Considering a new smartwatch activity tracker? Most would think of the Fitbit Versa but what about the Samsung Galaxy Active? In this video and article, I compare both.
Hey, what’s up? It’s Jerad with State of Tech and today we’re going to take a look at two different smartwatches one from Fit Bit called the Versa, one from Samsung called the Galaxy Watch Active. Now, the watches do a lot of things that are very similar, but there are some differences and that’s why I wanted to talk about them. I think a lot of people assume that a Samsung watch is only good for Samsung phones or perhaps maybe Android, and they don’t think that this watch actually can be used cross-platform even if you’re on an iPhone. Just like the Fit Bit, you can use it
So, what are the main differences in these devices? Well, they’re both relatively around the same size. The screen sizes are about the same. The Fit Bit Versa has a square versus the Galaxy Watch Active which has a round face. You can tell the difference here between the resolutions and just the quality of the display that the Samsung definitely has a leg up in the display quality. The Samsung has always been known for their displays and their Watch Active has a fantastic looking display in it.
The Fit Bit, of course, has a very bright display. There’s nothing inherently wrong with the display. It’s just not as high resolution as the Galaxy Watch Active. Of course, this Fit Bit Versa is tried and true. It’s been out for a little while and I’ve had this watch since it did first come out. It’s been kind of my go to because Fit Bit tends to be a platform in which I’m always using, whether I’m using an iPhone or an Android phone. And so, it keeps my data consistent, my fitness data, and all that stuff, regardless of what platform I’m using as far as a phone goes.
However, with the Samsung watch, I’m just really enjoying the experience of this watch. I’ve connected it to both my iPhone and of course I have the Galaxy S10 plus right now, and then I’ve also connected it to my Pixel 3XL just to see what Android that’s non-Samsung feels like. What’s nice about both of these watches is they do stand alone really well regardless of the software, the phone that you’re using, and all that stuff because there’s a lot of stuff that they silo into their own app.
For example, Fit Bit, if you want to download apps, if you want to access any of these additional features, you do that through the Fit Bit app. It’s very similar with the Galaxy Watch Active. There’s the Galaxy Store for you to download apps. If you’re connected to a Samsung device, there’s a couple of additional features such as Samsung Pay, but all of those things work relatively well when you’re on any device. There are a few caveats in regards to the payment features, which I’ll talk about later on in this video.
However, movement tracking is really good on both of these devices. They both have typical movement tracking that you would expect for a watch, a smart watch of this day and age. They also have a heart rate monitor and sleep tracking, which is pretty fantastic. I miss that when I go to some of my other watches, such as the Apple Watch when connected to my iPhone. Then, of course, some of the smaller Fit Bit versions like the Fit Bit Flex has sleep tracking, but it doesn’t have sleep tracking with the heart rate monitor. So, both of these have that.
Exercise modes. Of course, the Fit Bit has always been well known for having lots of exercise modes and I can access those by tapping on the top right button and swipe through those. Some of these exercise modes are actually going to automatically start and it will detect them. There are 15 plus, they say. 15 plus activities that it will track as far as exercises go.
However, with the watch over here, we have a lot of different workouts. What they’re stating is 39 plus different workouts that it can track now and as you can see, we can swipe through all of these. They all have their own settings, and then there’s like arm curls, bench press. I mean, there’s all sorts of different specific workouts that it will track. The amount of time you spend getting in there, so you can actually track some of those. Man, I don’t know. I would rather stay in the zone, then dig through those settings, but nonetheless, they’re there and they’re trackable, and it’s kind of interesting that it does have that ability.
So, the battery life of these devices are both pretty good. You’re going to get better battery life out of the Fit Bit Versa than you are of the Samsung watch. I’ve been able to get three to four days out of the Fit Bit Versa and I’ve been able to get two and a half to three days of battery life out of the Galaxy Watch Active depending on how I’m using it. If I’m using the watch to stream music or anything through the Spotify app, sometimes the battery life is a little bit less. If I’m using GPS to track my runs or anything like that, my bike rides, of course the battery life is less on both of the devices, but the battery life nonetheless is pretty good.
