The Versa seems to be extra easily curved, and no extra Fitbit emblem, however has an aluminum Apple Watch-ish look.

Sarah Tew/Proinertech

Fitbit’s latest watch, the Versa 2, has Amazon’s Alexa assistant onboard. In some ways, that is its most memorable addition. I have been residing with a Versa 2 on my wrist for the previous couple of weeks, seeing how I really feel about it. I beloved the primary Versa for its number of bizarre and sometimes-great watch faces, and the way it doubled as a strong health tracker in Fitbit’s glorious social health ecosystem. However the competitors has heated up: Samsung’s latest watches are extra inexpensive and feature-packed than ever. The Apple Watch retains bettering. Garmin’s broad number of watches have GPS, music, funds and extra.

The $200 (£220, AU$380) Versa 2 finally ends up being on the extra inexpensive aspect of the smartwatch spectrum. And here is the excellent news: Its brighter AMOLED show seems to be nice. Even higher, its sooner processor not feels as weirdly laggy as the primary Versa.

The unhealthy information is that it nonetheless is not fairly as sensible as different smartwatches. Its extra awkward interface and extra restricted options (no assist for downloadable Spotify music and, notably, no onboard GPS) make it a more sensible choice for somebody who desires a Fitbit and a watch, however not essentially for others. 

Apple folks may choose an Apple Look ahead to its extra superior and fluid iPhone connectivity, however Fitbit’s social health atmosphere and the cheaper price make it an important price range decide (I wore it largely paired to an iPhone XS). The Fitbit Versa 2 additionally lets individuals on Android use its microphone to reply to texts, however its standalone OS and app library will not work with Google Play like Google’s Put on OS watches do. In the meantime, the equally priced Samsung Galaxy Watch Energetic feels far more like a cutting-edge Apple Watch-level smartwatch.

Alexa has her limits

Would you like Alexa in your wrist? It may not be as interesting as you’d assume. Here is how a typical interplay went in my time with the Versa 2.

Alexa, what is the climate? The Fitbit Versa’s shiny show responds in textual content: 68 levels. Climate might be OK the remainder of the day, too.

Alexa, play music. No… not a lot.

Alexa works, however she does not communicate. And he or she will not management watch capabilities such as you’d count on.

Sarah Tew/Proinertech

Amazon, like all different firms with voice assistants, has had a tough 12 months incomes the general public’s belief so far as privateness’s involved. The Alexa-enabled Versa 2 is actually an on-wrist conduit to the Alexa app in your telephone. It could actually seek for most Alexa instructions, together with controlling sensible house devices, asking random questions concerning the world and telling you the climate. (Critically, that final one could also be the most effective factor it does.)

However I’ve lived with Siri on the Apple Watch and Google Assistant on the Put on OS, which might do far more helpful issues to manage your precise watch. Alexa cannot begin a exercise but, or management watch capabilities comparable to loading apps and even enjoying music. A few of these capabilities will arrive later this 12 months, however the lack of voice-based management limits how useful Alexa is, and what you will understand it to be for.

Additionally, Alexa does not at all times work. Paired with an iPhone ($1,00zero at Amazon), I discovered I generally needed to resync the Fitbit in its app or launch Alexa. All it takes is a number of fails to make somebody cease utilizing a characteristic.

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Velocity: So significantly better

The Fitbit Versa used to run like a laggy outdated laptop computer. Now it isn’t precisely a race automobile, however it’s operating on the velocity you’d count on. Whether or not you are scrolling or launching apps, all the things feels higher. The touchscreen feels extra responsive. These are what you’d name desk stakes for a smartwatch, so it is good they have been addressed. I respect the distinction.

The Sleep Rating score helps make sense of how nicely I rested… type of?

