Smartwatches have become incredibly popular in recent years, with companies like Apple, Samsung, and Fitbit releasing sleek, high-tech models packed with useful features. Two of the biggest players in the smartwatch market are Fitbit and Samsung. But when it comes to Fitbit vs Samsung watches, which brand comes out on top?
In this in-depth comparison guide, we‘ll examine the key differences between Fitbit and Samsung smartwatches to help you determine which is the better option. We‘ll look at the history of each brand, dive into their specs and features, highlight the pros and cons of each, and ultimately declare a winner. Let‘s get started!
A Brief History of Fitbit and Samsung Watches
To understand the current smartwatch offerings from Fitbit and Samsung, it helps to first look at the history of each brand in the wearable space.
The Rise of Fitbit
Fitbit‘s origin story traces back to 2007 when co-founders James Park and Eric Friedman launched the startup under the name Healthy Metrics Research. They rebranded to Fitbit in 2008 and debuted their first product in 2009 – the Fitbit Tracker. Unlike the wrist-worn devices Fitbit sells today, the Tracker was a small clip-on pedometer that tracked steps, calories, and sleep.
Over the next several years, Fitbit iterated on the clip-on form factor with new products like the Fitbit Ultra, Fitbit One, and Fitbit Zip. In 2013, Fitbit changed the game with the release of the Flex wristband. It was the company‘s first wrist-worn activity tracker and marked a transition to the smartwatch-style devices Fitbit is now known for.
Since the Flex, Fitbit has regularly released new smartwatch models including popular lines like the Versa, Sense, and Charge. As of 2020, Fitbit ships approximately 10.6 million smartwatches and fitness trackers annually. However, the brand reached a major milestone in 2021 when it was acquired by Google for $2.1 billion.
Samsung Enters the Ring
Samsung arrived relatively late to the smartwatch scene compared to Fitbit. The tech giant released its first Galaxy Watch in August 2018, nearly a decade after Fitbit‘s founding. The inaugural Galaxy Watch came in 42mm and 46mm sizes and featured a circular OLED display with a rotating bezel for navigation.
In March 2019, Samsung followed up with the Galaxy Watch Active – a sleeker, fitness-focused smartwatch without the rotating bezel. Just a few months later in September, the Galaxy Watch Active2 launched with upgraded health sensors and an digital bezel.
Samsung‘s latest entries in the smartwatch category are the Galaxy Watch5 and Galaxy Watch5 Pro released in August 2022. Key upgrades include a new BioActive sensor for improved health tracking, bigger batteries, and a more durable Sapphire Crystal display on the pro model.
Though Samsung got a later start in smartwatches, the company shipped an estimated 9.1 million units in 2020 proving it‘s become a serious player. However, Fitbit still maintains a strong lead in market share.
Now that we‘ve covered a brief history on both companies, let‘s dive into a head-to-head comparison of Fitbit vs Samsung watches looking at key categories like compatibility, features, and design.
One of the biggest differences between Fitbit and Samsung watches comes down to compatibility. Fitbit devices are cross-platform compatible with iOS and Android. This gives iPhone and Android users the flexibility to pair with a Fitbit watch.
Samsung watches, on the other hand, only work with Android devices. So iPhone users are out of luck if they want a Galaxy Watch. This gives Fitbit an edge for consumers who want flexibility to switch between Android and iOS.
When it comes to features, Fitbit and Samsung watches have a lot of overlap – as you‘d expect between two advanced smartwatch brands. Here‘s a quick rundown of some of the core features available:
- Activity tracking (steps, distance, calories burned, floors climbed)
- Sleep tracking
- 24/7 heart rate monitoring
- Cardio fitness score
- Guided breathing sessions
- Female health tracking
- GPS (on some models)
- Smartphone notifications
- Mobile payments
- Apps, games, music storage
- Activity tracking
- Sleep tracking + snore detection
- Heart rate & blood oxygen monitoring
- ECG monitoring
- Fall detection
- Temperature sensor
- Notifications and calling
- Samsung Pay
- Music storage
As you can see, Samsung tends to edge out Fitbit slightly when it comes to health sensors and tracking capabilities. But Fitbit watches offer more advanced sleep tracking features. Overall, both provide robust activity, health, and smart features making them closely matched.
