Fitbit Versa 3 Review
Pros: Good value, great fitness tracking ability, excellent battery life
Cons: Could be more convenient to use, doesn’t have the most smart functions
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Our Analysis and Test Results
Another benefit of the Versa 3 is that it grants you access to all the social aspects of the Fitbit ecosystem on your smartphone. This is a great way to compete and challenge your friends, set goals for yourself, track your workout history, or even monitor your calorie consumption.
Ease of Use
We began our assessment of these wearables by rating and ranking how user-friendly and easy to use each watch is. We looked at their wrist bands, user interface, menu structure, mobile app layout, touchscreen responsiveness, water-resistance, and charging method to pick our scores. The Versa 3 delivered a decent performance, earning it a score just a bit above average compared to the other wearables we have tested in this category.
The Versa 3 has one of the highest water-resistance ratings of the group at 50 meters or 5 atmospheres, which makes it fine to take in the shower or even track your workouts in the pool. This watch uses a proprietary charger that securely attaches to the back of the watch using magnets. We found it only came free after quite a bit of force and vigorous shaking.
The Versa 3's only interface is through the touchscreen and touch side button, with this watch lacking a rotating bezel or crown scroll. 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 in our experience — sometimes taking repeated taps until it registered.
This watch does wake 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 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 like that it is very easy to swap out the wristbands on this watch. There is a small tab that you push in to release the band and then a new one locks in when you push it into place. This usually only takes a minute or two and is very handy if you are switching to a sportier band for a workout or want a fancier one to dress up the Versa 3.
Next, we compared and scored the different smart functions available to you on the Versa 3. 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, earning it a score right in the center of the pack.
We found that the selection of compatible apps for the Versa 3 is a bit more limited compared to some of the 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 an Android phone at the time of writing.
The Versa 3 will also 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 we found that 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 and the Versa 3 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 scored each smartwatch on how it looked, how easy it is to read the information on the display, and the different backlight options available. The Fitbit Versa 3 did much 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 we think 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, you don't have 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 Fitbit Versa 3 scored very well in this metric, earning one of the top scores. To determine this, we looked at the accuracy of the heart rate monitor, stairs climbed tracker, and step counter, as well as 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 made 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 slightly undercount in our tests. This watch also did very well in our stair test, counting all 10 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 in our experience. While the Versa 3 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 is based on its performance in our battery life test. We looked at how long each watch should last with normal use and how long it took to recharge, with the Versa 3 earning another excellent result.
The Versa 3 has a claimed battery life of approximately 6 days, which was reinforced by our testing. However, this will definitely be reduced if you enable the always-on mode or use lots of GPS-intensive functions. We also really like that the Versa 3 is quick to recharge, only taking about 24 minutes to hit 50% charge and 76 minutes to fully recharge in our test.
All in all, we think the Versa 3 is a pretty good value if you are searching for a top-tier smartwatch. It holds its own with many of the other top scorers while costing a lot less but there are definitely much less expensive options out there if you are shopping on a tight budget.
The Versa 3 is a great smartwatch for fitness-minded users who don't mind sacrificing some smart features for enhanced fitness tracking and social features. It has a good display and battery life, all while costing a bit less than some of the comparable models.
— David Wise and Austin Palmer