Between my Apple Watch and Fitbit, the fitness stats are way off

Discussion in 'Apple Watch' started by Sylon, Sep 26, 2015.

  1. Sylon macrumors 68020


    Feb 26, 2012
    Michigan/Ohio, USA
    I've been using a Fitbit for a couple years now. I have several friends and family members who also use Fitbits and we all compete against each other. I just recently bought my Apple Watch (42mm black sport), and since I planned on wearing both devices, I figured I would compare the two when it comes to fitness tracking.

    Holy cow is there a significant difference! I had a feeling they would be off by a little bit, but not by this much. Step count on the Apple Watch is as low as 52% lower than the Fitbit! Calories read as low as 90% lower on the Watch as compared to the Fitbit.

    Without trying a 3rd device, I can't tell which of the two is more accurate. But I'm thinking the Apple Watch is way off. It claims that I only burn 260 calories in an lightly active day. It should read 10 times that, which is exactly what the Fitbit reads.

    So unless my Apple Watch thinks I'm a slightly animated corpse, I think it's fitness tracking abilities are a bit off the mark.
  2. matrix07 macrumors 601


    Jun 24, 2010
    The Apple Watch doesn't include resting calorie. Maybe fitbit include that.
  3. yang88she macrumors regular

    Oct 26, 2011
    Did you update the watch yet? That may help as I ran into similar results when I had both, but I have since moved onto just using my watch
  4. IW1206MT macrumors member

    Jul 12, 2015
    My Apple Watch and Fitbit are reasonably close.

    My step count has been quite close since updating to OS2.. With OS1 my AW was 5-10% lower. This said, AW emphasizes movement or calories vs steps, which I appreciate. There are many activities that are not step based.

    For calorie counts, my AW on OS2 is running about 200-300 calories below Fitbit prior to any exercise logs. I believe this to be more accurate.

    As noted above, AW is giving you both Active and Total calories. If you are seeing 260 as a number that's active not total. Take a look at the Activity app- swipe right in the calorie section to see the total. Also make sure you have your age / weight etc all set correctly and that you have calibrated the watch. After calibrating, my calories burned for the same activity / HR increased quite a bit. To calibrate, take a few 20 min walks outside in 'outdoor walk' mode. Make sure you have your iPhone with you.
  5. Sylon thread starter macrumors 68020


    Feb 26, 2012
    Michigan/Ohio, USA
    My AW has been running on OS2 since it came out of the box (first thing I did after setup). But thanks for pointing out the resting/active calorie count. While the AW is still reading lower than the Fitbit, it's at least somewhat closer. The steps part is still way off. I'll work on calibrating it later. Thanks for the info.
  6. IW1206MT macrumors member

    Jul 12, 2015
    Which Fitbit model are you using? Is it wrist based or clip?
  7. Sylon thread starter macrumors 68020


    Feb 26, 2012
    Michigan/Ohio, USA

    The Fitbit Charge (wrist based)
  8. BlueMoon63 macrumors 68020

    Mar 30, 2015
    I borrowed a Fitbit Charge HR for three weeks because my friend didn't use it anymore. Some days they were almost exactly the same and then I went on a boat and the Fitbit gave me credit for several thousand more steps though I didn't step at all. When I mowed my lawn with a riding lawn mower it was basically the same thing. The Fitbit gave me 300% more steps than the Apple Watch. Both registered steps, but the Apple Watch was much less. My old Up24 gave me credit for 5 miles while riding my mower. I must be fit because I didn't break a sweat. :)

    Not sure about your calorie readings but many here think the Apple Watch reads too high - not too low. Always check the watch settings to make sure it has your age, sex, weight, height and also check the health data app to see all the sources in case something is interfering.

    What I noticed was the FitBit recorded everything as steps - scratching my head gave me 30 steps, dealing cards gave me 50 steps, etc.

    Before I calibrated my Apple Watch, it would register .9 miles to 1.0 miles GPS... after several calibration attempts with different speeds in a wide open space that is 1/4 mile - 4 laps now registers exactly the same to +- <1%

    I find it hard to believe that the Apple Watch is registering 90% less calories than Fitbit to the point you believe the Fitbit as accurate. That's just too extreme unless your settings are way off.
  9. IW1206MT macrumors member

    Jul 12, 2015
    Blue moon- have your high calorie counts with AW corrected with OS2? Mine are bang on now...
  10. exxxviii macrumors 65816


    May 20, 2015
    Apple may have fixed resting calories with WOS2. They are definitely way lower than before and more in line with what I expect. I still think mine are a couple hundred calories high. This is just based on my past personal experience with training to a target weight. But, if it is within a couple hundred calories, I can live with that.
  11. Applenoob34 macrumors 6502

    Feb 18, 2014
    My AW credited me a ton of exercise for riding my motorcycle lol. I've also created another thread on the aw's distance accuracy when running. I've used three methods to test the distance I run and all match up very closely except my aw.
  12. Pagemakers macrumors 68020


    Mar 28, 2008
    Manchester UK
    I think the Apple Watch is off. I have several devices too and the odd one out is the watch.
  13. Newtons Apple macrumors Core

    Newtons Apple

    Mar 12, 2014
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Either device can be easily fooled. I am kinda particular on my exercise and had been using Fitbit for a long time. Recently I am taking a break from my AW an gone back to my Surge. Calories burned while on the elliptical are near the same with the Surge while the AW was way lower.

    I might update my AW to 2.0 and do a run on a path I take all the time and compare to my Surge again. It is nice of Apple to make it more "generous" with OS2 but I will be very wary if it exceeds my Surge. We shall see.

    Still disappointed that Apple did I not do anything with its Helath app. Looks like they are not going to and will leave it to the app developers.
  14. Nell macrumors 6502a


    Jun 25, 2012
    For step counting I think the Fitbit One is as accurate as it gets. I switched from that to a Fitbit Charge because it monitors sleep automatically but it's well generous with steps in lots of situations (and absolutely rubbish at it when I' wearing a winter coat). Essentially I don't think Fitbit has got wrist-based tracking right yet.

    My watch and Fitbit One are generally pretty close on steps. I tend to think the resting calories on my Apple Watch are over generous but the exercise calories seem reasonable.
  15. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Counting calories is an inexact science, I can see both providing two different results.

    I think in both cases you get a ball park guesstimate. I think the apple watch under reports the calories but that's just my opinion.

    I really don't pay too much attention to the calories on the smart watches, my work out and heart rate are more important metrics to monitor and measure imo.

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14 September 26, 2015