Apple Watch & Fitbit: Do You Really Need Both?

With the launch of the Apple Watch in April 2015, Apple enters into the smartwatch market in addition to the fitness tracker industry. Not only does the Watch become your mini, compact iPhone, complete with built-in fitness and health apps, it also turns into your new fitness guide. Apple is now competing with the leading fitness tracking device, Fitbit Charge HR. Even with the Watch’s health features, a reported 11% of Apple Watch buyers also bought a Fitbit product, but further analysis of the two show that owning both the Watch and a Fitbit might not be necessary for some consumers.

When looking at the features from a health perspective, the Apple Watch provides more data for those trying to lose weight, such as accurate calorie count. Having a device that provides an accurate calorie count is essential because a miscalculation may lead to overestimation, or underestimation, of calories expended. Since it takes 35 hours of cardio to lose 1 pound of fat, (2010 study by the International Journal of Obesity), weight loss cannot be dependent on only exercise. Our diets play a crucial role in a healthy lifestyle so by knowing how many calories are burned, you can know how many calories to consume.

The options provided by the Watch also make it more appealing for the everyday user as it allows them to directly see their progress via the three-ringed display . Also, the ability to customize workouts right on the Watch makes calorie count and heart rate monitoring more accurate.

On the other hand (or wrist), the Fitbit Charge HR tracks the user’s sleep data by identifying movement during their sleep. Knowing your sleep patterns gives a more complete view of your health by showing you the quality of sleep you are getting each night. According to the Mayo Clinic, a good night’s sleep is linked with a healthy diet and exercise so by looking at the nights where you have a restful sleep, the activities of the day can be replicated to help maintain healthy sleeping patterns.

Below are some key features of the two products:

  Apple Watch Fitbit Charge HR
Accuracy · Distance- sometimes inaccurate, especially in low-signal areas; based on your phone’s GPS· Calories- keeps continuous count of calories burned and amount of activity, no discrepancies reported yet · Distance- sometimes inaccurate, especially at high speeds; standalone GPS· Calories- underestimates amount of calories burned and energy expended in certain activities (cycling, cleaning, doing the laundry, brisk walking)
Heart rate
Yes, keeps continuous report even
during high intensity workouts
Yes, continuous and automatic report
Workout options Offers 2 different workout apps:· Workout- to use during formal exercise; can directly choose the activity (running, cycling, rower etc.) and set a goal time or goal distance.

· Activity- measures activity throughout the day with a colored three-ringed circle display (“Move,” “Exercise,” “Stand”)

· Only one option-different workouts can be categorized once the Fitbit is synced onto a computer
Battery life up to 18 hours 7-10 days
Reminders Vibrates to remind you to be active Vibrates to remind you to be active
Notifications All notifications synced from your iPhone Caller ID and text notifications
Sleep tracking No Yes

Does this data even matter? If you are trying to lose weight or change your lifestyle, then yes. The Fitbit devices encourages users to be more active through the goal setting feature for the user’s number of steps. But because the Apple Watch provides a more accurate data about the users (calories burned, time spent being active and standing up, etc.), it can also be a viable alternative for a fitness device.

After comparing the two trackers, the Watch proves to be a viable alternative to a fitness tracker. It’s not necessary to have both the Watch and a Fitbit because the Watch includes many similar features of the Fitbit. If you want something more focused on training, the Fitbit is a better option because of the accuracy in times and distance, which many runners find more important than calorie count. The sleep tracking feature of the Fitbit is an additional feature that makes this tracker stand out more, in the health perspective, when compared to the Watch.

If you already own a Fitbit, it’s not necessary to purchase an Apple Watch (if you only want to use it for the convenient fitness tracking), unless you want something more focused on accurate calorie count and want more detailed data, such as how long you’ve been sitting and when you need to stand up, which are featured in the Watch.

Whether you choose the Apple Watch or a Fitbit Charge HR, both trackers will be helpful to getting more exercise and understanding more about your body.

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