It’s time the corporate significantly addresses its connectivity points.
Hell is sitting in a scorching yoga class ready on your Fitbit to sync.
It was my fourth day of reviewing the new Versa 2, and I’d been having connectivity points because the day after I acquired it. The watch refused to sync with my cellphone after initially pairing with no situation. I wasn’t shocked — this has occurred with just about each one of many many Fitbits I’ve reviewed within the previous. However that makes it all of the extra irritating. I’m not the solely reviewer with this situation both, and I haven’t had main connectivity troubles with some other wearable I’ve examined. Samsung watches particularly join rapidly to my Android telephones, as do most Put on OS units.
- Enticing and comfy design
- Alexa integration feels helpful
- Correct sleep-tracking
- Lengthy-lasting battery with out At all times On Show
- Finicky connectivity
- Unintuitive OS
On paper, the Fitbit Versa 2 is a compelling improve over its predecessor. It incorporates a larger, higher show, helpful Alexa integration and refined software program. It nonetheless lasts days longer than Samsung and Put on OS watches and appears fairly, as well. However it struggles an excessive amount of with connectivity to be a dependable day by day smartwatch.
However as a lot as I wish to hold complaining in regards to the Versa 2’s connectivity points, this evaluation isn’t nearly these issues. No, that is about whether or not the Versa 2 is price your cash and why you must or shouldn’t purchase it.
Perhaps you’re a first-time health watch purchaser, or possibly you’re contemplating an improve from an present Fitbit. Both means, the Versa 2 is a compelling gadget, no less than on paper. For simply $200, it presents complete health-tracking, a colourful and brilliant AMOLED show and a reasonably aesthetic that resembles the Apple Watch, for higher or worse. This yr’s Versa presents Alexa integration, making the watch a bit extra useful. It additionally guarantees to last as long as 5 days on a cost, and gives insights from Fitbit’s huge database of knowledge gleaned from its decade of monitoring individuals’s knowledge. However the Versa 2’s inconsistent connectivity finally retains it from being actually dependable.
Alexa makes Fitbit OS extra highly effective
The Versa 2’s most intriguing characteristic is its Alexa integration, as a result of it makes the beforehand restricted Fitbit OS a bit extra practical. Maintain down the Versa 2’s button to summon Alexa, and you’ll inform it to search out close by gyms or for the climate report. This usually labored throughout my testing, and I used to be shocked that Alexa was capable of return a listing of yoga studios round my resort in Berlin. You should use this to regulate your good house units, create reminders, set alarms or for calorie depend of meals. Simply don’t anticipate it to have the ability to do the whole lot the good speaker can do — calling one other Alexa gadget, for instance, isn’t supported.
As a warning, when your Fitbit loses its connection to your cellphone, because it did a number of instances throughout my journey, you received’t be capable to use Alexa.
Whereas Fitbit has a bonus over the competitors because of years of expertise within the health wearable house, it’s additionally traditionally lagged its rivals on display screen expertise and software program. The excellent news is, the Versa 2 lastly has an AMOLED panel that makes out of doors viewability simpler. The deeper blacks translate to sharper distinction, particularly for brightly coloured phrases and graphics. I usually had no situation seeing the time and my notifications, even below direct daylight.
Like the unique Versa and the Versa Lite earlier than it, this new watch has a cushty, light-weight design that appears and feels stylish. I’m a fan of the rose gold case, although I want the strap have been a bit slimmer. Fitbit tweaked the sensor hub on the underside to make it softer in opposition to the pores and skin. I normally don’t like sporting a watch to sleep, however I barely felt the Versa 2 on my wrist in any respect as I plunged deep into lalaland throughout an exhausting week protecting the tradeshow IFA.
Talking of bedtime, Fitbit’s sleep-tracking software continues to make use of the guts fee monitor to detect how deeply you’re resting. A brand new Sleep Rating characteristic launched across the similar time as Versa 2, and to this point it appears correct. I’ve understandably been getting horrible scores within the 70s and 60s out of 100. Most of it’s because I merely haven’t slept a lot, as I get to mattress late after days of briefings and late-night writing. Jetlag has additionally contributed to the poor high quality of sleep, so I get why Fitbit penalized me. A Fitbit spokesperson mentioned that 50 % of the rating relies on the length of sleep, 25 % is decided by the period of time spent in restorative relaxation and the ultimate quarter is calculated from the size of time in deep and REM sleep phases.
The scoring system has been unusually efficient at motivating me to go to mattress earlier, in all probability as a result of it appeals to the overachiever in me. It’s additionally simpler to gauge my “efficiency” when it’s a quantity fairly than attempting to decipher a chart.
