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Fitbit’s $199 Versa Is Its Newest ‘Mass Appeal’ Smartwatch


Fitbit today unveiled its latest mass oriented smartwatch, the Fitbit Versa. Compared to the Ionic, the Versa sports a design that will attract more consumers. It also carries a far lower price tag than the Ionic which should help it better compete with the Apple Watch.

The Versa features a squarish-circular “Squircle” display with relatively smaller bezels than the Ionic. It is capable of reaching brightness levels of up to 1,000 nits. Despite carrying a $100 lower price tag, the Versa features almost all the features of its bigger brother, and it is even made of anodized aluminum. It features three physical buttons, two on the right and one on the left. Its swim resistant up to 50m, features a 24*7 heart rate monitor and boasts of a 4-day battery life (instead of five). There’s no GPS, though you can always connect the Versa to your smartphone while running to take advantage of its connected GPS feature. The onboard 4GB of storage is also good enough to store around 300 songs or you can stream them from Pandora or Deezer.

There’s also the same SpO2 sensor which is found on the Ionic which after a future software update will help track sleep apnea. For females, Fitbit is launching a new health tracking option that will allow them to log their menstrual data, record symptoms associated with it, and base future cycle predictions on it.

The smartwatch continues to run on Fitbit OS, albeit Fitbit OS 2.0, which means you do get access to a limited selection of third-party apps. It comes with a new dashboard that will help you see your daily and weekly health data, heart rate, and more. An update for the Ionic will also be available later this month. There’s also Fitbit Pay which you will need to buy a special edition of the watch in the US which costs $229.

The Fitbit Versa continues to be compatible with iOS and Android devices. Fitbit has also added Quick Reply support to its OS, though the feature is only available for Android users. The $199 Fitbit Versa goes up for pre-order today, with orders shipping in April.

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In addition to the Fitbit Versa, the company also unveiled the Ace, a fitness band aimed at kids. Aimed at getting kids to exercise more, the band is meant for kids aged 8 and above. It features a five-day battery life and a showerproof design. Alongside tracking their activity, the Ace will also remind them to move periodically to improve their sedentary lifestyle. The Fitbit Ace also goes on sale in Q2 2018.

Our Take

The lower price tag and the improved design should definitely help Fitbit to take on the Apple Watch and sell the Versa in better numbers. However, despite improvements, Fitbit’s health efforts seem to be falling behind that of Apple and the company definitely needs to step up its game in that department if it wants to attract hardcore fitness addicts.

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