REVIEW | Fitbit Versa 2 smartwatch

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Fitbit is an American company that was founded a little over a decade ago, specializing in wearable gadgets and fitness/activity tracking devices. It was recently bought by tech giant Google for $2.1 billion.

Today, we’re looking at the Fitbit Versa 2 smartwatch, which is a successor to the Fitbit Versa from late 2017. 

Design and Ergonomics   

The Versa 2 has a square screen design with rounded edges and looks very similar to the Versa. Instead of the three-button layout of the past, it goes with just one on the left for Select/Back. All other navigation is via the Touchscreen, making navigation very similar to the Versa Lite.

One of the significant upgrades is the screen, which is now AMOLED, versus the LCD screen used in the original Versa. With a brightness of over 1000 nits and a resolution of 300 x 300, the screen is sharp and clear. It also features Always On functionality, meaning you don’t need to press a button to read the time during a workout. Also impressive is the responsiveness of the touchscreen, which works well even when wet and going for a swim.

The screen is connected to a silicone strap, which is changeable. The box includes small and large options, as well as one other pattern option.

The overall design is sturdy while remaining light enough for everyday wear. But if you’re used to a smaller device like the Fitbit Inspire HR, the additional heft is noticeable, especially when sleeping. This becomes more pronounced if you have small wrists.

Software and User Experience

The primary display is the watch face, which is changeable, with various options being available on the Fitbit app. After the Dec. 2019 update, up to five watch face options can be stored on the Versa 2, and can be switched to without needing to connect to the app.

Similar to Android you swipe down for notifications, and for the app launcher, you swipe from left to right. App shortcuts and what gets displayed on different screens can be customized.

The Fitbit Versa 2 runs the new OS 4.1; the UI is highly intuitive, and even if you are a new to such wearable devices, functionality can be easily figured out, without having to refer to the manual. 

Android Integration wasn’t the simplest though, as the initial connection and sync took multiple tries. This could have to do with needing a very good mobile data connection.

Features and Activity Tracking

If you’ve either used the original Fitbit Versa or other smartwatches with activity-tracking features, you probably know what to expect. For the uninitiated, the device includes various routine tracking features, as well as automated and manually initiated activity tracking. Outside of this, regular smartwatch capabilities such as call, message, and other notifications, as well as music playback, and similar partial mobile phone utility are present.

Routine tracking includes activities such as step count, active minutes, heart-rate monitoring, calorie burn, and sleep monitoring. For a run to be automatically triggered, you need to be continuously running for 10 minutes, and then the device considers the data as a run and starts tracking it as a run.

The Versa 2 always accurately tracked such activities without the push of a button, which is hassle-free and great when working-up a sweat.

Included is the Relax Ability, a guided breathing experience from Fitbit

In addition to all the activity tracking features, the device can also be used to display notifications such as incoming calls, SMS messages, and emails.

Thanks to the AMOLED screen, everything looks great, and you can even store and play music off the 2.5 GB of storage reserved for audio content.

When compared to other models:

  • Alarms can easily be set on the watch (versus via an app)
  • Run tracking is very detailed, and when paired with the GPS from your phone, the pace can also be tracked and displayed per km
  • Sleep Tracking now includes a Sleep Score in the app, which is useful in gauging sleep quality

Unfortunately, there’s still no lap count for swimming on the Versa 2.

Though untested, the Versa 2 also has a payment facility called Fitbit Pay. It can be configured via the Fitbit app and allows for a wallet to be configured.

Specs and Performance

With such wearable devices, people seldom care about the specifics of the hardware under the hood, unless laggy to the extent of making the user experience poor.

Thanks to an upgraded processor, the Versa 2 is noticeably snappy, which becomes especially noticeable if you use it alongside the older Versa offering.

Battery and Charging 

As per the documentation, battery life is expected to last over five days. In our testing, when used lightly with no workout activity, it lasted up to 9 days. On the contrary when there was activity on succeeding days, whether a run or a swim, it still managed 5 days as promised.

Charging the device to 100% from near-complete drain takes about two hours, while a top-up from 40% to 100% takes about 40 minutes.

The Versa 2 uses a charging cradle which connects to a standard USB port for charging. The only downside is that Fitbit does not have a single standard charger for its devices, and rather has different charger cradles, which means if you upgrade or own multiple Fitbit devices, you need multiple different chargers as you can’t use them interchangeably.

Value and Competition

At a price of P12,890, the Fitbit Versa 2 isn’t cheap. If you’re okay with an older design, and a less fancy screen, you could consider the original Versa. With the recent price drop the Apple Watch Series 3 is now available at P11,990; also a well-made wearable, though battery life is much lesser. Or if all you need is an activity tracker, and don’t care for the smartwatch functionality, you could look at the more functionality focused Fitbit Inspire HR which retails for P4,690.

One of the biggest selling points of Fitbit devices versus other cheaper wearables is the impressive Fitbit app, and now massive Fitbit community.

Conclusion   

Whether the Versa 2 is the best for you comes down to what you’re looking for. As a hardcore activity tracking device, without the bells and whistles of a smartwatch, you could get say a Fitbit Inspire HR for less than half the price. But if you want the best of both worlds, and want the best that Fitbit has to offer, you are surely looking at the Fitbit Versa 2!

Model: FB507

Price: P12,890

Verdict: A smartwatch and activity tracker with an impressive screen, fast processor, and long battery life.

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