Fitbit Versa 3 Review
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Versa 3 provides access to all the social aspects of the Fitbit ecosystem on your smartphone. This is a great way to gamify exercise through competition and challenges amongst your friends, let you set goals for yourself, track your workout history, and even monitor your calorie consumption.
Ease of Use
We began our evaluation of each smartwatch by rating and ranking user-friendliness and ease of use. We considered the wristband, user interface, menu structure, mobile app layout, touchscreen responsiveness, water resistance, and charging method. The Versa 3 delivered a decent performance for the metric overall.
The Versa 3 has one of the highest water-resistance ratings of the watches we tested at 50 meters or 5 atmospheres. It's fiane to take it in the shower or track workouts in the pool. The watch uses a proprietary charger that attaches securely to the back with magnets. The magnets create a very secure attachment, and the charger only broke free after quite a bit of force and vigorous shaking.
The Versa 3 doesn't have a rotating bezel or crown scroll, so its only interface is through the touchscreen and side touch button. We found the screen to usually be very responsive, with it only occasionally misreading a swipe, but the side button can be a bit more finicky, sometimes taking repeated taps to register.
This watch wakes up quite quickly, with only a small delay when you raise your wrist to look at the screen. The menus on both the companion app and the Versa 3 itself are also laid out in a fairly easy-to-understand and intuitive way, so we rarely had to search for a setting or feature.
We also really like that the Versa 3 makes it easy to swap out the wristband. You can quickly make the watch sportier for a workout or dress it up with a fancier band for a night out. There is a small tab that you press to release the band, and the new band is just as easy to push and lock into place. The process only takes a couple of minutes and adds to the aesthetic versatility of the watch.
Next, we looked at what third-party apps are available and what integrated features there are, like if you can make phone calls, pay for things, control your music, or use location-based services without your smartphone connected. The Versa 3 gave a middle-of-the-road result for this metric.
We found that the selection of compatible apps for the Versa 3 is a bit more limited compared to other options. There is a version of Uber, Spotify, Strava, and IFTTT available in the app store, and you can get most push notifications from your phone. You also can reply to messaging apps with quick responses right from the watch but only if paired to a compatible phone.
The Versa 3 will ring when you get a phone call but answering it on the watch will just answer it on your phone — you can't take the call right from your wrist. This model also has some decent music control features, allowing you to play/pause or skip tracks, but you need to be logged in to Pandora or Spotify on the watch and have premium subscriptions to those services.
This watch is NFC-capable, so you can use it at compatible payment terminals with Fitbit Pay. It also has its own GPS module for gathering location, elevation, and speed information — particularly useful when tracking cycling or outdoor running workouts.
Our next metric ranked and rated the screen and image quality of the Versa 3. We considered looks, how easy it was to read the information on the display, and the different available backlight options. The Versa 3 did much better in this metric, earning it one of the better scores of the entire group.
The Versa 3 has a 1.58" OLED screen with a resolution of 336x336 pixels. Images look great, and it is overall very easy to read the information shown on the display. The backlight makes it easy to see even in bright light or in the dark, and you have the option to enable the backlight and screen to be on all the time, though this will reduce the battery life. Unfortunately, this watch doesn't give you the option to have the backlight automatically adjust its brightness relative to the ambient lighting conditions.
Our next series of assessments and evaluations ranked and scored the fitness tracking ability of each wearable. As expected, the Versa 3 scored very well here. To determine this, we looked at the accuracy of the heart rate monitor, stairs tracker, step counter, and the different capabilities when it comes to tracking other types of workouts
To evaluate the step counter for each product, we took each smartwatch on three different mile-long walks and compared the watch's recorded step count against the true step count logged with a mechanical counter. The Versa 3 did very well, only having an average error of 9 steps after the three trials, with the watch tending to undercount slightly. This watch also did very well in our stair test, counting all ten flights of stairs we ran up and down in quick succession. It didn't do quite as well in our heart rate monitor test, differing from the chest strap that we used as a control a decent amount. While it aligned quite closely when measuring a resting heart rate, we noticed discrepancies around 25 bpm when comparing an active heart rate.
There are a variety of different workouts that you can track with the Versa 3, with the watch having bike, bootcamp, circuit training, elliptical, golf, hike, interval workout, kickboxing, martial arts, Pilates, run, spinning, stair climber, swim, tennis, treadmill, walk, weights, and yoga as some of the default options. The integrated GPS unit lets the Versa 3 measure your distance, speed, and pace, and it will also estimate calories burned and track the duration and your heart rate throughout the activity.
Our final series of scores for the Versa 3 were based on its battery life and recharge performance testing. We looked at how long each watch could last with normal use, how long it took to recharge, and how easy it was to recharge.
The Versa 3 has a claimed battery life of approximately six days, which we confirmed with our testing. However, the battery life is unsurprisingly reduced if you enable the always-on mode or use a lot of GPS or CPU-intensive functions. We also really like that this watch is quick to recharge. In our tests, it only took about 24 minutes to hit a 50% charge level and 76 minutes to fully recharge.
All things considered, we think the Versa 3 is a good value if you are searching for a fitness-focused smartwatch. While it is more affordable, it still holds its own against other top-scoring watches.
The Fitbit Versa 3 is one of the best smartwatches for fitness-minded users who are willing to sacrifice some smart features for enhanced fitness tracking and social features. It also has a good display and battery life and can be purchased for quite a bit less than other comparable models.