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Hands on: Fitbit Versa 2 review

Technical improvements with a very similar look

What is a hands on review?
Fitbit Versa 2

Early Verdict

You won’t desperately need to upgrade your existing smartwatch to the Fitbit Versa 2, but there are lots of smaller improvements here that suggest it will be a top smartwatch for a lower price than a lot of the competition.

For

  • Fitbit Pay as standard
  • Amazon Alexa should prove useful

Against

  • Only Connected GPS
  • Still has a thick bezel

Instead of introducing a new Ionic, Fitbit opted to update its smaller (and notably best-selling) smartwatch with a variety of new features that may be a game-changer for your wrist.

The brand new Fitbit Versa 2 isn’t a big step up in terms of spec, but it features lots of smaller upgrades that make it a more attractive experience than Fitbit’s previous smartwatches.

Fitbit has opted to go for a similar look – this isn’t going to interest you if you really didn’t like the first-gen product – but under the hood there are a variety of upgrades that may be up your street.

Fitbit Versa 2 release date and price

Fitbit Versa 2

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Fitbit announced the Versa 2 on August 28 ahead of IFA 2019, where the company will be showing the device off to the public for the first time. The Versa 2 is available to buy now, and you can pick it up from Fitbit's website.

The Fitbit Versa 2 costs £199.99 / $199.95 / AU$329.95 / AED899. There’s also a Special Edition version of the Versa 2 that will cost a little more and comes with a slightly more premium strap.

You’ll also get a 7-day free trial of Fitbit Premium with the Versa 2, and those who opt for the Special Edition device will get a 90-day free trial of the new service instead.

Fitbit Premium is a new way to keep an eye on your overall health as well as your fitness. It comes with guided plans for a variety of areas important to your wellbeing including sleep, nutrition and exercise.

Design and display

Those who’ve seen or used the original Fitbit Versa may struggle to tell the difference between the second-gen device and the original. The Versa 2 is made of metal, and it comes with a variety of strap choices with silicone, leather and other materials available.

There’s a single button on the left hand edge of the smartwatch to wake the display (and it will also work for a variety of other features) but most of the time you’ll be using the screen to interact with features within Fitbit OS.

Fitbit Versa 2

You can see the thick bezels around the display when the screen is turned off.

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Fitbit has yet to confirm the exact specs of the display, but we know it’s 8% bigger than the last-gen device and it looked bright enough during our limited testing time.

There are still some thick bezels around the outside of the square display, so don’t expect the image to take up the entirety of the front of the watch. It’s still big enough to see what you need though while setting up features on the device.

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The body of the watch feels premium and it’s comfortable on your wrist. It comes in black, rose gold or silver, and then you’ve got a choice of a variety of different straps that you can pair with the device.

By default you’ll get a silicone strap that matches the color of the device you’ve opted for, but you can buy extra straps that are easy to switch out.

The Fitbit Versa 2 is water-resistant, so you’re able to take this in a pool to track your swimming, but it’s not going to cope well with more extreme activities such as deep water diving.

Fitness

This watch comes with a variety of existing Fitbit smartwatch features that can track your overall health as well as your normal fitness. It runs Fitbit OS, so all the apps and watch faces that you’ve seen on older Fitbit smartwatches are compatible with this device.

It has activity tracking to keep an eye on your daily step count, but it will also track your exercise routine, so you can keep the same device on for a jog, swim or cycle ride as well as a variety of other activities.

It will be able to keep an eye on your location as long as you have your phone with you, as it sports Connected GPS. This isn’t a device designed to be used away from your smartphone though, and if you want that the Fitbit Ionic may be for you.

Fitness-wise, Fitbit hasn’t offered many upgrades here but it’s more focused on the overall health experience.

Fitbit Versa 2

(Image credit: TechRadar)

For example, there are improvements to sleep tracking, including a way to get a nightly sleep score out of 100.

Fitbit devices have often monitored your time in both REM and deep sleep to give you an accurate picture of the quality of your sleep, but this is the first Fitbit device to turn that into an easy to understand score.

There’s even an upcoming alarm feature that will wake you at the optimum moment. It will monitor when you’re in a deep sleep and only wake you up at an appropriate time – don’t worry, you can set a window to wake up so you don’t miss work – that doesn’t disturb your important deep sleep.

Other features

Fitbit Versa 2

An answer to an Amazon Alexa query on the Fitbit Versa 2

(Image credit: TechRadar)

One of the big new features here is Amazon Alexa integration. It allows you to ask queries like you’d ask an Amazon Echo home speaker, but you can now do that on your wrist.

We’ve tried it out, and it worked well. You just have to hold down the side button and then say your command. You’ll then be greeted with the answer on the display.

There’s no speaker on this device, so you won’t get an audio cue to explain Alexa’s answer. It also doesn’t work if you just say Alexa to it, so this won’t come in useful when you’ve got your hands busy with other activities. Of course this feature won't work in countries where Alexa isn't available - such as the UAE.

Fitbit Pay is also available on the Versa 2, so as long as you have a compatible bank you’ll be able to use this device for mobile payments. Previously, you’ve had to have a specific version of the Fitbit Versa in some markets to get access to this feature, but that’s not the case on the Versa 2.

Other features include notifications for certain apps on your smartphone including messages and phone calls, plus you’ll be able to control your Spotify music through an app on the device. Note that this is just to control music playing on your phone though, and it won’t work for syncing offline playlists.

For that, you’ll have to use Deezer or upload your own music to the watch.

This smartwatch is running on a more powerful chipset than the last-gen watch, so you should find it to be a smooth experience. Fitbit has also said it should improve battery life from around four days on a single charge to five.

Early verdict

Fitbit Versa 2

(Image credit: TechRadar)

There aren’t many reasons to upgrade your existing Fitbit Versa or Ionic to the Versa 2, but for those looking to make their first step into the world of wearables, or wanting to get a smartwatch for the first time, this looks to be more or less the full package.

If fitness is your main reason to buy a smartwatch, the Fitbit Versa 2 is a strong option when compared to other devices on the market as it focuses mostly on that area, but you should remember that it doesn’t come with GPS built in.

What is a hands on review?

Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.