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Fitbit Sense vs Apple Watch Series 5 (2021): Is It Time To Leave The iOS Ecosystem?

The Apple Watch Series 5 has been holding the title of king of smartwatches for a while now but it seems like there’s a newcomer in town who wants to take over the top spot. Fitbit recently released its new flagship model called the Fitbit Sense and it boasts of features that have never been seen before on other Fitbit watches. While the Fitbit Sense is the brand’s most advanced smartwatch to date, does it have what to it takes to rival the Apple Watch Series 5? If you’re wondering whether you should leave the iOS ecosystem to join the Fitbit fam, here’s an in-depth comparison of the Fitbit Sense and the Apple Watch Series 5, taking their features, battery life, and prices into consideration.

Fitbit Sense vs Apple Watch Series 5 Comparison Chart

Apple Watch SE in 2022
Apple Watch SE in 2022
ModelFitbit SenseApple Watch Series 5
 Amazon productAmazon product
PriceAmazon productAmazon product
EDA SensorYesNo
ECG SensorYesYes
Skin Temperature SensorYesNo
Built-In GPSYesYes
Smart AssistantsGoogle Assistant and AlexaSiri
Battery Life6 days18 hours
Fast ChargingYesNo
MaterialStainless steelStainless steel, aluminum, titanium, or ceramic
Water Resistance50 meters50 meters

Features

The Fitbit Sense plays catch-up to the Apple Watch Series 5 when it comes to features.

The Fitbit Sense (left) boasts of new health sensors, making it more comparable to the Apple Watch Series 5 (right).

One of the best things about the Apple Watch Series 5 is its health tracking capabilities, most especially its ECG feature. While Fitbit used to be behind in this aspect, it’s now neck and neck with Apple thanks to the new Fitbit Sense. Not only does it have an ECG sensor that’s able to monitor your heart rhythm and detect signs of atrial fibrillation, but it also has a skin temperature sensor which will let you know if you’re about to get sick or already experiencing a fever. Also, the Fitbit Sense is the first smartwatch to have an EDA sensor. What this does is that it measures the electrical fluctuations in your sweat which could be an indication of rising stress levels. To make use of the EDA sensor, all you have to do is place your palm on top of the Fitbit Sense’s face.

Another feature that the Fitbit Sense comes with is built-in GPS. While this isn’t exactly revolutionary (the Apple Watch Series 5 already has this technology), it’s still a big milestone for Fitbit. Built-in GPS has been missing on Fitbit Versa models for quite a while now and for this reason, many have turned to Apple instead. And so it’s a big win for the Fitbit Sense to finally have this feature. Also, if you buy the Fitbit Sense, you get to enjoy 6 months of Fitbit Premium for free. With Fitbit Premium, you get access to exclusive features such as relaxation and sleep apps, workouts, tailored insights, and advanced data. This freebie is definitely a nice touch from Fitbit.

As for apps, it’s quite impossible to trump the amount of choices you get with the App Store so the Apple Watch Series 5 definitely wins in this regard. The Fitibit Sense does, however, give you more options when it comes to smart assistants. It offers both Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa while with the Apple Watch Series 5, you’re pretty much stuck with Siri.

Battery Life

The Fitbit Sense trumps the Apple Watch Series 5 when it comes to battery life.

The Fitbit Sense boasts of 6 days of battery life.

The Apple Watch Series 5 claims to have an 18-hour battery life and the main reason it’s able to last that long is because of its reduced refresh rate. Instead of refreshing every second, the Apple Watch Series 5 has an always-on face that’s able to reduce the power consumption from 60Hz to just 1Hz. Also, the Apple Watch Series 5’s always-on face only refreshes every second when you’re working out instead of every millisecond. But if you think 18 hours is impressive, wait til you hear what the Fitbit Sense has to offer.

The Fitbit Sense boasts of over 6 glorious days of battery life and even if it falls short of this claim, it will still be able to last a whole lot longer than the 18 hours of the Apple Watch Series 5. While you’d have to take off your Apple Watch Series 5 pretty often to charge it, you can save yourself from this hassle with the Fitbit Sense. Also, you can get a whole day’s worth of usage with the Fitbit Sense just by charging it for 12 minutes. This is a pretty great feature if you’re pressed for time and forgot to charge your Fitbit Sense the night before.

