The Fitbit Sense Is a Feature-Packed Fitness Tracker That’s Easy to Wear All Day

A comfortable smartwatch that boasts a range of handy features

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4.8

Fitbit Sense

Fitbit Sense Review

Verywell Fit / Lindsey Lanquist

What We Like
  • Lightweight and comfortable

  • Sleek design

  • Tracks heart rate, sleep, workouts, and more

  • On-wrist calls, text notifications, and alarms

What We Don’t Like
  • Pricey

  • Not fully waterproof

  • Needs to be recharged every 3–4 days

The Bottom Line

The Fitbit Sense is a comfortable smartwatch that’s packed with splurge-worthy features, like overnight sleep tracking, continuous heart rate tracking, and in-depth workout tracking. This well-rounded feature set makes the watch a great pick for anyone who wants to track their days in detail.

4.8

Fitbit Sense

Fitbit Sense Review

Verywell Fit / Lindsey Lanquist

Fitness trackers translate your daily habits into numbers, giving you a bird’s eye view of your health and fitness routine. These insights are great for setting goals and tracking progress. But the key is to find a device that monitors the metrics you care about—at a price point you can get behind.

The Fitbit Sense strikes this balance beautifully. Released in 2020, the smartwatch covers all your fitness tracking bases. It counts steps, monitors heart rate, and gathers in-depth workout data. Plus, it boasts some hard-to-find features, like an overnight sleep tracker, a built-in GPS system, and a stress-tracking EDA sensor. 

This well-rounded feature set puts the Fitbit Sense in the middle of the market. It’s not as basic as a budget-friendly fitness tracker. But it’s not as heavy-duty or feature-packed as a premium smartwatch, either. Instead, it’s comfortable, versatile, and a little bit pricey. And to find out if it’s worth the investment, I strapped on the Fitbit Sense and tested it for three weeks—assessing it for comfort, ease of use, overall value, and more.

Fitbit Sense Review

Verywell Fit / Lindsey Lanquist

Who It’s For

The Fitbit Sense doesn’t win on price or premium features. Instead, it offers a bit of both. This makes it a great pick for anyone who wants a well-rounded fitness tracker—and who doesn’t mind spending some money to get one.

The Fitbit Sense tracks a wide range of health and wellness metrics. So it’s easy to keep track of the data you care about. You can monitor your stress levels and log mindfulness sessions. You can see how much—and how well—you sleep each night. You can track your workouts in detail and discover optimal times to exercise. And you can continuously monitor your heart rate, getting notified if it gets unusually high or low. 

In each of these categories, the smartwatch offers enough data to be useful—but not so much that you feel overwhelmed. And while that may not be enough granularity for the avid athlete, it’s perfect for the everyday person who wants to know what’s going on with their body. 

Ease of Setup: Easy to Unbox and Quick to Set Up

When I first received my Fitbit Sense, I was a little intimidated. But the smartwatch was refreshingly easy to unbox and set up—even for a fitness tracker amateur, like me—earning it a nearly perfect score of 4.5 out of 5 for our ease-of-use attribute.

The Fitbit Sense ships inside a small box, with all its parts neatly packaged. The smartwatch comes fully assembled. And it comes with a charging cord and an alternate watch band. It also comes with a set of instructions that tell you exactly how to get your Fitbit Sense up and running. 

Following the directions, I charged my Fitbit Sense, downloaded the Fitbit app, and synced the smartwatch with my phone. The app then prompted me with some easy-to-follow next steps. Once I finished them, I had to wait several minutes while Fitbit “set up my Sense.” But since I was able to use my phone for other stuff during this time, the wait didn’t feel taxing.

The whole setup process took just 10 minutes. And once I’d charged my Fitbit Sense to 100 percent, I was ready to strap it on and use it.

Fitbit Sense Review

Verywell Fit / Lindsey Lanquist

Comfort: So Comfortable You’ll Forget You Have It On

As a smartwatch novice, I expected to feel uncomfortable while wearing a Fitbit nonstop. But within minutes of putting on my Fitbit Sense, I completely forgot I was wearing it, which is why I gave it a perfect score of 5 out of 5 for comfort.

Weighing 33.1 grams, the watch is genuinely lightweight. (This is a blessing during workouts when you don’t want one hand unevenly weighing you down.) And its silicone watch band is smooth to the touch. Since the watch band is lined with lug holes, it’s easy to adjust your fit until it feels just right. And since the Fitbit Sense ships with two different watch bands, you can extend the watch from a 140-180 millimeter circumference to a 180-220 millimeter circumference, depending on your wrist size.

