Review: Fitbit Versa with Active Minutes: Worth your time

#What to watch for

Fitbit Versa

The Fitbit Versa is an accessible and affordable watch embedded within the broad Fitbit family. It features Active Minutes which helps you stay fit more easy.

The smartwatch might not appeal to everybody due to this, yet it makes people all around the world more active and aware of their health. This makes it a great smartwatch for a wide range of users. My aim is to help you discover whether you might be one of these users or much rather spend your money otherwise.

We are going to cover all the necessary features, check its size, what its downsides are, and how it compares to other models in the same price range.

Already decided? See what the latest price is on Amazon!

If you already have a question you want to know the answer for, it is probably covered in the Table of Contents you see below. So, let’s do this and take it from the top!

#Getting of your feet with these 5 Versa Features

Fitbit is well-known by now. They started back in 2007 and have become the third dominant force in the US wearable market. They challenge convention with easily accessible products and the Fitbit Versa is no exception to that rule. To start of this review, let’s look at 5 five features that are worth getting the Versa for!

  1. As one of the first brands Fitbit includes Female Health Tracking, a feature we will discuss further below.
  2. Not done yet? Selecting workouts is really easy and works in the same way as the Fitbit Ionic. Swipe the carousel menu to ‘Exercise’, tap and choose ‘Running’ and of you go. No hassle.
  3. You will hardly feel the Versa on your wrist. At only 1.34 oz it is really light for the number of features it provides.
  4. The Fitbit Versa will support you in and underwater as well. It is waterproof and you’ll be able to track your activity in the water as well.
  5. Want to get inspired during your run? You are able to listen to all the music you want with both Deezer and Popstation usability. Just connect your Bluetooth headphones and you are good to go!
Fitbit Versa

#Which features can do better?

The Fitbit Versa has been on the market since early 2018. Since than Fitbit has added various features which will be discussed below.

  1. For activity driven users the lack of an inbuilt GPS is obvious. There is the option of using the connected GPS. This means in essence that you carry your smartphone around as well.
  2. There is music onboard, yes. However, there is no interface to download your own music. The way you add your own music is the same as with MP3-players back in the day. You have to put it on the watch, in the right folder. We suspect this is not the kind of nostalgia people are waiting for.
  3. Connected GPS can cause small discrepancies in the recorded distance of your run.
  4. There is no NFC and there is no Fitbit Pay for the US market. You can remedy this by spending 30 dollars extra to buy the special edition.
  5. In the race to create comfort for its users the materials with which the Versa is built feel a bit on the cheap side.

#Quick Look at the Versa Special Edition

Fitbit released the Special Edition at the same time as the standard edition. Since there are some variations we go briefly over them in order for you to see which edition would fit you better:

  1. The main addition is, of course, the use of Fitbit Pay. This allows you to pay for that well-deserved refresher after a workout. The list of supporting banks is ever growing, be sure to check if yours is on it!
  2. The Versa SE provides you with up to 300 songs to be played. You can also download your own curated Deezer playlists and Pandora stations.
  3. The third main improvement comes from the variety of extra straps for your smartwatch. These provide a very unique look and feel for the Versa SE. If that in itself is a reason to buy the Special Edition, we’re not so sure.

While it is safe to say these features are an improvement over the regular edition, we are still puzzled as to why there is a Special Edition in the Americas whereas the rest of the world gets these options in their normal version. It most likely has something to do with the regulatory climate. We were not able to find conclusive information as to why this is. Enough about the frivolities of design editions. Let’s move on to the features!

#Time for the features

For its price, the Versa has a good amount of features. Its size is a bit smaller than the Apple watch and weights less too. It appears Fitbit has listened to their female customers since many of them complained the Fitbit Ionic was too clunky to be comfortable. Combined with the Female Health Tracking capabilities of the Versa it becomes clear who the main audience for this smartwatch is.

