Fitbit Versa v Fitbit Versa Lite: How the two smartwatches compare

These are the differences between the two Versa models

Fitbit's Versa was a big win for the company, bringing it success after the lacklustre performance of the Ionic. Naturally, the company wants to get the Versa into more hands, which is why it's now launching the Fitbit Versa Lite Edition.

The Lite is a more affordable version of the Versa with a few changes. For you, that makes choosing a Fitbit a little more difficult. If you decide on a Versa, one do you go with?

Wareable verdict: Fitbit Versa review | Fitbit Versa Lite Edition review

To help you make sense of it all, we're putting the two up against each other in a good old-fashioned Fitbit face-off.

Fitbit Versa v Fitbit Versa Lite: Design

Fitbit Versa v Fitbit Versa Lite: A tale of two price tags

You can certainly look at the Versa and Versa Lite and believe these are identical watches, and for the most part they are. They eschew the hard lines of the Ionic and move toward a more curvy, Apple Watch-y square.

There are differences though. The main one is that the Versa has three physical buttons, one on the left and two on the right. The Versa Lite only has one, placed on the left side. The single left button on both the Versa and Versa Lite is used to wake the display, access the quick settings screen and the music controls.

The two extra buttons on the regular Versa are shortcuts to your favourite apps. While they're a handy way of starting an exercise or opening your go-to app, we haven't found the omission on the Lite to be too much of a problem. It does mean using the touchscreen more, though.

The other difference is in the colours on offer. The Lite comes with bolder colours: white, lilac, marina blue and mulberry. The regular comes in black, peach and grey. Otherwise, the two devices are the same.

You're still getting a 300 x 300 resolution display with 1,000 nits brightness. You're still getting an aluminum body that's waterproof up to 50 metres. And you're still getting the optical heart rate and SpO2 sensors.

If you want a more simplified smartwatch experience with more fun colours, the Versa Lite is the better option. The single button keeps things simpler, and its colours look good, but if you want more versatility the Versa is where it's at.

Fitbit Versa v Fitbit Versa Lite: Features

Fitbit Versa v Fitbit Versa Lite: A tale of two price tags

Fitbit has culled a number of features to make the Versa Lite Edition more affordable, and this is where you'll see the biggest differences between the two.

However, you're still getting four days of battery life, step tracking, workouts, sleep tracking, female health tracking and access to Fitbit's store of apps and watch faces.

What you aren't getting, however, is storage for music. The regular Versa has enough space for around 300 songs plus offline support for Deezer and Pandora. The Lite doesn't have any of that. It may not be a huge deal for a lot of people; as neither Versa has GPS you're more likely to have your phone around on workouts anyway, but it is a significant loss – especially if you're a Deezer or Pandora user. Playback controls are still here though, so you can control your phone's music from the wrist with a long press of the left side button.

The other big feature missing from the Lite is swim tracking, which is a side effect of Fitbit cutting out the gyroscope. You can still swim with the Versa Lite as it's waterproof, but you won't get any metrics other than calorie burn and active minutes.

Fitbit also cut out the altimeter, which means you won't get to track how many flights of stairs you climbed. If you do a lot of hiking up hills, or like taking the stairs at work, this might be a big deal for you, so it's worth knowing about.

Fitbit Versa v Fitbit Versa Lite: A tale of two price tags

Wi-Fi is another omission on the Lite Edition, though the effect might be negligible. Fitbit says software updates will now download in the background piece by piece and will install when the entire file is finished downloading. This just means that software update downloads take place without you realising it, which may be a positive and mean less waiting around. Finally, the Versa Lite can't run Fitbit Coach workouts on the wrist. If you're a subscriber to Fitbit's Coach service (and you do need a subscription to get more than the very basics) this could be the dealbreaker.

So while the Versa is the better smartwatch in terms of fitness abilities, a lot of it will depend on what you need.

Fitbit Versa
Fitbit Versa

It should be noted that neither the regular Versa or Lite have Fitbit Pay, which is a feature reserved for the Fitbit Versa Special Edition, which only differs by offering Fitbit Pay and an extra band in the box.

However, if you don't really care about swim tracking or floors, and you have your phone around all the time, the Versa Lite may make more sense. You're getting all the other big features from the Versa.

Fitbit Versa v Fitbit Versa Lite: Price

Fitbit Versa v Fitbit Versa Lite: A tale of two price tags

Aah, price. Of course, the reason for all of Fitbit's cuts is to make the Versa Lite more affordable than the regular Fitbit. And, well, that difference is a significant one.

The regular Versa is already a pretty good deal at $199.95. You get Fitbit's strong health ecosystem and a smartwatch that can mostly do it all. It's even prepped for a future with atrial fibrillation and sleep apnea detection.

The Lite Edition, while it loses some features, can be considered just as good of a deal at $159.95. You're still going to get those future health features, but at the cost of things like swim tracking, extra buttons, Fitbit Coach and an altimeter.

It all comes down to how you value the $40 difference. Are swim tracking and such worth that difference, or would you rather save that money for something else? Also, that difference is enough to nab you a second band for your new Fitbit, should you want to shake things up a bit.

Fitbit Versa v Fitbit Versa Lite: Verdict

Fitbit Versa v Fitbit Versa Lite: A tale of two price tags

So which Versa for you? The decision can be a difficult one, as the two smartwatches are so close together – especially in looks.

If you're a big swimmer, the Versa Lite is not for you. While you can swim with it, you won't be able to track laps as you can with the "regular" Versa.

Fitbit Versa Lite Edition
Fitbit Versa Lite Edition

For everyone else, the Versa Lite becomes even more appealing. It takes the Versa, which is already one of the more affordable and best smartwatches on the market, and streamlines the experience while making it more affordable.

If this is your first foray into smartwatches, the Versa Lite is a great way to go. If you want something better equipped for taking on the gym and the pool, the regular Versa is the better bet.




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