- Fitbit on Wednesday unveiled the Versa Lite, a less expensive version of its flagship smartwatch.
- The Versa Lite is set to launch in mid-March and is available to preorder starting Wednesday.
Now Fitbit is introducing an even less expensive option for smartwatch shoppers: the Fitbit Versa Lite Edition, which costs $US160 and will be available in mid-March.
Here’s what the Versa Lite Edition can do, and how it compares with the standard Versa smartwatch.
The Versa Lite Edition inherits many of the same features as its pricier predecessor, the Fitbit Versa.
The Fitbit Versa Lite can automatically track activity, supports more than 15 exercise modes, and includes Fitbit’s PurePulse heart-rate sensor and a SpO2 sensor for estimating changes in blood oxygen levels.
It also supports connected GPS, which relies on sensors in your smartphone to track your location. Fitbit says the watch is water-resistant and should last more than four days on a single charge.
The new watch, like the standard Versa, can monitor sleep.
The Versa Lite will also be able to detect sleep stages. Fitbit launched the feature in 2017 to tell wearers how much time they spend in light, deep, and REM sleep.
The Versa Lite has several non-health-oriented smartwatch features too.
Like the standard Versa, the Versa Lite Edition can display smartphone notifications when your device is nearby. Android users can also respond to text messages straight from the watch.
The Versa Lite Edition will also come in a few new colour options – white, lilac, blue, and mulberry – while the Versa is available in black, rose gold, and silver.
But the Versa Lite can’t do everything its more expensive siblings can.
For example, the Fitbit Versa Lite can’t count swim laps or display on-screen workouts from the Fitbit Coach app on the wrist. It also can’t count the number of floors a wearer has climbed, a longtime staple of Fitbit’s trackers.
And there’s no way to store music or download stations from Pandora or Deezer like there is on the pricier Versa watches. The watch can, however, be used to control music playing on your smartphone.
The Apple Watch also offers a few features the Versa lacks, such as the ability to store music on the device, as well as a dedicated GPS that can function independently of the phone it’s paired with.
When the Versa Lite Edition launches this month, it will join the $US200 Versa and the $US230 Fitbit Versa Special Edition, rounding out Fitbit’s smartwatch lineup with a low-cost option.
The high-end Versa Special Edition is the only watch of the three to support Fitbit’s mobile payment service, Fitbit Pay, and is compatible with the company’s woven watch bands.
It’s the variety in pricing that Fitbit CEO James Park says separates his company’s products from Apple’s approach to the smartwatch market.
“For us, it’s not just about the latest features at the highest price points,” he said in an interview with Business Insider. “We want to make sure everyone who needs it is able to benefit from what we’re doing.”
Fitbit also announced that the Fitbit Inspire and Inspire HR bands would now be available for the public.
The Fitbit Inspire and Inspire HR bands launched exclusively for Fitbit’s corporate, wellness, health-plan, and health-systems partners earlier this year, but they will be available for the public starting in mid-March.
The company is also releasing a new version of its child-oriented activity tracker this summer called the Ace 2, with a new water-resistant design and new animated clock faces.
The new products are part of Fitbit’s effort to grow its user base, which it says has been steadily increasing in recent years.
Fitbit said it had 27.6 million active users in 2018, up from 25.4 million in 2017.
Apple is still the market leader in smartwatch sales, a recent report from Strategy Analytics found. Apple accounted for about half of the global smartwatch market as of the fourth quarter of 2018, while Samsung and Fitbit vied for second – the Korean electronics maker accounted for 13.2% of the market, and Fitbit claimed 12.7%.
Apple is also rumoured to be working on a new sleep-tracking feature for the Apple Watch that could arrive in 2020 – a capability that Fitbit has long offered.
“For us, our whole strategy is about bringing more people onto Fitbit,” Park said. “We’re all about reducing the barriers to purchase and bringing more people on.”
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