For starters, Fitbit’s latest smartwatch, the Versa, is slimmer than the Apple Watch. But the Fitbit Versa competes more with its elder sibling Ionic than any other smartwatch.

At 11.2 mm thickness, Versa is one of the thinnest and lightest smartwatches. The curved edges, compared to the Ionic’s boxy design, make it even more pleasing to the eye.

Its light weight makes it very comfortable to wear all day and even when sleeping to help you track sleep quality. And nothing beats Fitbit in terms of sleep monitoring. We’ll get to this later.

Versa sports a smaller LCD screen at just 1.34-inches, but makes up for it in terms of brightness. At 1,000 nits, it’s the brightest smartwatch display you’ll find that equals the Apple Watch. That’s important because a fitness tracking watch has a bigger role to play under the harsh sun instead of the comfortable incandescent lighting of your home. Whatever be the setting, you won’t have to squint at the display.

The watch has three buttons, which may seem overwhelming, but they do come in handy. Touch screens don’t really work well when wet and that’s where these buttons help track your swims or sweaty workouts.

Versa’s battery will typically last three-four days, but it depends vastly on the usage.

While Fitbit has added several new features such as the ability to reply to messages (only on Android for now) and controlling music on your phone, the focus clearly remains on fitness tracking, which it does with precision.

Handy Coach app

The in-built Coach app guides you through several workout schedules. Think of it as your virtual coach. For example, a seven-minute workout schedule on the app will show you eight different workouts you can do within the time. Small videos illustrate each of the exercises. Once done, you can start the schedule and it will prompt you with a vibration alert to switch to the next exercise and provide visual cues at the same time.

While even Ionic offered the same app, the updated version now suggests workout schedules automatically. So you’ll have different workouts to try every week, instead of downloading new ones through the mobile app.

So far, Fitbit has tried to ensure that it doesn’t need a mobile to enable any of its features. But considering how difficult it is to transfer music to the smartwatch, and the non-availability of Deezer and Pandora apps in India, users are forced to look for other methods. And Fitbit does listen this time. By long-pressing the button on the left, you can control songs on your phone.

For the first time, female health also appears a big focus on a Fitbit. The Versa lets female users log details of their menstrual cycle. By logging the state of flow and symptoms involved, Fitbit’s health model can countdown to a user’s next period, not to mention providing crucial information and context to healthcare providers. There are separate apps that can help you track that, but getting everything on one platform makes it so much easier.

Once you’re ready to hit the bed, take the Versa with you and it’ll tell you how well you slept in detail. The sleep tracking, which can be accessed only after connecting the Versa to your smartphone, gives you information on deep sleep, light sleep, how many minutes you were practically awake for and how long was it REM sleep, etc.


But despite all these features, the Versa has some shortcomings. To begin with, the smartwatch doesn’t have in-built GPS. Sure, this may have helped Fitbit price it ₹2,000 cheaper than the Ionic, but if accurate workout tracking is important to you, you should be aware of this. Fitbit instead offers assisted GPS, which means it uses your phone’s GPS to track your steps.

It may sound as good as in-built GPS, but only as long as you remain connected to your phone via Bluetooth. When it wasn’t connected to the phone, the Versa showed 10,000 steps when I would’ve walked barely 2,000 and also showed 92 floors climbed when it was only about five floors. It often miscalculated steps even when connected to the phone when you’re in a car and the roads are bumpy. A car ride cannot be treated as walking and Fitbit should look at improving on that.

The Versa comes with 4 GB storage, but requires you to connect the watch to your PC to transfer music and the process is painfully slow.

Finally, Fitbit for some reason has tweaked the mechanism of changing your watch straps, which makes it harder to change from a sporty band to a formal leather band on a regular basis. But given that most people don’t change their watch bands on a regular basis, it shouldn’t be a deal-breaker.

Overall, at its price, the Versa is ₹2,000 cheaper than its larger sibling Ionic and a lot more cheaper than the world’s largest selling smartwatch, the Apple Watch. And it does pack in a lot more than you’d imagine.

For choosing between the Versa and Ionic, it basically boils down to personal design preference more than anything else, with a small price difference. That said, Versa is undoubtedly one of the biggest contenders for the best smartwatch in the market.

Price: ₹19,999

Pros: Great looks, four-day battery life, excellent for tracking sleep, fitness activities  and  even female health

Cons: Lack of in-built GPS, WhatsApp alerts still missing, voice-commands not supported

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