Fitbit Versa vs Apple Watch

Sheri Evans
March 13, 2018

I got a chance to take a look at the Versa at a special launch event in New York City, along with Fitbit's first fitness tracker for children, the Ace.

Even the Versa's name is a hint at its design, being short for versatility. The bands are also swappable, so parents can pick up larger sizes as their wrists grow. It also comes packed with the Relax guided breathing tutorials we've seen before.

The watch comes with a silicone band as standard (worth $30/€30), but you can buy a Horween leather band for $50/€60 or a metal or mesh band for $80-$100/€80-€100.

When it comes to Fitbit Pay, the company's wearable payment service, the situation is a little. unusual. There's also a special-edition Versa model priced at $229.95, which includes NFC and Fitbit Pay capabilities in the US and comes with an exclusive style, featuring woven bands in either lavender or charcoal coloration with either a rose gold aluminum or graphite aluminum case. It feels like a mass appeal smartwatch adding NFC payments would help spur adoption, but apparently that's not how Fitbit sees it.

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Fitbit announced two brand-new products today, plus a much-requestion additional feature for the Fitbit app. Although it lacks a built-in Global Positioning System and a cellular connection option, which the Apple Watch has, it boasts a battery life of up to four days (the Apple Watch lasts about 18 hours). The wearable brings a new version of Fitbit's OS with text notifications, on-device music, broader cross-platform compatibility, and easier navigation.

Fitbit will also start giving users guidance for menstrual cycles, ovulation, fertility and common misconceptions. Created to walk a path that gave you the convenience of the smartwatch - colourful display, apps, wide notifications - with Fitbit's popular tracking platform. Step goals and heart rate trends are shown on new interfaces, letting you more easily keep an eye on daily progress or your resting heart rate. There will also be groups in Fitbit's Community service for women to connect over.

Sleep tracking is also available on the Versa. Versa and Ionic will be able to view where they are in their cycle on-device; owners of other Fitbit trackers will still be able to track their periods via the app. Essentially, Fitbit has replicated the smartphone app's dashboard on your wrist. You can pre-order it right now on the Fitbit site. Fitness gamification has always been a big part of fitness trackers' appeal, and kids would probably appreciate that aspect, as well, encoring them to get up and moving, away from their screens for the recommended 60 minutes a day (not to mention the nine to 12 hours of recommended sleep a night). Melanie Chase says the closed nature of iOS doesn't allow them to offer the same functionality, but that it's looking at workarounds for specific apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. The Versa is now available for pre-order on Fitbit's site and with global availability starting in April. You'll get things like your resting heart rate monitored, giving you a history of how that changes as you get fitter - it's also a good indicator of when there's something else going on with your body - like you're about to be ill.

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