Hands-on review: The Fitbit Versa Lite
FYI, this story is more than a year old
After the successful launch of the Versa last year, Fitbit released a Lite edition of the successful smartwatch last month. The Lite edition is meant to be more affordable at NZ$269.95, and colourful: White, lilac, marine blue and mulberry.
The Versa Lite is Fitbit’s way to target consumers that are interested in smart watches but can’t afford to pay for something a little more expensive, like $400 for the original Versa.
At first glance, the Versa and the Versa Lite look exactly the same. For someone who is not a Versa user, the two can be easily mistaken. The only difference is that on the left side, the Versa has three buttons while the Versa Lite edition has only one. Removing the two buttons was Fitbit’s way of making the product less pricey, less tech-focused and more user-friendly. Removing Fitbit Pay was the other way they could make the device more affordable.
The Versa Lite straps can be easily removed and swapped out for different ones. The Versa straps will fit the Versa Lite which gives users heaps of options. After wearing the watch for a few weeks, I think it is pretty comfortable and it looks nice on my wrist.
The watch itself is the perfect size for my wrist. The Versa Lite has a 300x300 touch screen which is the same as the Versa. Though the screen doesn’t compare to the Apple Watch’s display, it is still pretty good for its price point. The touchscreen is responsive and allows you to navigate around the apps easily.
As expected, the Versa Lite packs all the fitness tracking features we have come to expect of Fitbit. The watch accurately tracks your steps and allows you to set daily goals. This is a great way for anyone who wants to get in shape to get motivated. The app has automatic hourly step reminders that can be tailored from the phone app.
The tracker also has continuous heart rate tracking which means you can check your heart rate at any time. Once synced with the app, you can check on your heart health with the different reports the app provides.
The Versa Lite recognises and records various exercises like walking, running, biking, weightlifting, etc… However, the watch doesn’t support swimming, which is one of the main differences between the Versa and the Versa Lite edition. Unfortunately, the Versa Lite doesn’t have a built-in GPS, however, once connected to your smartphone the app will pull that data from your phone.
The Versa Lite has one of Fitbit's winning features: sleep tracking. There is something very satisfying about waking up every morning and checking how well you’ve slept. The tracker uses both the accelerometer and the heart rate monitor to gather data and analyse the quality of your sleep. The application shows a breakdown of all the sleep stages: light, deep, REM and awake. It then shows all of this data in a very well presented graph that clearly shows the time spent in each stage daily as well as the monthly average. The app also gives you suggestions about how you can improve your sleep.
As an Apple user, I knew that the Versa Lite was going to win over Apple in the fitness tracking section, but I was curious to see how they do in the smartwatch features side of things. The Fitbit Versa’s interface is nowhere near as mature as that of the Apple watch, however, it is still very good.
One thing I like about the Versa Lite is how much you can personalise it. The watch has an app store and a huge library of clock faces. There is something in there for everyone. It has opened up its store to third-party developers which provides lots of variety.
Another feature I found very useful on the Versa Lite that is a great step up from the Charge, Alta and inspire range is the fact that the watch has playback controls. If you are on a run and you are listening to music on your phone, you have the option to control it from your wrist. This is a great feature that makes exercising that little bit easier.
The website claims that the Versa Lite is supposed to last four days on a single charge. I found that to be the case only if you disconnect it from your phone, turn notifications off, and basically use it to track steps and tell the time. Anything more than that and it will be very hard to get anything more than 2 or 3 days out of the battery.
The Fitbit Versa Lite is charged with a proprietary charger that comes in the box. Just like all other Fitbits, this charger is unique to it. I personally do not find that a problem since the watch lasts 3 days.
The Fitbit Versa Lite is one of the best options on the market right now. I personally prefer it to the original Versa and think at its price point it is a better option. I do not believe that what you lose with the Lite version is anything that is necessary.