Fitbit Ionic vs Versa, which is better?

When finding the best fully-featured smartwatch, things can be tricky. Unless, of course, you are on iOS and can pick up an Apple Watch.

However, for those with an Android device, then the Versa or Ionic is the way to go. Today, we’re going to look at the similarities and differences to help you determine the best option.

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The Specs for Fitbit’s Versa Series and Ionic

Important notice for Fitbit Ionic owners

Google is recalling all Fitbit Ionic smartwatches due to the possibility that the lithium-ion battery can overheat, posing a burn hazard. 

If you own an Ionic, Fitbit recommends you immediately stop using it even if it’s working normally and apply for a refund via this Ionic refund site. You’ll need to fill out a form and will receive a return kit with instructions on how to return your device for a refund.

This refund applies to all Fitbit Ionic watches, even inactive units.

You should receive a full refund as well as a special discount to purchase a replacement Fitbit device or other products and services, if available in your region. This special discount is available for a limited time and is valid for 90 days after registering for your Ionic refund.

Before jumping right into what’s similar and different between these, let’s take a look at the specs for the Ionic vs Versa.

The Fitbit Versa Series (including Versa, Versa Lite, Versa 2, Versa 3, and Versa 4) Fitbit's Versa Series smartwatches

  • Display: Corning Gorilla Glass
    • Versa or Versa Lite 1.34-inch LCD Touchscreen, Versa 2 1.4-inch Color AMOLED, and Versa 3 and 4 1.58-inch AMOLED display
  • Memory: 4GB (2.5GB for music storage on Versa & Versa 2–no music storage on Versa Lite. You can only control music on the Versa 3 and 4.)
  • Battery:
    • For Versa, Versa Lite, and Versa 2: 4-5 Days
    • For Versa 3 and 4: 6 Days + Fast Charging (full day’s charge in 12 minutes)
  • Water Resistance: 5ATM
  • Sensors: Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Optical Heart Rate Monitor, Altimeter, Ambient Light Sensor, Vibration Motor, Wi-Fi, Connected GPS, NFC (special edition)
  • Compatibility: Android, iOS, and Windows
  • GPS: Only available on Versa 3 and Versa 4
  • Bluetooth: 
    • 5 on Versa 3 and 4
    • 4 on Versa, Versa Lite, and Versa 2
  • Other Notes: The Versa 4 (and the Sense 2) do not support any third-party apps or clock faces. No Wi-Fi on Versa Lite (Bluetooth connection to phone for all data, including firmware updates)

Fitbit’s Ionic model Fitbit's Ionic smartwatch

  • Display: 1.42-inch LCD Touchscreen (348×250 resolution)
  • Memory: 2.5GB
  • Battery: 4+ Days (10 hours in GPS mode)
  • Water Resistance: 5ATM
  • Sensors: Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Optical Heart Rate Monitor, Altimeter, Ambient Light Sensor, Vibration Motor, Wi-Fi, GPS, NFC
  • Compatibility: Android, iOS, and Windows
  • GPS
  • Bluetooth 4.0

What’s different between the Versa series and the Ionic Distance on Fitbit Clock Face as default

In the Ionic vs. Versa battle, the first thing to look at is the design. The Versa sports rounded edges and generally looks more like an Apple Watch.

As for the Ionic, we have a somewhat blocky design with a little bit larger of a display (1.34 vs 1.42). The bands are a bit different as the edges of the face come further down than the Versa. The Ionic weighs more (1.76 oz) and is slightly larger and thicker–making it more noticeable.

The price is about the same for either model–hovering around $200 USD.

Under the hood, things are pretty similar, save for a few key aspects:

  • Memory (4GB vs 2.5GB)
  • GPS
  • NFC

The Versa wins in the memory department, as it sports 4GB of onboard storage. However, only 2.5GB has been allotted for music storage, specifically on models that offer that option (Versa 2 and below.)

The Ionic and the Versa 3/4 take the cake for those looking to leave their smartphone at home.

A built-in GPS chip makes it possible to keep track of your workouts without your phone in hand. If you want to do this with the Versa 2 and below, you’ll need your phone in an armband or pocket.

As you see, we mentioned NFC. Both smartwatches have an NFC chip, but you’ll have to spring for the Special Edition Versa or above. The standard Versa does not include one out of the box.

Finally, we would be remiss without mentioning the pricing of the Ionic vs Versa. The Versa 4 (and the older Fitbit Versa 3) smartwatch is priced at less than $200. This is closer to the price of an Apple Watch SE or an older model Apple Watch.

Fitbit Versa 4 Fitness Smartwatch with Daily Readiness, GPS, 24/7 Heart Rate, 40+ Exercise Modes, Sleep Tracking and more, Black/Graphite, One Size (S & L Bands Included)
  • Get inspired and stay accountable with Versa 4 + Premium - learn when to work out or recover, see...
  • Built for better fitness results: Daily Readiness Score(1), built-in GPS and workout intensity map,...

And you can still purchase the Versa 2 for even less. If you’re looking to store your music library or playlists on your watch, we recommend you buy the Versa 2 instead of the newer models that don’t offer personal music storage.

Additionally, the Versa 2 supports third-party apps and clock faces. The downside of the Versa 2 is that it doesn’t include an onboard GPS chip, though it can use your phone’s GPS  for Connected GPS.

Fitbit Versa 2 Health and Fitness Smartwatch with Heart Rate, Music, Alexa Built-In, Sleep and Swim Tracking, Black/Carbon, One Size (S and L Bands Included)
  • Use amazon Alexa built in to get quick news and information, check the weather, set timers and...
  • Based on your heart rate, time asleep and restlessness, sleep score helps you better understand your...

You can still find the original Versa and Versa Lite models for sale.

Due to the recall, you can no longer purchase the Fitbit Ionic.

What’s similar between the Versa and the Ionic

As for what’s similar between the Versa and Ionic, the list is plentiful. Both smartwatches keep track of all of the same metrics, including steps taken, distance traveled, calories burned, heart rate, sleep, and more.

Naturally, you will also have access to the ever-growing Fitbit community, so you can find new workouts or partners. This is done via the Fitbit application and can help push your limits during workouts if you are competing.

On the software side of things, both the Versa and Ionic have received the Fitbit OS 4.1+ update. This includes smartphone notifications, Fitbit Today, and Female Health Tracking.

The update also includes the ability to store music for offline usage. Finally, these smartwatches now make it possible for you to quickly reply to various messaging applications.

The final similarity is perhaps the biggest when it comes to smartwatches. You don’t want to have to worry about charging another device every night, and that is true for both options.

Battery life for the Ionic and Versa is rated at 4+ days. This is something that is rather impressive, considering that the Apple Watch lasts for maybe two days.

Wrap up

Now that we have given you a lay of the land, you’re probably wondering which smartwatch we recommend. Well, the answer is relatively simple, as it depends on your usage.

If you are someone that wants to rely on your smartwatch for GPS and NFC capabilities, then spring for the Ionic. However, if you don’t care about GPS, then go ahead and get the Versa.

As someone who has been using a Versa for the past few months, I can’t say enough good things. The smartwatch looks more natural, while the Ionic definitely appears to be a “first-gen” product.

We want to hear from you as to which option you decided on grabbing. Please comment and let us know whether you picked up the Versa or the Ionic.

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