- The most aesthetically pleasing of Fitbit’s wearables
- Beautiful screen
- A multifunctional fitness tracker
- No GPS receiver integrated in
- Plasticky design
- Apps are in short supply.
The Fitbit Versa is the company’s second smartwatch. It was released in the middle of April; it can save music locally; it has a brand new function that tracks women’s health; however, it does not have a GPS receiver built-in. The best part about it is that it comes in a stylish form that is appealing to both men and women in equal measure. The timepiece, without a shadow of a doubt, stands a great deal greater chance of contending with the Apple Watch than ever did Ionic.
Fitbit, which was formerly the industry leader, has been steadily losing market share to competitors such as Apple and Xiaomi. James Park, the CEO of the firm, gave an indication at the beginning of the year that investors should prepare themselves for a wristwatch with greater “public appeal” in 2018. It would appear that the firm has satisfied the customer. The company based in San Francisco made the announcement around six weeks after the debut that it had sold more than one million Versa smartwatches.
Over the past two weeks, I’ve been putting the newest fitness device from Fitbit through its paces. What I concluded from it is as follows.
In the packaging, you will find the core unit of the Versa, a charger designed just for it, and a brief instruction manual. You won’t need to worry about finding the right fit with this item since it comes with both a big and a small band. It is not difficult to switch between the two of them. The strap just has to have the spring that is keeping it in place moved slightly, and then it may be replaced. It should take you no longer than five seconds at the most if you are deft with your hands.
Through the years, Fitbit has maintained its straightforward and functional product design. After all, why mess with something that already serves its purpose and has been shown to be successful? However, activity trackers and smartwatches aren’t the clunky and unsightly devices they used to be. These days, they’re sleek and fashionable. Therefore, it should not come as much of a surprise that quite a few significant design adjustments have been made for this iteration.
The Versa wristwatch comes packaged in a contemporary case that is reminiscent of a cross between an Apple Watch and a Pebble smartwatch in terms of design. And this is a positive shift overall. In comparison to the Ionic, this watch is not just smaller but also significantly thinner and lighter (38 grammes as opposed to 50 grammes). These characteristics should appeal to women. It is evident that Fitbit is benefiting from the knowledge gained through its acquisition of Pebble.
Aluminium of the 6,000 series, which is of aerospace quality, is used in the construction of the core unit, which makes it both sturdy and lightweight. According to Fitbit, this is the thinnest metal smartwatch that can be purchased in the United States.
The display is quite vivid and clear, and it can be seen in both indoor and outdoor settings. The most that can be done at this time is represented by the Fitbit Ionic, which features an increased number of pixels and an improved brightness of up to 1,000 nits. In terms of its technical specifications, the LG Versa boasts a high-resolution LCD touchscreen with a resolution of 300 by 300 pixels and a size of 24.1 by 24.1 millimetres.
Because turning off the display saves battery life, it is the default setting. It is incredibly sensitive to touch, which enables you to quickly navigate through the statistics. Having said that, I think it would have been nice if the gadget was more responsive to when you raised your wrist to wake up. This is true most of the time, but not always.
There is one physical button on the left side, and two on the right side, located on the sides of the device. You are able to navigate across the display by using this in conjunction with the touch-screen.
Another improvement in design that is quite appreciated is the addition of waterproofing. The water resistance rating for the Versa is 5 ATM, which is equivalent to 50 metres. The Flex 2 and the Ionic were the only wearables the business had available up to this point that was water-resistant enough to be worn in the pool.
As is customary, there is a plethora of variety available in terms of watch faces, bands, and colours. The watch may have a plasticky appearance, but it is lightweight, can be worn by any gender, and the display is just stunning. This Fitbit wearable easily takes the cake for having the most aesthetically pleasing design to date. It is no longer necessary for you to be concerned about the inconvenience of wearing a cumbersome smartwatch.
When it comes to monitoring activities around the clock, Versa checks off most of the boxes. The whole list of sensors includes a vibration motor, an altimeter, an optical heart rate sensor, a 3-axis accelerometer, a 3-axis gyroscope, an optical heart rate monitor, an altimeter, an ambient light sensor, and a Wi-Fi antenna (802.11 b/g/n). The list is very amazing. In addition, there is an onboard storage of up to 4 gigabytes for music and NFC payments (selected models).
As was noted, the larger model of the two phones, the Nexus 5, does not have a GPS receiver built-in. With GPS, you won’t have to worry about any of your running numbers being inaccurate. The outcomes are unquestionably commensurate with the effort required to accomplish them, despite the fact that the device consumes a lot of power and requires some time to locate a signal. However, there is a cost associated with this. Without a shadow of a doubt, Fitbit has chosen to move forward with Connected-GPS in order to keep the price as low as possible.
Connected-GPS is only a fancier term for the fact that the watch connects to your smartphone in order to obtain a GPS satellite signal. The fact that this works wonderfully well does, however, imply that you will need to have your smartphone with you whenever you go for early morning runs.
