Between a rock and a hard place: a detailed review of the Fitbit Versa 2

About a month ago, it became known that Googlebuys Fitbit manufacturer of smart watches and fitness trackers for $ 2.1 billion. Fitbit is one of the oldest players in this segment. The company was thoroughly battered after entering the market of the most successful smart watches at the moment - made by Apple, as well as the strengthening of other competitors - Samsung, Huawei, Xiaomi and so on.

For a long time the company produced onlyfitness trackers. The device did a lot compared to the same Xiaomi, but it was incredibly expensive. The manufacturer entered the watch segment only at the end of 2017. By now, it has won a 10-12% share in it (in general, 6% in wearable electronics, but the position of budget brands is much stronger there). Even when over the past years the manufacturer has lost sales in units, in terms of money it has maintained its value and sometimes grown a little. At the moment the situation has leveled off. The Versa – model brought success. a slightly faded copy of the Apple Watch. Fitbit is a little different from anything else on the market today. And to fill the knowledge gap, the editorsggI took a device from the hit line for review. True, the second generation Versa is currently available on the market. This is the model we reviewed.

Why is Fitbit manufacturer interesting?

Fitbit, like other creators of smart wearableselectronics started with a classic business model. They sold gadgets and made money from it. But in a world where Chinese brands are crushing any life with price and somehow growing opportunities, you can quickly end up with nothing if you don’t have a brand the size of Apple behind you. And if the Apple brand is pressing from the other side at this time, you can stay even faster and in an even more unpleasant place. Therefore, in 2017, Fitbit set a course for a service model and also focused on business clients, which in the conditions of American medical insurance looks quite logical.

Firstly, in Fitbit devices, in addition to basic free features, paid features have appeared. Details? And what is it, a trainer for classes and nutrition also costs money.

Secondly, the manufacturer began to cooperate withinsurance companies. The first signs were back in 2014, but after the disastrous 2017, this area received higher priority. At the beginning of 2019, Fitbit quietly released two budget trackers, Fitbit Inspire and Inspire HR, aimed specifically at business use. Company employees received Fitbit devices along with insurance. Well, who is to blame for poor health after this if the employee leads a sedentary lifestyle, and in the evenings, instead of getting a good night’s sleep, sits at the bar or on the sofa watching TV? According to Fitbit's plans for 2019, as a result of cooperation with insurance companies, the company would have to earn $100 million. Approximately 1/15 of its annual income.

Actually, these two factors have a largethe impact on what Fitbit smart bracelets are. Firstly, such an approach and cooperation with the medical and insurance businesses gives us great confidence in the data provided by the brand’s devices. Secondly, there are a lot of paid content for Fitbit. Feels like almost more than for the Apple Watch. At the same time, the company practically does not develop the smart component of its watches. This is primarily a fitness tracker. Everything else is fake.

What is a Versa 2 watch?

Like the typical “Apple Watch killer,” the Versa 2got a square display too, stylistically similar too. From smart watches, there is support for Amazon Alexa, Spotify and Fitbit Pay contactless payments (sorry, everything is not for our country), as well as an OLED display with Always On function, from sports - in general, all the classics - several training modes, sleep monitoring, a diary of food, water, counting calories burned (with a reminder that it is time to move), automatic tracking of workouts and much more. The device costs about $ 200, which in the conditions of our country turns into about 5500-6500 UAH.

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How do they look?

Versa 2 is slightly more massive than the Apple Watch andIn direct comparison, it is noticeable that the latter are made more expensive. These have a slightly rougher strap and overall rougher metal finish (despite the color, it's aircraft grade aluminum), and there are noticeable bevels on the case. It's part of the design, but a perfectly smooth Apple Watch seems more presentable. Without direct comparison, the watch looks cool. People around us pay a lot of attention to color. Although purple is far from basic, I can’t remember a single item in my wardrobe that the watch would look bad with.










Unlike the vast majority of smart watches,Fitbit Versa 2 received a control button on the left side. And praise to the designer, who probably suffered from randomly pressed buttons on the right side and made it for people.

However, the fact that there is only one button does not do him any credit.Today, the industry standard has become two keys, which completely eliminate the navigation issue. Here the button is needed to unlock and lock, and go back one step. For everything else &#8211; touch screen and whatever you want. A long press brings up Fitbit Pay, but this can be fixed in the settings. On Alexa.

Strap - silicone, as if with Soft coatingTouch, with a regular clasp without any frills and a large number of divisions, so that the watch can be perfectly adjusted to the circumference of your hand. There is a replacement longer strap in the box. It collects a little dust, but it's not critical.

At the back is an optical heart rate monitor. On the right is a microphone that you can talk to Alexa with.





And massive charging. It takes up a lot of space, but on the other hand, the watch does not fly off with it with any careless movement, like Samsung and Apple.





Is the screen good?

Quite. I can not appreciate the brightness to its fullest - the times are cloudy. But there is a feeling that the stock of the watch is good, since I used the average value and never seemed enough. There are three of them - the minimum, normal and high.

