How to pick the right Fitbit for you

Fitbit is probably one of the best-known brands of smartwatches / fitness trackers next to the Apple Watch, and its range of wearables offers something for every kind of health enthusiast. If you want to get started with a fitness band that won’t over-extend your budget, Fitbit has a large selection that’s especially well-suited for those who are new to wearables.

In fact, Fitbit offers a variety of fitness bands in various form factors: there’s the Versa 2, Versa Lite, Ionic, Charge 3 (and a special edition version with Fitbit Pay), Inspire, Inspire HR, and Ace 2, which are all designed for different lifestyles and age groups. So depending on whether you’re looking to start walking a little more each day or diligently track your workout progress over time, here’s what to consider when choosing the right Fitbit for you.

If you want a feature-packed Fitbit

Fitbit Versa 2

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Although the Ionic is technically the most premium product that Fitbit offers, the Versa 2 is just a better and more well-rounded device for most people. (Quite literally: the screen has rounded corners that fit and look better on most wrists.) The device comes with on-screen guided workouts, week-long battery life, Fitbit Pay, blood oxygen tracking, swim-proofing, quick replies for incoming text messages, and sleep tracking. The Versa 2, which retails for a little under $200, also features an OLED screen (compared to the Ionic’s LCD screen), making the display that much more vivid, bright, and clear.

If you value all of these features, there’s really no reason to spring for the Ionic unless you absolutely require built-in GPS so you can run or bike outside without a phone. You can also opt to wait and see what the upcoming Ionic 2 will offer, though I don’t necessarily recommend it since Fitbit still hasn’t released concrete timing on its release. (Fitbit’s CEO has teased the Ionic 2 for over a year, and we still haven’t heard much about it.)

If you want the best bang for your buck

Fitbit Charge 3 Special Edition

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

The Charge 3 Special Edition is probably the best middle-of-the-road Fitbit since the device is the only Fitbit tracker that also gets advanced features designed for a smartwatch. That means you’ll also get Fitbit Pay, quick replies, always-on heart rate tracking, sleep tracking, and swim-proofing for $170. (But since the Charge 3 SE has been around for a while, you’ll likely be able to snag it for around $150, give or take, pretty easily these days.)

If you hate the look of a traditional smartwatch / fitness band

Fitbit Inspire HR

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

This is the best Fitbit that doesn’t look quite like a Fitbit. Multiple band options, including a mesh metal one, turn it into more of a fashion bracelet than workout wear. It’s also likely to fit better on a smaller person’s wrist, considering the slimmer profile.

For $100, you get a fitness band that has a built-in heart rate monitor, a five-day battery life, and swim-proofing for underwater exercises or excursions at the pool / beach. The Fitbit Inspire HR is a great tracker for both beginners and those who want a little more from their wearable without other features that might seem superfluous, such as Fitbit Pay or internal music storage.

If you want a Fitbit that ages with you

Fitbit Ace 2 / Inspire

Photo by Natt Garun / The Verge

Fitbit designed the Ace 2 for kids, with custom software that features cartoon faces to encourage younger wearers to get moving periodically. The Ace 2 is essentially the Inspire with a modded interface, and it can be updated to become the Inspire when kids have grown out of the cartoon characters and want a “real” tracker. You simply update the software and find a new band to fit around the center module.

The tracker lacks features like quick replies and heart rate monitoring, but that’s to be expected considering you can find it for around $50 to $70 — half the price of Fitbit devices that do offer those features. Still, it is a solid Fitbit on a budget.

Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These do not influence editorial content, though Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links. For more information, see our ethics policy.

Chief Justice Roberts wants to know if ‘OK Boomer’ counts as age discrimination

The term “OK Boomer” has been entered into the official records of the US Supreme Court. Today, Chief Justice John Roberts used the phrase as a means to discuss age discrimination at a Supreme Court hearing and whether uttering it during a job interview could qualify as legal evidence.

The moment came during a case hearing for Babb v. Wilkie, in which plaintiff Norris Babb — who was in her early 50s at the time of the incident — alleged that she was denied a promotion from the Department of Veterans Affairs based on her age and gender. During questioning, Roberts posited that if a hiring person were to say, “OK Boomer … is that actionable?” According to the court transcript, the hypothetical question was met with laughter.

Ultimately, the court moved on after noting that it would likely be actionable if the term was used as a way to negatively judge a job candidate, especially if done so against a younger alternate. “If the decision makers are sitting around the table and they say, ‘we’ve got Candidate A who’s 35’ and ‘we’ve got Candidate B who’s 55 and is a boomer’ — and is probably tired and you know, doesn’t have a lot of computer skills, I think that absolutely would be actionable,” the court concluded.

