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Hands-on review: Fitbit Versa 3, the actual star of the smartwatch show

25 Nov 2020

There's no doubt that the first- and second-generation Fitbit Versa devices revolutionised the fitness-based smartwatch industry. This year Fitbit released the Versa 3, and just like the first two, it did not disappoint. 

Design

While at first glance the Versa 3 looks similar to its predecessor, Fitbit actually made serious changes to the design. This year’s Versa 3 is rocking a sleeker-looking aluminium body that makes it feel more luxurious than its predecessors. The screen on the Versa 3 is also 1mm larger than the Versa 2, plus it has both better resolution and smoother touch sensitivity. 

Fitbit also finally changed the mechanism for the straps. It works the same way it does on the Fitbit Sense. The new mechanism is simple and straightforward; Fitbit simply added a small release button for the bands. And when you want to attach a new band, you just “plug and go”.

The third design change was the removal of the physical buttons with an induction one that acts as a home button. While in theory, this is a good change; I did not really like it. The “button” is positioned more towards the bottom side of the watch; this made it difficult to access. It also means that the button got pressed accidentally if I moved my hand a certain way. 

Battery

Just like the Versa 2, the Versa 3 has a great battery life! With the always-on display disabled, I was easily able to get six days worth of battery on a single charge. The always-on display, however, brings that down drastically to just two days. While that is still better than the Apple Watch, in my opinion, it is not worth it. I would rather take longer battery life over an always-on display. 

Fitbit also finally changed the old “clip” charger brick to a magnetic one. This was also another change that seems minor but actually makes the experience more user friendly. 

Smartwatch features

When it comes to all the smartwatch features, Fitbit did not really make any changes. This is still the only area where the watch has just enough to keep users happy, but nowhere near enough to compete with something like the Apple Watch. Applications differ based on the country you are in, and Fitbit Pay varies based on if your bank supports it. In New Zealand, I was able to get my ASB card loaded on the watch reasonably quickly. 

Just like the Versa 2, the Versa 3 supports both Deezer and Spotify for music streaming. With that being said, offline support is only available for Deezer. That means that a Spotify user can’t leave their phone behind to go for a run, which is very disappointing. I personally do not know a single person that uses Deezer over Spotify. 

Health and fitness

As expected, this is precisely where Fitbit shines. The Versa 3 has all the health and fitness features users could need. Just by wearing the watch all day, it will automatically collect heaps of useful information and data like steps, heart rate, floors climbed and distance travelled, calories burned, and even active zone minutes. All of this data will be available in the Fitbit app and will also show on the watch itself. The watch will also send reminders of the 250 hourly steps and will let users know when they are in the target zone while exercising. 

Through the application, users can also track weekly exercise goals and sleep data. The application also offers food and drink tracking. I have linked my “MyFitnessPal” account to the Fitbit account, which allows the application to use the data from the Versa 3 to compare my calorie intake to my calories burned. This has helped me maintain my weight loss and gain a lot better. The Versa 3 also offers menstrual tracking that allows users to log dates and symptoms and calculate cycles. 

Verdict

I can honestly say that the Fitbit Versa 3 is my personal favourite of the year. Even though it doesn’t have the ECG app and the stress management features like the Fitbit Sense and the Apple Watch, it has everything else that is necessary and is much better priced.