An older Apple watch and a shiny new Sense 2 go through every day use to see how they fare!
Putting the fitness tracker and smart watch through their paces, we have two volunteers who have recently returned to healthy ways and wanted to get a smart watch or fitness tracker/monitor to continue making improvements to their lifestyles. Neither athletes nor total newbies to the world of exercise, the use of the fitness monitors was intended as light and recreational.
We look at the functionality of the Fitbit Sense 2 compared with that of the Apple Watch Series 3 on paper and with daily use comparison - whether it helped us to stay motivated.
Both devices shown here, sporting the Fitstraps leather watch straps.
Apple Watch Series 3
Older but still got it in it! This smart watch comes in at about £100 at the time of writing, not available new any more, but you can buy a refurbished Apple Watch Series 3.
For a first time user the Apple Watch made a great introduction into using a smart watch, the functions are a bit clunky compared to the Sense 2, but being an Apple Watch it still trumps it on the most important functions for our test subject. Big
downside is support being withdrawn, but we'll come back to that!
Looks nice and is easy to read and use.
Lots of apps, navigate them using an interactive 'app ball' that you can spin and access more and more apps. Or, if your eyes or fingers can't manage that, change it to a list.
The Fitbit Sense 2
The follow up to the popular Fitbit Sense Fitness watch.
Sadly the Sense 2 promises a lot, but takes away features from the original Sense. However it does deliver on a couple of health insights. The Sense 2 looks good, and is easy to read and use. Offers premium subscription for deeper look into the diagnostic tools such as sleep analysis.
The large price tag for a fitness monitor is hard to justify though, when put next to, well, anything really, even an old, and tired smart watch such as the Apple Watch Series 3.
There is the issue about the Sense 2 not being accurate on heart rate or step number. We found many reviews for the Sense 2, there are lots of disappointed cyclists who have tested the heart rate readings compared to other fitness monitors.
However, during the normal use of the Sense 2 we did find that the step count was accurate, with numbers matching the activity. On low activity days the difference in calories, steps and heart rate all matched up, the resting heart rate was accurate and the calories burned also tallied with the activity level.
All in all, for general use the Sense 2 did seem to get the numbers right.
Replacement straps for your fitbit or Apple watch
We have to include a section on our fab new straps for fitness trackers. We are always adding to our ranges of replacement straps, so please check back often and see what latest offerings we have for you. If you sign up for our newsletter you can keep ahead of the latest deals we have, saving even more on our excellent quality straps and wristbands.
Replacement straps for the Fitbit Sense 2
Compatible with the Fitbit Sense and Fitbit Versa, these very easy to fit watch straps will make coordinating your wearable tech with your current favourite outfit a piece of cake. The leather straps are very popular and do sell out fast! We think they're the best we've tried, definitely the best options for skin health, hygiene, and smart looks. The leather does beat the silicone for all day wearability, but we would certainly recommend getting at least one replacement strap for your Sense 2 in silicone, for use down the gym or at the pool, to keep your best Apple Watch straps looking great and lasting as long as possible.
Replacement straps for the Apple Watch
We know you will find what you're after in our Apple Watch replacement strap range. We have recently added new styles and designs, to suit all ocassions, from parties to pools - sparkly waterproof silicone would totally be at home by the pool or worn into the evening, so don't forget to add some new styles to your holiday suitcase and make each outfit a stunner.
Each Apple Watch Strap is compatible with all models of Apple Watch. Available in two sizes for both size watches.
How does the Fitbit Sense 2 compare to Apple Watch?
Our users found both devices easy to set up and get started, although there are lots of features to explore and keep you occupied.
Both screens were of a similiar size and shape, with the Apple Watch a smidge slimmer. The Sense 2 watch was a bit chunky on the smaller wrist but the screensize was perfect for reading all the information. Although the information is a bit tricky to navigate on the Apple 3, there are a lot of small icons and selecting the right one can be a bit hit or miss.
There is an obvious difference between the two - can you see what it is?
Both can be used for call, text and alert notifications, and for receiving calls via bluetooth. Apple Watch can play music, Sense 2 cannot. Also the Apple Watch supports 3rd party apps but the Sense 2 doesn't. We found people did have issues hearing calls taken on the Apple Watch Series 3.
The battery life was the biggest difference between the Sense 2 and the Apple Watch 3. Needing a charge every night, the Apple Watch came nowhere near the Sense 2 which could go a full week without needing a charge.
The charge times were also noticably faster for the Sense 2.
Functionaility, side by side
Apple Watch 3
Fitbit Sense 2
- GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, and QZSS
- Water resistant
- Optical heart sensor
- Emergency SOS
up to 16 g-forces
- Ambient light sensor
- Apple Pay
- Capacity 16GB
GPS + Cellular
- Capacity 8GB
- Heart rate tracking
- Daily Readiness Score
- Active Zone Minutes
- Built-in GPS
- Exercise modes
- Steps, distance & calories
- Water resistant
- Cardio Fitness Score
- Automatic exercise tracking
- Workouts on your phone
- Call, text and app notifications
- On-wrist Bluetooth® calls
- Alexa Built-in
- Google Maps
- Google Wallet
- Fitbit Pay
- Find My Phone
- Compatible with iOS and Android devices
- Slim design
- 6+ day battery
- Fast charging
- Clock faces & accessories
- Color touchscreen
- Fitbit Premium membership, free for 6 months
Overall for very general, everyday use we found both the Apple Watch 3 and the Sense 2 to be easy to use fitness monitors with stacks of health features. Both comfortable, very easy to read screens with bright and vibrant display. The Sense 2 offers lots of insights into health statistics and the walk/cycle detector saves the pain of entering activity/exercise manually.
The Apple Watch 3 is easy to link up to everything else Apple, computer, phone etc. If using an android phone, this is not the case. You would need an iphone to connect your watch to, this may be off-putting to any one who just wanted a smart watch or fitness monitor and didn't want to have the whole Apple set.
The Apple Watch 3 is no longer available to buy new and really at this point in time, buying a Series 3 is probably not the best move, support for the Apple Watch Series 3 is limited. As most devices have a limited life span, technology moves fast and not all devices can keep up with the changes and they gradually lose apps.
That said, there are options if you don't mind a refurbished Apple Watch, looking at younger models such as Apple Watch SE 2nd gen would be an excellent way to get more for your money. Better for the environment than buying new, and usually come with a 12 month guarantee, so it would be a prudent move.
If we had to choose between the two - with no option to wander off and look at other players in the fitness watch arena. Not an easy choice, it would have to come down to budget and personal use, but given that the Apple Watch 3 is almost obsolete, it would have to be the Sense 2.
Which one would you choose?
The Sense 2
Excellent range of health metrics, easy to use and intuitive exercise detector.
- Expensive for a fitness tracker
- Questionable accuracy for athletes
- Some features hidden behind Fitbit Premium
Apple Watch Series 3
Fully compatible with all Apple products, easy to use, smart phone features.
- Very limited lifetime remaining
- Needs an iphone
- Very poor battery life