Fitbit was one of the first companies to come out with fitness trackers, and they’ve been improving and adding to their collection ever since. Although Apple was the first to come out with a smart watch, it didn’t take long for Fitbit to come out with some competition. Fitbit Ionic was the first smart watch launched, and also the more expensive.
Now, the company’s new smart watch fitness tracker, the Fitbit Versa, is on shelves and it is a more affordable option than both the Ionic and the Apple watch. As always, the question is whether or not paying less will still get you the quality you want, so this Fitbit Versa review will cover the qualities and capabilities of this smart watch fitness tracker.
A More Compact Design
- 34mm diagonal x 24.075mm high x 24.075mm wide screen size
- Larger bezels than Apple Watch
- 3 standard colors, many straps to choose from
The Fitbit Versa comes after the Ionic, which was criticized for being too bulky (especially for women’s wrists), so the Versa is much smaller. Its screen size is 34mm diagonal, 24.075mm high, and 24.075mm wide, making it even smaller than the Apple Watch (38mm). Although it is more compact than the Apple Watch, it looks extremely similar. The only difference besides size is that the Versa has larger bezels, so its display doesn’t reach edge to edge. However, this doesn’t downgrade the display as it is still large enough to comfortably watch Fitbit Coach screen videos.
When it comes to color, the Versa comes in three standard models with a watch case made from anodized aluminum and silicon straps. These colors include a Rose Gold watch case with a Peach silicon band, a Silver Pebble watch case with a Grey silicon band, and a Black watch case with a Black silicon band. The silicon bands are stain proof and waterproof, and therefore are best for more intense workouts. But there are also options for a more casual setting.
Fitbit offers woven Special Edition bands that come in Lavender and Charcoal, and a metal strap. However, if you want a Special Edition band, you will have to buy the Special Edition Fitbit Versa (which operates exactly the same) since the band is not sold separately.
- Color touchscreen with 300 x 300 pixel resolution
- Can reach 1,000 nits
- Water resistant up to 50 meters
As mentioned above, the color touchscreen display is large enough for comfortable video viewing. It has a resolution of 300 x 300 pixels and can reach 1,000 nits, allowing you to be able to see the screen even in bright sunlight. With the Versa, Fitbit has chosen to include more historical data on the screen than in past products like the Ionic. And, if you are a swimmer, it is water resistant up to 50 meters, which works well for basic swimming tracking such as counting laps. This also means you don’t have to worry about taking it off before stepping into the shower.
Functions – What Can the Fitbit Versa Do for You
- No built-in GPS
- Measures steps, distance, calories burned, floors climbed, active minutes, sleep and activities
- PurePulse heart rate monitor
- SpO2 sensor
- Runs Fitbits third party apps
- Fitbit Pay
Not much has changed function-wise from the Ionic to the Versa. The only difference is that the Fitbit Versa doesn’t have a built-in GPS, but it can connect to your smartphone’s GPS. So, if you want to run and track your run via GPS without carrying your phone, the Fitbit Versa is not for you, but other than that, this doesn’t matter. The Fitbit Versa measures your steps, distance, calories burned, floors climbed, active minutes, sleep, and activity tracking. You will receive reminders to move a minimum of 250 steps at least once an hour during the day.
The Versa also includes Fitbit’s PurePulse heart rate monitor. This feature can help you be more efficient when exercising and sleeping, all while keeping an eye on your heart’s health. On top of this, it has an SpO2 sensor which tracks the amount of oxygen in the blood, so that blood oxygenation levels can be monitored during activity.
However, the Fitbit Versa is not just a fitness tracker, it is also a smartwatch and therefore includes other features. It can run over Fitbit’s third party apps using the phone app, including over 500 apps and clock faces to choose from. The Fitbit Versa comes with the Weather and Strava exercise, and Music apps built in. The Music app allows you to load music onto the tracker using the Fitbit Connect desktop app, and it is compatible with iTunes and other digital music players. Some other popular apps are Philips Hue, allowing you to control the smart lights from your home, other apps allowing you to control smart home devices, Flashlight, World Clock, and Calculator.
All incoming text messages, emails and phone calls can be sent to the Fitbit Versa and you will be notified. The big difference between the Versa and other trackers, including the Ionic, is that you can respond on the watch via QuickReplies. This feature allows you to send a pre-written response. You can customize up to five of these responses – each 60 characters or less – in the Fitbit app. This will only be available to Android users at first, but Fitbit is working towards adding it to iOS and Windows as well. Another exciting edition is that you can use the Fitbit app to add your credit or debit card to the Versa and then use Fitbit Pay to complete purchases using the watch.
- Fitbit Coach
- Activity modes
- SmartTrack feature
The Versa includes Fitbit Coach (just like the Ionic) which is a collection of built in workouts. When you purchase the Fitbit Versa, it comes with 10-minute abs, 7-minute workout, and a 20-minute Treasure Chest, which is a variety of exercises. If you want more, you can sign up and get two free programs, or pay for a subscription to have access to all of the workouts ($39.95 per year).
However, if you want to do your own workout, the Fitbit Versa can track that as well. Activity modes that can be turned on include; Run, Bike, Swim, Treadmill, Weights, Interval Timer, and Workout. If you don’t turn one of these modes on, Fitbit’s SmartTrack feature can automatically recognize, record your workouts and give you feedback. It uses a 3-axis accelerometer to detect the intensity and pattern of your movements, so that it can then decide which activity you are doing. These activities are Walking, Running, Aerobic Workouts, Elliptical, Outdoor Biking, Sports, and Swimming. The connected GPS of the Versa works just like all other Fitbit trackers – the Ionic is the only one with a built-in GPS – and functions perfectly with a smartphone.
- In depth sleep tracking
- Guided Breathing
- Female Health Tracking
The Versa comes with many features that make it easy to keep track of your health just by having it on your wrist. It features in-depth sleep tracking that shows you which sleep stages you go through each night and compares your sleep to the average of others your age and gender. When you become stressed throughout the day and your heart rate increases, Fitbit Versa gives you breathing exercises with the personalized Guided Breathing feature.
Since Fitbit made this smartwatch with women in mind, Female Health Tracking has been added. This allows women to log details of their menstrual cycle to allow for monitoring changes and prediction data. This will give women insight on how their menstrual cycle affects their overall health. This is also useful when it comes to fertility planning.
This Fitbit Versa review is great if you’re looking for a smaller, lighter smart watch and fitness tracker with all the capabilities you need. The only weakness the Versa has when going up against the Ionic is that it has only a 4 day battery life, while the Ionic lasts 5 days. When it comes to the Apple Watch, it depends on if you are looking for something that can completely replace your phone like Apple Watch can. While the Fitbit Versa can do a lot, it still falls short of the Apple Watch, but it is also a lot less expensive. You can purchase it for $199 ($299 for the Special Edition), if you want something to help make your life a little bit easier.