Fitbit, now Fitbit by Google, was among the first tech companies to introduce fitness-focussed wearable devices. Its first device, a fitness tracker, was designed to be clipped to clothing rather than worn on the wrist. It was a quintessential fitness device capable of measuring steps, distance travelled, estimated calories burned, and hours active versus hours sedentary. The fitness-focussed utility made it a no-frill device, which was easy-to-use and manage. Fitbit has come a long way, but its product’s foundations remain the same. Case in point is the Fitbit Versa 4, a fitness-focussed device disguised as a smartwatch.
Beginning with design, the Fitbit Versa 4 impresses with compact form factor and lightweight construction. It has a square aluminium case with curved glass covering the display and plastic on the bottom side, where most of its sensors rest. It is neither big nor small, but appropriately sized for unisex fit. While most things are in place with regard to design, there are a couple of elements that seem out of place. For example, the only physical button on the watch is placed on the left side of the case. It is difficult to access, especially while wearing a full sleeve jersey. Likewise, the microphones are placed on the left side of the case. The screen size is on a smaller side with big bezels all around.
Design is a subjective thing, so let us jump on to the utility part. The Fitbit Versa 4 is a fine device for fitness enthusiasts, yet leaves one asking for more especially in terms of smart features. It makes a compelling fit for someone looking for a less intrusive standalone fitness wearable.
However, the lack of basic smart features such as wireless music streaming and third-party apps make it less desirable to many looking for a smartwatch. Important to note, Maps is the first Google service to arrive on the Versa 4. However, there is no fixed rollout timeline for it.
The Versa 4 has built-in speaker and microphones for hands-free voice calling experience. But there is no cellular connectivity and the wearable needs to be connected to the phone, diminishing its standalone smartwatch utility. Lastly, there is no support for Google and Apple voice assistants. There is Amazon Alexa, which wakes up by pressing the button on the watch. However, the experience is a mixed bag.
Making up for the less smart features is the whole suite of health-and-fitness features and a stellar on-battery time. The Versa 4 has built-in GPS, which is tad slow in establishing connection with navigation satellites – especially in congested areas. However, it is accurate in terms of data. There is a heart rate sensor and altimeter, and the watch supports sleep tracking. It provides access to granular health-and-fitness related data on the supplementary app, available on Google and Apple app stores, for the user to understand.
Coming to the on-battery time, the Versa 4 works for about a week on a single charge. It has an always-on display, which is not the best iteration but works fine to check information at glance. With always-on display enabled, the on-battery time reduces to about three days on regular usage.
The Fitbit Versa 4 is more of a fitness-focused wearable and less of a smartwatch. At Rs 20,499, it makes a compelling buy for someone looking for a less intrusive standalone fitness wearable. However, the lack of basic smart features make it less desirable to smartwatch enthusiasts.