There are plenty of great smartwatches and fitness trackers out there, and the two newest offerings from Fitbit may have recently caught your attention. The Fitbit Versa and Ionic are two solid fitness watches that do a lot of things really well, so we’d understand if you weren’t completely sure about which one to buy. What’s the best Fitbit watch out there? Find out, in our Fitbit Versa vs Ionic comparison.
Fitbit Versa vs Ionic: The differences
The Fitbit Versa and Ionic are largely the same, though there are a few key differences you’ll want to know before making your decision.
For starters, despite launching only months apart from one another, the Versa and Ionic do not look very much alike. The Ionic is boxy, angular, and in my opinion not super stylish. It looks like a small computer strapped to your wrist instead of trying to look like a normal watch.
The Versa has a much more approachable design. It’s thin — measuring just 11.2mm — and it’s smaller than the Ionic so it should fit more people’s wrists. I’m also a bigger fan of the squircle design of the Versa’s case, as opposed to the Ionic’s sharp angles.
The Versa has a slightly larger display. It’s square, measuring 1.34 inches, and sports a 300 x 300 resolution. The Ionic’s rectangular display measures 1.42 inches and has a resolution of 348 x 250 pixels. Both displays are covered in Gorilla Glass 3, and both have ambient light sensors that allow for automatic brightness adjustment.
Another main under-the-hood difference is NFC support. All Ionic models come with an NFC chip, which means they’re all compatible with Fitbit’s contactless payment system, Fitbit Pay. All Versa models also have support for Fitbit Pay, unless you live in the U.S. If so, you’ll need to spring for the pricier special edition model to get Fitbit Pay support.
The last, and probably biggest deciding factor in this comparison is GPS connectivity. The Fitbit Ionic comes with a built-in GPS, so it will be able to accurately track your distance metrics and pace while you’re out on a run. This makes the Ionic perfect for users who need the most accurate workout data possible.
The Versa does not come with an onboard GPS, so your distance metrics from running will only be estimates and not super accurate. It can piggyback off your phone’s GPS when it’s nearby, but you’ll need to take it with you on your run for it to stay connected.
Fitbit Versa vs Ionic: The similarities
Under the hood, the Versa and Ionic are more similar than they are different.
Both are capable of tracking all the same activity metrics, aside from pace and GPS tracking on the Versa. They’ll both track your steps taken, distance traveled, calories burned, active minutes, heart rate, and your sleep. They’re both very accurate when it comes to step, calorie, and active minutes tracking.
Each device can track a number of different sport profiles too, including running, biking, treadmill exercising, weight training, swimming, hiking, and more. Neither device is capable of rep counting in weight lifting mode as of this writing, but we’re hoping Fitbit implements that in the future.
The Fitbit Versa and Ionic both run the latest version of Fitbit OS, version 2.0. That means you’ll be able to receive smartphone notifications, store music, and utilize the handy new Fitbit Today feature on both watches. Plus, the Versa and Ionic will receive quick reply functionality and female health tracking in May 2018, so both devices will continue to offer the same software experience going forward.
Fitbit OS is a light operating system, allowing both the Versa and Ionic to last around four days on a single charge. If you’re coming from a WearOS or Apple Watch, this should be great to hear.
For a better idea as to what these devices offer, check out the Fitbit Versa vs Ionic specs table below:
Fitbit Versa vs Ionic: The verdict
Which is worth your hard-earned cash? First, let’s talk price. The standard Versa model is available for $199.95, and the special edition model (the one with Fitbit Pay) costs $229.95. The Ionic only comes in one variant, and it costs $299.95.
If you need a great fitness watch with a GPS built in, buy the Fitbit Ionic. That’s the easiest way to think about it. But if you want a lighter, more attractive form factor and don’t need a GPS, buy the Fitbit Versa. Because both of these devices have basically the same hardware and software, Fitbit makes it pretty easy to decide between one or the other.
What are your thoughts? Would you choose the Fitbit Versa or Ionic? Let us know what you think in the comments below.