The Fitbit Versa 4 probably won’t live up to your expectations if you were hoping for an improvement over the previous model. Despite the number four’s allusion to a generational leap above the Versa 3, this wearable is essentially a carbon copy of the previous iteration and is vastly outclassed by the company’s other offerings, such as the Sense 2 and the Google Pixel Watch.
The Fitibit Versa 4, despite its merits, is now in an unenviable position in the company’s product line. A variety of activities can be tracked, the battery lasts for almost a week, and Fitbit’s stress-management tools have been upgraded from previous Versa models.
Nevertheless, even these benefits contribute to the Versa 4’s biggest drawback: many of the watch’s features are recycled from the Versa 3. While the third-generation Versa is already excellent, it’s sad to see that the fourth-generation model doesn’t much advance the line.
Not only that, but the Versa 4 does away with some of the best parts of the Versa 3, such as the ability to use third-party apps and listen to music without an internet connection. Because of this lack of development, it’s also difficult to say for sure who would benefit most from donning one.
If you possess a Versa 3, there is no reason to upgrade, and if you wear an Apple, Garmin, or Suunto watch, it will be difficult to convince you to switch to a new environment for something so unimpressive.
I wore my Versa 4 constantly for about a month to really appreciate everything it has to offer. I thought it was a reasonably well-made activity tracker, but its flaws quickly became obvious.
The Greatest Difference Between the Versa 4 And Its Predecessor is a Tactile Button.
The Fitbit Versa 4 looks very much like previous Versa versions, with a square face and rounded corners. The overall aesthetic is one of minimalism, and it is thin and light in weight. During my workouts, I hardly even noticed that I was wearing a wearable, which is extremely obvious (or, more properly, not noticeable).
No matter if I was on a treadmill, a bike, or sitting at my desk, I was able to read and manage the display with relative ease. It shares the same 1.58-inch AMOLED screen size and resolution as the Versa 3.
Using the same touchscreen controls as previously, you can see your notifications by swiping up, and adjust your screen’s brightness or activate Do Not Disturb mode by swiping down. Standard functions on the Versa 4 like as tracking your steps, heart rate, and stress levels may be accessed by swiping left or right.
There is very little of a learning curve for new users because the interface is so straightforward. In addition to the touchscreen, the watch also has a button on the side. By pushing and holding the button, you can see a few of your essential daily numbers, such as the distance you walked or the number of calories you burned, while a double press activates the Amazon Alexa speech assistant.
With one click, the app’s interface will load. Even during my most strenuous workouts, the watch band never chafed my wrist because it is so thin and soft. As Fitbit includes both a small/medium and a large/extra-large band with the watch, finding the ideal size was a breeze.
Contrary to Expectations, Fitness Trackers Fall Short
Since fitness tracking is Fitbit’s bread and butter, one might assume the business has refined the accuracy of its trackers. Regrettably, my testing of the Versa 4 was marred by a number of glitches.
The built-in GPS, which took an excessive amount of time to sync, was the most common source of error. It seemed like an eternity before I could finally begin my run or ride, even if it was only a few minutes.
If the GPS collected somewhat reliable tracking data even when not linked, I might not have been so adamant about using it for everything. Yet, it was mostly inaccurate. The Versa 4’s distance readings varied greatly when it wasn’t connected to GPS, sometimes by as much as a sixteenth of a mile (or more).
A seemingly insignificant variation of an eighth of a mile could mean the difference between thinking you ran about a nine-minute mile and actually running closer to an eight-minute mile.
That’s a major difference if you’re attempting to pace yourself for a marathon or set a personal record. The automatic workout tracking function was also often difficult to use. A lot of the time, the watch didn’t give me any indication that it was tracking, but when I checked the Fitbit app afterwards, I saw that it had recorded a workout.
Even though it recorded a useful activity, the fact that I couldn’t alter the training session while I was doing it casts doubt on its overall accuracy.
Features Similar to Its Predecessor, But is Overall “Dumber”
The Versa 4 seems like a high-quality smartwatch. But, its initial wow factor gradually fades the more you use it. While it shares a lot of software with the Versa 3, it’s missing several key ones. Why? Given that Fitbit has eliminated all third-party app support.
Spotify, a popular music streaming service, is unavailable for download. It’s disappointing that the watch, which I used frequently for long runs and bike rides, doesn’t have any sort of audio storage, so you can’t listen to any music at all.
All that’s left is a standard suite of Fitbit-only functions that doesn’t distinguish this watch from the pack. It’s nothing more than a smattering of features that have grown commonplace, even on non-smart wearables.
You can monitor and gauge with the Versa 4:
- Expended energy
- Places visited and logged on a GPS
- Keeping tabs on your heart rate and its variability
- oxygen levels in the blood
- Logging and monitoring of menstrual cycles
- Over 40 corresponding physical activities
The Versa 4 has the usual smartwatch functions, such as call, text, and email alerts. Considering that Google now owns Fitbit, the device’s compatibility for Amazon Alexa but not Google Assistant is puzzling.
Alexa can be used in any case to initiate a workout, create a reminder, or obtain a brief summary of the news. All of these are fully functional, however the Alexa watch requires a constant connection to a smartphone.
The Versa 4’s Daily Readiness Score and Cardio Fitness Score are two useful measures that offer a comprehensive assessment of your health and fitness.
It’s Hardly Shocking to Say that the Battery Life is Impressive.
The battery life is probably the most impressive aspect of the Versa 4. Even when using the most of the primary applications and keeping track of activity, I was able to get close to six days out of the watch. There was a minor decrease in battery life if I used the GPS several times a week, but it wasn’t enough to worry about.
Another aspect I liked about the battery was that it could be fully charged for a day in just 12 minutes. Because of this, I never had to worry about leaving the house with less than a 15% battery life, even on days when I knew I wouldn’t be near a plug-in for hours. Just by plugging it in before I left the house, I would have power for the entire day.
Availability And Cost Is it Worth it to Buy it?
As I tested the Versa 4, I had a hard time deciding who would benefit most from having it. I couldn’t help but wonder if the value was sufficient to justify the purchase price of $180. But, that cost could be the Versa 4’s saving grace.
Yet, it’s not exactly cost-effective to pay $180 for a wearable that is nearly identical to the prior iteration. There may be a niche market for the Fitbit Versa 3, but only if a die-hard Fitbit user is looking to upgrade their current smartwatch and doesn’t already own one.
Nevertheless, in all honesty, I think most people would say no. New purchasers would be better off purchasing one of the brand’s other watches, such as the Sense 2 or the Google Pixel Watch, while Versa 3 owners will already have a wearable that performs everything the Versa 4 provides.
Both of those watches provide a more sophisticated experience for an additional $250 and $300, respectively.