Fitbit's new Versa smartwatch copies the Apple Watch, but beats it in battery life

Fitbit's new Versa smartwatch copies the Apple Watch, but beats it in battery life
Fitbit is probably the company that suffered the most from Apple's entry into the smartwatch market with the Apple Watch. The Apple Watch ate into Fitbit's revenues and the company tried to counter it in fall of last year with a distinct smartwatch of its own, the rugged-looking Fitbit Ionic.

But now, Fitbit seems to have decided that the best way to beat Apple is to... copy it.

The newly unveiled Fitbit Versa looks a lot like the Apple smartwatch, except that it lacks the spinning digital crown. Instead of the rugged look and sharp corners of the Ionic, the Versa is a smaller, more lightweight watch with elegant curves and a few new features that both men and women will appreciate.

Here are the Fitbit Versa highlights in just one sentence: 24/7 heart rate, phone-free music, apps & 4+ day battery into a super lightweight design with a bright touchscreen.


Sports Tracking


There is one feature that is missing on the Fitbit Versa, so we'll start with it right away: GPS. If you are looking for accurate GPS tracking for your runs, look elsewhere.

For all else, the Fitbit Versa seems well equipped. At the core of the experience is Fitbit's experience with tracking workouts and providing you that data in a clean and easily digestible way via the Fitbit app. Here is the type of data that you can expect to see tracked with this smartwatch:

  • Fitbit's new Versa smartwatch copies the Apple Watch, but beats it in battery life
    steps, distance, calories, floors climbed, active minutes
  • time in light, deep and REM sleep
  • coaching and on-screen workouts
  • swim tracking
  • etc

The neat thing about workout tracking is that it all happens automatically, so you don't need to manually input a workout everytime you go for a short run. Automatic tracking works with activities like sports, runs and aerobic workouts. The up to 50-meter water protection and swim tracking are two other cool options.

Notifications


Fitbit Versa (left) vs Ionic (right)

Fitbit Versa (left) vs Ionic (right)


The Fitbit Versa wants to be a true smartwatch and that means that it will sync up with all of your devices - iOS, Android and even Windows.

The watch will display call, calendar, text, and app alerts, and an upcoming feature is sending quick replies to messages (coming soon to Android only). Clearly, this means notifications are somewhat limited compared to what you can get on the Apple Watch or Android Wear, but it still means that the basics are covered.

Music


The Versa has a built-in Bluetooth chip and you can easily pair it with wireless headphones. The watch features storage enough to get over 300 songs offline and play them back when you go for a run without your phone, which is convenient.

Customization, bands and other features


Fitbit's new Versa smartwatch copies the Apple Watch, but beats it in battery life

In terms of customization options, the Versa is offered in a selection of three color and two more special editions. You have various bands and accessories, while the smartwatch itself also boasts a selection of different watchfaces for different occasions.

There are other new features in the Versa that are similar to what you can get on an Apple Watch: guided breathing sessions is one example. The Versa is also equipped with an NFC chip and you can register your card with it and use it for wallet-free payments. Another new feature is targeted specifically at women and this is the ability to track your periods.


Price and availability


The Fitbit Versa price is set at $200, which is more affordable than rivals from Apple and Samsung, and pre-orders are open right now on the company's official website. Its 4-day battery life is probably its biggest selling point, but is that enough to convince buyers to buy this watch?

FEATURED VIDEO

12 Comments

1. tedkord

Posts: 17133; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

25 square smartwatches before the iWatch, but every one after if copied it. SMH.

7. NarutoKage14

Posts: 1306; Member since: Aug 31, 2016

That reality distortion field. It doesn't exist until Apple does it.

2. libra89

Posts: 2259; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

Sounds like a winner to me. Having another device to charge every day is annoying. I'm glad that Fitbit made the Versa have good battery life.

3. cmdacos

Posts: 3889; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

Looks like a Pebble more than an apple watch to me... Maybe PA's Google search research methods need some fine tuning.

4. Doakie

Posts: 2478; Member since: May 06, 2009

I don't see the Apple watch in that design. I see a Zenwatch. But I guess we see what we want to see....

5. Sparkxster

Posts: 1186; Member since: Mar 31, 2017

Forgot to add that in the us you have to buy the versa special edition to have nfc functionality and it is $30 more than the regular edition.

6. NarutoKage14

Posts: 1306; Member since: Aug 31, 2016

I'm tempted to get this even though I'm not too fond of square/squircle watches simply for that battery life and heart rate monitoring. Salt there are no Android wear watches comparable to this.

9. therealestmc

Posts: 679; Member since: Jul 23, 2012

The battery lasts 4 days because the watch doesn't so much. If you needed anything other than fitness then this is not the watch for you.

8. therealestmc

Posts: 679; Member since: Jul 23, 2012

It's just a fitness watch. Not a smartwatch. I have the Fitbit Ionic and there is nothing smart about it. The thing can't even send a message or has any form of assistant and zero speaker feedback. No wonder the battery lasts 4 days.

10. Malcolm.Merlyn

Posts: 160; Member since: Sep 28, 2014

Love it. I'll be pre-ordering it soon.

11. cheetah2k

Posts: 2190; Member since: Jan 16, 2011

Copies Apple? More like, it copies the Pebbel Steel.. Farks sake, Apple were LATE to the party on this crap...

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at https://www.parsintl.com/phonearena or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit https://www.parsintl.com/ for samples and additional information.