The Fitbit Versa: everything you need to know

Fitbit's designer collection of knit band accessories are now available

Brenda Stolyar/Digital Trends
Brenda Stolyar/Digital Trends

In March, Fitbit officially unveiled the Fitbit Versa — a product it calls a “smartwatch for all.” Featuring a style reminiscent of the Apple Watch, the Versa plants its flag as the successor to the company’s previous smartwatch releases, the Blaze and Ionic.

Here’s everything you need to know. You can check out our Fitbit Versa review for a more in-depth analysis of the smartwatch.

A variety of cases and watch bands to choose from

This year, Fitbit teamed up with The Council of Fashion Designers of America to create a designer collection by New York-based brand PH5. The unique accessory line is now available for purchase. The collection, inspired by both athletic and futuristic styles, are available in six limited-edition knit band accessories.

The Stripe Knit is currently available exclusively at Target, and comes in in two colorways — pink and navy or with navy and white. The two-tone stripe pattern includes a navy buckle on both. The design behind the band was influenced by the logos of marathons PH5 founder Wei Lin has participated in, along with inspiration from track and field stadiums.

For those who want to add some shimmer to their Versa, another option in the collection is the Metallic Knit. Constructed using Japanese Kyotex metallic Lurex yarn along with a specialized knitting technique for a comfortable feel, the band is available in two color variants — rose gold and black with a rose gold buckle, or silver with a silver buckle.

The last PH5 knit band accessory is the Rib Knit. Made of a rayon and nylon blend, the Rib Knit features raised stripes in bright colors which creates a multi-dimensional texture. The band is available in a rose and white colorway with a rose gold buckle, or multi-colored (navy, white, and pink) with a navy buckle.

The PH5 for Fitbit Versa collection can be found on Fitbit’s site and are priced at $40 each. The accessory bands will work with the Fitbit Versa along with the Fitbit Versa Special edition smartwatches.

Brenda Stolyar/Digital Trends
Brenda Stolyar/Digital Trends

Fitbit released a variety of different watch bands — classic, Horween leather, stainless steel, metal mesh, and more — which range from $30 to $100. Fitbit’s Versa also comes standard in black with a black aluminum case, gray with a silver aluminum case, or peach with a rose gold aluminum case. The Versa Special Edition is available in lavender with a rose gold aluminum case or charcoal with a graphite aluminum case — this edition also comes packaged with a black Classic accessory band.

To add to its collection of watch bands, Fitbit asked for help from its customers. Up until June 1, users were able to vote on the next classic band color via the Fitbit blog. Folks had the option to vote for either a mint, denim, or orchid color. Announced on June 4 via Fitbit’s social media channels, mint was crowned as the winner for the next classic band color for the Fitbit Versa. It will be available exclusively through Fitbit’s website this fall.

Price and availability

The Fitbit Versa is available for purchase worldwide via Fitbit’s own website, along with retailers in North America such as Best Buy, Amazon, Kohl’s, Target, Verizon, and Macy’s, among others. Those interested in using Fitbit Pay, however, will have to shell out a bit more for the Fitbit Versa Special Edition, which retails for $230 and is currently available for pre-order.

In the six weeks since the Versa has been available, it’s proven itself to be quite the hit among customers. On Monday, June 4, Fitbit announced that it had shipped more than a million of these new smartwatches. That makes it the fastest selling product that Fitbit has ever offered, and the Versa is also currently the top-selling smartwatch on Amazon. This likely comes as a relief to Fitbit, which has previously struggled to create a popular product in a crowded market. The $300 Ionic smartwatch, for example, didn’t do nearly as well as the Versa when it went on sale in 2017.

This is likely thanks to the more attractive price point of the Versa, as well as its wider range of functions. Fitbit, however, didn’t share much as to why it thinks its new smartwatch is doing well. It said simply that the Versa has “true mass appeal.”

Design and features

Fitbit’s wearable designs are never conventional and the brand’s official unveil of the Versa confirmed a design many were already expecting. The lightest metal smartwatch in the United States, the Versa boasts an extremely thin anodized aluminum case with an angled and slightly tapered design perfect for small or large wrists. It’s rounded square face — a shape which Fitbit calls a “squircle” — features a colorful, touchscreen display with a brightness up to 1,000 nits.

