Fitbit Versa 3 review TL;DR: a great fitness smartwatch with a sharp AMOLED screen and a slew of health features for a reasonable price. If only the inductive 'button' wouldn't be a bit too fiddly to use.
The Fitbit Versa 3 represents transition, both in a sense (pun intended) that it moved on from being the flagship Fitbit model – that title goes to the Fitbit Sense now – and because Google is buying Fitbit, which will probably have a profound impact on future Fitbit models. The influence of both can already be felt on the Fitbit Versa 3, for better or worse. How does the Fitbit Sense 3 compare to the Sense? Find out here: Fitbit Versa 3 vs Fitbit Sense.
While the Fitbit Versa 2 was more of an update rather than a revolution of the original Versa, the Versa 3 has introduced significant improvements over its predecessor. The physical design and user interface have been redesigned, yet the Versa 3 still feels and works like a true Fitbit. In fact, we'll go out on a limb and say it's the best Fitbit for most.
Update 18 December 2020: the Fitbit OS 5.1 update has finally been rolled out to the UK and Europe, which means both the Sense and Versa 3 is now Google Assistant-enabled. The wait is over!
Fitbit Versa 3 review: price and availability
Fitbit Versa 3 is available for £199.99 / $229.95 / €229.95 / AU$399.95 in black/black aluminium, pink clay/soft gold aluminium and midnight/soft gold aluminium. The Fitbit Versa 3 can be purchased directly from Fitbit and selected third party retailers.
The main features of the Fitbit Versa 3 include built-in GPS, SpO2 monitoring, Active Zone Minutes activity tracking, two smart assistant options (Google Assistant feature is still being rolled out), heart rate variability tracking, over 20 exercise modes on board and SmartTrack.
Fitbit Versa 3 review: is the Fitbit Versa 3 worth buying?
The Fitbit Versa 3 is absolutely worth buying: it's one of the best value-for-money Fitbits on the market after all, especially if you're looking for a fitness watch and not a fitness band. Unlike the Sense, a health smartwatch that offers more experimental features such as ECG that's not all that useful in everyday life, the Versa 3 is priced well and has all the features you might need from a fitness watch, including an optical heart rate sensor, built-in GPS, Active Zone Minutes, sleep tracking and more.
Fitbit Versa 3 review: design and build quality
The Fitbit Versa 3 takes cues from the Fitbit Sense which is no secret, it has even been communicated by Fitbit itself. The new and revamped watch looks distinctively Fitbit-like and improves upon the design of the Fitbit Versa 2. You still get the rectangular shape of the case but this time around, the corners are more rounded and everything just feels softer and more oval in general.
The Fitbit Versa 3 has a bigger screen than its predecessor (40mm vs 35mm, respectively) and the display blends better with the bezel, giving the impression that it’s actually larger than it really is. The aluminium case of the Versa 3 is only fractionally thicker and longer than the Versa 2 but the AMOLED display, with a resolution of 336 x 336 pixels, definitely gives the Versa 3 the competitive edge over the Versa 2.
Fitbit Versa 3 review: ergonomics
The new Fitbits, including the Versa 3 and the Fitbit Sense, feature the Infinity Band, an all-silicone strap that's easy to put on, even with just one hand. The box includes both small and large straps so even if you have large wrists, you don’t have to buy a separate band. That said, I have a relatively large wrist and I still found the small strap plenty big enough.
The Fitbit Versa 3 uses a touchscreen plus one button navigation system but as opposed to the physical button found on the Versa 2, the new model uses an ‘inductive’ button, which is more of a touch-sensitive indentation on the case rather than a button. This button sits a little bit under the edge of the case and you have to press ‘under’ the watch if you want to interact with it.
Not only this is a bit inconvenient, trying to find the right place to press, but I also found the haptic feedback a bit slow too. As a result, I kept on turning the screen on and off three times every time I wanted to bring it to life. I appreciate the button has a lot of potential and it is possibly better for the integrity of the case but it needs refinement before it reaches its full potential.
On the upside, the screen is responsive and sharp, maybe not quite as much as the one found on the Zepp E but definitely good enough in most cases. It’s vibrant, the colours are popping and easy to read overall.
Fitbit Versa 3 review: activity tracking and Active Zone Minutes
The Fitbit Versa 3 has 20 activity profiles on board straight out of the box and it also features built-in GPS and memory for offline music listening, meaning that this Fitbit can finally provide true offline, phone-free outdoor exercising experience. The sport profiles cover most of the main type of activities such as running, cycling, walking etc. and also some more obscure ones like bootcamp, kickboxing and stair climber.