Supreme Court justices aren’t expected to maintain a deep familiarity with memes, but the moment did mark the first time the phrase was uttered in a high court hearing. “OK, Boomer” has made its appearance in legal settings before, though: last November, a 25-year-old New Zealand lawmaker used the phrase as a retort against an older member of Parliament who heckled her during a speech for a climate crisis bill.

“Boomer” is a colloquial but not always derogatory term for Americans who were born between 1946 and 1964, a period dubbed “the baby boom” for its heightened birth rates. Chief Justice Roberts was born in 1955.

Samsung Galaxy S10E review: short, not shortchanged

The past few years in smartphones have led us to believe that bigger is better: bigger displays, bigger batteries, and bigger price tags on these pocket computers we carry with us every day. Thankfully, in the case of the new Galaxy S10E, that’s no longer true. With the 10th anniversary Galaxy, Samsung is offering a smaller variant of its flagship phone that punches way above its weight.

There’s more to the S10E than just its size. But, for a lot of people, that may be the strongest reason to choose this model over the S10 or S10 Plus. If you’re intent on upgrading to one of the new S10 models, the S10E is the best Galaxy model for most.

The best way to think about this phone is to figure out what the “E” in S10E stands for. Samsung’s already said that the E is short for “essential,” but where the device stands out is its ergonomics. The S10E measures just one millimeter narrower than the canonical S10, but it’s significantly shorter by 7.7 mm, or roughly a third of an inch, and it’s more comfortable to hold securely — especially if you have smaller hands like I do.

Despite a tiny width difference, the S10E’s display drops to a 5.8-inch screen from the S10’s 6.1-inch screen due to thicker bezels on the side. Personally, I think Samsung could have gone even smaller. It still doesn’t quite fit in my jeans pockets without peeping out from the top. The company says it stuck with a 5.8-inch display because it found that Galaxy customers liked that size from the S8 and S9.

The S10E’s screen is also flat instead of using the curved sides that Samsung put on its flagship Galaxies from the past few years. I actually prefer this screen over the other S10s. Full-screen videos look less warped, and my palm doesn’t wrap over the edge screen as much. It also makes the edge lighting feature for notifications look much more vibrant and lively against the darker sides of the screen.

One main differentiator between the S10E and its taller siblings is the placement of the fingerprint sensor. Instead of the new (and somewhat controversial) in-screen reader, the S10E built a capacitive sensor into power button on the right side. Its placement is right around where your right thumb normally rests when you pick up the phone, making it a lot more natural to use than the in-screen sensor. It’s also extremely fast and authenticates instantaneously. There’s a small divot that lets you easily find the power button without looking at where you’re aiming, which I find nicer than Sony’s side fingerprint design that has it flush with the rest of the phone.

Even with this placement, left-handers might find it a bit awkward to use. Remember how the S8’s fingerprint sensor was on the right side of the rear camera? Then, with the S9, Samsung moved it to the center underneath the camera lens? When you have the S10E in your left hand, you end up having to use your left index or middle finger sideways to reach the power button. In my experience, it took longer for the S10E to register my left fingerprints, and sometimes it could take a bit of finesse to get that sideways placement just right. Once you have this nailed down, it does work fast and fine, but it still feels like a left-hand-friendly design was an afterthought.

One great thing about the S10E’s power button is that you can still use it to drag down the top navigation bar, which is a feature you end up losing with the S10’s in-screen reader. Even with the shorter display, I still can’t quite reach the top of the screen without wiggling the phone down my palm, so being able to navigate in this way is super convenient — as long as the phone is in your right hand.

Let’s loop back to Samsung’s interpretation of the E in S10E: essentials. I think Samsung has mostly nailed that. With this phone, you’re not sacrificing much of the S10 experience, and the list of things that are constant between the S10E and the S10 is a lot longer than what it’s missing.

Samsung Galaxy S10E versus S10

Category Samsung Galaxy S10E Samsung Galaxy S10
Category Samsung Galaxy S10E Samsung Galaxy S10
OS Android 9 Pie (One UI) Android 9 Pie (One UI)
Display 5.8-inch Full HD+ (2,280 x 1,080) AMOLED 6.1 inches Quad HD+ (3040 x 1440) AMOLED
Dimensions (mm) 142.2 x 69.9 x 7.9mm 149.9 x 70.4 x 7.8mm
Weight 150g 157g
Battery capacity 3,100mAh 3,400mAh
Processor Snapdragon 855 Snapdragon 855
RAM 6, 8GB depending on configuration 8GB
Storage 128, 256GB 128, 512GB
MicroSD support Yes, up to 512 GB Yes, up to 512 GB
Ports USB-C charging port, 3.5mm headphone jack USB-C charging port, 3.5mm headphone jack
Rear cameras 12MP (variable F/1.5-2.4, OIS, auto focus) wide angle, 16MP (F/2.2, fixed focus) ultra wide 12MP (variable F/1.5-2.4, OIS, auto focus) wide angle, 16MP (F/2.2, fixed focus) ultra wide, 12MP (F/2.4) telephoto
Front cameras 10MP (F/1.9, auto focus, 80 degree) 10MP (F/1.9, auto focus, 80 degree)
Biometrics Side-mounted fingerprint sensor, face unlock In-screen reader, face unlock
Water resistance IP68 IP68
Wireless charging Yes, with 4.5W reverse wireless charging Yes, with 4.5W reverse wireless charging
Stereo speakers Dolby Atmos Dolby Atmos

