Now in its third generation, the latest Fitbit Versa costs $30 more than its predecessors did at launch ($229.95), but justifies the increase in price with a larger screen, integrated GPS, an SpO2 sensor, and support for the Active Zone Minutes metric Fitbit introduced in the Charge 4. The GPS lets you track your real-time pace and distance when you’re working out without your phone, and the SpO2 sensor enables blood oxygen saturation readings while you sleep, a particularly useful metric during the COVID-19 pandemic. It also continues to offer the long battery life, robust fitness and sleep tracking abilities, and useful smartwatch features that have made the Versa line a favorite of ours. The Versa 3 essentially delivers everything we like about the Fitbit Sense, minus a few advanced heart health and stress monitoring features, for $100 less. It’s a strong value for the price, especially for Android users, earning our Editors’ Choice award for affordable smartwatches.
Price, Design, and Specs
At $229.95, the Versa 3 sits in the middle of Fitbit’s smartwatch lineup, between the $329.95 Sense and the Versa 2, which debuted at $199.95 and is currently available for $179.95.
It offers more screen real estate than the Versa 2, and adds an integrated GPS, an SpO2 sensor to measure the amount of oxygen in your blood while you sleep, and support for Fitbit’s Active Zone Minutes metric (earned for time spent in fat burn, cardio, or peak heart rate zone).
For an extra $100, the Sense offers a few health tracking sensors and features you don’t get on the Versa 3, including an EDA scan app that measures your body’s response to stress, a daily Stress Management Score, an ECG app that can assess your heart rhythm for signs of atrial fibrillation, high and low heart rate notifications, and a skin temperature sensor. Other than that, the Versa 3 offers all the same fitness, sleep, and smartwatch features.
If you get the Versa 3, you also might want to consider springing for a Fitbit Premium subscription, which gives you access to workout videos from brands like Barre3 and Gaiam’s Yoga Studio, and meditation sessions from brands like Aaptiv and Aura. Fitbit offers new users a 90-day free trial; after that it costs $9.99 per month or $79.99 per year.
Left to right: Fitbit Sense, Versa 3
Design-wise, the Versa 3 looks nearly identical to the Sense, featuring the same bright, colorful 1.58-inch, 336-by-336-pixel AMOLED display. In my Sense review, I noted that the display can be laggy; you sometimes have to swipe several times to get a response, an issue I also experienced on the Versa 3. The screen is beautiful, but it can be frustratingly unresponsive at times. At one point while testing the Versa 3, the screen froze and I had to reset the device to get it to start working again. The Versa also features the same troublesome band release mechanism, which I found could be accidentally triggered on the Sense.
The Versa 3 measures 0.49 inches thick and weighs 1.4 ounces with the small band, or 1.5 ounces with the large band. It feels light and comfortable on my wrist, even when I wear it to bed. It comes in three color options: black aluminum with a black band, soft gold aluminum with a navy band, or soft gold aluminum with a pinkish band.
The Sense has a slightly fancier look, with a shiny metal ring around the display, which the Versa 3 lacks, but putting them side by side, you can barely tell them apart. The only other difference from a design perspective is that the Sense’s case is made of stainless steel while the Versa 3 is aluminum.
Left to right: Fitbit Sense, Versa 3
In the box with the watch, you get small and large silicone Infinity Bands that fit wrists ranging from 5.5 to 7.1 inches (small) and 7.1 to 8.7 inches in circumference (large). Fitbit also offers Versa 3-compatible straps in a range of colors and materials you can purchase separately starting at $29.95.
The Versa 3 is water resistant to 164 feet, so you can wear it in the shower or swimming without issue, even in salt water, though Fitbit advises against wearing it in a hot tub or sauna. If it gets wet, you should dry it completely as soon as possible. Fitbit recommends wearing the watch high on your wrist for a tight fit during workouts, and regularly cleaning the band and your wrist with a soap-free cleaner.
The Versa 3 charges surprisingly quickly. After popping it on its magnetic USB charger for the first time, it took less than an hour to get to 100 percent. The watch features a new fast charging feature that Fitbit says will give you 24 hours of battery life in less than 12 minutes.
Fully charged, it promises more than six days of battery life, which is impressive, especially compared with the Apple Watch Series 6 and the Samsung Galaxy Watch3, both of which last around 18 hours on a charge. Your battery life results will obviously vary depending on your usage and settings, like whether you have the always-on display enabled, which drains battery life quicker. After 24 hours of testing the Versa 3 with the always-on display enabled, it still had 79 percent battery life. After two days of heavy use, it still had more than 50 percent.
Setup and Watch Faces
If you don’t already have a Fitbit account, you’ll need to download the app (available for Android or iOS) and create one before setting up the Versa 3. If you already have the app, just make sure it’s up to date (version 3.30 or later) before setting up your new watch so you don’t run into any issues. Then open the app, tap your profile image, select Set Up a Device, select the Versa 3 from the list, then press the Set Up button and follow the on-screen directions.
Once its set up, the app offers an overview of the Versa 3’s main features. The entire process only takes about 10 minutes.
