Fitbit Versa 2 evaluation: The subscription smartwatch
“The Fitbit Versa 2 has wonderful battery life, however vital health insights are locked behind a subscription.”
Multi-day battery life
Native sleep monitoring
On-device music storage
Affords few insights (with out paying further)
Can’t stream from Spotify
Seems to be like an Apple Watch knock-off
Alexa is basically ineffective
When the Fitbit Versa debuted, it stuffed a distinct segment for individuals who needed smartphone notifications however championed wellness first. It was compromise between the 2, however didn’t fairly ship absolutely in both regard. The Fitbit Versa 2 is much more like a smartwatch than ever earlier than, with Alexa and Spotify integration in addition to an AMOLED display screen, however health insights — fairly actually — come at a value with Fitbit Premium, a brand new subscription service.
The paywall for extra detailed insights leaves a lot to be desired for data-hungry athletes, however the Versa 2 remains to be a robust contender in a crowded area.
New AMOLED show, identical design
The Versa 2 seems to be an terrible lot like an Apple Watch, albeit barely wider and lacking Apple’s rotating crown. The chamfered edges of the casing provide some distinction, however I couldn’t cease seeing an Apple Watch knock-off each time I regarded on the Versa 2.
Corey Gaskin/Digital Developments
Construct high quality is healthier than any knock-off although. It feels stable, light-weight, and well-crafted. The included silicone band is a special story, because the band is relatively stiff and doesn’t fairly hug the wrist with out having to tighten it past a snug degree. These two attributes collectively induced me some irritation at first. The stiffness of the band fades away the longer you put on it, however I nonetheless discovered myself adjusting the Versa 2 on my wrist, extra so than I’d with a snugger-fitting and softer strap.
Happily, there are alternative bands that supply extra fashion, performance, and in some instances, consolation. I threw on the woven-leather Kim Shui designer band, in addition to a reflective woven band fabricated from recycled supplies. The previous provided probably the most consolation of the bands I examined, whereas the reflective band, predictably, was stiff and scratchy, although I did get used to it.
Probably the most noticeable improve comes from the newly-added AMOLED show. There’s now an always-on show, identical to the brand new Apple Watch Collection 5, and it’s good to have the ability to look on the time and exercise progress with out fussing with the watch. It weirdly disables the lift-to-wake perform with none indication that it’s going to now not work, although. When you have the always-on show enabled, you’ll have to make use of the button to get up the Versa 2 or faucet on the display screen.
In any other case, I had no bother studying the display screen in direct daylight, and the deep blacks — because of the AMOLED panel — assist fade the thick bezels across the display screen out of existence.
Visually, the Versa 2 is tough to tell apart from its predecessor. On nearer inspection, you will notice the watch face’s bezels at the moment are clean and rounded, as is the optical coronary heart charge monitor within the again. Different modifications embrace a barely greater battery, an upgraded processor, NFC for Fitbit Pay, however we’ll get to that subsequent.
Utilizing the Versa 2
Navigating the Versa 2’s working system is a comparatively clean expertise, although some animations stutter every now and then. There aren’t any persistent hangs or different notable detriments to talk of (in contrast to what I often see on Google’s Put on OS smartwatches).
Working it’s a easy affair: there’s just one button, which serves as a again button through brief press and an Alexa or Fitbit Pay shortcut with an extended press. Swipe proper from the house display screen for apps like train, alarm, clock, and third-party apps like Spotify, and pull down from the highest for notifications and fast settings. New to fast settings is a sleep mode toggle that allows don’t disturb and turns off the display screen.
Corey Gaskin/Digital Developments
Spotify integration is a brand new addition for the Versa 2, but it surely’s restricted in two key methods. First, you will need to have a premium Spotify subscription to make use of this. Bummer.
Second, it doesn’t enable playback from the Versa 2, however solely controls playback on one other system, like your telephone or good speaker. It’s a pleasant bonus, however I need the flexibility to stream a playlist or two from Spotify to Bluetooth earphones without having to convey my telephone on my run. This integration falls a bit flat.
That being stated, you’ll be able to retailer music on the system, about 300 songs, through a desktop Fitbit app. Sadly, these all should be loaded over Wi-Fi as there isn’t a choice to switch through a wired connection, so it might probably take a while.
Alexa’s debut on the Versa 2 ought to, in principle, assist convey this health wearable firmly into the smartwatch ranks. In actuality, Alexa is usually ineffective. Points with voice recognition and the dearth of helpful search outcomes make it really feel removed from polished on the Versa 2.
You will need to have a premium Spotify subscription to make use of this. Bummer.
Alexa was in a position to reply primary questions like, “Present me the climate,” and you may then faucet into the response to see a 7-day forecast. Asking Alexa queries like, “Who was the primary president?” will convey up a textual content reply as effectively, however you’ll be able to’t faucet it to see extra info on the system or in your telephone.
Equally, asking, “What eating places are close by?” will convey textual content on-screen with solely three choices and also you aren’t in a position to observe up or discover these choices in any means. I additionally needed to repeat a number of of those queries a number of instances as a result of Alexa had bother understanding me. It was irritating.
In any other case, you’re going to seek out numerous software program performance overlap between the Versa 2 and Put on OS watches. Third-party apps like Uber, Philips Hue, and Starbucks Card can be found on the Fitbit Versa 2, and you may even reply to textual content messages with preset replies or your voice (restricted to Android).
Wellness help and the Fitbit App
Corey Gaskin/Digital Developments
The Versa 2 is a relatively simple system to make use of whereas understanding; music controls are a few swipes away, and real-time train metrics are viewable on the always-on show, so that you don’t ever really feel like your getting out of “the zone” to shortly look timing or skip to the subsequent monitor if the present one isn’t doing it for you.
