Fitbit unveils a $200 rival to the Apple Watch

Fitbit unveils a $200 rival to the Apple Watch

The Fitbit Versa will available from April 2018, pre-orders are now open priced at £199.99.

Female health tracking arrives on-device for Fitbit Versa and Fitbit Ionic users, and to all Fitbit app users starting later this spring. USA or Australian pricing has yet to be confirmed, so that may be a bit different when we hear from Fitbit. The rounded corners make it visually similar to an Apple Watch. The watches still don't connect directly to cellular networks either, the flagship new feature on the latest version of the Apple Watch. The overall design, however, is apparently inspired by Apple's designs when it comes to material choices, color options, and finishes.

The watch comes with a silicone band as standard (worth $30/€30), but you can buy a Horween leather band for $50/€60 or a metal or mesh band for $80-$100/€80-€100. There are also two special edition models in graphite, with a charcoal grey band, and rose gold, with a lavender woven band. The watch comes with a vibrant 1,000 nit display plus waterproofing up to 50m, so like the Ionic you'll be able to take this swimming.

The resolution looked good and while there are thick bezels around it the screen seemed responsive in our limited testing time flicking through apps.

Some may find that frustrating, but it's a sensible feature to lose if you want to save a bit of money. Much of this was evident in the Fitbit Ionic, from the Fitbit OS software to the familiar hardware buttons ripped from Pebble's own smartwatches. The $229.95 Special Edition is made special by the inclusion of an NFC chip too for Fitbit Pay functionality. "But we're also going to help people manage more serious health conditions". The sensor has the potential to track blood oxygen levels, which can be applied to monitoring health conditions such as sleep apnoea. It provides real-time heart rate tracking, onscreen workouts, automatic sleep stages tracking, quick replies on Android, wallet-free payments (on Fitbit Versa Special Edition only; this is $30 more expensive), on-device music, and 4+ days of battery life. Fitbit's vice president of product marketing Melanie Chase says the idea is to easily transition kids between their fitness tracker and the adult version, while also helping children feel more mature by using a product that looks and feels grown up. Fitbit's designed the Versa to be comfortable for any wearer, irrespective of wrist size. Many women already use period-tracking apps, but Fitbit is building period-tracking into the Versa, so women can see how their periods affect their sleep and activity.

Fitbit will fold data about your cycle into the watch's Today app. In addition to that, you can even store around 300 songs. The Fitbit Versa also ships with a more traditional black accessory band.

Fitbit is trying to adapt it for those who have Windows Phone or iPhone devices, but the wait may be a little longer for that.

The other bragging point is that the battery purportedly lasts four days or more on a single charge.

Speaking of playing your favorite tunes on your wrist, the Fitbit Versa and Ionic are both getting Deezer global offline streaming... with a subscription and external headphones. The Fitbit Versa is a lower-cost, redesigned version of the $300 Ionic that launched past year ...

Announced by Fitbit today, the Versa is described as an "intuitive" smartwatch for communication and health and fitness.

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