Fitbit Versa Review: The First Non-Apple SmartWatch


Bethany Walsh

Jun 03, 2022

Fitbit's Versa smartwatch is easily dismissed as a cheap copycat of the Apple Watch. Similar to Apple's popular wristwatch, it sports a squared-off design. With a circumference of 42mm, it's the right fit for most wrists. A similar set of metal and leather bands can be used to dress it up. It's also available in rose gold.

When it comes to Versa, you'll see that it isn't just a copycat of the Apple Watch but a genuine competitor. That is, of course, not saying much. Several Android Wear/WearOS smartwatches have been discontinued, and Fitbit's Ionic wristwatch was too buggy and pricey to compete with the Apple Watch.

This $200 fitness tracker is the Pebble Watch we always desired, combining fitness know-how with technology know-how in a stylish packaging. However, Fitbit's Versa wearable is an important milestone for both Fitbit and the smartwatch market. This authentic lifestyle product corrects many of Ionic's mistakes and shows that the Apple Watch is not the only game in town.

A Wrist-Friendly Design

Last year, Fitbit's Ionic wearable was a bit of an underwhelming success. It had a great battery life and then on coaching made it an obvious choice for fitness trackers, but as a smartwatch, it fell short of expectations.

Ionic and its app-starved Fitbit OS were clearly at the beginning of what appeared to be a protracted work in development, as it was too large to attract anybody other than bulked-up athletes.

But it's just been a little over a month since then. Versa is everything Ionic isn't, and vice versa. On the other hand, Fitbit has stayed true to its square design, while the lugs that stretched aggressively above and below the Ionic's screen have been removed, leaving a squat square body.

Versa's brands connect directly to the watch's edges, giving it a more natural wristwatch appearance without needing an additional frame. Versa will inevitably be compared to Pebble Time and the Apple Watch, but it's still very much its product.

Unlike Ionic, Versa's silver, black, and rose gold hues have a softer feel than its predecessor's grey and burned orange. If you're looking for a watch that's both slimmer and shorter than the Apple Watch for women, this one is for you. It has a non-athletic design that makes it look rather like a fashion piece than a fitness one.

A Health-Oriented Fitness Tracker

However, the lack of a dedicated GPS tracking chip is not a surprise given the pricing of Versa, a fitness tracker. (The Apple Series 1 watch also lacks GPS.) The lack of NFC on the base model is much more frustrating. For $230, you may choose special edition graphite or rose gold Fitbit Pay watch with woven bands if you wish to use Fitbit Pay to make payments.

There's also specific workout tracking, improved heart rate monitoring, and the ability to train while wearing a watch. Running the same Fitbit OS, which has seen a significant increase in app selection from the early days of Ionic, is a given.

Apps like Yelp, The New York Times, Philips Hue, and Nest are available in the Gear shop, but it's not as extensive as the Apple Watch store or even Samsung's Gear store. It's estimated that Fitbit will release the remaining 550 applications and clock faces for Ionic before publishing this review.

The Battery Life Is The Deciding Factor

Compared to the Ionic, Versa's battery life is even more outstanding because of its tiny size. A day of listening to music, working exercise, sleeping, and receiving notifications on an Apple Watch Series 3 resulted in the following results after 24 hours of wearing Versa and the watch:

  • Fitbit Versa has 75%
  • Apple Watch has 38 %

This is a big difference. However, I believe that most individuals will be able to extend the battery life of the Versa to the fifth day. Music playback was the biggest drain on the battery, but I only lost 8% after an hour of listening compared to 14% on the Apple Watch.

Fitbit's Versa charging cord is less portable than Ionic's magnetic wire when it comes to charging the device. To keep the watch in place, the watch comes with a little cradle that opens and closes when you pinch the edges. It's a good component, and I preferred it to Apple's inductive puck, but long-distance hikers may regret the convenience of a simple connection.

Is The Fitbit Versa A Good Investment?

The Fitbit Versa smartwatch retails for $200 and is far from flawless. With no GPS or NFC and a small app library, it lacks voice control and AI assistance. Three things stand out: its compact size, good looks, and excellent battery life. The lowest Series 1 Apple Watch is $50 more expensive. Thus this is a great deal.

Those who don't want to invest $350 to $400 on an Apple Watch Series 3 must look at Fitbit's new smartwatch, the Versa, which is a no-brainer for non-Apple fans. You won't be stuck with a piece of costume jewelry if you transfer platforms because it works on Android, iOS, and any remaining Windows Phone users.


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