Fitbit Versa 3 Review: The Affordable Smartwatch That Packs A Punch

Product: The Fitbit Versa 3 The black Fitbit Versa 3

Price: £199 / $299 USD (check out Amazon for special offers)

Best place to buy: Fitbit website or Amazon

Guarantee: 1 year manufacturer’s guarantee

My rating: 8 out of 10

 

The Fitbit Versa 3 Review: Product Overview


The Versa 3 is Fitbit’s newest smartwatch designed to help you track your health and fitness every day. It comes with features such as heart rate monitoring and activity tracking, including steps, distance and calories burned, as well as guided breathing sessions, sleep monitoring and food logging.

You can also track your pace and distance whilst exercising and, thanks to the new built-in GPS feature, you no longer have to take your phone with you when you’re out.

Slightly larger than the Versa 2 with a 1.58 inch display, the Versa 3 has all the same features as it’s predecessor but now comes with built-in GPS to track outdoor activities including pace and distance without the need to have your phone with you. It also features the new PurePulse 2.0 heart rate sensor which Fitbit claims improves accuracy with ‘machine-learning algorithms’ which can map multiple heart rate signals and build a better picture of your heart rate.

And if you want more than just a health and fitness tracker, the Versa 3 looks pretty good on your wrist too with high resolution screen and a range of new bands including Horween leather, woven, and knitted bands, and in a range of colours so you can accessorise as required.

I’m a fan of health and fitness trackers and have owned both Fitbit and Apple watches, so I was interested to find out how the Versa 3 stacked up against the competition. Here’s my Fitbit Versa 3 review.

The Fitbit Versa 3 Features


Functionality:

  • Apps
  • Notifications
  • Fitbit Pay
  • Built-in voice assistant
  • Music

Health and Fitness tracking: The Fitbit Versa 3 smartwatch and list of features

  • Activity tracking
  • Heart rate tracking
  • Cardio fitness level
  • Active zone minutes
  • Sleep monitoring
  • Guided breathing sessions

Other features:

  • Voice control
  • GPS connectivity
  • AMOLED display
  • Six days of battery life
  • Quick charge feature (12 minutes for 24 hours battery life)
  • Box includes:
    – Fitbit Versa 3
    – Charging cable
    – Small and large wrist bands

The promotional video for the Fitbit Versa 3

Price And Availability


Along with the Sense and Fitbit Inspire 2, the Versa 3 was announced at Fitbit’s virtual conference in August 2020 and is available to buy directly from Fitbit and other large retailers.

In the UK, the Versa 3 is on sale for the same price as the Versa 2, however in Australia and the US the Versa 3 is sold at around $399 AUD and $299 USD. With the launch of the Sense at the same time, and selling for around a hundred pounds / dollars more, the Versa 3 no longer appears to be Fitbit’s flag bearer, but that doesn’t make it a less attractive option considering the amount of features you get which still makes it one of the better smartwatches on the market today.

Although the Versa 2 was available in a more expensive, special edition version, the Versa 3 is sold as standard issue with three different colours available including two soft gold cases with a Midnight Blue and Pink Gold strap, and a black chassis with black band.

Battery Life


The battery life of the Versa 3 doesn’t disappoint, as is renowned for Fitbit. Just like the Versa 2, the Versa 3 can last for up to six days after a full charge based on normal display brightness and with the GPS function used two to three times a week. Obviously the more times you use the GPS the quicker the battery will run down. Other things that can cause significant battery drain are keeping the display to always-on (you’ll get roughly two days from a full charge) and this plus daily use of the GPS will require you to charge the battery every day.

I still think this provides more than enough juice for most people and the other excellent feature of the Versa 3 is that you can quick-charge the battery in around 12-15 minutes which will give you up to around a third more charge (lasting for up to 24 hours depending on level of use).

Design And Display


A close-up of the Fitbit Versa 3 with gold chassis and blue strapAlthough you might look at the Versa 3 and have a hard time working out what’s different, a closer inspection will reveal some design improvements that enhance its sleekness.

Now available in soft gold as well as black, there is perhaps a slightly more elegant touch. The size and resolution of the screen is the biggest difference however, increasing from 39mm and 300 x 300 pixels on the Versa 2 to a 40mm AMOLED screen with 336 x 336 pixels on the Versa 3 which offers a crisp, bright display that is not only extremely clear but really rather eye-catching from any angle.

Thankfully navigation on the Versa 3 remains easy. The swiping feature that allows you to bring up different functions works really well and there is no lag, meaning the screen responds instantly and quickly to your touch.

Another notable difference is the removal of the side button. This has now been replaced with an indent on the left side of the case, just below the chassis lip, that, when pressed, sends a vibration indicating the smartwatch has been activated. I’m not sure whether I particularly welcomed this feature. I felt it was a bit clunky – you need to feel for it and finding the precise spot to press is not very easy. Of course this can be side-stepped by programming the watch to respond to a tap on the screen and then swiping to bring up the menu. But some shortcuts do still require both a tap and hold of the indent, or a double tap and hold to activate them, which can be irritating and frustrating to bring up.