On the design front, Fitbit and Samsung watches have quite different aesthetics. Fitbit opts for more casual, playful designs often with bright color options. The square or rectangular displays have a friendlier vibe.
Samsung goes for a more tech-forward, sleeker look with circular displays, premium materials, and sophisticated watch band options. Those who want their smartwatch to feel more like stylish jewelry may prefer the Samsung design philosophy. But Fitbit‘s softer aesthetic has mainstream appeal.
Fitbit also offers more size options ranging from tiny (their Luxe model) to extra large (the Sense is their biggest watch). Samsung has fewer models, but they still come in 40mm to 46mm sizing. Ultimately, design comes down to personal preference.
For any wearable, battery life is a major factor. You don‘t want a smartwatch that dies after just a day of use. Fitbit edges out Samsung when it comes to typical battery life. Most Fitbit models can last 5-6 days on a charge, with the Sense lasting 6+ days.
The Galaxy Watch series generally promises about 2-3 days of use before needing to recharge. So if long battery life is a priority, Fitbit is the better bet. However, Samsung does offer great fast charging capabilities to help offset this gap.
Pros and Cons of Fitbit vs Samsung
|✅ Wider range of affordable models
|✅ More premium materials and tech-focused design
|✅ Cross-platform compatibility
|❌ Only compatible with Android devices
|✅ Leading sleep tracking features
|✅ Edge in advanced health sensors like ECG
|✅ Longer battery life
|❌ Shorter battery life of 2-3 days
|✅ Motivating wellness community and social features
|✅ Rotating bezel offers great tactile navigation
|✅ Fun, friendly aesthetic appealing to wider demographic
|✅ Fall detection and temperature sensor not found on Fitbit
|❌ Privacy concerns after Google acquisition
|❌ Fewer smartwatch models to choose from
|❌ Limited onboard music storage on devices
|❌ Lacks companion web dashboard like Fitbit‘s
The Verdict: Fitbit vs Samsung
When all is said and done, is Fitbit or Samsung the better smartwatch brand?
The answer isn‘t crystal clear, as both companies have compelling strengths. However, when we tally up the key differences between the two brands, we believe Fitbit offers the best choice for more consumers.
The main advantages of Fitbit come down to wider compatibility, leading battery life, and more approachable pricing. Fitbit simply gives consumers more options to find the right match for their smartwatch needs and budget. They also have a longer track record of perfecting the smartwatch.
That said, Samsung makes excellent smartwatches if you own an Android phone. The current Galaxy Watch5 series is hard to beat in terms of premium build and advanced health tracking. Just know that buying a Samsung watch locks you into the Android and Galaxy ecosystem.
At the end of the day, choosing between Fitbit and Samsung comes down to your smartphone platform, budget, priorities and personal preferences. But for most mainstream smartwatch shoppers, Fitbit has an edge. Their watches deliver fantastic everyday wellness tracking in a friendly, affordable package that works across iOS and Android.
The Future of Fitbit vs Samsung Watches
The smartwatch race between Fitbit and Samsung is sure to heat up in the coming years. As Google now owns Fitbit, we can expect tighter integration with Android going forward. This could potentially threaten Samsung as the premier Android smartwatch.
But Samsung won‘t go down without a fight. The tech giant is doubling down on innovations like the unique rotating bezel and advanced sensors. Expect Samsung to keep pushing the limits on health tracking and premium design.
It will be exciting to see Fitbit and Samsung continue to drive innovation that helps consumers live healthier, more connected lives. As both companies release new generations of smartwatches we‘ll be here to compare the latest offerings and declare a new winner in the Fitbit vs Samsung battle.