The Apple Watch Series 6 and the Fitbit Sense are both very good smartwatches and there are a lot of similarities between them.
On the surface, you’d see the similarities between them. They’re both smartwatches meant to look jovial, outgoing and modern. Their watch cases are curved on the edges and on the display’s glass, and their straps are made of human made materials.
Yet beyond the gregarious outlook of the two watches lies a little small difference on the purpose of the two watches.
Apple Watch Series 6 vs Fitbit Sense: different purpose
If you buy a smartwatch, you’d probably be more interested in the “smart” part rather than the “watch” part.
Both smartwatches tell time very well, bu let’s focus on the “watch” part first. They have a bunch of very nice watch faces that will tell you the time and other details that you might want to know such as your steps.
When it comes to watch faces, you can download custom watch faces on the Fitbit that are pretty interesting. What I found really special on the Fitbit’s watch face store is that you can get free watch faces that feature memes. It’s pretty funny and puts some humour and jest into your Fitbit Sense.
The Apple Watch Series 6 is much more “serious.” What I mean by that is that everything is very well designed, very well controlled and always works very well. The Apple Watch OS includes quite a good selection of analog and digital watch faces.
The Apple Watch Series 6 can offer more customization on the watch face. I like how you can put complications (i.e. widgets) that tell you interesting information such as noise levels and sun position.
In the end, the Apple Watch Series 6 is better at giving you more information at a glance as compared to the Fitbit Sense.
Fitbit pains, Apple Watch gains
The other thing that really grinds my gears is the Fitbit app.
It has gotten a little better, but as I tested another Fitbit fitness tracker, I am reminded how the Fitbit app can be rather finicky like starting a carbureted engine in the winter.
I remember when I was setting up the smartwatch for my Fitbit Sense review, it just kept getting errors. Then I realized that I had to keep the screen on in order to have the set up process go through.
It doesn’t end there. Sometimes, little features such as Google Assistant won’t work because the Fitbit app has lost connection with the Fitbit Sense. It’s always a crapshoot as to how to resolve the loss in connection – – sometimes turning off and on Bluetooth works, sometimes a full reset works, sometimes it’s the power saving settings that are affecting the connection.
Whereas when it comes to the Apple Watch Series 6, everything is smooth. In order to pair your Apple Watch Series 6 with the iPhone, you’ll just need to put it close to the phone. The connection between the Apple Watch Series 6 and the iPhone is always solid. You’ll rarely, if ever, have to deal with the connection issues that come with the Fitbit Sense.
If you are the type of person who hates charging your smartwatch, then you’ll find the Fitbit Sense to be better.
These watches are potentially worn 24/7 because of the sleep tracking feature, but here’s the problem: the Apple Watch Series 6 cannot beyond 36 hours. Meaning, in order to get through the second day, you’ll need to find an hour or so to charge the Apple Watch.
The Fitbit Sense only needs a charge about every few days. That is REALLY convenient.
Both smartwatches are very useful in helping you accomplish certain tasks. The Apple Watch Series 6 is just better at it because it’s better integrated.
Let’s talk about messages and emails. The Apple Watch Series 6 can access your iPhone’s messages and emails, but the Fitbit Sense can’t. You can reply to messages and emails on both smartwatches when they come in as notifications, but with the Fitbit Sense, that’s only possible on Androids.
Both smartwatches also have a voice assistant. The Apple Watch Series 6 uses Siri while the Fitbit Sense uses either Google Assistant or Amazon’s Alexa. I switched to Google Assistant and found it be much better than Alexa.
Both Google Assistant and Siri are pretty competent at understanding what you want to do and is most useful when you need to set up timers. Nonetheless, Siri is better than Google Assistant because of the better integration between the iPhone and Siri.
If you are looking at the Fitbit Sense and the Apple Watch Series 6, then you might be interested in their health and workout features.
The Fitbit Sense has certain features that the Apple Watch Series 6 doesn’t. For example, the rim along the watch case is conductive so that when you do an EDA (electrodermal activity) response scan, the Fitbit Sense can tell you about how your body is responding to a breathing exercise. The Fitbit Sense also has a skin temperature sensor that can tell you if your body temperature is higher than usual.
Both smartwatches do have the most popular health metric of 2020: blood oxygen saturation tracking (aka Blood O2 or SpO2). On the rear of both watches are red LEDs that are used as the SpO2 sensor.
When it comes to tracking exercises, I found the Fitbit Sense’s choices of workouts to be a bit slim. There’s the standard bike, walk, run and swim, but if you partake in some sport that’s a bit less common, you’re going to have to use the generic “Workout” mode.
The Apple Watch Series 6 is just a bit better. On the Watch OS’s Workout app, there are more exercises to choose from and that’s a good thing to have.
Encouragement to exercise
Both watches make it easy for you to track your progress in your daily activity.
On the Apple Watch Series 6, your progress towards your activity goals are presented with three pink, green and cyan rings that represent, respectively, movement goals, active minutes and standing frequency.
You can put these rings front and centre by using a watch face that features it.
On the Fitbit Sense, the default watch face tracks steps, and if you swipe up, you’ll see the summary that includes steps, floors climbed, distance and calories burned.
Both smartwatches also have a reward system that tells you when you have achieved your goals or hit a new milestone. It’s good if these spur you on.
The Fitbit Sense is a great smartwatch that I think can offer great value for anyone who buys it.
It’s definitely a bit more skewed to being a smartwatch that’s helpful in nudging people into living a healthier lifestyle. However, the Apple Watch Series 6 is equally good but is a better overall “smart” watch because of its ability to handle different aspects that make your life just a bit easier.
This is especially so if you are a iPhone user, which cripples the Fitbit Sense’s ability to do tasks such as reply to messages.
If you’re reading this review, you’re probably an iPhone user, and I think you’d be happier with the iPhone paired to the Apple Watch Series 6.