Fitbit Did What You Wanted and Basically Made a Pebble
The Versa doesn’t look much like a Fitbit and that’s a good thing. It looks more like the venerated Pebble Time Steel. At first glance, it isn’t quite as refined as the Apple Watch, but at $200 it’s also $50 cheaper that Apple’s cheapest competitor, the Series 1. The Versa will come with standard smartwatch features like all-day heart rate monitoring, smartphone notifications, and an app store. It’s sacrificed GPS support in exchange for what Fitbit promises is a solid four-plus days of battery life. The lack of GPS feels like a big omission—the beauty of the latest breed of smartwatches is how they don’t need to be tethered to a phone—but if it means a cheaper watch that lasts longer it might be survivable.
At least the Versa will feature other stuff we’ve come to expect from both smartwatches and fitness trackers. It can store up to 300 songs on the watch itself, as well as pair with Pandora through your phone. There’s also the standard heart rate and sleep tracking that Fitbit does, and a new period tracker feature. That feature is really just a version of the multitude of period apps you can already get on your phone. You can track your period by marking it in the calendar and letting the calendar figure out the average cycle.
But we won’t know how well the software has improved, or be able to test any of Fitbit’s other claims, until the Versa launches in April.
|Fitbit Did What You Wanted and Basically Made a Pebble
I haven’t asked for a lot from Fitbit over the years. Really only one thing. I would like another Pebble—a gorgeous smartwatch that lasts for days, has a healthy selection of apps, and isn’t sized to fit the wrist of a seven foot tall, 300-pound football player. Finally, I think, Fitbit might be giving me what I wanted.