The $199 Fitbit Versa Is "the Lightest Metal Smartwatch in the US"


Last summer, Fitbit waded into new territory with its debut smartwatch, the Ionic.

Announced alongside the Fitbit Ace fitness tracker for kids, the £199.99 Versa sports the same PurePulse heart rate and SpO2 sensors you get in the Ionic, but it does so in a much more slender and attractive design. The Versa promises to automatically track exercises, including running and biking.

Half a year after launching the Ionic, Fitbit is back with Versa, a "smartwatch for all". The most obvious of these is Global Positioning System, which isn't included on the Versa. You can order it in black with a black aluminum case, in gray with a silver aluminum case or in peach with a rose gold aluminum case. The $229.95 Special Edition is made special by the inclusion of an NFC chip too for Fitbit Pay functionality.

As with the Ionic, the Versa will include support for storing music on the watch and connecting to any Bluetooth headphones for playback during a workout. Shipping will start in April. At $200, it's less pricy than many market rivals, including the Apple Watch and leading Android Wear devices. If that's something you need, we'd recommend the Fitbit Ionic.

The company said it is working on bringing notification replies to iOS, but it stopped short of saying how or when. Fitbit says Ace accounts will not be allowed to join the social component of the regular Fitbit app, which lets users share photos and workout summaries in an Instagram-like feed. The device will be water resistant with an IPX7 rating and arrive in two colors.

The release also referenced a study conducted by Fitbit, which concluded that "most parents agree and believe their children are less active than when they were children". The company's new "smartwatch for all" also takes things a step further with the addition women's health tracking, which adds menstrual cycle logging to the device's healthcare tracking. Fitbit's Deezer partnership is going global, while users in the USA also get Pandora (sorry, Europe).

To be clear, Fitbit isn't pitching the Versa as a woman's-only smartwatch, but for everyone-women, men, parents, and kids.

The Fitbit Flex 2 is a well-designed fitness tracker with a lot of neat features that serves as an introduction to Fitbit's excellent software and ecosystem. Along with the Versa, Fitbit also introduced a fitness band called "Ace" which is targetted at kids of age 8 and older.

As someone with kids in elementary school, I often notice a large number of kids in their classes wearing some sort of activity trackers. Privacy is also beefed up, with a new Fitbit family account feature that's compliant with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act. According to the company, the Fitbit for kids device was created because of the increasing amount of time children spend in front of a screen and the decreasing amount of time they spend engaging in physical activities.

Fitbit is trying to adapt it for those who have Windows Phone or iPhone devices, but the wait may be a little longer for that. Fitbit's new child-friendly fitness band will be available in blue and purple, is showerproof, and should last for five days on a single charge.