Here’s what you actually give up: the telephoto lens, a bigger battery, and a nicer screen. The S10E has a Full HD display instead of a Quad HD display, which means it’s only 1080p wide and has about 100 ppi less than the regular S10. If you’re coming from a Quad HD display, this difference could be noticeable. For me, I only started to see the discrepancies when I lined it up with another phone in its category, like the Pixel 3. Even after adjusting the tones on the S10E for more vibrancy, the whites are whiter on the Pixel, and you get a lot more depth there. But it’s something I don’t think most people will notice without directly comparing the screens.

The same could be said about the S10E’s camera. Sure, it only has two cameras in the rear instead of three, but I think 95 percent of people will love the photos that this phone can take. Pictures are sharp and vibrant, and there’s a lot of versatility between its Pro, Instagram, and Beauty modes. (Skin smoothing on the Samsung looks a lot more natural when you don’t crank the volume all the way up to 7, but I know it’s fake, and that makes it a lot less fun to use, much less share. But more power to you if you enjoy it!)

Where it starts to feel like you’re missing out is when you compare niche features to competitors like the Pixel. I’ll admit that perhaps I’m spoiled by the Pixel’s Night Sight and ultra-wide selfies. With low light photography, in particular, you can’t manually turn Bright Night on for the S10E unless it’s very dark out. Even with it on, the processing just looks much better on Pixel’s Night Sight, with more details and vibrancy.

Left: Pixel 3, right: Galaxy S10E

As for the wide angle selfie camera, the S10E’s lens doesn’t extend as far for group selfies (97 degrees field of view on the Pixel versus 80 degrees on the S10E). It also tends to overexpose skin tones and make everyone look pale.

Left: Pixel 3, right: Galaxy S10E

These are minor grievances, though. If you’re coming from an older Galaxy, you’ll be very happy with the upgrades without splurging for the $1,000 S10.

The battery is a little smaller at 3,100mAh compared to the S10’s 3,400mAh battery, but it works out to be roughly the same battery life because of the S10E’s smaller display. I’ve been using the device for a few days, and it makes it through an entire day of scrolling through Twitter, Instagram, Slack, and playing games on my commute without needing to recharge until I go to bed. (That’s without using the power-saving mode.) Batteries do degrade over time, though, so I worry that, in a few months, this won’t be the case. For now, I’d recommend keeping power saving on to keep the device trudging longer into the night.

There are a couple of other things I didn’t love, including the size of Samsung’s default keyboard. With a smaller display, everything is naturally going to be more condensed, and I found myself making more typos even after making the keyboard as large as it can get. I also ran into similar issues that we had with the S10 / S10 Plus’ face unlock, and I was also able to unlock the device with a video of myself.

Thankfully, these are easy things to work around. If you decide to go for this device, the first things to do are to adjust the icons so that they don’t look cartoonishly big and download an app like Gboard to address the keyboard issues. For biometric unlocks, just stick with the fingerprint sensor and a pin / pattern.

One last thing to note with the S10s is that they now come with a screen protector preinstalled. And while it’s thoughtful of Samsung to include it out of the box, it’s not very good at protecting against scratches. I’ve only had the device for a week, and I’ve already seen some significant scrapes. The corner radius and the hole-punch camera also don’t quite match up with the display, which is hard to unsee once you spot it. I’d go ahead and just get a better screen protector and not rely on the one Samsung stuck on here.

Somewhere, this is bothering someone immensely.

The last E is economics. At $750, you’re getting nearly the full S10 experience without spending as much money and in a size that’s a lot more appealing across demographics. Samsung phones also tend to go on sale pretty quickly after new Galaxies are announced, so you’ll probably find the S10E discounted or in BOGO deals very soon.

If you’re looking for a good, small Android or one that isn’t uncomfortably close to a thousand bucks, this is a phone that I think most people will enjoy without sacrificing much in quality. Smaller and cheaper doesn’t have to mean worse, and I think it’s time major smartphone manufacturers start making devices that can do the most without a gigantic size. The S10E is a good step in the right direction, one I hope others will follow.

Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These do not influence editorial content, though Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links. For more information, see our ethics policy.