Basic features

The first and foremost basic feature is that the Versa is waterproof. No serious smartwatch can do without this nowadays. This enables basic swimming tracking, like calorie counting and the number of laps you swam in your routine.

Fitbit is known for its many watchfaces to choose from and the Versa is no exception. There are some reports suggesting third-party faces sometimes display an incorrect number of steps. This is only a minor issue since there are so many of them to choose from.

Wearing the Versa will give you up to 4 days of battery life. This is still less than the Ionics for example, which delivers up to 5 days. Still, the Versa outperforms Apple which lasts only two days on a full charge. It takes 2 to 3 hours for a full charge of the Versa.

Fitbit Active Minutes

One of the more interesting tracking features on the Versa is the Fitbit active minutes. This is based on the CDC’s “10 minutes at a time is fine”. This means only after 10 minutes of an intense workout will the Versa record your active minutes. That way, if you’re minutes are recorded after a quick workout you know you’re good to go.

Apart from this health-focused feature there, the Versa packs the usual array of activity trackers. Your steps, stairs you have taken, calories, and the previously mentioned active minutes are all measured. Let’s take a closer look at some of the features.

Fitbit Coach and Personalization

If you’re familiar with Fitbit, you already know Fitbit Coach. You get it with the Versa as well. Fitbit coach is a series of inbuilt programs to help you get started. The Versa can track your weight training, treadmill running and a whole host of other activities. If you want to get even more out of the Versa there is the option to subscribe and get even more training programs to help you get into or stay in shape.

Further customizable are your weekly goals and training schedules so you can tune your training to your own life. What’s more, the Versa will recognize your workouts and start recording accordingly.

Health and Heart rate

In accordance with Fitbit’s aim of providing for both health and wellness, you will find plenty to work with this smartwatch as well. The Fitbit Versa comes with heart rate and sleep tracking. Your heart rate is measured through photoplethysmography. In simple terms, this means a green led on the back of the Versa will measure blood flows. This makes it possible to measure your heart rate. Accuracy is reported to be good, although you must be sure the sensor has a soft connection to the skin. This will happen almost naturally when wearing the watch.

The sleep tracking consists of measures the various sleep stages. Nothing fancy, but surely not basic as well. This feature does what it is supposed to do. Fitbit is known for delivering, no worries here. The company uses its enormous amounts of data to let you compare how well your sleep is in your age and gender category.

Want an affordable or in depth sleep tracker? >> We’ve got the 2019 choice for you!

An interesting feature is the Guided Breathing. Based on your heart rate Versa finds you a good spot during your day to take a moment of rest. There are two options, 2 and 5 minutes of focusing on relaxation. It is features like these that show Fitbits dedication to wellness.

Female Health Tracking

An extra sign this smartwatch is designed with women in mind is the Female Health Tracking. What it does is, based on entries, predict dynamically when fertility might be at its peak. The Versa is unique in the sense that there are still no smartwatches available to do this without third-party apps, except for the Ionic.

One of the reasons to add this is research done by Fitbit. Some 80% of women did not know how many phases there are in a menstrual cycle. Roughly 70% had hard times identifying the length of their periods. Don’t worry though, this information can be hidden, turned off or disabled. It is not an obligation, it is there if you want to use it.

Fitbit Versa Metal

#Time to compare

Of course, the Versa is not the only slick looking kid on the block. How does it hold itself when confronted with the competition? We’ll go through 3 of these competitors and show you the pros and cons.

Fitbit Ionic

The Ionic has the accessible user interface users know Fitbit for. It sports the same apps and features that come with the Versa. The main difference between these two consumer favorites is the inbuilt GPS and Fitbit Pay, which comes standard with the Ionic. Battery life is different as well with the Ionic going up to 5 days where the Versa will only last 4. This is not hard to overcome, and both ranges of battery life are good. One last difference is the wider variety of straps available for the Versa.

So, the Ionic doesn’t really do better or is better in any sense. If you like a smartwatch with inbuilt GPS and Fitbit Pay without paying extra, this will be your choice.

