In the six months since the launch of the Fitbit Ionic smartwatch – the best Fitbit by a country mile – it seems the best-known maker of fitness trackers has been busy, because it has just announced another smartwatch. The Fitbit Versa will go on sale in April and is available to pre-order now.
The Versa is almost the same as the Ionic but for five key differences, three of which are bona fide improvements.
- It’s lighter. In fact, according to Fitbit, it’s the lightest metal smartwatch out there.
- The Versa swaps built-in GPS for connected GPS, so to accurately track your run or ride and follow your pace on the device’s screen you’ll have to bring along your smartphone and the Versa will connect to that.
- The quoted battery life has dropped from five days to four, but that’s still good for a smartwatch and we found the Ionic sometimes lasted beyond five days.
- The Versa has dropped the wider metal frame around the top and bottom of the screen and it looks a damn sight sharper for it.
- Finally, and perhaps most importantly, at £200 the Versa costs £100 less than the Ionic. Would you spend an extra ton for another day’s battery life and leaving your phone at home when you run?
Combine these changes with the waterproof casing and swim tracking, heart rate monitor, sharp screen resolution and the smartwatch features inherited from the Ionic, and the Versa makes a strong case for being the best fitness smartwatch out there.
Those smartwatch features include onboard memory to store music and play it through Bluetooth headphones, and Fitbit has announced a new partnership with Deezer Premium to sync playlists to the watch so they can be listened to offline. Fitbit smartwatches also relay notifications from any app on your phone and Android users have also been promised an upgrade with the addition of a quick reply to texts feature.
And while Fitbit Pay, which should let you use the watch like a contactless card, only works if you’re with one of only two challenger banks in the UK at the moment, the selection of apps has been slowly improving – name brands like the New York Times, Yelp and Hue smart lighting are joining the fray. Furthermore, there is an ever-growing selection of watch faces to choose from.
Then there’s all that other Fitbit good stuff, like the best sleep tracking around, a cardio fitness score that’s VO2 max in all but name and automatic recognition of exercise. Plus, there are more badges, reminders to move and challenges than you can shake a stick at.
Yep, we’re feeling pretty good about this new Fitbit. We’ll get our hands on one as soon as possible and let you know if it lives up to the (ahem, our) hype.
£200, pre-order on fitbit.com