Fitbit Versa review: The first non-Apple smartwatch that’s worth your time

    When you don’t keep in mind Pebble, it’s simple to put in writing off Fitbit’s Versa as an affordable Apple Watch knockoff. It has the identical sq. physique as Apple’s dominant wristwatch. Its measurement strikes an ideal steadiness between the 42mm and 38mm sizes. You may gown it up with an analogous sequence of steel and leather-based bands. And it is available in rose gold.

    However spend a bit of time with Versa and also you’ll see that it’s not as a lot of an imitator as it’s Apple Watch’s first actual competitor. Granted, that’s not saying all that a lot. Fitbit shut down Pebble earlier than Apple Watch hit cabinets, most Android Put on/WearOS watches have been lifeless on arrival, and Fitbit’s personal Ionic smartwatch was too buggy and expensive to noticeably problem Apple Watch. However Fitbit’s new $200 wearable is the Pebble Watch we at all times needed, combining health acumen with technological smarts right into a glossy, engaging bundle.

    Michael Simon/IDG

    Fitbit Versa is small, mild, and full of options.

    It nonetheless has a heavy give attention to health and well being, after all, however Versa is a one thing of a watershed product for each Fitbit and the smartwatch business, a real life-style product that rights lots of Ionic’s missteps and proves that Apple Watch isn’t the one sport on the town.

    A design for all sizes of wrist

    When Fitbit launched its Ionic wearable final yr, it was a little bit of a disappointment. Whereas it predictably excelled at health monitoring with multi-day battery life and on-watch teaching, it was greater than a bit of underwhelming as a smartwatch. Too huge to attraction to anybody aside from bulked-up athletes, Ionic and its app-starved Fitbit OS was most actually originally of what appeared to be a prolonged work in progress.

    fitbit versa profileMichael Simon/IDG

    One button might be sufficient to regulate Versa however it really has three.

    However lower than six months later. Versa is just about every thing Ionic isn’t. Whereas Fitbit has fortunately caught with its sq. form, the lugs that prolonged aggressively above and beneath Ionic’s display screen are gone, leaving a squat sq. physique. With out the additional body, Versa’s bands connect on to the sides of the watch physique, giving it a extra pure wristwatch look. The similarities to Pebble Time and Apple Watch are inevitable, however Versa remains to be very a lot its personal machine.

    Like Ionic, Versa is available in three colours, however the black, silver, and rose gold right here really feel a lot softer than Ionic’s grey and burnt orange. It’s each thinner (11.2mm versus 11.4mm) and shorter (37.6mm versus 38.6mm) than the female-friendly 38mm Apple Watch, and its decidedly non-athletic aesthetic makes it look extra like a trend assertion than a health one. The place Ionic is extra at residence on a treadmill or triathlon, Versa is, properly, versatile sufficient to be worn to a enterprise assembly or an evening out. And maybe most significantly, it received’t look ridiculous on a tiny wrist.

    At simply 23 grams, Versa can be extremely mild, even when utilizing one of many heavier steel hyperlink bracelets. Swapping the bundled sport band for one of many 16 leather-based or material ones Fitbit is promoting is simple sufficient, with a small lever that controls an ordinary 22mm watch pin. Although Ionic’s snap-on system is much superior, as is Apple’s slide-out mechanism, Versa’s band choices are engaging and inexpensive, significantly the steel hyperlink band that Fitbit is promoting for $100. It’s not as luxurious as Apple’s Space Black link bracelet, however it’s additionally $450 cheaper.

    fitbit versa bandMichael Simon/IDG

    Versa’s band-switching mechanism is not as elegant as Ionic’s, however it does the trick.

    Versa’s show is on the small measurement at 1.34 inches—and barely off-center attributable to Fitbit’s insistence on placing its title on the entrance of the machine—however it’s extremely shiny and crisp. The bezels are a bit of chunkier than those on Apple Watch, and and not using a black-friendly OLED display screen, you’ll discover them a complete lot extra on Versa.

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