To fully commit to the comfort test, I wore my Fitbit Sense to sleep at night. And while I was sure this would make me uncomfortable, it didn’t—I forgot I was wearing the watch within minutes of lying down. The watch also stayed in place during walks and workouts. And it was easy to wipe down when it got a little sweaty.  

The only time I noticed the watch? When I went to shower or wash my hands. The watch is supposed to be water-resistant up to 50 meters (164 feet). But that feature comes with a couple of caveats. You’re not supposed to expose the smartwatch to other liquids, like shampoos, conditioners, and soaps. And when the device gets wet, Fitbit says you should “remove and dry it completely after your activity.”

To test the water resistance of my Fitbit Sense, I held it under running water for about one minute—and the watch seemed to hold up just fine. That said, the warnings made me reluctant to shower or bathe with my Fitbit Sense on—and I made sure to slide it up my arm when washing my hands.

Ease of Use: Generally User-Friendly, But Takes Some Getting Used to

When you set up your Fitbit Sense, Fitbit does you a favor: It walks you through the basic functions of your smartwatch, showing you how to swipe and click to access different features. The only problem? These orientation screens pop up in between set-up instructions. And in an effort to speed up my set-up process, I swiped right past them, which is why I ended up docking half a point to an otherwise perfect score for ease of use, scoring it a 4.5 out of 5. 

Thankfully, the Fitbit Sense interface is pretty intuitive—though it did take some getting used to. 

Browsing pre-downloaded apps is easy—you just swipe left and right, like you would on a smartphone. And while opening apps is easy (just click on the app icon), I had a hard time closing apps without turning off the smartwatch screen. To check recent notifications, you simply swipe down. And to turn the watch face on or off, you press a button on the side of the smartwatch.

Since I’m a smartwatch newbie, some of these gestures threw me off at first. But new devices take time to get used to. I only wish Fitbit’s orientation instructions were easier to revisit. That way, I could’ve consulted them any time I was feeling confused.

Navigation aside, I have no complaints about the Fitbit Sense’s display. The design is clean, bright, and colorful. And all the text is easy to read. Since space is limited on a smartwatch screen, the Fitbit Sense depicts a lot of data in icons, rather than text. But I never struggled to understand which metrics the icons represented. And when I wanted to dive deeper into data, I could open the Fitbit app on my phone to get a more granular look.

Fitbit Sense Review

Verywell Fit / Lindsey Lanquist

Features: Great for Everyday Health and Fitness Tracking

One of Fitbit Sense’s big selling points? It’s packed with handy features, which is why I gave it a nearly perfect score of 4.5 out of 5 for our features attribute. And after testing the device for three weeks, I can safely say: The Fitbit Sense’s feature set does not disappoint. 

Flip through the smartwatch, and you’ll find all the fitness tracking classics. You’ll find a pedometer that automatically counts how many steps you take. You’ll see a bunch of exercise modes that make tracking your workouts a breeze. (Want to know how much time you spent burning fat, doing cardio, or working in your peak heart rate zone? Your Fitbit Sense has you covered.) And on the Fitbit app, you’ll find places to manually log other metrics—like menstrual cycles and water intake.

But these basic features only scratch the surface of what the Fitbit Sense can do. Equipped with a built-in heart rate monitor, the smartwatch continuously tracks your heart rate—and alerts you if it gets unusually high or low. You can also spot-check your heart rate by running an ECG (electrocardiogram) and check your stress levels with an EDA (electrodermal activity) scan. And if you go to bed wearing your Fitbit Sense, the smartwatch will track how well you sleep—greeting you with in-depth sleep data when you wake up. 

The Fitbit Sense is also smartphone-compatible, so you can receive text, call, and app notifications on your wrist. And since you can set alarms directly from your smartwatch, you can even rely on your Fitbit Sense to wake you up in the morning.

To test the Fitbit Sense, I made use of all of these features—and almost all of them lived up to the hype. The pedometer is reliable, the continuous heart rate tracker is handy, and the sleep tracker is a huge value add. The ECG and EDA features seemed a little overrated. (They just spot-check you for irregularities.) And while I like that Fitbit lets you manually log data in the Fitbit app, I found the input process tedious—so I hardly ever did it.

One thing I loved more than I thought I would? The smartphone compatibility features. I received tons of text notifications on my Fitbit Sense. And while I couldn’t respond to them from the smartwatch—or see any images embedded in the texts—I loved the real-time updates. I also accepted one call on my Fitbit Sense—and ended up having a complete phone conversation from the watch.

These smartphone-compatible features only work when your phone is within range (30 feet), so their use case is limited. But they’re handy if you want to step away from your phone while it’s charging across the room.

