Mini-review: Fitbit sticks to the bare needs in the $159 Versa Lite

Which Versa is finest for you?–.

If the original Versa was overkill for you, the Versa Lite may be a better option.


Mini-review: Fitbit’s Versa Lite favors affordability over unnecessary features

Valentina Palladino


The Versa Lite confused me initially. When Fitbit revealed the new Inspire and Inspire HR fitness trackers, the company also debuted the new Versa Lite. This smartwatch looks similar to the original Versa, which came out in 2015, however it does not have a couple of functions and expenses $40 less. Considering the Versa was indicated to be a cheaper, more accessible variation of the $300 Fitbit Ionic, it was strange to see Fitbit develop a lot more inexpensive version of its currently budget-friendly smartwatch.

However Fitbit is positioning itself as the company with smartwatches for all type of individuals. Instead of making one flagship gadget with a lot of features like Apple has actually made with the Apple Watch, Fitbit is investing in many devices with various function sets at various cost points. Now, the Versa family has three devices: the $159 Versa Lite, the $199 Versa, and the $229 Versa Scandal Sheet. Choice offers more accessibility, however it can likewise breed confusion.

We checked out the Versa Lite to see how different it really is compared to the initial Versa and if it’s worth swiping that additional $40

What’s the distinction?

Specs compared: Fitbit Versa models
Gadget Versa Lite Versa Versa Unique Edition
Sensing Units 3-axis accelerometer, vibration motor, optical heart-rate screen, SpO2 screen, ambient light sensing unit 3-axis accelerometer, 3-axis gyroscope, vibration motor, optical heart-rate screen, altimeter, SpO2 monitor, Wi-Fi antenna, ambient light sensor 3-axis accelerometer, 3-axis gyroscope, vibration motor, optical heart-rate display, altimeter, SpO2 screen, Wi-Fi antenna, ambient light sensing unit, NFC
Navigation buttons 1 3 3
Water resistance As Much As 50 meters As Much As 50 meters Up to 50 meters
Floors climbed up No Yes Yes
Swim lap tracking No Yes Yes
GPS Connected GPS Connected GPS Connected GPS
Music storage/playback No Yes Yes
On-screen Fitbit Coach workouts No Yes Yes
Fitbit Pay (NFC) No No Yes
Battery life At least 4 days At least 4 days At least 4 days

It’s finest if we discuss what the Versa Lite can refrain from doing, since that’s what distinguishes it most from its siblings. First and foremost, the Versa Lite does not have an altimeter, so it can not track floors climbed up. As I pointed out in my Inspire HR evaluation, this is arguably the most confusing feature to omit in the Versa Lite. Numerous companies put altimeters in wearables that cost in between $120 to $200(any physical fitness wearable that’s more pricey should definitely have one). An altimeter isn’t present in the $99 Inspire HR or in the $160 Versa Lite. But, Fitbit did put one in the $149 Charge 3.

The most significant difference in between the Charge 3 and the Versa Lite is style– one will interest those who like physical fitness bands, while the other will attract smartwatch enthusiasts. However because the Versa Lite is being pushed as a fitness-capable smartwatch that’s on par with the Charge 3 in nearly every method, it should consist of an altimeter. Those who take the stairs in their office complex to get more exercise in daily life will be irritated to see this sensor omitted from the Versa Lite.

The Versa Lite likewise can not track laps while swimming, due to the fact that it doesn’t have a gyroscope. However it can track swimming as an exercise thanks to its water resistance approximately 50 meters. It will primarily depend on Fitbit’s SmartTrack auto-tracking function to tape-record length, period, calories, and active minutes of a swimming session. That details will suffice for the majority of users, but major swimmers will want a device with lap-tracking capabilities.

While music controls exist on the Versa Lite, the smartwatch does not have the ability to keep music itself. The routine Versa, Versa Special Edition, and the Ionic smartwatches can all use Fitbit’s desktop program to download and play music when connected to a pair of Bluetooth earphones.

Supported file types are restricted, though. Pandora and Deezer customers can connect their accounts so they can download and play tracks and playlists. As far as regional files go, devices support MP3, MP4 with ACC audio, and WMA files moved from Windows and macOS systems.