In the Fitbit App Gallery, there are more than 10,000 clock faces to choose from, though you have to pay for some of them. To browse them, navigate to device settings in the Fitbit app, select the Clock Faces tile, then toggle All Clocks. In the Versa 3’s Clock app, you can store five clock faces on your device so you can easily switch between them, a handy feature, especially since you need to enable the SpO2 Signature clock face at night for it to track your blood oxygen saturation levels while you’re sleeping (more on this in a bit).
Like the Sense, the Versa 3 features a new solid-state sensor button on the left that can be programmed for multiple functions. Fitbit says to make sure to cover the entire button with your thumb when pressing it. A single press will wake up the screen or return you to the clock face from anywhere on the watch. Pressing and holding the button for two seconds can be customized to open an app of your choice such as Alexa (the default setting), music, payments, or the timer. Finally, you can double press the button to quickly access four apps of your choice.
Other than that, you can navigate the Versa 3 with swipes and taps on the screen. Swipe down from the clock face to view your phone’s app, call, and text notifications. Swipe up to access widgets like the weather and your Core Stats for the day (steps taken, floors climbed, distance traveled, calories burned, and more). Swipe right to quickly access watch settings and modes including do not disturb, sleep, brightness, the always-on display, screen wake options, and volume controls for connected audio devices.
Swiping left brings up your apps, including the default options: Agenda, Alarms, Alexa, Clocks, Coach, Deezer, Exercise, Find My Phone, Relax, Settings, Spotify, Timer, Today, Wallet, and Weather. The Sense features a few additional built-in apps including EDA Scan, Pandora, Starbucks, and Strava.
Within an app, you can swipe from left to right to go back to the previous screen. To download additional apps, tap your profile image in the Fitbit app, select the Versa 3, tap Apps, then toggle All Apps.
Activity, Fitness, and Health Tracking
During the day, the Versa 3 automatically tracks your steps, heart rate, calories burned, floors climbed, distance traveled, and Active Zone Minutes. It monitors your hourly activity and can send you reminders to move 10 minutes before the hour if you haven’t reached 250 steps. Though it doesn’t feature an ECG app or high and low heart rate notifications like the Sense, it offers heart rate zone alerts, so it will buzz when you’ve reached a target zone while exercising.
You can view your activity data in the Today app on the watch, or in the Fitbit app on your phone. The Today app also shows your progress toward your weekly exercise goal and sleep data from the previous night.
The Versa 3 also lets you log and track your weight and food and water intake. For women, it offers menstrual health tracking, letting you log your periods, record symptoms, and calculate your estimated fertile window.
In the Exercise app, the Sense offers the following activity tracking modes: bike, bootcamp, circuit training, elliptical, golf, hike, interval workout, kickboxing, martial arts, Pilates, run, spinning, stair climber, swim, tennis, treadmill, walk, weights, workout, and yoga. Its SmartTrack feature can automatically detect and record certain workouts like biking, running, swimming, and walking.
Thanks to the integrated GPS, you can see your real-time pace and distance during outdoor runs, rides, walks, and hikes without having to bring your smartphone. This is a nice addition considering the Versa 2 requires your phone for GPS.
The Versa 3 also generates an estimate of your VO2 Max, or the maximum amount of oxygen you can utilize during intense exercise, and calls this your Cardio Fitness Score. To get the most precise score, track a run of at least 10 minutes on flat terrain with the GPS enabled. To check your Cardio Fitness Score, tap the Heart Rate tile in the Fitbit app, then swipe right on the Resting Heart Rate graph. I’m proud to say I have a Cardio Fitness Score of 44, which Fitbit claims is very good for women my age.
The Versa 3 can help you combat stress with a guided breathing session. When you need a moment of zen, just navigate to the Relax app, which uses calming on-screen visuals to direct your inhalation and exhalation. The sessions can be up to 10 minutes long, and are personalized based on your heart rate.
When you wear it to bed, the Versa 3 will track your time asleep, sleep stages (awake, light, deep, and REM), sleeping heart rate, restlessness, and estimated oxygen variation (whether the changes in your blood oxygen saturation were high or low, information that can help you uncover breathing issues). The watch also gives you a daily Sleep Score from zero to 100, which takes into account your total time asleep, time within each sleep stage, and restlessness.
At night, you’ll want to enable sleep mode, which dims the display and mutes incoming calls and texts. If you sleep with someone else, you can set a silent alarm, so it will wake you with a gentle vibration on your wrist.
In the Sleep section of the Fitbit app, it keeps a record of your shut eye each night. You can click into each record to view your metrics, complete with graphs and educational information to help you understand the data.
Like the Sense, the Versa 3 goes beyond tracking your estimated oxygen variation with the ability to measure your blood oxygen saturation level, or SpO2, when you wear it to bed. This metric offers more insight into how easy or difficult it is for you to breathe during the night. In general, your sleeping SpO2 level should be between 90 and 100 percent.
Fitbit says the feature is “not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition and should not be relied on for any medical purposes.” That said, if your sleeping SpO2 level is lower than 80 percent, you should seek professional medical attention.