The remainder of the Versa 2’s activity-tracking options, significantly its exercise instruments, are the identical as its predecessor. You’ll nonetheless get the Chill out app to information you thru respiration workouts while you’re careworn; motion reminders while you’ve been idle for an hour; and step counting, which got here in useful throughout IFA. All this data is displayed neatly within the In the present day dashboard, which you’ll find by swiping up on the house display screen. Fitbit additionally presents interval monitoring, which is surprisingly correct, although the interface hasn’t improved a lot since my preliminary evaluation of this characteristic.
Fitbit OS wants work
Fitbit additionally continues to replace its OS, which debuted after the corporate purchased smartwatch pioneer Pebble three years in the past. This time round, the corporate up to date the interface to characteristic a tidied-up Fast Settings panel. If you swipe down from the house display screen, you’ll see all of your collected notifications, and a panel that slides down, displaying icons for music controls, Garmin Pay and extra settings. Faucet that final one, and one other web page seems with toggles for Do Not Disturb, Evening Mode, At all times On Show, brightness and Display screen Wake (while you flip your wrist).
I’m all for some Marie Kondo-esque tidying up, however I’m perplexed by Fitbit’s determination right here. The settings shade is sort of a pop-up advert when it slides down, blocking a 3rd of the notifications display screen. The truth that that you must faucet yet another time to get to extra switches is much more irritating. Plus, there’s a whole wasted part to the left of the house display screen that doesn’t show any info. This may very well be used for notifications, releasing up room from the fast settings shade for extra buttons.
The sheer variety of steps wanted to, say, toggle Do Not Disturb mode or alter the brightness is annoying, however the course of is simple. What’s befuddling is that Fitbit makes use of ambiguous icons for its fast settings management panel. I requested my Apple Watch-wearing colleague Mat Smith to guess what the 5 icons on the Versa 2 have been for and he guessed solely one of many 5 accurately. Do Not Disturb, with its “no-entry” image, is clear sufficient.
However Mat guessed the crescent moon was for Sleep mode to activate sleep-tracking; the clock-face graphic was for stopwatch, and a watch silhouette with motion traces behind it was for vibration. They have been truly for Sleep Mode (silence notification and lock display screen, not monitoring your slumber), At all times On Show and Wrist Wake, respectively. The one cause I knew what these have been for is that an explainer seems after you faucet every button. Earlier than I touched any of them, although, my solely choice was to hazard a guess as to what they meant. Positive, Mat could have made some dumb guesses (he had no concept that the solar icon was for brightness), however I’m a seasoned Fitbit person and I used to be nonetheless confused.
In its try to wash up the Versa 2’s design, Fitbit additionally removed two bodily buttons on the watch’s proper aspect, forsaking a single one on the left. Press this as soon as, and also you return one web page. Lengthy press it, and you’ll both summon Alexa or allow Garmin Pay (which then makes the devoted button within the settings shade redundant). I admire Fitbit simplifying its navigation system, however I actually hate that reaching throughout the display screen to push this bodily button is the one means to return a web page. In Put on OS or Tizen, you may swipe proper to go to the earlier web page, which is a extra intuitive approach to work together with a swipe-heavy OS.
Efficiency, battery and once more, connectivity
The excellent news is, because of the upgraded processor, the Versa 2 felt extra responsive than its predecessor. Apps like Chill out and Climate loaded sooner this time round, however something reliant on a cellphone connection, like GPS or Alexa, nonetheless had an inclination to crawl.
It might sound like I’m nit-picking about connectivity, however for those who’re contemplating upgrading from an outdated Fitbit or journey incessantly sufficient that you just activate your cellphone’s airplane mode quite a bit, this might be a problem for you too. You’ll should hold re-trying to attach your units while you disable the Bluetooth connection. Plus, the failure to sync occurred a number of instances throughout my testing. For no actual cause, the Versa 2 could be unable to sync with my cellphone. Worse, notifications from my Pixel 3 stopped exhibiting up on the watch, which lulled me right into a false perception that nobody was in search of me once I stepped away from my cellphone.
I’m fairly aggravated at Fitbit for its dangerous connectivity, however no less than the corporate delivers on its battery life guarantees. I unplugged the Versa 2 on Sunday earlier than I left for Germany, and by Friday night it was nonetheless exhibiting a good 23 % of juice remaining. I’ve principally had the show set to medium brightness and have solely tracked one exercise, plus my notifications typically stopped exhibiting up, so that may clarify the lengthy runtime. After I enabled At all times On Show, the Versa 2’s battery life plummeted to barely two days. I most well-liked not having to cost the Versa 2 each different day so I left the characteristic disabled.
If not for its connectivity issues, the Versa 2 could be a superb smartwatch. It presents correct, complete health options and a pleasant design for an inexpensive value. It’s additionally one of many longest-lasting smartwatches round, whereas the Alexa integration makes it extra helpful than its predecessor. I simply want Fitbit would get its Bluetooth act collectively already, and provides me a greater OS.