Versa-tility, times two


Versa-tility, times two

Fitbit's Versa 2 returns with the same good stuff, and then some

By Alvin R Cabral

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Published: Fri 11 Oct 2019, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Fri 11 Oct 2019, 2:00 AM

Fitbit's strategy has always revolved around not going over the top; it's this simplicity that has earned it a massive following. And, as a follow-up to last year's sleek Versa, the company has its successor, the Versa 2, to carry that on.
The Versa 2 has, more or less, the same design as the original. It retains the 'squircle' design and has a more polished finish that makes it more appealing. Its screen remains 1.34 inches and has up to 1,000 nits of brightness. The 'fitbit' branding has also been eliminated, so you get slimmer bezels and, as a result, a fuller experience.
The biggest change, however, is that it now sports an Amoled screen compared to the Versa's LCD. That makes it even brighter, a bit too bright indoors; you may have to tone down this level in those situations, which will save you more battery life.
The Versa 2's pegged life is up at five days, one more than its predecessor and at par with the Ionic. This will, of course, depend on how you use it: I managed to do so over five days. With regular use, I'm quite sure it'll be able to cross that six-day mark even (if you limit its use further and keep the brightness setting at its lowest). Another new feature on the Versa 2 that's great but can greatly affect its battery: always-on display. When I enabled this, I discovered that juice was sapped down to three days. It's really a choice of convenience or longer life.
Fitbit has also trimmed down on the buttons, leaving just one on the left side (last year's Versa had two on the left and one on the right), which functions as back and select. That's a great minimalistic design, which compels you to do the rest of your navigation on-screen.
All the good fitness stuff are packed in the Versa 2, from 24/7 heart monitoring to auto-recording of workouts and personalised reminders to female cycle tracking. Navigating through the interface is also easy, especially if you've been a Fitbit user.
One thing that may turn off some users: The Versa 2, again, doesn't have GPS. Ergo, if you want the location features while out, you need to have your phone on you. I was hoping this year Versa would get GPS; here's to hoping again next year?
Fitbit Pay is also built-in; as we write, only two banks in the UAE are integrated into the service - Emirates NBD and RakBank. Yes, NFC is now available on the base model, unlike last year when you had to pony up more cash to enjoy this. This year's special-edition model has a fancier band and different colours; I can live without those. Amazon's Alexa is now also built-in on the Versa 2.
And for those who adore music while working out, Spotify is at your service. However, it doesn't work offline and really just acts as a remote control for the app on your smartphone. At least there's 2.5GB of storage on it, in which you can load your favourite tracks.

It's really a simple machine on your wrist, but that's its advantage: The Fitbit Versa 2 brings you all the good stuff at a competitive price - especially now that you don't need to pay Dh100 more for an NFC-enabled special edition.

Display: 1.34" Amoled, 1,000 nits, Corning Gorilla Glass 3
Sensors: Optical heart rate, 3-axis accelerometer, altimeter, vibration motor, SpO2
Battery: Up to over 6d
Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.0, NFC (Fitbit Pay), Wi-Fi
Durability: Swim-proof up to 50m
Price: Dh899 (Dh999 for special edition)
Pros: Same good price; well-rounded fitness tracking; Fitbit Pay now in base model; great battery life
Cons: Still no GPS; still no offline Spotify
Author's Rating: 4/5

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