Fitbit Versa

Cool factor 5/5

Usability 5/5

Value for money 4/5

Fitbit launched its Versa smartwatch wearable in SA last week, and it’s one of the best from the company yet, with a confluence of features that should ensure wide appeal.

The look of the hardware is similar to that of the Apple Watch, with rounded corners, a square face and a metal trim. The band is made of comfortable, soft plastic that is almost velvety to the touch.

The watch runs its own operating system, called Fitbit OS 2.0, and you navigate it using a combination of three buttons and touch. Set-up and more granular settings are handled in the app.

It’s compatible with Android and iOS. There is a range of faces you can choose from to personalise the interface.

Fitbit obviously tracks steps as its main metric. A constant heart-rate monitor is incorporated in the Versa, so it will measure beats per minute throughout the day and night, and it uses your resting rate to help advise on heart health.

The heart-rate monitor also makes for better sleep tracking. You’ll see not just the length of time you were asleep and awake, but also indicators of light and deep sleep and REM cycles for more insight into the rest you’re getting — or, for many of us, not getting.

I like the "Today" view, which you get with a quick upward touch from the bottom of the screen, giving you tips and your own statistics for the day. You can activate a coach app for guided workouts, and wear the device while swimming, as it is water resistant up to 50m deep.

You’ll get notifications from Fitbit itself through the watch (such as reminders to move), plus message and call notifications from your paired phone. Five short responses can be preloaded and used for quick replies to messages received through WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, for example.

Loads of third-party apps are available, including Deezer for music streaming. Or you can load songs directly from your computer.

Despite all the functionality and the large, bright screen, you can expect four days’ use from a single charge — but certain energy-draining functions, such as music and coaching, will knock this down a bit.

The Versa will be available in early May, and will set you back R3,199 for the standard version in black, grey or peach. The special edition in lavender and rose gold or charcoal will cost R3,699.

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