Published: Wed, March 14, 2018
Technology | By Russell Knight

Fitbit's New Versa Smart Watch Offers Health Features Galore

Fitbit's New Versa Smart Watch Offers Health Features Galore

Also today, Fitbit introduced its new Ace fitness tracker for kids. The Ionic is bulky, angular, and not suitable for every size wrist - the Versa gets rid of all those pain points. At a glance, it's reminiscent of the Apple Watch, which isn't a bad thing. Like the Ionic, it has a pretty thick bezel, but it's bright and clear, and the company seems to have smoothed out Fitbit OS since we last tested it.

Fitbit is also targeting women with the Versa. But I'm eager to try the new health-tracking features that will really set the Versa apart. Like the Ionic, it's platform agnostic.

The firm explained the thinking behind the Fitbit Ace, designed for children, by citing World Health Organization data pointing to America's childhood obesity epidemic.

Fitbit sees the Versa's design as the basis of a new design language it can use for future devices.

The downside to buying Fitbit smartwatches is that you aren't able to reply to messages from your wrist. That will extend to reminders and social challenges later in the year. Lack of Global Positioning System differentiates the Versa from the Ionic, as the new device has an optical heart-rate monitor, onboard storage for music, up to 50 meters of water resistance, and on-device coaching with Fitbit Coach like the company's first smartwatch had.

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It comes in a choice of finishes: black, silver or rose gold.

The Versa shape is much more similar to Apple's smartwatch, with what the company describes as a "rounded square" touchscreen display. Bands options include varying colors of silicone, leather, cloth, and stainless steel.

The company also spoke a little more about the Fitbit Ionic: adidas edition. There are also Special Edition options in lavender or charcoal, which come with canvas bands that are only available with the Special Edition.

Fitbit is launching a fitness tracker for kids with revised software that allows parents to track their children's activity levels and sleep, The Verge reported.

In terms of design, the Ace borrows heavily from the Fitbit Alta and Alta HR, with a few tweaks.

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By offering 10 unique clock faces and two fun interchangeable bands in electric blue and power purple, kids can find the style that fits their unique personality and be motivated to wear Ace day and night, no matter what they are doing. The tracker counts steps and also gives prompts to move. For example, while the CDC recommends 30 minutes of physical activity five times a week and at least seven hours of sleep for adults, the guideline for kids is actually 60 minutes of daily activity and at least nine hours for school aged kids.

Fitbit Ace will launch in the second quarter of this year, and the Versa hits stores in April.

Pre-orders open today (and should be on Amazon tomorrow) for delivery next month.

Since 2015, buyers have been asking Fitbit to either sync up with a period tracker app like Clue, or develop their own app to sync up with other devices. This cluster of functions allows users to record menstrual cycles and symptoms, among other, more health-oriented stats, and to keep tabs on fertility windows. All the features that launch on the Fitbit Versa, such as female health tracking, will also be available on the Ionic, as Fitbit's flagship smartwatch.

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