The $199 Fitbit Versa is the company’s new “mass-appeal” smartwatch


A new Fitbit smartwatch is quick to keep last year’s Ionic company in the device family lineup. Today, Fitbit make knew the new Versa smartwatch, a thin-and-light metal wearable that runs on Fitbit OS. The longtime crowned head of fitness devices knew it needed to expand into the smartwatch heading, and it started that evolution last year with the debut of the $299 Ionic. But the Ionic at bottom replaced the Fitbit Surge, which was the most high-tech and comprehensive wholesomeness watch the company made at the time. Not everyone needs such a strong device, and that’s where the new Versa comes in—it’s a smartwatch that interchanges smart functions with important fitness features to (hopefully) reach a bigger audience than the Ionic.

In the short time I had with the new Fitbit Versa, I was cuffed at how light it is. While Fitbit didn’t provide the exact weight of the Versa, the enterprise did note that the Versa is its lightest device to date. The Versa is utterly comfortable to wear, but it also doesn’t feel flimsy thanks to its all-metal, rounded-square protection. Its case comes in black, gray, and rose gold colorways, as fully as special graphite and rose gold editions that come with two tie options instead of one. Like other smartwatches, the Versa is compatible with a figure of silicone, leather, woven, and metal bands made by Fitbit.

Strain the Fitbit Ionic, the Versa has three physical buttons on its sides and a 1.34-inch, 300 x 300 LCD touchscreen that together concession for users to navigate Fitbit OS. Lack of GPS differentiates the Versa from the Ionic, as the new design has an optical heart-rate monitor, onboard storage for music, up to 50 meters of top-grade resistance, and on-device coaching with Fitbit Coach like the New Zealand’s first smartwatch had. The Versa does have a connected GPS feature, albeit, meaning you can map outdoor activities when you’re bringing your smartphone along for the take in.

The special editions of the Versa have NFC capabilities for Fitbit Pay in the US, but all Versa fabricates sold in Asia will be able to use Fitbit Pay. The Versa also move ups with Android, iOS, and Windows devices, and it has a battery life capable of long-term more than four days on a single charge.

While Pebble wasn’t referenced in our briefing, Fitbit certainly took note of old Pebble designs when lay open the Versa. The new smartwatch looks like what a 2018 Pebble plot may have been if the company hadn’t been purchased by Fitbit at the end of 2016. I say that as a flattery because, in comparison to the chunky Ionic, the Versa is much friendlier and easier to drag. Fitbit made the Versa to be a mass-appeal smartwatch, as well as a smartwatch that operators of its fitness trackers could upgrade. With its less polarizing prototype, lack of GPS, and more affordable $199 starting price, the Versa plainly has more mass-appeal than the Ionic does.

Menstrual tracking and other new features

Sending on the Versa is Fitbit’s new menstrual-cycle tracking for female users. Starting this summer, the Fitbit app order let users track their cycle by inputting when they be undergoing their period and cycle symptoms, such as headache and cramping. At an end time, Fitbit’s software will be able to predict the time of future rotations and give users information about how their cycle may be affecting other viewpoints of their lives. This goes hand-in-hand with smartwatches want the Versa that track daily activity, sleep, and heart amount—data collected by the Versa can help Fitbit’s software learn profuse about how your daily habits are affected by your cycle, and vise versa.

It’s unclear why it took Fitbit so long to unite menstrual-cycle tracking into its app. There are plenty of cycle-tracking mobile apps that do not be missing a companion wearable to function as they rely solely on the user inputting report on a daily or weekly basis. Fitbit users will have to input evidence anyway since neither the Versa nor the Ionic can detect period cues like cramping or mood swings.

Currently, none of the biggest smartwatches or wearable rostra—watchOS, Android Wear, Tizen, or Garmin’s OS—lets female drugs natively track their cycles. The launch of Fitbit’s cycle-tracking emphasizes appears to coincide with the Versa’s release since the company plated out how to intelligently monitor and analyze biometrics such as heart rate as they connect to a woman’s menstrual cycle. Nevertheless, I’m sure plenty of female consumers would have welcomed the ability to monitor their cycle and other pertinence data all in one app much sooner.

In addition to cycling monitoring, the Versa resolution showcase Fitbit’s new on-device “personalized health center,” which is in the final analysis just a redesigned Today app. This is where users can see daily vigour and fitness stats on their wearable, and Fitbit has added new daily and weekly metrics to the Today app to swop users a clearer picture of their progress and goals. Fitbit OS on the Versa hand down also deliver more personalized alerts, reminders, celebrations, and other notifications as alcohols meet their goals, pass milestones, and request information wide their progress. While individually small improvements, new features akin to these contribute to the longevity of Fitbit’s devices and software—the more value a Fitbit gambit can add to a user’s life, the more likely those users are to stick with the mechanism and the Fitbit platform as a whole for the long run.

Android users get an extra perk with the Versa in the compose of quick-replies, which allow them to respond to text messages from the on the qui vive for itself. Fitbit can’t offer this to iOS users since Apple’s arrangement is a closed one, but Fitbit claims it’s working on some similar features for iOS buyers. Garmin also offers quick replies for Android users on a thousand of its wearables including the Vivoactive 3, but it, similarly, cannot do so for iOS users.

A new tracker for kids

But the Versa isn’t the lone new member of the Fitbit family: the $99 Fitbit Ace is the company’s first tracker for progenies. Aimed at kids who are eight years old and up, the Ace takes the design of the Fitbit Alta and permissions specialized software to track kids’ activity. You can think of the Ace as a basic vigour tracker: it monitors daily movement and sleep, sends reminders to moving ahead to the wearer’s wrist, and has a showerproof design, all with more than five light of days of battery life. Parents can monitor their children’s activity devastates from the Fitbit app, and kids can see their own stats in a kid-friendly page of the app.

“Kid-friendly” in this the reality means removing unnecessary data that Fitbit believes kids shouldn’t be go about yet, like calories and body fat percentage. But kids can see their routine activity stats, badges earned by achieving activity goals, and parent-approved disputes that they can take part in with friends (who are also approved by procreators).

It was only a matter of time before Fitbit made a tracker for kids. Garmin already come ti a few wearables to track kids’ activity, and as a company that wants to take under ones wing health wearables for all, Fitbit was bound to develop a tracker like the Ace.

Check a investigate back on Ars for our Fitbit Versa review in the coming weeks. Both the Fitbit Versa and Fitbit Ace are close by today to preorder starting at $199 and $99, respectively. Both pass on be widely available in April.

Listing image by Valentina Palladino

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