Fitbit Versa 2 full review

It’s been a year and a half since Fitbit launched the Versa smartwatch, and after a dalliance with a Lite version earlier this year, the company has now unveiled the full follow-up - though after the success of the original Versa it should be no surprise that the Versa 2 doesn’t exactly reinvent the wheel.

Design tweaks and software upgrades are the main order of business here, and the Versa 2 isn’t likely to tempt too many existing Versa owners into an upgrade, but it might just lure a few new people over from the good ship Apple.

Price and availability

The Versa 2 is available to pre-order right now from the Fitbit website, and will go properly on sale from September 15.

The company has resisted the temptation to hike the price up, so the Versa 2 will cost exactly the same as the original model: £199/$199 for the standard version, with a special edition setting you back £219/$229.

That extra £20/$30 gets you an extra band - the special editions come with one silicone and one woven - along with a 90-day free trial of the new Fitbit Premium subscription service.

Perhaps most importantly, the Versa 2 is half the price of the £399/$399 Apple Watch Series 4 and is cheaper than most other top smartwatches too - making it an ideal entry point for anyone graduating from a regular fitness tracker.

Check out our guide to the best Fitbit if you want to know where the Versa 2 sits in the growing Fitbit range, or the best Fitbit deals if you want to grab a tracker for less.

Designed to be better

At first glance the Fitbit Versa 2 looks pretty similar to the first Versa, but it’s not long before you notice how many little details add up to a big upgrade. Read our Versa vs Versa 2 review.

It boasts the same ‘squircle’ display, but it’s now eight percent larger, reaching a little closer to the edges of the body - though this is still a long way from bezel-less. It also squeezes out the Fitbit logo from the front of the device, a welcome move towards an uninterrupted front.

That screen is now AMOLED too. That means better contrast and deeper blacks, but also helps the Versa 2 hit a 5+ day battery life, up from 4+ days last time around. The AMOLED panel means Fitbit also introduced the option of an always-on display so you can actually have the time on the screen the whole time (y’know, like a watch - technology, eh?) though this will drag battery life back down to 2+ days.

The edges and rear of the device have both been rounded out and given a more polished look, while the Versa’s three physical buttons have been slimmed down to just one on the left-hand side. That’s a welcome change, as the other two were only used as shortcuts for functionality you could get to quickly enough anyway, so really didn’t need to be there.

The result is a watch that still looks unmistakably like the Versa, but feels more modern and a little more premium - right down to the fact that the join between the watch band and the body is just a tiny bit more seamless than before.

Speaking of, the Versa 2 is compatible with any existing Versa or Versa Lite bands - so feel free to re-use any you already own - but will also launch with a new range of accessories of its own.

As for the core colours and bands, the regular model comes in carbon with a black silicone band, copper rose with a pebble band, or grey mist with a stone band - in other words, in black, pink, or grey.

The special editions each include two bands: you can get a blue/pink woven band with a navy silicone band; or a grey woven band with an olive green silicone variant.

Smarter software

The flipside of things is the software. The core OS remains essentially unchanged, and instead new integrations with Spotify and Amazon are the headline features, along with the introduction of Fitbit Pay as a standard feature and a new processor to keep it all ticking along a little faster.

The Spotify app will come as standard, letting you stream your favourite music, playlists, or podcasts, but it comes with one big caveat: it’s only a portal to control Spotify on your phone, speaker, or other smart device. That means it’ll only work if you have your phone or other device nearby - you can’t download anything from Spotify to the Versa 2 itself to take out on a run with you, though you still transfer tracks over within Fitbit’s own music app.

Alexa integration is a little more seamless. You can talk at the Versa to access the usual array of Alexa features - smart home controls, weather updates, transport advice - along with a few more Fitbit-y features like starting a workout or asking about the calorie count of a muffin.

If you’re on Android you’ll also get the option to reply to text messages by voice, which is always one of the most useful uses of a smart assistant in a watch especially. There’s only one minor quibble here really: despite including Alexa there’s no support for Amazon Music, so it’s bad luck if you’ve gone all-in on the Amazon ecosystem.

Beyond these two new additions, the Versa 2 offers exactly the sort of comprehensive health and fitness tracking you’d expect. Activity tracking, heart-rate, and connected GPS combine to track your steps, reproductive health, sleep, and various workouts (including swimming) - all essentially unchanged from the first Versa.

The company is placing an extra emphasis on sleep this year, with a few upgrades coming both to the Versa 2 and prior Fitbit models. Sleep tracking will now offer an overall ‘Sleep Score’ out of 100, while the Smart Wake alarm will monitor your sleep and wake you up while you’re in a lighter rest within a set alarm period - in theory helping you feel less groggy as the alarm goes off.

The first Versa was always a great activity tracker, so it’s not too surprising that the Versa 2 hasn’t changed too much there, with the company instead focussing its efforts on bolstering the smartwatch side of things. Alexa and Spotify integration are a great start, but the Fitbit app ecosystem still lags a long way behind Android Wear or Apple’s watchOS, so there’s definitely still some catching up to do.

Early verdict

If you already own a Versa then the Versa 2 won’t look like a dramatic upgrade unless you’re really keen on chatting to Alexa from your wrist.

For new users though, the Versa 2 is a compelling option at the cheaper end of the smartwatch spectrum: comprehensive fitness tracking, slicker design, and support for two major services in Spotify and Alexa (even if the rest of the app ecosystem isn’t there yet) make the Versa 2 look like less of a compromise than the original Versa.

Specs

Fitbit Versa 2: Specs

  • AMOLED display
  • 5+ days battery life
  • NFC
  • Connected GPS
  • Bluetooth,50m water-resistance
  • Heart rate sensor
  • Sleep tracking