If anything, Fitbit’s Versa series is dependable. Now in its third generation, the Fitbit Versa 3 ranks among the top smartwatches, adding useful software enhancements and aesthetic modifications to position itself as a tough Apple Watch SE competitor and a robust activity tracker.
The Fitbit Versa 3‘s most notable innovation is the addition of on-board GPS. Even if you leave your phone at home, the Versa can now track your location when exercising outdoors. Additionally, a curvier, larger display is a welcome upgrade. What is less appreciated is the $229 price tag, which is higher than the $199 Fitbit Versa 2.
Let’s find out if the Fitbit Versa 3 is worth the extra cash.
At A Glance
- Display: 1.58-inch. 336 x 336-pixel touchscreen
- GPS: Yes
- Heart rate sensor: Yes
- Contactless payment: Fitbit Pay
- Battery life: 6 days/12 hours continuous GPS
- Water resistance: 50 meters
- Voice assistants: Alexa, Google Assistant
Design and Display
The Fitbit Versa 3 retains the squircle design of the previous two Versa models, but with slightly softer edges and the physical button of the Fitbit Versa 2 replaced by an indentation contact area with haptic feedback on the left side. Because I haven’t tested a Fitbit with this design element yet, it took some getting accustomed to, but I eventually preferred it to a button.
Another incremental design update was made to the display of the Versa 3. Its 336 × 336-pixel color touchscreen is a little upgrade over the Versa 2’s 300 x 300-pixel touchscreen. At 1.58 inches, it is also larger than the Versa 2’s 1.39-inch screen which also features the same always-on mode. Users will appreciate the larger screen size, especially when checking your workout progress.
Activity Tracking Features
Because Fitbit’s main goal is activity tracking, it’s not surprising that the Versa 3 is a capable health companion. While it includes all of the features you’ve come to expect from a fitness tracker — heart rate monitoring, blood oxygen (SpO2) monitoring, VO2 max readings, workout tracking, and sleep tracking — it also includes a few surprises.
The Fitbit Sense is the finest Fitbit for $329 because it has FDA-approved ECG monitoring for identifying atrial fibrillation, stress management capabilities, a skin temperature reader, and notifications for high and low heart rates. If any of these are the features you’re looking for to help improve your health, the Sense may be up your alley. However, if you’re looking for something that excels at the fundamentals, the Versa 3 is an excellent choice.
The Versa 3 includes Active Zone Minutes to assist you in staying on track with your exercise goals. Introduced with the Charge 4, Active Zone Minutes tracks the amount of time you spend exercising in the fat-burning, cardio, or peak heart-rate zones. Your goal is to accumulate the recommended 150 Active Zone Minutes each week as advised by the AHA and WHO.
To receive fitness instruction, you can subscribe to Fitbit Premium ($9.99 per month, $79.99 per year), an at-home coaching service that connects effortlessly with your Fitbit Versa 3. Fitbit Premium is also excellent for sophisticated sleep and health metrics.
Similar to activity monitoring, Fitbit’s sleep tracking tools are well-regarded among the top fitness trackers. When I wore the Versa 3 to bed, it tracked how much time I spent sleeping each night, as well as how much time I spent in each sleep stage. It also monitored my blood oxygen saturation as I slept, so that if I experienced any significant variations in SpO2, I could be alerted to underlying breathing problems such as sleep apnea. Fitbit calculates a daily Sleep Score between 0 and 100 using this data.
The Versa 3 is a capable smartwatch, but not spectacular. The Versa 3 also supports Google Assistant, making it the first to support both major voice assistants. One caveat is that only one assistant can be engaged at any given moment.
Nonetheless, the Fitbit Versa 3’s integrated speaker and microphone enable you to answer phone calls from your wrist. However, this feature is only available to Android users right now.
I did enjoy having access to Fitbit Pay, as well as third-party applications for Starbucks, Yelp, Walgreens, and The New York Times, among others. Fitbit’s app catalog is growing, but it continues to lag behind Apple’s watchOS App store.
Fitbit claims that the Versa 3’s battery life is six days, an improvement over the Versa 2’s four to five days. Naturally, turning on the Versa’s always-on display and using GPS will deplete its battery life. Nonetheless, the Versa 3 should last approximately 12 hours when tracking your location actively. This is a significant advantage over the Apple Watch SE, as well as premium smartwatches like the Apple Watch Series 6 and Samsung Galaxy Watch 3.
With the addition of a built-in GPS, active fitness enthusiasts will appreciate the Versa 3 as a significant boost over the Versa and Versa 2.
If you’re content with jogging or biking with your phone’s built-in GPS, there’s no compelling reason to upgrade from the Versa 2. However, like any new fitness watch, it’s an intriguing alternative, especially now that it includes Alexa and Google Assistants, as well as the ability to make phone calls from your wrist.
Where we believe the Versa 3 truly shines is that it is a third less expensive than the top-of-the-line Fitbit Sense, making it an excellent value if your primary focus is on fitness and core smart capabilities rather than a slew of potentially overwhelming – and underutilized – health metrics.