As Fitbit has expanded its product line over the years, many of its top-tier fitness trackers now share similar features. However, the Fitbit Versa 3 has always been a popular choice if you are in the market for a new fitness tracker. It was a lot less expensive than the Fitbit Sense, which had similar functionality, and it looked nice, too. The Fitbit Versa 3 vs. Fitbit Versa 4 debate is more complex now that a newer version is available.
You can do a lot with the Fitbit Versa 3. It has all the features you would want in a Fitbit, including a swim-proof design, SpO2 monitoring, and respectable battery life. Both smartwatches are quite desirable, but they do differ in small ways.
Indeed, the changes are so slight that the Versa 4 seems nothing more than an evolution. Considering how well the Versa 3 has worked, this is probably not a bad thing. So, is it necessary to ditch your tried-and-true fitness tracker in favor of the cutting-edge Fitbit Versa 4? Is it worth spending a few hundred dollars on a new device if the differences are minimal?
Fitbit Versa 4 vs Fitbit Versa 3: Side-by-Side Comparison
|Fitbit Versa 3||Fitbit Versa 4|
|Display size in inches||1.58||1.58|
|Battery time||Up to six days||Up to six days|
|Water-resistant||Up to 50m||Up to 50m|
|Voice support||Google Voice, Alexa||Alexa|
|Heart Rate Monitor||Yes||Yes|
Fitbit Versa 4 vs Fitbit Versa 3: What’s the Difference?
All four Versa models are nearly indistinguishable from one another, but the variations between the Versa 3 and Versa 4 are especially subtle. Fitbit says the Versa 4 has been rethought from the ground up, although it still looks very similar to its predecessors.
Fitbit’s design choices for the Versa line make it simple to pick one out. Why? Seeing as how they all appear the same, you do not have much of a selection. There are a few distinctions between the two watches, despite the fact that they both feature a basic square display with inviting rounded corners and a crisp and clear AMOLED screen.
- Daily Readiness Score that reveals if you’re ready to exercise or should focus on recovery
- Water resistance depth up to 50 meters
- Run, bike, hike, and more phone-free — and see your real-time pace and distance — with built-in GPS
- Check out your workout intensity map in the Fitbit app
- Active Zone Minutes uses your resting heart rate to gauge exercise effort and gives you a buzz when you step up the intensity so you can make the most of your workouts
- Better track heart rate 24/7 with PurePulse 2.0, Fitbit’s enhanced heart rate technology
- Use Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa Built-in to get quick news, set bedtime reminders and alarms, control your smart home devices, and more just by speaking to your watch
The inclusion of a tactile button is the most notable difference between the two. The capacitive groove replaced the button that had been on older Versa variants. In spite of the fact that its absence makes for a more streamlined design, some customers have expressed a wish for the return of the physical button.
It seems that Fitbit eventually realized that users did not really appreciate the design change. The button made its comeback in the Versa 4, which makes it slightly different from the Versa 3. The button is now located higher on the device, making it more convenient to press when you are in the midst of a workout, or another physical activity.
The Versa 4’s casing is slimmer and lighter than previous models which, according to Fitbit, should result in an improved level of comfort for most users. Speaking of comfort, you may also want to compare both in terms of weight.
There is an extra 2 grams in the Versa 4 compared to the Versa 3. It is also thinner than the Versa 3, coming in at 1.2mm compared to 1.3mm. But the difference is so small that you are less likely to feel it anyway. The band mount, however, is the same between both, which is why you can use bands from both watches interchangeably.
Physically, they both look the same, but you can certainly play with colors. The Fitbit Versa 4 is available in the following color combos:
- Pink sand and copper rose aluminum
- Waterfall blue and platinum aluminum
- Black and graphite aluminum
- Beet juice and copper rose aluminum
On the other hand, you can find the Fitbit Versa 3 in the following colors:
- Black and black aluminum
- Midnight and soft gold aluminum
- Pink clay and soft gold aluminum
With the updated Fitbit OS holding everything together, this wristwatch is among the best that Android users can buy. The Versa 4 keeps all these features and adds better hardware on the inside, but the most noticeable changes are in the operating system.
Fitbit OS has been upgraded with “glanceable” tiles, a feature inspired by Wear OS. Users can tailor these to receive the specific pieces of data that will be most useful to them.
It is no surprise that Google’s fingerprints are all over customer service. After the first release of the Versa 4, Fitbit has promised that Google Wallet and Google Maps will be made available for use with the device soon. None of these software enhancements are expected to make it to the Versa 3.
In its latest iteration, Fitbit OS has a user interface that is intuitive and simple to master. The Versa 4’s improved user interface and reinstated physical button make navigating the phone’s many panels and functions a breeze. The faster chipset is complementary to the more responsive user interface.