The reflective bands aren’t water or sweat resistant in any means, so that you’ll wish to use silicone bands when understanding, or else threat soaking or ruining the recycled materials or leather-based bands.
On the watch, you’ll be able to see steps, energy, coronary heart charge, and exercise minutes and provoke exercises from seven totally different train modes: operating, biking, swimming, treadmill operating, and weight coaching, in addition to a common train monitoring choice and an interval coaching mode, which buildings a timer for a 10-minute interval coaching. There’s a vibration immediate at every interval for exercise and for relaxation.
Exercising and monitoring your well being with the Versa 2 is easy and the outcomes are correct, however the information gathered within the Fitbit app may very well be extra insightful. For instance, Fitbit trackers have lengthy monitored sleep, measuring length and the totally different levels. New to the equation is a zero to 100 scoring system, which distills this information right into a quantity.
“76, Honest.” Outdoors of 0ne-sentence explainers on what every sleep stage means, there’s no context that can assist you sleep extra effectively or higher perceive your sleep in any means. Neither the sleep rating nor the logged information present something to truly assist enhance your sleep.
The one technique to get actionable insights is thru the soon-to-be-launched Fitbit Premium membership.
I’ve seen extra insightful explanations from Huawei Well being, the companion app for Huawei’s wearables, which not solely gives paragraphs of sleep info but in addition recommendations on the right way to get higher sleep, even when it’s not all the time customized. By the identical token, Samsung’s Galaxy Wearable app and watches just like the Galaxy Watch Lively provide extra specialised exercise modes — seven with computerized detection and 39 extra manually-enabled modes — with extra insights and instruments, like a operating coach, throughout and after the exercise to additional your wellness objectives.
The one technique to get actionable insights is thru the soon-to-be-launched Fitbit Premium membership. For $10 a month or $80 yearly, the corporate will present guided exercises, printable well being stories, and general extra customized insights and steerage in your sleep, train, and wellness objectives.
There can even be an choice to work with a licensed well being coach, for a further cost, to assist create and cling to a plan based mostly in your Fitbit information and objectives, in addition to obtain perception and referrals in your well being considerations. Entry to a coach is one factor, but it surely’s irritating that insights to your well being past a couple of uncontextualized numbers at the moment are hiding behind a paywall.
The Versa 2 does add a sensible wake characteristic, which makes an attempt to enhance your sleep by waking you up in a lightweight sleep stage relatively than precisely when your alarm is ready, as much as a half-hour earlier than your alarm time. I didn’t see a lot profit on this, although it could be too early to inform.
Three-day battery life
The standout characteristic of the Versa 2 is its battery. On common, I obtained between two and three days of blended utilization on from the Versa 2, and I’m not a lightweight consumer.
Given the smartwatch performance, I enabled all of my most vital notifications (about six energetic apps for information and messaging); I used sleep monitoring nightly; had about 30 minutes of train every day, and all of that’s with the always-on show enabled. When you don’t work out on daily basis, anticipate the Versa to final absolutely via day three.
That is on par with the Samsung Galaxy Watch Lively, a similarly-priced fitness-focused smartwatch. The Apple Watch can solely undergo a day and a half, if not two days with gentle use, and most Put on OS smartwatches final a full day and never far more.
The Fitbit Versa 2’s largest power is its three-day wearability on a single cost, however that’s not a lot totally different from final yr’s Versa. Health insights and app help are restricted — particularly with music — and Alexa doesn’t add a lot worth. Opponents just like the Galaxy Watch Lively and the Apple Watch Collection three — which might now be purchased for $200 — make the Versa 2 a more durable promote now than its predecessor was a yr in the past.
Worth, availability, and guarantee info
The Versa 2 prices $200, or $230 for one of many two particular version colours, with alternative bands starting from $30 to $100. Official gross sales begin on September 15.
Fitbit gives a 45-day money-back assure in addition to a one-year restricted guarantee and an non-compulsory two-year safety plan towards injury, bought via Sq. Commerce for $44.99. This carries a $30 deductible per declare.
Is there a greater different?
For iPhone house owners, that’s a simple reply — the Apple Watch is a significantly better different. Higher but, Apple has dropped the value on the Collection three to $200, and it’s nonetheless a wonderful contender regardless of popping out in 2017. You’ll have deeper smartphone help along with your iPhone, GPS built-in, and entry to a variety of third-party health packages and monitoring apps. The one draw back? There’s no native sleep monitoring, and the watch would require charging on the finish of every day. When you splurge on the brand new Apple Watch Collection 5, you’ll get an always-on show, higher battery life, and even a built-in compass, however there’s nonetheless no sleep monitoring.
As for Android house owners, you may get a a lot better-looking smartwatch with built-in GPS, and it’s known as the Galaxy Watch Lively from Samsung. It even has two days of battery life at least, in addition to sleep monitoring capabilities., and better of all, you’ll be able to obtain Spotify playlists to hear offline; your telephone doesn’t have to be close by.
How lengthy will it final?
With water resistance as much as 50 meters and stable construct high quality, the Versa 2 ought to final you two to 3 years or extra fairly simply.
Do you have to purchase it?
No. The Galaxy Watch Lively can do virtually the whole lot the Versa 2 can, and it seems to be extra fashionable; the upcoming Galaxy Watch Lively 2 steps it up even additional for just a bit extra. And when you don’t care about sleep monitoring, the Apple Watch Collection three is ideal for iPhone house owners. You gained’t be dissatisfied with the Versa 2, simply know there are higher choices.