Fitbit Versa 3 review: A happy medium of health features and fitness tracking

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Do not Like

  • Depends closely on cellular app
  • Sluggish to sync
  • Well being metrics are laborious to seek out
  • Notification replies are Android-only

The Fitbit Versa 3 is Fitbit’s greatest smartwatch for most individuals. With an always-on show, built-in GPS, blood oxygen and temperature monitoring throughout sleep, and a battery that lasts six days, the Versa Three holds its personal in opposition to a few of its pricier opponents just like the Apple Watch SE and even the Fitbit Sense. Whereas you do not get the stress tracker and FDA-cleared electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) just like the Sense, the remainder of the Versa 3’s smartwatch and fitness options are related. As an added bonus, the Versa Three prices $100 lower than the Sense.

Higher design all-around 

The Versa Three nonetheless has the identical square-ish watch physique and steel body as its predecessor the Versa 2, however it now has a bigger 1.58-inch AMOLED display screen with slimmer bezels. It is shiny, crisp and simple to see in direct daylight. It will probably keep always-on (as a toned-down model with fewer metrics displayed) to provide you a fast look on the time with out transferring your wrist. And since Fitbit helps third-party watch faces, you have got a whole bunch of various choices to select from. 

Regardless of its aesthetic enhancements, the touchscreen and Fitbit interface nonetheless aren’t as responsive as what you’d get on an Apple Watch or Galaxy Watch, which even have AMOLED screens. The Versa Three lags a bit between swipes and takes some time to load apps and show info.

As a substitute of a bodily button on the facet of the watch like its predecessors, the Versa Three now has an indented haptic facet button. In principle, this works precisely like an actual button, however the haptic suggestions is nowhere close to as satisfying as urgent an actual button and it takes some getting used to. 

Luckily, not all of the design adjustments have a studying curve. Fitbit has additionally overhauled the strap mechanism on the Versa Three and now all it’s a must to do to swap out bands is press a button. It is a lot simpler than earlier fashions, which had a tiny, fiddly clasp.


Higher coaching instruments for health monitoring

At this level it is secure to imagine most Fitbit gadgets can deal with your primary fitness-tracking wants, measuring steps, distance, energy burned and coronary heart fee. The Versa Three covers the fundamentals nicely and has the identical health options because the costlier Sense. It tracks 20 completely different actions together with indoor and outside swimming and has automated exercise detection for some train varieties like working for those who neglect to begin a session. 

It is also the primary Versa smartwatch to have built-in GPS, though not the primary Fitbit, because the Charge 4 and Sense even have built-in GPS. As a runner, not having GPS on earlier Versa fashions was an enormous ache level for me as I must take my cellphone to get a map of my run (or bike trip). With the Versa 3, I can go away my cellphone behind and nonetheless get the space and route info of my outside exercises. The one draw back is that the watch can take a couple of minutes to lock on to a GPS sign. You are supposed to face nonetheless whereas it does this, however I’d neglect and take off instantly after urgent begin, then it could take about 4 minutes earlier than receiving the affirmation. 

The Versa Three may provide you with coronary heart fee zone notifications throughout exercises. These use your coronary heart fee to find out your effort stage, so the watch buzzes to inform you as you enter completely different zones similar to fats burn, cardio or peak for instance. This can assist you have got a way of when to push your self a bit tougher, or ease up a bit throughout coaching. As a substitute of utilizing steps taken as the only real measure of success throughout your day, the Versa Three has a metric referred to as Energetic Zone Minutes which makes use of coronary heart fee information to find out how lengthy you have engaged in some type of bodily exercise, even those that do not require strolling round a lot. So fairly than aiming for 10,000 steps, you may intention for one thing like 20 or extra Energetic Zone Minutes, relying in your targets. In accordance with Fitbit, Energetic Zone Minutes are a extra correct illustration of your health stage than steps alone. 

