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Do you know Harley Pasternak? He’s an author, TV host, and celebrity personal trainer. But yesterday, he was the guy who tried to kill me in a mini bootcamp. That’s him, getting ready to kick my ass. I only agreed to this in order to get some hands-on time with the new Versa smartwatch, from Fitbit.
I was offered delicious-looking power foods and drinks, but there was no way I was putting anything in my stomach before an unknown workout. This turned out to be a smart move, since there was lots of jumping.
I’m always nervous when I’m asked to show up somewhere in workout gear, but I decided to chance it in order to find out what the newest Fitbit had to offer. And I’m really glad I did, despite having to take some ibuprofen when I got home from the event.
I did discover, though, that I’m actually really good at dodge ball! Who knew? This is Jeremy, who ran the dodge ball games after Harley’s bootcamp, congratulating me after winning the third game for my team!
When all was said and done, I’d gotten my heart rate up to 140, from a resting heart rate of 70. Not bad!
The Versa works with Android, iPhone, and even WindowsPhone (which must be aimed at the European market, since I’m pretty sure I was the last person in North America to use a WindowsPhone), although the “quick response” feature is only available on Android for now.
I want to start with the Versa’s design, because a smartwatch is something that you have on your wrist basically all the time, so how it looks is more important to me than, say, how my phone looks, since my phone spends a lot of its life in my pocket or purse. I’ve had smartwatches and activity trackers that I’ve had to hide under specially-made jewelry when I was wearing anything fancier than sweatpants, but I’m happy to report that that would not be the case with the Versa. From the beveled edges and “squircle” shape (a combination of a square and circle) to the interchangeable wristbands (they’re on a spring – you can switch them up in seconds!), to the hundreds of digital watch faces, every detail of the Versa’s design was sweated over and worked out.
There’s even a special partnership with funky knitwear manufacturer PH5 for two special edition bands!
The Versa that I tried out for my workout yesterday was not exciting to look at. It was the black version of the watch with a black rubber-ish band, which I’m sure some people will prefer, but I’m not one of them – I was immediately drawn to both the rose gold and the gray.
But best of all, besides looking great, the Versa is waterproof! Whether you get it wet accidentally (get caught in the rain!) or take it for a swim, it will be waterproof down to 50 meters.
The Versa felt very light on my wrist. It’s big, which is good because it can give you a lot of information on the screen, but it’s not bulky at all. It doesn’t stick up like a lot of smartwatches with a heart rate monitor do. I was surprised at how flat it was.
With the right band, the Versa is downright elegant. I’ve never come close to saying that about a digital smartwatch before.
What It Does
The Versa does everything you’d want a smartwatch to do plus one or two things you hadn’t thought of, all with a battery life that can last for more than four days! Naturally, it tracks things like running, biking, and other exercises with Connected GPS, but it can do so much more.
Heart Rate Monitor
Being able to track your heart rate 24/7 gives you insight into sleep patterns, resting heart rate trends, and your fitness level, and helps the Versa to lead you through customized, guided breathing sessions when you need to calm down.
Personalized Fitness Guidance
The Fitbit Coach provides you with dynamic, guided coaching that gets more personalized as the Versa gets to know you and sees your progress. Since it’s tracking your heart rate, feedback will be based on how you’re actually reacting to a workout.
You can store a few of these workouts on the watch itself – no phone needed!
Health and Fitness Dashboard
You’ll have access to seven days of some information right on your wrist – you won’t have to go to the app to see a week’s worth of fitness and activity records! You can easily see your stats and track your progress. Fitbit also has the largest global social fitness network, with more than 25 million users, so you’ll be able to use that network to get encouragement and help meet your goals.
In addition to being waterproof up to 50 meters, the Versa will also track your laps, the length of your swim, the duration, and how many calories you burned.
There are more than 350 apps available already, like Pandora, Strava, Nest, Hue Lights, The New York Times, and Starbucks.
No phone? No problem! You’ll be able to store enough music in the Versa to head out phone-less and listen via Bluetooth headphones. The Versa will fit more than 300 songs! You can connect with your favorite Bluetooth headphones, but the sweatproof Fitbit Flyer is worth a look if you’re in the market for new workout headphones.
The built-in NFC chip will let you pay with a swipe of your wrist. This will be available on the Special Edition watches only. So far there are about three dozen banks on board, with more coming.
See the notifications you want to see, and turn them off quickly if you want to.
Female Health Tracking
You’ll be able to track your period right in the app, as well as see predictions about your fertility cycle.
The Fitbit Versa is selling for $199.95 ($30 more for the Special Edition), and accessories will be available for $29.95-$99.95. It will be in stores on April 16th, but is available right now for pre-order!
But the Versa wasn’t the only thing I learned about yesterday! Fitbit is also coming out with its first Fitbit for kids, the Ace. Aimed at kids eight and up, the Ace is a fun way to get the whole family active, without your kids thinking that they’ve been given a toy. It looks and acts like a Fitbit activity tracker, not a cheap plasticky kids’ tracker. It tracks activity and sleep, and can give your kids reminders to get up and move (these can, of course, be scheduled to only happen outside of school time).
Available in Electric Blue and Power Purple, the Ace can have up to five days of battery life, and has ten clock faces to choose from. The Ace is also showerproof and splashproof. The band is adjustable and will grow with your child. It’s compatible with iOS and Android, and if your child has an iPhone or Android phone they can even get phone notifications on the Ace.
Your kids will be able to earn badges and get other fun motivations to be active. And while kids can log into the app and see their progress, only the parents will be able to see things like calories burned, through the new Fitbit Family Account. And of course, it complies with COPPA and all other applicable privacy laws.
The Ace is also available for pre-order today, and costs $99.95.
And that’s what I know! If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go take more ibuprofen.