Fitbit Launches Versa & Kids-Oriented Ace Fitness Trackers

13 March, 2018, 18:50 | Author: Darnell Taylor
  • Fitbit Versa smartwatch brings women's health tracking and a curvier design

At $199, the Fitbit Versa is probably a better value proposition for most people than the Ionic (which is only $30 less expensive than the hugely popular Apple Watch Series 3).

We briefly got our hands on the new model and here are our first impressions. But I'm eager to try the new health-tracking features that will really set the Versa apart.

In the world of smartwatches, there aren't many players left. Recent federal data shows the rate of childhood obesity in the U.S.

On the feature side, the Versa has 24/7 heart-rate tracking, quick replies to text messages (though only on Android), offline music storage and Fitbit's own version of Apple Pay, creatively dubbed Fitbit Pay.

Fitbit is also targeting women with the Versa.

Fitbit claims there are now 500 apps and watch faces on the Fitbit OS app store, with 5000 developers on board.

The Fitbit Versa will be available starting from April in the United States for a price of $199. Admittedly, it has a more up-to-date design than the Pebble Time, as if the smartwatch has been dragged into 2018. The dashboard will then forecast future cycles, including ovulation windows, and eventually offer insight into trends, such as how your cycle affects your weight. You'll be able to log your cycle and record symptoms like headaches and cramps.

The Versa will display period-related information in the daily overview of the Today app if you want to be notified when your period is about to start.

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The biggest addition to Fitbit's software is the introduction is "female health tracking", allowing you to track your menstrual cycle, and see how it connects to your overall health. Fitbit's also preparing to add support for female health tracking, which will be available on Versa and Ionic devices from May. But Fitbit is obviously hoping that you will.

Along with the Versa, Fitbit also introduced a fitness band called "Ace" which is targetted at kids of age 8 and older.

This kid-friendly fitness tracker is designed as a great way for parents to monitor their kid's activity.

Then there's the Fitbit Ace - a wearable that looks remarkably similar to the Fitbit Alta, but like the Garmin VivoFit Junior 2, is aimed squarely at smaller wrists.

White adds that there just isn't a lot of data now out there that shows how a healthy woman's monthly cycle affects her overall health. The Versa looks just like Apple's wearable from a distance, but also like the Pebble Steel.

Apps were a major shortcoming of the Ionic smartwatch when it first launched, and while the landscape is marginally better now, it's still considerably behind the likes of watchOS, Android Wear and Tizen.

That last bit is important, as these products represent a new push against the Apple Watch, which is closing in on Fitbit's market share. I don't like that Fitbit sacrificed Global Positioning System to trim down the watch, though Global Positioning System isn't a must-have for most people. But just like the Ionic, you'll get space for 300 songs on the device, as well as the option of music apps that vary depending on your location. This is a huge deal, because all of those metrics are so deeply intertwined. At 11.2mm thick, Fitbit says "it's the lightest all-metal smartwatch you'll find in the US".

We'll put the battery through its paces when we get the Versa on our wrists for the full review.


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