What is the Fitbit Versa?
The Fitbit Versa is the corporate’s second try at a totally fledged smartwatch, following within the footsteps of the Ionic. The Ionic launched late final yr, and it wasn’t fairly the gadget many anticipated it to be, with its design and pure smartwatch credentials lacking the mark.
With the Versa, Fitbit has addressed among the criticisms. It’s a much more refined product, and appears considerably higher than the considerably clumsy Ionic.
It has loads of monitoring capabilities too, and presents excellent battery life, however it does nonetheless stumble in the identical departments as its predecessor. There’s loads to love in regards to the Versa, however Fitbit wants to enhance its good options and app assist as a way to actually make it shine.
Fitbit Versa – Design and display
The Fitbit Versa is unfussy however enticing. The rounded sq. design – or squircle, should you like – may not be to everybody’s style, however most doubters will have the ability to recover from that merely due to how modern it appears.
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Unlike another smartwatches, the Versa received’t dominate in your arm. Its aluminium physique is slim, compact and comfy to put on, sitting flat towards your wrist. It appears far slicker than the clunky, angular Ionic.
Based on appears alone, the Ionic is kind of clearly a fitness-orientated gadget. The Versa, alternatively, feels much more polished and lifestyle-friendly.
From afar, you can simply mistake it for the Apple Watch. The most blatant variations are the bodily buttons. Instead of a Digital Crown, the Versa has one key alongside its left-hand edge – to wake the display or navigate backwards. There are two on its proper, to shortly begin, pause and finish your exercises.
Our largest design criticism issues the bezel working across the Versa’s show. It’s thick, noticeably so. This can partly be attributed to the brightness and vibrancy of the smartwatch’s touchscreen. It tops out at 1000 nits, making it simple to learn always, even in brilliant daylight. It isn’t an always-on show, however you possibly can wake it up with a wrist-flick, a press of the left-hand button, or a powerful faucet of your finger.
As properly as black, the Versa can be accessible in silver and rose gold color schemes, and there’s a spread of silicone, leather-based, steel and woven bands from which to decide on.
Fitbit Versa – Specs and sensors
Unlike the Ionic, the Versa doesn’t have GPS built-in. What this implies is that, if you wish to monitor your working route, you’ll have to take your telephone out with you too. That’s an enormous deal, and it’s one of many principal causes the Versa prices a lot lower than the Ionic.
However, what the Versa does have is sufficient onboard storage for round 300 of you favorite tracks of music, which you’ll be able to play by means of a pair of Bluetooth headphones. This will permit you to go phone-free within the gymnasium, which is nice. For working, nonetheless, it makes extra sense to play music by means of your handset, as you’ll in all probability have it with you anyway due to its GPS capabilities.
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There’s an NFC chip onboard for contactless funds, however that’s very a lot a piece in progress. Only Danske Bank and Starling Bank assist Fitbit Pay within the UK proper now. In the US, in the meantime, contactless funds can be found on the Special Edition Versa, which prices $30 greater than the usual mannequin (and is out there in charcoal and rose gold).
The Versa can be water resistant to 50 metres, so you possibly can put on it within the pool, and it does all of its monitoring utilizing a Three-axis accelerometer, Three-axis gyroscope, optical coronary heart charge monitor and altimeter.
Fitbit Versa – Exercise and exercise monitoring
Those sensors allow the Versa to trace a variety of actions together with working, swimming and biking. It additionally tracks your walks and common exercises, equivalent to weight-lifting and interval coaching, and screens your steps, distance lined, flooring climbed, energy burned, coronary heart charge and sleep.
For anyone new to smartwatches, this will seem to be an terrible lot – however what’s key right here is how easy the Versa is to make use of. It runs Fitbit OS 2.zero, which is intuitive, easy to navigate and allows you to entry the watch’s key options with just some swipes and faucets.
To monitor a run, as an illustration, merely swipe left on the principle display, faucet the train icon and choose Run. For different forms of train, you swipe by means of the tabs till you land on the best choice. To start monitoring, hit the Play button, which you’ll be able to faucet once more to pause monitoring. You can deliver an finish to your exercise by hitting the chequered flag icon.
To shortly view your stats for the day, together with particulars of any exercises you’ve accomplished and your progress, simply swipe up on the principle display.
This simplicity is essential, because it makes all the pieces simple to search out, which in flip makes the Versa each pleasurable to make use of and fascinating. You can, in fact, additionally set reminders and alerts for targets. However, as is the case with any smartwatch, these can really feel aggressive at occasions, and generally slightly irritating too.
As talked about earlier within the evaluation, the Versa doesn’t have GPS in-built, so that you’ll want to attach your telephone to get a map of your working route – which you’ll be able to then view within the Fitbit app.
While you’re working, the watch shows key data equivalent to tempo, time and distance, and you’ll swipe for extra data. Thanks to Run Detect, it routinely pauses monitoring whenever you cease for a break, and resumes whenever you start shifting once more. Regular mild vibrations let you know whenever you’ve hit sure milestones mid-run too – at kilometer intervals, for instance – so that you don’t have to preserve wanting down at your wrist.
In the pool, the Versa routinely is aware of whenever you’ve completed one size and began one other, and it additionally reveals how a lot distance you’ve lined and the variety of energy you’ve burned.
