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(Pocket-lint) - The Fitbit Blaze was Fitbit's first "watch", the company's first foray into devices that were larger than the fitness bands it previously offered. It marked a fork in the path for the company's products, shifting from Flex-based design (Flex-Charge-Surge) into something more like a sports watch. 

The Ionic is a natural development of Blaze, the company's first "smartwatch", while the Fitbit Versa slots into the middle. It effectively updates the Blaze with some of the Ionic's tricks. 


Here's how the Blaze and the Versa compare. 


Fitbit Versa vs Blaze: Design 

  • Versa gets slimmer and lighter
  • Versa is a more conventional 

The Fitbit Blaze is distinctive for the metal frame that sits around and holds the central unit, which is topped by the display and is the brains of the watch. This very much reflects Fitbit's old way of thinking - it's a sensor held in a strap. 

Versa feels more integrated as a result. It's a single piece and although the Blaze's frame was distinctive as a design point, it does make it a little more chunky. The Versa is slimmer and lighter, losing the angular design for rounded corners and a domed back.

Both offer changeable straps - the Blaze with a changeable frame too - but you could say that the Versa is a little less masculine in its design.

Both offer a touchscreen and both have three buttons, although the Versa's buttons are larger than those of the Blaze. You can see the family resemblance, but the Versa is a much more subtle design and less overtly "sporty".

Fitbit Versa vs Blaze: Hardware

  • Both have a colour display
  • Versa gains NFC and Wi-Fi
  • Versa gets 3-axis gyroscope 

Both have a vibrant display and both operate through touch, although the platform they sit on is very different.

Both have an optical heart rate sensor, both have Bluetooth, both have an altimeter and accelerometer - and neither have GPS. That means that although they both track motion, they'll need connecting to a smartphone if you want GPS data. 

However, the Versa also offers a 3-axis gyroscope and as it's a newer generation of hardware the motion tracking is likely to be more accurate.

Real hardware additions to the Versa include Wi-Fi, which enables you to sync music to your watch directly and there's NFC too. This is there to support one of the big changes offered by Versa - mobile payments via Fitbit Pay

Fitbit Versa vs Blaze: Features and functions

  • Versa gains Fitbit Pay
  • Versa runs Fitbit OS with apps
  • Both offer smartphone notifications
  • Versa offers offline music 

As we've just said, one of the big differences between these devices is Fitbit Pay - with the Versa you'll be able to make payments with your watch once you've added a compatible card. 

While both these devices offer Bluetooth, the Versa can use this to connect to a pair of Bluetooth headphones so you can play music without the need for the phone. If you're a Deezer subscriber, you'll also be able to sync music from that service so your playlists stay fresh. 

While the exercise tracking functions are similar on both devices, the Versa runs Fitbit OS 2.0 which provides a platform for a lot more customisation. You can install apps, it's a more graphically engaging interface and offers more customisation. 

On the feature side, there's certainly more on offer from the Versa, as it has those wider smartwatch functions that go beyond the core fitness features.

Fitbit Versa vs Blaze: Price and summary


The new Fitbit Versa  is £40 more than the Fitbit Blaze's RRP (although you can get the Blaze cheaper elsewhere) - and that price difference feels justified considering how much more you get from the Versa. 

Is it worth upgrading? Well that depends. The look is certainly softer and more subtle and some people might prefer the Versa as a more discrete watch compared to the bold lines of the Blaze. But in fitness terms, if you're happy with the Blaze, there's little sporting reason to change. Moving to the Ionic (with the GPS functions) would make more sense. 

However, Versa is a whole lot more smartwatchy than the Blaze. It's better connected, it does more and it will do more in the future. If you love the Blaze but wish it did a little more, then the Versa might be the device for you!

Fitbit Versa is currently on pre-order and will be available in April 2018.

Writing by Chris Hall.