Toned down for toning down

 

Toned down for toning down

Fitbit's Versa Lite tries to keep you fit - with less

By Alvin R Cabral

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Published: Fri 14 Jun 2019, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Fri 14 Jun 2019, 2:00 AM

Less than a year ago, Fitbit came up with the Versa, a colourful addition to its never-ending line of fitness trackers/ smart watches. Keeping in check with lighter - and more budget-friendly - versions of gizmos, how about a toned-down version of it?
Aptly named the Versa Lite, Fitbit decided to shave off some stuff. But don't worry, just because it's a toned-down version doesn't mean it's also short on features. All the core ones from last year's Versa are still here, including automatic activity tracking, sleep tracking and, of course, 24x7 heart rate monitoring.
Fitbit touts this as its most-
affordable smartwatch - and it's also the lightest; it's not exactly a you-feel-it's-not-there type of thing, but it is indeed light enough to merit that tag.
The Versa Lite still has the same physique as its bigger brother (or sister; female health tracking has also been retained here), coming with an identical 300x300, 1.34-inch full-colour LCD screen that is bright, but not as much as other top-tier brands out in the wild.
Noticeably, there's only one button on the Versa Lite, and it's to the left; gone are those two on the right on the Versa (and its NFC-equipped special edition). The lone-ranger button is the way you can wake up the device and start messing around with the menus.
Since this is the lesser version of the Versa, we shall cut to the chase and tell you exactly what you don't get with it: floors climbed, swim lap tracking, on-screen workouts, contactless payments and storing/playing music are nowhere to be found on the Versa Lite. The penultimate one also means you won't be able to use Fitbit Pay. Certain bands also aren't available for it. Oh, and digging through the technicalities, you'll notice it also doesn't have a gyroscope and altimeter.
With that said, you will think twice before buying this, because of the number of somewhat key things lacking. You can live without NFC or swim tracking - but music?
The other reason is pricing. While indeed it is Fitbit's most affordable watch, it really isn't a dive down the price cliff: for (only) Dh100 more, you get the full-fledged Versa; another payout of the same amount will get you the NFC version. So, there.
Where the Versa Lite - and practically all Fitbits - clocks in very well is on battery life. Just like the Versa, it promises up to over four days of life - which pretty much lives up to its billing.
Going to the interface, you'll still be, well, faced with a simple one that's not as stacked as those seen on Android's Wear OS or Apple's watchOS. Navigating through apps is pretty straightforward, though you will end up scrolling one icon at a time to find what you want within an app. Time-consuming? Not necessarily. One can argue it's merely a matter of getting used to the device.
You'll still get notifications from your smartphone, but don't expect to do anything else beyond reading them. If you're using an Android device though, there are some quick-reply options - but even those are limited.

AND SO.
The Versa did well, so did the Ionic before it, Fitbit's first-ever actual smart watch. The Fitbit Versa Lite is a good and solid option for first-timers who want to have a highly-advanced timepiece on their wrists for the first time without shelling out a lot. However, the lack of GPS (still), NFC and, most of all, music streaming is frustrating. As we've mentioned earlier, a couple of  hundred bucks more and you could get yourself the complete experience. So, your call.

THE LOWDOWN
Display: 1.34" LCD, 1,000 nits, Corning Gorilla Glass 3
Build: Anodised aluminium body
Sensors: Accelerometer, optical heart rate monitor, ambient light, pulse oximetry
Battery: Up to over 4 days
Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.0
Durability: Swim-proof up to 50m
Price: Dh799
Pros: Even more affordable; still great battery; very good fitness features
Cons: No GPS/NFC; no music streaming/storage; no quick replies for iOS
Author's rating: 3.5/5
alvin@khaleejtimes.com



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