The 12 Days of Christmas gift idea list is now upon us, and for the seventh day, you may want to consider one of the best smartwatches— the Fitbit Versa 2.
Fitbit launched the Versa 2 as its most complete smartwatch to date, picking up on the previous Versa and Versa Lite. It continues the foundational approach those two watches brought with them, but adds a few extras to make it more dynamic and interesting, and that’s why it made the Christmas list.
Why the Fitbit Versa 2?
In my review and video of the Fitbit Versa 2, I covered setup and performance in detail, noting the reasons why I felt it was a worthwhile pickup if you were in the market for a smartwatch.
Since then, Google acquired Fitbit. Nothing has changed thus far in how the products and services run, and it’s not yet clear if that ever will change for devices like this. The good news may be that Google’s clout could help drive more app support for Fitbit’s platform. Only time will tell.
The Versa 2 sports a nice AMOLED screen that is more battery-friendly than previous watches, which used LCD. That allows the watch to use the always-on display feature to show the time, date and battery level at all times in monochrome without draining power quickly.
It also has the same lugs the previous watches did, meaning you can buy other bands that would have fit those and still use them on the Versa 2. There are many out there, so it’s really up to you. The watch does feel a little different when you put on a leather, metal, fabric or silicone band on it. It lets you wear it for any occasion, like at the gym or when going out for a night on the town.
There is no built-in GPS, so you do need your phone with you to map a route or measure distance accurately. Same with streaming music. The watch doesn’t have its own storage for that, either. But you can track activity, sleep quality and exercise without the paired phone nearby. Every time you open the app, you can then sync all the data over.
Using the Fitbit Versa 2
New to the Versa 2 was better access to Spotify and all-new access to Amazon Alexa. In the case of Alexa, holding the button wakes the onboard microphone waiting for a command. You can ask general queries, where answers will pop up onscreen, or control smart home devices, but phone calls aren’t an option. Texting will also only work when paired with Android phones. It won’t work at all with the iPhone.
It is useful for getting basic information, like a weather forecast or starting an exercise. While those things are easy enough to do on the Alexa mobile app, it beats having to pull out your phone to do it.
Spotify subscribers get a better experience here too. Spotify Connect lets you control music from the watch, but you still need your phone to select playlists and tracks. You can only skip or repeat tracks from the watch. And while Alexa works beautifully with Spotify on other devices, there’s no integration like that here.
But it’s still pretty convenient compared to what Fitbit had before. Deezer is another streaming music service that will work. With Google’s recent acquisition, we may eventually see Google Play Music or YouTube Music added at some point. The watch will not work with Apple Music at all.
I got good use of a barcode app where I stored my loyalty cards for easy scanning while shopping. Apps are pretty limited, otherwise, but the Uber one works well. You could also try putting the Starbucks one on there.
Being active with the Fitbit Versa 2
Staying active with this watch really depends on how much you want to get out of it. There is water and sweat-resistance, including the option to swim with it. It can handle going down to 50 metres underwater, though I recommend sticking to pools. You can try saltwater, but be sure to rinse and dry it with clearwater immediately after.
There’s a lot to do as far as exercise goes. Use the app and you can customize the exercises you want the most access to. If you subscribe to Fitbit Premium, you can also seek a more tailor-made experience to help you get fit or reach a certain goal.
The watch will remind you to get up and move around if you’ve been sitting for too long. It will also track sleep and give you an idea of how restful you truly were.
Battery life also holds up fairly well. You can expect about five days without the always-on display—about two or three days without. That’s not bad for regular usage, but your mileage may vary on what you do or don’t do with it.
A solid smartwatch
Getting a smartwatch isn’t just about having some technology on your wrist, it’s about insight. How active you are, and how convenient it can be—those are two key examples. The Versa 2 is built to do a lot, and looks pretty good, in the process. As our 12 Days of Christmas series kicks off, this is one of the best smartwatches you can latch onto your wrist in 2019.