Apple Watch and Garmin just had their asses handed to them by new Fitbit features on Sense and Versa 3

Fitbit update: Sense and Versa to get audible replies, Google Assistant, Bluetooth calling features and avocado advice

Fitbit OS 5.1 update Fitbit Sense update Fitbit Versa 3 update
(Image credit: Fitbit)

Fitbit's latest smartwatch offerings, the Fitbit Versa 3 and the Fitbit Sense, have been the best Fitbits already but with the latest software update, both watches became even bigger competition to the Apple Watch. The new Fitbit OS 5.1 update brings a range of new features and updates to these watches, including improved SpO2 measurements, extra voice assistants and more. Initially in the USA only, these Fitbit OS 5.1 features are now rolling out in the UK and elsewhere.

Just a quick recap, what's the difference between the Fitbit Sense vs Fitbit Versa 3: from a physical design perspective, they are almost identical and feature the new, sleeker, rounded Fitbit look that's been completely redesigned for the Sense and also used for the Versa 3.

The same goes for the new user interface. the main difference is that the Sense is capable of measuring ECG and there is also the stress tracking feature where you place your palm over the face of the Sense to detect small electrical changes in the sweat level of their skin, which may indicate the body’s response to stress. Otherwise, both watches are pretty much the same.

Fitbit Sense software update

(Image credit: Fitbit)

The Fitbit os 5.1 update brings even more functionality to both watches, making it even harder to distinguish them from one-another. If you thought the classic 'standard/special-edition' setup was confusing from Fitbit, they put a spin on it with the Versa 3/Sense duo.

Anyhow, the new update has "enhanced the SpO2 experience", as Fitbit puts it, which hopefully means that the blood oxygen monitoring feature will become a bit less unpredictable than how it was before. Fitbit's track SpO2 levels while you sleep and changes in its levels could indicate changes in your fitness and wellness, like increased stress or fatigue, or signs of respiratory issues or changes in your environment, such as altitude or air quality. There has already been an SpO2 clock face available but there will be seven more added to the roster.

Fitbit Versa 3 review

(Image credit: Fitbit)

The smart assistants will also be updated. Using Amazon Alexa, you have the added capability to receive audible replies from the on-device voice assistant. Better still, Google Assistant will finally be included on the watch, first in the US, then rolled globally, including the UK, Australia, Canada, India, Ireland, New Zealand and Singapore in English in late 2020.

• Shop all the best Fitbit Black Friday deals at Fitbit (US)

• Shop all the best Fitbit Black Friday deals at Fitbit (UK)

Finally, with both Sense and Versa 3, you’ll also be able to take hands-free Bluetooth calls with the on-device microphone and speakers, send incoming calls to voicemail and control volume without reaching for a phone. Android users can also respond to text messages on-the-go with voice-to-text commands.

Fitbit Versa 2 and Fitbit Premium

(Image credit: Fitbit )

Fitbit software update: older models

Even if you only have an older Fitbit Versa model – or older Fitbit Charge model for that matter – that doesn't mean you will miss out on useful software updates. Thanks to a recent Fitbit software update, Active Zone Minutes and advanced Health Metrics Dashboard features were added to older Versa and Charge fitness trackers.

Fitbit is also (in)famous for unlocking dormant functions on its watches, even after years of they have been released, like when they activated the SpO2 sensors in Ionic models earlier on this year, a running watch that's been put for years by now. Who knows what other features your Fitbit is hiding in plain sight?

The best Fitbit Black Friday deals

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Best deal

Fitbit Sense | Was $329.95 | Now $279.95 | Save $50 at Fitbit
Who would've thought, seeing a Fitbit Sense deal this Black Friday, only a few months after it was released? Better still, thanks to the new Fitbit OS 5.1, the Sense is now capable of even more precise SpO2 measurements. Google Assistant is also finally available to use so you can choose between Amazon Alexa and that. In case one voice assistant option is just not enough for you.

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Fitbit Versa 3 | Was $229.95 | Now $199.95 | Save $30 at Fitbit
Physically, the Versa 3 is almost identical to the Sense (apart from a couple of sensors) and provides almost the same user experience. What you miss out on by getting a Versa 3 is the stress tracking and the ECG but if you can live without these, you can save around $100. Even more now.

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Cheapest ever

Fitbit Versa 2 | Was $129.95 | Now $179.95 | Save $30 at Fitbit
The Fitbit Versa 2 might have fallen from grace since the arrival of the Sense/Versa 3 but for this price, getting a Versa 2 is a steal. The Versa 2 only has connected GPS functionality but it features Amazon Alexa smart assistant, SpO2 sensor and a bunch of other features that you won't find elsewhere in this quality, for this price.

Matt Kollat
Matt Kollat

Matt is T3's very own fitness and nutrition writer. In his free time, he swims, runs, cycles and tries various resistance training workouts so he can ramble about them to people who aren't really interested in fitness.