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Fitbit Versa Lite Review: Too Watered Down

Fitbit stripped away too many features

While we applaud Fitbit for trying to make a really affordable smartwatch for people unwilling to drop serious cash on a wearable by omitting some features to push the price down, the company went a little bit too far with the Versa Lite.

When you get down to it, the regular Versa is still the better buy VS the Versa Lite especially when you consider just how much hardware and features that Fitbit cut for the small little price reduction.

Same old design with a few changes

The Versa Lite is basically the Versa with a few minor exterior changes: there’s only one button on the watch instead of the three in the Versa. Aside from that, the design for the two smartwatches are identical, with most of the differences on the inside of the smartwatch.

The Versa Lite is still water resistant, though that little feature becomes a little useless when we start talking about what Fitbit took out of the smartwatch a little later.

Our review device came in striking blue, with a blue silicon band to match. Fitbit includes two different wristbands in the packaging.

Lots of features taken out for very little price difference

Since this is a cheaper version of the Versa, we’ll be talking about what’s missing in the Versa Lite instead of what’s in it. It doesn’t have a gyroscope, nor does it have an altimeter. That means the watch won’t be able to track altitude changes when you’re biking, for example, or can it count your laps in a pool when you’re swimming.

There’s also no way to fit music in this thing, and the watch has no WiFi either, which really makes updating the thing laborious via Bluetooth if and when a firmware update for it lands. There’s also no guided workouts for it either.

The Versa Lite can still accurately read your heartbeat as well as track your sleep cycle accurately, though many of the hardware omissions may make the Versa Lite unattractive for serious fitness fanatics.

Aside from its hardware shortcomings, the Versa Lite felt comfortable to wear, even during extended periods. The full-color touchscreen display was easily readable under the noonday sun, though it’s not as vibrant as the displays of similarly-priced smartwatches by its competitors.

FitBit’s OS 3 interface was easy to understand and navigate through, though we did notice that the Versa Lite took a second to pull up my daily progress stats whenever I checked it.

If you want a detailed accounting of your jogging or biking route during a particular workout, you’ll have to bring your phone with you since the Versa Lite only does connect GPS.

There’s not a lot of things you can do with the Versa Lite, though the Strava app comes pre-installed in it when you buy one.

5 days of battery life, if you’re lucky

As for battery life, Fitbit is claiming 4-day endurance out of the Versa Lite.

That battery estimate tracks with our use, though we did manage to eke out around 5 days of use out of the thing in one instance. Overall battery life ultimately depends on how often you use the device’s exercise tracking capabilities, so your mileage may vary.

Charging is done through FitBit’s proprietary charger and charging times are pretty quick for this small wearable. You’ll be quickly back in action in less than 30 minutes.

Verdict: just pay for the more expensive Versa

Fitbit went a little too far trying to make the Versa Lite as affordable as possible for the masses and took out a lot of features that many health-conscious users look for in a smartwatch.

The loss of WiFi, altimeter plus gyroscope along with guided workouts is serious blows to the smartwatch’s functionality, especially if you take a look at the price difference between the regular Versa VS the toned-down version.

With the Versa retailing at Php 11,112 in FitBit’s official Lazada presence and the Versa Lite coming in at just Php 10,390 at the same outlet, it’s hard to justify springing for the less capable model. The price savings you get VS the number of features that are cut out means that you’re better off just buying the regular Versa VS the lite variant.

Fitbit Versa Review: Awesome Apple Watch Alternative

John Nieves

John is a veteran technology and gadget journalist with more than 10 years of experience both in print and online. When not writing about technology, he frequently gets lost in the boonies playing soldier.

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