Well the Fitbit Versa 2 has managed something pretty impressive; it made me replace my Pebble.
If you want to know why that’s such a big deal, read on.
A Wearable that doesn’t Wear out its Welcome
The successor to the wildly popular Versa, the unsurprisingly-named Versa 2 is the latest addition to the Fitbit family. With a clean, minimalistic design, it satisfied my idea of ‘smartwatch’ immediately.
Sure, one button seems a bit too minimalist to me, but I’m a tactile person. I mean, it would have been great to have a few more buttons instead of relying on menus as much as I do, but your mileage may vary.
Nitty gritty? The battery life is as described as working for 5 days, and I pretty much got this. The reminders to charge get to be a but much, as it was telling me to do it about a day and a half before even coming close to what I would consider a critical level of a battery. But erring on the side of caution isn’t bad; better than the tech that just yells to charge it and then turns off immediately, right?
So you don’t need to charge much, which is great. Especially great even, because the charger is one of those odd proprietary deals, with prongs and clips and all that jazz. Admittedly, it’s the best of its kind that I’ve seen, with the clip holding the device securely, and the charging time being surprisingly quick. But again, I’m a simple person; Just just give me a USB-C port like I use for everything else. This will be another thing you need to bring on long trips, and good luck if you lose/ step on/ accidentally let your cat eat it.
The display is very crisp, really readable, and of course I immediately installed a Fallout-esque vacuum tube watchface. Unfortunately the always-on option doesn’t display your custom watchface, which was depressing, but ultimately for the best. The always-on drains the battery BIG-TIME. Like from 5 days of charge to about 2 days. Not worth it when you can just hit the side button or twist your wrist to wake the screen.
Sleep tracking is a great reason to get a Fitbit, and the level of data you get is quite interesting. You get some really nice insight into your nocturnal activities; for example, I apparently wake up around 5 am almost every night.
Never knew that. Might be haunted. Too soon to tell, really.
My sleepscore wasn’t great, but hey I’m a 30 year old male who doesn’t go to bed before midnight like an idiot, so my 77 sleepscore is probably about as good as I can expect to get for a while. My heartrate is pretty good though, and the Versa 2 tells me it’s excellent for someone of my age, height, and weight.
Problem is, since this tracking is so cool, you don’t want to take it off to charge. Can’t do it at night, you’ll miss a night of tracking. Maybe midday at the office or something? Any ideas?
I need to know things, friends.
“Alexa, how fit am I?”
Of course, the Alexa integration is something that people are really excited about. And with good cause, because she is great. I’ve ranted ad nauseum about smart device integration, because I am fundamentally very lazy and have a memory like a sieve that’s made of goldfish. I’ve got two of Amazon’s Echos, a Phillips Hue lamp and bulbs, and I can yell at my Roomba to freak the animals out with an impromptu vacuum.
Now I can do this on my wrist too.
Not everything works quite as well as you’d like, but having Alexa on my wrist was handy for adding in Reminders that would otherwise be forgotten about. She’s a bit slow, and seems to be thinking quite a bit longer than my other smart devices, and that’s probably down to the fact that this is a watch. But hey, if they could get a full-on Echo on your wrist, they would. If you want that, wait and get that weird ring Amazon announced last week. This is enough for me.
Of course, with a Fitbit, you’re not just getting a smart watch. You’re getting the fitness integration too, which is where the health tracking and comes in. The built-in workouts tracking is really good, with different options for walking, running, biking, swimming, or whatever the hell that last option with the medicine ball is that’s just called ‘Workout’.
Fitbit, explain. I don’t understand.
Health tracking is also good if you want to log your water or caloric intake. Yeah you have to do it manually, but I can see a very likely future where Fitbit brings out a smart bottle that integrates with the app. They already exist. I’ve Kickstarted one. Get on that, Fitbit.
Unfortunately, my lack of a uterus stops me from tracking my menstruation. No one is more disappointed in this than me.
Welcome to the Family
Other apps on the Fitbit Versa 2 are really good, but some display some questionable judgement. Uber is a great idea to have on your wrist, allowing you to get a ride quickly and easily. Would I ever use it over the phone app for Uber? Almost definitely not. But I feel good that it’s there.
Fitbit Pay is cool, allowing you to add a credit card to your Fitbit and use it to pay for things contactless. However, there’s only like two banks in New Zealand that do that, and I’m not with either of them. So plus ten points for a great idea, but minus 5 because… well, is ANYONE with ASB?
The Spotify integration needs to be able to download playlists. This is my biggest issue, because Spotify is seriously the only thing that keeps me sane, even if they did take my favourite version of Les Miserables off and STILL won’t add Heaven and Hell’s only studio album. You can add tracks from your computer to the FitBit, true, but let’s be honest, who uses iTunes anymore? I’m a full-on Spotify convert, so being able to download my Premium playlists and leave the phone at home would be rad.
Aside from all my gripes and nitpicks, the Fitbit versa 2 is the best smartwatch out at the moment. It’s even managed to replace my Pebble 2, which is especially important since it’s Fitbit who gutted Pebble to begin with and I’ve used them since they started the smartwatch revolution.
The Fitbit Premium subscription is also an option, which will give you more in-depth insight into your fitness, more personalised workouts, and also charge you every month. If you’re really going to get fit, this is basically required. Otherwise, probably best to stick with the basics; they’re still pretty excellent.
Aside from some spotty regional issues, such as Fitbit Pay only working with ASB accounts, and less than perfect Spotify integration, the Fitbit Versa 2 is well worth the price. It’s the best you can get, so you probably should get it.
Or not; I’m a writer, not a cop.