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Best Fitbit fitness trackers and watches in 2023
Editor’s note: Amazon Prime Day is just around the corner. Fortunately, if you want to get ahead on your spending, we’ve put together a guide to the best early Prime Day deals you can already take advantage of.
In 2023, you might wonder if Fitbit is still relevant. Despite getting acquired by Google, Fitbit remains one of the most recognizable names in the industry. Fitbit trackers aren’t meant for the most hardcore of athletes, but they’re still excellent devices for tracking overall activity as well as monitoring certain health and wellness metrics like EKGs and blood oxygen levels.
That said, the next few years will be a transition period from the Fitbit of old to whatever Fitbit will be going forward. I wasn’t impressed with a recent decision to sunset legacy community features like challenges, or the fact that all Fitbit accounts will require you to log in via Google by 2025.
What I’m looking for
Fitbits tend to have longer battery life than more advanced smartwatches. Most are estimated to last around five days, but we’ve found that some features like an always-on display can drastically impact the time between charges. So I’m looking to see what you can realistically expect with “average” use.
Most Fitbits share the same basic feature set like steps, timers, and notifications. However, not every model is capable of EKG or real-time stress tracking. The same goes for built-in GPS. Does the feature set make sense given the price? Is it missing something that it shouldn’t be?
Fitbit has often been a more affordable alternative to smartwatches, but this space has changed quite a bit in the last few years. There are more options than ever, so does this device offer good value?
Who is it for?
This encompasses a lot, but especially in terms of the overall form factor. If it’s for a casual user, is the design versatile enough for a variety of occasions? If it’s aimed at kids or athletes, are the straps durable enough?
While Fitbit’s future is a tad murky, there are reasons to stick with its trackers in the meantime. Fitbit trackers are relatively affordable, especially since they often go on sale. All the devices come with a free trial to Fitbit Premium, the company’s subscription service that adds guided workouts, meditations, and access to more in-depth metrics. So long as you’re aware that changes lie ahead, here are the best Fitbits to buy.
Best Fitbit smartwatch
Google Pixel Watch
Google’s first in-house smartwatch has a beautiful domed display and native Fitbit integration for health tracking. It comes with six months of Fitbit Premium and three months of YouTube Music.
$339 at Amazon$300 at Best Buy
The launch of the $349.99 Pixel Watch has thrown a wrench into Fitbit’s smartwatch lineup. Technically, it’s a Google product, but Google owns Fitbit, so they’re all Google products now. Fitbit powers all of the Pixel Watch’s health and fitness features. But really, this is the smartwatch that Fitbit never could manage to build on its own.
For starters, it’s got a beautiful design with a circular domed display that looks way more elegant than the squircle Versa or Sense smartwatches ever did. On your wrist, it looks like a watch, not a tracker dressed up as one.
The Pixel Watch is also a lot smarter than the Versa 4 or Sense 2, in part because Fitbit made its watches less smart. You get Google Assistant — which was removed from the aforementioned Fitbits — and the whole suite of Google services like Maps, Home, YouTube Music, and Wallet. The Google Play Store has a ton of third-party apps, and the number keeps growing. Fitbit’s native app store is bare, and the Versa 4 and Sense 2 don’t support third-party apps anyway, though their predecessors did. The Pixel Watch also has an LTE version for $50 more, which has emergency SOS calling. No matter how you look at it, the Pixel Watch is a better smartwatch than the Versa 4 and Sense 2.
The Pixel Watch is technically the smartest Fitbit.Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge
For health and fitness tracking, the Pixel Watch is essentially a Fitbit. Fitbit integration is built right into the watch, and the Fitbit app is where you’ll view your data. There are a few shortcomings, however. While the watch has EKG capabilities, it doesn’t offer alerts for abnormally high / low heart rates or irregular heart rhythms. Its version of automatic tracking is less handy than a real Fitbit’s, and it doesn’t offer stroke tracking for swimmers or nightly SpO2 percentages. This may change, however, as Google and Fitbit recently reversed course and added the Sleep Profile feature to the Pixel Watch.
If all you want is a fitness tracker that looks like a smartwatch, you can consider the Versa 4 or Sense 2. They’ll get the job done. The $229 Versa 4 is the more budget-friendly option, and I only recommend the $299.95 Sense 2 if you care about EKG readings and more robust stress tracking.
Read our review of the Pixel Watch here
Best budget Fitbit
Fitbit Inspire 3
The Fitbit Inspire 3 is an minimalist fitness band that delivers notifications and tracks your activity on a bright OLED screen.
