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Fitbit Charge 4 vs Apple Watch 5 (2021): How To Choose Your Next Fitness Smartwatch

Choosing a new wearable just got a bit more difficult with Fitbit’s new Charge 4 entering the mix. With some much-awaited features being added to the beloved Charge series, fans have some deciding to do on whether or not to upgrade. So how does the Fitbit Charge 4 compare to one of the premium smartwatches available today, such as the Apple Watch Series 5? We compare their specs and features below.

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Apple Watch Series 5 (44mm)

With a new Always-on Retina display, the Apple Watch Series 5 lets you see the time and enjoy numerous watch faces all day. Comes in your choice of Space Gray, Silver, or Gold case.

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Fitbit Charge 4 vs Apple Watch 5 Fitness Smartwatch Comparison Chart

ModelFitbit Charge 4Apple Watch Series 5
 Fitbit Charge 4Apple Watch Series 5 - Gold Aluminum Case
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DisplayLEDRetina
Always-onNoYes
Screen Size1.36″1.78″
Dimensions1.4″ x 0.9″ x 0.5″1.73″ x 1.5″ x 0.42″
Weight0.7 oz1.29 oz
Colors43
Call & Text AlertsYesYes
Water ResistanceUp to 50 metersUp to 50 meters
Heart Rate MonitorYesYes
ECG MonitorNoYes
PedometerYesYes
AltimeterYesYes
Calorie Burn TrackerYesYes
Sleep TrackingYesNo
Swim TrackingYesYes
Female Health TrackingYesYes
CompassNoYes
GPSBuilt-inBuilt-in
CellularNoAvailable
Wi-FiNoYes
BluetoothYesYes
NFCYesYes
StorageNoYes
CompatibilityiOS, Android, WindowsiOS
Battery Life7 days18 hours

Design

The Apple Watch 5 has a more premium design and build quality than the Fitbit Charge 4.

Fitbit Charge 4 vs Apple Watch 5 Fitness Smartwatch Design
It’s not apparent from these photos, but the high-res Retina display of the Apple Watch Series 5 (right) really looks a lot nicer than the LED of the Fitbit Charge 4 (left).

Holding these two fitness smartwatches side by side should instantly draw you towards Apple’s device, as it’s that much of a looker compared to Fitbit’s utilitarian aesthetics. The Apple Watch Series 5 has a matte aluminum case that’s only outshined by its crisp and colorful Retina display. It’s like having a mini-iPhone right on your wrist. With how responsive and large its touchscreen is, you’ll definitely enjoy playing around with its apps more than simply as a way to manage your fitness metrics.

That’s not all, too. Apple finally added a much requested feature to the Series 5: an always-on option. Now you can enjoy its lovely display even more and have a watch that shows the time all the time. With a customizable watch face it’ll look even better, though you’ll have to keep an eye on battery levels as this drains it much quicker.

Comparing the Fitbit Charge 4‘s grayscale LED to the Apple Watch’s screen seems a bit unfair. Not only is it smaller and narrower, it has fewer pixels and less interactivity too. However, it’s perfectly fine for the fitness apps you’ll be using on it and it’s backlit too so it’s readable out under the sun. It’s quite light, so you’ll hardly feel it on your wrist unless you wear it too tight.

Both look great, but those who’ve owned previous models will notice that these are essentially the same designs as before. While we can hope for a fresh new take, this does mean that they’re compatible with bands for older Charge and Apple Watch versions.

Activity Tracking

The Fitbit Charge 4 has sleep tracking while the Apple Watch 5 has an ECG monitor.

Fitbit Charge 4 vs Apple Watch 5 Fitness Smartwatch Activity Tracking
While the Fitbit Charge 4 has sleep quality tracking, the Apple Watch Series 5 has its own set of health tracking features.

As the dedicated fitness tracker, the Fitbit Charge 4 gets the edge in terms of recording exercises and improving workouts. There are more than 20 exercise modes that you can track and keep a workout history for so you can measure progress. You can set personal goals to hit to get motivated into continually improving. In addition, the Charge 4’s heart rate monitor and a new SpO2 sensor can gauge sleep quality and determine ways on how you can achieve more restful sleep.

Over the years the Apple Watch has continued to add to its repertoire of fitness features to match Fitbit’s lineup. Now, the Series 5 packs as much activity tracking capabilities, so you can wear it for almost any type of workout, including swimming. It has an Activity Rings feature that can inspire you to keep active every day, which you can share with friends for some friendly competition. To compare, the Charge 4 has a new Active Zone Minutes feature that functions similarly.

However, Apple is eyeing more health tracking features with its smartwatch. The Series 5 adds an ECG sensor to measure heart rhythm and help spot anomalies that can turn into medical issues later on. It also has a fall detection app that can send an alert to emergency contacts and health professionals in case you need help, which is handy for older users. There’s also a noise level app to warn you of dangerous sound volume along with cycle tracking to record period symptoms and other information.

Finally, both Charge 4 and Apple Watch 5 have built-in GPS so you can get real-time access to your pace and route during outdoor runs or cycles. They’re also fully waterproof up to 50 meters, so you can track laps at the pool, too.

