Fitbit makes great fitness trackers that are polished, good looking, and very useful. However, in the smartwatch space, they are not a big player, lagging behind Apple. In the last quarter of 2019, they launched their best smartwatch to date: Fitbit Versa 2. We tested it for about a month, daily, and tracked everything we could with it, from sleep and daily steps to workouts. Here is what the Fitbit Versa 2 has to offer to users interested in buying a new smartwatch:
Fitbit Versa 2: Who is it good for?
This smartwatch is an excellent choice for:
- Enthusiasts who want excellent fitness tracking
- People who want to analyze and improve their sleep patterns
- Users who need only basic smartwatch features and notifications
- People looking for a smartwatch with a reasonable price
Pros and cons
There are many positives about the Fitbit Versa 2:
- Reasonably priced for a smartwatch
- Pleasant design
- Excellent health and fitness tracking
- Awesome sleep analysis
- Easy to navigate and use
- Top-notch battery life
- Water resistance
There are also negatives to consider:
- There is no GPS chip on the Fitbit Versa 2
- Fitbit's ecosystem of smartwatch apps needs improving
Fitbit Versa 2 is the best smartwatch made by Fitbit to date. However, when compared to smartwatches from other brands, it lacks a few features, and its app ecosystem is not as polished and useful. Fitbit Versa 2 is a great choice for people who are interested mostly in health and fitness tracking, and less about smartwatch features. The accessible price and excellent battery life also make it a perfect choice for users who want to try the smartwatch concept for the first time.
Unboxing the Fitbit Versa 2
Fitbit Versa 2 comes in a good looking white box, featuring a picture of the device on the front cover. On the sides, you get lots of information about its many features in several languages.
When you open the box, you see the Versa 2 nicely packaged, alongside a second wristband. This way, you get both a Large and Small wristband in the same package, avoiding the problem of buying the wrong size.
When you open everything, you find the following items: the Versa 2 smartwatch, a second wristband made from polyester, its proprietary charging cable, a leaflet with product information, and a quick setup guide.
The unboxing experience for the Fitbit Versa 2 is quick and pleasant. Inside the package, you get everything you need to get started right away.
Design and hardware specifications
The Fitbit Versa 2 looks similar to the Apple Watch Series 5, which is not a bad thing. Users of smartwatches are going to be familiar with its design. One difference is that the Fitbit Versa 2 doesn't have a wheel that you use for navigation, but a button. Also, it is placed on the left side instead of the right, as it is on the Apple Watch Series 5. On the Versa 2, the watch case is made from aluminum, and the band from polyester, making for a light, comfortable device. When using the Large wristband, it weighs about 3.35 ounces or 95 grams.
As for sensors, the Fitbit Versa 2 has a 3-axis accelerometer for measuring your body's velocity when doing sports, an optical heart rate monitor, and an altimeter for measuring the altitude. You also get an ambient light sensor and a relative SpO2 sensor that can track oxygen saturation using red and infrared light.
The Versa 2 has a vibration motor for waking you up with silent alarms and a Wi-Fi antenna for connecting to wireless networks using standards up to Wi-Fi 4 (802.11n). There is also an NFC chip for Fitbit Pay, a Bluetooth 4.0 chip, and a built-in microphone. One of the chips missing on the Versa 2 is GPS, meaning that you cannot use this smartwatch to accurately track some workouts, without having your smartphone with you.
Fitbit Versa 2 has a color AMOLED touchscreen with a resolution of 300 x 300 pixels, a size of 1.57 inches or 3.5 cm, and a thickness of 0.47 inches or 12mm. This makes it fit well on wrists of almost every size. However, for a teenager, this smartwatch can be too large. The screen has an amplified brightness of up to 1,000 nits, and it is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3.
The battery is made of lithium-polymer, it has a capacity of 165 mAh, and it fully charges in about two hours. Fitbit promises that the battery lasts about 6 days of regular use.
The storage memory on the Fitbit Versa 2 is enough to keep 7 days of detailed motion data, minute by minute, and to save daily totals for the last 30 days. This should be enough for most users. Another useful feature is that the Fitbit Versa 2 is water-resistant up to 50 meters deep, which should make it useful for swimmers too. You can use this smartwatch at temperatures ranging from 14° to 113° Fahrenheit or -10° to 60° Celsius, and on altitudes of up to 28000 feet or 8535 meters. Fitbit Versa 2 is compatible with iPhones running iOS 11 or higher, and smartphones running Android version 7 or newer, as well as with Windows 10 tablets and PCs.
To learn more about the features and specifications of this smartwatch, visit its official web page: Fitbit Versa 2 Specs.
Setting up and using the Fitbit Versa 2
To use the Fitbit Versa 2, you need to download and install the Fitbit app for Android or iOS, create an account, and then pair it with your smartphone. During the initial setup, it is a good idea to connect the Versa 2 to the Wi-Fi, to download and install the latest firmware updates that introduce bug fixes and new features, like the possibility to store up to five different watch faces and switch between them as you please.
As part of the initial setup, you might also want to configure what a long press on the Versa's button does. We found it most useful to display the quick settings or activate Fitbit Pay (if you use it to make payments through NFC).
You should also choose your preferred clock faces, install the apps that you want to use, and configure the wallet for wireless payments. The collection of available clock faces is relatively large and growing, and it includes both free and paid options.
Another essential part of the setup is configuring the apps installed on your Fitbit Versa 2. A number of them are preinstalled, like Spotify, Deezer, Weather, Strava, and more. It is a good idea to review them all, uninstall those you don't need, and configure the ones you want to use. You should also explore Fitbit's app store.
