There was a time when the Fitbit Versa was by far the best Fitbit smartwatch you could buy, but things have changed. The latest Fitbit Versa 4 has its merits, but it also has some glaring weaknesses. Compromises are to be expected for a smartwatch in the lowest category of a brand.
Compared to the Fitbit Versa 3, the Fitbit Versa 4 has an updated user interface and a new design that simplifies navigation and resurrects the physical side button. It also has the same great 6-day battery life and Amazon Alexa voice assistant. But the Versa 4 isn’t as strong of an activity tracker, with inaccurate heart rate readings having a negative impact on earned activity zone minutes.
It’s also not as “smart” as the Versa 3, lacking support for third-party apps and Google Assistant. The Fitbit Versa 4 looks very similar to the Versa 3. It is a friendly looking watch with a square face. The screen is made of curved glass. The bezel is aluminum and the back is plastic.
The design is less premium than the Apple Watch SE, but much more style-conscious than the Venu 2 Sq, the next Garmin alternative.There’s not much new or exciting to see here, but there is one key difference from the last Versa 3 model. Fitbit has added a physical button to the Versa 4, where the Versa 3 used a really rather annoying capacitive panel. The new button feels a bit cheap, perhaps because the case has a nice anodized finish while the button is glossy.
The Fitbit Versa 4 does not get WearOS, the smartwatch platform from owner Google. However, the classic Fitbit OS interface has been redesigned to align more closely with Google’s new house style. Swiping left or right takes you to widget-like screens for each of the Fitbit Versa 4’s core features, including daily steps, an overview of the last day’s heart rate, a sleep report and a weather report. Swiping up from the watch face takes you to the notification card overview. Swiping down from the watch face gives you access to important features like Do Not Disturb, screen brightness, and Always On mode.
However, there is one area to appreciate about these superficially smart watches, like those from Garmin and – from a different angle – Huawei. They always offer much better battery life than an Apple Watch or a WearOS watch. Fitbit says the Versa 4 will last “6+ days.” After wearing the watch for just under two days straight, 44 hours to be exact, it had lost 29 percent. That’s right in line with Fitbit’s claims that a charge lasts just over six days.