Battery capacity does not disappoint. The portable gadget has a battery life of between four and five days on a single charge. Fitbit is well aware that the length of battery life is one of the most crucial selling points for any of its fitness trackers. Users are getting greater value for their money because of the steady increase in battery capacity that has been occurring over the past several years. However, the charger appears to be a fairly cumbersome piece of equipment. It fastens around Versa and secures it in place so that it may be charged for the several hours it takes to get from zero to full.
Monitoring of both physical and mental health
In the same vein as the Ionic, this is a watch that prioritises physical activity. It comes with all that Fitbit has to offer in terms of activity monitoring capabilities, as is to be expected.
This includes the number of steps taken, the distance travelled, the floors climbed, your heart rate (including information on your current, resting, and target heart rate zones), the number of active minutes, and the number of calories burnt.
If you are having an especially sedentary day, the tracker will also push you to move more by sending you motivating messages and nudging you with move reminders. You are free to disable these in the event that you do not find them to be to your liking.
The software that comes with each and every Fitbit gadget is identical, and it is widely considered to be one of the most user-friendly applications currently available. It is able to deliver a plethora of information without overwhelming you with an excessive amount of data. In the event that you are interested in learning more, you can always check out the web dashboard that the organisation provides. This not only gives you access to far more extensive information but also enables you to export the data.
The application will provide you with specific information on the stages of light, deep, and REM sleep as well as the amount of time you were awake in the morning. You also have the option of programming the alarm to wake you up at a specific hour. The watch is equipped with innovative sleep tracking features and analytical capabilities, both of which were released in the spring.
For instance, I’ve been informed that my going-to-bed time varies quite a bit from day to day and that people whose bedtimes vary by at least 40 minutes from day to day have trouble sleeping. In addition, there is a chart that provides a summary of your sleep stages and contrasts them with those that are typical for people of your age and gender.
No surprises thus far. Since quite some time ago, Fitbit has perfected the ability to measure exercise throughout the clock. Now that we’ve covered it, let’s move on to the workout functions.
Each of these activities—running, cycling, swimming, working out on a treadmill, lifting weights, and timed intervals—have its own dedicated app on the Versa. Each of them possesses a unique set of measures and capabilities. There is also automatic activity detection, which means that you will earn credit even if you fail to enter an exercise. This feature ensures that you will always be able to track your progress.
The Purepulse heart rate sensor from Fitbit records data on the wearer’s heart rate at intervals of 1 second during activity and at intervals of 5 seconds during all other times. The sensor has just undergone an update at the firm, and as a result, it now rests flush with the back of the body. The accuracy of the data has also increased, to the point that Fitbit believes that in the near future, Versa might be used to assist in the diagnosis of atrial fibrillation.
The heart rate sensor in the watch is remarkably precise, despite the fact that it is not of chest strap grade. After putting it through its paces with the Garmin Forerunner 935, the Polar H10 chest strap, and the Scosche RHYTHM24, I found that its average value for the runs consistently matched that of the other devices. The maximal heart rate is the only measurement that might be inaccurate by one or two beats on occasion.
You will receive your total running distance, duration, normal pace, split times, heart rate (with a chart, the average value, and information regarding zones), and the number of calories you burnt.
During my most recent run, I compared the performance of the Versa to that of the Polar H10 chest strap. After that, though, they were pretty well in step with one another. At first, Versa was a little slower to begin moving.
There is not a built-in GPS receiver, as was previously indicated. If you are not a serious runner, the absence of a built-in GPS is generally not going to be a significant issue for you. Because it is connected to your smartphone, the GPS on your watch will be able to acquire a signal more quickly thanks to the Connected GPS feature. However, this does imply that you will need to carry your phone with you at all times. Having said that, you are able to continue with your run even if you forget to bring your phone with you. On the other hand, the distance that is displayed to you will not be as exact, and you will not receive a map of your run.
Due to the fact that I swim occasionally, I was able to test out Versa in the water. Again, the tracker did not fall short of expectations. The swimming app, like all of the company’s other fitness applications, features a little gear button in one of the app’s corners that lets you make adjustments to the settings.
This is an essential step in the process of customising the experience, as it is here that you will determine the size of the pool, adjust certain statistics, and more. In the same manner that you have the choice to toggle running and other activities, you also have the ability to toggle the always-on screen option; however, activating it will decrease the battery life of your device.
The swimming app provides a variety of stats, including total minutes, time per 100 metres, calories burned, and lengths, depending on the settings you choose to use. You are not going to get your heart rate. This is due to the fact that wrist-based optical heart rate sensors are unable to provide such information with a high degree of accuracy while an individual is swimming in water.
The app will take your swimming session, translate it into the number of steps you took, and then add that number to your step count for the day. This is a fantastic added feature. It is deceiving to provide a step total that does not take into account any other forms of exercise. Although I have not witnessed this strategy being utilised by any other businesses, it does make complete and utter sense.