Smart Features

The Apple Watch 5 has a larger app library and better connectivity than the Charge 4.

Fitbit Charge 4 vs Apple Watch 5 Fitness Smartwatch Smart Features
With the immense WatchOS library of the Apple Watch 5, you’ll find it easier to get the app you need.

There’s no getting around the fact that Apple has gotten a lot more developers to create app for the Apple Watch 5 and its earlier versions. It will be likely that you can find an app that does what you need in the WatchOS library than on Fitbit OS. Moreover, the UI of Apple Watch apps simply looks better since they’re designed for a better display.

While the Fitbit Charge 4 has added Spotify control and lets you access Pandora and Deezer playlists, you can store songs on the Apple Watch Series 5 itself as well as listen to the entire Apple Music library. With Wi-Fi connectivity, you can download apps and songs on the Series 5 directly. You can also opt for the pricier cellular-enabled variants if you really want to have full connectivity without bringing your iPhone.

Those who like using voice assistants get full Siri access on the Apple Watch Series 5, which comes equipped with mic and speaker. Meanwhile, the Fitbit Charge 4 doesn’t have either, though it will allow you to make payments using only your wrist via Fitbit Pay, just like the Series 5’s Apple Pay. You’ll be able to receive notifications and calendar alerts on both devices though, so they can minimize having to pull out your phone during intense exercise sessions.

Battery Life and Other Features

The Fitbit Charge 4 has a much longer battery life than the Apple Watch 5.

Fitbit Charge 4 vs Apple Watch 5 Fitness Smartwatch Battery Life
Wear the Fitbit Charge 4 for almost an entire week without taking it off for a recharge.

There’s a mountain of difference between the Fitbit Charge 4‘s 7-day battery life and the Apple Watch Series 5’s 18 hours. This is perhaps the one weakness of the Apple Watch, as it requires nearly daily recharging. Meanwhile, the Charge 4 can be worn almost the entire week and it won’t complain with low battery warnings. Of course, several factors will noticeably impact these numbers, but there’s no getting around having days of charge versus several hours.

Note that using GPS will drain battery life a lot quicker for both devices, and using the always-on display of the Series 5 will ravish it even faster.

Verdict

The Apple Watch 5 is packed with more features than the Fitbit Charge 4, but it’s at a steep cost.

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Apple Watch Series 5 (44mm)

With a new Always-on Retina display, the Apple Watch Series 5 lets you see the time and enjoy numerous watch faces all day. Comes in your choice of Space Gray, Silver, or Gold case.

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It shouldn’t be a surprise that the Apple Watch Series 5 comes out way ahead if you’re simply looking at the total number and variety of features. As the premium wearable, it’s got nearly everything you could want on your wrist, including fitness tracking, health tracking, music storage, apps, GPS, etc., the list goes on. However, you have to consider the price, since even the standard aluminum case is quite expensive. There are other variants featuring ceramic, stainless steel, and titanium cases, with correspondingly skyrocketing costs. If your budget easily accommodates it though, the Apple Watch 5 is indeed a topnotch device.

At the more reasonable point of the price spectrum sits the Fitbit Charge 4, and it’s never been more attractive. The beloved Charge series finally has built-in GPS and music control to make outdoor use a lot more appealing. It remains as lightweight and minimalist as ever, and as a dedicated fitness tracker with a fantastic app, you’ll be able to measure your progress and enhance your fitness levels better. You’ll be saving so much by getting it, and it won’t feel like you’re simply snapping up a cheap option.

FAQs

๐Ÿ“Œ Is Apple Watch better than Fitbit?

The Apple Watch definitely has better and more smartwatch features than most Fitbit models. However, Fitbit’s activity tracking app has been the standard in the industry, making Fitbit trackers like the Charge 4 still the go-to choice of dedicated fitness enthusiasts.

๐Ÿ“Œ Is the Fitbit Charge 4 worth buying?

Yes, the Fitbit Charge 4 truly stands out with its extensive activity tracking features, waterproof build, amazing battery life, and very friendly price. It easily outperforms the majority of fitness trackers available today, and it now has built-in GPS and music controls.

๐Ÿ“Œ What is the difference between the Apple Watch 4 and 5?

The Apple Watch Series 5 only has a few minor upgrades from the Apple Watch Series 4. These include an always-on display option, more music storage, and a compass. There are additional editions available for the Series 5 with more premium cases though they don’t impact actual performance.

๐Ÿ“Œ Is the Apple Watch 5 worth it?

If you’re upgrading from the Apple Watch Series 3 or 4, there aren’t enough new features and improvements that make the Apple Watch Series 5 worth it. However, it’s the opposite if you’re going to be a new Apple Watch user or are upgrading from Series 1 or 2. The Apple Watch 5 has an always-on display, more health tracking features, and much faster processing than previous versions and other smartwatches.

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Derick Bondoc

Managing Editor at Compare Before Buying. Writer and researcher passionate about gadgets, gaming and snacks.