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Fitbit Versa 2

Fitbit Versa 2 Specifications

  • Sensors: triaxial accelerometer, optical heart rate sensor, altimeter, relative SpO2 sensor, ambient light sensor.
  • Other components: vibration, NFC, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi , microphone, Bluetooth 4.0
  • Display: AMOLED
  • Battery: Lithium-Polymer
  • Scope of delivery: Fitbit Versa 2 smart watch, two differently sized wrist bands, charging cable
  • Misc: waterproof up to 50 m (164 ft), max. altitude of operation 8,535 m (27,400 ft), music controls for Android via Bluetooth Classic, for iOS via Bluetooth LE
  • Price: Starting at $200

Initial Setup

The included USB charging dock attaches to the Versa 2 with clips on both sides. The watch can be set-up and used without a smartphone if so desired, and you can download desktop applications for Windows and macOS on fitbit.com, which are backwards compatible up to and including Windows XP. Alternatively, you can set it up using a Windows 10, Android 7, or iOS 11 smartphone or newer. Large amounts of data, such as music, are transferred from your computer via Wi-Fi.

A Fitbit account is mandatory to use the watch. Personal information such as height, age, and weight are optional, however it makes sense to include this information in your profile in order to get detailed and accurate fitness and health analyses.

Scope of delivery
Scope of delivery
Scope of delivery
Scope of delivery
Versa 2 attached to its charging dock
Versa 2 attached to its charging dock

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Fitbit Versa 2, various combinations of case and wrist band
Fitbit Versa 2, various combinations of case and wrist band
Fitbit Versa 2, various combinations of case and wrist band
Fitbit Versa 2, various combinations of case and wrist band
Fitbit Versa 2, various combinations of case and wrist band
Fitbit Versa 2, various combinations of case and wrist band
Fitbit Versa 2, various combinations of case and wrist band
Fitbit Versa 2, various combinations of case and wrist band
Fitbit Versa 2, various combinations of case and wrist band
Fitbit Versa 2, various combinations of case and wrist band
Fitbit Versa 2, various combinations of case and wrist band
Fitbit Versa 2, various combinations of case and wrist band

Case and Connectivity

Thanks to its two included wrist bands the watch will easily fit all wrists between 5.5 and 10 inches in circumference. The 40 x 40 x 12 mm (~1.6 x 1.6 x 0.5 in) case is made of aluminum and weighs between 41 and 43 g (~1.4 and 1.5 oz), depending on which wrist band is attached. Speaking of which, the wrist bands are tapered and feel very comfortable. Additional bands in various colors are available, and the Versa 2 is backwards compatible to Versa wrist bands as well. While Fitbit does not provide an IP certification the watch is supposed to be waterproof up to 50 m (165 ft) and should thus easily survive both the shower and the pool.

The 25cm2 AMOLED touch display remains readable in sunlight, and it automatically reduced brightness when walking inside. The always-on mode is optional and can be deactivated, which will require either pressing a button or lifting your wrist to turn the watch on.

On the wrist
On the wrist
Always-on display on an overcast day ...
Always-on display on an overcast day ...
... and in bright sunlight
... and in bright sunlight

Handling and Software

The touch display is very simple to use. Notifications, statistics, and available apps can be accessed via intuitive swipe gestures, tapping opens apps and menus, and the button on the left-hand side is used for going back.

The single button can also be configured for either Fitbit Pay or Amazon Alexa. The availability of Fitbit Pay depends on your country and bank, and support is fairly limited so far. In some countries, you can order a Fitbit VISA card should your bank not support Fitbit Pay.

Amazon Alexa requires an Amazon account and works without the Amazon Alexa app on your smartphone. Alexa will only listen once the button has been pressed in order to ensure that the watch is not listening in on all conversations around it non-stop. Feedback and answers are provided on the display.

Smart home features were quite finicky. Every command was acknowledged with an error message saying that this feature is not supported on this device, and then immediately carried out. The microphone is pretty poor and requires a strong and powerful voice.

Home screen
Home screen
Notifications
Notifications
Incoming message
Incoming message
Stats
Apps
Apps
Exercise: swimming
Swimming options
Alexa

Fitness tracking – GPS only via smartphone

Those interested in the Versa 2’s fitness tracking abilities will have to get used to Fitbit’s Connect app, which not only contains the protocols and analyses of your workouts but also allows you to individually setup up to 6 different types of exercise. Details, such as length of swimming lane, can later be configured on the watch itself.