Fitbit Sense Review

Verywell Fit / Lindsey Lanquist

Battery Life: Impressive, But Shorter Than Expected

The Fitbit Sense boasts an impressively long-lasting battery. According to Fitbit, the smartwatch can run for 6+ days on a single charge—though you should expect it to die faster if you activate battery-draining features, like continuous GPS. 

To test these claims, I charged my Fitbit Sense to 100 percent and kept it on until it died. During the day, I kept the device in “Always On” mode, so its display stayed lit up at all times. And at night, I flipped it into “Do Not Disturb” mode, turning off the display and silencing notifications. I exercised at least once a day, turning on the appropriate workout mode each time I did. And I paired my smartphone with the watch, so I could receive texts and calls. Finally, I wore my Fitbit Sense to bed at night. And I turned on the sleep tracking function, so my Fitbit Sense could gather data while I slept.

I ran this test several times. And the Fitbit Sense consistently lasted three to four days before dying. That’s not quite as much battery life as promised, but it’s still impressive for a fitness tracker, which is why I gave it a score of 4 out of 5 for battery life.

I also noted how long the Fitbit Sense took to recharge after I drained the battery. The watch charged from 0 percent to 99 percent in just 70 minutes, though it took another 20 minutes to hit 100 percent. This final delay was a little annoying. But on a normal day, I’d be fine unplugging the device at 99 percent—so it wasn’t a big deal.

My only qualm? The smartwatch enters low battery mode at 8 percent—way before it dies. And it disables a bunch of features when it does. When your Fitbit Sense is in low battery mode, its screen gets darker, its vibrations get lighter, and you can no longer receive smartphone notifications on the watch. You also can’t turn on GPS tracking or flip the display into “Always On” mode.

This extends the battery life by about one day—but since so many features are disabled, the extra time doesn’t feel worth it. Realistically, you’d want to charge your Fitbit Sense the moment it enters low battery mode. So you can expect your Fitbit Sense to last four days before dying—and three days before needing a recharge.

Fitbit Sense review

Verywell Fit / Lindsey Lanquist

Accuracy: Accurately Tracks Steps, Heart Rate, Sleep, and More

Fitness trackers are only as good as the data they collect. So to check the accuracy of the Fitbit Sense, I ran a couple of tests. 

First, I used Google Maps to map out a 2-mile walking route. I then walked that exact route to see how well the Fitbit Sense would track distance. After that, I logged a brief walking workout. I walked just 50 steps and then checked my Fitbit Sense to see how many steps it recorded. 

The Fitbit Sense passed both tests with flying colors, earning a perfect score of 5 out of 5 for accuracy. The smartwatch counted my steps perfectly. And it logged my 2-mile walk as a 2.09-mile walk—meaning it was off by less than one-tenth of a mile.

I was shocked at how perfectly the device tracked my steps. So to verify the results, I repeated the step test with different step counts, and the Fitbit Sense nailed it every time. I even tried things that might mess up the results—like holding my watch hand up, instead of letting it swing back and forth. But the Fitbit Sense still proved accurate—counting my steps perfectly, without fail.

I didn’t have such precise ways to test other metrics, like heart rate or sleep quality. So I simply looked at the data critically, comparing my sense of reality to what the device reported. The Fitbit Sense seemed to track my heart rate accurately. And when tracking my sleep, the device was able to tell when I was sleeping—versus when I was lying down, but awake.

Appearance: Sleek and Stylish—for a Smartwatch

The Fitbit Sense is a pretty stylish smartwatch. Its watch band is sleek and easy to switch out. And its watch face looks polished, thanks to its rounded edges and its smooth glass face plate.

But at the end of the day, the Fitbit Sense is still a smartwatch. While I was happy to sport the device during workouts and day-to-day activities, I couldn’t wear it to a wedding or a really nice restaurant—which is why I scored it a 4.5 out of 5 for appearance, rather than giving it a perfect score. This was a bummer because taking off the smartwatch meant sacrificing data. And when I’m tracking my health and fitness habits, I like to do it 24/7. 

But in order to feel comfortable wearing my Fitbit Sense on semi-formal occasions, I’d need to switch out the watch band with a metal strap. And even then, I’m not sure how I’d feel about wearing it, since the watch face looks so bulky on my small wrist.

Fitbit Sense Review

Verywell Fit / Lindsey Lanquist

How We Tested

To thoroughly assess the Fitbit Sense, I wore the watch for three weeks—and used it the way I’d use any fitness tracker. I wore the watch non-stop, turned on sleep tracking at night, and activated specific workout modes any time I exercised. I also ran a few tests to evaluate specific features.

