For the Fitbit Versa 3 review, I knew it was going to be a bit of an adjustment from my Apple Watch Series 6 and comparing them just wouldn’t be fair. Fitbit’s newest addition to the Versa line is a mid-range smartwatch that is more in line with Apple Watch SE in terms of price and features. But that’s exactly why the Fitbit Versa 3 is even more impressive.
After a couple of weeks of testing, I found myself wondering if I should have considered the Versa 3 first before deciding on the best smartwatch for me. That’s a compelling testament to how capable this smartwatch is, even if it is a bit lacking on those smartwatch features that Apple Watches do so well. Then again, that might be the point here – to encourage its users to forget about everything else for 30 minutes or so and keep their focus on those workout routines.
There’s certainly room for improvement here. While the Fitbit Versa 3 comes with a few new features you’ll also find in the brand’s new flagship, the Fitbit Sense, some of those upgrades could have been implemented better. But there’s also a lot to love, especially for those users who are more focused on getting healthy than sporting the priciest, fully kitted-out gadgets.
Fitbit Versa 3 review: price, release date and features
The Fitbit Versa 3 launched alongside the Fitbit Sense and Fitbit Inspire 2 in August 2020, and is a bit more expensive than its predecessor, at least in the US and Australia. This latest model in the Versa line will set you back $229, which is $30 more than the Versa 2.
The new features the Fitbit Versa 3 brings justify the price difference. Especially as many of those features are also present in the more expensive flagship, the Fitbit Sense, which costs $299.
Among them is the built-in GPS, which allows the smartwatch to track your pace, distance and workout intensity outdoors, even without your phone on you, and a display that’s bigger and better. It also comes with Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity, a new side “button” with haptic feedback, and the Active Zone Minutes function.
Besides the black band on black aluminum case, the Fitbit Versa 3 comes in a soft gold aluminum with a pink clay band and a soft gold aluminum with a midnight band. Like its predecessors, the band is interchangeable, so extra bands (both woven and leather) may be purchased separately starting at $30.
Fitbit Versa 3 review: screen and design
Those upgrading from a previous generation Versa will appreciate the new display on the Fitbit Versa 3. This 1.58-inch 336 x 336 AMOLED color touchscreen is an excellent update; sleeker and softer around the edges with a bright, crisp and vibrant display that has terrific viewing angles.
The 1.34-inch 300 x 300 OLED display on the Versa 2 pales in comparison, as you’re not only getting more screen real estate but also better image quality. It’s one of the several features “inherited” from the Fitbit Sense. I only wish that its touch and always-on functions were better implemented.
The screen on the Fitbit Versa 3 is responsive and accurate most of the time and navigating through the menus is easy. Unfortunately, there were moments during my testing when I had to swipe a couple of times to bring up menus or go to a different page. Even with the display set to Always-On and the Screen Wake to “Motion & button,” there were times when it didn’t wake when I turned my wrist, forcing me to press the button instead.
Fitbit is using the word “button” loosely here. Instead of the traditional raised button, the company has swapped it out for a recessed one just below the lip of the case. This new button, which first appeared on the Fitbit Charge 3, is a capacitive button that delivers haptic feedback to signal that it’s been pressed.
The idea is certainly appealing. The chassis looks sleeker and cleaner without a button sticking out of it, and that haptic feedback is definitely elegant. Sadly, the execution could have been better. Pressing it had been a hit or miss affair during my testing.
Not only did it prove a little hard to find during the first few days of testing, but it also wasn’t always responsive when pressed. In fact, using this button felt like the luck of the draw. There were times when it would respond beautifully at a light press, and there were times when I had to give it a bit more force. Occasionally, it wouldn’t respond at all.
This is far from a deal-breaker since you don’t always have to interact with the button. However, it is a bit of an annoyance, especially because you can’t really completely avoid using it.
One thing I have to give the Fitbit Versa 3’s screen credit for is its build. While Fitbit hasn’t highlighted how durable the glass is, it’s truly impressive how scratch and break resistant it is. I’ve (accidentally) scraped and banged this smartwatch’s face on different surfaces many times in my weeks of testing and that glass has stayed beautiful and blemish-free.
Rounding out the Fitbit Versa 3’s design update is its new strap mechanism – another thing it shares with the Sense. It’s now easier than ever to change straps with the addition of a small button that acts as the strap’s release mechanism.
Fitbit has also swapped out the regular buckle design for a small button on its new “Infinity Band.” This button holds the strap in place when popped into one of the holes, something that might be a bit of an adjustment for you if you’re used to traditional straps. However, once you’re used to it, you’ll start to appreciate its brilliance.
Fitbit Versa 3 review: health and fitness
It’s the host of health and fitness features on the Fitbit Versa 3 that’s really proven to be the main selling point here. It lacks some premium features that you’ll get with the Fitbit Sense, like the FDA-approved ECG monitoring, skin temperature reader, high and low heart rate notification, and some stress management tools. However, unless those things are extremely vital to you as life-saving measures, you most likely won’t notice their absence on the Versa 3. Besides, there are already more than enough features to wrap your head around.
At the heart of Versa 3’s fitness tracker function are features like heart rate monitoring, workout tracking, the Fitbit SmartTrack, Active Zone Minutes and onboard GPS. There’s also the maximum rate of oxygen consumption (VO2 max) reading, blood oxygen (SpO2) monitoring, sleep tracking, and the Workout Intensity Map in the Fitbit app.
The on-board GPS is a boon, especially to runners and those who want to take a digital time-out and focus on their workouts. New to the Versa line, it’s useful for tracking your workouts, pace and distance in real-time, ensuring that you’re still recording your exercises even when you leave your phone at home.
There are a few caveats to this new feature. The GPS doesn’t automatically turn on even with the SmartTrack feature and is only activated when you’ve started an exercise. It also takes a bit of time to connect – not by much, but long enough to be noticeable. It’s also a battery drain so that when you’re using it alongside the Always-On setting activated, you’re cutting your battery life down to less than half.
Still, for someone who relies on a GPS + Cellular connection, this is a nice compromise. If only the Versa 3 would also allow users to save a Spotify playlist. Deezer and Pandora users, however, will appreciate that they can store and play music & podcasts.
Speaking of SmartTrack, this feature automatically detects your movements – as well as their intensity and patterns – by running calculations round-the-clock. Whenever it discerns continuous movements for 15 minutes or more, it recognizes the type of activity you’re doing and logs it as a workout. I find this useful when I forget to start a workout, although it’s definitely great for those who want to focus more on their workouts and take a more passive role in tracking and recording them.
Another thing to love about the Fitbit Versa 3 is the Active Zone Minutes, something it has inherited from the Fitbit Charge 4. This new feature monitors and logs your active minutes or the minutes you spend in the fat burn or cardio/peak zone throughout the day. With a 150 Active Zone Minutes goal per week (based on AHA and WHO recommendations), you can utilize it to track and meet your daily and weekly goal.
