Review: Fitbit Versa (part 1 - overview and hardware)
Back in March (2018), I reported on Fitbit's UWP application for Windows 10 including support for the new 'Versa' smartwatch. Fitbit is one of the few accessory companies still believing in Windows 10 Mobile as a viable concern and their full range of trackers and smartwatches are supported by their UWP application. And the Versa is almost the perfect smartwatch, borne of five years of iteration (including the Pebble tech, which Fitbit acquired). Here are my first impressions of the hardware and of getting hooked up.
In addition to sticking with all three mobile platforms, including Windows, you also have to hand it to Fitbit for their hardware and presentation (I'll come to their software in due course). The Versa arrives cleanly packaged, with its charging dock and two sizes of strap:
The strap thing is interesting - rather than make two different sizes of smartwatch (as Apple does), Fitbit simply supplies two different strap lengths. The smaller is fitted by default, but is too limiting for my average man-wrists, so I had to wrestle with the fiddly bobble-pin removal and re-attachment, to fit the longer strap. It took five minutes, but hey, it's a one-time thing and it's done now.
You can see the little bobbles (slide them inwards to release the strap pins) in the photo below, along with the optical and electrical sensors on the Versa's underbelly and the charging pins:
The Versa is incredibly light in the hand/on the wrist, at only 39g. The rounded corners and bevelled contours do a good job in terms of comfort and my only concern is the usual irritation of a watch strap on skin, something endemic to all watches and something that has to be allowed for if you want the functionality in the first place.
I had gone for the all-black Versa, on the grounds that it 'goes with everything', but you can get a variety of colours and a variety of strap materials, so do shop around if you fancy something less 'boring'!
The Versa is effectively always 'on', so there's no power button. When you take the Versa out from the box it's already pulsing 'download the Fitbit app' in about a dozen languages!
Now it's at this point that Windows phone users start to worry, since 'download the app' is normally code for 'you need an iPhone or Android phone', but not in this case. The Fitbit UWP application has been something of a star in the Windows world. Not for its speed - it uses middleware and so is definitely a little tardy to start and navigate - but for its mere existence in 2018. And, with only a few exceptions, everything that I looked for worked. Solving a few initial issues, I looked up the solutions online for the Fitbit application (e.g. for iPhone) and then there, in the UWP app for Windows, was the exact same function or setting.
In short, I was pleasantly surprised.
Don't get too hung up on some of the limitations or errors mentioned - on the whole I've really been enjoying the extra fitness dimension that the Versa adds to Windows 10 Mobile. With the UWP app still being updated each month and with the Versa itself on a similar firmware update cycle, things can only (hopefully) get better.
Over the next week I'm going to be putting the Versa and the Windows 10 Mobile application through their paces, for a full review in due course. If you have any questions about the Versa in this environment then fire away - I'm at your disposal.
Reviewed by Steve Litchfield at