Should you buy the Apple Watch 7 or the Fitbit Sense? The answer to that question depends on what you’re looking for out of a smartwatch. While both are considered two of thebest smartwatchesyou can buy, each offers unique advantages (and disadvantages.)
For one, theApple Watch 7is exclusive to iPhone users, while theFitbit Senseis both iOS-compatible and one of thebest smartwatches for Android. There’s quite a cost difference, too: Apple’s latest smartwatch starts at $399, while the Fitbit Sense starts at $299.
That said, the best Apple Watch deals and best Fitbit deals can help you score discounts on either model. We’ve noticed the Fitbit Sense savings are usually more impressive, but if you know how to trade in your Apple Watch, you could put the value of an older model towards a Series 7.
Apple Watch 7 vs. Fitbit Sense: Design
The Apple Watch 7 and Fitbit Sense share a similar, rounded-square look, instead of the circular face favored by theSamsung Galaxy Watch 4, thebest Samsung watchoverall and a notable alternative to the two smartwatches we’re comparing.
We think Apple's watch has a more recognizable look thanks to its near-bezel-less design.Not only is the Apple Watch 7’s display about 20% bigger than theApple Watch 6's andApple Watch SE’s, but with a narrow 1.7mm bezel, the newApple Watch 7 sizeslook larger without making the smartwatch any bulkier.
On the other hand, the Sense benefits from a uniform chassis — it doesn’t have any buttons. While the Apple Watch 7 maintains a protruding Digital Crown, the Fitbit Sense has a capacitive touch area for navigation. The smooth sides make the Sense seem a bit more fashionable than the sporty Apple Watch 7. Though both watches come in a variety of colors and metallic finishes, you can pick one that best suits your style.
Apple Watch 7 vs. Fitbit Sense: Health tracking and fitness features
The Apple Watch 7 and Fitbit Sense both have on-board GPS, meaning you don’t need to have your phone in range to track runs or other outdoor adventures. If outdoor running or biking is your thing, you might want to check out thebest GPS watchesorbest running watcheswe’ve tested instead, but you’ll still find accurate GPS tracking with the models in discussion.
When it comes to tracking your fitness goals, these smartwatches take distinct approaches. The colorfulApple Watch ringsset daily thresholds, while Fitbit’s Activity Zone Minutes monitor the time you spend in the fat-burn, cardio or peak-heart-rate zones while exercising each week.Fitbit’s Daily Readiness Scorealso tracks your recovery needs, a featurethe Apple Watch is still missing.
Both the Apple Watch 7 and Fitbit Sense can count your steps, read your SpO2 levels and send you nudges to move. Each also FDA-approved ECG sensors, which can alert wearers that they're experiencing atrial fibrillation (AFib), a life-threatening condition where the heart is beating fast and irregularly. Similarly, both devices also have heart rate sensors, which can be used for a number of things outside fitness. For example, the Sense uses the heart rate sensor to monitor sleep, though you could always use one of thebest sleep appsfor sleep-tracking, too.
Two sensors the Sense has that the Apple Watch lacks are a skin temperature sensor and EDA (electrodermal activity) sensor. The EDA sensor can track the amount of electricity going through the sweat on skin; it's a way to tell if you're under a lot of stress. The watch will then guide you through some de-stressing activities, and also suggest things you can do to avoid or mitigate stress.
When you get the Fitbit Sense, you’ll have the option to subscribe to Fitbit Premium, which costs $9.99 per month or $79.99 per year. The subscription service offers personalized insights on sleep and more, as well as training plans, based on your health data. Meanwhile, the Apple Watch 7 complementsApple Fitness Plus, the company’s exercise service that costs the same as Fitbit Premium.
Apple Watch 7 vs. Fitbit Sense: Smartwatch features
As it was designed as a smartwatch first, the Apple Watch 7 is overall better at smartwatch-y type functions than the Sense. Like all thebest Apple Watchmodels, the Series 7 gets annual software updates. It currently runswatchOS 8, which has new workout types, a new mindfulness app and expanded support for virtual keys. The Apple Watch 7 also has all thebest Apple Watch appsincluding a built-in map and compass, so you can use it to navigate around unfamiliar places. You’ll find a QWERTY keyboard for typing out texts on the Series 7 as well.
While you can change the watch face on both the Apple Watch 7 and the Fitbit Sense, only the Apple Watch lets you further customize those faces with complications you want. Fitbit does have some excellent watch faces centered around specific health-tracking features, though.
Both watches also have a form of NFC mobile payments, which comes in handy when you're out on a run without your wallet and want to grab a bottle of water. It's also helpful if you're trying to avoid touching things in public locations. Both watches have support for offline playlists, notification mirroring and the ability to to answer calls, though the Apple Watch can only answer calls through a designated cellular number or an iPhone, while the Sense can only answer calls from one of the best Android phones.
When it comes to voice assistants, it’s Siri vs. Alexa and Google Assistant. As you’d expect, the Apple Watch has Siri built in, while the Fitbit Sense hasAlexaandGoogle Assistant. You can use the voice assistants to ask questions, initiate communications or control thebest smart home devices(as long as they’re compatible.)
Apple Watch 7 vs. Fitbit Sense: Battery life
There’s no competition between the Apple Watch 7 and Fitbit Sense’s battery lives. The Fitbit Sense benefits from an excellent 6-day battery life, far outlasting the Apple Watch 7’s 18 hours. You need to charge the Apple Watch nearly every day, while the Sense can survive a weekend trip without more juice easily.
Apple Watch 7 vs. Fitbit Sense: Which should you buy?
In this Apple Watch 7 vs. Fitbit Sense comparison, we concluded the Sense comes out on top in terms of price, health sensors and battery life. If you're looking for the more fitness-focused option, the Fitbit Sense is probably the way to go, as it does more in that area including recovery and stress-monitoring tools.
However, if you're looking for a more well-rounded smartwatch, the Apple Watch 7 is the best choice, as it has more robust tools like LTE connectivity and annual software updates. You do need an iPhone to use it, though, whereas the Fitbit Sense works with both Android and iOS devices.
If you’re looking for similar choices at a lower price point, check out our guide to theApple Watch SE vs. Fitbit Versa 3. You might want to consider the Galaxy Watch 4 we mentioned earlier, too — ourApple Watch 7 vs. Galaxy Watch 4andGalaxy Watch 4 vs. Fitbit Senseface-offs offer further guidance.