We check out the new and improved Versa 2.
The Versa isn’t Fitbit’s first smartwatch, but it certainly became the most popular one. It improved on most of the Ionic’s flaws and quickly became one of the company’s best devices. Fast forward one year later and we’re treated to a new and improved Versa 2.
Even if its features don’t compare to the one offered by let’s say the Apple Watch, the Versa 2 ticks all the right boxes on what a smartwatch could do, which makes the 899 AED all worth it. At its core, the Versa 2 is still pretty much a fitness tracker, and this is where Fitbit has excelled in its current product line.
The same ‘squircle’ design is still present on the Versa 2’s screen and looks larger than its predecessor. There’s also a smaller bezel so you have a larger screen estate. On the side, you will find a single button that is used for choosing a selection or as a back button.
Protected by Gorilla Glass 3, the Versa 2’s screen has been drastically improved thanks to a bright AMOLED touchscreen. The 300-by-300 pixel resolution is enough to showcase the colorful menu of the Versa 2, a step up from the LCD screen used on the first Versa. It’s also really bright, so I had to turn down the brightness to a low setting so it’s comfortable to the eyes. It has an ambient light sensor though, so at least you don’t have to constantly adjust the brightness every time you use it.
The new addition to the Versa 2 is the always-on display, which is turned off by default. Once on, you no longer need to tap or raise your hand in a specific way to tell the time since it’s easily visible on the screen. Note however that turning this will take a toll on battery life, though in our tests you’re still getting more than 2-3 day’s worth of usage from a single charge, which is way better than the Apple Watch Series 5. Turn off the always-on display function and you’re seeing more than 5 days of battery life.
Since it’s a smartwatch, you have the option to turn on call and messaging notifications, though I usually turn them for lesser distractions. While the first Versa was good, we hated the sluggish menu system but that changes with the Versa 2 – It’s now faster and smoother when opening apps.
You still need the Fitbit smartphone app to manage all your workout sessions on the Versa 2. While it’s one of the fitness apps available, we’re kind of disappointed that it still doesn’t integrate data on Google Fit or Apple Health.
All the usual settings are there from changing the watch faces, checking your heart rate or even sleep stats. Speaking of sleep, a new and improved sleep tracking system comes with the Versa 2. Improved algorithms mean that the device can track how much sleep you’re getting and can even find a way to wake you up feeling refreshed. A new Sleep Score system has been introduced, which gives you an overview of how much sleep you’re getting.
The Versa 2 also comes with a Spotify app, but you can only use the watch to control playback and browse playlists. Yes, it would’ve been great to have access to offline downloads, but I guess you would still need to bring your smartphone with you since the Versa 2 also needs it for GPS. Versa 2 still doesn’t have GPS, meaning that you would still need to take your smartphone so it can track your location when go out for a run.
This smartwatch also has support for NFC, meaning that you can use apps like Fitbit Pay to save your cards and use it for contactless payments. At the moment, most of the cards from Emirates NBD are supported with more banks coming soon.
I normally go out for a late-night run and Versa 2 can immediately track when I start running just in case I forget to log it. This smartwatch also has support for Alexa, hopefully, they bring in support for Google Assistant soon.
Every purchase of a Versa 2 includes a free trial to Fitbit Premium. This is basically a service that gives you access to different workouts along with insights on your current fitness goal. You can even download this data to show to your doctor that can help give you better suggestions on how to stay fit. There are also challenges that should give you that extra push when you’re feeling lazy to complete your goal. A one-month subscription to Fitbit Premium will cost 40 AED per month, you can pay annually at 330 AED per year.
Factoring in the cost of Fitbit Premium and the Versa 2, you’re looking at a price that’s still marginally cheaper than other fitness trackers and smartwatches. This is why the Fitbit Versa 2 comes highly recommended as one of our favorite smartwatches.
+ Improved screen with always-on display
+ Great battery life
– Still doesn’t integrate with Google Fit or Apple Health
– GPS is still tethered to your smartphone
Final Rating: 4.5/5