(Pocket-lint) - The Versa Lite Edition of Fitbit's well-known Versa smartwatch knocks £50 off the standard 2018 model's price tag, coming in at a penny shy of £150. It has been designed to target a "youthful" audience and it comes in two fabulous new colour options: Mulberry and Marina Blue.
With a similar design, a few less features and a more accessible price point, is the Fitbit Versa Lite Edition the smartwatch to buy? Here's our review of Fitbit's cheapest smartwatch yet.
Premium design, colourful display
- One-button operation
- Interchangeable straps
- LCD colour touchscreen
The Fitbit Versa Lite Edition offers an almost identical design to the original Versa smartwatch that launched in 2018, though it loses the two buttons on the right hand side of the premium aluminium casing, opting for one-button operation, like the Fitbit Inspire and Charge trackers.
Button changes aside and the Versa Lite Edition comes in the same lovely small package with the same great curves as the standard Versa. It's a neat design, especially for those with smaller wrists looking for a smartwatch that is softer in approach than the angular design of the Fitbit Ionic.
The Lite Edition comes in a range of new colour options too, two of which have colour matched aluminium casings and silicone straps, making for a more fun design overall. We had the Mulberry model in for review, which we love. For those who don't want the burst of colour there are two silver aluminium casing models with different colour straps instead, offering a more subtle approach.
As with the standard Versa, the Versa Lite Edition offers the option to change the straps for a different look and there are plenty of options from classic silicone straps to stainless steel metal accessories. Changing straps is pretty easy too - working on a spring pin system - although it's more fiddly than the likes of the Apple Watch.
On the display front, the Fitbit Versa Lite Edition has a colourful touchscreen LCD display, just like the standard Versa. It's vibrant, punchy and responsive. That's lucky because you have to use the display a lot more on the Lite Edition due to the removal of those two operation buttons we mentioned. We didn't have any problems with the screen though and we didn't find ourselves missing the extra buttons all that much - even though they do make accessing some features quicker, such as finishing a workout.
Like the original Versa, the Versa Lite Edition has a square display, despite the casing offering rounded edges. It's bright and displays detailed photos for activity screens, while a lot of Fitbit's Dashboard data appears crisp and clear, too, meaning you don't have to refer to the smartphone app much.
On the underside of the display, there are the charging pins for topping the Lite Edition's battery up, along with a heart-rate monitor. The strap is silicone strap as standard, which is fastened via a buckle mechanism, ensuring it's kept nice and secure on the wrist.
- Activity and sleep tracking
- 24/7 HR monitoring
The Fitbit Versa Lite Edition offers many of the same features as the standard Versa, though it misses out on a couple to reduce costs. The Lite Edition model remains swim-proof and it will track swimming - but unlike the standard Versa, you won't be able to see laps on your wrist while you are swimming. Instead, you'll need to head into the Fitbit app after you've finished your swim to see the data. It's not a deal-breaker, but it is a little annoying.
The Lite Edition model also loses music capabilities, doesn't support on-screen workouts, and ditches the altimeter (a somewhat strange omission). That means the Fitbit Versa Lite Edition won't be able to track floors climbed, ascent/descent.
Aside from those missing features the Versa Lite Edition delivers all-day activity and sleep tracking, PurePulse 24/7 heart-rate tracking, connected GPS (rather than built-in GPS like the Ionic), female health tracking and goal-based exercise modes. There's plenty to keep most busy.
The Versa Lite Edition also offers VO2 Max, along with guided breathing sessions, Fitbit's SmartTrack Automatic Exercise Tracking and notifications from your smartphone. Those using Android devices can also use the Quick Reply function for smartphone notifications, but it's not supported for Apple (iOS) users. There is also some app support, with Strava coming pre-installed, though apps on this system are very limited compared to the likes of the Apple Watch.
