OUR EARLY VERDICT
The Fitbit Versa looks to offer a lot of the best features from the Fitbit Ionic in a smaller package with a lower price point.
- Small, light design
- Lots of features
- Only connected GPS
- Thick bezels
It’s less than six months since Fitbit first truly entered the smartwatch market with the Fitbit Ionic, but the company is already here with its second smart wearable for your wrist.
The all new Fitbit Versa is smaller than the Ionic, but comes with a lot of the same features we loved on that watch, from Fitbit Pay to third-party apps.
Plus it’s a touch cheaper than the Ionic, which is important when a lot of Fitbit devices are generally priced higher than the competition because of the well-known brand name.
Fitbit Versa release date and price
You can pre-order the Fitbit Versa from today around the world, but it won’t be on shop shelves (virtual or physical) until some point in April. Fitbit has yet to specify an exact date for the watch’s release around the world, but we’ll update this hands on review when we hear more.
As for price, the Versa is set to cost £199.99 ($199, about AU$350) in the UK, which is much cheaper than the Fitbit Ionic, as that started off at £299.95 / $299.95 / AU$449.95. US or Australian pricing has yet to be confirmed, so that may be a bit different when we hear from Fitbit.
Design and display
The Fitbit Versa takes a lot of the design language the company has learnt from the Ionic and transferred it into a smaller watch that those with slimmer wrists will likely appreciate.
It sits comfortably on the wrist and isn’t as thick as alternatives such as the Fitbit Blaze, and unlike the Ionic, it has rounded edges.
If anything, it looks somewhere inbetween the Apple Watch 3 and a Fitbit Ionic.
Color choices for the body are either a light silver or pink, but while those options are limited you’ll have lots of different bands to choose from.
You have the choice of silicone (which felt particularly comfortable and is by far the best option if you’re planning to exercise a lot), while there’s also a variety of metal and Horween leather options too.
A special edition of the watch also comes with woven material straps and includes a plastic strap in the box that you can switch to when you want to go out exercising.
If you want to have that combination of formal option and something to work out in, the special edition watch sets may be best for you.
Fitbit has yet to confirm the exact size or specs of the display on the Versa, but it’s a smaller one than on the Ionic and reminds us quite a lot of the screen on the Fitbit Blaze.
The resolution looked good and while there are thick bezels around it the screen seemed responsive in our limited testing time flicking through apps. When we know more about the specifics of the display we’ll be sure to update this article.
If you already know the Ionic, you’ll know a lot of the fitness features included here. There’s no GPS on the watch, so if you want to track your location you’ll need to use the Connected GPS feature and go running with your phone.
Some may find that frustrating, but it’s a sensible feature to lose if you want to save a bit of money. Apart from GPS, much is the same as on the Ionic.
All of the normal step tracking is included here, and it’s also suitable for use in the pool thanks to a waterproof design. Exactly how this will work in the pool is a little unclear, but we’ll take it for a dip when we get one to try it out.
There’s a PurePulse heart rate tracker on the rear, which we’ve found works well at monitoring your fitness levels in the different Fitbit modes on previous products, so we have high hopes for this one.
Fitbit Coach is also here for your home workouts to give you dynamic activities to do without even having to leave the house. It also comes packed with the Relax guided breathing tutorials we’ve seen before.
Sleep tracking is also available on the Versa. This guides you on how to improve your sleep levels using Fitbit’s Sleep Stages tracking, which breaks down your night’s sleep into easy to consume stats.
One new feature on the watch is specifically for women to help in tracking their menstrual cycle. From later this year the Fitbit app and Versa interface will allow you to log your menstrual cycle so you can better understand fluctuations in your health alongside your fitness and sleep.
It’s not a new concept, but having this easily available in the Fitbit app may help you understand fluctuations in your health and exercise regime better.
Little is known about the internals of the Fitbit Versa, but so far in our short testing time we’ve found it to load apps and dash between screens speedily.
It runs Fitbit OS, which is limited in scope but comes with a variety of apps through the Fitbit App Gallery. Right now there’s not a huge selection on there apart from apps and watch faces made by Fitbit, but we’re starting to see a few more big name apps like Strava and Starbucks coming to the platform.
Fitbit hopes more big name apps will flock to the platform soon too, so expect further apps and watch faces to appear on the gallery in the future.
If you want to make payments while you’re out and about you can use Fitbit Pay and connect up your bank account and card for contactless payments.
There’s also space on the watch for up to 300 songs if you upload the actual files, or you can use a partnership with Deezer to put the songs onto your watch, but you’ll need to be subscribed to use that.
Smart notifications also work on the Fitbit Versa, so you’ll be able to receive messages from a variety of apps right through to your wrist.
In the coming months the idea is you’ll be able to quick reply to Messenger, text, WhatsApp and a few other notifications from your wrist, but this feature is only set to launch for Android devices initially.
Fitbit is trying to adapt it for those who have Windows Phone or iPhone devices, but the wait may be a little longer for that.
The battery life on the Versa also isn’t clear but Fitbit claims it will last over four days, which should be quite good considering you’ll only need to recharge it around twice a week.
We’ll put the battery through its paces when we get the Versa on our wrists for the full review.
With a lower price than the Ionic and a much slimmer design, this may be a better smartwatch than Fitbit’s first one for a lot of people.
If you’re looking for a smaller smartwatch with a fitness focus and an affordable price, this option from Fitbit may well be up your street.