Review of Fitness Smartwatch Fitbit Versa

Why did I purchase another Fitness Tracker / Smartwatch after reviewing many devices? As a big Fan of Pebble I had to buy latest Fitbit (they acquired Pebble) and I also recognized that I need a Swimming Tracker to do regular 1000m swims. I just didnt`t do it without a technical device. That`s how I work.

Fitbit Versa can be used as a Smartwatch because you receive Notifications from your SmartPhone like Emails, Facebook etc. You can set Alarms, get Weather or Stock Information, read New York Times News, do calculations, check Google Maps, Pay (currently not supported in Germany) listen to Deezer Playlist or control your Hue Lights Bulbs in your Smart Home. I am not deeply impressed about the amount of Apps, so I want to make clear that the main use case for me is: tracking >15 sport activities, heart  and sleep, so it`s all about my health. I also really appreciate the battery life of > 4 days which is major difference to Smartwatches which usually last one single day.

“What`s so special about Versa, there are many Fitness Trackers available which are also cheaper than 199€”.

Well, I really like the approach Fitbit is creating around tracking data. They have built an impressive amount of Fitbit Communities where Users shares successes or disappointments, it`s all about learning, sharing and motivating. Not only about exercises, they also have active communities about healthy food, parenting and becoming pregant. Here I should mention that Fitbit Versa can log your period (if you are female), record symptoms & compare your cycle against other health stats like sleep, activity and weight.
I also really like “SmartTrack™” which automatically records select exercises like running, biking and more, saved in the Fitbit app. Sync in general works very smooth.

If you want to get a better understanding of your fitness level and see how you can improve over time, Versa offers a personalized Cardio Fitness Score which is based on the maximum amount of Oxygen your heart can process.

Installation & first impression

Connecting with my Android Huawei Mate 10 didn´t work in the beginning, so I have chosen my iPad to sync and finalize setup. Unfortunately there is no iPad App existing and I couldn`t change Display Faces because the “okay Button” was hidden. Later my connection to Huawei was easy and I am pretty impressed about the sync quality running in the background.
Versa looks really neat, a bit like Apple Watch, and the black plastic wristband is optimized for swimming and sweating. So don`t expect a stylish experience unless you pay 30€ more for other wristbands offered by Fitbit.
Then I wanted to upload music to Versa because I am using Spotify (not supported) instead of Deezer. Was a bit painful because I couldn`t use the mobile App, had to download the Windows10 App which is fine but took a while for me to understand how Sync works. Not sure what Windows XP, 7, 8, MacOS and Linux Users are doing, major room for improvement here.

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Fitbit Versa with USB Charger

Sleep Tracking

Haven`t had a Fitness Tracker before with such a good quality of sleep tracking and amount of reports. Now I can how long I spent in REM Phases and get helpful insights into my sleep. No need to push a button to active sleep tracking.

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Different sleep phases

I can also compare the amount of time I spent in different sleep phases compared to my cohort (men 40-50)  and how I am performing against my sleep targets (wake up vibration at 7:30 and get 7,5h of sleep)

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comparison of my sleep phases to my cohort

Biking

IMG_20180608_082044.jpgBiking can be tracked in 2 ways: Automatically (in my case it tracks every biking activity > 10 minutes) or manually by opening the exercises App and choose Biking. I can see the distance, time and average speed in km/h

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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GPS powered information like below are only possible if Versa is connected with your SmartPhone, there is no GPS included by default (difference to Fitbit Ionic)

 

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Versa tracked my heart frequency and categorized it into these zones: High Frequency, Cardio and Fat Burn

Swimming

Next photo of Versa after my swimming exercise shows what it can measure: time, distance, amount of lanes, burned calories and time/100m. Length of pool can be added in the settings of the exercise app. “MySwimPro” App is available in Store as well.

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Results after Swimming

Summary

Fitbit Versa can be recommended if you want to automatically track > 15 sports activities, visualize data in an awesome App, connect with your friends and Fitbit Community members, use a personal digital coach for certain exercises and listen to music without your SmartPhone. I wouldnt´use Versa if GPS Tracking without a SmartPhone is required. For my sports use cases it does literally all what I need. I don`t need to visualize in the Swimming App all different swimming styles like Moov is offering. It`s very useful to pair Versa with my Bluetooth Headsets (like Jabra Elite Sport), listening to Music without SmartPhone. Makes sense for running or Spa Areas where SmartPhones are forbidden. It would offer value if my favorite Spotify Playlists get supported and more Apps which I need like Lufthansa or Deutsche Bahn to get push notification about gate changes or delayed trains would find their way to the AppStore.

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