Unfortunately, the number of smartwatch apps available and their quality pale compared to what's available on Apple Watches. For example, we were excited to use the Spotify app on the Versa 2. Unfortunately, there is no offline playback; the Versa 2 must be connected to your smartphone, and you must use Spotify Premium. And even if you do meet all the requirements, the app often doesn't work, as revealed by users in this forum discussion. When it does work, you can only control Spotify playback on another device, like your smartphone or smart speaker. We frequently encountered the same issues described by other Fitbit users. After a few days, we stopped using Spotify on Versa 2. The user experience was too buggy and frustrating.
If you want to enjoy listening to music, you might prefer to use the 2.5 GB of storage space reserved for Fitibit's Music app. You can upload your favorite songs to the Versa 2, and listen to music played locally on the smartwatch while wearing a Bluetooth headset.
Another limitation is that the Fitbit Versa 2 doesn't have a GPS chip, and instead, it uses connected GPS. This means you have to take your smartphone with you when doing outdoor workouts like hiking, running, or biking.
The screen of the Versa 2 is visible and usable both when indoors and outdoors in the sunlight. Without the always-on display active, we used the smartwatch between 5 and 6 days before needing to charge it. With the always-on display turned on, the time was reduced to somewhere between 2 and 3 days. Navigating the Versa 2 user interface is easy. You do it with the help of its button and touch gestures. A short press of the button or a tap on the screen activates the display.
Swipe down to access the notifications. Swipe left to access the apps installed. The quick settings allow you to toggle the Do Not Disturb, the Sleep Mode, the always-on display, the screen brightness (three options to choose from: dim, normal, and max), and the screen wake (auto or manual) options. To get back, press the button on the left side of the Versa 2. You can also use the same button to make selections, when interacting with settings and configuration options.
The notifications on the Fitbit Versa 2 can be useful, especially if you are the type of person who wants to stay in touch with all the updates. However, they can quickly become annoying, so we recommend you to only enable notifications for the apps that are important to you. Otherwise, you might end up not getting any work done because your Versa 2 vibrates every few minutes. You can reply to the messages you receive straight from the Versa 2. However, you only get five predefined Quick Replies. Luckily, you can customize them to be anything you wish.
One positive about Fitbit Versa 2 is that it feels fast every time you use it, no matter what you do. There is no annoying lag when you navigate between data and settings, or when launching and closing apps.
Since we are based in Romania, and we don't have Amazon's Alexa available in our country, we couldn't test how well it works on the Versa 2. However, reading user comments on the internet, we learned that the integration is limited to getting a response in text form, and it gets quite buggy and unstable. It felt familiar to the Spotify experience we had on this smartwatch. Fitbit needs to invest in its app ecosystem to help it become more mature and competitive.
Wearing the Fitbit Versa 2 was a comfortable experience, both when exercising, and when sleeping. However, you do feel the need to take it off for a while, once every few days. If you want it to log everything, you can switch hands from time to time, to avoid taking it off at all.
Overall, the smartwatch experience offered by the Fitbit Versa 2 is not as polished as that of the Apple Watch Series. However, it is a digital companion that you can enjoy using, which provides useful data and notifications. The fact that you need to charge it just once every 5 or 6 days is a big plus.
The health and fitness features of the Fitbit Versa 2
The Fitbit app is where you interact with all your health and fitness data. Here, you can first see the number of steps you take each day and set your goals. You also see how long you walk, how many calories you burn, and how many minutes you are active each day. This data can be integrated with food-logging apps such as MyFitnessPal.
The steps tracking is accurate and useful when you want to create a more active lifestyle that involves less sitting in front of your desk or TV.
The heart rate reading shows you what heart rate zone you are in, such as cardio, peak, or fat burn. Fitbit also shows you a log of your resting heart rate for the last 30 days and gives you a comparison of your cardio fitness with other people of your age and gender.
The older I get, the more I appreciate the sleep tracking features on wearable devices. Fitbit Versa 2 shines in this regard. Each night it calculates a Sleep Score that takes into consideration how long you're awake, restless, and how long you remain in each sleep stage: light sleep, REM sleep, and deep sleep. It even gives you a comparison of 30 days' worth of data if you want to check whether your sleep pattern has improved. I noticed a direct correlation between my Sleep Score and how rested I felt each morning. The data shared by Fitbit helped me pay attention to my sleep patterns and improve them over time, which is excellent.
If you want even more data and graphs, we recommend going to Fitbit.com and activating the Premium subscription. With it, you get access to guided programs, advanced insights, which are even more detailed and useful, advanced sleep tools, and dynamic workouts. Unfortunately, the subscription price is quite high ($79.99/year), and we believe that Fitbit should lower it. Luckily, you get 7-days free with Versa 2 to test the service and decide whether it is useful enough before deciding to purchase it.
The Fitbit app can also be used to log your weight, water intake, and the calories eaten, for a complete overview of your evolution. Ladies can use the app to log their period, record symptoms, and compare their cycle against other health stats like sleep, activity, and weight.
Fitbit Versa 2 is aimed at people interested in health and fitness, and it provides lots of useful data and features.
Would you buy the Fitbit Versa 2?
Now you know our opinion about the Fitbit Versa 2 and what it has to offer to its users. Before closing this review, tell us what you think. Do you like the Fitbit Versa 2? Would you consider buying it? If you already have it, share your experiences with it in a comment below.