The Fitbit Versa 2 is better than its predecessor, but still limited as a smartwatch
With the Versa 2, Fitbit attempts to take on Apple and Samsung smartwatches for the fourth time. Its display and battery life are great, but some things could still improve.
The Versa 2 is Fitbit’s (now acquired by Google for a whopping $2.1 billion) fourth attempt at taking on Apple and Samsung in the burgeoning smartwatch industry.
At first glance, it is strikingly similar to its predecessor. But, you will notice the changes once you turn the smartwatch on.
Let’s dive in and see what’s behind the screen.
Display and design
The Versa 2 comes with a colour OLED display instead of an LCD one. It has a 1.4-inch screen paired with Gorilla Glass and peak brightness of over 1,000 nits.
The main benefit of an OLED screen is that the smartwatch can have an ‘always-on display’ — a feature many users had been craving. Fitbit has finally caught up with competition in this regard. (The Fossil Gen 5, Galaxy Watch/ Galaxy Active 2, and Apple Watch Series 5 boast this feature.)
The Versa 2 also has an Amazon Alexa integration and a new built-in microphone. Pressing the side button calls up the helper, and using that you can set reminders, ask questions, and more.
While there is no speaker on the watch, the Alexa results are displayed on the Versa 2's screen. (This is an opt-in feature, so you can do without it as well).
Fit and feel
The watch is fairly light at only 38 grams and is quite durable. Initially, there is a little roughness in feel while wearing the Versa 2. But, it gets more comfortable along the way.
The single button on the left ensures that there are very few accidental pushes when you are exercising. It also provides easy access to the Amazon Alexa assistant. This doubles up as the power button too.
The Versa 2 doesn’t have a standalone GPS, and that explains its long battery life.
FitbitOS, but can be better
The Versa 2 runs on its own FitbitOS. Fitbit has several years of experience and that doesn’t change with the Versa 2. The OS and UI are easy and intuitive for daily use.
But, there is some inconsistency when it comes to notifications. WhatsApp alerts are sometimes clubbed and sent in a barrage. Also, you have to manually clear old messages even after you have responded to them.
Another issue is that, if you’re using the Versa 2 with an Apple iPhone, then you cannot respond to messages. It works only for Android smartphone users.
However, the app ecosystem has improved over time. In fact, it is now better than Google’s WearOS platform. One hopes Google will allow Fitbit to retain its FitbitOS ecosystem even after the acquisition is completed.
A week’s worth of battery life
The biggest USP of the Versa 2 is its battery life.
If you switch off the always-on display, then a single charge can last you almost a week. With the Apple Watch and Fossil Gen 5 offering less than a day’s battery life, the Fitbit Versa 2 has marched ahead on this front.
With the lift-to-wake functionality working solidly, there is actually no need for the ‘always-on’ display setting. If you do choose to keep it on, then you can expect a far-shorter battery life. (Closer to three days, is what we experienced.)
Verdict: comfortable, but pricey
Even though the Versa 2 improves upon its predecessor, especially on the display front, there aren’t enough smarts packed in to justify its price tag of Rs 22,999.
It’s also not very useful as a smartwatch per se. Yes, the screen displays fitness stats on the go, but the Fitbit Charge 3 might be more effective and affordable for you.
But, the one big thing Versa 2 has going for it — it is one of the most comfortable smartwatches we’ve come across. So, the purchase decision ultimately boils down to whether the device functionalities are useful to individual users or not.
(Edited by Athirupa Geetha Manichandar)