Fitbit Versa 3 review

Fitbit Versa 3 review

With the Versa 3, Fitbit finally adds GPS to its most popular smartwatch. Epblogs goal is to be the tech side of trust. We are proud of our independence and of our Fitbit Versa 3 review thorough testing methods, in which we take our time with a product. We regularly check our test reports for changes and thus keep them up-to-date over a longer period of time – regardless of when a device was released.guaranteed reviews. Trust our Epblogs comprehensive reviews. We tested the products over a longer period of time and were able to see how they cope with everyday tasks. This is how we help you to find the best product for your read our guaranteed reviews.

Epblogs verdict

The Fitbit Versa 3 is a great wearable with built-in GPS and some design changes. But like its predecessor, it offers relatively few productivity apps and functions more like a fitness tracker than a wristwatch.

What you do get makes this a very tempting and affordable Apple Watch substitute, along with superb battery life, an improved display over the previous model, and a wealth of fitness data. Given that this is the third version of the well-liked Versa line, it is quite discouraging that Fitbit is still lacking in several respects.

Quick Summary

We can now suggest the Fitbit Versa 3 as an excellent purchase because it has finally addressed our main complaint about the Versa line of smartwatches. Depending on pricing, we’ve even placed it first among the Best Fitbits, surpassing the Fitbit Sense. If you decide to leave your phone behind, the Versa 3 now has embedded GPS to measure the speed and distance of your walks, runs, bike rides, or hikes in real time.

Although that and the larger, absolutely lovely display are obviously improvements over the Versa 2, there are still a few small details about the Versa 3 that keep it from being one of the greatest wearables on the market.

Don’t misunderstand us; the Versa 3 is a strong contender for the title of best fitness tracker on the market, particularly given its reasonably low price and the many fitness monitoring features it offers, including a SpO2 sensor to assess blood oxygen levels while you sleep. The redesign of the side button has made it difficult to use, and much more helpful content is hidden behind the Fitbit Premium barrier.

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Instead of a physical button, like there is on the Versa 2, there’s now an indent on the left side of the chassis that’s similar to the inductive button that debuted on the Fitbit Charge 3. Unfortunately, it’s not as well implemented on the Versa 3, and it takes a few tries to find the exact spot you need to press to bring up apps and sub-menus.

Other than that, though, the Versa 3 is a beautiful wearable that does a lot of what the Fitbit Sense can do, with the exception of stress management and advanced heart monitoring. That means it’s cheaper than the Sense, although it is slightly more expensive than the Versa 2 in some markets (it costs the same £199 in the UK as its predecessor). However, built-in GPS, a larger 1.58-inch AMOLED display (the same as the one on the Sense) and an SpO2 sensor more than justifies the slightly higher launch price of $229 / AU$399.

There’s also a lot more fitness monitoring features on the Versa 3, making the on-device interface a lot busier than what was available on the Versa 2 at launch. There are ways to manage them all, but they do take time to get used to.

Despite that, performance is excellent, as we’ve come to expect from Fitbit devices. Battery life is about six days on a dim screen setting, but it drops to half that if you have the display set to always-on. GPS isn’t as pinpoint accurate as on some other bands we’ve reviewed, but for the average user that won’t matter very much. The heart rate monitor is now a bit more precise than the Versa 2, but without a chest strap to compare, it’s hard to judge exactly how accurate it is.

Alexa is, of course, on board to help you answer some questions that are displayed on the device, and with Google buying Fitbit, a firmware update some time in the future will add Google Assistant to the wearable as well.

There’s still a dearth of productivity apps for Fitbit’s smartwatches but, as we said in our Versa 2 review, these are first and foremost fitness trackers that have  a few smartwatch perks.

Fitbit Versa 3 price and availability

Cheaper than Fitbit Sense
Pricier than Fitbit Versa 2 in some markets
Available in three color options

At a virtual conference in August 2020, Fitbit unveiled the Versa 3, the Sense, and the Fitbit Inspire 2. The following day, pre-orders were made available, and by late September, delivery had started. Right now, major retailers all around the world and directly from Fitbit sell the Versa 3.

Unlike the Versa 2, which had a more expensive Special Edition version available, the Versa 3 comes in just the standard issue in three different colors – two soft gold cases with a Pink Gold and Midnight Blue strap, and a black chassis with a black band.

