The much anticipated Fitbit Versa smartwatch has just been released. It looks to build upon the successes of its predecessor, the highly popular Fitbit Ionic. An affordable price plus great built-in features make this watch a perfect fit for anyone looking to achieve their fitness goals without spending too much.
The Fitbit Versa is a cheaper version of the original flagship smartwatch from the company, but it features a sleeker design as well as some additional features. One of the more ‘updated’ or most striking changes come through the revamped design. Fitbit has taken on an entirely new look with what it’s calling the ‘squircle’ face design for the watch, i.e. a square face with round edges. The design is a big step up from the Ionic’s design and it overall has a much more appealing look than its predecessors.
The Versa is also lightweight, making it comfortable to wear all day and night. You can also change the watch straps according to your preferences. There are multiple options to choose from upon purchase and you can further buy new straps too. The ones currently being offered are the classic, leather, metal and woven accessory bands.
Apart from the design, the display is pretty decent too. In fact, it’s better than ever with a beautiful touchscreen that lets you know all the important data you would want to monitor as a person concerned about their fitness. The screen supports brightness up to 1000 nits and no matter where you are the screen will always be visible. The screen’s touch sensitivity has also been improved upon since the Ionic and commands seem much more fluid than they used to.
As far as the fitness features are concerned, what the watch is primarily made for: the watch pretty much has it all. It’s pretty easy to track your workouts with the Versa as it comes with over 15 different exercise modes. Some of the different exercise modes include running, cycling or lifting weights which then show real-time stats like calories burned on the screen. You also get a post-workout summary to analyze your workout session as well.
Some exercises get recorded automatically too. For example, if you went on a run for a while and didn’t select any exercise mode, then the smartwatch will automatically log your run for the amount of time you spent running. It’s able to do this with its ‘SmartTrack’ feature. This feature is surprisingly accurate as well, if you take a break during a run, the Versa will pause until you start running again, thus, giving accurate stats at the end of your run. It’s also able to track your sleep using this feature if you wear the watch while sleeping too. You don’t have to specify that you’re going to sleep, it’ll automatically detect your lowered heart rate and inactivity when you fall asleep.
Some built-in exercise modes have default stats that pop up on the screen. For example, the general workout mode will show stuff like heart rate during the workout, the calories burned etc. However, you can also access other tracking variables such as the current time and time taken by swiping right or left on the screen. The Fitbit Versa has all sorts of nifty features that you can use to track workouts.
One of the 15+ exercise modes built into the smartwatch includes swimming. The Fitbit Versa is able to track your swimming as well as it’s completely waterproof. The watch is waterproof up to 50 meters and can accurately track the amount of distance you’ve traveled swimming and the number of laps you’ve completed. You can easily view all your stats underwater as well, the watch has no display issues but swiping right and left does get harder underwater.
However, you can view all your exercise stats in the mobile app as well if you’ve synced the device with your smartphone. All the other stats are also displayed during swimming sessions such as calories burnt, heart rate etc. The waterproofing capability really sets the Versa apart from other smartwatches.
It has great performance and battery life
The advertised battery life of the Fitbit Versa is a whopping 4 days on a single charge. Although it’s not as much as its predecessor which could survive 5 days on a single charge, it’s still a decent battery time for the Versa. However, battery life depends on many factors such as the amount of use per day, whether or not the watch is kept on whilst sleeping, keeping brightness low or high etc. Despite all the different factors contributing towards battery life, the Fitbit Versa’s battery life more or less comes close to its advertised value.
However, Fitbit doesn’t use micro-USBs to charge their devices. Therefore, you’ll need to make space for Fitbit’s own special charger if you’re traveling with the smartwatch. It can be annoying because most electronics can be conveniently charged using a micro-USB, however, some devices are also prone to damage through different chargers, as one can use any charger with a micro-USB to charge. Therefore, it’s for the best that the Versa has its own charger, and the latest charger that comes with the Versa includes a clip-in dock making it easier to charge than the Ionic.
As far as the performance goes, the Fitbit Versa performs pretty well. It comes with its own optimized OS which doesn’t seem to run into any performance lags at all. Overall, the device gives good performance and is able to live for a decent amount of time on a single charge. It can fully charge in under 2 hours as well, so it’s a win-win even if the battery life is a small step down from the Ionic.
Apps, Music, smartphone notifications and much more
The Fitbit Versa comes with a nice interface that gives you a summary of your stats such as the number of steps taken so far at first glance. You can customize it to however you want as well. The smartwatch hosts a myriad of different features and apps which you can use if you don’t have your smartphone on you.
One of the key features to be featured on the watch is the Fitbit Pay platform which lets you make purchases without having to use your phone or your wallet. It’s compatible with different credit card companies such as Mastercard and Visa. It has a built-in NFC chip which makes payments ‘contactless’. However, this feature is limited to only a few banks for now, but expect it to grow in the near future.
There are multiple apps present in the Versa for fitness, sports, news, travel, transit and more, all available with a simple tap. You are also able to store more than 300 songs on the watch along with the option to download your Pandora playlist on the watch, making it easy for you to listen to your favorite tunes while you work out. If you don’t like to use your phone while you workout, but still want to check your phone notifications, the Fitbit Versa can do that too. You can see all call, text or calendar notifications on screen & get push notifications from your favorite apps, given your phone is nearby of course.
The only drawback
The only thing that’s disappointing about the smartwatch is that it doesn’t have a built-in GPS. It has a “connected GPS” which uses your phone’s GPS to give you accurate results, however, it does not have one on its own. That’s perhaps the only thing missing from its predecessor, the Ionic which doesn’t make the Versa an ‘upgrade’ or a successor to the throne.
However, the Fitbit Versa is a much more affordable option at just below $200 and it has a lot to offer, even without the GPS. It’s still able to accurately measure your runs even without using a GPS and its low price point is a huge plus. It’s definitely one of the best fitness smartwatches out there, worth buying.