Diagonal - 1.2 inches (34 mm) - this is the mostA small indicator among smart watches from our selection. But since the screen is rectangular, there’s nothing to complain about. On a round display of this size, nothing would fit. On the square fits a lot of text. In general, ideally, I would like a larger display and a smaller frame; in watches, it is never superfluous.

Super AMOLED matrix added modeAlways on But this is the most modest of the possible. In the settings you can choose whether an analog clock or digital. In addition to time, date and state of the battery, there is nothing to add. To see steps or calories burned, you need to unlock the display. The point then was to leave the backlight for two pictograms - it is not clear.

You can manually activate the screen by pressing a button or raising your hand &#8211; this can also be determined in the settings.

In general, it’s normal, there’s nothing to complain about, but somehow poorly. The matrix, too, although AMOLED, is not as rich in colors as in Samsung and Apple watches.

How long does a battery live?

Manufacturer promises up to four days of battery lifeoperation, battery capacity does not indicate. In my standard mode of use (a fitness tracker primarily with workouts of 1.5 hours every two days + automatic activity tracking), the batteries lasted for two and a half days. At the same time, the vibration level was normal (there is still strong, but you can do without it), I listened to music from the clock a couple of times during training and stopped.

What Fitbit Versa 2 watches can do

Fitbit Versa 2 is equipped with a 3-axis accelerometer,an optical heart rate monitor, altimeter and SpO2 sensor for assessing the level of oxygen in the blood. The manufacturer has developed a number of its own programs for those who are interested in a healthy lifestyle, and also supports the installation of third-party solutions through its own application store. Unlike other smart watches on the market, Fitbit devices support Windows, and for some tasks, a desktop application is the only way to interact. According to my observations, any changes in settings and watches are slow. Slowly installing applications (you still need to check whether the installation has occurred accurately), the dials are changing. It seems that this is not happening directly through Bluetooth, but through the cloud and Wi-Fi.

Screenshots of the initial settings of Fitbit Versa 2.

























Dials &#8211; separate areaamazing things about Fitbit smartwatches. There are many of them, dozens, if not hundreds, and what is especially incredible &#8211; In terms of creativity, they surpass anything I have seen before. Yes, and Apple Watch too. Perhaps the whole point is that many of them are paid. There are informative ones with all sorts of indicators of the body - number of steps, calories, pulse, etc., etc. There are simply animated creative ones. This chicken &#8211; one of my favorite free watch faces. She infects with the desire to move. Unfortunately, it was not possible to measure how much the interactive screensaver consumes the battery.

In the gallery below there are several dozen options, andthat's not all. Moreover, I can’t say that everything cool is paid. You can also find something bright among the free versions. Otherwise the issue price &#8211; up to $2 (at least among what I came across. When installed, watch faces that show tracker data (steps, heart rate, etc.) ask permission to access this information.

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Smart features of the Fitbit Versa 2 watch

The smart functions of the model are limited to notification aboutcalls, SMS and mail, calculator (installed separately), weather, alarm clock, timer and access to music. You can control playback from your smartphone or download MP3 tracks directly to your watch (and also listen to streaming audio from Spotify). For the latter, you will need a desktop application - and this is still the biggest mystery to me, why the company will not give up the archaism in the form of a Windows application. You can enter the same data into it, set the clock, etc., but for such tasks today a smartphone is the first device, a laptop or a computer &#8211; secondary.









Sending messages from other applications toYou can configure it on your smartphone, it’s quite unobvious. But with the answers, things are like this - audio notes and blanks that the user himself will build in the smartphone, or emoticons.














The model also received support for contactless payments Fitbit Pay and voice assistant Amazon Alexa. But neither one nor the other is relevant for our market.

It is curious that among third-party applications there are also«смарт». Например, Uber или приложение для чтения постов из Twitter, Deezer и Starbucks, игры, акции и даже New York Times! Честно говоря, даже не догадалась проверить, есть ли у этого издания приложения для часов Samsung и Apple. Кроме того – всевозможные карты, календари, тайм-менеджеры (Pomodoro-таймер в том числе). Но из-за того, что загружается это все со скоростью улитки, плюс еще долго настраивается, начать пользоваться сторонними сервисами можно только при высокой мотивации.





















Sport and lifestyle

This is the heart of the Fitbit smartwatch.Apparently, when Samsung began developing S Health, its designers “outlined” the Fitbit software. There are several training modes (running, swimming, orbitrek, training and strength exercises), there is a food diary (in English), sleep monitoring, the number of hours when there was activity (and this is at least 250 steps), a heart rate monitor, calorie counting is carried out day, without breakdown into active and spent at rest, weight tracking. You can also track your water intake and cycle.















The workout information is also quite detailed.I found Fitbit to be more strict than other platforms when it came to calorie counting. But at rest, they count the calories burned the same or even more than their competitors. But since there is no single denominator on the market, the performance of different models differs, so far it all looks more like fortune-telling. Fitbit inspires trust because it has been working in this niche for a long time and partners with insurance and other businesses.

