Fitbit has expanded its smartwatch collection with the Versa, a new watch that sits alongside the Fitbit Ionic, offering a blend of fitness tracking and smartwatch functions.

Launching a year later, the new Fitbit Versa offers many of the same features - as well as introducing some new features to the Fitbit platform.

So how do these two smartwatches compare? 

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Fitbit Versa vs Ionic: Design

  • Versa is slimmer and lighter
  • Both offer changeable straps
  • Both offer 50m water resistance

Both watches are a similar size, but the Ionic is noticeably thicker; the Versa has a softer profile, with a back that's more rounded, whereas the Ionic is more angular. Those right angles get curved, but there's still a quality feel to things, with a metal body. 

The straps on both are easy to switch to change the style, with Fitbit keen on the idea of you switching the look of its watches around to suit any situation, from sporty to formal. There are a range of straps available on both devices. 

Both have a three-button design as well as offering a touchscreen, so basic operation is the same between both models.

Both designs offer water resistance to 50m, so both are suitable for swimming, sweating or showering.

There's a difference in colours available, with the Versa coming in rose gold. We prefer the chunkier looks of the Ionic, but this is simply personal preference.

Fitbit Versa vs Ionic: Hardware specs 

  • Versa lacks GPS
  • Both feature Bluetooth and Wi-Fi
  • Both have a colour touch display with 1000 nits brightness
  • Ionic has a longer battery life 

Central to both is the display, with Fitbit offering an interface that's loaded with colour and vibrancy. Rated at 1000 nits brightness - that's brighter than a lot of smartphones - it's ideally suited to cutting through reflections when you're outdoors and both look great. 

Connectivity is similar too: both these devices offer Bluetooth for connection to your smartphone or headphones as well as Wi-Fi for a direct connection to your home network. Both also offer an optical heart rate monitor on the back.

While both have an altimeter, accelerometer and gyroscope, the Fitbit Versa doesn't have GPS. That means it won't accurately log your location and track your distance on its own - you'll have to connect the Versa to your smartphone to get any location data. 

As such, the Ionic is better suited to those running or riding outdoors who want accurate speed and distance data.

The Ionic also offers 5 days of use, which betters the new Versa by a whole day. Both watches perform pretty well compared to Apple Watch or Android Wear devices in terms of battery life, outlasting both.

Fitbit Versa vs Ionic: Features and functions

  • Fitbit OS
  • Fitbit Pay
  • Bluetooth music 

On the features front both these watches offer the same set of functions. Both offer Fitbit Pay, allowing contactless payment (through supported banks) and both will also offer Bluetooth connections to headphones.

That means you can have smartphone-free music when you're exercising, with the ability to sync tracks to your watch. 

Both run on the same platform, with the Versa ushering in Fitbit OS 2.0. All the features that launch on the Fitbit Versa, such as female health tracking, have now been made available on the the Ionic as a software update.

Both offer tracking of activities, but as we said above, the Ionic has that GPS to allow for more accurate distance and speed logging.

Fitbit Versa vs Ionic: Price and which to buy?

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There's a £100 difference in the price of these two models and on paper, the biggest difference in functionality is that the Versa doesn't have GPS. If you're the sort of person who is more interested in lifestyle tracking and spends most of the time working out in the gym, then the lack of GPS might not worry you. 

Ionic has a chunkier design bringing with it a little more battery life, but for the price you're getting more of a sports watch, with more data returned when you're tracking those outdoor activities. For runners it's an easy choice - Ionic is the one you want. 

The Fitbit Ionic is currently available priced at £299.99 ($269.99), while the Fitbit Versa is £199 ($199.95).