I like that the Versa 3, in addition to different Fitbit gadgets, units weekly exercise targets fairly than judging you each day. As a mum or dad of two small youngsters, working from residence and attempting to squeeze in exercises throughout a pandemic is hard. I positively have my off days, so weekly targets have been rather more real looking and inspiring. I might take a look at my each day stats on the watch as a piece in progress fairly than as a whole failure. The Versa Three notifies you (and celebrates with an on-screen animation) while you attain your purpose earlier than the top of the week. You will proceed to build up factors till the top of the week and may see an in depth breakdown of your exercise within the Fitbit cellular app.

You possibly can even learn how match you’re for those who’re prepared to dig deep sufficient into the settings. The Versa Three makes use of your coronary heart fee to estimate your Vo2 max (most oxygen consumption throughout train) and plots it on a graph to inform you the way you examine to your demographic. On the Fitbit cellular app it is referred to as Cardio Health ranges and you will discover it by urgent the center fee tile on the At the moment abstract and swiping left on the graph.

Fitbit Premium subscribers even have entry to guided exercise packages and movies. A premium subscription prices $10 a month, however you get three months free with the Versa 3. You comply with alongside in your cellphone with courses from manufacturers similar to Popsugar and Each day Burn, or you may obtain a complete exercise to your watch utilizing the Fitbit Coach app. Downloading a exercise was extra sensible for me, as I may normally squeeze in a 10-minute ab exercise proper after a run with out having to have a look at my cellphone for directions. 

Learn extra: Best smartwatches of 2020

Loads of well being information if you would like it 

However the Versa Three is rather more than a health tracker. It additionally screens different facets about your well being, together with SpO2 (blood oxygen ranges), respiration fee and variations in pores and skin temperature when you sleep, which may collectively assist paint a broader image of your total well being.

It is vital to notice, nevertheless, that this isn’t a medical system, and shouldn’t be used for diagnostic functions. At all times seek the advice of with a doctor or different certified well being supplier about any health-related points you’ll have a couple of medical situation or well being aims. Solely the ECG on the Fitbit Sense has acquired FDA clearance. 

Fitbit shines relating to sleep monitoring and the Versa Three supplies some of the complete appears at your sleep in comparison with every other smartwatch. Whether or not that is truly useful to you is one other factor. 

It takes into consideration length in addition to the completely different phases of sleep (deep, gentle and REM), which is customary relating to sleep monitoring. However then it additionally breaks out your respiration fee, coronary heart fee, blood oxygen ranges and variations in pores and skin temperature when you sleep, and you may evaluation all these stats within the Fitbit app within the morning.

Fitbit additionally gives superior sleep analytics for Premium subscribers which put a few of this info into context by telling you the way you examine to the common particular person, which was useful for an newbie sleep tracker like myself. It additionally provides you recommendations on the best way to enhance your sleep. For me, that features attending to mattress earlier, which I used to be already nicely conscious of. Sadly it could’t pressure me into mattress at 10 p.m. — but.

However one of many greatest ache factors for me was that you may’t get this info at a look in your watch face while you get up. There is a abstract of your sleep and your SpO2 vary (so long as you utilize a selected watch face), however you may have to change to the Fitbit app for extra insights. To me, that type of defeats the aim of getting a smartwatch. I might typically go days or typically even weeks with out checking the app. After I did go in and verify, although, I used to be pleasantly stunned by a few of the information I discovered. For pores and skin temperature variability for instance, I observed the dips within the chart coincided with a few of the adjustments in my menstrual cycle (observe that the Fitbit Sense additionally screens pores and skin temperature too) and I can see how you might begin to make correlations between a few of these information factors over time. Temperature monitoring just isn’t one thing you may in all probability use each day, however it’s good to have a lot information about your self to look again on for those who ever want it. 

The Versa Three will get smarter, however nonetheless cannot catch the Apple Watch or Galaxy Watch

Fitbit’s earlier smartwatches lagged behind opponents such because the costlier Apple Watch and Galaxy Watch as they lacked a big selection of third-party apps and LTE connectivity. The Versa Three has the identical drawbacks and depends closely on the cellphone, however it’s no less than beginning to catch as much as the pack, particularly when paired with an Android cellphone. 

