On March 7, Fitbit unveiled a few new additions to its family of wearables — the Versa Lite Edition, Inspire, Inspire HR, and Ace 2.
The Versa Lite Edition is a less powerful version of the regular Versa smartwatch that debuted almost a year ago, the Inspire and Inspire HR are budget-friendly trackers designed to replace the aging Alta series, Flex 2, and Zip, and the Ace 2 is a successor to last year's Ace tracker that's meant for kids.
Today, I want to talk specifically about the Versa Lite. Compared to Fitbit's other smartwatches, like the normal Versa and Ionic, it's lacking a lot of smart and fitness features that those devices already offer. Even so, the Versa Lite has a real shot at being one of Fitbit's most popular wearables of 2019.
At first glance, the Versa Lite is identical to the regular Versa, save for the new color options. Upon further inspection, however, you'll start to see what makes this a "lite" version of the smartwatch.
Fitbit was smart with the corners it cut for Versa Lite.
The Versa Lite only has one physical button instead of three, it doesn't track your floors climbed or laps/calories when swimming, and there's no local music storage, on-screen workouts, or built-in Wi-Fi. That may sound like a lot of missing features when you rattle them off one-by-one, but I think Fitbit was really smart about what it wanted to scale back in order to get the price down while still retaining the same great Versa experience we've come to love.
On-screen workouts are nice, but they're far from a necessity and only really useful if you pay up for Fitbit Coach. I could personally care less about not having my floors climbed recorded and only regular swimmers will mourn over the loss of swim tracking. The lack of local music storage is a bummer, but considering everything else the watch does at this price, it's understandable.
And I guess I should mention the price. The Fitbit Versa Lite costs just $160.
That right there is what makes the Versa Lite so enticing.
Compared to the rest of the smartwatch market, the Versa Lite undercuts just about everything. Samsung's new Galaxy Watch Active and the base Fitbit Versa cost $200. The Fossil Sport, Wear OS's best smartwatch right now, costs $275. Heck, the Versa Lite is just $10 more than the Fitbit Charge 3 — a fitness band with less smart features and a much smaller monochrome display.
Making a cheap smartwatch is easy, but making one that people actually want to use is where the real challenge lies. With the Versa Lite, it looks like Fitbit may have found a perfect balance.
Save for those few omissions, everything else about the Versa Lite is the same compared to the Versa — a smartwatch I gave a lot of praise for in my review last March.
Fitbit's not reinventing the wheel with Versa Lite. It's simply removing a few of the more niche features that aren't necessary to the overall experience, adding some excellent colorways, and slashing the price by $40. That's a recipe for success if I've ever heard one, and when people go shopping for smartwatches this year, I think it's a plan that'll prove to be quite beneficial for Fitbit.
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