The Fitbit Versa is WRONG about CALORIES? – 14 Day Fitbit Versa vs. Apple Watch Series 3 Comparison

May 29, 2018 3:38 pm Categorised in:

So I spent almost three weeks wearing BOTH the Fitbit Versa and Apple Watch Series 3 at the same. What did I discover? Well, the Fitbit Versa might make you FAT!


Now before you think I’m just making this all up for a click-bait video, I calculated a difference of 4600 calories over 14 days between my Apple Watch Series 3 and Fitbit Versa. That’s equivalent to approx. ~ FOUR Big Mac Meals from MacDonalds!

Have I gotten your attention yet?

So in this video, I explore the difference in terms of:
– 00:03:27 – the calories burnt between workouts
– 00:06:18 – average HR across my workouts
– 00:06:50 – average Max HR
– 00:07:22 – the flights of stairs I’ve taken
– 00:08:16 – the # of steps each device recorded
– 00:09:12 – BMR

At the end, I’ll tell you what I think is the more accurate fitness tracker.

Get the Fitbit Versa on Amazon!
Amazon US: https://mreh.ca/2shhkEI
Amazon CA: https://mreh.ca/2GXdHcH
Amazon UK: https://mreh.ca/2kwPoJN
Amazon DE: https://mreh.ca/2GXdINN

Get the Apple Watch Series 3 on Amazon!
Amazon US: https://mreh.ca/2stocPN
Amazon CA: https://mreh.ca/2snEh9C
Amazon UK: https://mreh.ca/2sfNa5B
Amazon DE: https://mreh.ca/2smKD8Z

Check out my other reviews: https://www.mobilereviews-eh.ca

**Calories burnt between workouts**

First up, we’ll talk about the differences between total calories burned between workouts. The Fitbit Versa is generally higher than the Apple Watch. It might not seem like much on a day to day basis but between these 11 workouts that I recorded, the difference was 14% or 527 calories burned.

Was there a workout that seemed to cause more of a difference? Not that I noticed. Check out the video for a detailed comparison of a workout where I ran 1 mile, did a bunch of body weight exercises and then ran another mile.

**Average HR across my workouts**

With a 14% difference in calories burned during workouts, I would expect their to be a similar difference in the Average HR during the workouts.

Oddly enough, there wasn’t. There was a difference of a beat with the Apple Watch registering the higher number. There wasn’t a consistent trend between the two devices.

Now I tried to go a little deeper with the heart rate data and plotted all the Max HR values. Now this won’t be terribly useful since I don’t workout at my max HR for very long (I don’t think many people do) but in this data set, the Apple Watch had a max HR that was 8 beats higher on average than the Versa.

**# of flights climbed**

Over the span of two weeks, my Apple Watch recorded 213 flights of stairs climbed while the Versa recorded 260. The height difference does seem quite significant between the two devices. Now nothing in the crappy Apple Health app or Fitbit app can tell me how many calories I burned doing flights so I can’t even begin to theorize which one is correct.

**Difference steps**

Onto step counting and this difference is going to be a doozy. So the Fitbit Versa seems to be very optimistic with calories burned. It would seem logical that it would record more steps. In my test, the Apple Watch recorded close to an extra 10000 steps in 14 days.

Remember I told you that 1/2 through the dual watch testing phase I swapped hands? Well, the watch that sat on my dominant hand was the one that got the most steps.

**BMR differences**

Now if you’ve been paying attention to my graphs, you’ll notice that there are two days were the calculated calories were very low. These two days I decided NOT to wear either device so the values you’re seeing is what Fitbit and Apple think my BMR is.

Was there a big difference in the BMR’s? Not really so that couldn’t be the source of the differences.

**Who’s right**

So at the end of the day, who’s closer to the truth? From my perspective, the Apple Watch produces a better estimate for two reasons.

The first reason is that some of the health data that is used for the calculations comes from you iPhone. It’s not a lot but at least there two sources of data rather than just one for the Fitbit.

The second reason is that the Apple Watch values are closer to another meal plan template that I’ve been loosely using over the last year. This template has me eating approx. 2400 calories a day for light workout days, 2600 calories for moderate days (1-2 hours) and for complete machines, 2900 calories for days where you’re breathing heavily for 2 hours or more.

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