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Fitbit Charge 4 vs Versa Lite (2021): Which Fitness Tracker Is Better Value?

It took two years for Fitbit to release an update to their popular fitness tracker, the Charge 3. Launching at a price point similar to the Fitbit Versa Lite, how do you determine whether to go for the smartwatch hybrid or the brand new Fitbit Charge 4? We highlight each device’s best features and provide our recommendations below.

Fitbit Charge 4 vs Versa Lite Fitness Tracker Comparison Chart

ModelFitbit Charge 4Fitbit Versa Lite
 Fitbit Charge 4Fitbit Versa Lite - White/Silver Aluminum
PriceCheck PriceCheck Price
DisplayLEDIPS LCD
Always-onNoNo
Screen Size1.36″1.32″
Dimensions1.4″ x 0.9″ x 0.5″1.55″ x 1.55″ x 0.44″
Weight0.7 oz1.34 oz
Colors44
Call & Text AlertsYesYes
Water ResistanceUp to 50 metersUp to 50 meters
Heart Rate MonitorYesYes
PedometerYesYes
AltimeterYesYes
Calorie Burn TrackerYesYes
Sleep TrackingYesYes
Swim TrackingYesYes
Female Health TrackingYesYes
CompassNoNo
GPSBuilt-inConnected
CellularNoNo
Wi-FiNoNo
BluetoothYesYes
NFCYesNo
Amazon AlexaNoNo
CompatibilityiOS, Android, WindowsiOS, Android, Windows
Battery Life7 days4+ days

Design

The Fitbit Charge 4 has a grayscale LED screen while the Versa Lite has a color IPS LCD.

Fitbit Charge 4 vs Versa Lite Fitness Tracker Design
As you may expect, the Fitbit Charge 4 (left) will look and feel lighter on your wrist than the Versa Lite (right).

There are several notable differences between the Fitbit Charge 4 and Versa Lite. The Charge 4 has a narrow vertical screen that has the same width as the strap, so it looks like solid band at a glance. Meanwhile, the Versa Lite has a rounded square display, and takes up as much space as typical watches. More importantly, it’s twice the weight of the Charge 4, so it can be cumbersome if you’re not used to wearing something that heavy on your wrist.

Like previous Charge versions, the Charge 4 still has a grayscale touchscreen, but it’s more of a swipescreen in practice. The backlit LED display looks nice and bright even in broad daylight. In comparison, the Versa Lite’s IPS LCD is brighter and displays in full color. With the variety of apps it can display, it’ll be nicer to look at, though you’d likely use your phone for most non-fitness related stuff. Still, the larger screen should be easier to read on than the smaller Charge 4.

We have to mention that, yes, nothing has really changed in the designs of both these new Charge and Versa fitness trackers compared to their previous versions. Those hoping to upgrade for a new look might be disappointed, but there’s still the option of simply changing band color and type.

Activity Tracking

The Fitbit Charge 4 has built-in GPS in addition to all of the fitness tracking features of the Versa Lite.

Fitbit Charge 4 vs Versa Lite Fitness Tracker Activity Tracking
Keep track of your route as well as your pace with the Charge 4’s built-in GPS.

You can get nearly all of the same activity tracking functionalities on the Versa Lite as on the Charge 4. With a heart rate monitor, pedometer, 3-axis accelerometer and altimeter, you can keep track of workouts and check your progress over time. Choosing one of the 20+ exercise modes lets you aim for goals to hit so you can push yourself harder if you like. Moreover, you can start any of the common exercises and automatically have your stats recorded thanks to Fitbit’s SmartTrack tech.

Where many outdoor runners and cyclists would want the Charge 4 over the Versa Lite is GPS capabilities. While you can connect the Versa Lite to your phone’s GPS and track route, distance and pace that way, the Charge 4 has it built-in, so you can leave your phone at home before you head out. Once you come back and sync data with your phone’s Fitbit app, you’ll see a visual map of where you’ve been along with other metrics.

Fitbit is also introducing a new Active Zone Minutes feature with the Charge 4, which monitors elevated heart rate at sustained periods of time. It’s a good way of ensuring you are being active for at least half an hour every day, which is important for better overall health. Using this with sleep score, as well as female health tracking for women, can provide a more comprehensive picture of your fitness levels.

Smart Features

The Fitbit Versa Lite has storage for apps while the Charge 4 has NFC.

Fitbit Charge 4 vs Versa Lite Fitness Tracker Smart Features
Customize what you can do with your Versa Lite with various apps.

As the smartwatch hybrid, the Fitbit Versa Lite gives you a much wider range on things you can do with it compared to a dedicated fitness tracker like the Charge 4. You can access different news, travel, sports, and fitness apps by adding them into the Versa Lite. There are even apps specially designed by Fitbit Labs just for their devices.

Despite the lack of apps on the Fitbit Charge 4, it still has its own set of smart features to bring to the table. First off, it has built-in NFC, so you can make contactless payments just with your wrist (at select stores). Previously, this was only available in Special Edition versions of Fitbit trackers. Next up, you can now control Spotify, Pandora and Deezer music with the Charge 4, whereas the previous one had no integration for it at all.

Both devices will let you receive notifications and calendar alerts on the fitness tracker so you won’t have to reach for your phone. Quick replies can also be made to SMS so you can focus on workouts better.

Battery Life and Other Features

The Fitbit Charge 4 has a longer battery life than the Versa Lite.

Fitbit Charge 4 vs Versa Lite Fitness Tracker Battery Life
With the Fitbit Charge 4, charging is an occasional weekly thing, not a daily requirement.

There’s no contest between the Fitbit Charge 4 and Versa Lite when it comes to battery life, as the Charge 4 can last up to 7 days while the Versa Lite taps out after 4. As such, you can wear the Charge 4 comfortably for a week without ever needing to plug it in. With its waterproof build you don’t even need to take it off when you take a bath, though you really should if it’s a hot shower.

Note that using GPS will drain the Charge 4’s battery life much quicker, and keeping the feature turned on will empty its battery after just 5 hours or so. It’s an important consideration if you’re planning to go on longer outdoor trips. Still, for daily use during workouts you’ll have plenty of juice to rely on and it’ll ensure you’re able to track sleep quality as well.

Verdict

The Fitbit Charge 4 is a better value fitness tracker than the Versa Lite.

Fitbit Charge 4

Fitbit Charge 4

Fitbit Versa Lite

Fitbit Versa Lite - White/Silver Aluminum

With GPS and NFC baked into the Fitbit Charge 4, it has just enough of an edge that we’re recommending it for users looking to get serious with their fitness and health. As the more focused fitness tracker, you can home in on exercise goals and personal reminders without extraneous distractions on your wrist. It’s lighter and slimmer too, so you’ll barely feel its impact while moving. Even better, it’s got almost twice the battery life, allowing you to wear it all week.

While it has all of the same essential activity tracking features, the best reasons to get the Fitbit Versa Lite are its looks and smartwatch features. You get to enjoy a nice color touchscreen that you can customize with different watch faces. With apps you can get a lot of utility and variety with the Versa Lite as a wearable, and its battery life is quite respectable compared to other alternatives.

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Derick Bondoc

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