Fitbit has a community where you can findfriends with sporting interests or enter into competitions with other people remotely. And also what I already mentioned - the premium version of the platform. For only 2000 UAH per year (or 240 UAH per month)  you are offered to join lifestyle improvement programs. For example, learning to sleep properly, training, making life calmer thanks to special practices, creating a personalized plan for developing healthy habits. Unfortunately, there is no free demo, so I won’t share the details with you. But there is a 50% discount for the first month.

What do I think about this?

For example, that Samsung did the same,only for free. The company makes more money on gadgets, as people are willing to pay extra for the brand. Fitbit does not have such a handicap, on the contrary, paid software pieces were a response to falling profits under market pressure.

Also in the Discover section there are links to someseparate paid programs, but they still offer to switch to premium. For example, a basic training program for running or building a habit is without salt or sugar. Perhaps I am mistaken somewhere and Fitbit programs are developed by much steeper masters or use cool machine learning algorithms, therefore they are better than what is available on the market for free. Nevertheless, our person is more likely to pay for it all will be reluctant. So, for our market these opportunities are redundant.










Sleep tracking &#8211; free basic function,but there are paid additional functions here too. For example, heart rate or how often the user turned over during sleep and what role this played in the final assessment. Well, ok, let the final balls &#8211; not the most interesting thing a person wants to know about himself. But many watches and trackers show your heart rate while you sleep absolutely free. By the way, among the unexpected convenient features &#8211; There is an option to delete the sleep log. Let's say the clock calculates that you are sleeping when you are quietly watching a movie in the cinema (this happens to me often) &#8211; you can get rid of the excess.












Among third-party applications there are TRX training programs, running programs (for example, the Strava application) and others, for cycling, ping-pong and even badminton.










The watch also has a default app forsoothing breathing - Relax. But Apple Watch in this business does not surpass. Fitbit watches also monitor the user's breathing and set the pace using animation and vibration. But the Apple Watch is cooler both in animation and in the fact that the watch vibrates more elegantly thanks to the Tap Engine. Therefore, the feeling is created that the function is implemented steeper there. But in fact it’s exactly the same thing, just not in such a beautiful wrapper.

What are the alternatives?

Hard times really came for Fitbit, soas competitors, the company is a dime a dozen, but there is no normal adaptation to other markets. Fitbit was like an American startup, and it remained when the world has already changed. In the Android segment, watches compete with Samsung and Huawei / Honor models. They stand like last year’s decisions, in capabilities they surpass them in some ways (for example, they can act as a player), in some ways they are inferior (mainly in terms of speed and ease of installation of applications).

I'm probably not the only one in this area whodoubts that Google will not put an end to the brand. But while it is alive, I advise you to choose according to this principle: if you are an Android user and this is your first smart watch, look at Samsung. Yes, you will have to pay more, but at least there is localization, there is a chance that sooner or later a payment solution will be launched, and that their productivity and capabilities will increase. In addition, the same Galaxy Active 2 &#8211; This is a more complete replacement for a smartphone. If you like the classics, you can look at Huawei/Honor, but Fitbit wins over them in terms of functionality in everything except localization and operating time.

If you used to use Fitbit watches andGenerally pleased with their capabilities, the Versa 2 would be a great choice. The watches have an average market autonomy, and at the same time they cause more confidence in terms of measurement accuracy compared to competitors.

Compared with the neighbors in the line, the same hit Charge 3, this model looks more elegant. There is definitely a more winning design.

If you are the owner of the Apple ecosystem, then alla bit more complicated, since even the third generation Apple Watch is more expensive in our country. In the West, Fitbit was able to recoup a bit due to the difference in price and design. But I would still recommend buying an Apple Watch - at least “third”, even “fifth”, depends on the budget. Because there is deeper integration with the smartphone, there is localization, contactless payments. The cost of ownership is likely to be comparable in the end, as there are many applications there that are available only by subscription.

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In the dry residue

Based on the price of a smart watch, Fitbit Versa 2 -A good offer, especially for those who are looking for non-sports design, sports functions and are not eager to receive notifications from Instagram and Telegram as well. The watch is suitable only for those who know English well and who are focused on a healthy lifestyle. For those who are primarily looking for a device that can replace a smartphone in many situations, you should pay attention to the Apple Watch or Samsung smart watch. True, they will have to pay more money.

5 reasons to buy Fitbit Versa 2:

  • the accuracy of measurements of sports functions is credible;
  • the ability to expand the basic capabilities of the watch using third-party applications;
  • attractive price;
  • the ability to listen to music right from the clock during training;
  • You used to use a smart watch or fitness trackers from this manufacturer.

4 reasons not to buy Fitbit Versa 2:

  • lack of localization;
  • high cost of ownership, if you use the capabilities of the platform to the fullest;
  • contactless payments do not work in our country;
  • very cool competitors from Samsung and Apple.

FitBit Versa 2

Exotic for Fitbit fans

Fitbit Versa 2 automatically recognize differenttypes of activity, but offer only basic smart features. This is the best choice for those who are tied to the Fitbit fitness gadget ecosystem and do not want to lose the accumulated data. It will be difficult for others to explain why they should spend money on a gadget without full localization.

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