Thanks to the optimized OS, the Versa 4 has far more refined performance than its forerunner. The speed with which apps launch and the ease with which you may scroll have both been much improved.
Heart Rate Monitor
The heart rate monitor is one area where the Versa 4 falls short. The Versa 3’s functionality is dependable, but the Versa 4 is not always up to the mark. The Versa 4 keeps intermittently disconnecting, and often fails to detect many peaks that you can easily detect with other devices, such as Apple Watch.
The GPS functionality on Versa 4 leaves more to be desired. When combined, these two features shape the core of the Versa 4’s activity-tracking experience and leave the device’s 20 other exercise modes feeling underutilized. But, do not set high hopes for the Versa 3, either.
The heart rate sensor and processing algorithm of Fitbits are merely adequate. All around aerobic exercises should be OK on it. It is totally off-base for exercises like weightlifting or cycling sprints, where oxygen use is low. So, it should work for those who are not shooting for 100% HR accuracy.
Eventually, almost all wrist-based devices are pretty inaccurate when it comes to measuring heart rate. The Apple Watch is an exception, being incredibly accurate for HR; unfortunately, it has extremely limited battery life with less-than-impressive sleep tracking. In the end, only a polar chest strap provides the most reliable readings of heart rate.
Cool new software updates from Fitbit mean you get even more for your money. The Versa 4 provides double the number of exercise options that the Versa 3 did, with 40 total. Those who want to mix up their workout regimens will like that it can log everything from HIIT to CrossFit.
Fitbit has also promised greater Google connectivity with updated Maps and Google Pay capabilities. This allows you to make purchases with just your wristwatch and access in-store directions.
Other than that, Versa 4 is functionally identical to its forerunner. Both the Fitbit Versa 3 and 4 track your blood oxygen levels and heart rate. They provide a vibrating alert, measure your readiness, and are waterproof.
Both have Fitbit Premium, which provides guided exercise, meditation, relaxation, and sleep sessions. It also helps to calculate a daily readiness score to help you make the most of your workouts.
- 1.69-inch screen
- Health metrics dashboard
- Water resistant up to 50 meters
- Daily Stress Management Score
- Includes a 6-month Premium membership
They both monitor additional vital signs, such as breathing rate, stress levels, and menstrual cycles. In addition, they feature integrated GPS, so you can go for a hike, run, or bike ride without bringing your phone along and still keep tabs on your progress. A unique feature of the Versa 3 is its ability to store music for playback over compatible Bluetooth headphones during exercise.
Both also keep tabs on your Active Zone Minutes, which are based on the percentage of time your heart rate spends in the cardio, fat-burning, and peak zones and serve as a daily target. When working out, such information can be used to push yourself harder or ease off on the intensity of your workout.
Both will provide you with a Daily Readiness Score and cardiac fitness score to help you determine if your body is ready for exercise or if it needs a rest day. Just remember that they both require a Fitbit Premium subscription to access the aforementioned features. However, you can try out either smartwatch for six months and save money by purchasing a year of Fitbit Premium and a two-year protection plan together.
Overall, it is true that the Versa 3 is among the best smartwatches out there. But, when comparing the two, the Versa 4 is clearly superior due to its many useful Google integrations and increased number of exercise mode options.
The Versa 4’s new sleep profile function is designed to entice health-conscious consumers to upgrade. The quality of the user’s sleep is assessed by tracking 10 different parameters with this tool. Once users have compiled this data, they can make adjustments to better their sleep.
Fitbit researchers published a report in 2017 claiming that the watch’s sensors could accurately identify the user’s sleep state 69% of the time over a 30-second period. Consider the context before deciding whether or not this level of accuracy is acceptable.
However, Fitbit does not inform its customers that its sleep staging is only accurate for around two-thirds of the night in these 30-second segments. You should not put too much stock in Fitbit’s sleep staging analysis if you only use it for one night.
Nevertheless, it is much more accurate than the Versa 3. But, this is protected behind Fitbit Premium. And quite like the Versa 3, Versa 4 users also receive a free six-month trial of Premium. Even if you do not upgrade to the premium version, the new watch improves upon the basics when it comes to tracking your sleep.
Smartwatches have an advantage over fitness trackers due to their larger screens, which may be used for tasks like reading notifications and navigating apps. In this respect, it should come as no surprise that the physically identical Fitbit Versa 4 and 3 can handle a lot.
You have access to all incoming emails, text messages, and app notifications in full. Both allow you to reply to texts and voicemails from your wrist when coupled with an Android phone. Even though it is still in development, the Fitbit Versa 4 will soon include the ability to make Bluetooth calls directly from the wrist.
