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Apple Watch Series 6 vs Fitbit Charge 4 (2021): Which Watch Should You Get?

The Apple Watch Series 6 is everything a smartwatch should be โ€” functional, stylish, and feature-packed. And with the introduction of sleep tracking and blood oxygen monitoring, Apple’s flagship wearable is even more complete. Fitbit’s Charge 4, on the other hand, takes a no-nonsense approach to fitness tracking. It also comes with some advanced health monitoring and basic smart features.

If Apple’s watch is all about the bells and whistles, then Fitbit’s offering is stripped down to deliver what it does best. While this might make it seem like the Watch 6 has an undisputed advantage, there are plenty of reasons you might choose the Charge 4 over it. Read our comparison of the Apple Watch 6 and Fitbit Charge 4 below to help you decide.

Apple Watch Series 6 vs Fitbit Charge 4 Comparison Chart

ModelApple Watch Series 6Fitbit Charge 4
 
Price
Display TypeAlways-on retina OLED displayBacklit OLED display
Screen Size1.57โ€ณ (40mm model)
1.78โ€ณ (44mm model)
1.00″
Battery LifeUp to 18 hoursUp to 7 days
Water ResistanceUp to 50 metersUp to 50 meters
Heart Rate MonitoringYesYes
ECG MonitoringYesNo
SpO2 SensorYesYes
Sleep MonitoringYesYes
Exercise TrackingYesYes
Menstrual Health TrackingYesYes
AltimeterYesYes
GPSBuilt-inBuilt-in
NFCYesYes
Call and Text AlertsYesYes
Take CallsYesNo
Voice AssistantYesNo
CompatibilityiOSiOS, Android

Design

The Apple Watch Series 6 and Fitbit Charge 4 are durable, sleek wearables.

The Apple Watch 6 (left) is a stylish and modern timepiece while the Fitbit Charge 4 (right) is a sleek, lightweight tracker.

When it comes to design, the Apple Watch 6 and Fitbit Charge 4 couldn’t be more different. Apple’s latest wearable features a large, Retina OLED display that, while unorthodox compared to Samsung’s Galaxy Watch, for instance, makes it look like an actual watch. The screen size does vary depending on your model. Apple’s Watch 6 is available in 40mm and 44mm.

Fitbit’s Charge 4, on other hand, is basically a wristband with a display. There’s also only one physical button on the device which is discreetly etched into the left side. Along with this unibody appearance, you get a rather slim and lightweight profile. It doesn’t boast much in terms of display, with the Charge 4 using backlit OLED technology. But it does its job and it’s readable even under direct sunlight.

Apple’s Watch 6 is available in aluminum, stainless steel, and titanium. You can also get the device in vibrant colors like Blue and Red. There’s also a plethora of straps you can choose from if you really want to customize your watch.

In contrast, the Charge 4 doesn’t have as many choices with colors and bands. But just like the Apple Watch, it puts a premium on quality. The fitness tracker comes in a durable plastic resin case with a display protected by Corning Gorilla Glass. Both the Apple Watch 6 and Fitbit Charge 4 are water-resistant up to 50 meters.

Fitness Tracking

Fitness tracking is still the arena of the Fitbit Charge 4.

The Apple Watch Series 6 and Fitbit Charge 4 both put a premium on fitness.

Fitbit’s forte has always been fitness and on the Charge 4, it truly shows. For a no-nonsense device, you get some pretty advanced features. The tracker comes with over 20 preloaded exercise modes. It’s also equipped with SmartTrack technology that automatically recognizes your activities like walking, running, and outdoor biking. Plus, you get comprehensive insight about your heart rate zones for both indoor and outdoor exercises.

Just like the Apple Watch Series 6, the Charge 4 uses an optical heart rate sensor. It also comes with built-in GPS, a staple in Apple Watches but new at least to Fitbit’s line of fitness trackers. This feature should make it more convenient to carry out outdoor activities like running and hiking. Not only can you leave your phone at home but the data you get from your routine will also be more accurate.

Meanwhile, the Apple Watch 6 builds on the core fitness features of its predecessors. You still get long-term trends for your daily workouts. Automatic workout detection is also available. But now, you get more exercise modes on the Apple Watch 6. Some of the new activities you can track are Dance, Core Training, and post-workout Cooldown.

Apple is taking a leaf from Fitbit’s book as well. Along with the watch and watchOS 7, the company announced the launch of Apple Fitness+. The subscription-based virtual workout service should challenge similar existing programs, including Fitbit’s own Fitbit Premium.

Health and Safety Features

Apple’s latest wearable edges out Fitbit’s fitness tracker when it comes to health features.