Of course, there are other fitness goals, hourly reminders and real-time metrics to help you meet your personal goals. There’s also a host of fitness features behind the paid Fitbit Premium subscription. Guided Programs, special activity challenges, advanced health and fitness stats, the Health Metrics dashboard and 300+ additional workouts and mindfulness sessions are hidden behind this subscription. Having to pay extra for these might disappoint a lot of folks, especially the budget-conscious.
However, if you’re willing to pay the $9.99 a month ($79.99 a year) subscription, it really unlocks the Versa 3’s full potential. Sadly, not all of the Premium features sync up to the smartwatch and are only available on the Fitbit app. I spent an hour or so trying to figure out how I can access my Guided Programs on my smartwatch only to find out via support that they are only accessible on the mobile app. It would have been great to use some of these premium features while also taking advantage of the built-in GPS.
Other notable features on the Fitbit Versa 3 are guided breathing, sleep and sleep stages tracking, SpO2 monitoring during sleep, and menstrual health tracking.
Fitbit Versa 3 review: performance and battery life
Though there’s much to be lauded in the Fitbit Versa 3’s fitness tracking capabilities, its performance isn’t flawless. There’s that fraction of a second delay every time you’re opening apps and sometimes when switching menus. Pairing Bluetooth devices for the first time can also be tricky. While these aren’t exactly massive issues, they are minor inconveniences that definitely add up the longer you use the device.
Although it is getting bigger, the app library for Fitbit smartwatches still isn’t as extensive as that for Apple and Android watches.
Its GPS tracking seems pretty accurate, if perhaps only ever so slightly off. That is, it registers a few more steps and slightly less mileage. And, as soon as the Versa 3 reconnects with your phone, it automatically syncs all that data to the app without issue so you can rest assured you’re not missing any workout data to properly track your progress.
The sleep tracker works as well. Though I can’t really tell just how accurate it is, it seems to be able to detect when I stir to change positions and when I’m in deep and REM sleep. The app offers a lot of data as well, and gives me a sleep score, offering much insight into my sleeping patterns.
While the Smart Wake feature, a vibration alarm that works to softly and gradually wake you during your lighter sleep stage minutes before your set wake time, is helpful in theory, I found the vibration to be more of an obnoxious shake rather than a gentle nudge. Heavier sleepers, however, might find it a nice addition.
The Fitbit Versa 3’s water resistance works beautifully. Those who enjoy going out for a swim will appreciate that it’s not just water-resistant up to 164 feet (50 meters), but also resistant to saltwater. While I didn’t get a chance to use this underwater, I’ve showered with it on my wrist multiple times and haven't experienced any issues. I have noticed that water drops from the shower can sometimes register as taps on the touch display, but that’s not really a massive issue.
This is the first smartwatch to support two major voice assistants – offering both Alexa and Google Assistant – which should make smart home fans happy. However, the Alexa implementation isn’t always able to execute commands correctly.
It’s hard to find fault in its battery life, however. The Fitbit Versa 3 will last you about six days on a full charge if you have the screen set to dim, Always-On turned off, and GPS not activated. That’s pretty impressive especially since many smartwatches will only last a day.
That longevity does drop to about two or three days when brightness is set to normal, Always-On is on, and you’re using the GPS for a couple of hours or so. Luckily, charging is fast and efficient. Fitbit promises a full day’s charge in just 12 minutes, and I’ve found that it only takes about an hour to go from 9% to 100%.
Fitbit Versa 3 review: verdict
The Fitbit Versa 3 has impressive enough features especially in the fitness and wellness department to make me rethink my Apple Watch Series 6 investment. There’s a host of updated and new features here, some of which you’ll find in the new flagship, Fitbit Sense, improving its functionality overall.
While there are a few things that Fitbit could have done better, the Fitbit Versa 3 has proven to be a worthy smartwatch. Is it worth switching over to when you’ve already invested in the Android or WatchOS environment? To some people, it just might be, especially as it comes at such an affordable price point. And while there’s no cellular option here to stay connected even without your phone, sometimes you want to leave the phone at home for a reason.
As for those who haven’t really owned a smartwatch or fitness tracker before, you will be impressed by the number of features that the Fitbit Versa 3 brings to the table, even more if you sign up for that Fitbit Premium subscription.
Overall, the Fitbit Versa 3 is a formidable smartwatch that won’t cost you a whole bunch of money, and it should definitely be in your shortlist when you’re considering your options.
While the Fitbit Versa 3 may be the best value smartwatch and fitness tracker from the manufacturer. The flagship Fitbit Sense costs only a little more, at $299.
For your money, you’re getting features like stress tracking and stress management scores, ECG readings, and heart rate tracking with low and high heart rate notifications.
On the other hand, if you’re either invested in the Apple environment or want a cellular smartwatch, there is the Apple Watch SE, which might just be Versa 3’s direct rival. Its $279 price tag puts it at a slightly higher price point, but it’s also Apple’s affordable offering, much like the Versa 3 is Fitbit’s.
Prices - Fitbit Versa 3:▼
Fitbit Versa 3 specs
Water resistance: 50 meters
Heart rate sensor: Yes
Display: 1.58-inch. 336 x 336-pixel touchscreen
Contactless payment: Fitbit Pay
Battery life: 6 days/12 hours continuous GPS
Voice assistants: Alexa, Google Assistant
Fitbit’s Versa lineup is, if anything, reliable. Now in its third iteration, the Fitbit Versa 3 ranks among the best smartwatches, tacking on useful software improvements and design tweaks to become a formidable Apple Watch SE rival and a fitness tracker with obvious appeal.
Fitbit Versa 3’s standout upgrade is on-board GPS. Now, even when you leave your phone at home, the Versa can (finally) track your location during outdoor exercise. A curvier, larger display is welcome, too. What’s less appreciated is the $229 price tag, which is more expensive than the $199 Fitbit Versa 2 and disqualifies this model from our best cheap smartwatches rankings.
So is the premium justified? This Fitbit Versa 3 review answers whether the fitness tracking company’s midrange smartwatch still offers solid value for the price.
Fitbit Versa 3 price and availability
The Fitbit Versa 3 costs $229 and is available as of this writing at Fitbit.com and other retailers.
As for colors, the Versa 3 comes in three finishes: black/black aluminum, pink clay/soft gold aluminum and midnight/soft gold aluminum. The Versa 3's band is also interchangeable; other bands, including woven and leather, are available starting at around $30.
Fitbit Versa 3 review: Design and display
The Fitbit Versa 3 sports a similar squircle shape as the previous two Versa models, but has slightly softer edges and swaps out the physical button of the Fitbit Versa 2 for an indented touch area with haptic feedback on its left side. I haven’t tested a Fitbit with this design feature yet, so it took some getting used to but I grew to favor it over a button.
It adds to the Versa 3’s everyday comfort, too. I like when a smartwatch sits flush to my wrist and few models I’ve tested this year offer the same slimness. If you prefer the look and feel of a bulkier watch, one of the best sports watches is probably better for you.
