Fitbit has a new Versa 2 smartwatch with Alexa, and a new Premium health service

6 min


Alexa voice assistant

September is shaping up to be a giant month for smartwatches. Fitbit on Wednesday declared its new Versa a pair of, which can arrive in stores on Sept. 15. Samsung incorporates a new smartwatch incoming 2 days earlier on Sept. 13, and a replacement Apple Watch is probably going round the corner, too. But, the $200 Fitbit Versa a pair of has new options that would rise on top of the competition. subsequent generation of Fitbit’s most prospering smartwatch adds Amazon Alexa property, together with a more robust show, a quicker processor and longer battery life.

Fitbit’s additionally launching a replacement work and fitness steerage subscription service known as Fitbit Premium. it’ll price $10 a month or $80 a year and isn’t exclusive to the Versa a pair of. Fitbit Premium can provide radio-controlled plans and workouts covering everything from exercise regimens to weight loss and calorie-counting guides, together with what Fitbit guarantees are going to be a custom mixture of suggestions supported your collected fitness knowledge.

Will Fitbit Premium be definitely worth the subscription price over Fitbit’s already sturdy and free app? i can not tell however as a result of i have never tested it. however it looks like it might provide a lot of proactive style work additionally to only trailing your info, that are a few things that i have been searching for in a very fitness hunter and still haven’t quite found.

Fitbit declared its new watch and repair, together with a replacement $50 basic good scale known as the Fitbit Aria Air that measures weight and BMI, at an occasion in ny wherever I need to explore the Versa a pair of and its accessories up shut.

Fitbit’s ne’er had a electro-acoustic transducer or any voice assistant functions on any of its previous fitness trackers. you’ll activate Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant on the Versa a pair of by pressing and holding the only facet button. provide your command and anticipate the action or answer to pop on screen. you will not hear Alexa’s voice, though: as a result of the watch lacks a speaker, answers ar delivered via text responses.

Alexa can work on golem phones or iPhones (provided the Alexa app is additionally installed) and may explore for general info, management good home devices, notice native businesses, begin or stop timers and do different Alexa-like things. It also can transcribe voice responses to messages, however solely on golem phones. It will not management music on the Versa a pair of, though, and it will not management fitness hunter controls till later within the year. i am going to apprehend a lot of concerning however Alexa works on the Versa a pair of once I take a look at it go into our full review.

Still, adding Alexa may be a improve from previous Fitbits and it is a fascinating new direction.

Fitbit’s had music support on its previous Ionic and Versa watches, however it might solely side-load MP3s from a laptop or work with Pandora premium and Deezer. Spotify Premium may be a new app that may additionally return to Fitbit’s different Versa watches later within the year. But, whereas I ab initio thought it might enable Spotify downloads to the watch, very similar to you’ll on Samsung smartwatches and Garmin watches (Garmin recently accessorial Amazon Music support to its watches, too), it seems this can be solely an overseas Spotify Connect app that permits management of songs from the Spotify phone app… that is not a lot of of a feature. Fitbit Versa a pair of will store music, however solely via side-loads, Deezer and Pandora’s premium service.

Versa a pair of adds some delinquent upgrades, however no GPS or cardiogram
Battery life is another advantage the Versa a pair of has over its predecessors: The battery currently lasts 5 days rather than four. Its AMOLED show will add a replacement always-on mode for some of days. Apps load quicker and therefore the watch is a lot of responsive because of that new processor. it’s an equivalent 50-meter water resistance as previous models and works with an equivalent Versa chargers and watch bands. Fitbit Pay, a contactless-payment contestant to Apple Pay and Samsung Pay, is additionally aboard — and not simply on the premium edition like last time.

But the Versa a pair of additionally lacks some features: It does not have aboard GPS, creating the aging Fitbit Ionic the sole GPS-enabled Fitbit device. Fitbit did not add any FDA-cleared health options, either. in the meantime the Apple Watch Series four and Samsung Galaxy Watch Active a pair of each have graph (ECG or EKG) technology to sense fibrillation, though Samsung’s is not FDA-cleared however.

Fitbit’s newest health addition, Sleep Score, does not would like a replacement watch
Fitbit’s biggest new health options ar sleep-related and will promise to create inroads to sleep trailing wherever the competition still hasn’t. a replacement Sleep Score perform that was in beta earlier this year can give a lot of elaborated sleep results and grades your night’s sleep supported your resting vital sign, REM and deep sleep measurements and time spent sleeping. (I tried the Sleep Score beta earlier this year and it had been a good upgrade.) The Sleep Score feature can work with any Fitbit that tracks vital sign, however a lot of elaborated results and steerage can would like a Premium subscription. Fitbit’s additionally adding a “smart wake” perform that may time associate alarm to a window in a very sleep cycle that may feel less riotous, consistent with the corporate.

Fitbit’s subscription service can target exercises, weight loss and general welfare insights once it launches in Sept. it’ll prepare a welfare Report you’ll show to a doctor, that plans to summarize key Fitbit-collected fitness knowledge. What that amounts to looks like a summarized chart of exercise, sleep, vital sign and weight over time.

Additional health reports ar aiming to be accessorial anon, with a spotlight on different chronic conditions. This appearance to dovetail with an additional add-on service returning in 2020 and being pilot-tested within the USA later this year. The new service also will add customized health work, with one-on-one steerage that looks like a digital trainer. It looks like this may be a much bigger push from Fitbit to become a digital health services supplier, however the jury’s still out on what quantity these one-on-one services can facilitate with challenges like weight loss or polygenic disease management, 2 of the conditions Fitbit mentions in its handout.

Will Fitbit Premium begin to become a service that appears like associate at-home trainer? can its extras (which embody some social fitness games and a restricted launch choice of programs known as things like Get a lot of Zzz’s, Habits for quiet Sleep, perceive Calories and Kick Your Salt Habit) feel essential? Fitbit’s providing a 90-day period for its Premium service, however solely with the $230 Special Edition of the Versa a pair of, that comes with an additional, better-looking woven nylon band. Otherwise, it’ll price $10 a month, or $80 a year.

The Fitbit Versa a pair of appears like it is the best Fitbit device up to now. however Fitbit’s subscription service points to a future wherever package would possibly eventually be a lot of vital to the corporate than hardware.

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