Fitbit has released a second-generation Versa 2 hybrid fitness tracker-smartwatch with new features that will keep its users happy and justify its price increase. The device is regarded as one of the best wearables in its category.

A major improvement is battery life. Fitbit claims the battery will last over six days. But this varies depending on personal use, and I managed to get seven days on a single charge, with the optional always-on display turned off.

It also has a brighter OLED screen, with minor design tweaks such as a slightly rounded screen edge instead of a flat one.

The bigger change is a new single button on the left of the watch that replaces two buttons on the right.

The Versa 2 has a built-in microphone that supports integration with Amazon Alexa, so you can ask the watch to set timers, start workouts, perform smart controls — if you have an Echo product already set up — and reply to texts on Android.

Other issues supported are: you can ask the watch about the weather forecast for the day, conduct web searches or find out who won a local sports match.

I found it useful to set reminders for myself throughout the day and to do simple things like control the lights in my house.

Alexa’s features are limited in SA as it is not "officially" available in the country.

The downside to using Alexa is that the Fitbit app needs to be opened on a paired smartphone; it doesn’t work independently like Siri would on an Apple Watch. It is a nice touch, regardless.

As a fitness tracker, the Versa continues to do what it does best. This includes swim tracking (in water pressure of up to 50m) and having a personal trainer on your wrist with the Coach app for quick workouts. Other supported apps are Fitbit Pay, which works with FNB — a feature I can’t live without — and Spotify, which acts as a playback control for your smartphone.

Overall, the updated Versa 2 is a worthy upgrade, with noticeable changes that make the experience better than before.

It is priced at R3,999.

Fitbit Versa 2
Cool factor **** /5
Usability **** /5
Value for money ***** /5