Smartwatches have become common accessories to help with simple tasks like setting alarms and even paying for a morning coffee. Fitbit has just unveiled Versa, a new smartwatch that they’re hoping will appeal to a wide market. The release comes less than a year after Fitbit Ionic, but Versa is vast an improvement, its design is more streamlined and the watch proves to be more user-friendly.
At its core, Fitbit’s focus is on health and well-being. That’s easy to see with the range of advanced fitness features included in the watch, but it also has enough secondary features to make it a good smartwatch overall for the everyday person. Fitbit Versa will no doubt appeal to those already familiar with Fitbit watches as well as people looking for economical alternatives to the Apple Watch and Samsung Gear S3.
The Fitbit Versa is leaps and bounds ahead of its predecessor, the bulky Ionic, in the aesthetic department. Versa is slim and stylish enough that I have been comfortable wearing it in place of my regular watch. It has a somewhat similar design to the Apple Watch, especially with its new curved face.
The standard Fitbit Versa will cost $299 and is available in three colours – black with a black aluminium case, grey with a silver case or peach with a rose gold case. The Special Edition Fitbit Versa will cost $349.95 and features a woven band in lavender or charcoal for a more sporty look. Leather and stainless steel bands are also available, and given the nice design of the face, these accessories might be worth looking at if you plan on wearing the watch every day.
The Fitbit app is a great tool to go with the smartwatch, giving fitness lovers different ways to assess their own data and the opportunity to interact with each other. Fitbit really prides themselves on the fact that their users are so engaged with the Fitbit community through its group features. The more people you have supporting you, the more likely you are to continue with your health goals so it makes sense to take advantage of these features.
Scrolling through the app, I found a few different activities that actually looked like a lot of fun. Amongst these were virtual adventure races where you try to cross a finish line before others, challenges to improve your daily step count and solo adventures that you unlock to move on to new tracks with more steps.
The community section is where users can really connect with each other. It’s designed in a similar way to other social media apps and features a feed, a friends section, and groups tab. After clicking ‘join’ on the running group I could instantly see what other users were doing, some posting pictures of their running track or screenshots of their Fitbit statistics.
I can see how this could be a great tool for people who are struggling to find the motivation to exercise regularly. The app also lets you connect your contacts from Facebook, email and your phone to keep up with their activity. This app is inspiring and positive, which is a nice change from a lot of social media feeds these days that show a skewed perspective of people’s lives.
Fitbit Versa does a fantastic job of tracking fitness statistics and providing motivation, but we expect that of a brand with a focus on health. The area which they need to compete with other brands such as Apple is in the ‘smart’ department.
The watch is compatible with Android, iOS and Windows devices which will give users of the Versa access to their calendar, call and text notifications. Android users will soon have the ability to send quick replies to texts from the watch using pre-populated messages. Unfortunately, iPhone users still can’t send replies from the watch. This is disappointing for iOS users, I found that when I received text notifications on my Versa I instinctively tried to reply but quickly realised that it was not an option.
Fitbit has teamed up with streaming service Deezer, and each new user receives a three-month music trial. For those that choose not to take advantage of the Deezer offer, the watch is able to store around 2.5gb of offline music and podcasts.
While not a new feature, Fitbit Pay is a convenient way to pay on the go and is supported by American Express, Mastercard, and Visa networks. Payments from all of the big four banks in Australia are accepted, with more set to roll out later this year. Having Fitbit Pay on your wrist means not having to find a way to carry your wallet while you’re out exercising.
Fitbit OS 2.0
Along with Versa comes Fitbit OS 2.0, their upgraded operating system. The watch was really easy to set up via the app guidance, and once I had completed the setup I found the apps were easy to find due to the simple layout on the screen.
Fitbit has made it easy to see information such as how many calories you’ve burned, the number of steps you’ve taken within the hour and your heartbeat. The smartwatch can also monitor the time you’ve spent in deep, light, and REM sleep stages during the night. Coming in May, the watch will also be able to let female watch owners opt in to track information about female health.
The Relax feature on the Versa is useful for fitting in a short meditation break on the go or at home. Users can choose from two or five-minute sessions where the watch will analyse breathing patterns and give a circle animation to follow. Whilst it’s a great idea, I did try using it a few times throughout the first day and then forgot about it shortly afterwards. It’s probably more useful for someone who is habitually into meditation.
The Coach feature has the same three workouts available as the Ionic, including 10 Minute Abs and the 7 Minute Workout. These are great for when you’re short on time or beginning your fitness journey, but those looking for more of a challenge might consider a premium subscription that gives you recommended workouts and a personalised workout based on your fitness level.
The Wrap Up – Fitbit Versa Review
Fitbit had big changes to make from their previous smartwatch, and have definitely improved on the Ionic model they released last year. With a considerably cheaper price tag and a much-improved design, this smartwatch should appeal to fitness fanatics as well as those looking for a smartwatch that’s easy to use. Anyone with a strong focus on health should enjoy the Versa, with convenient features to assist and track their fitness goals.Find Out More: Fitbit