The Fitbit Versa is a smartwatch marketed to the average consumer. It stands in contrast to the athlete-focused Ionic model, and it corrects many of the problems seen in previous Fitbit watches. The Next Big Thing editorial team decided to try it out to see if it’s worth the investment and how it stacks up against other smartwatches.
The Versa is the lightest smartwatch of its kind. Its slender 11.2 mm thickness makes it comfortable for any size of wrist, but the 1.34-inch display provides plenty of space to see what you need to.
According to Fitbit, the Versa is expected to last four days between charges. We had our doubts about the longevity of the 145 mAh battery, but it seems consistent with Fitbit’s estimates depending on what apps you’re running.
The Versa runs on Fitbit OS 2.0, which is a fully updated and improved version of the original OS. The UI is smooth and easy to navigate, and intuitive controls make it easy to master even if you’re a first-time smartwatch owner.
The available software for the Fitbit Versa is one of the most exciting new features for this mass-appeal smartwatch. Unlike other similar watches, the Versa offers female health tracking for menstrual cycle tracking and predictions.
Other health apps provide support for tracking activity, exercise, food intake, sleep and more. A planned update for reminders and social integration has been announced, helping to make Fitbit users feel like more of a part of their communities.
The Versa also has about 2.5GB of storage available for music, and it supports music streaming apps like Pandora so you can enjoy your favorite workout mix right from your watch.
Something Android users will appreciate about the Fitbit Versa is the ability to respond to text messages right from your wrist. This was a function lacking from other Fitbit products. However, the messaging options currently exist only for Android; there is no plan for Apple support for this feature right now.
One of the biggest flaws of the Fitbit Versa is its lack of internal GPS. It only offers connected GPS, which is a big drawback for people who spend a lot of time running or hiking and wish to track that activity. Depending on your preferred activities and goals for your Fitbit, this might be a deal breaker. For others users, this problem will hardly even register as an issue.
The Versa does support Fitbit Pay, which allows you to connect your banking information to the smartwatch and make payments without needing to swipe a card at checkout. There are a few hiccups with using this service that will need to be ironed out, but overall it’s an added convenience that some users will undoubtedly find worthwhile.
The Fitbit Versa will cost you around $200, with a special edition model available for $229.95. The base model is available in black, silver or rose gold. Band options vary and include silicone, woven fabric and metal link. We thought the silicone band was the most comfortable and definitely the best choice for heavy exercise, but we do appreciate the more traditionally “watch-like” options for fashion. The Special Edition comes with two bands that can be switched out for exercise or more formal occasions, which is a nice added perk.
The Versa is about $50 cheaper than its closest competitor, the Apple Watch Series 1. This makes it one of the more affordable smartwatches on the market without being “cheap” or sacrificing quality. Overall, it’s well-priced to be a good introduction to smartwatch technology.
This lower cost is a change from previous Fitbit items, which have tended to be more expensive than some of the competition. Fitbit is one of the better known brand names in activity tracking and fitness devices, and consumers have tended to be happy to pay a bit more for the name recognition. The more competitive pricing for the Versa suggests that Fitbit is ready to expand its reach beyond its classic clientele and go for a broader appeal. Based on what we’ve seen, it’s ready to do so.
Is Fitbit Versa Right for You?
For our money, we prefer the Versa to the Fitbit Ionic. It’s smaller, lighter and more affordable while offering all of the features we look for in a fitness-based smartwatch. Depending on your needs, it may or may not be the best fit for your goals. The lack of built-in GPS tracking is a major flaw, and some users simply might not get enough value from the smartwatch features to make it worth buying one rather than using a simpler type of activity tracker.
The Versa is available online as well as in stores at Best Buy, Walmart, Target, Verizon, Kohl’s and Macy’s.