Home » Fitbit Versa 4 in the test: is it worth buying?

Fitbit Versa 4 in the test: is it worth buying?

by admin

PR / Business Insider

The Fitbit Versa 4 is the latest generation of the popular smartwatch, but it doesn’t live up to expectations.

It doesn’t support third-party apps, can’t save or play music, and has activity tracking issues.

Other watches in the Fitbit range, like the Sense 2*, as well as the Google Pixel Watch*, are far better options.

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You might think the Fitbit Versa 4 is an upgrade over its predecessor, but it’s actually a disappointment. Although one expects further development compared to the Versa 3 because of the name, the wearable has hardly gotten any better and can hardly keep up compared to other offers.

Buy Fitbit Versa 3 and 4

This means that the Versa 4 has a difficult time in the Fitbit range, even if it certainly has its appeal. The wearable has the same lightweight, minimalist design as previous Versas, plus a variety of activities that can be tracked, nearly a week’s battery life, and an updated version of Fitbit’s stress management tools.

Rick Stella/Insider

But even those positives can’t make up for the Versa 4’s main gripe: Much of what the watch can do is inherited directly from the Versa 3. And while the Versa 3 is one of the best Fitbits money can buy, the fact that the fourth generation does little to advance the line is disappointing. What’s more, the Versa 4 omits key features that made the Versa 3 so successful — including support for third-party apps and built-in music playback.

Because of this stagnant innovation, it’s also hard to say who exactly will benefit the most from wearing such a device. Versa 3 owners don’t benefit from an upgrade, and it would be hard to convince a fan of an Apple or Garmin watch to switch to a new ecosystem for such boring features.

To fully test the Versa 4, we used it as our everyday watch for almost a month. While we found it to be a well-designed activity tracker, its shortcomings were too often apparent.

which is going well:

  • Comfortable, unobtrusive design
  • Extensive range of fitness and activity measurements
  • Enduring battery

What needs to be improved:

  • No storage for music
  • No third-party app support
  • Some tracking/accuracy issues

Known design

Rick Stella/Insider

The design of the Fitbit Versa 4 is nearly identical to previous Versa models, featuring a square face with rounded edges. Overall, the wearable has a thin, light design that looks and feels minimalist. We noticed this especially during training (or rather, we didn’t notice it), because we hardly felt like we were wearing a watch.

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Both the display and the text on the display were easy to read and navigate, whether jogging on the treadmill, riding a bike, or sitting at work. It has the same 1.58-inch AMOLED display as the Versa 3 and the same resolution too.

The screen is navigated using the same touchscreen controls as before: a swipe up brings up all notifications, while a swipe down gives access to features like brightness control or the Do Not Disturb feature. Swipe left or right to scroll through the Versa 4’s standard features, including daily steps, heart rate, stress levels, and more. The user interface is very intuitive and easy to learn for new users.

The watch also features a side button that can be used in addition to the touchscreen controls. Double-pressing the button brings up the Amazon Alexa voice assistant, and holding the button brings up some of your key daily stats, like distance traveled or calories burned. A single press of the button brings up the app screen.

The strap is very light and comfortable, and it hasn’t chafed the wrist even during strenuous workouts. Fitbit includes both a small/medium and large/extra large strap with the watch, so finding the perfect fit was easy.

The fitness tracking misses its target

Rick Stella/Insider

Fitbit’s main selling point is fitness tracking, so you’d think the company has perfected the quality of its trackers. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case with the Versa 4, and a few weaknesses became apparent during our testing.

Inaccuracies were most common with the built-in GPS, which seemed to take forever to sync. Even if realistically it was only a few minutes, the wait is considerable when you’re about to start a run or bike ride.

When the Versa 4 wasn’t synced to the GPS, it often provided wildly different distance measurements that were sometimes grossly off the mark. This is particularly annoying when jogging, for example if you want to prepare for a marathon or set your own personal record.

Rick Stella/Insider

The automatic training recording function was also rather cumbersome to use. Often we weren’t made aware that the watch was actually recording in real time, but when you later opened the Fitbit app, it had tracked a workout. That was fine as it recorded relevant activity, but it calls into question the overall accuracy as we weren’t able to interact with the training session while actually exercising.

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Big flaw: No more third-party apps

As a smartwatch, the Versa 4 makes a good impression. But the more you use it, the less impressive it looks. Yes, it has many of the same apps as the Versa 3, but many are also missing. And why? Because Fitbit has completely dropped support for third-party apps.

For example, one cannot download Spotify for music playback. And since the watch doesn’t store music, you don’t have access to music of any kind either, which is a shame for a watch we’ve used a lot for long runs or bike rides.

What’s left is a simple assortment of Fitbit-specific features. It’s just a collection of standard features that have become standard even in wearables that aren’t considered smart.

Rick Stella/Insider

The Versa 4 can track and measure:

  • steps
  • Calories burned
  • GPS and distance traveled
  • Sleep
  • Heart rate and variability monitoring
  • blood oxygen
  • Recording and tracking of the menstrual cycle
  • More than 40 compatible exercises

The Versa 4 offers standard smartwatch features like the ability to receive call, text, and email notifications. It supports Amazon Alexa but not Google Assistant, which is an odd decision considering Fitbit is now owned by Google. Alexa can be used to start workouts, set reminders, or get text messages. This all works perfectly, but the watch must be connected to the smartphone.

Two of the more interesting uses of the Versa 4 are the Daily Readiness Score and Cardio Fitness Score – two metrics that provide insight into your overall well-being and fitness. The Daily Readiness Score, only available through Fitbit’s premium membership, gives you an insight into how well your body is recovering from the previous day’s activity. From this you can derive how hard you can exert yourself during training or whether you should rather take it easy.

The Cardio Fitness Score is similar. It shows how efficient your body is during training. This is done via the VO2 Max value, which indicates how well your body uses oxygen during training. Even for occasional athletes, these two measured values ​​are useful because they can motivate.

Practical sleeping features

The Versa 4 also offers detailed sleep tracking, which not only tells you how long you fall into REM or deep sleep each night, but also evaluates the quality of your sleep using a daily sleep score. Other features, such as creating a sleep profile and getting feedback, are only accessible through Fitbit Premium and the Fitbit app.

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Excellent battery

Rick Stella/Insider

Perhaps the best feature of the Versa 4 is its battery life. We found that the watch almost always got the six full days it advertised on paper, even after using most of the core apps and tracking activity. While we did notice a slight drop in battery life when running the GPS several times a week, it wasn’t significant.

Another feature of the battery that we really appreciated was the ability to charge the device for a full day in just 12 minutes. This was ideal for days when we knew we wouldn’t be near an outlet for hours and didn’t want to leave the house with less than 15 percent battery charge.

Buy a Fitbit Versa 4 – or rather not?

Rick Stella/Insider

While testing the Versa 4, we were torn and struggled to figure out who it’s best for. We kept wondering if it offered enough to justify its price.

The current retail price of 199.95 euros is not exactly attractive for a wearable that is almost a copy of the previous generation. Die-hard Fitbit fans who don’t yet own a Versa 3 could still be happy about it. If you use the Versa 3, on the other hand, you already have a wearable that can do everything and more.

This article is a translation. The English-language original by Mattie Schuler from “Insider” can be found here: “Fitbit Versa 4 review: A step back for Fitbit’s midrange smartwatch”

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