Fitbit's New Smartwatch, The Versa, Looks A Lot Like An Apple Watch

Joanna Estrada
March 13, 2018

The Versa is Fitbit's second smartwatch, the first being the Ionic, which launched last August.

Aiding the Versa's appeal to women shoppers, Fitbit also added a women's health app to its smartwatch software that includes a period tracker.

Think of the Versa as a follow-up to the Fitbit Blaze. But the Versa is the thinnest, lightest aluminum smartwatch I've ever tried on, which should make it more comfortable to wear all day and night. Fitbit claims it's made the lightest metal smartwatch sold on the U.S. market, and it's hard not to see some Pebble DNA in here.

The move to reboot its smartwatch push comes after a hard holiday shopping season for Fitbit's entire line of watches and trackers.

Fitbit sees the Versa's design as the basis of a new design language it can use for future devices. For instance, the buttons on the sides and the heart rate sensor underneath.

But it will take more than a rose gold redesign to convince women to splurge on a smartwatch.

The Versa will come in three options for $199.95: a black case with a black strap, a silver aluminum case with a gray strap, and a rose gold case with a peach strap. The Special Edition model costs $229.95, but that also gets you a really nice woven band in either charcoal (pictured above) or lavender colors. Plus, Fitbit is partnering with the Council of Fashion Designers of America to fund emerging label PH5, which will offer knitware bands and accessories for Versa. Parents can use the Fitbit app to track their kids' activity levels and hours slept, and approve the contacts kids can add to share their activities and reward badges with.

While none of this is directly impacting consumers, it's a big step in the right direction to open up FitbitOS development for anyone that wants to test the SDK's waters.

When it comes to Fitbit Pay, the company's wearable payment service, the situation is a little. odd.

The only questionable decision here is the fact that contactless payments are only available on one model in the US, and you'll have to pay extra for it. Fitbit Pay is only available on the Special Edition Versa, which costs $30 more than the standard model without Fitbit Pay.

With the new Versa, to reach the lower price point Fitbit dumped a few features, most significantly onboard Global Positioning System tracking. It comes with a 1.34-inch LCD display and a 145 mAh battery under the hood too, but don't let that capacity fool you - Fitbit claims the Versa can last four days on a single charge.

Fitbit OS 2.0 is also coming with menstrual tracking, which Chase says was one of the most requested features by Fitbit users. The capability will help women keep track of when their cycle occurs, as well as the frequency and severity of their symptoms, like cramps or headaches. They'll also be able to view cycle predictions, as well as gain insights about menstrual cycles, ovulation, and fertility.

Fitbit had me participate in a themed workout to see how the Versa holds up under real-life activity.

For instance, it could recommend more sleep in the coming week because a bad period is on the way, or suggest easier ways to exercise if you're feeling too exhausted. The Fitbit Ace is basically an adapted version of the Fitbit Alta, with a smaller, adjustable band to fit tinier wrists and a revised software to remove data that may not be as relevant to younger users, such as calories burned.

Fitbit's offering the simulator as a free download for Windows and macOS, and once it's downloaded and installed onto your machine, opening it will show a virtual Ionic. The Fitbit app logs your weight, sleep, workouts, heart rate, food intake and, now, your periods; it then gives you insights based on analyzing all of that data.

The downside to buying Fitbit smartwatches is that you aren't able to reply to messages from your wrist.

Since it's designed for children, it doesn't have the same fitness prompts as the company's adult-oriented trackers.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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