Another incremental design change arrived for the Versa 3's display. Its 336 x 336-pixel color touchscreen is a small improvement from the 300 x 300-pixel on the Versa 2. At 1.58 inches, it's also larger than the 1.39-inch screen on the Versa 2, and once again offers an always-on mode. I especially appreciated expanded real estate for viewing my mid-workout metrics.
Fitbit Versa 3 review: Activity tracking features
Fitbit’s bread and butter is activity tracking, so it’s no surprise that the Versa 3 is a capable health buddy. While it packs everything you’ve come to expect from the fitness tracking savant — heart rate monitoring, blood oxygen (SpO2) monitoring, VO2 max readings, workout tracking, sleep tracking — it skips out on some features we raved about in our Fitbit Sense review.
For $329, the Fitbit Sense is the best Fitbit because it offers FDA-approved ECG monitoring for detecting atrial fibrillation, stress management tools, a skin temperature reader and high and low heart rate notifications. If any of these sound like data that would improve your relationship with your health, you might find the Sense is worthwhile. But if you’re looking for something that’s great at the basics, the Versa 3 holds its own.
Plus the Versa 3 has gained my favorite motivational workout feature of the moment, Active Zone Minutes. First introduced with the Charge 4, Active Zone Minutes monitors the time you spend in the fat burn, cardio or peak heart-rate zones while exercising. Your goal is to earn the AHA’s and WHO’s recommended 150 Active Zone Minutes each week. As long as I exercised for 30 minutes 5 times per week, winning this little game was no sweat. Well, except for all the sweat from working out… TMI?
With the cooler weather and safety protocols, I mostly stuck to exercising inside with the Peloton App and a spin bike I’m testing. For fitness guidance, you could subscribe to Fitbit Premium ($9.99/month, $79.99/year), the at-home coaching service that seamlessly integrates with your Fitbit Versa 3. Fitbit Premium is great for advanced sleep metrics and health metrics, too.
When I did venture outside, the Fitbit Versa 3’s on-board GPS proved useful for seeing my real-time walk/jog/run pace and distance. I often like to leave my phone behind for outdoor activity, but previous Versa models didn’t offer that convenience. Although GPS can be a battery-killer, it’s a necessity for any formidable fitness tracker, in my opinion. In terms of accuracy, I found the Versa 3 generally underreported distance compared to my Apple Watch, but not by much.
Fitbit Versa 3 review: Sleep tracking
Similar to activity tracking, Fitbit has a great reputation for sleep tracking tools among the best fitness trackers. When I wore the Versa 3 to bed, it kept tabs on how much time I spent asleep every night, plus how long I spent in the various sleep stages. It also monitored my blood oxygen saturation while I snoozed, so if I suffered any severe changes in SpO2 I could be tipped off to underlying breathing issues like sleep apnea.
Based on this data, Fitbit provides a daily Sleep Score between 0-100. Most mornings my score landed in the 80s, although on one particularly restless night I landed in the 40s with hardly two hours of sleep under my belt (or covers.)
Fitbit Versa 3 review: Smartwatch features
As a smartwatch, the Versa 3 is capable, but not extraordinary. In addition to Alexa, the Versa 3 supports Google Assistant, making it the first smartwatch with access to both major voice assistants. One caveat is that you can only have one assistant active at a time, and I use both in my day-to-day testing of the best smart home devices, so I could only control about half of my gadgets à la James Bond.
That said, the Fitbit Versa 3's built-in speaker and microphone also offer the ability to answer phone calls from your wrist. However, this feature is limited to those with Android phones. I’ve been using an iPhone 12 Pro Max, so I didn’t get to test it out.
I did like the access to Fitbit Pay, as well as the availability of third-party apps for Starbucks, Yelp, Walgreens, The New York Times and more. Fitbit’s app library is getting larger, but it still lacks compared to Apple’s watchOS App store.
The Versa 3 also lags compared to my Apple Watch SE. I poked around online to see if other reviewers and users noticed how apps can be slow to open and displays slow to switch, and sure enough I wasn’t the only one who felt the Versa 3 could be more responsive. It’s not a huge dealbreaker, but if you’re accustomed to the speedy performance of your smartphone or other smartwatch, the Versa 3 might frustrate you.
Fitbit Versa 3 review: Battery life
Fitbit claims the Versa 3 gets 6 days of battery life, which is an improvement over the Versa 2's 4 to 5 days. Of course, enabling the Versa's always-on display and using GPS will zap its stamina. Still, the Versa 2 should last for about 12 hours when it’s actively tracking your location. That’s a huge advantage over the midrange Apple Watch SE, as well as top-shelf smartwatches like the Apple Watch Series 6 and Samsung Galaxy Watch 3.
I eked nearly 7 days out of the Versa 3, although I usually charged it up when it dipped under 20% after 5-6 days. The best part? It juiced back up to 100% with Fitbit’s fast charging, magnetic charger in just 60 minutes.
Fitbit Versa 3 review: Verdict
While I could argue the Fitbit Sense’s large catalog of health capabilities is worth an additional $100, most people will find the Versa 3 offers everything they need out of a fitness-focused smartwatch. Would I upgrade from a Versa 2? Not necessarily, but the addition of Active Zone Minutes, a higher-resolution display, sleeker design, fast charging and — at last — GPS, makes the Versa 3 an excellent evolution.
As for whether I’d recommend it over the Apple Watch SE, well, that depends on just how “smart” you want your smartwatch to be. While the Versa 3 has the advantage in terms of activity tracking, its smaller app library, no iPhone call support and performance lag could be a bit of a turn off.
Those quirks aside, the Versa has a secure position in the mid-range smartwatch category, and should be on your short list if you’re looking for a well-rounded wearable under $250.
Kate Kozuch is a senior writer at Tom’s Guide covering wearables, TVs and everything smart-home related. When she’s not in cyborg mode, you can find her on an exercise bike or channeling her inner celebrity chef. She and her robot army will rule the world one day, but until then, reach her at [email protected]
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List of Fitbit products
Wikipedia list article
This is a list of products released by Fitbit.
Fitbit Ace range
Released in December 2018, the Fitbit Ace is a mini version of the Alta for children aged 8 and above. In March 2019, the Fitbit Ace 2 for kids aged 6 and above was released. In 2021, The Fitbit Ace 3 was released. The Ace 3 is a slightly smaller version of the Ace 2, only with a curved screen and a smaller band.
Announced in February 2019 for corporate companies and released a month later in March 2019 for the public, the Fitbit Inspire is similar to the Charge 2, with a thin screen display. While it does not monitor heart rate or floors climbed, it has similar features to the Fitbit Charge 3. Fitbit Inspire comes in three different colors: black, lilac, and black/white. There are also two different strap colors. An optional clip-on accessory allows the Inspire to be worn in other locations such as a belt, waistline pocket, or bra.