To see how accurate the Fitbit Sense was, I performed two walking tests. I measured out a 2-mile walking route, walked it, and checked to see what distance my Fitbit Sense logged. Then, I walked 50 steps exactly—and checked to see how many steps the Fitbit Sense counted. I repeated this second test a few times, varying my walking speed and hand position to see whether it affected the results. (It didn’t.)

To check the Fitbit Sense’s battery life, I wore the watch until it died and noted exactly how long it lasted. I then timed how long it took for the watch to recharge to 100 percent. Since I wore the watch for so long, I casually repeated this test a few times—and naturally activated different features each time I did.

To see whether the Fitbit Sense was waterproof, I stuck it under running water for about one minute. (But I made sure to stay away from soaps and other liquids, as Fitbit instructed.) And to get a sense of the smartwatch’s fitness-tracking features, I worked out almost every day during the testing period—and activated the appropriate workout mode each time I did.

To keep my tests consistent, I kept my Fitbit Sense on the same wrist, wore similar clothes every time I worked out, and walked in mild weather.

Price: Expensive, But Investment-Worthy

Retailing for around $209, the Fitbit Sense is definitely pricey. Sure, compared to other fitness trackers, it’s fairly priced. (A nice smartwatch will run you $100—and a really nice one can command $500+.) But $209 is a lot of money. And before this test, it’s more than I would’ve spent on a fitness tracker.

But after spending weeks with the smartwatch, I think the Fitbit Sense offers some of the best value around. It boasts top-notch features you just can’t get on a budget-friendlier fitness tracker, and it isn’t bogged down by expensive features you don’t really need. 

Put simply: I’m not enough of an athlete to spend $500+ on a fitness tracker. But I’d rather spend $200-$300 on the Fitbit Sense than spend $100 on a smartwatch that can’t monitor my heart rate or track my sleep at night. These premium features are what made me fall in love with my Fitbit Sense—and they make the smartwatch worth the investment.

Fitbit Sense Review

Verywell Fit / Lindsey Lanquist

The Competition

You can easily find a smartwatch that’s budget-friendlier or feature-heavier than the Fitbit Sense. But by splitting the difference between features and price, the Fitbit Sense offers some of the best value around.

Apple Watch Series 7: If you want to splurge on a best-in-class smartwatch, the Apple Watch Series 7 is a great pick. Equipped with many of the same fitness-tracking features as the Fitbit Sense, the watch continuously tracks your heart rate, monitors your sleep quality, and records in-depth workout data. It also outcompetes the Fitbit Sense on smartphone compatibility, letting you send texts and listen to podcasts directly from your wrist.

Fitbit Versa 3: The Fitbit Versa 3 boasts a lot of the same features as the Fitbit Sense—and at a markedly lower price point. The biggest difference between the two? The Fitbit Versa 3 can’t run ECGs or EDA scans. But if you’re willing to forgo those features to save a little cash, the Fitbit Versa 3 is a great option.

Fitbit Sense 2: This upgraded version of the Fitbit Sense costs $50 more than its predecessor, but it doesn’t boast many new features. Unlike the original Fitbit Sense, the Fitbit Sense 2 offers all-day stress tracking, and will soon be equipped with Google Maps and Google Wallet. But since these upgrades are pretty minor, the Fitbit Sense 2 is a solid choice for those who want smartwatch maps or in-depth stress tracking—and an expensive pick for anyone else.  

Final Verdict

Yes, buy the Fitbit Sense If you want a well-rounded fitness tracker with some premium features.


Though the smartwatch is pricier than many budget-friendly fitness trackers, it’s packed with top-notch features that justify its price point. The smartwatch continuously monitors your heart rate, tracks your sleep quality at night, and reports in-depth workout data—telling you how many “active zone minutes” you logged and letting you know when your body is ready to work out.

These features set the Fitbit Sense apart from more basic buys. And while they’re not quite as advanced as what you’ll get from a higher-end smartwatch, they don’t need to be. Most people don’t need a smartwatch that measures their running stride length or is water-resistant up to 100 meters (328 feet). They need a smartwatch that tracks general health and fitness metrics—like workouts, heart rate, and sleep quality—and the Fitbit sense does exactly that.

Specs

  • Product Name Sense
  • Product Brand Fitbit
  • Price $300.00
  • Weight 1.17 oz.
  • Battery Life 3–4 days (according to our test); Fitbit says it lasts up to 6+ days
  • Water-Resistant Yes, up to 50 meters
  • Heart Rate Tracking Yes, continuous
  • Connectivity Yes, compatible with Apple and Android
  • Size Small (140–180 millimeter band), large (180–220 millimeter band)
  • Warranty 1 year
  • What’s Included Smartwatch, 2 watch bands, charger