Hands-on: Fitbit Versa is a smarter, more affordable smartwatch for the masses

Olive Hawkins
March 13, 2018

The all new Fitbit Versa is smaller than the Ionic, but comes with a lot of the same features we loved on that watch, from Fitbit Pay to third-party apps. Like the Ionic, it's platform agnostic.

You'll be able to see your daily and weekly health and fitness stats, historical activity, heart rate, and exercise summaries, action-oriented motivational messages, tips and tricks, and daily guidance. However, as technology starts to get more advanced, people are starting to expect more out of their fitness trackers - such as the features offered with devices like the Apple Watch Series 3. That will extend to reminders and social challenges later in the year.

Now if we're talking about some of the features of the Fitbit Verse, it features a 24/7 heart-rate tracking system, offline music storage, quick replies for Android as well as an Apple Pay like payment system.

The company also spoke a little more about the Fitbit Ionic: adidas edition. The $200 model comes in three color options: black with a black aluminum case, gray with a silver aluminum case, or peach with a rose gold aluminum case. Accessories, including leather and stainless steel straps, will range in price from $29.95 to $99.95. It'll also feature a custom adidas clock face and is expected to arrive March 19 for $329.95.

The device resembles the Fitbit Alta HR and is designed for children age 8 and older.

Hands-on: Fitbit Versa is a smarter, more affordable smartwatch for the masses

Fitbit's move to a younger market is not the first for a fitness tracker. It monitors steps, active time, and sleep, and the company says the showerproof wristband will last up to five days between charges. The most important of which is Fitbit's new family account option, which gives parents control over how their child uses their tracker and is compliant with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, or COPPA. If the kid has a phone, the Ace will also display call notifications. US users can also listen to Pandora. The app will also let them vet the friends they add for competing fitness goals and limit the information kids see on their own app, if they device.

As the company notes in the accompanying press material, "According to a recent Fitbit survey, 80-percent of women did not know how many phases are in a menstrual cycle and more than 70% were unable to correctly identify the average length of a cycle, demonstrating a lack of awareness about women's health". The app also will reward children with in-app badges for achieving their health goals.

Fitbit is taking another stab at the smartwatch market after its first attempt with the Ionic fell short of expectations. Now, Fitbit is launching a new smartwatch that it hopes will appeal to a much larger audience.

With childhood obesity and diabetes rates continuing to rise, Fitbit clearly believes it has a responsibility to help more than just parents get in shape. Many women already use period-tracking apps, but Fitbit is building period-tracking into the Versa, so women can see how their periods affect their sleep and activity.

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