area where Apple’s wearable has seen significant improvements over the past few iterations. The most recent version of the wearable (Watch Series 5) can return last for up to 18 hours before needing to be charged. This puts this among some of the best smartwatches out there.

It must be noted that Apple promises the same battery life with both sizes of Watch, which means that the bigger variant has a slightly larger battery underneath as it can drain more battery. When paired with Apple’s official charger, the Watch can take approximately 150 minutes or 2.5 hours to fully charge.

Fitbit Ionic

Design

The Fitbit Ionic is a fitness tracking wearable first, and a smartwatch next. This basically means that it is designed to be comfortable for wearing throughout the day or even more depending on the battery performance. Though the Ionic is available in multiple attractive color options, it seems somewhat lacking considering the relatively thick bezels covering the display.

Elaborating on the comfort offered by the Fitbit bands, the manufacturer offers both Small and Large bands with the Ionic, saving you the trouble of getting them separately. Users can also purchase third-party bands from other sources in the marketplace.

Features

To start with, the Ionic has a 1.4-inch LCD screen, which is clearly inferior as compared to the OLED screen on the Apple Watch. However, one also has to consider the fact that this serves a different niche, and as we’ve mentioned already, Fitbit focuses more on the fitness tracking aspect with this wearable.

Though Fitbit doesn’t specify the precise storage capacity of the Ionic, the company does mention that it can hold up to 300 songs at a time. Further, users can also sync their playlists from music streaming app Pandora. Controlling your Fitbit Ionic only requires the official Fitbit app, which is available for both Android and iOS devices. This app will also help users change the watch face, though we found the process to be significantly better on Apple’s offering.

Users will also welcome the fact that the Ionic comes with an NFC chip built-in along with Fitbit Pay. As for fitness tracking features, this offering does it better than any out there. Fitbit is also wise enough to include a feature that offers “sleep insights” which is as close as one can get to having a sleep tracking feature built-in.

The Ionic puts the PurePulse Heart Rate tracking system to good use, offering detailed analysis on your heart-rate during workouts. One of our favorite features of the Ionic is the inclusion of Dynamic Personal Coaching which basically offers on-screen guidance during workouts and fitness sessions to offer motivation and help reach your goals. Naturally, there’s built-in GPS here as well which can track outdoor jogging/running and sync with the Fitbit app.

Battery

Given that this is pretty much a fitness tracker, the Ionic can comfortably last for more than four days on a single charge. This is the wearable’s biggest advantage over industry rivals and something that could prove to be the deciding factor for those considering a fitness tracker that is also a smartwatch.

The company provides a charging accessory with the Ionic, while the wearable can take up to 2 hours to fully charge from 0 to 100%. Users will have to be aware that the battery performance may be down if you use GPS continuously. But the fact remains that the Fitbit Ionic can last significantly longer than the Apple smartwatch.

Verdict

While one may think that the Apple Watch is an instant winner in this comparison, we wouldn’t be so quick to jump to that conclusion. This is because the Apple wearable, despite its obvious hardware advantages, is only fully compatible with iPhones. This leaves out almost half of the users that have Android smartphones. It’s also worth pointing out again that features like sleep tracking are offered by Fitbit while Apple skips them, though both wearables have comprehensive fitness tracking enabled. Not to mention the fact that the Apple wearable also costs quite a bit more than the Ionic. With this in mind, the Fitbit Ionic appears to be the wiser choice for some.

But since the purpose of this comparison is to understand which is the better smartwatch across all categories, it’s clear that the Apple Watch dominates the Fitbit Ionic in almost all areas. Be it in the form of hardware features, or the things that you use every day like messages and voice assistants (Siri), the Watch has your back. Though it doesn’t quite offer a full-day battery, 18 hours is as good as you can expect from a powerful piece of hardware this size.

We are happy to report that both wearables come with a healthy supply of third-party watch-bands that you can pick from a wide range of retailers, so there’s no dearth of customization options regardless of which wearable or fitness tracker you choose today.

ProductBrandNamePrice
AppleApple Watch Series 5 (GPS, 44mm) - Space Gray Aluminum Case with Black Sport BandCheck Price on Amazon
FitbitFitbit Ionic GPS Smart Watch, Slate Blue/Burnt Orange, One Size (S and L Bands Included)Check Price on Amazon
AppleApple Watch Series 4 (GPS + Cellular, 44MM)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.