Fitbit hasn’t given up on making smartwatches that double as fitness trackers just yet. Earlier this year, the company took what it’s learned from the Fitbit Ionic to create another smartwatch that might have a broader appeal than its last smartwatch attempt. It might help that the Fitbit Versa is a cheaper alternative, too.
Not as polarizing. Fitbit tapered down the edges of the Ionic for the Versa. While the former looked a bit more masculine, the Versa has a more unisex design with slightly rounded corners. I’ve had a couple of people comment on how similar it looks to the Apple Watch’s design. Its design does make it easier to bring it from a workout to a work event without having to worry if it clashes with my outfit. It’s also smaller and lighter overall. Sometimes I’d forget it was even on me—and yes, I sleep with the Versa on.
The gray rubberized strap on the test unit I had didn’t really attract dirt or grime, which is great. It is, however, a bit tougher to remove the strap than the Ionic. You might need to have enough lead time if you suddenly decide you want to accessorize and change the Versa’s strap. And if you’re comparing Apple Watch strap options with the Versa, then you might be disappointed. But there are a number of options in different materials that would be enough for most wearers.
Available locally for P13,890, there’s one with a black strap with a black aluminum case; gray strap with a silver aluminum case; or peach strap with a rose gold aluminum case. Accessories range from P1,899 to P5,499. There’s also a Fitbit Versa Special Edition that’s available for P15,590 and comes with a lavender woven band with rose gold aluminum case or charcoal woven band with graphite aluminum case, both come with an extra black classic band.
More of the same. When it comes to how the Fitbit Versa operates, you get more of the same experience as you would with the Fitbit Ionic—even the physical button structure is similar. Both have great, crisp displays that can reach up to 1,000 nits in brightness, so you can see even when you’re trying to look at the screen outdoors. This time, though, the Versa’s display feels a bit more responsive than its more expensive brother.
You also get an accelerometer to track steps and movement as well as a heart rate monitor to keep track of your heart. There is still the SpO2 sensor but just like the Ionic, the Versa doesn’t take advantage of this sensor just yet. Both are also water-resistant to 50 meters so yes, you can track swimming with the Versa, too.
It also now has female-centric health tracking, which means it can track your period, ovulation, and the like. All Fitbit users can access this through the app but the Versa and Ionic get to see this information on the watch face.
Speaking of watch face, Fitbit has a lot of those to choose from and it’s something I’ve appreciated with the Ionic and now with the Versa. The user interface is uncluttered and easy to navigate once you get a hang of it. There aren’t that many apps yet but that means you have less to clutter the device with.
You also get the same smartphone notification mirroring on the Versa as you did with the Ionic, which means the experience isn’t as good. This still hasn’t been improved, unfortunately. They aren’t as timely as you’d expect sometimes, like even though you get a notification from your phone, that doesn’t mean it’s going to alert you. And then sometimes, it’ll do it all at once and have your wrist vibrating like crazy. I like that it does let you quickly reply to incoming messages or launch the app on your phone right from the Versa.
Transferring music is still a bit of a tedious process. It’s something I’m hoping Fitbit can simplify in the future. If you have a Deezer account, though, that will make it easier to import playlists into the Versa. And this device, like the Ionic, has trouble connecting with my Honor 10 as well but this might be an issue with Huawei or Honor devices. Someone previously told me they had trouble syncing their Fitbit with their Huawei phone, too.
What it does as well as the Ionic is its 24/7 health and fitness tracking functionality. Fitbit is still one of the best out there when it comes to that. Right now, it can track over 15 plus different exercises and the Versa can auto detect some of these so if you forget to turn it on, the watch will do it for you. Fitbit Coach is also available here so you can get coaching through some shorter, more targeted workouts. It still also accurately tracks my sleep (and reminds me how much I need and how little I get).
Battery life is more or less the same, which is around four to five days. I use it mostly to track quick 30-minute exercises in the morning, as a timer, alarm clock, and just a regular watch. It’s great that I don’t have to charge the Versa daily. And it can get me through at least a couple of full night’s sleep before I have to worry about charging it. It takes around a couple of hours or less to get it back to 100 percent.
But slightly different. To make a cheaper smartwatch/fitness tracker, Fitbit had to do away with something. So, the Fitbit Versa doesn’t have GPS. And if you run outside a lot and would rather not bring a phone with you, this might be a deal-breaker. If that isn’t an issue this smartwatch/fitness tracker might just be fine for you.
Fitbit Versa brings the features we love from the Ionic into a more attractive package. At the same time, it reminds us what Fitbit needs to work on when it comes to these smartwatch-fitness tracker hybrids: a better smartwatch experience.
Display: Color LCD touchscreen
Sensors & components: 3-axis accelerometer, 3-axis gyroscope, optical heart rate monitor, altimeter, ambient light sensor, vibration motor, SpO2 sensor,
Connectivity & I/O ports: Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC (special edition)
Water resistance: Up to 50 meters
Syncing: Up to 30 feet (range); syncs with Mac OS X 10.6 and up, iPhone 4S and later, iPad 3 gen and later, Android 4.3 and later, Windows 10; requires Bluetooth LE and internet connection
In the box: Fitbit Versa watch, classic wristbands (small and large), charging cable, manuals
Battery: Li-Po, two-hour charge time