New $200 Fitbit Versa undercuts Apple Watch on distance and price

Fitbit Versa is a company’s third try during a full-on smartwatch, and a association competence have finally nailed a good pattern during a unequivocally good price. It’s entirely concordant with all of a apps designed for a some-more costly predecessor, a Fitbit Ionic, that debuted usually 5 months ago. The Versa arrives in Apr for $200 (£200, AU$300) — that’s $50 reduction than a entry-level Apple Watch. 

The Versa will recover alongside a Fitbit Ace, a new $100 (£80, AU$130) aptness tracker that’s designed for kids. 

Fitbit Versa

It’s a Versa, however, that Fitbit is pinning a hopes on. The company, that done a name on aptness trackers and step counters, has been struggling with a sagging batch cost after a soft holiday sales quarter. Apple, meanwhile, continues to gobble adult marketplace share as consumers spin to smartwatches.

Correcting a mistakes of a Ionic

I had dual thoughts after reviewing Fitbit’s initial smartwatch, a Ionic, that launched final year: It would be improved if it were reduction costly and wasn’t utterly so bulky.  

That’s accurately what a Fitbit Versa is: A thinner, reduction costly Ionic. It’s also Fitbit’s strongest counterpunch to a aforementioned Apple Watch. And it happens to demeanour roughly accurately like a late, great Pebble Time smartwatch we reviewed a few years ago — a startup heavenly that Fitbit purchased in Dec 2016

That’s not a bad thing: In fact, maybe it’s a best thing. The four-day battery life of a Versa, and a plain list of facilities — heart rate monitoring, 50 scale H2O resistance, on-board song storage, harmony with hundreds of watchfaces and apps — make it sound like a best all-around Fitbit to date. 

It lacks a GPS of a Ionic, yet in my brief time with a watch it also seems some-more gentle and easier to use. The Ionic felt excellent on my wrist, yet was bony and most incomparable than a Apple Watch. The Versa is smaller and slimmer. 


Apple Watch Series 3 (left) subsequent to Fitbit Versa (right).

Sarah Tew/CNET

I couldn’t tell how it feels with opposite bands, yet a whole watch is a lot some-more low-key than a Ionic, in a good way. On my vast wrist, it felt great. But Fitbit is clearly looking during a Versa as a approach of addressing a pattern shortcomings of a Ionic.

Its “squircle” pattern is suggestive of a Apple Watch (and even moreso, a Pebble Time). The aluminum pattern comes in several colors (black, silver, and rose gold), and will work with a accumulation of new silicone, leather, steel link, Milanese mesh-style, woven and weave bands.

Versa replaces a Fitbit Blaze in a company’s line-up. That first-generation Fitbit watch, that had few fans, is now being discontinued.


Sarah Tew/CNET

A renewed concentration on women’s health

The Versa is partial of what Fitbit CEO James Park sum as a goal to strech out to a incomparable assembly — and some-more women in particular. To that end, a association is introducing new tools, in entrance app updates, to lane women’s menstrual cycles.

Today, many women lane their cycles in dedicated apps (like Kindara). But by folding a underline into a categorical Fitbit app, a wish is that women will find it easier to do all their health tracking in one place. (Apple Health combined reproductive health tracking behind in 2015.) The stretched underline will come in an arriving program refurbish that will work opposite comparison Fitbits, too. 

With this update, women competence be means to find correlations between their aptness routines and menstrual health. Fitbit’s also formulation to learn from a information collected, as a association shifts some-more towards formation with health caring platforms. The hope, according to Fitbit, is to investigate relations between activity, nap and menstrual cycles on a incomparable scale.


The Fitbit Versa is like a thinner, reduction costly Ionic.

Sarah Tew/CNET

New software

Last year’s Fitbit Ionic and a new Versa will get a revamped OS, with combined on-wrist aptness information and, eventually, a guarantee of some-more coaching and daily encouragement. The new program we saw on-wrist with a Versa enclosed a swipe-out fitness-at-a-glance outline that has stats like resting heart rate, new workouts, and some-more info in ubiquitous than what we saw on a Ionic. The touchscreen felt a tiny some-more responsive, too: The Ionic’s indolent interface was one of a downsides.

The subsequent Fitbit 2.0 OS will also supplement discerning replies to messages, yet for Android users only. The discerning replies are a canned list of responses that can be customized in a Fitbit phone app. The Fitbit Ionic now can usually accept messages.

FItbit Pay, that creates NFC on-wrist payments, will usually accessible on a step-up Special Edition indication in a US ($230, with an additional woven band). In Europe and Asia, all Versa watches will have Fitbit Pay. we was let down with how few banks are upheld on Fitbit Pay during a impulse contra Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay, that is because we don’t tend to use it.


The Fitbit Ace. Which looks like…the Fitbit Alta.

Sarah Tew/CNET

There’s a child Fitbit, too

Fitbit’s also creation a kid’s aptness tracker, if you’re prepared for it. The Fitbit Ace is fundamentally a rebranded Fitbit Alta, a tiny tracker with a slight shade expelled several years ago. The Ace will come in blue or purple bands, cost $100, and will have goals and hurdles for kids, and be tuned for opposite daily activity and nap goals (60 mins a day, and 9-12 hours of nap a night, some-more than adults). Unfortunately, though, a Fitbit Ace won’t be H2O resistant for swimming, and it doesn’t lane heart rate, either.

The thought of Fitbit Ace is to assistance kids lane sleep, activity and aptness goals, and join hurdles with a family. But it’s also a approach for families to keep an eye on child activities… and for Fitbit to investigate child aptness information trends, too.

Fitbit’s technically late to a child aptness tracker game: Garmin’s already on a second era of its Vivofit Junior.

Fitbit Ace is designed for kids 8 and up. It’ll be adult to relatives to confirm either it’s required or not. I’m unequivocally not furious about child wearables, yet I’m extraordinary to see what my child thinks of it. It’s a tiny misleading how Fitbit will customize a program for kids, or either a thought of a Ace is to simply assistance lane and motivate like each other Fitbit. 

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