Apple Watch vs. Fitbit Blaze

In the battle of smartwatches, who comes out on top?

If you saw someone on the street wearing a Fitbit Blaze, you might think they had an Apple Watch Series 2 strapped to their wrist. The Fitbit Blaze and Apple Watch look similar from a distance, and when you get up close, they have striking similarities. We've reviewed the key similarities and differences between the Fitbit Blaze and the Apple Watch to help you choose between the two.

Apple Watch vs Fitbit Blaze

Overall Findings

Apple Watch
  • Requires an iPhone.

  • GPS, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth capability.

  • On-board speaker.

  • Designed as a smartwatch.

Fitbit Blaze
  • Stand-alone fitness device.

  • Bluetooth capability.

  • No speaker.

  • Designed as a fitness tracker.

The Blaze represents Fitbit’s foray into the smartwatch space, and the Apple Watch, now in its second edition, is still in its early days. While the devices look similar, they’re different when it comes to functionality.

Design: Differences in Apple Watch vs. Fitbit Blaze Design

Apple Watch
  • Sleek, square-ish display.

  • Large selection of Apple and third-party bands.

  • 1.3-inch and 1.5-inch OLED displays.

  • Screen resolution of 340 x 272 or 390 x 312, depends on size.

Fitbit Blaze
  • Hexagonal display.

  • Limited selection of interchangeable bands.

  • 1.25-inch LCD.

  • 280 x 272 screen resolution.

For the design, Fitbit went with a hexagonal shape that is reminiscent of the Apple Watch’s iconic look. If you look at the device from far away, you could easily mistake it for an Apple Watch rather than a Fitbit device.

Unlike the Apple Watch, Fitbit opted to make its fitness tracker a removable portion of the watch, while including the frame with the watchband. When you want to switch watchbands on the Fitbit Blaze, pop out the center portion and pop it into another. It’s a simple process that makes swapping bands a little easier on the Blaze than it is on the Apple Watch. However, it’s also limiting. Since the Blaze’s band includes the frame for the watch, there are not as many third-party options as there are for the Apple Watch. A limited selection of bands may or may not be a deal-breaker for you.

Screenwise, the Apple Watch has a higher-resolution option. Apple’s 38 mm version has a 340 x 272 resolution, while the 42 mm watch has a 390 x 312 resolution. Compare that to the 280 x 180 resolution of the Fitbit Blaze. The Apple Watch comes out on top no matter which version you purchase.

Activity Tracking: Fitbit Blaze Shines Unless You Want GPS

Apple Watch
  • Records most activities only when requested.

  • Built-in GPS and Wi-Fi capability.

  • Tracks steps, exercises, and heart rate.

Fitbit Blaze
  • Automatic exercise detection.

  • Lacks dedicated GPS and Wi-Fi capability.

  • Tracks steps, exercises, and heart rate.

  • On-screen workouts.

Activity tracking is where the Fitbit Blaze has an advantage over the Apple Watch. Both devices track your steps throughout the day, as well as individual exercises and your heart rate. 

With the Apple Watch, heart rate and exercise information are typically recorded when you request it. Your heart rate is monitored periodically, but not continuously unless you’re engaging in exercise. The only way the Apple Watch knows you’re exercising is when you select a particular activity from the Activity app on the Watch.

The Fitbit Blaze detects when you start a particular exercise and automatically begins that activity on the watch with no need for you to input anything. Even better, the tracker offers on-screen workouts, so you can explore different exercises and get some of the benefits of having a personal trainer on your wrist.

However, if you want or need GPS on your device, Apple Watch is the way to go. It comes equipped with GPS, while Fitbit Blaze does not.

Smartwatch Capabilities: Apple Extras Are Hard to Beat

Apple Watch
  • 1-day battery life.

  • Displays and answers notifications.

  • Accesses the App Store through iPhone for many apps.

Fitbit Blaze
  • 5-day battery life.

  • Displays notifications.

  • Proprietary apps included.

The extras are where the Apple Watch shines. The Fitbit Blaze displays notifications but doesn’t offer an opportunity for you to interact with them. With the Apple Watch, you’re able to download and run different apps with capabilities ranging from ordering a car to reserving a table for dinner. You're able to interact with your messages (and send replies) and perform a number of other tasks that are not available with the Fitbit Blaze.

Battery life is a consideration for most people. Because the Apple Watch has additional features, it uses more battery power. An Apple Watch typically lasts a single day on a charge, whereas the Fitbit Blaze runs for five days on a charge. That could be a huge advantage for people who forget to charge their devices at night or that travel on outdoor adventures where they might not have access to power to charge up.

Pricing: Fitbit Blaze Is Cheapest; Apple Watch Is Best Buy

Apple Watch
  • Prices start at close to $300.

Fitbit Blaze
  • Prices start at under $200.

The Fitbit Blaze beats the Apple Watch when it comes to pricing. The Blaze is priced competitively below $200, where the Apple Watch starts significantly higher. If you plan to use the device solely to track your workouts, then that price difference makes the Blaze a superior choice. If you're interested in the Apple Watch high-tech features, the extra money might be worth it to get a full-powered smartwatch and a fitness tracker in the same package.

Final Verdict

It is easy to recommend the Apple Watch over most competitors, including Fitbit Blaze, for users who have an iPhone. The Apple Watch is a polished product that works well for all iPhone owners. However, if you don't own an iPhone, you can't use this generation of the Apple Watch. In that case, Fitbit Blaze is a good buy for non-iPhone owners.

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