Onboard music, just like swim lap tracking, isn’t as universal of a feature as tracking floors climbed up is. Only a part of users hate bringing their mobile phones (which most likely hold all of their music) with them on a run or bike flight. The Versa Lite can control smartphone music playback with on-screen controls, and that will be more than enough for those who keep their phones with them while they work out.

Unsurprisingly, NFC payments aren’t possible with the Versa Lite. Fitbit only put the needed innovation in its special-edition Versa smartwatch, which costs $229 Fitbit Pay just comes requirement on the Ionic, which is Fitbit’s most premium smartwatch. That gadget also has an onboard GPS, and those two functions tend to go hand in hand. With a GPS and NFC gadget, users can more quickly leave their smart devices and wallets behind while they track and map workout and still spend for groceries or coffee en route home.

Lastly, the Versa Lite can not show on-screen workouts downloaded from Fitbit Coach. These are different from the exercise profiles available on all Versa devices in the Exercise app. Fitbit Coach is the company’s subscription physical fitness program that provides you access to assisted exercises and training sessions. On Versa and Versa Scandal sheet gadgets, users can follow along with any of these paid workouts, utilizing the screen to see their next relocations, pause, and more.

At $39 annually, Fitbit Coach isn’t exceptionally costly, and, in the short time I tested the service, I was impressed with the range of cardio regimens. Coach can likewise give you audio hints when you’re connected to a set of Bluetooth earphones, putting a trainer in your ear as well as on your wrist. Fitbit Coach could be worth the loan for those who need more structure to their physical fitness routines, but if you desire workouts on your wrist, you’ll need a regular Versa, Versa Unique Edition, or an Ionic. Others who know precisely how they wish to train, or just choose to wing it, don’t need such a program.

The only physical difference between the Versa Lite and the other models is that the Lite has just one side button, which sits on its left edge. The others have three side buttons. I didn’t miss the two right-side buttons while testing the Versa Lite, due to the fact that its single button worked fine, and its touchscreen is quite responsive.

What it can do

That might seem like a great deal of missing out on pieces, however the Versa Lite is a capable fitness watch. It tracks day-to-day actions, calories, and range as effectively as any other Fitbit device, and considering that it has a heart-rate monitor, it will track sleep and sleep stages also. The heart-rate monitor got the job done during workouts, measuring my pulse within 5BPM of the Polar H10 chest strap. I also need to commend Fitbit on the Versa’s screen– the 0.94- inch, full-color LCD touchscreen is beautiful to take a look at and use, even during exercises. Sweat on my hands and fingers never ever prevented me from using the touchscreen, and I like how I might tap on the display to switch between real-time heart rate, duration, calories, and other stats.

As I mentioned before, I did not miss out on the extra 2 buttons, but I did miss the altimeter. Investing $160 on a smartwatch and not getting a sensor as common as that is aggravating. I work from house, so I don’t have tiers and tiers of workplace stairwells to take when I wish to get more steps in. Nevertheless, I do reside on the 2nd floor of my structure, and I missed out on having my tracker count up the number of times I took those stairs on my busiest days.

Like the original Versa, the Versa Lite doesn’t have onboard GPS, but it does have Fitbit’s connected GPS function. That means you can map an outside run, walk, or bike flight by going out with the Versa Lite on your wrist and your smartphone together. The wearable will automatically link to your smart device’s GPS before you start tape-recording the exercise by means of the Exercise app. When finished, the information gathered by the Versa Lite and the smartphone’s GPS will be integrated in that exercise’s information pages in the Fitbit mobile app.

  • The Fitbit Versa Lite smartwatch.

    Valentina Palladino

  • The design is almost identical to that of the Versa smartwatch.

    Valentina Palladino

  • It might not have a GPS inside, but it does have an optical heart-rate display.

    Valentina Palladino

  • Quick-release pins let you alter out the bands.

    Valentina Palladino

  • Instead of three side buttons, the Versa Lite only has one.

    Valentina Palladino

  • The module is thin and a very light-weight device overall.

    Valentina Palladino

  • A notice drawer lets you look back on mobile phone signals.

    Valentina Palladino

  • The large color touchscreen lets you download and install Fitbit OS apps.

    Valentina Palladino

  • Fitbit Coach assisted workouts are not supported by this device, however the Versa Lite still has Fitbit’s main Workout app for tracking workouts.

    Valentina Palladino

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