Fitbit Versa 2 evaluation: The subscription smartwatch
“The Fitbit Versa 2 has wonderful battery life, however necessary health insights are locked behind a subscription.”
- Reasonably priced
- Multi-day battery life
- Native sleep monitoring
- On-device music storage
- Intuitive interface
- Provides few insights (with out paying additional)
- Can’t stream from Spotify
- Seems like an Apple Watch knock-off
- Alexa is basically ineffective
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When the Fitbit Versa debuted, it crammed a distinct segment for individuals who wished smartphone notifications however championed wellness first. It was a very good compromise between the 2, however didn’t fairly ship totally 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.
Nevertheless, health insights come at a price 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 powerful contender in a crowded area.
New AMOLED show, similar design
The Versa 2 appears to be like an terrible lot just like the Pebble Time grew as much as be 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 appeared on the Versa 2.
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Construct high quality is best than any knock-off although. It feels strong, light-weight, and well-crafted. The included silicone band is a distinct story, because the band is fairly stiff and doesn’t fairly hug the wrist with out having to tighten it past a cushty degree. These two attributes collectively precipitated 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 might with a snugger-fitting and softer strap.
Thankfully, there are substitute bands that supply extra model, performance, and in some circumstances, consolation. I threw on the woven-leather Kim Shui designer band, in addition to a reflective woven band product of recycled supplies. The previous supplied 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 Sequence 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’ll now not work, although. In case 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 hassle studying the display screen in direct daylight, and the deep blacks — due to 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 price monitor within the again. Different adjustments embrace a barely larger 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 at times. There aren’t any persistent hangs or different notable detriments to talk of (not like what I usually see on Google’s Put on OS smartwatches).
Working it’s a simple affair: there’s just one button, which serves as a again button through quick press and an Alexa or Fitbit Pay shortcut with a protracted 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 permits don’t disturb and turns off the display screen.
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Spotify integration is a brand new addition for the Versa 2, nevertheless it’s restricted in two key methods. First, you need to have a premium Spotify subscription to make use of this. Bummer.
Second, it doesn’t permit playback from the Versa 2, however solely controls playback on one other system, like your telephone or sensible speaker. It’s a pleasant bonus, however I need the flexibility to stream a playlist or two from Spotify to Bluetooth earphones while not having to carry my telephone on my run. This integration falls a bit flat.
That being mentioned, you’ll be able to retailer music on the system, about 300 songs, through a desktop Fitbit app. Sadly, these all have to be loaded over Wi-Fi as there isn’t a choice to switch through a wired connection, so it might take a while. Pandora and Deezer provide offline playback, as effectively, with their paid subscription providers.
Alexa’s debut on the Versa 2 ought to, in idea, assist carry this health wearable firmly into the smartwatch ranks. In actuality, Alexa is usually ineffective. Points with voice recognition and the shortage of helpful search outcomes make it really feel removed from polished on the Versa 2.
It’s essential to have a premium Spotify subscription to make use of this. Bummer.
Alexa was in a position to reply fundamental questions like, “Present me the climate,” and you’ll then faucet into the response to see a 7-day forecast. Asking Alexa queries like, “Who was the primary president?” will carry 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 carry textual content on-screen with solely three choices and also you aren’t in a position to comply with up or discover these choices in any method. I additionally needed to repeat a number of of those queries a number of instances as a result of Alexa had hassle understanding me. It was irritating.
In any other case, you’re going to seek out loads of 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’ll even reply to textual content messages with preset replies or your voice (restricted to Android).
Wellness help and the Fitbit App
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The Versa 2 is a fairly straightforward 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 rapidly look timing or skip to the subsequent observe if the present one isn’t doing it for you.
The reflective bands aren’t water or sweat resistant in any method, so that you’ll need 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 price, and exercise minutes and provoke exercises from seven totally different train modes: operating, biking, swimming, treadmill operating, and weight coaching, in addition to a basic train monitoring possibility 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 knowledge gathered within the Fitbit app might be extra insightful. For instance, Fitbit trackers have lengthy monitored sleep, measuring length and the totally different phases. New to the equation is a zero to 100 scoring system, which distills this knowledge right into a quantity.
