​Fitbit Versa 3: GPS and better heart rate dominate smartwatch update

Fitbit's smartwatch gets smarter with Google Assistant
​Fitbit Versa 3 gets GPS and better HR
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Fitbit’s flagship smartwatch may have been usurped by the Fitbit Sense, but the Versa 3 is a significant upgrade.

Adding GPS, Google Assistant and fast charging, the Versa 3 is an all-round better fitness-focused smartwatch, backed up by Fitbit’s brilliant app ecosystem.

The Fitbit Versa 3 will cost £199.99 and will be released in late September.

Here’s everything you need to know.

Fitbit Versa 3 key features

  • 1.58-inch display
  • 336 x 336 pixels
  • 40mm case
  • PurePulse 2.0 heart rate sensor
  • 50m water resistance
  • GPS
  • 6 days battery life
  • 20 exercise modes
  • Sleep tracking
  • Fast charging
  • Google Assistant/Alexa
  • Take calls from the wrist

The new Fitbit Versa 3 pink model

Bigger display

The Fitbit Versa 3 boosts the size of the screen compared to the Versa 2, with a higher resolution.

Like the new Fitbit Sense, it is equipped with a 1.58-inch display with a 336 x 336 pixel resolution. (The display on Versa 2 is 1.39 inches with a 300 x 300 resolution.)

The Versa 3 has a case size of 40.48mm x 40.48mm x 12.35mm. That means it has marginally increased in size over the Versa 2 but the pay off seems well worth the extra screen real estate.

Fitbit Versa 3: GPS

Fitbit has addressed our main complaint and added built-in GPS, which means the accurate tracking of outdoor workouts from the wrist.

Fitbit calls the Versa its “mass appeal” smartwatch, which has historically been a code for leaving off features.

GPS has historically been one such feature left off the Versa, and now it’s the biosensor core which is the big omission in the range. You'll need a Sense for that, with advanced features such as temperature and the EDA stress detection technology.

But there’s plenty going on, under the hood.

Heart rate sensor on the Fitbit Versa 3

Better heart rate

While the Fitbit Sense gets the biosensor core full of new data, the Versa 3 does get some improvements.

It packs in the new PurePulse 2.0 sensor, expands the amount of data points on the wrist, and analyses multiple channels using machine learning for a more detailed look at every heartbeat.

What does that mean exactly? Well, it should be more accurate and reliable and as we opine in every smartwatch review – optical heart rate is far from infallible.

With Fitbit looking at heart and health outcomes, reliability is key.

Whether that translates to better performance during workouts remains to be seen. Optical technology is fairly reliable until you push the sensors with quick rises and falls, so we’re looking forward to testing PurePulse 2.0 to see what it can do.

Fast charging

The Fitbit Versa 3 adds fast charging to its 6 day battery life, and just 12 minutes on the newly designed charging plate will offer a whole extra day’s battery life.

Fast charging has been a feature of new smartwatches, as sleep tracking becomes a must-have feature. Being able to keep the device charged up while you’re getting ready in the morning means you’re less likely to find it out of battery just as you need to head out for a run, or get a night’s rest.

Fitbit Versa 3: GPS and better heart rate dominate smartwatch update

Smarter features

As expected the Versa 3 now offers Google Assistant on the wrist in addition to Alexa.

Previously the Versa 2 only featured Amazon Alexa, but with one eye on the proposed buyout by Google, Assistant is now offered as well.

It remains to be seen which is better, and with no speaker built into the device, it’s a different experience than you’ll find on smart speakers.

We weren’t blown away by the Alexa integrations on the Versa 2, but with Google having a bigger interest in Fitbit, we could see more bespoke development.

And finally, the Versa 3 enables users to take calls from the wrist too.

Fitbit Versa 3: Early verdict

The Fitbit Versa 3 isn’t nearly as exciting a device as the Fitbit Sense, but it’s a neat upgrade which fixes the smartwatch’s main problems. A lack of GPS always held back the Versa 2, and now that problem is solved.

Better heart rate, GPS and a bigger screen is a list of improvements we’ll never complain about. We’ll be testing it to its limits in the coming weeks.