Fitbit Inspire 2
The Fitbit Inspire 2 was released soon after the Charge 4. In addition to all the Inspire HR's features, it has an improved screen, double the battery life & new Active Zone Minutes feature.
Fitbit Charge 3
The Fitbit Charge 3 was released in October 2018. It has a heart rate sensor as well as an oxygen saturation (SPO2) sensor - however, it shipped non-functional but Fitbit eventually enabled the feature. Sleep tracking has been improved from the Charge 2. In November 2018, a special edition of the Fitbit Charge 3 was released featuring "Fitbit Pay" as a special feature.
Fitbit Charge 4
The Fitbit Charge 4 is a tracker released in March 2020. It shares the same form factor as the Charge 3, but includes additional features such as in-built Spotify controls, Active Zone Minutes and Fitbit Pay Support. Charge 4 also has built in GPS, and many of the Charge 3 clock faces return.
Fitbit Charge 5
The Fitbit Charge 5 is a tracker released in September 2021. The Fitbit Charge 5 is said to be redefining how you overall track your health & well-being while keeping in mind the pulse of your fitness, heart health, stress & the add-on ability to track your body to carry out the required workouts.
Fitbit Luxe is a fitness tracker released on 30 April 2021. In terms of features and specifications, it is almost similar to Fitbit Inspire 2. However, this is a fashion-forward fitness tracker that mainly targets the female users. Rather than the grayscale display of other Fitbit fitness trackers, it comes with a colour touchscreen display. The features includes heart rate monitoring, sleep tracking female health tracking and 5 days of battery life. But it does not have music control or music streaming feature like Fitbit Charge 4.
Released in April 2018, it has a square design with round edges, similar to the Apple Watch and Pebble watches. It retains most of the Ionic's features and interface. It is capable of tracking women's menstrual cycles. It does not have built-in GPS like the Ionic, instead using connected GPS like the Blaze.
There are three variants of the Versa; the standard edition, the Special Edition, and the Lite Edition. The standard Versa comes in three colors: black, rose gold, or silver. The Special Edition comes in rose gold with a lavender band, or graphite with a charcoal band. The Special Edition also includes woven wristbands. In the United States, the Special Edition of the Versa is the only version of the watch to ship with Fitbit Pay. The Lite Edition has a more limited feature set and comes in silver with a white or lilac band, marina blue, or mulberry.
Fitbit Versa 2
The Fitbit Versa 2 was released in September 2019. New features include Amazon Alexa, 24/7 heart rate tracking and sleep tracking.
Fitbit Versa 3
The Fitbit Versa 3 was announced in August 2020 and released at the end of September 2020. This model adds the GPS function compared to its predecessor, Versa 2, and Google Assistant integration. More improvements to the previous model include Active Zone Minutes, a display with a higher resolution, and fast charging. Android users can answer phone calls using the Versa 3. These features and the addition of a speaker required a slight increase in the thickness from 12.15 mm to 12.35 mm. The feature to store music on the device, as available in the Fitbit Versa 2, however, is not available in the Fitbit Versa 3.
The Fitbit Sense was also released at the end of September 2020 as the most advanced product of the brand. The Sense received FDA-approval for its electrocardiogram function. This function was available in select regions only at launch. This model features stress tracking, as well as blood oxygen measurements. Similar to the Fitbit Versa 3, this Fitbit also removes the ability to store music on the device, as available in the Fitbit Versa 2.
Fitbit Aria Air
This section is empty. You can help by adding to it. (May 2021)
The Fitbit Aria Air was released in 2019, it is set of scales and not a tracking watch.
Sweatproof wireless earphones by Fitbit. Has noise isolation.
The Fit Tracker was a small black and teal device that could be clipped discing and worn 24/7. It uses a three-dimensional accelerometer to sense user movement. The Tracker measures steps taken and combines it with user data to calculate distance walked, calories burned, floors climbed, and activity duration and intensity. It uses an OLED display to display this and other information such as the battery level. It also measures sleep quality by tracking periods of restlessness, how long it takes the wearer to fall asleep and how long they are actually asleep.
A wireless base station is included to receive data from the Tracker and to charge its battery. When connected to a computer, the base station will upload data to the Fitbit website, where a number of features are available: seeing an overview of physical activity, setting and tracking goals, keeping food and activity logs and interacting with friends. Use of the website is free.
The Fitbit Classic tracked only steps taken, distance traveled, calories burned, activity intensity and sleep.
At the TechCrunch50 during the "Mobile" session on September 9, 2008, Fitbit received positive reactions during its panel from experts like Rafe Needleman, Tim O'Reilly, and Evan Williams who cited its wearability, price, and lack of subscription fees.
The Fitbit Ultra was announced on October 3, 2011. The new features included:
- an altimeter that measures elevation gain in terms of floors, with one floor roughly equivalent to ten feet
- a digital clock visible on the device's display
- a stopwatch that can be used to time activities
- randomized "Chatter" messages show when the Ultra is moved after sitting idle for a while
- new colors
The Fitbit Ultra is powered by a small lithium polymer battery.
The Fitbit Ultra suffered from a small design flaw: the unit had a permanently curved shape in order to clip directly onto any piece of clothing. The plastic used in the unit was not appropriate for the strain experienced at the looped end, and with time would become brittle, and crack. While most users experienced only minor cracking with no effects to the device's function, in a few cases the cracking led to total failure. Fitbit offered replacement or repair of affected units that were under warranty.
Announced on September 17, 2012, the Fitbit One is an update to the Fitbit Ultra that has a more vivid digital display, has a separate clip and a separate charging cable and wireless sync dongle. The Fitbit One and the Fitbit Zip were the first wireless activity trackers to sync using Bluetooth 4.0 or Bluetooth Low Energy technology. The wireless syncing is currently available on iOS and Android devices such as the iPhone 4S and higher, iPad 3rd generation, iPod touch 5th generation, Samsung Galaxy Note II and higher, Samsung Galaxy S III and higher, LG G2, HTC One, Moto X, and Nexus 4 or higher. Fitbit One can record several daily activities, including but not limited to, number of steps taken, distance traveled on foot, number of floors climbed, calories burned, vigorously active minutes, and sleep efficiency.
Announced on September 17, 2012, the Fitbit Zip is about the size of a United States quarter and tracks steps taken, distance traveled and calories burned. It is able to sync its data wirelessly to supported mobile devices. Notably, it showed faces based on how much activity the wearer was showing. If the wearer had little to no activity, it would show a frown, but if they had sufficient activity, it would show a smiley face.
The Fitbit zip was discontinued and replaced with the Fitbit Inspire clip accessory in March 2019.
In May 2013, Fitbit released the Fitbit Flex, the first Fitbit tracker worn on the wrist. It tracks movement 24 hours a day, including sleep patterns. It has a simple display of 5 LED lights that indicate the progress toward the goal number of steps walked in a day and vibrates to indicate when the goal has been reached. The sync functions are similar to the Fitbit One and Zip. The Flex is a water-resistant tracker, though unlike its successor the Flex 2, cannot be worn while swimming. It includes a specialized USB charger; the battery lasts 5–7 days, and it takes 1–2 hours to charge.