Similar to Fitbit’s Ionic, the Versa comes packed with a variety of smartwatch features, as well as the company’s signature fitness tracking capabilities. Offering notifications which alert users to text messages, app updates, phone calls, and calendar alerts, among others, wearers will have quick access to the goings on in their smartphone without reaching for their pocket.

Fitbit is currently rolling out its quick replies feature for Versa and Ionic users. Android users now have the ability to respond back to text messages via Fitbit’s quick replies feature — Apple’s ecosystem doesn’t currently allow for similar replies. Those with an Android phone will be able to send up to five custom or pre-population replies that are 60 characters or less. Android users will also be able to send these quick replies on third-party apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.

Default quick replies include: ‘Yes,’ ‘No,’ ‘Sounds Good!,’ ‘Can’t talk now — will reply later,’ and ‘Whats up?’ You’re also able to respond with a variety of emojis including the smiley face, crying with laughter face, running emoji, and more.

Compatible only with the Versa Special Edition is Fitbit Pay. For use anywhere that accepts contactless payment, Fitbit Pay currently supports more than 60 banks in 15 different countries via American Express, Mastercard, or Visa networks. Fitbit plans on expanding into more countries and banks later in 2018.

The Versa also supports phone-free music — 2.5GB of the watch’s 4GB storage is even reserved solely for tunes — and even features Pandora and Deezer access. Fitbit also upped the customization ante by giving wearers the ability to fully customize the smartwatch, offering a variety of apps like Starbucks, Strava, and Flipboard, as well as a number of custom clock faces — the brand says there’s already over 550 apps and clock faces currently available.

And what would a Fitbit wearable be without fitness tracking? Like the Ionic before it, the Versa still tracks fitness stats with the best of the company’s lineup, offering users easy access to daily, weekly, and monthly fitness data, including logged steps, calories burned, and heart rate patterns. Over time, the accumulated data helps create a more personalized approach to staying active, getting more sleep, or keeping organized. The Versa even offers fitness guidance via Fitbit Coach and allows for swim tracking, boasting a water-resistance up to 50 meters.

Female health tracking

The Fitbit Versa’s most impressive new addition is the inclusion of female health tracking, and Fitbit began rolling it out for iOS and Windows on May 7 (users can access it on the Ionic as well). The new feature allows you to log your period, record symptoms, and receive push notifications two days before and on the day of your predicted period start date. For easy access, you can add the tile to your personalized health dashboard on the Fitbit app. With smartwatch integration, you can also swipe up on your watch to the Fitbit Today dashboard to check when your period is going to start or end along with your next fertile window.

As you continue to log your cycle and symptoms each month, the female-health tracking app will get smarter as it tailors to your patterns. That way, it will be able to offer more insights based on how your cycle impacts activity, weight and nutrition, sleep, and more. The app also offers an educational aspect, providing access to the Fitbit blog where women can learn about fertility, ovulation, the menstrual cycle, and common misunderstandings.

After rolling out to iOS and Windows users in early May, Fitbit announced in June that more than 2.4 million users have already begun using the new feature. This builds upon the success the app saw in its first week of availability, when 1 million users began downloading and leveraging the app. This continued success is likely due to an update that went out to Android users the week of May 14, allowing all owners of the Ionic and Versa — despite their smartphone’s operating system — to utilize the new female health tracking feature.

Developer friendly

Fitbit also debuted the online simulator, a program which allows developers to build apps and clock faces specifically for the Versa and Ionic — without actually owning either device. Fitbit intends for this to help budding developers improve the visibility of their apps, essentially making available its entire Versa and Ionic user community located across the world.

With this program, Fitbit has partnered with health care companies to deliver a variety of new apps to help users manage medical conditions — such as cancer or diabetes — and to improve wellness. Users will have access to apps like Walgreens which allows you to access the closest Walgreens pharmacy when you need to pick up a prescription, or Sickweather which is an app that scans social networks for illness around your area. Other apps include Diplomat Pharmacy, One Drop, Fitabase, and more.

With the release of the Versa, Fitbit has also rolled out its new OS — Fitbit 2.0 — allowing all Ionic users to update to the new software.

Updated on July 23: Fitbit’s PH5 for Fitbit Versa Collection is now available for purchase.

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