You also have a small mic and speaker on the right side of the chassis which allow you to take calls and the strap mechanism is much improved from the Versa 2, echoing the Fitbit Sense with a small button that acts as a latch, that when pulled gently releases the clasp. This also provides a more streamlined look and makes it easy to swap out the band if you fancy a change.

A couple of other things to quickly note are the charger and weatherproofing. Gone is the boxy USB charger and in comes a small magnetic dock which provides super—speedy top-ups of battery power.

The device is also waterproof up to 50m and splash proof so you can wear it in the shower as well as the swimming pool without worrying about damage.

Smartwatch Features


The Fitbit Versa 3 with gold chassis and white sports band showing the Voice Assistant featureAlthough I think the Apple watch will always reign supreme when it comes to the overall smartwatch experience, the Versa still comes with enough apps to keep the majority of users happy, including an app to control smart lights around the home, Fitbit Pay for fast and convenient cashless payments, and a map app.

Amazon’s Alexa is also integrated for quick questions and if you set up the Alexa app on your phone and connect to your Amazon account you can also do things such as set reminders and control any smart home devices you might have. With Google’s imminent acquisition of Fitbit, you should also get Google Assistant Support included as standard at some point in the future too.

And if you like your music, there’s both Spotify and Deezer music-streaming, however if you’re offline without your phone you’ll only be able to access Deezer – which especially annoying for a Spotify user such as myself!

In terms of smartphone functionality, you receive all your phone notifications on your wrist and most of the main messaging apps can be added, including WhatsApp and Slack, and there’s email integration too. There’s a small mic and speaker in-built in the chassis which should allow you to take calls, however Fitbit advise this feature is ‘coming soon’. Once it’s applied however, Fitbit promise you’ll be able to connect the device to your smartphone via Bluetooth and hear and speak to your caller just by raising your wrist to your mouth.

If you’re an Android user then you can reply to texts with a few pre-set messages, however iPhone users don’t have that functionality. Unfortunately you’re not able to dictate messages via the built-in mic either.

Fitness And Health Tracking


The Fitbit Versa 3 and a smartphone showing Active Zone MinutesHere’s where the Versa 3 really shines for me. It doesn’t quite have the same number of features as the Sense, but there’s still enough here to more than satisfy most with heart monitoring and 24/7 activity.

New with the Versa 3 is the guided breathing exercises as well as ways to track mindfulness and to meditate via the Fitbit app. You can also monitor your blood oxygen levels, keep track of your sleep patterns, set fitness goals, and get regular reminders to get up and move around.

Daily activities are measured in steps, calories burned and zone minutes. This will give you a pretty decent idea as to how you’re tracking, but if you want more detailed information you’ll need to subscribe to the Fitbit premium service which costs £7.99 /$9.99 USD / $15.49AUD a month which will give you access to the Health Metrics dashboard offering advanced statistics on things like heart rate variations and breathing rate. Just like the Sense, the Versa 3 also vibrates when you move between heart rate zones.

You can choose between different workout options such as circuit training and interval workouts. Due to the waterproof features of the Versa 3, you can wear it whilst swimming in the pool or in the sea.

Now the Versa has GPS, you can map all your activities in real time. One thing to keep in mind here is that the GPS only gets activated when you select a workout mode manually, it won’t be activated by the SmartTrack feature which detects and records activity of 15 minutes or more. And once you’re done, maps are made available immediately with data such as heart rate, pace and calories burnt.

Pros & Cons Of The Fitbit Versa 3


Graphic showing the pros and cons of the Fitbit Versa 3

So, Should You Buy It?


The Versa 3 is a solid smartwatch and an excellent upgrade to the Versa 2, with integrated GPS and subtle design tweaks – and for the same price in some markets. Just like the Versa 2 however, it’s more a fitness tracker than smartwatch – which has always been the case with Fitbit devices – and you’ll find you’re limited with the number of productivity apps.

The Versa 3 can do a lot of what the Fitbit Sense can, apart from the stress management and advanced heart monitoring. As there are a lot more fitness features on the Versa 3, the interface is busier but there are ways to manage all of them, although they do take time to get used to.

Most impressive to me is the amazing battery life which is almost second to none, as well as a crystal clear display and lots of fitness stats which makes it a real contender against the likes of the Apple Watch in this area.

 

  • Check out the Fitbit Versa 3 on the Fitbit website

 

Do you own a Fitbit device, or are you more of an Apple Watch or Garmin wearer? How do you think they compare as fitness trackers and smartwatches and which one wins in your view? If you’ve been considering the Versa, has this Fitbit Versa 3 review helped you make up your mind? Comment underneath and let me know.

 

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