Fitbit Versa 3 review: A happy medium of health features and fitness tracking

Like

  • Up to six days’ battery life
  • Bright, always-on AMOLED display
  • Advanced sleep tracking
  • Onboard GPS
  • Mic and speaker for text dictation

Don’t Like

  • Relies heavily on mobile app
  • Slow to sync
  • Health metrics are hard to find
  • Notification replies are Android-only

The Fitbit Versa 3 is Fitbit’s best smartwatch for most people. With an always-on display, built-in GPS, blood oxygen and temperature tracking during sleep, and a battery that lasts six days, the Versa 3 holds its own against some of its pricier competitors like the Apple Watch SE and even the Fitbit Sense. While you don’t get the stress tracker and FDA-cleared electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) like the Sense, the rest of the Versa 3’s smartwatch and fitness features are similar. As an added bonus, the Versa 3 costs $100 less than the Sense.

Better design all-around 

The Versa 3 still has the same square-ish watch body and metal frame as its predecessor the Versa 2, but it now has a larger 1.58-inch AMOLED screen with slimmer bezels. It’s bright, crisp and easy to see in direct sunlight. It can stay always-on (as a toned-down version with fewer metrics displayed) to give you a quick glance at the time without moving your wrist. And since Fitbit supports third-party watch faces, you have hundreds of different options to choose from. 

Despite its aesthetic improvements, the touchscreen and Fitbit interface still aren’t as responsive as what you’d get on an Apple Watch or Galaxy Watch, which also have AMOLED screens. The Versa 3 lags a bit between swipes and takes a while to load apps and display information.

Instead of a physical button on the side of the watch like its predecessors, the Versa 3 now has an indented haptic side button. In theory, this works exactly like a real button, but the haptic feedback is nowhere near as satisfying as pressing a real button and it takes some getting used to. 

Fortunately, not all the design changes have a learning curve. Fitbit has also overhauled the strap mechanism on the Versa 3 and now all you have to do to swap out bands is press a button. It’s so much easier than previous models, which had a tiny, fiddly clasp.

fitbit-versa-3-perforated-charcoal-leather-crop-center-v2

Fitbit

Better training tools for fitness tracking

At this point it’s safe to assume most Fitbit devices can handle your basic fitness-tracking needs, measuring steps, distance, calories burned and heart rate. The Versa 3 covers the basics well and has the same fitness features as the more expensive Sense. It tracks 20 different activities including indoor and outdoor swimming and has automatic workout detection for some exercise types like running if you forget to start a session. 

It’s also the first Versa smartwatch to have built-in GPS, although not the first Fitbit, as the Charge 4 and Sense also have built-in GPS. As a runner, not having GPS on earlier Versa models

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