Fitbit recently introduced its next-gen smartwatch — the Versa 2. It ‘s part of Fitbit’s smartwatch range and has more features built-in that you’d find on a fitness tracker like the Charge range. The Versa 2 has a brilliant AMOLED display, an always-on option and more apps.
Accompanying the Versa 2, is Fitbit’s entry into fitness subscription services called Fitbit Premium. This is a paid subscription service available in the Fitbit app that gives you training guides and tutorials. Over time, these will even become more personalised over time, according to your fitness style.
The Versa is definitely more smartwatch than fitness tracker and has the features to match. If you’re into intense bench-presses and 25km trail runs, rather look into the Ionic. The Versa range is a stepping stone to get there, and here are our favourite features.
There aren’t many things in life that get us giddier than Spotify integration on different devices. We’ve got Spotify set up on every capable device possible. Also because its integration across devices is on point.
The Versa 2 has Spotify integration, which means that you can download the app, but the full app doesn’t run on the device itself. It’s kinda a bummer because you can’t download playlists to the device itself. What this means is that you can only control Spotify from your wrist — like skip tracks, pause, play and ‘like’ tracks.
We would’ve preferred full Spotify capabilities on the Versa 2. But this is a step in the right direction for Fitbit, that’s had a limited range of apps available historically. It’s also got Deezer integration for the non-Spotify peeps.
This one’s been available on Fitbit for some time, but we think it’s very underutilised tbh. The feature is called ‘Relax’, and it’s available on the Charge 2 and 3, the Blaze, Ionic and Versa range.
It uses your heart rate data to customise a breathing cycle that’ll help chill out, yo. We’re not necessarily the ‘mindfulness’ types. But it sure helps to take a few minutes every day to gather your thoughts and just breathe. The feature is available as a pre-installed app on the above-mentioned Fitbits.
Introduced with the Versa 2 is a feature called ‘Smart Wake’. It’s not actually available right now, but should come with an update when the Versa 2 launches locally. This feature helps to wake you when at the optimal time in your sleep cycle. Ya know, so you don’t feel like a zombie after waking.
Smart Wake uses some interesting machine learning tech, coupled with user data, to wake you during an optimal time of your sleep cycle. If you’ve had one too many gaming sessions last night, no time will seem optimal — but Fitbit knows. The ideal time to wake is while you’re in rapid eye movement (REM) sleep or you’re sleeping light. This isn’t a biology lesson, but it’s basically the segment of sleep where you tend to dream.
You’ll choose the time you’d like to wake up, and the Fitbit will wake you according to the pre-selected 30-minute interval. We’re looking forward to trying this feature once it’s rolled out.
Much like the (very similar-looking) Apple Watch 5, the Versa 2 has an always-on display option. This will keep the display on, showing the time, as well as the vital stats you want on-screen.
Keep in mind that this will drain your battery much faster, so only use this feature if you’re comfortable with charging your Fitbit more regularly. The Versa 2 sports a 5-day battery life, and you’ll cut into that time with an always-on.
What makes this feature cool though, is the option to turn it off or on. This means you can choose to have the clock face displayed at specific times or scenarios. Like when you’re out sunning or while you’re driving.
Whether you like this feature or not will mainly depend on what bank you use. Fitbit Pay is only supported by a handful of banks in South Africa at the moment. Those include FNB, RMB, Discovery Bank and Investec.
If you bank with one of the supported banks, loading your card and using the tap-=to-pay feature is one of the most convenient features ever. It allows you to make payments while you’re out on a run without the need for a bank card or your phone. You can map Fitbit Pay to the button on the watch, so when you hold it, it automatically accesses your card info.
Obv, there is a whole range of security precautions with this feature. You can read more about that here.
What you don’t get
If you’ve been following the Versa 2 journey, you’ll know that it launched with Alexa integration. Which would be amazing, if South Africa had Alexa support. Unfortunately, Amazon hasn’t blessed us with regional support yet.
Which is fine — at least we have the option when it eventually rolls out. The Versa 2 is, however, equipped with a bunch of cool stuff like a swim-proof design, onboard microphone and comes in three colours.
The Fitbit Versa 2 will be available in South Africa from end-October or start-November. The standard version will retail for R3,000 while the special edition will cost R4,000. The special edition includes an extra designer strap and 90-days free Fitbit Premium access. All the hardware of both versions is the same tho.
Fitbit Premium will cost R150pm and includes guided sleep programs, personalised fitness and health guides, and new content daily that should help keep you on your feet. And it’s cheaper than a gym membership…