$80 at Amazon$100 at Wellbots
The Inspire line hasn’t always felt, well, inspired. But the $99.95 Inspire 3 is different. With a color OLED display, it’s reminiscent of the Fitbit Luxe (formerly $149.95, now often around $99.99), just with a matte black plastic case instead of a metal one. It’s a great throwback to classic Fitbits for people who only want the basics.
The Inspire 3 doesn’t overcomplicate things. It’s a fitness band. You won’t get built-in GPS, contactless payments, or digital assistants. Still, what it lacks in smarts it makes up for with Fitbit’s advanced sleep tracking, stress management features, and irregular heart rate notifications. The OLED display is also a step up from the Inspire 2’s monochrome screen, and you still get 10 days of battery life. (Though it’s more like two to three if you enable the always-on display.)
The Inspire 3 is a great basic fitness band, and it has an OLED display that’s more vibrant than the Inspire 2’s monochrome screen.Photo by Victoria Song / The Verge
The Inspire 3 has a variety of accessories, including a clip attachment if you want to discreetly track steps. There’s even a gold or silver mesh strap if you want to dress it up a bit.
To be honest, the Inspire 3 and Luxe are quite similar, and they’re often around the same price. It’ll boil down to whether you think the Luxe’s nicer case is worth trading half the battery life for — the Luxe gets an estimated five days instead of 10.
Read our coverage of the Fitbit Inspire 3 here.
Best Fitbit fitness tracker
Fitbit Charge 5
The Fitbit Charge 5 does all the usual heart rate and activity tracking and also offers access to new tools like an EDA Scan app to manage stress as well as a six-month membership to Fitbit Premium.
$120 at Amazon$120 at Best Buy
The Charge series has always been popular, and the $149.95 Charge 5 is no exception. It’s Fitbit’s higher-end fitness band but easily competes with the more expensive Versa 4 on features. There’s now a color OLED screen plus an EKG and EDA sensor. You also get built-in GPS, NFC payments, and SpO2 sensors — the only thing you’re really missing is a digital assistant.
The only qualm we have with the Charge 5 is the always-on display. While it’s beautiful, it’s a major battery drain. The Charge 5 has an estimated seven days of battery life, but that dwindles down to about two if you have the always-on display enabled. It’s a shame because the OLED is a lot easier on the eyes than the monochrome LED screen on the Charge 4.
Altogether though, you’re getting a hell of a lot for the price. It’s the only FDA-cleared EKG wearable you can find for under $200, and the only other Fitbits capable of EKG and EDA readings are the Sense and Sense 2. So unless you’re dead set on the smartwatch form factor, the Charge 5 is the better overall deal.
If you’re trying to decide between the Charge 5 and Versa 4, we recommend the Charge 5 in most cases. Both will get you similar health tracking experiences, though the Charge 5 packs in a little extra thanks to the EKG and EDA sensors. (But as I mentioned earlier, most people probably won’t use these sensors that much.) The Versa 4 will get Google Maps in the near future, but it’s been nerfed when it comes to third-party apps. All things considered, the Charge 5 is the better value.
The Fitbit Charge 5 is one of the most advanced fitness bands out there. Photo by Jay Peters / The Verge
Read our review of the Fitbit Charge 5 here
Best Fitbit for kids
Fitbit Ace 3
Fitbit’s fitness tracker for children sticks to the basics, comes with parental controls, and has eight days of battery life.
$70 at Amazon$70 at Fitbit
That pretty much covers the current Fitbit lineup. The only one we haven’t touched thus far — and the only one that I haven’t tested myself — is the $79.95 Ace 3. That’s Fitbit’s tracker for kids — and it’s the single Fitbit available for minors. It’s a basic tracker with a rugged bumper and comes with parental controls. It’s got better battery life than its predecessor but doesn’t come with GPS. Also, while it does have heart rate sensors, it’s not a metric that’s actively tracked for children. Instead, it’s used to determine how many “active minutes” they’re getting. Overall, it’s a decent choice for parents whose main priority is making sure their kids get enough daily exercise. If you want location tracking, however, you’re going to have to look for something other than a Fitbit.
The Ace 3 is Fitbit’s basic tracker for children. Image: Fitbit
Should you even buy a Fitbit right now?