Fitbit Versa 3 Design and display

  • 40mm AMOLED display
  • Easy strap removal mechanism
  • Redesigned side button

The Versa 3 first resembles its predecessors, but a closer inspection shows a few design changes that give the new device a somewhat more streamlined appearance. In truth, the Versa 3 looks quite classy thanks to a modification in the metal chassis’ color. The Versa 3 retains its appeal across all demographics despite the “soft gold” case’s neutrality.

The change in chassis color isn’t the biggest design change though; it’s the size of the screen. The display is now a larger 40mm AMOLED panel as compared to the 39mm on the Versa 2, with a higher resolution of 336 x 336 pixels (the Versa 2 is 300 x 300). It’s a bright, crisp and very clear display that looks absolutely stunning even at its ‘dim’ setting at pretty much any viewing angle. The bezels, though, still remain quite thick, similar to the Versa 2.

Navigating through the menus and apps via the screen is also a walk in the park – not once did the screen lag during our testing period, and swiping to bring up different functions works remarkably well.

Another design change is the side button, or rather the lack thereof – and it’s perhaps our biggest complaint about the Versa 3. Instead of a physical button, there’s a capacitive indent on the left side of the watch that, when pressed correctly, sends a short vibration to indicate you’ve activated the smartwatch.

It’s located below the lip of the chassis, so you need to feel for it, and finding the exact spot to press is not especially easy. We’ve been using the Versa 3 for over a month now and we still need a few tries to find the exact spot. Thankfully, you don’t always need to use this “inductive” button to interact with the watch – you can set the watch to wake with a tap on the screen, then swipe to bring up whichever menu you need.

That said, there are ‘shortcuts’ (like bringing up Alexa) that can be set on the watch, and these require either a tap-and-hold or double-tap-and-hold action to activate them. And they can be frustrating to bring up due to that button inconsistency.

On the right edge of the watch chassis is a tiny mic and a speaker which, in theory, should allow you to take calls.

Fitbit has also changed the strap mechanism – the same as in the Fitbit Sense – and we think it’s better than the mechanism on the Versa 2. A small button acts as a latch, which when pulled slightly down releases the clasp. It gives the watch a much more streamlined look and makes it remarkably easy to swap out the default sporty strap it comes with.

This silicone strap is also different to the one that comes with the standard edition of the Versa 2. Fitbit calls this new model the “Infinity Band”, as it lacks a buckle – it’s the same one that ships with the Sense as well.

Another major difference between the Versa 2 and the new iteration is the charger. Instead of the older box-like USB charger, there’s a small magnetic dock that tops up the juice extremely quickly – we went from 64% battery to 100% in under 15 minutes.

The Versa 3, like its predecessor, is also water resistant to 50m/164ft – meaning you can wear it in the shower or head out for a swim with it on your wrist. It can even survive a dip in salt water, although Fitbit recommends you not wear it in a hot tub or sauna.

Fitbit Versa 3 Smartwatch Features

  • Alexa support, with Google Assistant coming in the future
  • Limited productivity apps
  • Phone call support

As a smartwatch, the Versa 3 functions exactly the same as its predecessor. It’s still a pared-back, no-frills experience as compared to something like an Apple Watch, but there should still be enough apps to keep many users happy. For example, a Philips Hue app is available to control smart lights, and there’s a map app as well.

That said, some apps are geo-specific to the US, UK or other regions, so the range of apps available to you will vary depending on your location. Fitbit Pay, though, should be a convenient option for most countries, with many banks around the world now supporting the cashless payment method.

It’s worth reiterating that many of the better Fitbit apps are paid, just as they are on Apple Watch or Android Wear OS devices, so you’ll need to pony up if you want some of the expanded functionality they provide.

Fitbit has a decent range of clock faces to choose from, so it should be easy to find something you like… although strangely, switching to a new face takes a while to apply. Amazon’s Alexa is also on board to help with quick questions and, if you set up the Alexa app on your phone and sync your Amazon account, you can do a lot more, like set reminders and control your smart home devices. With Google set to buy Fitbit, Google Assistant support is also due to be added, but there’s no firm timeline on when that is due to occur yet. 

As before, there’s Deezer and Spotify music-streaming support available, but if you’re leaving your phone behind when on a workout, the only way to get access to your tunes offline is via Deezer. There’s still no offline Spotify feature, which is certainly quite disappointing.

