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Best Fitbit 2021: which fitness tracker or smartwatch to buy


Back in the fledgling days of fitness bands, there was just a single Fitbit: the aptly named Fitbit Tracker.

Alas, like a waistline without any workouts, Fitbit’s range has expanded significantly since 2009. From touchscreen trackers to sporty smartwatches, there’s a Fitbit fit for every wrist, activity and outfit in 2022.

Don’t know your Versa 3 from your Charge 5? Whether you want a tracker to keep tabs on your everyday activity or a watch to watch your wellbeing, the buying guide below will help you find your perfect Fitbit.

Pay to play: Fitbit Premium

Fitbit’s devices will track your everyday activity and sporty pursuits as standard, serving up plenty of data in the polished partner app. That said, several of the more advanced feedback metrics – including Daily Readiness scores and in-depth stress and sleep insights – are hidden behind a membership paywall. Unlocking them requires a subscription to Fitbit Premium, a paid service that will set you back £7.99/$10 a month (or £80/$80 a year). You can sign up for a 90-day free trial to decide if the additional info is worth stumping up for.

The best Fitbit for mind and body masters: Fitbit Sense

Released in 2020, the Fitbit Sense was the first smartwatch with an EDA sensor, meaning it could monitor stress and advise you accordingly. Paired with an ECG app and on-wrist skin temperature sensor, plus all-day heart rate, activity tracking and GPS, the Sense still has the specs to impress in 2022.

Styled like its Versa stablemate, the Sense is skinned in stainless steel and aluminium. Surprisingly slim and light, it’s also simple to switch straps. Less handy is the single capacitive button under the left bezel: it’s awkwardly placed and too easy to accidentally press.

Up front is a 1.58in AMOLED display. Deep blacks and vibrant colours make up for sizeable bezels, although the unreliable raise-to-wake feature can be frustrating, as can the lag between swipes. You’ll get the most meaningful feedback via the smartphone app, especially when it comes to stress levels – although mindfulness sessions are reserved for Fibit Premium subscribers.

Fitbit still trails Apple when it comes to apps (there’s no offline Spotify), but the Sense does a solid job on smartwatch duty. Alexa is there, as well as Fitbit Pay, plus notification support. Add a six-day battery life (achievable even with 24/7 tracking) and the Sense shapes up as a buggy but well-rounded health and fitness assistant.

Read our full review of the Fitbit Sense

The best Fitbit for active all-rounders:Fitbit Versa 3

More of a clever fitness tracker than a full-fat smartwatch, the Versa 3 improves on a few – but not all – of the Versa 2’s shortcomings. Chief among the upgrades is the addition of GPS, which means the Versa 3 can track location and distance data in real time, in addition to SpO2, heart rate and 24/7 activity monitoring.

Also boosted is the display: now shared with the Sense, the 1.58in AMOLED is bigger than before. Which is handy, given that there’s more to see and do with it. Battery life is solid at six days, although that will drop to two if you set the screen to always-on.

Because it apes the shell of the Sense, it also suffers from a few of the same niggles, including the tricky button under the left bezel. It also does without the Sense’s EDA sensor – but costs quite a lot less because of it. And you still get a full complement of exercise modes.

While it’s first and foremost a fitness watch, the Versa 3 is still a smart ticker. Alexa and Google Assistant are on hand for voice assistance, backed up by smartphone notifications and support for Fitbit Pay – even if rollout remains limited. Provided you can live without a full catalogue of third-party apps, the Fitbit Versa 3 is an accessible and affordable Apple Watch alternative.

The best discounted Fitbit smartwatch: Fitbit Versa 2

Still widely available, Fitbit’s previous Versa device will now set you back some £50/$100 less than the Versa 3. But is it still worth considering in 2022? That depends on whether you need GPS. If not, the Versa 2 continues to deliver sufficient smartwatch and fitness tracking skills for most people. It’s got a stellar screen, superb battery life and solid fitness tracking chops, plus NFC payment support and smart assistance, all in durable packaging.

Buy the Versa 2 here from Fitbit

The best Fitbit for workout warriors: Fitbit Charge 5

Launched last year, the Charge 5 is Fitbit’s latest flagship tracker. It combines the best elements of its smarter watches with the streamlined form factor of its more basic bands.

Unlike the Charge 4 before it, the Charge 5 finally gets a full-colour touchscreen. Bright, vibrant and easy to view in full sunlight, the AMOLED display transforms the user experience, which is handy given the lack of physical buttons on the aluminium case.

