Fitbit Versa Lite Review: More for Less

I’ve tried a lot of health trackers. It’s a part of my job. Every few weeks, I put a brand new one on, take it working, mountaineering, and swimming, after which ship it again to the producer. I like them quite a bit and have devoted critical thought to purchasing one in every of my very personal, to have and to carry, et cetera. But after years of reviewing health trackers, I’ve but to drag the set off.

A giant a part of my reluctance stems from the value tag. Coughing up $400 for an Apple Watch feels absurd, particularly for somebody who ran with a cheapo Timex Ironman for a decade. That’s precisely what makes Fitbit’s new, lower-priced choices so interesting to prospects like me. At $160, the Versa Lite is without doubt one of the most reasonably priced good health watches round, which Fitbit completed by scaling again on options like onboard Wi-Fi and NFC funds (all nonetheless accessible on the unique Versa and the Versa Special Edition).

I believe it was an incredible determination. A 12 months after testing the Versa, I’m stunned by how delighted I used to be to strap it again on my wrist. I don’t miss loads of the options that Fitbit minimize out, and some have even improved. If you’re searching for a great-looking, back-to-basics health tracker that fulfills a number of smartwatch features, the Versa Lite is a good selection.

Everything Old Is New Again

As my colleague Lauren Goode famous, you can very simply mistake the Versa Lite for the unique Versa (and the unique Versa for the Apple Watch). The two largest variations are the buttons—the Versa Lite has one, not three—and the colourful new colorways.

I didn’t miss the 2 right-hand buttons, which served as shortcuts to see your notifications or open apps within the authentic Versa. Since you may simply swipe and faucet on the touchscreen to perform these similar features, I virtually forgot that the lacking buttons ever existed in any respect. The new colours, which embody a bazonkers-bright mulberry and marina blue along with lilac and white, are very arduous to overlook. They additionally look nice.

My not-very-fashion-conscious husband even squinted at my marina blue tester, after I’d switched out the blue straps for the white ones, and pronounced it “stylish.” That’s a phrase I’m unsure he’s ever uttered earlier than, particularly not as utilized to me. But I digress.

As with the Versa, the Versa Lite is low-profile and slid simply underneath all my jacket sleeves. Fitbit claims that the Versa will get 4 days in between fees, however I discovered that the battery lasts even longer with the Versa Lite. I bought by way of 5 days with one or two tracked each day actions earlier than I bought notifications that the battery was low, at round 22 p.c. It took an hour to cost it absolutely. This is spectacular efficiency when in comparison with the Apple Watch Series 4, for instance, which needs to be charged each night time.

Along with the shape issue, many different options stay the identical from the Versa to the Versa Lite. The Versa Lite can also be customizable. You can use the app in your telephone to modify the Versa Lite’s clock faces; add apps, each Fitbit- and user-created; and choose the various kinds of train that the tracker will auto-recognize, from working, to strolling, to outside biking.

Unfortunately, the Versa Lite doesn’t embody the three-axis gyroscope and thus now not tracks lap swimming. That’s a daily a part of my train routine, so it is a functionality I missed. Nor does it embody Fitbit Coach, Fitbit’s personalised and really handy teaching app. I loved the trial subscription after I tried the Versa, nevertheless it did require a $40-per-year subscription price.

The Versa Lite’s coronary heart charge monitor has improved significantly since I examined the Versa. No longer do I get wacky, and albeit alarming, coronary heart charge will increase that make me surprise if I ought to name my physician. Instead, its HR measurements at the moment are in line with my outcomes on Suunto and Garmin displays. However, I used to be reminded that this isn’t a look ahead to extra critical athletes, because the Versa Lite now not has an altimeter and due to this fact does not monitor elevation.

As with the Versa, the Versa Lite has no onboard GPS and solely linked GPS if you’re carrying your smartphone. If you’re already carrying your telephone to make use of the GPS, you most likely don’t want onboard Wi-Fi or music storage on the watch, so Fitbit minimize these two options out.

Indeed, I didn’t miss them. While I discovered loading podcasts on the unique Versa to be pretty painless, any course of is extra annoying than simply turning on a pair of Bluetooth exercise headphones. You may use the Versa Lite to regulate the quantity of your music and skip tracks, which meant that I didn’t must dig my telephone out of my pocket or fanny pack.

Software the Heart Is


Some features of the software program have additionally improved dramatically since I examined the Versa. This time, I used to be in a position to make use of Fitbit’s new feminine well being app to trace my menstrual cycles, and I may extra simply edit my cycles inside the app. That vastly improved the app’s accuracy.

Fitbit has additionally put loads of sources into bettering its sleep-tracking tech. Some instruments, just like the Sleep Score, are nonetheless in beta. I discovered the Sleep Score, which evaluates components like sleep depth, period, and restoration to provide me a quantitative quantity every day, to be helpful. Unfortunately, it is not at the moment accessible for many customers, or within the app.

Meanwhile, the sleep software within the Fitbit app provides easy-to-read graphs, however I did not discover the at the moment accessible sleep insights to be notably useful. They principally supplied me congratulations for attaining a constant bedtime or getting in a nightly eight hours. Maybe they’d be extra helpful if I have been barely much less boring.

And lastly, seeing textual content notifications was one thousand occasions much less annoying. While there are nonetheless no fast replies for iOS customers (Android customers now have 5 pre-populated responses), the texts that confirmed up on the Versa’s display have been now not indirect one- or two-word texts punctuated with maddening ellipses. Instead, I bought over three strains of textual content, greater than sufficient to simply comprehend {that a} pal was confirming lunch plans or coming over for a stroll.

And once more, I discovered myself utilizing the identical straightforward instruments that I did with the Versa—utilizing the timer to prepare dinner a fast pizza, for instance, or checking the climate rapidly after I was away from an Alexa speaker.

I nonetheless wouldn’t suggest the Versa Lite for swimmers or somebody who wished to trace their downhill snowboarding or marathon coaching classes. But that recommendation held true for the Versa as effectively. No, the Versa Lite isn’t breaking new floor. But if it’s mistaken for a corporation to make one in every of its hottest merchandise incrementally extra helpful, engaging, and reasonably priced, then I don’t wish to be proper.

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