The Fitbit Versa is the latest addition to the American brand’s range of business trackers. After a disappointing Blaze and a promising Ionic, this new attempt is crucial in Fitbit’s strategy. Is the Versa up to expectations? Can it establish itself on the market for smartwatches? Find out what I think in this test.
It cannot be said that my first experience with the Fitbit Versa was not ideal. While the process seems simple (just download the Fitbit application, and add the Versa) I ran into a wall when I tried to connect it with my OnePlus 5T. After several attempts, I used the Huawei P20 that we are currently testing and the installation was able to start, and it lasts… long. Allow a good half an hour for the watch to be updated and operational. I don’t know if this is due to the youth of the watch, which is in its early versions, but I hope that everything will accelerate with time.
Design and Hardware
I have a contrasting experience with Fitbit on this point. While I really like the design of products like the Flex 2 or the Alta, I didn’t like the design of the Blaze and the Ionic. In this respect, I believe that the Versa is a real success. The watch is thin and the heart sensor does not create a bump as is often the case. The Versa is very comfortable to wear and you can find other bracelets for sale to accessorize the watch as well as possible.
The watch is thin, without being too big or too small. Fitbit has chosen a design very close to that of the Apple Watch, and this is an excellent idea, the watch fits on both a male and female wrist. The Fitbit Versa is available in black, grey and Gold pink. It has 3 buttons, which are used to navigate.
The screen is also a nice surprise, and it’s much better than the one of the Vivoactive 3 that we loved during our test. It is highly visible even in direct sunlight, and its definition is pleasant to the naked eye.
The Versa is waterproof and you can therefore take your shower with it, but above all follow your swimming sessions, which makes it a real multi-sport watch. The whole thing looks solid, and I didn’t make any scratches or impacts on the watch during my weeks of use.
Application and Features
Fitbit does Fitbit. Step, distance (extrapolated), calories burned, high floors, heart rate, active minutes, it follows the same daily data as its other flagship sensors. The quality of sleep is an important point for Fitbit and its monitoring of the phases (awake, light, deep, paradoxical), has really improved since the last models.
In addition, the Fitbit Versa allows you to follow sessions of different sports (running, swimming, cycling, treadmill, weight training, interval timer and gym). The presence of a GPS could make the Versa an Apple Watch Killer in terms of activity tracking and that’s really more than a shame. It is all the more unfortunate as Fitbit has chosen, since the Ionic, to integrate a music player on its watches to free itself from the phone during sports, using Bluetooth headphones. Except that to have the path, you need the Fitbit application with you….
Another appreciable feature of the watch is the Fitbit Pay system, which I have used several times. The configuration is very simple, just add the card (from a compatible bank) in the application to register a 4-digit code, which will be requested on the watch. To trigger the watch, a long press on the left button takes you to Fitbit Pay, all you have to do is use the contactless to pay. Immediately after the transaction, a green check appears on the watch, and a push is made from the application. It’s one of the new features that works best (light years from their music management…) and we feel that the acquisition of the startup Coin has saved time in creating Fitbit Pay.
Concerning the application, if you have already had a Fitbit product you will not be lost, with its dashboard that gathers all the data. For each one you can see the details, and your evolution compared to the previous days. In the upper right-hand corner you have access to the Versa’s settings, with the choice of dials, applications, Fitbit Pay cards, and music (whose transfer requires a computer).
Navigation on the watch is simple and uses a combination of the three buttons and the touch screen. The left button returns you to the previous screen, and a long press will take you to Fitbit Pay, music and setting of notifications and auto power on to wrist movement. The upper right button is used to confirm, and the lower button varies according to the application menus. The basic interface is very simple, with the dial in the middle, notifications through a swipe up and access to fitness data through a swipe down. Swiper from home to the right allows you to navigate between applications.
The difference between a sports watch and a smartwatch is its ability to receive notifications and use applications. The Fitbit catalogue is still in its infancy, although some progress has been made since the release of the Ionic, Fitbit OS being only very recent. The notifications part caused me a lot of operating problems (shutdown), but the P20 I’m testing is in beta program, which probably didn’t help.
Music management could also be improved. I use Spotify on a daily basis, and only Deezer or native music is available. So I did the (long) process to send music (legal MP3s eh) into my Versa, and it’s very, very long. The process via Deezer (thanks to the 30-day free trial) is a little more, simple, just go to the Fitbit app and select the playlists to synchronize, all you have to do is wait. In any case, and for more choice, the arrival of Spotify is in my opinion essential.
The announced autonomy of the Fitbit Versa is 4 days and it exceeds them if you do not do sports sessions regularly. It’s still weaker than on the Ionic, while the Versa doesn’t carry a GPS, unlike its older sister. However, Fitbit is making great progress in terms of autonomy, and the Versa’s autonomy is a real advantage over competitors such as Wear OS watches, the Samsung range or the Apple Watch.
As is often the case with connected objects of this type, charging is done via a proprietary cable, which has the particularity of holding the watch securely in place, but be cautious otherwise you may have to go back to the cash register if you lose it.
Opinions after this test of the Fitbit Versa
Fitbit really did a great job with the Versa. For me, the Blaze was a failure, both in terms of design and price-quality ratio. The Versa is light years away, and exceeds the Ionic in design. This is the first time I have found a Fitbit smartwatch that is successful enough to wear on a daily basis. Its price is not very high, and its screen is a real success. The brand’s sports ecosystem is one of the best, and you’ll have no trouble finding friends who use a Fitbit to motivate you on a daily basis.
To compete with Apple Watch, I think two things would be needed. On the one hand, the integration of GPS in native mode (as on the Ionic) and that the application catalogue is seriously expanding. However, it has to be said that Fitbit is improving day by day, and that the brand is no longer far from transforming the test in this market segment.