Fitbit Versa Lite wins gold in T3 Awards 2019

From the talented Fitbit family of cool fitness bands, this is the overall champion

T3 Awards 2019: Fitbit Versa Lite best fitness tracker

Into the finishing straight now and the 2019 T3 Award for best fitness tracker goes to… could it be… the Fitbit Inspire HR? No, that's faded in the closing stages, how about the Fitbit Charge 3? No! It's fallen. So the winner is… it's the Fitbit Versa Lite

So, it's fair to say Fitbit dominates the fitness tracker market. It also makes the Ionic (opens in new tab), which is more like a running watch crossed with a smartwatch but could just as easily have been a contender here. The 'problem' if you can call it that, which Fitbit has it that it doesn't differentiate its devices very much at all. Punters are just invited to pick a size, shape and price that suits their needs – Inspire, Charge, Versa and Versa Lite are all essentially the same, excellent product. 

The Versa Lite Edition, to give it its full nomenclature, is exactly what the name suggests – Fitbit's range-topping tracker, with a few of its features removed and a slightly more basic look. You only lose NFC, so there's no contactless payments, there's no swim tracking (although it's qwaterproof to 50m, so you can swim in it), and there's one button to the original Versa's trio – operation is more fully via its touchscreen, which arguably makes more sense anyway.

What the Versa Lite Edition keeps is the full suite of Fitbit services, from step counting to menstrual tracking, along with more sophisticated elements such as cardio tracking – all-day and when working out – advanced sleep tracking, and the ability to use your phone's GPS to track walks, runs and rides. Although unlike the Ionic, there's no built-in GPS. It'll even do things that a few years ago were considered very high-end, such as VO2 Max estimation. This is basically a score for how fit you are, which is way more useful, but potentially less motivating, than step counts.

The Versa Lite also handles notifications, which is all anyone really wants from a smartwatch, let's be honest. 

The Charge 3 can do ALL of these things, but its smaller screen is just that bit less useful for certain functions – the Charge 3 is more your traditional 'fitness band'. That's why for our money, for casual fitness enthusiasts there's nothing to beat the Versa Lite. Fitbit also keeps assuring us that soon it will offer 'a more personalised and valuable experience'. And one excellent thing about Fitbit is that it really does support and update its models' software over a period of many years. 

In other words, the Versa Lite is not only the best fitness tracker you can get, it will also only continue to get better.

More Fitbit essentials

Duncan has been writing about tech for almost 15 years, during which time he has attended every event going, apart from Apple ones, as he mysteriously doesn't get invited to them. He has covered everything from smartphones to headphones, TV to AC and air fryers to the movies of James Bond and obscure anime. 

Duncan's current brief is everything to do with the home and kitchen, which is good because he is an excellent cook, if he says so himself. He also covers cycling and ebikes – like over-using italics, this is another passion of his. Duncan also edits T3's golf section because fuck it, someone has to. Dave Usher does all the real work on that bit, though. In his long and varied lifestyle-tech career he is one of the few people to have been a fitness editor despite being unfit and a cars editor for not one but two websites, despite being unable to drive. He also has about 400 vacuum cleaners, and is possibly the UK's leading expert on cordless vacuum cleaners, despite being decidedly messy.

Before T3, Duncan was a music and film reviewer, worked for a magazine about gambling that employed a surprisingly large number of convicted criminals, and then a magazine called Bizarre that was essentially Reddit before the invention of Reddit. There was a lengthy period where he essentially wrote all of T3 magazine every month for about 3 years. 

A broadcaster, raconteur and public speaker, Duncan used to be on telly loads, but an unfortunate incident put a stop to that, so he now largely contents himself with telling people, "I used to be on the TV, you know."