Scott Stein/Proinertech

Sleep Rating: My nightly relaxation has a score now

Fitbit’s sleep monitoring tech is one thing I’ve at all times been confused about: My estimated REM, gentle and deep sleep totals aren’t essentially good or unhealthy, to me. Am I doing OK? The Sleep Rating quantity combines a number of bits of information, however Fitbit solely makes a quantity rating obtainable in its free app. Extra detailed breakdowns and suggestions are in Fitbit Premium, a service I nonetheless have not tried but.

Seventy-six. Seventy-eight. Eighty-one. That 81 rating one night sounds good. It looks like, up to now, my sleep leans into the “OK however perhaps not nice” aspect of the quantity scale. That is how I really feel, generally, too. However now that I understand how I really feel and the way it correlates to evening’s sleep, it is nonetheless a thriller what to subsequent. Do I sleep extra hours? Get to mattress earlier? Drink extra water? All of the above?

I examined Fitbit’s Sleep Rating beta earlier this 12 months, and favored the addition of the rating. The beta additionally provided deeper breakdowns that might be within the Premium model. For instance, there’s “Restoration,” which makes use of your coronary heart price to measure restedness. I nonetheless discover the method considerably mystifying. However I additionally need somebody to inform me, merely, if I am sleeping OK.

Guarantees of Premium: Subscription service TBD

Fitbit’s upcoming $10-a-month subscription service makes daring guarantees of extra well being teaching, additional health video games and deeper insights and information. Once I can check it, I will let you know if it is value it. I already really feel like I’ve too many subscriptions, however perhaps I want extra steerage than the each day step and train objectives and occasional motivators Fitbit provides me now. Possibly a health app might try this for me. Possibly I must dig into myself or rent an actual coach. However the Premium service sounds extra bold than what the Versa 2 can supply as a chunk of . The 2 could also be finest dovetailed.

Fitbit Versa 2 (left) vs. Apple Watch Sequence four (proper): The Versa 2 has some enjoyable watch faces and bands, too.

Sarah Tew/Proinertech

Versa 2 seems like 1.5 (however I prefer it)

I could not assist however really feel that among the advantages Premium is promising are the magic that the Versa 2 lacks. Regardless of being a sequel in title, the on-watch app expertise and interface really feel just about an identical to the Versa Lite Version did once I used it again within the spring.

A brand new pull-down fast settings mode is useful. The AMOLED show is obvious. And there is an always-on mode now, that is new. There’s solely a fundamental black-and-white show possibility, however the always-on mode lasted no less than three days once I tried it. If it isn’t set to always-on, the Versa 2 battery lasts 5 days.

No GPS feels odd

Fitbit has left an odd hole in its watch lineup by not placing GPS within the Versa 2. The years-old Fitbit Ionic is Fitbit’s solely GPS watch that may work with no telephone. In the meantime practically each different competitor has GPS health options, Garmin specifically. GPS looks like a key characteristic for a step-up system, and an Ionic replace (or Versa Plus GPS) looks like an inevitability… however who can say when it’s going to arrive?

No FDA-cleared well being options but, both

One different factor the Fitbit does not do but is act as an precise medically accepted well being system. There isn’t any ECG onboard, nor any irregular coronary heart rhythm notifications. (Apple and different tech firms use the abbreviation ECG, whereas US docs usually say EKG.) And, whereas Fitbit has been exploring methods its sleep monitoring might ultimately reveal indicators of sleep apnea, nothing’s been cleared by the FDA but. It signifies that the Fitbit’s core monitoring capabilities, in some ways, are nonetheless very similar to they have been earlier than: health and well being targeted, however to some extent.

Health testing and Premium service testing to come back

The Versa 2 assessment, now, is a piece in progress. The subsequent check is plenty of exercises. Plus I need to give Premium a attempt.

What I can let you know after per week with Versa 2 is that that is the Versa I would choose to put on, and it is also Fitbit’s finest wearable. However the lack of Spotify music downloads, GPS and Alexa’s restricted makes use of imply it is not fairly the full-featured smartwatch you may count on in 2019.

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