What you do get over and above the Fit Bit Versa on the Samsung watch is wireless charging and if you have a Galaxy S10, you can actually just lay the watch on top of the back of the phone and it will charge itself. Of course, the watch face itself, the back side lay that, and then of course if you have any wireless charging pad that is recent, you’re going to be able to wirelessly charge the watch. You’re not going to get that on the Fit Bit. You’re going to have to carry around the pretty large brick that it requires to dock to for charging. The Fit Bit does charge up pretty fast which is good, but you’re going to require that in all circumstances to charge it.
Now, there are third party apps that run on both of these watches. Both of them use their own app store to allow you to get apps onto the watch. So, you’ll have the Galaxy Store and the different watch apps that are available for the Galaxy Watch Active, and then you have the Fit Bit app with the app store that’s built into that. Now, Fit Bit hasn’t had a whole lot of apps and there aren’t still a whole lot of apps available. There aren’t a whole lot either for the Galaxy watch, but the apps that are for the Fit Bit are fairly limited, kind of cut and dry. Apps that I typically have used on the Fit Bit Versa is the Starbucks app, which is very limited. It’s just the Starbucks card. It doesn’t tell you your balance or anything like that. It’s very bare bones, but it allows you to be able to just scan your Starbucks card which is great.
If you have any other apps installed, they are okay. There’s an Uber app, but it’s very slow and kind of laggy. There’s a Pandora app, which is great if you use Pandora, but if you use Spotify or any other music app, you’re going to be out of luck. You’re only going to be able to sync music to the watch and the watch has limited storage and you also have to sync your music using the Fit Bit app.
Over here on the Galaxy, there’s a lot more watch faces, there’s a lot more customization that you can get, not only through the large variety of watch faces that the watch comes with, but also the ability to run a lot of third party apps that will allow you to customize the watch. Here’s a reminder I’m getting from sitting here. It says I’ve been inactive for more than an hour and that I should do some torso twists. I’m not going to do that right now, but that’s one of the things that the Galaxy watch also does is gives you some of those reminders. You will get some of those on the Fit Bit, but they’re more limited. The activity reminders are mostly like, get up and move around. Whereas the Galaxy watch gives you some stuff that you can do while you’re still seated I guess. So, just little bits of differences there. Not any that are clear winners or losers as far as those go, but as far as apps go and app functionality and third party apps, I think you’re going to get a lot more out of this watch.
I mean, if I swipe all the way over here, there’s actually a YouTube player that you can get. When you have your earbuds plugged in, you can actually watch YouTube videos on the watch. It’s not the best experience at all, but the fact that you can do it is still kind of cool. I was watching a State of Tech video which was pretty neat.
Of course, the Spotify app works really well. You don’t actually have to have your phone in your hand to control it. You can simply have your Bluetooth headphones in and be playing music and controlling that right from the watch which is great. You can’t do that necessarily on the Fit Bit.
Of course, both watches do support things like basic notifications. Some app notifications are going to show up on both watches. Now, if you’re wanting a watch that’s going to allow you to do kind of NFC tap to pay, you’re going to need to have the Fit Bit special edition which is a little more expensive. That actually makes it more expensive than the Galaxy Watch Active. The Galaxy Watch Active will do payments if you’re using a Samsung phone. I haven’t been able to get mobile payments to work using it on iOS or on any other Android phone because most other Android phones by default are just going to work with Android pay. Whereas most of the Galaxy phones, you’re going to use Samsung pay because of the fact that you can use Samsung pay with older terminals. Samsung pay is only going to work from what I could tell on Samsung phones, but that’s okay. Typically, I’m not doing tap to pay with my watch. I’ll use my phone for whatever I am doing there.
However, Fit Bit has the leg up because with the special edition Fit Bit which this one is not, the special edition Fit Bit, you set up the payments within the Fit Bit app, and then of course you can use it regardless of what phone model you’re using because Fit Bit has it all built into their own app.
Now, there’s lots of accessories to customize your watch experience as well. As you can see on the Fit Bit Versa, I have like a nylon watch band similar to the Apple Watch nylon watch band. This watch band was inexpensive. It was like $10.00, I think, and it fits the watch, and it feels pretty good. Not as high quality as the Apple Watch band, but still not too bad. Watch bands are pretty much specific to the Fit Bit Versa. I’ve measured it out to be around 22ish millimeters in watch band size, but that’s not a typical watch band. But, if you go to Amazon and I’ll link to a couple of watch bands below for the Fit Bit Versa that I like, there’s a lot of options available.