Fitbit Flex 2
Released in 2016. It is waterproof and can track swimming. The tracker can be worn in a wristband or pendant, or carried in a pocket. The LED lights function similarly to the original Flex, with the number of illuminated dots indicating progress toward the set goal. It features "reminder to move" alerts and vibrations when a call or text is received.
The Fitbit Force was announced on October 10, 2013. It has an OLED display that shows time and daily activity. The Force tracks a number of statistics in real-time, including steps taken, distance traveled, calories burned, stairs climbed and active minutes throughout the day. At night, the Force tracks sleep and can wake a user silently with a vibrating alarm.
On January 13, 2014 it was reported that an unconfirmed number of Fitbit customers had complained about skin irritation after wearing the Force for extended periods of time. Fitbit stated on its website that the company consulted with medical professionals whose assessments are that these irritations are most likely allergic reactions to nickel, a component of the surgical-grade steel or the adhesives used to assemble the Fitbit Force. Fitbit, working with the Consumer Protection Safety Commission, recalled the Fitbit Force on February 20, 2014. On March 12, 2014 the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) made the recall official. At that time it was revealed that The Fitbit Force had caused about 9,900 injuries. It is no longer for sale on Fitbit's website.
Announced in October 2014, the Fitbit Charge is intended as a replacement for the recalled Fitbit Force. It was released in November 2014 for US$130 retail. The Charge's wrist band is textured. The Charge automatically tracks users' steps, sleep, flights of stairs, and an approximation of distance traveled. It tracks steps using a 3 axis accelerometer by tracking forward movement along with upward movements.
Fitbit Charge HR
Announced in October 2014 and released in early January 2015, the Charge HR is similar to the Charge, with an additional heart-rate monitor. With this addition, the 7-day battery life is reduced to 5 days. The Charge HR has the same textured band as the Charge and comes in black, plum, blue, tangerine, pink, and teal colors. The Charge HR band clasp resembles that of a traditional watch instead of the snap-on band of the original Charge, as the band needs to fit tightly for the heart rate feature.
Fitbit Charge 2
The Fitbit Charge 2 featured a new multi-sport mode allowing users to start workouts from their Fitbit. Compared to its predecessor it had a larger screen.
The Fitbit Alta was released in February 2016. The wristband offers a full OLED screen that can be tapped for reminders, a clock and smartphone notifications. While not a touch screen, it is interacted with by tapping the band, similar to previous models. The Alta is also able to recognize the type of activity in progress: running, football, or walking.
Fitbit Alta HR
The Fitbit Alta HR was released in March 2017. It has an added heart rate monitor. It includes the new Sleep Stages feature, which intends to show the stages of sleep, rather than just time asleep as in previous versions.
Fitbit Inspire HR and Inspire
The Fitbit Inspire HR was released alongside the Inspire in 2019. In addition to all the Inspire's features, the HR also offers heart rate tracking. An optional clip-on accessory is compatible with the Inspire but not the Inspire HR.
The Fitbit Inspire 2 was released in 2020, unifying both the Inspire and Inspire HR in a single product. It is also compatible with a different optional clip-on accessory, but heart rate measurement is not available when the clip-on option is used.
Announced in October 2014, the Surge was a smartwatch and an activity tracker. It features a heart-rate monitor and the ability to track pace, distance, and elevation using the GPS on the device. The Surge also can send alerts of text and incoming calls from a connected smartphone.
The Surge was discontinued in late 2017 and was replaced by the Ionic.
Released in January 2016 the Fitbit Blaze is a smartwatch made to compete with the Apple Watch, Pebble, and Android Wear. The Blaze comes with a colored touchscreen, and an exchangeable strap and frame. It can auto-track exercises and has a heart-rate monitor. Blaze has connected GPS, meaning it tracks location using the connected smartphone's GPS. It can display notifications, including incoming calls, texts and calendar appointments. The Blaze introduces the Sleep Stages feature.
The Fitbit Blaze also integrates with Fitstar, Fitbit's website for customized workouts. These workouts can be displayed on the Blaze's screen.
The Blaze was discontinued in early 2018 and was replaced by the Versa.
The Fitbit Ionic was released in late September 2017. Designed to compete with the Apple Watch Series 3, it is the successor to both the Blaze and the Surge. Like the Surge, the Ionic uses built-in GPS, using GLONASS to tap into global satellites and provide better accuracy when recording exercises, with the antenna being integrated into the watch case for a stronger connection. The Ionic also features SmartTrack, which auto-recognizes user activity and records it in the Fitbit app. The Ionic has interchangeable bands, including classic Fitbit bands, leather bands, and perforated bands for a more sport-like appearance, and the release mechanism has been modified to make swapping out bands easier. It is also water-resistant, making it safe to wear when swimming. Many of the Blaze's clock faces return, as do several new clock faces. New to the Ionic is the ability to load apps onto the watch itself such as AccuWeather and Starbucks, as well as an NFC chip that allows the Ionic to be used for credit card purchases at places that allow contactless payment. As a result, the tactile buttons on the Ionic have some new functions. When not in workout mode, the right side buttons now function as shortcuts for the leftmost two apps loaded onto the watch, while a long press on the left side button brings up Fitbit Pay as well as music and quick settings. The Ionic is shipped in three color combinations of the wristband and watch case: Charcoal & Smoke Gray, Slate Blue & Burnt Orange, and Blue Gray & Silver Gray.
In 2018, the Ionic was updated to Fitbit OS 2.0 alongside the release of the Versa. The most notable change from OS 1.0 is the addition of a new app called Fitbit Today, a dashboard displaying the user's health and fitness data. In July 2018, Fitbit announced the 15+ Best Fitbit OS Apps for Travel, which can be downloaded in Ionic and some are also available in Versa.
Fitbit Aria scales
In April 2012, Fitbit released a weighing scale called the Fitbit Aria. It recognizes users and measures weight, body mass index (BMI) and percentage of body fat of the user. It can keep track of eight individual users and updates information to fitbit.com automatically via Wi-Fi network. The information is also updated to smartphone apps.
The Aria 2 was announced in August 2017 concurrently with the Ionic. The Aria 2 has been re-engineered for greater accuracy and easier Bluetooth setup. The Aria 2 also has personalized face icons and greetings, compatibility with more Wi-Fi networks, and has an increased weight tolerance of up to 400 pounds.
Fitness tracker comparison
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Update: In June 2021, Fitbit released a new firmware update for the Fitbit Versa and Fitbit Sense that added new features including audible Google Assistant notifications, new celebration animations and, for some Fitbit Premium users, a tool that detects snoring and ambient noise at night. Original review follows.
The Fitbit Versa 3 finally fixes our biggest gripe about the Versa line of smartwatches. The Versa 3 now comes with integrated GPS to track – in real time – the pace and distance of your walks, runs, bike rides or hikes if you choose to leave your phone behind, which has earned it the top spot in our roundup of the best Fitbits.