A look at the Apple Watch 6’s SpO2 monitoring (left) and the Fitbit Charge 4‘s menstrual cycle tracking (right).

While it’s branded as a fitness tracker, you still get some advanced health features on the Fitbit Charge 4. In fact, some of these are only coming to Apple’s wearable with the release of the Apple Watch 6. Sleep tracking and blood oxygen monitoring, for instance, have been a staple across many of Fitbit’s devices. On the Apple Watch 6, you’ll finally get both thanks to an OS upgrade, and the addition of new sensors.

Fitbit’s Charge 4, however, doesn’t come with an ECG sensor. Apple pioneered the technology for a direct-to-consumer product back with the Apple Watch 4. It’s back with the Apple Watch 6 and should work nicely with the SpO2 monitoring and native sleep tracking app. Plus, Apple’s vibrant OLED display shows health information more intuitively compared to the Charge 4.

Of course, both devices come with standard wearable metrics: heart rate, calories burned, and breathing rate. But in terms of user safety, Apple does offer more. Like its predecessors, the Apple Watch Series 6 features fall detection, medical ID, as well as noise monitoring. Plus, it automatically detects hand-washing and sets a 20-second reminder to make sure you meet WHO recommendations. It’s really a watch for the times.

Smart Features and Battery Life

Apple’s Watch has more smart features while Fitbit’s Charge 4 offers a longer battery life.

The Apple Watch 6 can take calls unlike the Fitbit Charge 4.

The Apple Watch Series 6 is a smartwatch. Fitbit’s Charge 4, on the other hand, is a fitness tracker. That should be enough to explain everything, right? But the Charge 4, with all its simplicity, still comes with a few smart features. For instance, the tracker allows you to connect with and control your Spotify app. Keep in mind, however, you’ll need to have your smartphone nearby. Call and text notifications are available, too. However, unlike the Apple Watch 6, you can’t take calls using the watch itself.

It’s in these situations that Apple’s advantage in smart features is really demonstrated. The Cupertino-based tech giant’s nifty wearable is designed to seamlessly connect with and support everything. For instance, the Apple Watch 6 has Siri for its voice assistant. Through the watchOS 7, you also have access to a wealth of applications. And with the introduction of Family Setup, even non-iPhone users can take full advantage of the Apple Watch 6.

Still, the Fitbit Charge 4 trumps the Apple Watch 6 in terms of battery life. The fitness tracker offers up to seven days of battery life compared to Apple’s 18 hours. Expect those 18 hours to even be less if you have Always-On display enabled or if you’re a heavy user.

Verdict

The Apple Watch Series 6 is the more complete wearable but the Fitbit Charge 4 is better suited for fitness enthusiasts.

The Apple Watch Series 6 is the most complete wearable from Apple today. Its smart features are excellent and having watchOS 7 as the platform makes it an even better deal. Building on the success of earlier models, the Watch 6 also adds health and fitness features that should appeal to potential first-time buyers. If you’re a loyal Apple Watch user, however, these additions are a long time coming. After all, sleep tracking and blood oxygen monitoring have been a staple in other wearables, including Fitbit’s Charge series.

But if all you really care about is fitness tracking, then the Fitbit Charge 4 is more than enough. The device boasts health features that Apple’s wearable is only getting now in the Watch 6. Plus, the Charge 4 still comes with smart features and impressive battery life. For a reliable fitness tracker, the Charge 4 is hard to beat. For all the bells and whistles, however, you might want to go with the Apple Watch Series 6.

FAQs

๐Ÿ“Œ Is the Apple Watch Series 6 better than the Fitbit Charge 4

The Apple Watch Series 6 offers more smart features and a better display compared to the Charge 4. The latter is a fitness tracker and puts a premium more on fitness features than being an extension of a smartphone on your wrist.

๐Ÿ“Œ Does the Fitbit Charge 4 come in different colors and sizes?

Fitbit’s Charge 4 only comes in one size. However, you can get the device in four different color finishes. You can also customize the wearable through interchangeable straps.

๐Ÿ“Œ Which is better for fitness, Fitbit or Apple?

Fitbit’s bread and butter is fitness. The company’s devices, like the Versa and Charge 4 watches, are more fitness-focused and enjoys great support thanks to the Fitbit App.

๐Ÿ“Œ Where is the blood oxygen monitoring sensor of the Apple Watch 6 located?

Apple’s new SpO2 monitoring sensors are located at the crystal back of the Apple Watch 6.

Last update on 2022-05-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Mari Bassig

Senior Editor, writer and researcher passionate about gadgets, social media, and music.