Fitbit has launched a huge update to its hardware platform, with an overhaul of its wearable line up.
The company announced a new Fitbit Versa 4 flagship smartwatch, an upgraded Sense 2 health watch, and an overhauled version of its Inspire 3 fitness tracker.
Fitbit has been under Google’s wing for a couple of years now, and all eyes have been on the effect this could have on its smartwatch hardware. The answer? Not a lot yet. There’s no sign of Wear OS landing on its smartwatches, although the experience is becoming more Google-centric.
We spoke to Fitbit directly to get the inside track on their newest devices – here’s everything you need to know.
- Thinner, lighter design
- Google Maps and Wallet
- 6 day battery life
Most of the refinements of the Versa 4 are physical. It’s thinner and lighter than its predecessor, and retains an aluminium case and six day battery life.
Fitbit has also added a tactile button to the case, which makes the watch easier to use, especially with sweaty hands. The haptic button on the Versa 3/Sense was almost universally loathed.
Under the hood there are modest improvements.
The Versa 4 will feature a revamped Fitbit OS, with Google Wallet and Google Maps – and the latter will offer turn-by-turn directions.
This is the biggest sign that Fitbit is under new ownership. That means that users can choose between Fitbit Pay and Google Pay – which is great news.
However, the Wallet app hasn’t been expanded to include airline boarding passes, tickets or vaccine passports, which feels like a missed opportunity. These apps are also “coming soon” and won’t be running at launch.
The amount of sport modes has been boosted to 40 – including weightlifting, CrossFit, HIIT and dance – but none of these seem have specific/exclusive metrics attached beyond time/heart rate/Active Zone Minutes/calories.
Fitbit has also added Sleep Profile watch faces, which links to the new sleep animal feature brought in a couple of months ago.
- 10% thinner/15% lighter
- Continuous EDA sensor
- Advanced stress detection
Next up is the Sense 2. It’s still a souped-up health version of the Versa 4, so the design improvements and OS extras all apply here too.
Fitbit says that it’s 10% thinner and 15% lighter than the original Sense – so it should be more comfortable to wear.
The biggest addition to the Sense 2 is the all-new Body Response Sensor, which builds on the stress-tracking features of the original.
While the Sense brought an electrodermal activity sensor (EDA) that measures skin perspiration responses and signs of stress – the Sense 2 does this continuously.
The cEDA (continuous electrodermal activity) sensor is usually found on research devices, and is the first of its kind on a wearable.
It’s used in conjunction with the heart rate sensor (tracking bpm and HRV) to flag when you might be experiencing stressful moments, which you’re then invited to tag with a bunch of feelings. Wearables still can’t differentiate between stress and excitement, so they generally require user input.
The idea is to make Sense 2 more reactive to moments of stress – and let’s face it, the EDA scan on Sense offered very little meaningful data.
After tagging stress, you can then opt to try Fitbit’s guided breathing, EDA Scan, mindfulness content, or just take a moment for yourself.
It will be interesting to see how this is implemented into the app. Fitbit says it will track the number of stress events, and daily stress minutes, in an effort to quantify your mental health. And there’s still the Stress Score aspect, too.
We’re slightly worried this could end up being another nagging interruption from a wearable – just like stand notifications that chime when you’re on a work deadline. When we’re stressed do we need our smartwatch to prompt us to self-report that moment. If it’s useful the answer to that question could be ‘yes.’
Read our full Fitbit Sense 2 review.
Fitbit Inspire 3
- New color display
- SpO2 sensor
Last up is quite a major overhaul of the Inspire 3. This is Fitbit’s entry-level, lowest-cost device – and it raises the bar.
First up, the Inspire 3 gets a full-color display for the first time – bringing it in line with the rest of the company’s devices.
SpO2 also makes its debut on the Inspire 3 for the first time, which is now ubiquitous across the whole range.
There’s 10-day battery life, which is impressive given the big boost in screen tech and the demands of an SpO2 sensor. Many rivals that offer long battery life have SpO2 tracking off by default – so Fitbit does lead here.
And you get access to all the features that make Fitbit a great platform, from Active Zone Minutes, top sleep tracking, and the new sleep profiles – the Inspire 3 is extraordinarily complete. And it still comes with a clip-on option too.
Read our Fitbit Inspire 3 review.
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