While that’s definitely a step up from the Versa 2, as is the larger and truly gorgeous display, there are still little things about the Versa 3 that make it oh-so-frustratingly-close to being one of the best wearables on the market.
Don’t get us wrong – the Versa 3 is a serious contender to be the best fitness wearable on the market, especially given its relatively affordable price tag and the plethora of fitness tracking capabilities it has, which also includes an SpO2 sensor to measure blood oxygen levels while you sleep. However, a lot more useful information is locked behind the Fitbit Premium paywall, and the redesign of the side button has made it frustrating to use.
Instead of a physical button, like there is on the Versa 2, there’s now an indent on the left side of the chassis that’s similar to the inductive button that debuted on the Fitbit Charge 3. Unfortunately, it’s not as well implemented on the Versa 3, and it takes a few tries to find the exact spot you need to press to bring up apps and sub-menus.
Other than that, though, the Versa 3 is a beautiful wearable that does a lot of what the Fitbit Sense can do, with the exception of stress management and advanced heart monitoring. That means it’s cheaper than the Sense, although it is slightly more expensive than the Versa 2 in some markets (it costs the same £199 in the UK as its predecessor). However, built-in GPS, a larger 1.58-inch AMOLED display (the same as the one on the Sense) and an SpO2 sensor more than justifies the slightly higher launch price of $229 / AU$399.
There’s also a lot more fitness monitoring features on the Versa 3, making the on-device interface a lot busier than what was available on the Versa 2 at launch. There are ways to manage them all, but they do take time to get used to.
Despite that, performance is excellent, as we've come to expect from Fitbit devices. Battery life is about six days on a dim screen setting, but it drops to half that if you have the display set to always-on. GPS isn't as pinpoint accurate as on some other bands we've reviewed, but for the average user that won’t matter very much. The heart rate monitor is now a bit more precise than the Versa 2, but without a chest strap to compare, it’s hard to judge exactly how accurate it is.
Alexa is, of course, on board to help you answer some questions that are displayed on the device, and with Google buying Fitbit, a firmware update some time in the future will add Google Assistant to the wearable as well.
There’s still a dearth of productivity apps for Fitbit’s smartwatches but, as we said in our Versa 2 review, these are first and foremost fitness trackers that have a few smartwatch perks.
Fitbit Versa 3 price and availability
- Cheaper than Fitbit Sense
- Pricier than Fitbit Versa 2 in some markets
- Available in three color options
Fitbit announced the Versa 3, along with the Sense and the Fitbit Inspire 2, at a virtual conference in August 2020. It went up for pre-order the following day and began shipping by late September. The Versa 3 is currently available to buy directly from Fitbit and from major retailers around the world.
Interestingly, in the UK, both the Versa 2 and the Versa 3 are listed for the same price of £199. In the US and Australia, though, the Versa 3 carries a higher price tag than its predecessor, retailing for $229 and AU$399 respectively. That makes the Versa 3 the middle child – it’s no longer the flagship, with the Fitbit Sense taking over that role and costing a lot more at $329 / £299 / AU$499.
Unlike the Versa 2, which had a more expensive Special Edition version available, the Versa 3 comes in just the standard issue in three different colors – two soft gold cases with a Pink Gold and Midnight Blue strap, and a black chassis with a black band.
Design and display
- 40mm AMOLED display
- Easy strap removal mechanism
- Redesigned side button
At first glance the Versa 3 looks identical to its predecessors, but a closer look reveals a few design tweaks that make the new device a bit sleeker. In fact, a change in the color of the aluminum chassis makes the Versa 3 look rather elegant. The ‘soft gold’ case is neutral, but a black option keeps the Versa 3’s universal charm.
The change in chassis color isn’t the biggest design change though; it’s the size of the screen. The display is now a larger 40mm AMOLED panel as compared to the 39mm on the Versa 2, with a higher resolution of 336 x 336 pixels (the Versa 2 is 300 x 300). It’s a bright, crisp and very clear display that looks absolutely stunning even at its ‘dim’ setting at pretty much any viewing angle. The bezels, though, still remain quite thick, similar to the Versa 2.
Navigating through the menus and apps via the screen is also a walk in the park – not once did the screen lag during our testing period, and swiping to bring up different functions works remarkably well.
Another design change is the side button, or rather the lack thereof – and it’s perhaps our biggest complaint about the Versa 3. Instead of a physical button, there’s a capacitive indent on the left side of the watch that, when pressed correctly, sends a short vibration to indicate you’ve activated the smartwatch. It’s located below the lip of the chassis, so you need to feel for it, and finding the exact spot to press is not especially easy. We've been using the Versa 3 for over a month now and we still need a few tries to find the exact spot. Thankfully, you don’t always need to use this “inductive” button to interact with the watch – you can set the watch to wake with a tap on the screen, then swipe to bring up whichever menu you need. That said, there are ‘shortcuts’ (like bringing up Alexa) that can be set on the watch, and these require either a tap-and-hold or double-tap-and-hold action to activate them. And they can be frustrating to bring up due to that button inconsistency.
On the right edge of the watch chassis is a tiny mic and a speaker which, in theory, should allow you to take calls.
Fitbit has also changed the strap mechanism – the same as in the Fitbit Sense – and we think it’s better than the mechanism on the Versa 2. A small button acts as a latch, which when pulled slightly down releases the clasp. It gives the watch a much more streamlined look and makes it remarkably easy to swap out the default sporty strap it comes with.
This silicone strap is also different to the one that comes with the standard edition of the Versa 2. Fitbit calls this new model the "Infinity Band", as it lacks a buckle – it’s the same one that ships with the Sense as well.
Another major difference between the Versa 2 and the new iteration is the charger. Instead of the older box-like USB charger, there’s a small magnetic dock that tops up the juice extremely quickly – we went from 64% battery to 100% in under 15 minutes.
The Versa 3, like its predecessor, is also water resistant to 50m/164ft – meaning you can wear it in the shower or head out for a swim with it on your wrist. It can even survive a dip in salt water, although Fitbit recommends you not wear it in a hot tub or sauna.
- Alexa support, with Google Assistant coming in the future
- Limited productivity apps
- Phone call support
As a smartwatch, the Versa 3 functions exactly the same as its predecessor. It’s still a pared-back, no-frills experience as compared to something like an Apple Watch, but there should still be enough apps to keep many users happy. For example, a Philips Hue app is available to control smart lights, and there's a map app as well. That said, some apps are geo-specific to the US, UK or other regions, so the range of apps available to you will vary depending on your location. Fitbit Pay, though, should be a convenient option for most countries, with many banks around the world now supporting the cashless payment method.
It's worth reiterating that many of the better Fitbit apps are paid, just as they are on Apple Watch or Android Wear OS devices, so you'll need to pony up if you want some of the expanded functionality they provide.
