Fitbit identified—and maybe even anticipated—this and quickly followed Ionic with the launch of Fitbit Versa, announced today. Versa is intended to be everything Ionic is not: a smartwatch for everyone at any fitness level, and the health and fitness tech brand employed three clear strategies to broaden Versa’s appeal.
Because most people shop with their eyes, the first and most obvious way to make Versa more appealing to more people is with the design. Compared to the Ionic, Versa’s “squircle” screen—while suspiciously similar to another popular smartwatch on the market—is smaller, sleeker, and better suited to be worn all day. The case is made of a thin, lightweight aluminum (it’s so light, we barely remembered we were wearing it during the demo workout) and will be available in three finishes: graphite, platinum, and rose gold.
The next strategy: Put women first—a not-so-common move in tech products. According to Fitbit, 60 percent of smartwatch users are male. So the brand conducted focus groups and analyzed research to create a program for all adult Fitbit users who identify as female.
Along with the Versa, Fitbit is announcing the launch of new female health tracking. This feature allows users to easily record their menstrual cycle and symptoms, see cycle predictions at a glance, and join other women in the community for support around topics such as birth control, conception, pregnancy, menopause, and other topics. Fitbit believes having this information at your fingertips can empower women with knowledge, help them communicate more effectively with their doctors, and benefit (specifically runners) from cycle predictions and symptom tracking when planning out their training schedules.
Aside from female health tracking, you can expect Versa to track all of your basic health and fitness stats such as steps, heart rate, and calories. It also offers advanced features such as GPS tracking, onscreen workouts via the Fitbit Coach app, swim tracking with water resistance up to 50 meters, sleep stage tracking, on-device music including partnerships with Pandora and Deezer, and card-free payments (on the Special Edition) so you can run phone-free when you want.
And it does all this with a battery life of up to four days. The longer you wear Versa and the more information you log into it, the more personalized its communication with you (think: reminders, celebrations, or prompts to take action) becomes over time.
And when it comes to personalization, you can make Versa your own with custom clock faces and a variety of bands such as leather, stainless steel links, sport silicone, and metal mesh. With a price point that undercuts comparable watches on the market at $195.95 and a platform that’s compatible with Apple, Google, and Microsoft, it seems this watch will be more appealing to a wider range of people.
That said, because Apple has a closed ecosystem, notifications and quick replies—an important feature for most smartwatch users—are only available for Android. And despite more than 550 apps, the Fitbit App Gallery is playing catch up there.
Fitbit’s goal with Versa was to “return to [its] roots to make fitness fun and accessible for everyone.” At first look and with price alone, they’ve certainly created a capable, stylish watch at a competitive price point.
For a more in-depth take that examines the best features for runners, stay tuned for our full review coming soon. Versa will be available for presale today on fitbit.com for $195.95, with retail availability starting in April 2018.