Fitbit Fitness Tracker or Smartwatch Right for You?

Bree Fowler

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After months of being cooped up inside because of the coronavirus pandemic, you might think of a fitness tracker or a smartwatch as an easy way to jump-start your summer fitness goals.

But it can be hard to choose the right one. Even if you look just at Fitbit—a longtime leader in wearable tech—you’ll find a dizzying array of options. 

To make things easier, we’ve assembled this guide to the company’s offerings, complete with details on features, accuracy, and app selection.

Before you buy one of these trackers or smartwatches, be sure to shop around. This is a great time for deals on devices like these.

As always, Consumer Reports members can consult our fitness tracker and smartwatch ratings to get the full scoop on all models. 

Fitness Trackers

First, you’ll need to decide whether you’d like a fitness tracker or a smartwatch. Trackers are simpler devices intended mainly for basic physical monitoring. They don’t work with the third-party apps that smartwatches do. But on the flip side, they usually don’t cost as much.

There are some variations, Fitbit’s fitness tracker offerings boil down to a handful of models. These include the Charge 4, the company’s newest flagship tracker, which launched in March. We haven’t had a chance to test it yet; we’ll update this article once results are in. 

Smartwatches

Sure, a smartwatch will cost you a little bit more. But in many cases, you’re buying a lot of additional functionality. And for what it’s worth, smartwatches have come down significantly in price in recent years. Fitbit’s most basic model retails for $160.

On the flip side, the performance and features of Fitbit’s fanciest model don’t come close to matching those of the top-rated Apple Watch (which costs about twice as much). Though you can read messages and download a growing population of third-party apps, you can’t make or take calls from any of Fitbit’s watches. And the Fitbit store has just a fraction of the apps that Apple and Google offer.



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