Sadly, just like the standard model of the Versa, there is also no Fitbit Pay on the Versa Lite Edition - a feature is reserved for the Versa Special Edition model - so you won't be able to pay using your wrist, as you can with Apple Watch and most Wear OS devices.
Performance and battery life
- Four-day battery life
- Dedicated charging module
- Lack of apps
The Fitbit Versa Lite Edition claims to offer a four-day battery life - and that it most definitely does, unlike the standard Versa which we found only managed around three. In fact, we occasionally got five days out of the Versa Lite Edition, though this did depend on the amount of notifications coming through.
Activity tracking performance is excellent too. We've worn it alongside the Apple Watch Series 4 for a number of weeks and the data at the end of our HIIT workouts has been almost identical. The Versa Lite Edition underestimated calories very slightly in our testing - but we are talking 10 out of 350.
Heart-rate readings have been interesting at times though. While the Versa Lite Edition showed near enough the same average and maximum heart-rate data as the Apple Watch Series 4, the live heart-rate reading during a workout was typically between five and 10 beats lower per minute.
Step tracking is great though, as with most Fitbit devices, and the Versa Lite Edition also offers brilliant sleep tracking. Like many of Fitbit's higher end devices - the Charge 3 and Ionic for example - the Versa Lite Edition has an SPO2 monitor. Currently the monitor just collects data, but eventually the plan is to use that data for detecting disorders like Sleep Apnea.
Fitbit is far beyond many of its competitors in terms of sleep tracking, offering data from four stages of sleep - and we've found it's often very accurate (measured using a sleepless toddler, as it happens). Despite the Versa Lite Edition not being as subtle as the Inspire HR in terms of size, we've had no issues wearing it to sleep every night either, which makes it a great 24-hour device.
As a smartwatch, the Versa Lite Edition is nowhere near as advanced as the likes of Apple Watch or Wear OS devices, though what it lacks in smartwatch features - mainly the apps available, what you can do with received notifications and payment options - it makes up for in ease of use and good fitness features.
- Fitbit app
- iOS, Android, Windows
The Fitbit Versa Lite Edition connects to the Fitbit app as other Fitbit devices do. The app is available for Apple iOS, Google Android and Windows devices and it is one of the best platforms out there.
The Fitbit app presents information in a simple to digest format, offering all the daily stats you might want. For more detailed workout information, there are dedicated sports devices that offer better breakdowns. But on the whole, Fitbit is great at what is does.
Within the Fitbit app, it's also possible to change clock faces and download apps for the Versa Lite Edition, offering another level of customisation, though as we mentioned previously, the options aren't as rich as other smartwatches like Apple Watch or Wear OS devices.
Rather than delve into too much software here, you can read our Fitbit tips and tricks for more detail.
The Fitbit Versa Lite Edition brings the same lovely design as the Versa, but at a cheaper price point and in some great new colours. We think the Mulberry purple looks fabulous.
The Lite Edition part of the equation means you'll miss out on a couple of features compared to the standard Versa - Fitbit Pay and an altimeter being the two most notable - but it's still waterproof and offers some brilliant functions, including 24/7 heart-rate tracking, connected GPS, VO2 Max, automatic exercise recognition, and sleep tracking.
It's not the best smartwatch out there in terms of smartwatch functionality, but for those after a Fitbit device that bridges some of the gap between fitness tracker and smartwatch, the Fitbit Versa Lite Edition is excellent and well priced too.
Fitbit Inspire HR
The Fitbit Inspire HR offers many of the same features as the Versa Lite Edition but in a smaller, more subtle design. You miss out on apps and the Inspire HR doesn't have quite the same premium build quality as the Versa Lite Edition but you get almost all the same features for £60 less.
The Fitbit Versa offers Fitbit Pay - providing more smartwatch functionality than the Versa Lite Edition. It has the same design as the Lite Edition, but it adds on-screen workouts, better swim tracking, music control and the ability to pay with your wrist. It is £50 more expensive though.