The Fitbit Versa smartwatch is small, cheap and sweet

The Fitbit Versa smartwatch is small, cheap and sweet

It’s tough being a fitness-tracker maker. Nike, Jawbone, and Microsoft all abandoned the market entirely. Fitbit soldiers on, but it hasn’t been easy.

It’s not that people have stopped caring about their health. It’s that little by little, smartwatches have been eating fitness bands’ lunch. So Fitbit Inc. (FIT) figured: “Well, we better make a smartwatch then!”

The first attempt, last year’s Fitbit Ionic, was a dud. (Here’s my review.) It was huge. It looked like you were wearing a car door on your wrist. And it cost $300, almost as much as an Apple Watch did at the time.

Well, good news all around: Fitbit has brought forth a second smartwatch. It’s called the Versa, and it takes a sledgehammer to everything that was wrong with the Ionic.

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The Fitbit Versa falls exactly halfway between fitness wristbands and full-blown wrist computers like the Apple Watch.

Size and shape

The Versa costs $200 instead of $300. Nicely done, Fitbit. (The two-year-old Apple Watch Series 1 starts at $250. The newer Apple Watch 3 starts at $330 and goes up to $1,400.)

And instead of being big, homely, angular and wrapping halfway around your wrist, the Versa is small, sweet and unbelievably light (eight-tenths of an ounce), even though it’s made of metal (aluminum).

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The 1.34-inch screen is square; the body is rounded.

The Versa is smaller and thinner than the Apple Watch. It’s slightly wider, but that’s fine — it makes much more sense to expand along the direction that your arm goes, rather than trying to be a flat object on your curved wrist.

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