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Should you pick Fitbit's new Versa 2 smartwatch over the Ionic?

Fitbit Versa 2
Fitbit Versa 2 (Image credit: Windows Central)

The Fitbit Ionic and Fitbit Versa 2 are surprisingly similar pieces of hardware. They support almost identical feature sets and are in the same price range. The only main feature that the Ionic has that the Versa 2 doesn't is built-in GPS. When Fitbit refreshed the Versa line, the company added support for Fitbit Pay to the Versa 2 without requiring people to purchase the Special Edition. This closes the gap even more when comparing the Fitbit Versa 2 and the Fitbit Ionic. The Versa 2 also brings in an OLED display, better battery life, and a more durable screen when compared to the original Versa, again making it stand out even more when compared to the Fitbit Ionic.

What do you track?

Both the Ionic and the Versa 2 track exercise and can be taken to just about any workout, including running, cycling, and working out in the gym. Both have up to 50 meters of water resistance, so you can take them swimming. The one significant difference is that the Ionic can track your location without a phone. It has built-in GPS, which allows you to track your exercise routes without the aid of a smartphone. The Versa 2 doesn't have a built-in GPS, so you'll have to use a smartphone on your jogs.

Fitbit Versa 2Fitbit Ionic
Operating systemFitbitOS 3.0FitbitOS 3.0
Heart-rate sensor✔️✔️
Sleep-tracking✔️✔️
Waterproofing✔️ (up to 50 meters)✔️ (up to 50 meters)
Fitbit Pay✔️✔️
Music storage✔️ (up to 300 songs)✔️(up to 300 songs)
Battery lifeOver 5 daysUp to 7 days

Fitbit has been in the wearable industry for a long time, and fitness tracking is accurate on both of these devices. You can use each of them for guided workouts, tracking your measurables such as heart rate and sleep, and recording your steps, cycling activity, and swimming activity.

You can also take your music with you on the go. Both wearables support local storage up to 300 songs.

Sleek vs. powerful

When it comes to fitness tracking, both of these watches are almost identical. However, there is a more noticeable difference between the watches in terms of design. The Ionic is thicker than the Versa 2, and where the Ionic is square, the Versa 2 rounds a few corners to make it sleeker. The Ionic feels boxy compared to the more elegant Versa 2. The Versa 2 shares some design queues from the Apple Watch and other wearables that are fashionable.

That said, there are still several similarities between the watches. Both feature bright watch faces, and both allow you to switch out wrist straps depending on your preference. The Fitbit Versa 2 only has one button for navigation while the Fitbit Ionic has 3, but both watches have similar features and run the same core operating system.

Design makes the difference

The features for these devices are practically identical. The only significant feature difference is that the Ionic has a built-in GPS. Both have Bluetooth music support, the same exercise tracking, notification support, Fitbit Coach, and several other features.

The Versa 2 comes in at $200, which is within $5 of the Ionic's current sale price. The Ionic is a bit dated at this point, so its price continues to drop. That means that price isn't a factor when choosing between these devices.

The Fitbit Versa 2 is sleeker than the Fitbit Ionic and has almost all of the same features. The Ionic can feel bulky and chunky at times, especially when doing certain activities like typing.

Unless you absolutely need a built-in GPS, the Fitbit Versa 2 is a better choice for most people because it's slimmer and less boxy. If you like the sleeker design of the Versa line but want to save some money, you can also look at the original Versa.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com (opens in new tab).