For it to track this metric, you need to download the SpO2 Signature clock face, which is available for free in the Fitbit App Gallery, and have it enabled on your watch when you’re sleeping. About 45 minutes or so after you wake up, you’ll see your SpO2 reading on the clock face. In comparison, the Apple Watch Series 6 can calculate your SpO2 level in 15 seconds, whenever you want, not just when you’re sleeping.
The Health Metrics dashboard of the Fitbit app—which is currently a Premium feature, but will be available to all users with compatible devices for free in the coming months—offers some other interesting sleep metrics, including your breathing rate (the number of breaths taken per minute), heart rate variability (the variation in time between heartbeats), and resting heart rate (the number of times your heart beats per minute when you are still and rested). The Sense, meanwhile, also measures your skin temperature during the night, a feature not available on the Versa 3.
The Versa 3 is primarily a health and fitness watch, but it offers some handy smartwatch features like preinstalled Deezer, Pandora, and Spotify apps; Fitbit Pay for mobile payments; and smartphone notifications for calls, texts, and meeting invites.
If you use an Android phone, you can also reply to texts and messages sent via WhatsApp right from the watch. There’s a voice-to-text option, or you can choose from a list of pre-populated quick replies. You can also create five custom quick replies. Fitbit says it can’t offer this feature to iOS device users due to Apple’s ecosystem restrictions. The Apple Watch offers far superior call and text features for iPhone users.
The Versa 3 supports wireless headphones (I had no problem connecting my Apple AirPods), and lets you download Deezer playlists and Pandora Plus stations right on your watch (with a subscription), so you can listen to music while you work out sans phone.
You cannot, however, transfer songs downloaded through Apple Music or Spotify. The Spotify app gives you access to your music library, and lets you use your watch as a remote control to pause, play, skip tracks streaming on another device. The Versa 3 doesn’t offer any Apple Music support whatsoever.
The Versa 3 also works with Amazon Alexa, letting you use your voice to set reminders, start a timer, start tracking a run, control compatible smart home devices, check the weather, and get answers to questions. During the initial setup process, you have the option to connect your Versa 3 with Alexa. If you opt to do so, the app takes you to an Amazon sign-in page; just enter your credentials, and press Allow to give the Fitbit Alexa skill permission to access your Fitbit data.
By default, the sensor button on the left side of the Versa 3 is set to Alexa, so you can press and hold it to wake the virtual assistant. You can always program the button to trigger a different app, but if you use voice commands a lot, you’ll probably want to keep it set to Alexa. The Versa 3 has a built-in microphone, which Fitbit says only turns on when you’re using the voice feature. If you’re worried about privacy, you can disable it altogether.
Fitbit says support for Google Assistant should arrive before the end of the year. It also plans to beef up the Versa 3’s smartwatch capabilities soon with audible Alexa and Google Assistant replies (in addition to the written ones that are already available), and the ability to answer calls using the Versa 3’s speaker and microphone. Android users will also be able to respond to text messages with their voice, a feature already available on the Galaxy Watch3.
In terms of downloadable apps, Fitbit says there are “hundreds” to choose from, but the selection pales in comparison with what’s available for the Apple Watch. Available apps include City Bikes, Strava, Surfline, and Uber by Fitbit, along with a handful of games like Snake and Tic-Tac-Toe. Several popular apps available on the Apple Watch, including Evernote, Facebook Messenger, Runkeeper, and Shazam, are absent here.
Comparisons and Conclusions
If you’re in the market for a budget-friendly fitness tracker-smartwatch hybrid, the Versa 3 is a strong contender. For $229.95, it features an attractive yet functional design, a large always-on color touch screen, and long battery life. It also offers ample fitness and sleep tracking, including an integrated GPS, a blood oxygen saturation (SpO2) sensor, 24/7 heart rate monitoring, and guided breathing sessions. With support for smartphone notifications, Amazon Alexa, Fitbit Pay mobile payments, Deezer and Pandora music and podcast storage, and Spotify music controls, the Versa 3 is the most feature-rich Android-compatible smartwatch in this price range, and worthy of our Editors’ Choice award. For most people, it’s a better choice than the Fitbit Sense, which adds EDA, ECG, and skin temperature sensors, but costs $100 more.
That said, if you’re an iPhone user, you should also consider Apple Watch SE. It offers a much wider selection of downloadable apps, better integration with the iPhone for calls and texts, plus some nice health and safety features you don’t get on the Versa 3, including an automatic handwashing countdown timer and fall detection (but no blood oxygen saturation readings). It costs $50 more than the Versa 3, but you might find it to be a worthwhile investment.
Fitbit Versa 3 Specs
|Phone OS Compatibility||Android, iOS|
|Watch OS||Fitbit OS|
|Heart Rate Monitor||Yes|
|Display Size||1.59 inches|
|Battery Life||6 days|
|Fitness Features||Accelerometer, GPS, Heart Rate Monitor|
|Estimated Battery Life||6 days|
|Separate App Store||Yes|
|Phone Call Capacity||No|