GPS and heart rate tracking return, accompanied by new health and wellness features borrowed from the Sense and Versa 3. These include the ability to monitor blood oxygen, skin temperature and breathing rate during sleep, plus that all-important ECG. Daily Readiness Scores assess your physical condition, while the EDA app can analyse your body’s response to stress.

Battery life is decent at seven days (less with the screen set to always-on), though the software can be just a little jittery. That said, the upgrades still add up to a tracking package that’s smart, accessible and useful for more than just sporty stats.

Read our full review of the Fitbit Charge 5

The best discounted Fitbit tracker: Fitbit Charge 4

Looking to save with a last-gen sensor? The Charge 4 remains available from Fitbit. And if you’re happy to do without a colour display, it still delivers a solid suite of fitness tools – including built-in GPS and motivating movement measurements, backed up by Fitbit’s stellar smartphone app. Tracking accuracy can be a little hit and miss, but battery life is pretty much equivalent to the Charge 5 – and the monochrome touchscreen is bigger and better than the Inspire 2’s equivalent.

Buy the Fitbit Charge 4 here from John Lewis

The best Fitbit for stylish stat lovers: Fitbit Luxe

Proving that you can have both style and substance in a single tracker, the Fitbit Luxe combines a chic shell with an impressive arsenal of fitness skills.

Essentially a refined version of the Inspire 2, the Fitbit Luxe isn’t a rival to the Apple Watch: its smart features are pretty much limited to phone notifications. Instead, the water-resistant ticker promises comprehensive tracking tools in polished stainless steel packaging.

Heart rate monitoring keeps an accurate track of your ticker 24/7, with activity stats readily accessible. The only problem? Though it’s bright and sharp, the AMOLED display’s compact proportions make it tricky to delve into data (despite the attractive interface). There’s always the app for that, although the meatiest metrics are kept for those who pay up for Fitbit Premium.

Arguably the bigger omission is GPS, which means the Luxe isn’t deluxe for sprinters. That said, you can still tether it to your smartphone – and for all other disciplines, it does a sterling job of logging your efforts. Stats span heart rate variability, skin temperature and blood oxygen, plus Active Zone Minutes and Daily Readiness Scores.

Provided you’ve got fingers fine enough for its slimline screen, the Luxe is a feature-packed tracker you’ll be happy to wrap around your wrist every day.

The best Fitbit for little critters: Fitbit Ace 3

A lot of little ones don’t need encouragement to tear around, but if your sprog wants an activity target, the Fitbit Ace 3 could be a winner. Built tough enough to survive some rough and tumble, a silicone bumper protects the display, while a swim-proof setup means it’s good for a dunking.

The screen is a backlit black and white OLED. While the lack of colour can feel muted, a wide selection of watch faces should keep your critters entertained – and the monochrome setup contributes to a beefy battery life of up to eight days.

Designed for kids between the ages of six and 13, the Ace 3 doesn’t log the same stuff as grown-up Fitbits; there’s no calorie or location logging by default. Instead, it’ll focus on tracking sleep, steps and Active Minutes to motivate movement. Blessed with a competitive kid? You can also create Family Challenges through the app.

The app also has a Kid View which limits what they can access. Its interface isn’t the most exciting for youthful users, but the band itself does plenty to entertain – and its data can provide handy feedback for parents.

The best affordable Fitbit for beginners on a budget: Fitbit Inspire 2

Fitbit’s cheapest tracker might be its most basic, but the Inspire 2 still delivers when it comes to the key fitness features: a built-in heart rate monitor means the streamlined sensor can keep a meaningful eye on your movements, with 20 dedicated activity modes. Step tracking is reliable, while the 10-day battery life goes the distance.

Courtesy of its compact shell and understated styling, the Inspire 2 is equally at home in the office and the gym. It can accompany you to the pool too, thanks to 50m water resistance. And at just 20g, the band won’t drag you down.

Downsides? The lack of on-board GPS limits its use as a tool for logging jogs, while some will find the Inspire 2’s minuscule monochrome screen tricky to work with. Display faces can be customised via Fitbit’s fantastic app, but it works best as a passive tracker: set it, forget it and review your workout data later. And if it’s that kind of simplicity you’re after from a tracker, the Fitbit Inspire 2 is a winner.

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