Fitbit has a decent range of clock faces to choose from, so it should be easy to find something you like... although strangely, switching to a new face takes a while to apply. Amazon's Alexa is also on board to help with quick questions and, if you set up the Alexa app on your phone and sync your Amazon account, you can do a lot more, like set reminders and control your smart home devices. With Google set to buy Fitbit, Google Assistant support is also due to be added, but there's no firm timeline on when that is due to occur yet.
As before, there's Deezer and Spotify music-streaming support available, but if you’re leaving your phone behind when on a workout, the only way to get access to your tunes offline is via Deezer. There’s still no offline Spotify feature, which is certainly quite disappointing.
With a built-in mic and speaker, you should, in theory, be able to take calls, although at the time of writing we were unable to test this functionality. We were able to answer an incoming call, but it seems Fitbit needs to enable this feature so users can use the device’s Bluetooth connection to their phone to speak to a caller (and hear them) by just raising their wrist close to their mouth. Fitbit lists this feature as "coming soon" on its website, so we’ll update this review when the company rolls out a firmware update to fully enable it.
As before, you’ll get all your phone notifications on your wrist, and you can choose which apps can push notifications to the Versa 3 in the Fitbit app. Most commonly used messaging apps are supported, including Slack and WhatsApp, along with emails and Uber.
Android users can reply to text via the Versa 3 with a handful of preset messages, but iPhone users don’t have that option. If you're an iOS user and keen on more smartphone functionality from a wearable, then you could consider opting for the Apple Watch SE. Unfortunately, having an onboard mic doesn’t mean you’re able to dictate messages and send them on any platform.
Fitness and health tracking
- SpO2 monitoring
- GPS enabled
- Several workout options
Like the previous iteration, fitness and health are the areas where the Versa 3 shines. Admittedly, it doesn’t have as many health tracking features as the Sense does, but there’s enough here for the average user to stay on top of things, thanks to 24/7 activity and heart monitoring.
There are guided breathing exercises available now, with ways to track your mindfulness and the ability to listen to meditation tracks on the Fitbit app. You can set up hourly reminders to move around a little, set your fitness goals and keep tabs on your sleep quality. The Versa 3 will also monitor your blood oxygen level while you sleep (provided you wear the device to bed), and this can be important in detecting disorders like sleep apnea.
Your daily activities are broken down into step counts, steps taken, calories burned and zone minutes. You can get a pretty good picture on how you’re tracking, but if you want to delve deeper, you’ll need to be a subscriber to the Fitbit Premium service, which costs $9.99/£7.99/AU$15.49 per month. This gives you access to the new Health Metrics dashboard that offers advanced statistics on breathing rate, oxygen saturation and heart rate variability. While you won’t get notifications when your heart rate spikes (like on the Sense), there will be a record of it in case you’re monitoring yourself closely. Like the Sense, the Versa 3 vibrates when you’re moving between heart rate zones – useful when you’re working out and can’t keep looking at the clock face to check your pulse.
There are several workout options to choose from, including circuit training and interval workouts, covering most people’s needs. As mentioned earlier, you can even wear the Versa 3 during a swim, either in the pool or the sea.
And now, thanks to the Versa 3’s onboard GPS, all your outdoor activities can be mapped in real time. The GPS isn’t always very precise and does momentarily drop out, but despite that it’s a huge step up from the Versa 2. Keep in mind that the GPS only gets activated when you select a workout mode manually. Fitbit’s SmartTrack feature – which automatically detects and records movement that’s 15 minutes or longer as exercise – will not activate the GPS. Maps are available on the Fitbit app almost immediately after you’ve ended the exercise, with pace, heart rate and calories burnt graphically denoted as well.
Launch date fitbit versa 3
Fitbit Versa 3 Review
Fitbit finally rights the wrongs of the Versa 2 via some much-needed course correction in the superior Fitbit Versa 3. Now boasting built-in GPS tracking, the Google Assistant and a longer battery life, all without a price increase, the Versa 3 is one of the best fitness trackers you can buy for under £200. The Fitbit ecosystem could still do with a lot of work, and the need for Fitbit Premium does jack up the price in the long-term. Nevertheless, the Versa 3 does enough right to earn a recommendation.
- Feature-packed for the price
- GPS is finally here
- Six-day battery with intensive use
- Fitbit’s apps and app store still need work
- The step count is just too eager
- Still no support for offline Spotify
- Fitbit Premium is essential for getting your money’s worth
- Review Price: £199
- Alexa and Google Assistant enabled
- Built-in GPS and GLONASS
- Six-plus day battery life
- Offline music storage (Deezer and Pandora)
- Onboard speaker
- SpO2 tracking
After dropping the ball with 2019’s miserly updates, Fitbit is back with the next device in its most popular series of wearables – and with the upgrades we’ve been waiting for – in the Fitbit Versa 3.
Of the few positives that can be obtained from looking back at 2020, it can definitely be said that the year presented a great course correction for Fitbit. Despite the company’s enviable brand recognition, Fitbit has struggled to deliver a consistently stellar user experience across its various devices over the past few years.
While the Fitbit Charge series has gone from strength to strength, the Fitbit Ionic never really took off as the great Apple Watch alternative it intended to be – and 2019’s Fitbit Versa 2, despite being just shy of £200, failed to deliver key features such as built-in GPS tracking.
With the recently released Fitbit Sense, and now the Fitbit Versa 3, it appears as though Fitbit has managed to turn its luck around. In particular, the latter device has managed take on a bounty of upgrades whilst maintaining the affordable price of its predecessor.
Related: Best Smartwatch
Since this new souped-up Versa still plans to retail at just £199, I’d be lying if I said it didn’t have my attention as much as the Fitbit Sense – at the very least to see just how much the device could shake up the marketplace for mid-range fitness trackers.
Nowadays, smartwatch design has branched off into one of two camps: the Apple-inspired rectangle; or the traditional rounded circle. However, the Versa series has always presented something a little more quirky – a design that arguably harks back to the classic smartwatch of a bygone era, the Pebble Time. For those accustomed to those aforementioned modern designs, the Versa 3 might feel a tad retro, but that’s exactly the reason I enjoy wearing it.
Related: Best Fitness Tracker
Sporting the same rounded edges and boxy aesthetic we’ve come to expect, the Versa 3 doesn’t change things all that much – but it has done away with any and all physical buttons. Interactions with the watch are now largely relegated to the touchscreen, but there’s a small dip where the left-hand home button used to be, which can now be squeezed to perform the same action. It works just as well as having the physical button present, but the Versa 3 looks sleeker because of its omission.
Unlike the Fitbit Sense, which partially uses stainless steel to house its exclusive sensors, the Versa 3’s case is made up entirely of aluminium. While this isn’t surprising given the price of the Versa 3, is must be said that the standard Black Aluminium option lacks any discernible flair. As such, if you want a smartwatch with a punch then I’d recommend opting for one of the other colours.
