Fitbit Versa Review – For Athletes of All Sports

versa review

At a Glance: Quick Ratings

Heart Rate Functions


Fitness / Sport Features


Ease of Use


Battery Life


Where To Get It

A Deep Dive Into Fitbit Versa

A stylish and functional smartwatch from Fitbit for athletes of all sports. The Fitbit Versa is super versatile with pre-programmed sports profiles for 15 different disciplines. Featuring off the wrist heart rate sensor and connected GPS the Fitbit Versa is great for exercisers looking to track effort and distance. The Fitbit Versa has been reviewed by CardioCritic

  • Who Is It For?

  • Video Review

  • Pros

  • Cons

Like the Fitbit Blaze before it – the new Versa is for those interested in keeping fit with training feedback and exercise guidance coming from the watch. Essentially it is a health & fitness smartwatch with a 4+ day battery featuring 24/7 heart rate, phone-free music, apps, coaching and more. HOWEVER – what’s it’s missing is it’s own built-in GPS. For those who want accurate speed and distance feedback the Versa must be connected to the GPS of your smartphone.

Main Features and Functions

Fitbit Pay

As it stands – if you want Fitbit contactless Payment functions then you need to buy one of the Special Edition Versa models. Currently there are TWO such models that offer (subject to country specific implementation) Fitbit Pay – both models as shown below… If you think you might want Fitbit Pay buy one of these models now – you cannot upgrade the regular version.

Note – according to the Fitbit press release ALL models of Fitbit Versa sold in APAC and EMEA have Fitbit Pay functionality via the NFC chip. Please check when buying your Versa whether or not it comes Fitbit Pay ready

15 Fitbit Versa Exercise Modes

  • The Versa’s exercise modes have been tailored to show the most relevant data fields for each different sport. There are 15 x exercise modes to choose from. The full list is as follows:
  • Run
  • Bike
  • Swim
  • Weights
  • Interval Workout
  • Workout
  • Spinning
  • Golf
  • Hike
  • Tennis
  • Stairclimber
  • Pilates
  • Circuit Training
  • Bootcamp
  • Yoga
  • Elliptical
  • Walk
  • Martial Arts
  • Kickboxing

Fitbit Coach – workouts on your wrist

Not too sure what exercises to do … or  how many … or even how to do a specific exercise. The Fitbit Coach (used to be called Fitstar) provides personalised on-screen workouts that play on your wrist. Your Fitbit Versa will coach you through each move – it even adapts future sessions based on your feedback.

Heart Rate directly from the Wrist

Fitbit first introduced optical Heart Rate Monitors in the Fitbit Surge. As with any other quality optical LED Heart Rate sensor you can expect an accuracy of around 95%. For a vast majority of the time the Versa will give accurate heart rate readings that would reflect those of a chest strap sensor. If the heart rate appears erratic or erroneous then try moving the watch slightly further up the wrist away from the boney knuckle of the wrist. Having heart rate measured all day, every day gives a more accurate representation of daily calories burnt. During exercise – monitoring heart rate ensures a high quality workout – exercising the body’s system that you want to train most eg. Aerobic, Anaerobic, Fat Burning etc. The Fitbit Versa also provides a Cardio Fitness level so you can track your fitness progression.

App Features

Support from the Fitbit App

Fitbit Versa Sizing Chart

Top Alternatives

Next Model UP

The next model up from the Versa is the Fitbit Ionic. Aside from the obvious design differences the Ionic has the built-in GPS giving true freedom from your phone when out running & riding. If the GPS function isn’t off major importance to you – get the Versa and treat yourself to some new running shoes with the $100 you’ll save.

Next Model DOWN

Dropping down from the Versa is the Fitbit Charge 2. The differences between these two models is far clearer. The Charge 2 is NOT water resistance – you can Swim in the Versa.  

No apps, no contactless payments, no music controls, no on-board music store & no female health app. The Charge 2 will appeal to the user looking for a less watch like and more “fitness band” styled activity tracker.

Personally – I’d get the Versa over the Charge 2 mainly because of the clearer, all colour display. The OLED of the Charge 2 is hard to view in bright sunlight.

Alternative Models

If you have been drawn to the Versa by the On-Screen Workouts then it’s probably best you stick with the Versa. Garmin and others do have exercise guidance apps but none I have tested are as good as the Fitbit Workouts. However, if your main priority is a fitness tracker with the following key features then there are alternatives

  • Built-in GPS (not found on Versa)
  • Internal Music Store
  • Off the wrist Heart Rate
  • App support to add personalized functionality
  • Contactless Payments
  • More technically focused sports features

If this resembles your shortlist of essential requirements then please take a look at the Garmin Forerunner 645 Music and the Garmin Vivoactive 3 (also available as a Music version).

Andrew Wyatt

Andrew Wyatt

Andrew Wyatt has been a tech geek for as long as he can remember. Whether it's laptops, cameras, or projects, he's obsessed with it all. When he's not researching the latest tech products, he likes to go on long hikes with his dogs.

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