Fitbit Versa 4 Review Exercise Types

Fitbit Versa 4 review: fitness before smarts

Fitbit now lives in brand owner Google’s world. While the big G takes its first steps into the smartwatch world with the Pixel Watch, the FitBit Versa 4 serves as a square reminder that the firm is still fighting for space on your wrist.

For Versa number 4, Fitbit has brought over some great apps from Google, and they have the same goal of getting you to reach your fitness and health goals in a highly motivated way.

It’s kinder on your bank balance compared to the Pixel Watch, or Fitbit’s own Sense 2 smartwatch, and makes for a particularly welcome design change. But are you actually getting an inferior smartwatch for paying less?

Design and build

Put the Fitbit Versa 4 side by side with the Versa 3 and it’s really a case of spotting the difference. It’s slightly slimmer, the graphite, platinum and copper rose case color options offer something for both men and women and you can still swap those bands in and out when you switch from gym mode to important meeting mode.

The big difference is the addition of a hardware button on the side. That’s right: physical buttons are making a comeback. Well, one is, following Fitbit’s decision not to bother with them for the previous generation. When you’re primarily pushing and swiping for a touchscreen, this might not sound like a big deal, but buttons are especially handy while you’re working out. Now you can wake up the screen, have a chat with a virtual assistant or jump straight to the training menu.

Other than the button’s return, there isn’t much new to report about the look. It’s not a classic design, but it doesn’t fit in with the smartwatch crowd either. You’re still looking down at a 40.5mm aluminum case with its gently curved corners that’s not too heavy and not too light. Want to take it for a spin? You’re covered there too. It is safe to submerge it in water up to 50 meters deep making it suitable for the pool and the open water.

If you liked the Versa 3 but needed that button in your life, then this is the most appealing aspect of the Versa 4.

Fitbit Versa 4 screen

Square vs. round screen debate aside, the screen you get on the Versa 4 is a good one. It’s surrounded by a little too much bezel for our liking, but the 1.58-inch, 336×336 resolution AMOLED puts out good colors, gets nice and bright, and can be left on 24/7.

Switching to that always-on mode means waving goodbye to nearly a week of battery life, but if you can handle a few days before reaching for the charging cable, then it’s a situation you can live together

AMOLED screens do have a tendency to struggle for visibility in bright outdoor light. Fortunately, this screen gets bright and isn’t a worrisome issue for the Versa 4 when you need to check stats on sunnier days.

Now you have a button to wake that screen, but a gentle double tap on the screen or raising the wrist will also bring it to life. It just doesn’t do it in a very quick way.

Fitbit Versa 4 interface

Fitbit may now be part of the Google family, but for now it’s sticking with its own software smarts. FitbitOS carries influences from Pebble, the original smartwatch giant Fitbit snapped up more than five years ago.

The OS plays nice with Android smartphones and iPhones, and still uses Fitbit’s own user-friendly companion app to set things up. However, when it’s time to swipe and tap through the watch faces, it’s clear that this software has a much more Google WearOS feel.

Fitbit has shifted where you’ll find your phone notification feed, and there’s now a greater emphasis on screen-sized widgets as opposed to many different menu screens. Still, it’s nice and smooth to get around.

What’s not so great is that a number of features found on the Versa 3 have disappeared. The Fitbit Gallery app store is stripped of third-party apps, and there’s no Wi-Fi or music player. Hardly a coincidence, given the recent arrival of the Pixel Watch?

Contactless payments are still on board, although Fitbit Pay doesn’t have the greatest support from UK banks. Google Assistant is also available, but you can chat with Amazon’s Alexa using the on-board microphone. Google Maps is also a particularly useful inclusion.

Fitness and health tracking

Helping you keep a closer eye on whether you’re putting in enough exercise time or getting good quality sleep is very much Fitbit’s thing. While there was a small bump in features, it’s not really enough to drastically change what the Versa 4 does compared to the Versa 3.

The number of training modes has almost doubled. New additions like crossfit, paddle boarding and skiing push the total to more than 40, with Fitbit’s own metrics like Cardio Fitness and Active Zone Minutes letting you know if you’re putting in enough effort.

However, most sports modes only offer basic heart rate and workout duration stats. While it has the tools to be a solid sports watch, issues with locking onto a good GPS signal, unreliable heart rate data from Fitbit’s PurePulse optical sensor make it more for casual fitness people. It certainly doesn’t come close to what a Garmin or Polar sports watch can dish out in terms of accuracy and level of stats.

Fitbit’s power lies in its ability to drive you to get more steps in and monitor that sleep time. You can quickly gauge whether you’re meeting daily goals from the watch and the level and accuracy of sleep statistics is up there with the best you can get on a smartwatch. Sleep scores will quickly tell you how well or badly you sleep and you can also track heart rate and temperature to provide a window into your general well-being.

One thing you’ll have to deal with is that some of the insights the Versa 4 can offer require you to spend a little more money to see them. That’s because they’re locked behind a Fitbit Premium subscription. Want to know if you snored through the built-in microphone? Need some workout inspiration or want to use Fitbit’s daily readiness scores to know when to exercise? You will need Premium for that.

The big things you’re missing from Fitbit’s more expensive Sense 2 smartwatch are the heart health-focused EKG sensor and the EDA sensor, which increases the level of stress monitoring data you can dig into to help you take some time off and to relax. If you can live without those insights and care more about those Fitbit tracking gizmos, then the Versa 4 has your back.

Battery life

Hate the idea of ​​charging a smartwatch as often as you charge your phone? This is not a problem with the Versa 4. It regularly manages more than 6 days of use between recharges. As long as you don’t keep the screen on all the time, it can last more than a week before you need to magnetically clip the charger to its back.

If you need that screen awake 24/7, things take a hit and it’s more like 2-3 days. Fortunately, you have some fast charging support at your disposal. A 12-minute charge gives you a day’s worth of battery, which can easily be done before you head out that door in the morning.

The configuration of the charging cradle has not changed either. It sits securely on the back of the watch case and isn’t one to be easily pushed out of place if you take a more heavy-handed approach to charging and tossing it back onto your bedside table.

Fitbit Versa 4 verdict

It’s not a huge step up from last year, but the Versa 4 is still a good choice for anyone looking for a watch that will track steps and sleep, and then upload that information in a user-friendly way. If you still have a lot of love for Fitbit and want its best new watch now, this is the one to get.

That said, hiding features that turned the Versa into a capable smartwatch is a big step backwards, and leaves question marks about the future of Fitbit’s more affordable wearable option.

Versa 3 owners wondering if they should make the upgrade also just need to decide if a hardware button is that important to them. If not, it’s best to stick with what you have.

Fitbit Versa 4 technical specifications

Screen 1.58 inch, 336×336 AMOLED
Operating system FitbitOS
Battery 6+ days
Connectivity Bluetooth
Durability 5ATM water resistant
Dimensions 40.5 × 40.5 × 12.3mm, 38g

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