The newly launched Fitbit Versa Lite, which costs Rs 15,999 in India, is not a successor to the Fitbit Versa, which we reviewed last year. Rather, it is a variant of the Fitbit Versa that is tailored for those who are looking for all the goodness offered by the company's Versa-tile smartwatch at a lesser price. Of course, there are trade-offs that have been made.
For instance, Versa Lite cannot count the floors that you have climbed or the number of laps you have covered while swimming and it does not offer you on-screen work. But those are the trade off that can be made especially if you are paying Rs 5,500 less compared to the Fitbit Versa and Rs 7,500 less compared with the Fitbit Versa Special Edition. Simply said, if you don't mind making certain trade-offs you can save a significant amount of money and yet get an exceptionally good experience in return with the Versa Lite.
The Fitbit Versa Lite features a design that is quite similar to the design of the original Fitbit Versa. It comes with a square-ish LCD display that is adorned by an anodised aluminium chassis - something that we saw in Versa and Versa Special Edition smartwatches last year. The only difference between the two smartwatches, apart from the price of course, is that of the physical buttons.
The Fitbit Versa, that was launched last year, featured two physical buttons on the right side that could be used to access watch apps on the device. The Fitbit Versa Lite comes with only one physical button that is neatly placed on the left side of the smart watch. This button, unlike the ones present on the Fitbit Versa, can be used to navigate back in the screen or to put it to sleep. Utilities aside, the button on the Versa Lite looks quite similar to the one present on wristwatches and it looks far too aesthetically pleasing compared to the one in the original Versa, making the less pricey Lite score extra points solely for its looks.
At the back of the display are a bunch of sensors, including an optical heart rate sensor, a SpO2 sensor and an ambient light sensor. However, the Versa Lite, unlike the Versa and the Versa Special Edition, does not come with an altimeter, which restricts it from counting the number of floors that you have climbed.
While the display of the Fitbit Versa Lite is elegant, the body, which includes a silicon band, is extremely light and comfortable to wear even during prolonged usage or when things get a bit sweaty. And the best thing about the entire set up is that it is waterproof and you can wear it in shower or in a pool with a depth of up to 50m. Simply said, its stylish design makes no compromise on the comfort.
Display is one of the most important aspects of a smartwatch. It can make or break a smartwatch in the eyes of a user. Fortunately for us it's a make situation wherein a relatively affordable smartwatch meets all our expectations.
The Fitbit Versa Lite features a 1.34-inch LCD display with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection and 1,000 nits brightness. This display not only makes the screen of the Versa Lite almost immune to the bright Delhi sun but it also makes the colours look beautiful on screen.
Beyond the colours, you can swipe down to access your messages and swipe up to check your daily stats - heart rate, step count, sleeping hours etc -- and weekly reports. Swiping left gives you access to exercise modes, alarms, relaxing sessions and settings, while long pressing the physical button on the left gives you access to music controls and notification controls. All in all, the display of the Fitbit Versa Lite is great addition to the overall setup.
The Fitbit Versa Lite, like I said in the beginning of this review, is a great smartwatch for those are looking for a device that would replace both - their wristwatch and their fitness tracker. It offers the best of the other world (one with expensive features) with certain tradeoffs - some compromises that are both necessary and inevitable. For instance, you can check messages but not respond to them (not when paired with an iPhone at least), you can control music playing on your connected smartphone but not play it natively, you can count steps but not the number of floors that you have climbed. All these are compromises.
Then there are the things that make Versa Lite a good alternative - besides a better design of course - to the original Versa smartwatch. For starters, just like any good and obedient smartwatch, Versa Lite can be used to answer calls and track your fitness related parameters such as your heart rate, your cardio fitness level, your step count, the total number of calories that you have burnt, your sleeping cycle and your weekly workout summary. Then, there are the hourly activity reminders that prompt you to walk certain steps every hour so that you complete your daily target goal or the step count. There are also the guided breathing sessions that help you relax by helping you to breathe deeply for two or five minutes. In case you want to take a look at the weather outside, there is a widget for that.
And before you ask, there is a widget for setting alarms - that you can use to set up to eight alarms - and timers as well. Basically, Versa Lite offers the best of best features at a relatively low cost.
The issue - however insignificant it might be - lies in the absence of the on-board GPS. This means that you cannot ditch your phone completely as you need it to track your fitness activity in minute preciseness. Besides this, you need to select your exercise mode in the Fitbit Versa Lite. This means that if you decide to walk for 15 mins then run for another 15 minutes and the ride a cycle for 30 minutes, you will have to select the mode manually in the smartwatch, which may seem a hassle to some users even if I didn't particularly mind it.
What good is a smartwatch if it cannot support you through a good night's sleep or two and has to be charged every other day? Fitbit Versa Lite is good at this battery life thing.
Fitbit's budget smartwatch claims to offer a battery life of over four days. And true to its word, Versa Lite does deliver more than four days of health tracking capabilities with grace. This means that you can wear it all day, and all night long without the fear of the battery running out in the morning. It also means that you can track your sleep and your sleeping habits in a better way and make changes in your sleeping cycle should you need more rest and set alarms on your smartwatch directly without worrying about its juice running out, unlike the Fitbit Charge 3 that we reviewed earlier this year (https://www.indiatoday.in/technology/reviews/story/fitbit-charge-3-review-the-only-fitness-tracker-you-need-1445074-2019-02-02).
During my time with the Versa Lite, the smartwatch lasted close to five days on a single charge before its battery drained out completely and it gave me reminders when just 15 per cent battery was remaining. This is comparable with the Fitbit Versa which offered similar battery performance. As far as the charge time is concerned, the Fitbit Versa Lite goes from zero to 100 per cent in two hours.
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In one word: Yes. The Fitbit Versa Lite offers the best of what Versa does at a lower cost. It tracks your sleeping cycle, it is waterproof, it offers guided breathing sessions and you can even answer calls using the Versa Lite. In short, it has the makings of a perfect smartwatch.
Sure, there are bargains to be made. Absence of an altimeter, no on-board GPS, and absence of automatic exercise detection system are some trade-offs that come with the price but those are not sacrifices that cannot be overlooked, especially at this price point and with a design as gorgeous as this one.
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