Fitbit officially became part of Google in 2021. Nothing changed overnight, but technically, it’s Fitbit by Google now. The Fitbit-to-Google migration starts in earnest this summer when new users will be asked to log into Fitbit using their Google accounts. In 2025, this will be mandatory for everyone. Earlier this year, Google angered longtime Fitbit users by shuttering longtime social features like Challenges. Meanwhile, the Versa 4 and Sense 2 weren’t as feature-rich at launch compared to their predecessors, leading some to feel that Google purposefully did this to put the spotlight on its Pixel Watch.
There’s some tension here and the future of Fitbit hardware is murky. If you’re buying a tracker for the first time and want it to last you a while, it might make more sense to opt for a Garmin or Amazfit tracker. Similarly, if you’re looking to upgrade to an older Versa or Sense smartwatch, you might want to see where the dust settles. We’ll have a better picture in the fall, once the Fitbit account migration begins in earnest and the next generation of wearables is available. If you know you want a Fitbit, then go ahead. But if you’re not in a rush or are undecided, now is not a bad time to sit back and observe.
a product that did not take advantage of competitive advantages in time – Technique on vc.ru
Fitbit has a very sad fate: losing to all sorts of faster competitors, falling asset values, inability to use temporary competitive advantages. But now Google is buying the company and completely completing its takeover deal.
What does this mean and why? The first thing that comes to mind is using Fitbit users’ health data to broadcast their own advertising campaigns. But as Google said, “Fitbit users’ health data will not be used for Google ads and will be kept separate from other data.”
We seem to have a new anti-data collection trend. Recall the week-long story with WhatsApp and the extremely increased popularity of the Telegram and Signal messengers, which assure the complete security of personal data.
But it’s ironic that it only lists data related to a Fitbit user’s health and wellness, but doesn’t say anything about non-fitness related data at all. Or maybe even this data will be stored separately from other Google advertising data.
In any case, the recent deal is a good reason to remember how Fitbit created its product: what positioning and target audience were taken as a basis, and also what is the reason for losing to other competitors.
Photo / “Fitbit Summary” by johnpeck2 is marked with CC0 1.0
The idea and positioning of the product
Generation Y was mainly interested in such smart devices. Still, the interest in one’s health and the desire to correct/improve one’s current state is the prerogative of mainly adults, but supporting lifestyle with the help of technological products is clearly not tough on Generation X, who either don’t particularly like technology or have difficulty interacting with it.
Essentially, Fitbit was selling the best version of themselves to their target audience. At the same time, they created a feeling of complete support and guarantee from above: to shift all the worries about monitoring their health to another “subject” and give them the opportunity to simultaneously engage in other, as a rule, mental affairs.
It would seem an ideal niche for making money. But for some reason, Fitbit failed to maintain its $10 billion fortune and soon dropped to $1 billion. The main problem here was the inability to maintain a temporary competitive advantage, because competitors were able to adapt and recreate the value of such a product much faster.
From indirect competitors – step counting in mobile applications, and from direct competitors – Apple Watch.
In the first case, we are dealing with a simpler adaptation and development: the absence of “hardware” that needs to be put on the production line, cost reduction. In the second case, it is simply a huge amount of resources and a brand, which is an unfair competitive advantage for Apple.
And here the question immediately arises: so why don’t they take the niche of cheap smartwatches against the backdrop of Apple? Again, they were not the only representatives of the market. You can claim to be a First, but without a lot of sales – in the eyes of consumers, you will not be number 1, which will be remembered and will occupy a niche of association in the minds of users: “Fitbit = inexpensive smartwatches.”
Moreover, the lesson for Fitbit was the inability to tie a customer to their product. Without Retention (customer return), consumers move on to other, more interesting offers.
What is the product for the consumer?
Personal trainer for sale to improve health and optimize time.
Main function: to give the feeling that you are becoming the best version of yourself.
What is the target audience for the product?
1. The middle class in need of optimizing their own time.
2. Generation Y (X and Z, of course, too, but to a much lesser extent), interested in their own health, but willing to shift care of it to a professional.
3. Fashion-influenced people: here it must be understood that such a disruptive innovation, associated with the ability to make a better version of oneself, usually receives wide interest even from those who were not previously interested in health.
4. Technocrats: lovers of technological novelties and unusual innovations.
What is the reason for the appearance?
On the one hand, life has been accelerating (and accelerating), and therefore we need products that allow us to do several things at the same time and be more productive. On the other hand, the gradual promotion of a healthy lifestyle.
For many people, especially the middle class, it was necessary to skillfully maintain a work-life balance, and therefore such a product very well fit the needs of such an audience.
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