For the newest Versa, Fitbit has done away with the traditional single-pronged clasp watch strap of old, replacing it with a loop-through strap. While the new design isn’t as stylish as the previous band, its minimalist approach does feel more in tune with the overall look the Versa 3 is going for.
Related: Best Fitbit
Much like the design before it, the Versa 3’s screen has received a minor update, although you’d be forgiven for not immediately noticing the improved dimensions on a screen this small. Compared to the Versa 2, the Versa 3 has a 1.58-inch display with a 336 x 336 resolution to boot, providing a clearer experience than the 1.39-inch 300 x 300 display of its predecessor.
Being almost identical to that featured on the Fitbit Sense, the display here is also a bit of a mixed bag. In everyday use, the screen is bright, colourful and easy to read when out on a run, plus its curved edges contribute to that same sense of retro quirkiness that I enjoy about the Versa series.
What’s problematic, however, is that some apps aren’t designed with these dimensions in mind, and so content sometimes gets cut off at the corners. In addition to this, the Versa 3’s bezels are on the larger side of what you’d expect from a 2020-released smartwatch. Apple has come a long way with scaling back bezels and making the display larger – best seen with the Apple Watch 6 – and I hope that Fitbit can work out something similar with the Fitbit Versa 4.
One of the big new features to come to the Fitbit Versa 2 was Amazon’s very own AI companion, Alexa, but compared to a smart speaker the experience was fairly limited in that responses were text-only. For the Versa 3, not only has Fitbit added the Google Assistant, but there’s also a built-in speaker for audible responses. Strangely, however, it’s only Alexa thus far that makes use of the speaker – Google Assistant responses are text-only (although it’s worth noting that these features weren’t available at launch).
Arguably, the biggest talking point of the Versa 3 is the inclusion of GPS (finally), which was sorely lacking on the Versa 2. At this point, the idea of leaving your phone at home and tracking a run entirely with a wearable device has become commonplace, but in the Versa 3 it works brilliantly in tandem with the watch’s offline music storage capabilities.
From a technical standpoint, the Versa 3 feels like a much-needed step in the right direction. Unfortunately, it’s bogged down by the same old problems with the Fitbit ecosystem that have yet to really be addressed. Fitbit Pay is still widely unaccepted by most major banks, making it a fairly redundant feature for the majority of users, just as offline music storage – while slick in operation – is still tied to just Deezer in the UK and Pandora in the US. Is it really that difficult to get Spotify in the mix?
Another glaring issue is the Fitbit app store, which seems to be stagnating. Given that Fitbit puts far more of an effort into developing its fitness and health-tracking technologies, I’d completely understand if the app store didn’t quite reach the same heights as what’s available on the Apple Watch and Wear OS devices. However, aside from Uber, Spotify and Strava, the Fitbit app store is sorely lacking in other big name brands utilising its service. Here’s a bizarre example: I made great use of The New York Times app on my Fitbit Sense, but for whatever reason the app just isn’t available for the Versa 3 at the time of writing.
Keeping track of your health and fitness has always been a strong point for Fitbit, and the Versa 3 keeps that trend going. Working in its favour is the clean UI offered on both the Versa 3 and the Fitbit app which, having returned to after a lengthy break, I can appreciate even more for having one of the easiest systems to wrap your head around.
For its 2020 line of devices, Fitbit has shifted its fitness markers to be more in line with the American Heart Association’s recommendation of 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week, with its Active Zone Minutes (AZM) calculator. For every minute spent actively burning fat, you’ll receive one AZM, and for every minute spent engaging in cardio, you’ll earn two AZM. It’s a devilishly simple system, but one that allows you to be flexible with your routine, offering the understanding that on some days it will be more difficult to find a moment to exercise.
The AZM system sits on top of well-known features that make the Fitbit app a pleasure to use, including the wellness report that depicts a detailed breakdown of your workout, heart rate and sleep performance over a period of time. Speaking of sleep, the Versa 3 does a great job of keeping your circadian rhythm in check, and if you’re the type of person who struggles to maintain a regular sleep cycle, the various sleep programs offered in the Fitbit app could be just the thing you need.
The Versa 3 also packs Fitbit’s new PurePulse 2.0 technology, which should allow for more accurate heart rate readings than ever before. While the majority of readings were fairly accurate most of the time, the Versa 3 does have an issue with tracking high BPM levels during moments of peak exertion, however.
During outdoor runs, for example, the Versa 3’s highest tracked BPM came in at 186, even though at one point my accompanying chest strap monitor recorded a high of 196. It’s not a dealbreaker, but it’s definitely worth taking note of if you’re the type of person who regularly hits the peak zone during workouts.
While Fitbit’s tracking capabilities are a blast to use, they do come at a cost in the form of Fitbit Premium. Key features such as the guided workouts, meditation sessions and sleep programs are hidden behind this paywall, and while there’s a three-month trial included with the Fitbit Versa 3, the £7.99 a month cost for the service could be a nightmare if you’re on a budget.
There’s also the issue with the Fitbit Versa 3’s pedometer, a problem we’ve seen before with the Fitbit Sense. While hitting my 10,000 daily steps wouldn’t have been an issue pre-pandemic, it’s been a real task since – but the Versa 3 has claimed I’ve hit that goal and then some every day. Of course, as a workaround I’ve simply upped my daily requirement, but it’s still a faff and certainly an off-putting feature for anyone who puts a great deal of importance into their step count.
Given its intent to be worn as a 24/7 tracking device, a lacklustre battery life could have been fatal to the Versa 3. Luckily, Fitbit has stayed true to its reputation, with a quoted six plus days of battery life for the latest Versa.
Even better, I found that this claim mostly lined up in my testing. Taking the Versa 3 off charge on a Tuesday evening and tracking a workout on each day of use (including three GPS tracked runs), it wasn’t until the start of the working day the following Monday that I leapt for the nearest charging point.
This is fantastic news for the Versa 3; not only does it mark a slight improvement over the Versa 2, but it also means that the device has one of the best batteries available within its price range.
Should you buy it?
In spite of all the new features that have been added to the device, Fitbit has managed to keep the price under that £200 mark – and I’d argue that the Fitbit Versa 3 presents one of the best value fitness trackers you can buy in that price bracket.
Offering built-in GPS tracking, offline music storage and a six-day battery life, there are very few fitness trackers (or even smartwatches) that can offer the same feature set without presenting a far higher asking price to the consumer. Plus, being £100 cheaper than the Fitbit Sense, the Versa 3 is definitely the better option for most people.
However, as has been the case with the Fitbit Sense, the Versa 3 is let down by Fitbit’s lacklustre app store, the limitations of Fitbit Pay and an offline music system that doesn’t include Spotify. There’s the huge caveat of Fitbit Premium to consider as well, since the paid-for service is pretty much essential to make the most out of any Fitbit device in 2021.
If you can look past these issues, though, then there’s a lot to like about the Versa 3, which offers a much-needed update over the previous entry.
First Reviewed Date
Fitbit Versa 3
40.4 x 40.4 x 12.4 MM
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