Price (RRP): $329.95 ($379.95 for the Special Edition)
Okay, I’m just going to say it: the Fitbit Versa 2 is a smart watch. Yes, its lineage is in part that of the fitness tracker, but now that’s just one of its functions. Nowadays it’s quite usable as a smart watch, even if you don’t want it to do the fitness stuff.
The Fitbit Versa 2, though adds functions. Perhaps the biggest one is Alexa.
Fitness Features of the Fitbit Versa 2
I will return to Alexa, since it’s worth discussing on its own. Meanwhile, amongst the features are fitness tracking, including:
- step tracking
- sleep tracking (and assigning a “sleep score”)
- heart-rate tracking
- specific exercise tracking, including swimming (the Fitbit Versa 2 is rated to 50 metres immersion)
- On-screen workouts
- GPS-tracking – but it uses the GPS in a connected phone, it doesn’t have GPS built in
- Female health tracking
- Guided breathing sessions
- Workout reminders
- Integration with the Fitbit app.
On that last point, I return to my on-going complaint about these Fitbit smart watches: you can only have one connected to the app at a time. Linking this one meant unlinking my mainstay: an increasingly beaten-up Fitbit Ionic. I’d prefer to keep using the Ionic for rough stuff while confining the much prettier Fitbit Versa 2 to nicer occasions. Can’t be done.
Which is a pity, because the Fitbit ecosystem is extensive, especially since Fitbit also has smart scales.
You can see our Versa review to learn more about most of those things.
Other Features of the Fitbit Versa 2
So what about the non-fitness smart watch features? They include:
- On-watch notifications from your phone
- That includes includes text from one of your texting applications – but only one of them; you’ll have to choose
- One-button short replies to those messages
- Music playback from Deezer or music tracks loaded into the watch – I think the storage remains the same, about 2.5GB. That’s enough, says Fitbit, for 300 songs. I’ll return to music below (eg. Yes, No)
- Spotify playback control
- Alexa, again below
- Fitbit Pay so you can tap your watch to pay (see the original Versa review for that)
- A huge range of apps including, for example, a flashlight, a calculator, various timers, maps, to-do list, New York Times headlines, Tic Tac Toe, 2048, and altimeter, moon phase, and scores, perhaps hundreds, more
- A choice from more than six hundred watch faces (I got sick of scrolling after a hundred screens)
- Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.
The Fitbit Versa 2 weighs 43.6 grams with the larger-sized traditional silicone/rubber band fitted.
The standard Fitbit Versa 2 comes with a single such band, albeit in two sizes. There are plenty of colours to choose from. The review model was the Special Edition. This differs only by including a second band, also in two sizes, made of fabric. On the review one this was finished in a patterned grey while the standard band had colour that was called, back in my Army Reserve days, “green, olive drab”. The standard Fitbit Versa 2 costs $329.95, while the SE costs $379.95.
Switching bands was kind of tricky, then not too hard. I found that the fabric band was a bit too low in friction, so that the Fitbit Versa 2 tended to rotate on my wrist. That wasn’t really a problem, except that when I’d bring the watch up to check the time, the slipperiness meant the watch didn’t snap around properly into position. And that meant that the “wake up the screen” algorithm wasn’t invoked, so I’d have to press the watch’s button to wake up the screen so I could check the time.
I could have tightened it, but then it would have been too tight for the heart rate monitor to work.
I fumbled around trying to get the new band into place and it just wouldn’t fit. A small metal protrusion needs to be pushed back against a spring and out pops the band. But the new one seemed oversized. For a while, I even contemplated using a sharp knife to shave it down. But eventually I stumbled upon the trick. You have to hold the band at just the right angle, and then it goes right in.
The Fitbit Versa 2 is 12mm thick, 40.5mm wide (including the button) and 40mm tall. The display is a touch bigger than the previous models: between 25mm and 26mm square as best as I could measure it, for a diagonal of around 36mm. Many of the hundreds of watch faces are novelty ones or fussy or otherwise unusable, except for a lark. But there are still plenty which are clear for all but those with the most troublesome eyesight.
The screen is colour, of course, and high enough resolution so that the pixel structure is too small to be visible without a strong magnifying glass. It’s covered with Corning Gorilla Glass. And it is a touch screen.