The exercise profiles available on the Fitbit Versa include (in alphabetical order) Bike, Bootcamp, Circuit training, Elliptical, Golf, Hike, Interval workouts, Kickboxing, Martial arts, Pilates, Run, Spinning, Stair Climber, Swim, Tennis, Treadmill, Walk, Weights, Workout and Yoga. Please note that although the Versa 3 will record certain metrics, (e.g. lap/distance tracking in pools) when worn for swimming, it won't record heart rate.
The Fitbit Versa 3 is also capable of tracking workouts automatically thanks to its SmartTrack feature. There is also Active Zone Minutes, a system that tracks heart rate and checks whether you reached at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity a week. This feature is automatic and requires no user interaction (apart from moving around, of course), ideal for people who tend to be sedentary and need a reminder to move every now and then.
Fitbit Versa 3 review: GPS and heart rate accuracy
The Fitbit Versa 3 uses the new PurePulse 2.0 heart rate sensor, the same found in the Fitbit Sense. Not surprisingly, it is still a wrist-based optical heart rate sensor, providing acceptable heart rate readings. The PurePulse 2.0 sensor and the accompanying algorithm were tuned to track HR levels well for everyday people, but it’s not capable of providing accurate readings in a broad spectrum of heart rate levels.
If you are a trained athlete and have a very low resting heart rate, that might throw the Versa 3’s sensor off. The same goes for quickly changing heart rates: devotions from the norm will throw the sensor and the algorithm off. For everyday tracking and stuff like Active Zone Minutes, the HR sensor is generally fine.
The GPS chip works fine and will track your position with relative accuracy when exercising outdoors. It is not on par with the Garmin Fenix 6 Pro or the Garmin Forerunner 745 but it will not drop the GPS signal for no reason. The Versa 3 will sometimes show that you went off the road when in reality you didn’t but these issues won’t affect the performance too much.
Fitbit Versa 3 review: sleep tracking and the Fitbit App
As well as tracking physical activities, the Fitbit Versa 3 also tracks sleep, blood oxygen levels and skin temperature, among other things. Just like every other feature of this smartwatch, all these metrics are tracked automatically, you only have to wear the watch. After wearing the Versa 3 for at least three times during sleeping, it will also give you a sleep score based on the length of the sleep, the amount of REM and deep sleep you had and your sleeping heart rate.
All details about sleep, and everything else measured by the Versa 3, can be further scrutinised in the Fitbit App. In the app, you’ll find a glance overview of all your activities for the day (e.g. steps taken, calories burned etc) and other info such as how many days you exercised this week, how much weight you gained/lost etc. It’s really used friendly and straightforward and it focuses on basic health stuff as opposed to hardcore sports metrics.
Fitbit Versa 3 review: verdict
The Fitbit Versa 3 is a very enjoyable fitness smartwatch. It offers more functionality and better looks than even the best fitness trackers but it’s maybe not quite as smart and precise as the Apple Watch Series 5. That comparison might not be fair, though, as the Fitbit Versa 3 offers all of its great features for much less than the Apple Watch 5.
The Versa 3 is a well-rounded offer from Fitbit and comes with built-in GPS, in-app workout intensity map, PurePulse 2.0 optical heart rate sensor and the Active Zone Minutes feature to monitor your fitness activities, even when you're not actively logging workouts. The Fitbit Versa 3 also has a built-in speaker and microphone to take quick phone calls, send calls to voicemail and adjust call volume – although you will look like a ‘special’ agent, if you know what we mean.
Considering the asking price, the Fitbit Versa 3 is definitely a great buy. Should you find one for a discounted price – which will inevitably happen sooner or later – we recommend getting one, even if you already have a Versa 2. for the best prices, check out this roundup of the best cheap Fitbit deals.
Fitbit Versa 3 review: also consider
The new Garmin Venu Sq looks eerily similar to the Fitbit Versa 3 and has the same target audience too. The Garmin’s screen is smaller and less detailed and the user interface is a bit less – so to say – modern but the basic, non-music version is cheaper than the Versa 3, in case price is a concern for you.
There is also the Apple Watch SE, or Apple Watch ‘Light’ as we like to call it, that’s more expensive than the Versa 3 but it’s an Apple Watch so it is a bit more precise than the Fitbit. The Apple Watch SE hasn’t got detailed sleep tracking or blood oxygen monitoring like the Versa 3 but provides the basics just fine.
Let's not forget the Fitbit Sense, the fitbit's flagship wearable. The design of the two watches are almost identical and they both come equipped with the same screen and almost all the same sensors. However, the Sense comes equipped with a few extra health sensors and apps, namely the ECG sensor and the stress measuring EDA Scan app. The Sense can also give you a ‘Stress Score’. The extra health sensors and apps will cost you a £100/$100 more, though.