Another helpful function this Fitbit presents is the power to shortly measure your self towards different folks. Inside the app, within the Heart Rate part, is a Cardio Fitness Score graphic, which is an estimate of your VO2 Max primarily based on elements equivalent to your coronary heart charge, working tempo, age and weight. The thought is to enhance your rating over time by exercising regularly.
A aggressive edge is supplied by the associated Cardio Fitness Level graphic, which reveals you precisely the place you stand in comparison with folks of the identical age and gender.
Similar comparisons are additionally accessible for sleep monitoring. The Versa routinely screens your sleep, utilizing adjustments in your motion and coronary heart charge to work out whenever you nodded off, and whenever you awakened.
The Fitbit app shows this knowledge in a graph that reveals how lengthy you’ve spent in every particular person sleep section: awake, REM, mild and deep. Admittedly, this requires a level of belief in Fitbit’s monitoring capabilities in your half.
However, I are likely to get up a number of occasions every night time and, over the course of this evaluation, have been a minimum of making an attempt to make a remark of precisely when within the night time this occurs. Promisingly, my sleep graphs seem to match up with the intervals of late-night consciousness that I’ve truly managed to efficiently keep in mind.
Once once more, you will discover out extra about your sleeping patterns by swiping by means of the screens within the Sleep part of the app. Comparisons with different folks your age are additionally simple to search out, and encourage you to consider your bedtime routine and methods during which to enhance it.
Fitbit will add menstrual cycle monitoring for feminine customers sooner or later, however it isn’t clear when this may arrive.
Fitbit Versa – Smartwatch performance
Many shoppers will possible be weighing up the Versa primarily due to its fitness-focused options, however what ought to set it aside from cheaper health bands are its good capabilities. However, that is the place enhancements should be made.
The most blatant space of focus for Fitbit is the apps part. Quite merely, there aren’t very many helpful apps to obtain and use on the Versa.
Deezer is maybe the most important of the bunch, however there’s an apparent concern right here. If you have already got an account with Spotify – Deezer’s way more in style rival – you then’re unlikely to create and likewise pay for a brand new Deezer account simply so you possibly can hearken to music by means of your smartwatch. Furthermore, the truth that you must have your telephone with you to correctly monitor your runs on the Versa makes the considered utilizing Deezer on the watch even much less interesting.
There’s additionally Strava, Hue Lights, Nest, Yelp and The New York Times, however these are the most important names accessible proper now. It’s slightly just like the Windows Phone app retailer for the time being – it isn’t completely naked, however main titles are few and much between. Fitbit has promised to roll out extra apps to its smartwatch platform within the close to future, together with Uber, however it must get a transfer on.
It’s an analogous case with notifications, which at current really feel half-baked. You can obtain alerts on the Versa for calls, texts and occasions when the gadget is related to your telephone, however you possibly can’t but reply to them instantly from the watch.
You count on such limitations on good bands, however smartwatches are supposed to supply extra. Once once more, Fitbit must work shortly so as to add the additional performance.
Otherwise, it’s just about as you’d count on. You can personalise the Versa’s look by searching a variety of clocks faces by means of the Fitbit app and, as talked about earlier within the evaluation, you possibly can add songs to the watch and use it to make contactless funds (in case your financial institution’s supported).
Fitbit Versa – Battery life
The Versa’s stamina really places different smartwatches within the shade. Fitbit says you possibly can count on the watch to final for a minimum of 4 days off a single cost, however real-life outcomes present that to be a conservative estimate.
In testing, the Versa comfortably stored going past 4 days. When it was related to my telephone through Bluetooth, it lasted 5 days; when it was untethered, it managed six days. What’s extra, if you wish to prolong that even additional, you can set the display’s brightness to dim moderately than automated or brilliant.
These are super-impressive figures, which just about put the Versa on a fair keel with the Fitbit Ionic. However, most different smartwatches don’t come shut. The Apple Watch, as an illustration, must be charged each night time.
The Versa additionally comes with a clip-in charger, into which you place the watch by squeezing it open. From flat, you’ll be again as much as 100% in round two hours.
Why purchase the Fitbit Versa?
In some ways, the £199.99 Fitbit Versa is an enchancment on the £279.99 Ionic. It’s far better-looking, extra lifestyle-friendly and has an analogous feature-set – and all of this comes wrapped up in a tool that prices considerably much less cash.
You can use it to watch an enormous vary of actions too, together with swimming, and it’s simple to make use of. Battery life is one other feather in its cap; most different smartwatches in the marketplace don’t come shut.
However, as an precise smartwatch it’s restricted proper now. This will hopefully change within the close to future when Fitbit rolls out deliberate updates, however it could be price ready till these are launched earlier than shopping for the Versa. Currently, it looks like a piece in progress. Some customers will discover the shortage of apps irritating, and it’s disappointing that we’re nonetheless having to attend for options that we count on from a smartwatch, equivalent to fast replies to messages.
The lack of built-in GPS can be an enormous miss, and means you’ll be tethered to your telephone whenever you’re out working. Although not the worst factor on the earth, we’d want it to not be obligatory.
The Versa is undoubtedly a step up from the Blaze, however proper now it looks like a smartwatch for informal customers who need to make small enhancements to their life-style and check out a smartwatch for the primary time. With that in thoughts, critical runners could be higher to think about the Ionic, or the marginally dearer – however extra enticing – Apple Watch Series Three GPS.
There’s loads to love in regards to the Versa, from its beneficiant vary of monitoring capabilities to its slick design and excellent battery life, however Fitbit wants to enhance its good capabilities and app choice.