The Versa Three now has a built-in microphone and speaker so you may take fast calls in your wrist you probably have an Android cellphone or iPhone. It’s also possible to pair the Versa Three with Bluetooth earbuds. Incoming name notifications can be displayed on the watch no matter which cellphone you have got, however solely Android customers will be capable to reply to messages from their wrist with fast replies, or by dictating a response. 

It’s also possible to bark orders at your wrist with two selections of voice assistant on the Versa 3: Amazon’s Alexa or Google Assistant. And whereas I have not had an opportunity to totally examine them but (Google Assistant launched whereas I used to be already nicely into my evaluation) for now Alexa is the one one that may learn your responses out loud fairly than simply displaying them on the display screen. 

It’s also possible to make contactless funds with the Versa Three with Fitbit Pay and hearken to music from Pandora or Deezer. There is no such thing as a onboard music storage for songs you personal, like MP3 recordsdata. As a substitute, you may want a Pandora or Deezer subscription to save lots of and retailer songs for offline listening. Whereas the Versa Three does have a Spotify app, you may solely use it as a distant to manage playback in your cellphone. 

Battery life is second to none

The Versa Three is probably not the neatest watch, however it destroys the competitors on battery life. Even firing on all cylinders with the always-on show lively, a pair GPS exercises and sleep monitoring, I used to be nonetheless in a position to get nearly three days of battery out of the watch. You possibly can prolong this as much as six days with extra average use and by disabling the always-on show. The Versa Three additionally fees quicker than earlier Versa watches: Fitbit says 12 minutes on the charger will get you a full 24 hours of battery, and 30 minutes on the charger will get you to 100%. However for those who’re updating from a earlier mannequin, observe that the Versa Three makes use of a brand new, proprietary charger so it is not appropriate along with your earlier one. It is magnetic and should be positioned at simply the precise angle to cost, which takes some getting used to. 

A cheerful medium of well being options and health monitoring

The Versa Three has sufficient well being metrics for individuals seeking to study extra about their our bodies with out having to spend further on the Fitbit Sense. It gives sensible health instruments for coaching and may lastly be thought to be a viable possibility for outside working and biking because of its built-in GPS. And it does sleep monitoring higher than any smartwatch I’ve examined to date. 

Whereas the Versa Three is a stable smartwatch possibility for Android house owners, the Cost four could also be a greater wager for iPhone customers wanting a a Fitbit system. For about $100 much less, you get a whole lot of the identical nice well being and health options. You lose the a few of the added sensible options like voice to textual content replies, however a lot of them aren’t iPhone-compatible anyway.

Learn extra: Fitbit Sense, Versa 3 and Inspire 2 are here: How to decide which to buy

Fitbit Sense vs Fitbit Versa 3

Fitbit Sense Fitbit Versa 3
Form Sq. Sq.
Supplies Aluminum and chrome steel
Show dimension, decision AMOLED AMOLED
At all times On Sure Sure
Interchangeable bands Sure Sure
GPS Sure Sure
Computerized exercise detection Sure Sure
Water resistance Sure, as much as 50m Sure, as much as 50m
Notifications Textual content replies (Android) Textual content replies (Android)
Microphone Sure Sure
Speaker Sure Sure
Voice assistant Alexa and Google Assistant Alexa and Google Assistant
Music Onboard (Deezer, Pandora), playback management (Spotify) Onboard (Deezer, Pandora), playback management (Spotify)
Cellular Funds Fitbit Pay Fitbit Pay
Sleep monitoring Sure Sure
Interval monitoring Sure Sure
Particular options Stress monitoring and SpO2, ECG and pores and skin temperature SpO2 and pores and skin temperature
Compatibility Android and iOS Android and iOS
Battery life 6 days 6 days
Value (USD) $329 $229
Value (GBP) £300 £200
Value (AUD) $500 $400

First revealed Dec. 1

The knowledge contained on this article is for academic and informational functions solely and isn’t meant as well being or medical recommendation. At all times seek the advice of a doctor or different certified well being supplier relating to any questions you’ll have a couple of medical situation or well being aims.

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Vanessa Hand Orellana