Fitbit Versa 3 – Review: The third gen Versa finally arrives in India with some key enhancements
Only a Fitbit diehard will truly appreciate the charger of the brand’s newest wearable to arrive in India. You’d hardly expect to read about a charger in the first few lines of a gadget review but if you’ve followed Fitbit’s smartwatch journey as closely as I have, this charger is synonymous with the improvements Fitbit has made with the Versa 3. Fitbit’s much awaited Versa 3 and Sense have taken forever to arrive in India; almost too long. We’ll save the Fitbit Sense for another day and another deep-dive review.
The Versa 3 has our attention for now, it’s also likely to be the more popular of the two new Fitbit siblings. Not just because of a slightly more affordable price point but also because it has the key features that most folks need. We checked out the Fitbit Versa 2 for MW back in November 2019. A lot has changed in the smartwatch space in India since then. Brands like Amazfit have cornered a significant chunk of the pie while features like SpO2 tracking have almost become par for the course.
If design is your thing, you’re likely to gravitate towards the new Versa 3. The squircle (Fitbit loves this word) shaped display that we saw on the Versa 2 gets even more curvier while the display gets slightly bigger and brighter. It’s now a 1.58-inch display (336 x 336 pixels) that’s not just more vibrant but is also more responsive than its predecessor.
The physical button on the left spine (of the Versa 2) has now been replaced with an indented haptic side button. While that adds to the design aesthetic, it’s not always as responsive as the physical button on the Versa 2. The other big relief is the new design for the strap and grooves. It’s much easier to swap straps, although this new design means you can’t use your old Versa or Versa 2 straps with this watch. Fitbit has upped its fashion game with a range of elegant custom-designed straps (sold separately) from trendy designers like Victor Glemaud and iconic American brands like Horween.
The Versa 3 is loaded with wellness features. No surprises here, we do expect the Versa 3 to ace Fitbit things like calorie and step tracking, sleep tracking (one of Fitbit’s key strengths) and SpO2 tracking. There are more fitness modes while the other feature that will comfort Fitbit users is onboard GPS. It felt good to leave my phone behind while I used the Versa 3 to track my morning cycling trail. While SpO2 is baked in, it’s not available on demand. You must install SpO2 and a SpO2 friendly watch face before the Versa 3 can track your SpO2 readings in your sleep (it can only do this when you’re on sleep mode). That’s a lot of work for a feature that most smartwatches above Rs 10,000 have on demand now. But those smartwatches don’t have Fitbit’s mature app.
The Fitbit companion App is not just easy on the eye but packs a lot of information and offers a few smartphone apps as well as tonnes of watch faces. I only wish Fitbit would make it easier to do more stuff from your wrist instead of directing you to the App more often than not. The Versa 3 offers more controls on your wrist than its predecessors though. You can fire up your digital assistant (I tried it with Amazon Alexa; it also works with Google Assistant) and get voice responses (the speaker volume is manageable), you can control Spotify and answer calls on speaker mode from your wrist. I paired this with an iPhone 12 Pro, Android users can also respond to text messages from the watch.
The Versa 3 is a step up from its predecessor. Battery life is solid (I managed about 2 days with the always-on display, you can stretch it to 5-6 days without this feature) and it charges in quick time (about 40 minutes for a full charge). It feels good on your wrist, the display is gorgeous while the fitness features and in-built GPS should please buyers with active lifestyles. It’s one of the best smartwatches you can buy for under Rs 20,000 right now.
The Fitbit Versa 3 costs Rs 18,999 and comes in both black aluminium and soft gold aluminium case options with a choice of strap colours.