I’m a bit of a gadget fiend and love playing about with new fitness devices – one I’ve been excited to trial since its announcement is Fitbit’s latest iteration, the Versa. Several of my Personal Training clients use its predecessor the Ionic, and they are without exception, big fans. So when I was recently invited to Barcelona by Fitbit and Deezer for a wellness weekend to put the Versa to the test, I couldn’t wait to give it a shot! Together with a group of passionate journalists who’d coalesced from all across Europe, we participated in a series of fitness experiences on the beach, as well as a host of other activities. Since then I have been wearing the Versa every day back in London, and am happy to bring you 10 of my favorite bits so far! Click MORE to see them all…
1) Over 4 Days of Battery Life
This is by far my favorite feature; charging just isn’t fun, and it’s easy to forget. Simply not having to charge the Fitbit for 4 days is pretty amazing in the era of battery-intensive processor demands! I travel quite a bit with work and for long weekends – the thought of not having to bring a charger for yet another piece of kit is comforting. This also allows you to keep it on overnight which has the bonus tracking your sleep… which brings me on to my the next great feature….
2) Sleep Tracking & Stages
I sleepwalk and sleeptalk, and have done all my life – and it gets worse if I’m stressed during the hours of wakefulness. This means despite the fact I may have gone to bed early, I wake after a ‘long’ night sleep feeling pretty tired. However, by being able to see the time spent in light, deep and REM sleep stages it gives me a unique insight into the quality of the sleep I’m getting. This personalized insight can really help figure out what’s going on, which enables you to finds ways to tackle this. For more information on sleep, check out my previous post here.
3) Music Experience
I don’t know about you but music is just such a colorful and significant part of my life – and what’s more, I listen to podcasts daily whilst walking to PT clients’ homes, or commuting around London. A workout without music is just too dull for words – it is the very lifeblood of a purposeful, massive session at the gym! Using Deezer, you can store and play more than 300 songs on your watch (no internet required on your run!), and download your own playlists from Deezer, and use the Fitbit Flyer wireless headphones to ditch the cables. I tried these earbuds out in some depth, and apart from looking and feeling extremely high quality, they are well lodged in the ear during a turbulent sweaty run, and deliver a strong sound quality that is crisp in the upper registers, and has character lower down too – so they are not a lightweight sacrifice.
4) Female Health
I love that there’s a dedicated ‘female’ feature, which feels very 2018. It allows you to keep track of your menstrual cycle, record symptoms and compare your cycle against other health stats like sleep, activity, and weight. When I realized how little women actually know about their periods and generally how we only look into them if/when there’s a problem, it made total sense to have an app which keeps track of it all for you. It also projects the optimum point of the fertility window too. I imagine this will find its way into competitor offerings shortly, as it’s a great idea.
5) Accessory Bands
There are a host of different bands to choose from including classic, leather, metal and woven; I went with a woven nylon affair, as I feel it’s sporty, functional, and easy to clean. The watch itself comes in a standard array of black aluminum, rose gold and grey/silver case; aside from that you can change the look of the watch face – it can give you as little or as much information on the main screen as you wish to share/view. In short, you’re not locked to one particular combination, but can tweak things to look and feel as you want.
6) Heart Rate Tracking
I found the heartbeat acquisition to be rapid and accurate. It’s excellent to be able to see your resting heart rate, track calorie burn, as well as give insight into your cardio fitness level. Using their SmartTrack you automatically record your chosen exercises like running, biking and more, and see them saved in the Fitbit app, which is neat.
7) There are 15+ Exercise Modes + Waterproofing
Fitbit recognizes that users do a lot of stuff. Consequently, in their Versa offering, there are over 15 exercise modes to help track each specific workout including Run, Bike, Weights session (etc), and throughout, you get a digi-coach to guide you through each move and adapt based on your feedback.
If you’re a swimmer or would like to keep track of your antics splashing about in the pool on holiday, the watch is water resistant up to 50M, which, combined with the 4-day charge, just makes it an easy ‘lifestyle’ everyday sort of choice. No special treatment needed.
Finally, at the end of each workout, Versa will give you a neat little summary which is always super helpful just for the sheer ‘mental note’ value.
8) All-Day Activity
Aside from just sleep and workouts, the watch tracks everyday activity which includes steps, heart rates, distance, calories burned, floors climbed, active minutes, hourly activity and stationary time. So even on days when you don’t have time to go to the gym at least you can ensure you move enough and hit your daily step target. I like the complete picture it generates, as generally, I prefer access to more data rather than less.
9) Personalized Reminders
These help you stay on track towards your goals with personalized reminders. So rather than getting to the end of the day and realizing you haven’t moved or drank enough water you’ll get those reminders during the day. A super lovely feature is the guided breathing sessions which help slow down your breathing as well as your heart rate down. It’s a wonderful little reminder to have every day.
10) Connected GPS
Whilst it’s not inbuilt, by enabling Connected GPS via a mobile device, you’re then able to view your runs and hikes and to see pace and distance on display, and of course get a map of your route in the Fitbit app. I’m pretty sure that an inbuilt GPS module would chomp through the monster battery life pretty quickly, so I’m happy to trade that functionality off for life-preservation.
Plus all the other stuff…
Aside from the fitness tracking tools, the Versa also provides all the other smartwatch functionalities that are valuable – receiving calls, texts, emails or calendar notifications on screen plus you get push notifications from your favorite apps. Plus, it’s loaded with mobile payment functionality, so you can use your credit and debit cards on-the-go, almost anywhere that accepts contactless payments. It’s a pretty-looking, svelte, and versatile smartwatch that does the job at a decent price, and what you lose from inbuilt GPS, you gain in battery life extension. This is a good piece of kit for £199!