The lack of GPS was certainly a major downer. That said, the watch was accurate and smart enough to determine running distance after only a few days of exercise without having to take your smartphone with you every time you go running. In our test, the Versa 2 and an Apple Watch vibrated almost simultaneously to signify each kilometer.

Once completed you can share your data either within the Fitbit community or by installing the Strava app on your watch.

Running data on five screens, including track, heart rate, and more
Running data on five screens, including track, heart rate, and more
Individualized daily report
Weekly report by email
Six types of exercise can be configured on the Versa 2
Options for running
Optional additional apps
Additional watch faces

Music without a smartphone

If you don’t require accurate GPS tracking during your workout you can leave your smartphone at home. The watch offers around 2.5 GB of internal memory that can be used for audio books and music, and that you can listen to during your workout via wireless Bluetooth headphones. Unfortunately, Spotify - a newcomer in Fitbit’s app store - cannot be used without a smartphone. While you can control and select music from the Versa 2, the music itself is streamed from a connected smartphone and requires a Spotify premium account to boot. Unlike Spotify, Deezer supports offline playlists that can be downloaded onto the watch but like the newcomer it requires a paid subscription as well.

Health features improved by artificial intelligence

The algorithms used to determine distance based on individual running behavior are proof that artificial intelligence, a feature that many smartphone manufacturers like to brag with, has found its way into smart watches. Among others this includes a detection algorithm for various types of exercise as well as length of training, which both worked great during our tests. After a while you don’t need to manually select biking, running or swimming and can simply get going without thinking about it.

A future update is supposed to include a smart alarm clock that will wake you during light sleep instead of deep sleep phases. A sleep analysis is already available if the watch is worn at night, an example of which can be seen in the screenshot below. The red peaks signify REM sleep, which stands for “Rapid Eye Movement” and is usually the time of night where you dream.

Another health feature is the included SpO2 sensor that is supposed to detect changes in your blood oxygen level. Unfortunately, this feature was not yet available when we reviewed the Versa 2. Other features include manual food and liquid intake tracking with support for self-control. A paid subscription offers an individual personalized analysis, for example to improve one’s sleep.

Sleep analysis
Sleep analysis
Automatic exercise detection
Automatic exercise detection

Battery and Battery Life

With disabled always-on display the watch should easily last a full weekend. Fitbit’s claim of up to 5 days of battery life is only feasible if you consider the Versa 2 to be nothing but a fashion accessory. In our test, we kept the always-on display enabled, used Alexa occasionally, and listened to music while tracking workouts. In this scenario, the battery lasted for roughly two days and two nights during which we kept it on our wrist for sleep analysis. If you want to wear the Versa 2 24/7 we would advise you to charge it daily while showering and drinking your morning coffee. This quick charge should easily replenish the batteries.

Verdict – Unpack and Go!

In review: Fitbit Versa 2
In review: Fitbit Versa 2

Fitbit’s Versa 2 is a well-made good-looking and most importantly intelligent watch. It memorizes and analyzes your individual exercise patterns and is capable of detecting various types of exercise automatically as well as provide you with distance details despite its lack of GPS.

Fitbit’s Versa 2 is the perfect device to simply get going without any sort of preparation.

Nevertheless, the lack of GPS is a disadvantage. Should you be interested in tracking your route you will need to carry a smartphone with you as well. More and more fitness trackers include GPS to offer this functionality, and almost all current models are capable of continuously monitoring your heart rate. On paper, the Versa 2’s SpO2 sensors might offer certain advantages over its competitors, however we were unable to test it during our review period.

Fitbit’s many years of experience are also very noticeable in the corresponding smartphone app, which offers so many features and analyses that it can get fairly confusing at times. However, working your way through all the bells and whistles is definitely worth it. The number of additional apps is impressive considering the proprietary nature of Fitbit’s operating system, and they can certainly improve the Versa 2’s usefulness quite a bit.

The price of around $200 seems justified when looking at the big picture. At this price the Versa 2 is significantly cheaper than the Apple Watch but much more expensive than the growing number of affordable smart watches that are flooding the market right now. Take for example Amazfit’s Verge Lite, which can be had for around $100. Including GPS.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Smart watch Fitbit Versa 2 Review - how can a fitness tracker without GPS be that good?
Inge Schwabe, 2019-10- 2 (Update: 2019-10- 3)