When it comes to monitoring your activity around the clock, the Versa is an excellent piece of technology that satisfies all of your needs in a comprehensive manner. Because it is a fitness watch, you won’t get any advanced performance data, with the exception of your VO2Max reading, as you would get on a sports watch like Garmin, Suunto, or Polar. However, for the normal individual who is not a runner who competes at a high level, Versa offers more than enough information to experiment with that is connected to fitness and activity.
In addition to that, let’s not overlook Fitbit Coach. This offers customised training videos, wellness programmes, and a variety of other resources to help you improve your fitness level. You are able to test out any one of these three exercise videos on the Versa completely free of charge.
There is also a premium subscription option, which may be purchased for a one-time fee of $39.99. This frees up more programmes, allows for an endless number of workouts, and enables new features.
Relax is an app that will keep you stress-free in addition to its other health-related tasks. You have the option of selecting sessions that are either 2 or 5 minutes long and direct your breathing. You are instructed to match the pace of the inflating and shrinking circles that are displayed on the screen as you take in and let out breaths at the appropriate times. In many respects comparable to meditating, but with a guide. At the conclusion of the session, you will be provided with several statistics, including how closely you synced with the beat and how much your pulse rate lowered.
Finally, this is the first gadget to launch Fitbit’s brand-new female health monitoring capability, making it an important milestone in the company’s history. The San Francisco company claims that this was one of the most often requested aspects of their product.
This tool gives women the ability to track information about their periods and examine how their periods affect many elements of their lives, including everything from the amount of sleep they get to the amount of movement they get. After a period of two months, the app will begin to use its “unique cycle algorithm” to provide predictions regarding period durations as well as fertile windows. As more data is entered by users, this will become more intelligent and accurate. The application will also send push alerts, which are completely optional, two days before and on the actual day that your period is projected to begin.
The functions of a smartwatch
The Blaze replacement is ideally suited to provide functionality that is unrelated to fitness because of the sizeable screen it possesses. Features that extend beyond the conventional alerts to which we have become so accustomed in this day and age.
Fitbit Pay is included in a limited-edition variant of the Versa smartwatch that is sold only in the United States. The functionality is built into each and every version sold in Europe. There is a built-in NFC chip, similar to the one found in the Ionic, that may save your credit card information, allowing you to leave your wallet at home.
A built-in memory that can hold up to 300 songs is also included with the Versa. If you put in the time and effort to set up the wristwatch properly, it has the potential to perform the same functions as a tiny iPod. Manually starting the music transfer process is the only way to do so while using Fitbit Connect on a desktop computer connected to WiFi. There are other mobile applications like Deezer and Pandora that provide users with the ability to download playlists.
The Versa does not offer a truly phone-free workout experience due to the fact that it does not come equipped with a GPS receiver. You may, however, exercise in the gym while listening to music even if you leave your phone in the locker you use there; for instance, you can listen to music while running on a treadmill or lifting weights.
In addition to that, the standard alerts are included. You are able to read them, but Versa does not permit you to respond to the comments they leave. You’ll have to remove your phone from your pocket, which is obviously not the best option. The function works well enough for a cursory glance at the alerts, but that’s about it.
Having said that, Google has just sent out an update for Android users that adds a “fast answers” function. Because of this, they are able to provide prompt responses to text messages as well as communications sent via messaging programmes such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. These responses have the option of being pre-populated. Fitbit is actively looking at ways to extend this capability to support iOS, however owing to the restricted nature of the notification system found in iOS, this is currently not viable.
Versa uses Fitbit OS 2.0. This comes with it an updated Fitbit Today dashboard in addition to more than 600 different app faces and clock faces. Although this may seem like a lot, the firm is still trying to catch up to the Apple Watch operating system and Wear OS in terms of its smartwatch software. However, it is making an attempt that is not without merit. This problem will presumably be resolved over time given that Fitbit has made its operating system available to developers from other companies.
The final decision
Versa is Fitbit’s greatest effort to date. The successor for the Blaze comes with most of the features that are available on the Ionic, but it looks far better because of its rounded edges, polished appearance, and more compact package factor.
When it comes to recording one’s activities, the watch has all of the necessary functions. It records data on a wide variety of activities, one of which is swimming, among others. You may monitor all of this information in real-time on the stunning high-resolution LCD touchscreen that has a resolution of 300 by 300 pixels. There is also storage on board for your music, smartphone notifications, and third-party apps in addition to Fitbit Pay and Fitbit itself.
Is it flawless? To be honest, nothing is.
There is no denying that you have nice looks, but there is always space for development. Due to the sporty and plasticky feel of the casing, it would have been wonderful to have a couple more luxury case alternatives to choose from. Additionally, unlike its older sibling, the Nexus 5, the Versa does not come with a built-in GPS system. But it more than makes up for that by having a far cheaper price tag and having a look that is more understated.
When everything is taken into account, the Versa is a significant improvement over the Ionic. It is easy to operate and includes the majority of features that the typical individual would expect included in a fitness gadget. This sleek wearable has a battery life of 5 days and is a fantastic balance between a fully functional wristwatch and a fitness tracker. Its elegant design makes it a terrific accessory to have. There is no doubt that Fitbit is in a winning position here.