Much like with the standard Fitbit Versa, the company has opted for connected GPS here, so you’ll have to take your phone out exercising if you plan to use this to track your position and route while running or cycling.
A lot of the top fitness features from the original Versa are here, and this also offers a lot of the same functionality as Fitbit’s fitness tracker range - just with added smarts.
The PurePulse 24/7 heart rate tracker proved to be a powerful tool on the watch, and we found it to be as accurate as other wrist-based devices at tracking our heart rate. It will track throughout the day at different intervals to give you a picture of your overall heart health, as well as when monitoring your heart beat while you’re doing a workout.
The Versa Lite can automatically track your workouts too, so if you stop during your run the watch will realize and put you on pause until you start moving again. There are no on-screen workouts (these are the guided exercise routines with examples on the watch’s display) here though, which is something reserved for top-end Fitbit products.
Instead you’ll have a selection of workouts you can track, which includes run, bike, treadmill, weights, workout, walk and an interval timer for more complex sessions. All of these offer some simple stats such as calories burned, heart rate and connected GPS (if applicable).
This isn’t the most in-depth fitness data, and if you want that you may want to opt for a more specialist running or cycling watch. This more offers data that’s useful to the average person, so you can track your overall health and the ways you’re improving.
Other features on offer with the Fitbit Versa Lite include guided breathing exercises, cardio fitness level, sleep monitoring and female health tracking. You'll get a clear picture of your daily stats on the watch, but the app is where you'll be able to break down data over a longer period.
Interface and performance
There’s not much to the interface on the Fitbit Versa Lite, but considering what you’ll likely be doing with the watch that’s unlikely to be a big problem.
You can turn on the display by tapping on the screen or pressing the button on the left edge of the watch. From there, you can tap on what you want to activate from the home screen or swipe through to the right to find other apps.
Four apps are displayed per page, so you may sometimes have to do a bit of scrolling to find what you need. It’s not the slickest interface, but it works when you’re trying to find a specific feature.
Often when you’ve opened an app, you’ll then scroll through different pages to find the feature you want within it. For example, Exercise is the main app and to start one off you’ll need to cycle through until you find the right one.
It starts with Run, but there are other options such as Treadmill or Cycling if you scroll through the menus.
We found the performance of the watch to be satisfactory. When you’re loading up apps, everything loads smoothly. It doesn’t feel as quick as some top-end wearables, but this isn’t trying to do much more than offer these fitness features, so performance isn’t a huge worry.
We found the software to be stable itself, and we didn’t come across any glaring issues that will frustrate you when you’re wearing the Fitbit Versa Lite on a day-to-day basis.
Then there’s the Fitbit app, which is a fantastic hub for all the information that you’ve recorded on your watch. Here you can download new apps and watch faces, as well as dig into the data that your watch has recorded.
Fitbit's smartwatch platform isn't as mature as Wear OS or watchOS - that's what the Apple Watch uses - but it does offer a variety of third-party apps alongside the company's own apps and services. Examples of these include Strava and The New York Times.
There isn’t a plethora of choices here for your wrist though. You shouldn’t expect an app selection as comprehensive as you’d get with Wear OS or the Apple Watch.
That said, a lot of the key fitness features you’ll be looking for are covered here by Fitbit’s own software. You’ll also get notifications through to your wrist, but you won’t be able to do much with them apart from reading them.
If you’re on Android, you’ll be able to do quick replies to some messages but even these are limited and more often than not you’ll find yourself taking your phone out once you’ve felt your watch buzz.
There is also a huge variety of watch faces you can download to give your watch a slightly more unique look than the basic ones. This is an added extra that we really enjoy.
The big restrictions here compared to other smartwatches include the lack of contactless payments, and the fact that you can’t upload music to the watch and listen to it via Bluetooth headphones.
If you’re planning to go running with this watch, this can restrict what you can do. That also limits it compared to a variety of competing devices, including some of the Garmin range, so it’s a strange feature to drop here.
Both music and payments are possible on the Fitbit Versa, and considering that watch is often not much more than the Versa Lite it may be worth spending a little more to get a hold of those features.
Fitbit is claiming the Versa Lite Edition will last for at least four days from a single charge, but you’ll want to bear in mind that will change depending on how much you’re using it. If you’re constantly using it for workouts, you won’t get such great battery life.
We often found ourselves getting between four and five days from a single charge, but once you begin working out with it you’ll notice it will drop likely to between three and four days. That’s still pretty good considering a lot of other smartwatches only last for a day or so.
The standard Fitbit Versa came with the same claim, and in our review we found the watch would last for somewhere between three and four days depending on how much we used it – that means battery life is basically the same for both models.
You can recharge the Fitbit Versa Lite with a proprietary charger that’s included in the box, so you’ll need to remember to take this with you when you go away. It doesn’t feature standard wireless charging either.
Image Credit: TechRadar