Hands on: Fitbit Versa 2 Review

With the Apple Watch 5 expected to be unveiled in the coming weeks, Fitbit has stolen a march and unveiled the Versa 2 – its next smartwatch

First Impressions

For under £200/$200, the Versa 2 looks like it’ll be an excellent choice for someone who wants a fitness tracking watch that doesn’t look too much like a fitness tracking watch. It’ll be familiar to those comfortable with the Fitbit ecosystem and, as it works across iOS and Android, it’s a good alternative to the Apple Watch.

Key Specifications

  • Review Price: £199
  • Alexa integration
  • 5+ day battery life
  • OLED display
  • Spotify app

With the Apple Watch 5 expected to be unveiled in the coming weeks, Fitbit has stolen a march and unveiled the Versa 2 – its next smartwatch.

The Versa has always meant to be a mixture of stylish wearable watch and fitness tracker, and the Versa 2 continues that trend. This isn’t going to sway anyone from investing in a dedicated Garmin running watch, but it’s the perfect smartwatch for something who wants a little more than what’s offered by a basic fitness tracker.

For the Versa 2, Fitbit has improved battery life, focussed a lot on sleep tracking and added in Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant. Is it enough of an upgrade?

Related: Best smartwatch 2019

Fitbit Versa 2 price and release date

The Fitbit Versa 2 will be available from September 15 for £199/$199. There’ll be a pricier option too, for £219/$229 that’ll come with a 90-day Fitbit Premium trial and a duo of bands.

Alexa and software – Alexa, where’s the nearest Gym?

While we have seen it on a smattering of phones and wearables before, Alexa has mainly been restricted to in-house devices like Amazon’s own Echo speakers. With the Versa 2 you can access the digital assistant from anywhere – as long as you’ve got a data connection and a phone handy – and ask it questions like, ‘Where’s the local gym?’ and ‘How many calories are in a chocolate mousse?’. All the regular Alexa stuff is supported too, so you can turn off your smart lights or set a timer.

I didn’t get much time to actually test out how well Alexa works here, and I have never been convinced by Alexa previously when it’s taken out of the home. However, having some form of hands-free voice control on a watch is always welcome, as it saves you prodding around too much on the tiny screen.

Alexa is summoned with a long press of the single button on the side, and there’s a microphone sitting above for listening to your commands. You can also reply to messages with your voice if you’re using an Android phone.

Related: Best fitness tracker 2019

A big Versa 2 feature is Alexa

Spotify now has a dedicated ‘app’ too, letting you control the music playing on your phone or through connected speakers from your watch. You can’t, however, download playlists for offline listening, which is a shame. If you want to store music offline you’ll need to use Deezer.

Of course, the big focus of the software is health and fitness. Fitbit is launching a new Premium monthly subscription that gives you more in-depth insights and training regimes, and all this is built into the watch and mobile app. There’s also a bigger focus on sleep tracking here, with a ‘Sleep Score’ awarded each morning. This score is made up from a number of metrics including amount of deep sleep, REM sleep and time asleep. Fitbit said this feature was added as a direct response to requests from its users.

Design – Fitbit Versa 2 has charm and feels great to wear

Like the original Versa, Versa 2 is an absolute pleasure to wear. It hugs the wrist, doesn’t feel heavy and looks very much like a digital watch. This time around the body has been smoothed out, with the sensor array around the back more rounded. There’s also now just one button on the side (like the Versa Lite) for navigation.

The OLED display has been stretched out too, slimming down the bezel in the process. It’s still bright and sharp, and can now stay on all the time thanks to a new always-on mode.

It’s a good looking watch

Specs – Fitbit Versa 2 is mostly unchanged, but with improved battery life

Internally the Versa 2 seems very much like its predecessor, albeit with a slightly faster processor. There’s still an HRM that’ll track your heart rate 24/7, swimproof body and, sadly, no GPS. There is connected GPS however, so you’ll need a phone connected should you wish to properly track your runs.

Battery life has been given an improvement, with Fitbit saying the watch should last for 5+ days (or 2+ days with the always-on display enabled), which is up from the 3+ days for the original Versa.

Fitbit Versa 2 – Early Verdict

For under £200/$200, the Versa 2 looks like it’ll be an excellent choice for someone who wants a fitness tracking watch that doesn’t look too much like a fitness tracking watch. It’ll be familiar to those comfortable with the Fitbit ecosystem and, as it works across iOS and Android, it’s a good alternative to the Apple Watch.

A ’hands on review’ is our first impression of a product only - it is not a full test and verdict. Our writer must have spent some time with the product to describe an early sense of what it’s like to use. We call these ‘hands on reviews’ to make them visible in search. However these are always unscored and don’t give recommendations. Read more about our reviews policy.

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