Fitbit is coming out with a new smartwatch in the Versa 2, which will feature more app integration and the Amazon Alexa voice assistant.
The company known for its activity trackers says it wants to “make health accessible to everyone.” That appears to be a two-pronged approach that will involve devices, like the new Versa 2 smartwatch, and Fitbit Premium, a subscription-based service to help users learn and do more for their health and fitness.
The two are not exclusive to one another. The Versa 2 will work with Premium, but so will most other Fitbit smartwatches and trackers. For the Versa 2 itself, the new watch looks to be a smartwatch for everyone, and with Alexa on board, your voice plays a role too.
Fitbit Versa 2 first impressions
The Versa 2 is very much in the same vein as the Versa, Versa Special Edition, and Versa Lite. It replaces the former, while the latter will continue on as part of Fitbit’s current lineup. The design similarities also extend to the bands. You can use the same bands you used for the Versa or Versa Lite with the Versa 2.
Functionally, the Versa 2 will track the same things—activity, sleep, and heart rate. It will sync with the Fitbit mobile app (iOS and Android), but you can always look at your stats and progress for the day on the watch itself. Fitbit says it will let users keep the screen on full-time, appeasing those who wanted that option.
Key to the new watch is how it will integrate with certain apps and services. Chief among them is Alexa, Amazon’s popular voice assistant. This is the first time Fitbit put a voice assistant into one of its products, and it looks to be an interesting move. Through Alexa, you will be able to set timers or alarms, control smart home devices, search for a local business and get answers to queries.
It’s not the full breadth of Alexa, however. In my brief time with it so far, I noticed it can’t control music, nor call or message contacts. It can, however, respond to texts by voice, but only paired with Android phones. With further testing in a full review, I’ll know more of what it can and can’t do.
One feature I do like is that Spotify is now a fully-functioning app, letting listeners access their playlists and control playback directly from the watch. You do still need the phone to actually access the music, but Fitbit finally fixed a longstanding omission. Deezer also works the same way, slowly increasing streaming music compatibility.
Basics of the Versa 2
The new watch has an AMOLED display with a newer, more powerful processor. It still has assisted GPS, plus swimproof water-resistance in clearwater. It will also support up to 15 goal-based exercises and on-device workouts, so you’re not always reaching for your phone. Fitbit claims battery life should last between two-to-five days, but that could vary depending on usage and how much the screen is on.
The interface looks different than before, though some parts are familiar. If you’re coming from a previous Versa model, you won’t have a problem getting around. There are up to 3,000 apps and (mostly) watch faces available to customize the experience.
There is a Special Edition model that will come with two different bands. Replacement and alternative bands are also part of the rollout, some of which are made from various materials, like leather, fabric or rubberized plastic.
The new Premium service will offer a 7-day trial to try out all the features, including tailored workouts, actionable coaching and deeper tracking. The Special Edition model will include a 90-day trial. It will run off the current Fitbit app, and will cost $13.49 per month after the trial ends.
The service will require more in-depth testing when it eventually launches in the coming weeks, but the idea is to provide a more holistic and active look at lifestyle and health. That will include sleep guidance, health coaching, guided programs, insights, workouts and more. It will also bring in a wellness report that the company claims was developed with doctors’ input. Fitbit believes users can take some of that data and show it to doctors in language they would understand.
It looks to be fairly comprehensive, but without the Versa 2 having something unique, like an electrocardiogram or blood pressure monitor built-in, it will be interesting to see how the service handles certain chronic conditions. Look for more on this service as it launches here on the Best Buy Blog.
The new Fitbit Versa 2 will be available soon and you can pre-order yours now in either black, petal, stone or the Special Edition charcoal woven band.