With a built-in mic and speaker, you should, in theory, be able to take calls, although at the time of writing we were unable to test this functionality. We were able to answer an incoming call, but it seems Fitbit needs to enable this feature so users can use the device’s Bluetooth connection to their phone to speak to a caller (and hear them) by just raising their wrist close to their mouth. Fitbit lists this feature as “coming soon” on its website, so we’ll update this review when the company rolls out a firmware update to fully enable it.

As before, you’ll get all your phone notifications on your wrist, and you can choose which apps can push notifications to the Versa 3 in the Fitbit app. Most commonly used messaging apps are supported, including Slack and WhatsApp, along with emails and Uber.

Android users can reply to text via the Versa 3 with a handful of preset messages, but iPhone users don’t have that option. If you’re an iOS user and keen on more smartphone functionality from a wearable, then you could consider opting for the Apple Watch SE. Unfortunately, having an onboard mic doesn’t mean you’re able to dictate messages and send them on any platform.

Fitbit Versa 3 Fitness and health tracking

  • SpO2 monitoring
  • GPS enabled
  • Several workout options

Like the previous iteration, fitness and health are the areas where the Versa 3 shines. Admittedly, it doesn’t have as many health tracking features as the Sense does, but there’s enough here for the average user to stay on top of things, thanks to 24/7 activity and heart monitoring.

There are guided breathing exercises available now, with ways to track your mindfulness and the ability to listen to meditation tracks on the Fitbit app. You can set up hourly reminders to move around a little, set your fitness goals and keep tabs on your sleep quality. The Versa 3 will also monitor your blood oxygen level while you sleep (provided you wear the device to bed), and this can be important in detecting disorders like sleep apnea. 

Your daily activities are broken down into step counts, steps taken, calories burned and zone minutes. You can get a pretty good picture on how you’re tracking, but if you want to delve deeper, you’ll need to be a subscriber to the Fitbit Premium service, which costs $9.99/£7.99/AU$15.49 per month.

This gives you access to the new Health Metrics dashboard that offers advanced statistics on breathing rate, oxygen saturation and heart rate variability. While you won’t get notifications when your heart rate spikes (like on the Sense), there will be a record of it in case you’re monitoring yourself closely. Like the Sense, the Versa 3 vibrates when you’re moving between heart rate zones – useful when you’re working out and can’t keep looking at the clock face to check your pulse.

There are several workout options to choose from, including circuit training and interval workouts, covering most people’s needs. As mentioned earlier, you can even wear the Versa 3 during a swim, either in the pool or the sea.

And now, thanks to the Versa 3’s onboard GPS, all your outdoor activities can be mapped in real time. The GPS isn’t always very precise and does momentarily drop out, but despite that it’s a huge step up from the Versa 2. Keep in mind that the GPS only gets activated when you select a workout mode manually. Fitbit’s SmartTrack feature – which automatically detects and records movement that’s 15 minutes or longer as exercise – will not activate the GPS. Maps are available on the Fitbit app almost immediately after you’ve ended the exercise, with pace, heart rate and calories burnt graphically denoted as well.

Fitbit Versa 3 Battery life

  • Up to 6 days of battery
  • 2-day battery with always-on display
  • Charges quickly

Battery life is another thing Fitbit does really well, far better than Apple or Samsung. Like the Versa 2 before it, the Versa 3 offers up to 6 days of juice on a full charge, with the display set at normal brightness and the GPS being used no more than 2-3 times a week. The more you use the GPS, though, the quicker the battery drains; we measured a roughly 8% drop for 30 minutes of GPS use.

Keeping the screen always-on, though, drains the battery significantly, giving you no more than two days on a full charge. And if you use the GPS combined with the always-on display, you’ll need to charge the battery every day.

When the Versa 3’s battery needs some juice, topping it up is thankfully very quick. As we mentioned earlier, a 15-minute stint on the new USB charger gave us 36% more power. 

Fitbit Versa 3 Final Verdict

Sporty exercise enthusiasts will appreciate the Versa 3 as a significant improvement to the preceding Versa and Versa 2 with the addition of a built-in GPS.

There isn’t a compelling reason to upgrade from the Versa 2 if you can deal with using your phone’s connected GPS while you’re out bicycling or running. But as a new fitness watch, it’s an appealing choice, especially now that it supports phone calls made from the wrist using both the Alexa and Google voice assistants.

Since the Versa 3 is one-third less expensive than the most expensive Fitbit Sense, it represents excellent value if your main concerns are fitness and core smart capabilities rather than a wealth of potentially overwhelming—and underused—health metrics.

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