Price

The Fitbit Sense is a lot more accessible than the Apple Watch Series 5 in terms of price.

The Apple Watch Series 5 gets even more expensive the more you customize it.

One of the biggest reasons why people hesitate to buy themselves an Apple Watch Series 5 is because of its hefty price tag. You’d have to fork over around $500 to sport Apple’s flagship smartwatch model on your wrist and that’s just with the regular wristband. If you want to go for the fancier options, the total amount would cost you an arm and a leg. While Apple can always justify this with the fact that they use premium materials, there’s no denying that the Apple Watch Series 5 is a luxury item that’s not easily accessible to many.

If you’re conscious of your budget and there’s no way you can spend a whopping $500 on a smartwatch, then the Fitbit Sense might be the more cost-effective option for you. It’s priced at $400, allowing you to save a hundred bucks (as well as ease the guilt) versus if you were to go with the Apple Watch Series 5. This is a pretty good deal, especially because the Fitbit Sense is a big step-up from the brand’s previous models. Not to mention you get free access to Fitbit Premium for half a year.

Verdict

You can skip the Fitbit Sense if you already have the Apple Watch Series 5.

Amazon product

If you already have the Apple Watch Series 5 and are fully immersed in the iOS ecosystem, you don’t have to bother spending money on the new Fitbit Sense. Apple is still unbeatable when it comes to smartwatch features, known for its speed and accuracy. While the Fitbit Sense does have new health sensors that measure your stress levels and temperature, Apple’s health features are already established and therefore reliable. Also, the variety you get with the App Store is unbeatable and you’re probably going to miss it if you make the switch. That said, there are some drawbacks to the Apple Watch Series 5. For one, you’ll be left with quite a big dent in your wallet if you do decide to purchase it. Also, its battery life isn’t too impressive, unable to last the whole day.

While it would be unnecessary to trade in your Apple Watch Series 5 for a Fitbit Sense, the latter would be a good purchase if you want to upgrade from an older Fitbit model or if you don’t have a smartwatch yet. The Fitbit Sense got a bunch of new features, including built-in GPS, health sensors, and Google Assistant. Also, it’s remarkable that it’s able to last more than 6 days without a charge. Not to mention it’s a whole lot more affordable than the Apple Watch Series 5. While the Fitbit Sense isn’t enough to dethrone the Apple Watch Series 5, it’s definitely a good alternative that’s worth looking into.

FAQs

📌 What new features can you enjoy with the new Fitbit Sense?

The Fitbit Sense has an ECG sensor that’s able to detect signs of atrial fibrillation as well as a skin temperature sensor which will let you know if you’re about to get sick or already experiencing a fever. Also, the Fitbit Sense is the first smartwatch to have an EDA sensor. What this does is that it measures the electrical fluctuations in your sweat which could be an indication of rising stress levels. The Fitbit Sense also has built-in GPS and Google Assistant.

📌 Which one has better battery life, the Fitbit Sense or the Apple Watch Series 5?

The Fitbit Sense is the clear winner when it comes to battery life. It’s able to go 6 days without a charge while you’d need to charge the Apple Watch Series 5 after 18 hours. Also, what’s great about the Fitbit Sense is that you can charge it for just 12 minutes to get a whole day’s worth of usage.

📌 Which one is more affordable, the Fitbit Sense or the Apple Watch Series 5?

The Fitbit Sense is definitely the more cost-effective option, allowing you to save around a hundred bucks versus if you were to purchase the Apple Watch Series 5.

📌 Should you buy the new Fitbit Sense if you already have the Apple Watch Series 5?

If you’re already an Apple Watch Series 5 owner, you can go ahead and skip the Fitbit Sense. If, however, you would like to upgrade from an older Fitbit model of if you don’t have a smartwatch yet, the Fitbit Sense is a good option.

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Denise Jose

Senior Editor at Compare Before Buying. Researcher and yoga teacher passionate about article writing, photography, wellness, and mindfulness.