When you think “fitness tracker”, what is the first name that comes to mind? For many people, it’s Fitbit. While Fitbit is a top-rated brand, a Fitbit tracker may not be the right choice for every person. There are many other fitness trackers available today, including a modest selection of high-quality trackers from Withings. So how do Fitbit and Withings compare?
As of this writing, Fitbit’s 2015 line includes six trackers: two clip-on wearables, and four wristband activity monitors. Fitbit’s “Everyday Fitness” trackers are their entry-level products. That category includes the diminutive clip-on Zip ($59.95), the skinny One clip ($99.95), the slim Flex wristband ($99.95), and the slightly beefier Charge ($129.95). If you are a bit more athletic and need a heart rate monitor, the Charge HR ($149.95) is probably going to be your best bet. The Fitbit Surge “superwatch” ($249.95) is the most premium offering, and includes advanced features like GPS and HR monitoring built into the thick band. There’s also the new-for-2016 Fitbit Blaze, a wearable with a full touchscreen experience, and the ability to use GPS when paired with your smartphone. The Blaze should last up to 5 days with continuous heart rate monitoring and activity tracking before needing a recharge.
The Withings stable of fitness watches and fitness trackers is a bit more limited, but still very appealing. For bargain hunters, there’s the first generation Withings Pulse activity tracker (discontinued, available online for around $49.99), as well as the updated Withings Pulse O2 tracker (MSRP $119.95). If you want a tracker that’s more like a watch, you can opt for the ultra-luxe Withings Activite ($450), or the more reasonably priced Withings Activite Pop ($149.95).
For the purposes of this post, we’ll be comparing the Withings Activite Pop fitness watch against Fitbit’s comparable Surge “superwatch”. While these two products have some key differences, they are fairly comparable in terms of special features and overall quality. If you’re in the market for a wearable that bridges the gap between tracker and watch, read on to see how these two top-rated activity monitors compare. One watch is definitely better for serious athletes, while another option is going to be better for more casual fitness enthusiasts.
Still researching the best fitness tracker for your needs? Check out our guide to the best Fitbit competitors, or peruse our Fitbit comparison post to find the best Fitbit for your unique fitness goals.
1. Fitbit vs. Withings: Price
The Fitbit Surge retails for $249.95, making it significantly more expensive than the Withings Activite Pop ($149.95). If price is your primary consideration when trying to choose between these two fitness tracker models, then Withings definitely has the edge. However, the difference in cost is due to a difference in core features. For some people, paying a bit extra is worth it to get special features.
2. Fitbit vs. Withings: Battery Life
Battery life (and by extension, battery type) is a very important feature to consider before buying a fitness tracker. Some people prefer trackers that have replaceable batteries, which generally last for between six months and a year before needing to be replaced. However, others prefer a tracker with a rechargeable battery. These batteries generally need to be recharged once or twice per week, depending on your usage level and the device you use.
The Fitbit Surge offers up to seven days of battery life with its rechargeable battery, but that figure can be reduced to mere hours with intensive GPS usage. In contrast, the replaceable battery in the Withings Activite Pop can last for up to eight months. If you hate having to recharge your fitness tracker, the Withings tracker may be more appealing to you than a Fitbit tracker with a rechargeable battery.
3. Fitbit vs. Withings: Special Features
Waterproofing is an important special feature. A waterproof device can withstand being splashed or submerged during exercise. If you engage in any workouts that involve rainy conditions or pools of water, waterproofing may be important to you. Fitbit states that while their tracking devices are water resistant, you should avoid wearing a wet band on your skin. This is a precaution to avoid skin irritation. Fitbit Surge is water resistant to 5 ATM, or 50 meters. Not all Fitbits are this robust, however. For example, the Fitbit Charge HR is only water resistant to 1 ATM, or 10 meters. This means the trackers can be submerged and will still work when removed from the water. However, Fitbit cautions against actually swimming with their devices, as the force of a hand stroking through the water can put the device under too much stress. When it comes to Withings, the story is quite similar. The company states that the Activite Pop is rated water-resistant up to 150 feet or 5 ATM.
When it comes to personalization, some might be disappointed with the Fitbit Surge. The Surge is only available in black, compared to the Activite Pop’s options of blue, grey, and beige. Additional Pop band colors are available in colors like orange, plum, and teal. All that being said, the Surge does come in three different band sizes.
However, Fitbit has the edge when it comes to onboard GPS. In addition to GPS, the Surge also monitors your heart rate, tells the time, and gives you call and text notifications. The Activite Pop’s rich suite of features does not include on-board GPS. Because GPS can pinpoint your location, you can expect accurate fitness data. However, since GPS relies on satellite signals, it may not work perfectly indoors, during storms, or in areas where trees or buildings cause signal interference. The Surge also offers HR monitoring, which the Pop does not.
4. Fitbit vs. Withings: Fitness Tracker Ecosystem
It’s important to consider the greater “ecosystem” of related devices you can use with your tracker. To get the most out of your Fitbit or Withings tracker, you may want to pick up some additional accessories. Interestingly, both companies offer a smart scale that can enhance your weight loss plan.
The Fitbit Aria smart scale will upload your weight and other stats automatically via Wi-Fi to the Fitbit website. You might also want to pick up a Fitbit Surge screen protector, particularly if your fitness plan includes high-intensity workouts.
The Withings WS-50 Smart Body Analyzer offers weight and body fat measurement, heart rate measurement, and continuous indoor air quality tracking. Withings also offers other cool health tools, including a smart sleep system and a wireless blood pressure monitor.
5. Fitbit vs. Withings: Comparing Fitness Trackers
The Withings Activite Pop fitness watch and Fitbit’s comparable Surge “superwatch” offer a lot of the same basic features. If you are looking for a device that is cheaper, doesn’t require weekly recharging, and has more color options, you should go with the Activite Pop. However, if you need a fitness watch with both HR monitoring and GPS right on board, the more expensive Fitbit Surge is going to serve your needs much better.
Serious about getting fit? Check out our posts on the best running shoes for women, and the best running shoes for men. You might also appreciate our guides to the best Bluetooth heart rate monitors and the best road bikes.