While Google continues to figure out what is going on with Wear OS, other smartwatch OEM’s have stepped up their game. This includes Fitbit, which has released two dedicated smartwatches in as many years with the Fitbit Versa and Ionic.
READ MORE: Fitbit Ionic Review
Stepping back to take a look at our Ionic review, the smartwatch garnered an overall score of 3.7/5. This was due to the subpar battery life, lack of app support, and price.
The Fitbit Versa aims to help “fix” these problems, along with the release of FitbitOS 2.0. Without diving into too much detail, the latest version of Fitbit’s software aims to add many new features, along with opening up support for onboard music and more.
Diving right into the Versa, we would be remiss without mentioning its specs. The smartwatch features a 1.34-inch display with a 300 x 300 resolution.
Underneath, there is an unknown chipset, which has 4GB of onboard storage, although only 2.5GB is usable. We also have Bluetooth 4.0, along with Wi-Fi support, which comes in handy during set up.
Other sensors include the following:
- NFC (Special Edition Only)
- 3-axis accelerometer
- 3-axis gyroscope
- Optical heart rate monitor
- Ambient light
The only major sensor not found on the Versa is a dedicated GPS chip. Instead, that functionality will be handled by your smartphone.
For those who want to be able to go for a swim, you’ll be just fine with this selection. This is thanks to being waterproof in up to 50 meters of water.
On the battery side, Fitbit claims the Versa will last for up to 4 days. Obviously, this depends on how much work you’re making the smartwatch perform.
Now that the specs are out of the way, let’s take a look at build quality. As mentioned before, there is a gorgeous LCD touch-screen display, which is housed in a rectangular aluminum body.
When I first took the Versa out of its packaging, I immediately thought about the Apple Watch. In fact, there were a few times where friends asked if I got Apple’s smartwatch, and were surprised when I said no.
Around the edges of the frame, we have three different buttons, which perform different actions. The button on the left acts as your “back” button, but also is one way to view different shortcuts.
The Top and Bottom buttons also provide different shortcut options. For example, when holding the Top button for two seconds will automatically bring up your notifications.
Moving to the underside of the Versa, there are the four charging pins for Fitbit’s proprietary charger. Directly in the middle, there are the various health sensors, including the heart rate monitor.
As for the band, you are provided with a silicon band with either small or large attachments to best fit your wrist. However, there are other options available, such as the Horween Leather band, that you can purchase after-the-fact.
When it comes to the charger, Fitbit is not reinventing the wheel. Actually, I’m not quite sure what the company is doing.
The included charger acts as a general base, and you can insert your Versa by pinching the bottom of the sides. Once it has been inserted properly, the charging percentage will appear on your display.
It seems that Fitbit is afraid of switching to standard Qi charging, much like other smartwatches. Instead, the company is using its proprietary chargers, which is rather frustrating.
Fitbit has obviously not needed to focus on a full-OS for its wearables. Other trackers like the Charge 2 and Alta don’t require a standard operating system.
However, with the release of the Ionic last year, Fitbit decided to make the plunge into a fully-fledged smartwatch. The Versa is sort-of an iteration of that, and launches with Fitbit OS 2.0.
This includes a proper App Store with a developer SDK for more developers to jump on board. After you reveal the “app drawer”, you are presented with a few pre-installed apps to choose from.
These include apps such as the Fitbit Coach application which will help you with various workouts. But there are others which allow you to keep track of your various workout results and more.
A recent update even brought the ability for users to read and respond to SMS messages from your wrist. Obviously, this is nothing new for those coming from Wear OS, but is a new feature for Fitbit OS.
We’re hoping to see Fitbit continue to innovate and bring new features to its smartwatches. But Fitbit OS 2.0 is a step in the right direction, now the company just needs more developers to jump on board.
If I had to describe the Versa’s battery-life, it would take one word – incredible. Fitbit claims that the battery will last up to four days, but I have exceeded this a few times.
Now, it’s important to note that I am not taking advantage of all of the extra workout features. Mainly just the standard step and sleep tracking, but I do receive a MASSIVE amount of notifications.
Triaging those notifications from my wrist takes its toll, along with the aforementioned tracking. However, the Versa continued to impress and never left me stranded without juice in the middle of the day.
Until Google releases its latest batch of smartwatches, we are left looking elsewhere for our needs. The Fitbit Versa is very likely the best option on the market, and is priced to compete.
The Versa is available from either Fitbit or Amazon for just $199 with free shipping. For those interested in the Special Edition, you’ll be looking at dropping $229.95 for NFC and a few smaller features.
Nonetheless, the Versa is a great option from a trusted brand, and you won’t have to worry about support going away. If you want to pick one of these up for yourself or a loved one, hit the button below. In the meantime, sound off in the comments below and let us know what you think.