Fitbit vs Apple watch

Discussion in 'Apple Watch' started by mikegoldnj, May 26, 2015.

  1. mikegoldnj macrumors regular

    Apr 27, 2005
    Anyone else with both Fitbit and Apple watch...

    Do you notice a big difference between the two in daily step count/distance, calories, stairs?

    I'm thinking that the devices have different methodologies for calculating these.
  2. NAYo2002 macrumors 6502

    Apr 16, 2011
    I had a Fitbit Charge and wore it for about 4 hours on my right wrist with Apple watch on my left. Went for a long walk during that time and received 4020 steps on Apple Watch and 3994 on the Fitbit. So it's about the same as far as steps are concerned.

    The thing I like about AW is that it's not focused on steps at all, but rather focuses on active calories and exercise time. I twisted my ankle yesterday so I had to walk much slower than normal today. I noticed around 4PM that even though I had over 6,000 steps, I only had 1 minute of exercise time since I walked slowly all day.
  3. FrancoRumors macrumors 6502


    Jul 23, 2010
    Misunderstood thread title... I was expecting some sort of blender video link. #
  4. FamiliaPhoto macrumors 6502a


    Jul 24, 2009
    Chicago, IL
    I have an Apple watch and a Fitbit One. I only keep the Fitbit to track my sleep and flights of stairs. I hope to be able to let it go soon.

    As far as step tracking they are more alike than different, but there are days they are very off. Myesterday for example there was about a 2000 step difference which I know was do to the fit bit tracking a bike ride as steps while the watch didn't. On the whole I would say the watch counts less steps than the Fitbit but most days it isn't much. All that said, I've always thought the Fitbit was count high, but that is just an impression I can't prove.
  5. mikegoldnj thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 27, 2005
    Yes. Fitbit steps are always much higher than watch for me.

    Calories burned must also be calculated differently. I think I read here that the watch calculates calories using heart rate. Watch tells me 430 calories, Fitbit shows over 2,000.
  6. NAYo2002 macrumors 6502

    Apr 16, 2011
    Fitbit shows total calories. The watch only shows active calories, but you can access the information on total calories on the Activity iPhone app.

    Attached Files:

  7. mikegoldnj thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 27, 2005

    Thanks! That makes sense.
  8. Lobwedgephil macrumors 68040


    Apr 7, 2012
    Fitbit is always high for me, or Apple low, but Fitbit has always been known to be high.
  9. InAustralia macrumors 6502


    Oct 7, 2013
    Sydney, Australia
    Like others on this thread, the Fitbit count always seems to be higher than my Apple Watch.

    I find that it is about 10% higher.
  10. spotman macrumors member


    May 4, 2015
    Los Angeles, California
    Completely agree. I have actual numbers that agree with this after much sampling over multiple users. It is about a 10% difference on average.
  11. Newtons Apple macrumors Core

    Newtons Apple

    Mar 12, 2014
    Jacksonville, Florida
    I am sure they do have different ways of interpreting the data. Even the same device would vary from day to day walking the same distance. Which arm it was on would make a difference.

    Heck, 90 minutes on my riding mower gave me over 1600 steps so we know that devices are going to error.
  12. beardedsteven macrumors newbie

    May 15, 2015
    I have a Fitbit Zip. Goes in my pocket the minute I wake up and stays there until bedtime. Before Apple Watch it had always run about 2,000 steps higher every day compared to what my phone and the Health app said.

    I had hoped the Apple Watch would bring the numbers closer together. Nope... A week of wearing the Watch and I'm still about 2,000 steps a day less on the Watch/iPhone that on the Fitbit...

    Kind of disappointing as I'm wearing the watch as much as the Fitbit. The phone gets put down here and there during the day so I knew it wasn't logging everything. I really want my watch to be logging all my steps...
  13. za9ra22 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 25, 2003
    It's notoriously difficult to track steps from the wrist, so it's not a surprise that comparing a wrist-based fitbit with an Apple watch will result in broadly similar counts, but comparing a body-worn fitbit such as the One or Zip will result in commonly lower count on on the watch than the fitbit.

    One of the common issues with tracking from the wrist is that the accelerometers have to untangle much more complex motions, but at the same time, if the wearer is carrying something, or pushing a buggy for example, the movements are damped out and harder to accurately detect.

    As an example, if I go on an hour-long walk in my neighborhood, my fitbit one and Apple watch will usually give readings within about 4-5% of each other, with the watch generally a little lower than the fitbit. If, on the other hand, I have a typical day which includes 45 minutes in the supermarket, some carrying of equipment, carrying my bag to and from work etc, the difference can be as much as 10,000 steps in a 30,000 step day, with the watch always lower.

    The result is that I still use the fitbit, because it has always returned consistent results where wrist-based trackers never have. I don't bother with the fitbit site however, since I'm only monitoring my own activity for my own sake. Where the watch is very good is the inclusion of the activity rings, which quickly and graphically represent a snapshot of my day, and are highly motivating as a consequence. The actual numbers the activity app provides for movement and exercise aren't all that useful, though the stand reminders and 12 hour goal are very helpful.

    One area where the watch seems to fare much better than any of the wrist-based trackers I have tried is that it appears far less prone to false-positives - counting arm movements, waving, clapping etc as steps when they are not.
  14. Waglover macrumors newbie


    Jul 1, 2018
    Hi, I too have noticed a big difference. CANt speak to how Apple counts steps but I know with Fitbit I have detected errors. I’ve been driving down the road and suddenly my Fitbit buzzes telling me I’ve reached my daily goal and I haven’t been moving step wise at all. I’ve also had times when moving my right arm with certain movements counts as steps too. So, Fitbit does inaccurately count steps on my Fitbit as compared to Apple steps. I just use both to help push me to better my fitness.
  15. rayward, Jul 3, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2018

    rayward macrumors 68000

    Mar 13, 2007
    Houston, TX
    Yes, the step goal on my Fitbit was often hilariously inaccurate in that way. I'm sure the AW step counter is mostly nonsense too, but the difference is that the AW doesn't make the step counter the be-all, end-all of exercise tracking.

    Having recently switched from the Fitbit to the AW, I am more convinced by the AW's rings than I ever was by the step counter on the Fitbit. The AW is much more useful, too.
  16. kohlson macrumors 68000

    Apr 23, 2010
    No Fitbit, but longtime AW user. IMHO, always counts low. A related university study on the iPhone step-counting:

    But for me, the point is to get me up and moving. It does that pretty well.
  17. Newtons Apple macrumors Core

    Newtons Apple

    Mar 12, 2014
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Sounds a bit high but they use entirely different programming to track calories. Neither device is super accurate. Way to many variables.

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