Of course, with the Samsung watch, this is a 20 millimeter which is pretty accessible. You can find a lot of 20 millimeter watch bands out there, so you don’t have to go something specific to Samsung which of course Samsung themselves have a lot of color options and what not for the watch band and the device, but 20 millimeter watch bands are going to fit.
If I had to choose between one of these devices, it really comes down to what’s important to me. Obviously, if I want tap to pay and I’m not using a Samsung Galaxy phone, the Fit Bit is going to be a clear winner. If I want just overall great fitness tracking, both of these watches I think are pretty much going to be a tie. Whereas you might lean towards the Fit Bit Versa if you want longer battery life, and you want more truer cross-platform, and you want to stay out of the Samsung ecosystem. Whereas with the Samsung tracking, you’re going to be needing the Samsung Health app installed if you’re on other Android phones other than like a Samsung Galaxy phone and also if you’re on an iPhone. If you want that data to sync from your watch and actually interact with Apple Health, you’re going to need that Samsung app as well.
Now, Fit Bit, on the other hand, with that syncing and all that, you’re not going to get it syncing your data to Google Fit or Apple Health unless you use a third party app. Those apps have been a little finicky in my experience. They’re not foolproof. Sometimes your data ends up being a little off as it tries to figure out a happy-medium for your data because they’re two different devices that aren’t used to talking to each other. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. The best overall option with Fit Bit of course here is if you just want to live in the Fit Bit ecosystem which the app is great. The community that Fit Bit has is great. There’s a lot of positives there to the Fit Bit overall experience.
However, Samsung, it’s going to be a little bit easier for you to get your data out of Samsung and actually integrate that with Google Fit or Apple Health because the app itself has ties to those apps. So, at least you can get some of that data over to the default platform that your device supports.
With that said, it’s really a mixed bag I think with these devices because there are clear benefits to each one over the other. However, if you’re wanting something that just looks more modern, works a little faster, is less kind of laggy, you’re going to want the Galaxy watch. I’ll be doing a full review of the Galaxy watch, so you can see it more in depth, and specific features, and just how it works, and all of that stuff. Make sure to subscribe to the channel here.
If you want something that’s more kind of tried and true, less to think about, less features, but sometimes that’s okay, the Fit Bit Versa is going to be the watch for you. Fit Bit Versa also comes in a light version that is a bit cheaper and has a few less features. This is the regular standard version, and then there’s the special edition version which adds in the payment option, so if you want to do that tap to pay, you can do that with the NFC version which is a little bit more expensive.
Really, it comes down to just those little individual features which I’ve talked about that I think are trade offs between both. If I had to choose only one and I couldn’t have both, I probably would go with the Fit Bit Versa just because it’s a little bit more of a stand alone platform. I don’t have to worry so much about having multiple apps installed to have things happen if I’m something other than a Samsung phone, and then of course just the ease of it being cross-platform.
If I jump between a Android phone and an iPhone, the process I don’t have to reset my watch to sync it from one phone to another. I just simply have to have the app installed, and maybe repair the Bluetooth, and that’s basically it. Whereas, on the Samsung watch and this is pretty much for all other smart watches, if you want to sync it to a new device a lot of times you have to completely reset the watch, and then set it back up again which is kind of a bummer, but it just is the way that it is.
At least with the Samsung, it does allow you to back up your settings. So, you could back up your settings, and then restore your settings, but it’s still a process that you have to go through when moving between devices.
So, with that said, I’ll hand it off to you. What do you think about these devices? Of course, Samsung, a lot of times people think is their watch is specific to Samsung devices and while they have more functionality with a Samsung device, they are very much a standalone watch that can be used with other platforms as well.
The Fit Bit Versa of course being great as well and being maybe a little bit more cross-platform, but, hey, that’s just the nature of how these are built. Of course, Samsung being that they have their own phones are going to give it a little bit more if you’re working with their own phones.
Let me know what you think down in the comment section below. If you like this video, give it a thumbs up. Give us a subscribe here if this video helped out and you want more videos from us in the near future. Like I said, I’ll have a full review of the Watch Active, and then I’ll also be doing a comparison between the Watch Active and the Galaxy watch itself for those of you on the fence of choosing their active watch versus their more full featured watch that they have as well.
That’s going to do it. Thanks so much for checking out this video. I hope to see you back here soon on State of Tech.