Fitbit Versa Smartwatch Review – Coming for the Apple Watch’s Neck

The perfect Apple Watch alternative

Fitbit Versa Stainless Band

Fitbit has been quite the role lately dropping a new catalog of products late fall including a smartwatch called the Ionic. Hot on the heels of that they are releasing another smartwatch called the Versa. Versa aims to bring you the best of Ionic in a slightly smaller format and less expensive with some slight omissions. I been using the Versa for the past couple weeks now and read on to see if I actually prefer it over its larger pricier sibling the Ionic or not.

Style/Display

Fitbit Versa Smartwatch

You can see Fitbit’s acquisition of Pebble mirrored here as its looks reminiscent to their Time Steel smartwatch and even close to an Apple watch. The casing is made of aluminum while body is what you or rather Fitbit has been calling “Squircle”. Thus having a square face with rounded edges. Display is using 300×300 pixels for resolution and coated in Gorilla Glass 3 to assist with scratch protection. This equals a vibrant screen for the Versa that can be seen pretty good in sunlight and shines in the dimmest and darkest places. It’s 24.1mm x 24.1mm making it symmetrical. With its even sized build it also is one of the lightest and best feeling smartwatches I worn with it coming under 40 grams.

I been using the Black/Black style with the included classic rubber bands. They come with small and large and I had to attach the larger ones. With these bands they have a latch you have to push to detach and add other ones. The rubber bands added a light feel to the Versa but they pick up dirt easy. I would alternate b/w these and the stainless steel link bands which look stellar but they are also an extra $99. I would have liked the push buttons like on the Ionic.

Fitbit Versa sensors

The Versa has three buttons with one on the left and two on the right. On default with the watch display off one of the buttons can bring up the alarms and the other can bringing up exercise routines. Left is typically used for bringing up the display but holding it can bring up a quick menu to make changes to notifications and screen awake time and such. Flip over the Versa and you will see sensors for heart rate and a four port prong to attach the smartwatch to the included cradle charger. Like the Ionic there is also a sensor for SpO2 which tracks blood oxygen levels but there isn’t an NFC chip for mobile payments unless you opt for the special edition models. Also missing is built-in GPS for more accurate stats.

Usage

I switched off from using the Fitbit Ionic for the past few months and gave the Versa a shot. Surprisingly I liked its smaller form factor and its shape and look wasn’t as “techie” as the Ionic portrayed. Using it for workouts and tracking my sleep are on point as the prior models so there was no issues there. Realistically using this and the Ionic are pretty identical such as the Fitbit Coach which gives you step by step view of workouts you are doing.

Fitbit Versa Bands

Thanks to it being 50mm water resistance you can do intense sweat filled workouts without worrying about the Versa or if you happen to get caught in the rain as I did last night actually.

For the ladies out there the Versa also has something in mind for them as well. You can use the device to track your period, symptoms and cycle right on the watch and through the app.

Apps

Ever since using the Ionic, Fitbit has been trying to expand their apps portfolio. Because of its vibrant display you can use it to bring up barcodes for your Starbucks card or use music apps such as Deezer and Pandora for music playing. Music can also be loaded onto the watch itself if you desire. If you like to change the look for your Versa there is ton of Clock Faces to achieve this. Some are catered for your device in general because of its screen size.

If you have the special edition you can take advantage of Fitbit Pay and use your bank to make payments if it’s included on the list. I actually just checked the list and my bank Chase is finally on there. Glad to see they are making strives in this area. I used the Ionic to make payments and it was smooth. Unfortunately I don’t have the NFC addition so I couldn’t test it on here.

Also Fitbit has just pushed out an update for you to do Quick Replies to texts if you don’t have your phone handy and can go about your day.

Worth the Workout?

Fitbit may of hit the mark with the Versa. It has just about everything the Ionic has minus NFC and full GPS for a $100 cheaper. Its form factor makes it more appealing to women and even some men that are looking for a simplistic fitness smartwatch that can be worn all the time. Combo this with body tracking such as female cycling and sleep patterns and you are getting quite the features.

Fitbit Versa Steel Watch

If you do need things such as NFC to access to Fitbit Pay it’s really only a $30 increase in price which still pegs it under the Ionic. I am a fan of the rubberized style bands on the Ionic but hey taste may vary.

Fitbit Versa is available starting at $199.99 with the special editions going for $229.99