Fitbit Versa-The Best Fitness Tracker
The Fitbit Versa is the lightest, least obtrusive fitness tracker.
It’s got a duller design than last year’s Fitbit Ionic, but it’s also a
much better smartwatch than that one was at release, at a much lower price too.
The display is small, but it’s great. It’s vibrant and plenty bright for outdoor use.
And while it is a touchscreen, you also have the option of using
the side keys to control some of the UI.
You can also assign long press shortcuts to some functions,
which is very handy.
If you’re used to watches from Apple or Google, the feature you’ll probably
most appreciate is the endurance.
Instead of charging every night, I was able to get through a solid four days
wearing the Fitbit Versa, and once up to six days when I turned off notifications
and just used it as a fitness tracker.
That means you can keep it on your wrist most nights, and the Fitbit Versa
will track your sleep quality using an always on pulse monitor and accelerometer.
Female Health Tracking Features
I like learning about my sleep patterns with the feature.
It’s easy to forget that health isn’t just a step count.In the same vein, this spring both the Versa,
and Ionic will get updated with female health tracking features.
When you do need to charge it, the cradle is a little bulky,
but at least it’s straightforward. Squeeze to charge, squeeze to stop charging.
Despite the broader take on health that devices like this are encouraging,
most folks still think of exercise when they see a Fitbit.
To test out those features, I went to my least favorite place in the whole planet,
the gym. Fire up AOL Instant Messenger, I mean the exercise hub,
and you’ll get customized tracking for things like running on treadmills,
or ellipticals, or my favorite, weight lifting.
In all seriousness, the exercise modes work pretty well for tallying things
like calorie burn, and so on, and there are 20 custom workout profiles in the app
If you’re less of a runner, and more of a spinner, or martial artist.
I was dismayed not to see kayaking though. When you’re not in the gym
you can get a quick snapshot of your current activity level by swiping up from the bottom of the screen.
Or you can swipe down from the top to see the most recent notifications
passed on from your phone. Step counts over my two weeks
with the Versa have agreed with other devices on my person,
though the Fitbit Versa does like to give you a lot of bonus steps that you haven’t really earned.
I get constant pats on the back for sitting at my desk, typing,
which I don’t think is intended. For folks who need a different type of motivation,
Fitbit labs has some experimental apps like Treasure Trek,
which turns walking into a pirate style treasure hunt.
Fitbit says apps like this get some users to log about 50% more steps per day.
Get further from fitness and the Versa stumbles a bit as a smartwatch.
The software is still fairly bland in design and more sluggish than pretty much all of the competition.
There’s also this annoying bug where you’ll get multiple vibrations
for the same alert if you haven’t checked old notifications when a new one comes in.
Tough to describe, but basically it just means your wrist is buzzing a lot more often than it should be.
And while there are plenty of watch faces available, there are very few third party apps.
Those things come with time, though. After years of designing devices with a pure exercise focus,
the Versa is only Fitbit’s second real stab at a smartwatch.
And the pace of improvement from the Ionic release, less than a year ago, has been impressive.
The Android Quick Reply feature is coming soon, so you’ll be able to respond to messages from your wrist.
This and many of the Versa’s features will be back ported to the Ionic.
Given that fact, and the Ionic’s other advantages for fitness tracking, like standalone GPS,
you shouldn’t feel the need to buy the Versa if you already own the earlier device.
But, if you’re looking for your first wearable, and you want something
that splits the difference between fitness tracker and smartwatch,and the Versa is a very good option.
That’s especially true if your daily driver is an iPhone.
Fitbit Versa-Quick Video Review
Better Battery Life
As an alternative to the Apple Watch, the Fitbit is less expensive and a bit less complex,
with substantially better battery life.
Over on the Android side, the question is a tougher one.
Officially Fitbit only supports a handful of devices.
Most of them, laughably old. It’s brought us compatibility as with Samsung phones,
which is weird because Samsung already sells a compelling suite of fitness wearables in its Gear line.
Lots of room for improvement on the Android side of things.
The Fitbit Versa goes on sale April 16, and comes in three colors for $199.
Toss in an extra 30 bones and you can pick up the Special Edition graphite or rose gold editions
with custom watch bands, like my leather and metal ones running you 50 bucks a piece.
And be prepared for some frustration when dealing with those fiddly release switches.
I think those prices are fair. Despite it’s rough patches,
the Fitbit Versa is a much stronger product than I might have expected as a sophomore effort.
And it’s my new, go-to recommendation for those in search of an Apple Watch alternative.