>> Check out the latest pricing on Amazon for the Fitbit Ionic!

Apple Watch

The first question is obviously, what OS does your smartphone have? Android? Forget about the Apple Watch. If that doesn’t bother than you’re in for a treat, because Apple delivers a fierce competitor.

The Versa weighs less and packs a more interesting set of health and fitness features. Of course, Apple Watch features a large number of apps to choose from. Outdoor you can view these apps (on the 1 Series) not as well as the Versa, because that screen is much brighter. The Apple Watch will give you some 8GB to store your music on whereas the Versa comes only with 2.5GB. What to think about battery life? The Versa brings around 96 hours where the Apple watch brings an estimate of 18 hours.

All in all, the Versa comes out as the better options, at least up to the 3 Series and maybe even beyond. If you’re looking for a cheaper version of the Apple Watch which at the same time gives you a better experience you’ll want to buy the Versa. If you already live in Apple world you probably don’t want to switch. Both the Apple 1 and 3 series are still available for decent prices for you to get your hands on.

Garmin Vivoactive 3

Garmin has been in the business a long time now and they come up with excellent products. In all fairness, the Vivoactive 3 is not at the top of the food chain here. Its functionality is a good step up from for beginners and casual users.

The smartwatch features an inbuilt GPS, Garmin Pay, and music (if you par some $30.- extra). To help you exercise there are over 15 different programs and there are many sports that the Vivoactive is able to track.

>> Want to know more about the Vivoactive 3? Click here to read our review!

The design makes it look like a regular sports watch and despite the fact that it is larger than the Versa, users report it to be gentle on their wrists. This helps when wearing it while sleeping. Of course, tracking your sleep is available with the Vivoactive. The Versa definitely comes with a wider variety of watch faces and straps to choose from, at least the special edition.

In closing, the price has dropped since its release. This might be the biggest winner for the Versa. Fitbit created a smartwatch which can compete with its bigger opponents. You will want to buy the Garmin though if you are on the more serious side of activity tracking. The compatibility with various chest straps and footpods is definitely something Fitbit can learn to do better.

>> Convinced? Check out the latest price for the Garmin Vivoactive 3 on Amazon!

Fitbit Versa Family

#Should I buy the Fitbit Versa?

If you want a well-designed smartwatch and you don’t care that much about running, the Versa is definitely up your ally!

The Versa offers a whole range of customizable activity tracking, motivational reminders, and rewards. Especially if you’re a woman this is a watch that could have your interest with its Female Health Tracking options.

If you are already hooked to the world of Apple, the Versa will not sway your mind, most likely. It does outperform the 1 and 2 Series and stands its own against the 3rd generation. However, Apple offers unmatched integration with its other products.

If you want to spend a little extra and get an inbuilt GPS and some extra features the Fitbit Ionic might be your option here. The battery life is 24 hours extra, but all in all, you’ll be getting an extra weighty version of the Versa. If you don’t mind this, then the Ionic will be yours for around $235.-

However, if you are looking for a smartwatch that can give you the extra mile when it comes to activities tracking and reporting this might not be the watch for you. If you are a more experienced in your outdoor activities you might want to check out either the Garmin Fenix 5 or Samsung Gear S3 frontier. If you’re really looking for a bargain, you can’t go past the Samsung Gear S3 although this will come with limited functionality.

In conclusion, the Fitbit Versa with active minutes is a very well made smartwatch. It balances features, quality, and price very neatly. If you are into casual activity tracking, yet still want a lot of features to choose from the Versa will be your choice. Its versatility when it comes to design lets you wear it to almost any occasion and with 4 days of battery life, there is no need for constant panicking to find an outlet for your charger. Whether it is during a workout or hiking in the forest, the Versa will be your merry assistant all the way. If you’re looking for that one casual smartwatch which can do, almost, everything, the Fitbit Versa will be available for you at the best price at Amazon!

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