“76, Truthful.” Exterior 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 method. Neither the sleep rating nor the logged knowledge present something to really assist enhance your sleep.
The one strategy 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 additionally tips about how one can get higher sleep, even when it’s not all the time personalised. By the identical token, Samsung’s Galaxy Wearable app and watches just like the Galaxy Watch Energetic 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.
Considered one of Fitbit’s fundamental benefits is its group side. Just like social media, the Neighborhood tab gives a information feed which you’ll be able to tailor to your wellness pursuits or look by way of the final feed to see, like, and share ideas, motivation and progress inside the huge group. There’s thousands and thousands of customers on right here, 27 million to be precise, and also you’re certain to see some actually motivating tales of transformation, perseverance, and the day by day grind. Scrolling by way of a feed of actual folks’s journeys, and seeing everybody else put one foot in entrance of the opposite, it’s laborious to not really feel motivated to maintain at it. Better of all you’ll be able to join with strangers and your individual buddies for health challenges to make issues much more private. Sure problem sorts are restricted to the paid subscription, although.
Talking of which, the one strategy to get actionable well being 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 studies, and general extra personalised insights and steering on your sleep, train, and wellness objectives.
There can even be an choice to work with an authorized well being coach, for a further cost, to assist create and cling to a plan primarily based in your Fitbit knowledge and objectives, in addition to obtain perception and referrals on your well being considerations. Entry to a coach is one factor, nevertheless it’s irritating that insights to your well being past just a few uncontextualized numbers at the moment are hiding behind a paywall.
The Versa 2 will add a sensible wake characteristic quickly, which makes an attempt to enhance your sleep by waking you up in a light-weight sleep stage fairly than precisely when your alarm is about — as much as a half-hour earlier than your alarm time. I didn’t get to check this as its but to debut, however comparable options exist on different gadgets and will show you how to get up simpler if the timing is true.
Three-day battery life
The standout characteristic of the Versa 2 is its battery. On common, I managed between two and three days of combined utilization on from the Versa 2. I’m not a light-weight consumer.
Given its smartwatch performance, I enabled all of my most necessary notifications (about six lively apps for information and messaging). I used sleep monitoring nightly, had about 30 minutes of train day by day, and all of that was with the always-on show enabled. In case you don’t work out every single day, count on the Versa to final totally by way of day three.
That is on par with the Samsung Galaxy Watch Energetic, 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 rather 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 Energetic and the Apple Watch Sequence 3 — which may now be purchased for $200 — make the Versa 2 a harder promote now than its predecessor was a yr in the past.
Value, availability, and guarantee info
The Versa 2 prices $200, or $230 for one of many two particular version colours, with substitute bands starting from $30 to $100.
Fitbit gives a 45-day money-back assure in addition to a one-year restricted guarantee and an optionally available two-year safety plan towards injury, bought by way of Sq. Commerce for $44.99. This carries a $30 deductible per declare.
Is there a greater various?
For iPhone house owners, that’s a simple reply — the Apple Watch is a significantly better various. Higher but, Apple has dropped the worth on the Sequence 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 quite a few 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.
In case you splurge on the brand new Apple Watch Sequence 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 will get a a lot better-looking smartwatch with built-in GPS, and it’s referred to as the Galaxy Watch Energetic from Samsung. It even has two days of battery life as a minimum, 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 strong construct high quality, the Versa 2 ought to final you two to 3 years or extra fairly simply.
Must you purchase it?
No. The Galaxy Watch Energetic can do nearly every part the Versa 2 can, and it appears to be like extra trendy; the upcoming Galaxy Watch Energetic 2 steps it up even additional for just a bit extra. And in the event you don’t care about sleep monitoring, the Apple Watch is ideal for iPhone house owners. You received’t be dissatisfied with the Versa 2, simply know there are higher choices.