Since they both come with Amazon Alexa pre-installed, you can use voice commands with ease. This helps you do things like set a reminder, check the weather, manage compatible smart home devices, and more.
They also support a limited number of third-party apps, such as Spotify and Uber. Something you will quickly notice is that the Versa 3 is a lot more responsive as compared to the Versa 4 when you talk about Google Assistant support.
On paper, the Fitbit Versa 3 boasts an impressive six days of use. But, do not get too hopeful because it does not usually hit that mark. On the other hand, the Versa 4 is supposed to last for six days between charges, and it usually achieves that. But, ultimately, it all depends on your personal usage habits.
A complete charge for the Fitbit usually takes about 90 minutes. However, the Fitbit Versa 4 really shines with its new quick charge feature. With this, you may extend your battery life by an extra day after only 12 minutes of charging.
Because of this, if you are in a rush to get to the gym and realize your battery is low, you can charge it while you get ready and still have enough juice to see you through.
At its launch in September 2020, the Fitbit Versa 3 was priced at a hefty $230. Since then, however, it has decreased in price to as little as $150.
Irrespective of the watch you choose, you enjoy six months of Fitbit Premium. After that, it will cost you roughly $10 per month to continue receiving in-depth analysis.
When purchased in conjunction with the Versa 4, Fitbit is offering a one-year subscription to Premium plus a couple of years protection plan for only $42 (normally $125).
The Smarter of the Two
The two devices are otherwise identical, with the introduction of Google Assistant being the key differentiating factor. After Google’s acquisition of the company, many people thought that Fitbit would gain more standard wristwatch capabilities.
Though it is possible that this will occur in the future, only Google Assistant has a guaranteed release date. One positive is that Google Pay is already available and is a vast improvement over Fitbit’s native payment system, which you can find on the Versa 3.
In terms of features, both Versa 4 and Versa 3 are pretty loaded. There has not been a major upgrade in the Versa series until the release of the Versa 3. It included a bigger AMOLED display (1.58 inches), a Bluetooth speaker, the Google Assistant, built-in GPS, and a more accurate heart rate monitor.
Even with these updates, the Versa 4 still seems to be the “dumber” smartwatch of the two. Audio controls, Google Assistant integration, and third-party app support are all included on the Versa 3, but not on the Versa 4. The lack of Wi-Fi means that the Versa 4 will also take significantly longer to update. So, ultimately, the Versa 3 seems to be a smarter watch option here.
Fitbit Versa 4 vs Fitbit Versa 3: 5 Must-Know Facts
- Unlike the previous model, meaning the Versa 3 which used capacitive touch, the new Versa 4 features a physical button on the side, much like the Sense 2.
- The Versa 4 is 2g heavier than the Versa 3, even though it is now slightly thinner; however, you will probably not even notice the difference.
- The Versa 3 no longer supports user-added music, but you can manage your music library with Spotify.
- The Versa 4 no longer comes with noise and snore detection and also misses Google Voice.
- The Versa 4 does not support Spotify and you cannot download music, meaning you will have to carry your mobile to listen to music wirelessly.
Fitbit Versa 4 vs Fitbit Versa 3: Which One Is Better?
Since not much has changed in terms of hardware, it is hard to urge you to go out and get a new smartwatch in order to have a mechanical button or a thinner design. As far as the hardware itself goes, we do not see this as a significant improvement. The Versa 4 edges out the competition because of its smaller shell and mechanical button, and nothing else.
The Versa 4 may be a suitable upgrade for those who are keen on activity monitoring, as it features twice as many exercise modes as its predecessor. But, otherwise, it is functionally identical.
And, if you are basically looking for a smartwatch with Google Assistant, additional apps, and customizable watch faces, the Versa 3 is your only viable alternative. Or, you may consider the Google Pixel Watch if you can live with significantly less battery life.
The Versa 4 may become a viable option because of its improved design, enhanced tracking, and integration with Google Maps and Wallet. But that is only if these additional features are important to you or if you are okay with a higher price tag.
Both watches include features that will appeal to different types of customers. Those who own a Versa 3 could benefit from switching to either the Sense 2 or the original Sense model. If you are searching for a smartwatch to ease you into the Fitbit ecosystem, you might want to look into the Versa 4.
However, if you do not think you will really miss any of those changes, there is little need to go for the Fitbit Versa 4. This is especially the case considering the Fitbit Versa 3 is available at a far lower price right now. Even if you were trying to decide between the two Fitbit Versa watches, the one being offered at the moment is a steal.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Thanes.Op/Shutterstock.com.