The Fitbit Versa & Ionic: Smart Fitness Made Simple

Fitbit Versa


Superior Digital News | Fitbit Versa Review


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Why It’s Hot!


  • PRICE!!! All the features you get, for under $200. ($229 Special Edition with NFC chip for wireless payments)


  • Lightweight and low-profile design is perfect for fitness.

  • The Fitbit app; All-in-one app with easy-to-use and feature-rich interface.
  • 4-Day battery life (depending on usage).

  • Waterproof for pool and weather
  • Compatible with Apple iOS, Android, and more

Why it’s Not


  • No built-in GPS for phone-free activity tracking.


  • No Microphone for voice commands, speech-to-text, or calling.


  • No speaker, specifically for workout cues
  • Music takes a long time to upload to the watch

Fitbit Ionic


Fitbit Ionic Adidas Edition Review | Superior Digital News


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Why It’s Hot!

  • Built-in GPS/GLONASS tracking; Phone-free workouts

  • The Fitbit app; All-in-one app with easy-to-use and feature-rich interface.
  • 4-Day battery life (depending on usage)

  • Waterproof for pool and weather
  • Compatible with Apple iOS, Android, and more

Why it’s Not

  • Not a look that everyone will like
  • No Microphone for voice commands, speech-to-text, or calling

  • No speaker, specifically for workout cues
  • Music takes a long time to download to the watch

Fitbit has always been known as a leader in fitness tracking for beginner to intermediate fitness levels, but with traditional smartwatch-makers steadily improving their fitness features, the sharks have begun to circle the Fitbit brand. Luckily, Fitbit was just in time with the recent release of the Versa. Just like the Fitbit Ionic of 2017, it lacks many of the extra features we see on Apple, Samsung, Wear OS, and other flagship smartwatches. Yet, this is one of the main reasons we love what Fitbit is doing.

With these two fitness-first smartwatches, Fitbit had to do these two things, just to keep up with the competition:

  • The wearables must have an essential set of smartwatch features.
  • The wearables must rescue disenfranchised Pebble fanatics out of exodus. (Especially, with Pebbles support servers officially shut down by Fitbit on June 30th, 2018.)

Here’s what might make one (or both) the best choice for you:


Superior Digital News Review | Fitbit Versa
Fitibit Versa | Pic courtesy of Fitbit

If you’re into sports and fitness, then two features make either the Ionic or the Versa the best choice over other fitness smartwatches. With the 4-day battery life being almost unmatched among competitors with similar features, the other the other feature is unique to only Fitbit wearables. The funny thing is, the feature isn’t even on the wearables themselves. It’s actually the Fitbit app that contains everything needed to connect and use ALL of the features on your watch. This is also something Pebble fans should be happy about. Sure, the Pebble companion app was pretty good, but with many Ex-Pebble developers now under Fitbit’s roof, you get the best qualities of both operating systems, with little-to-no sacrifices.

Why does the app matter?

With Apple iOS, Samsung’s Tizen, and Wear OS, you have AT LEAST three apps that you have to go back and forth between in order to get all of the basic functionality for activity tracking, sleep tracking, meal logging, and so on. The Fitbit app has everything in one place, giving you a better perspective on your holistic health.

It has a customizable dashboard, able to display category-based tiles with metrics like:

  • Calories Consumed/Burned
  • Multiple Exercise Goals
  • Weight Management Stats
  • Water Intake
  • Female Health

This keeps it simple for beginners, while the challenges and the community sections of the app help support growth and will even help push more advanced athletes towards new goals.

The only feature that isn’t part of the main app is the Fitbit Coach. This app is essentially an on-demand personal trainer, but this isn’t your normal video-training program. Fitbit Coach takes the experience a step further by using the feedback you give after each exercise to continually tailor your workouts to your current level of health & fitness. The main reason they separated it into its own app is that its the only feature that cost extra. For around $8/month or $40/year, you get an extremely fluid and challenging “digital training assistant.” You can try the fitness assessment test and about 11 body-weight workouts for FREE, to see if the challenge is right for you.

You get your choice of a personal trainer (Adrian or Lea) to guide you through your initial fitness assessment. After that, you can switch back and forth between them as they guide you through these 5 categories of workouts:

  • Bodyweight Workouts
  • Outdoor Walks
  • Outdoor Runs
  • Stair Workouts
  • Treadmill Workouts

Adrian or Lea will narrate throughout whichever workouts you choose, as demonstrators show you the proper form. You’ll try and keep up them as the trainers give you tips here-and-there to help you avoid injury by keeping the same proper form. You’ll choose your current fitness level from beginner to expert and Fitbit Coach starts your journey from there.

Also included in the subscription is Fitbit Radio. Of course, you can listen to your own music in the background, but Fitbit Radio is a handy option with premium music stations from various genres like:

  • Pop Party
  • Hip Hop Hustle
  • Dance & Electronic
  • Rock Hits
  • Cardio Mix
  • Power Mix
  • Throwback Jams

In short, the main Fitbit app gives you more control over your overall health & fitness than any other fitness app we’ve tested and the optional Fitbit Coach app provides a style of personal training that can benefit even the busiest of people.


Superior Digital News Review | Fitbit Versa & Fitbit Apps
Fitibit Versa | Pic courtesy of Fibit

Side Note

“No cadence?!”

One big knock on the app and ALL of the Fitbit devices is the exclusion of the metric measuring your LIVE cadence. (Not minutes per mile (pace), but steps per minute.) In truth, the only people who would ever have to pay attention to cadence are elite runners, and even then the cadence metric has nothing to do with overall health.

In fact, concentrating on keeping a certain cadence over other, more vital, metrics can cause injury. For instance, trying to stretch out your stride AND keep up a 180 step/min cadence could wreak havoc on your ankles, knees, and back, if you don’t have the proper experience. This is most likely why Fitbit, Runkeeper, and other well-known fitness apps choose to leave it out. Especially, since it would be a simple software update for any of them to add it.

Yeah, but what about the actual watches?


Superior Digital News Review | Fitbit Versa & Ionic
Fitibit Versa | Pic courtesy of Fitbit

The user interface on the watches could be a little more fluid, but we love the overall simplicity. It gives you the essentials without trying to do too much, so you don’t get overwhelmed by apps and extras that have nothing to do with fitness. You get the good stuff like call, text, and email notifications straight to your wrist. That way you don’t have to rip your phone out of your armband case, just to see who’s calling.

On top of your notifications, you get real the reason the beautiful color display pays off. With the ability to quickly log sleep, water, meals, works, and more, straight from your wrist, you’ll spend more time living life, instead of hunting through apps. Besides the touch-screen navigation, the side-button navigation is a nice touch, especially with sweaty fingers or when you’re in the pool. The only thing the Ionic and the Versa are missing is a microphone, so no chance of voice-commands, but keyboard entry is possible with a future upgrade to the software. For now, you just have a few limited quick-reply options, but not a deal-breaker if you’re mainly looking for a fitness tracker.


Fitibit Ionic | Pic courtesy of Fitibt

On the hardware side, this is where the differences between the Ionic and the Versa start to show up. Some have gone as far as to say the new Fitbit Versa is just as gorgeous as the Apple Watch, but we can’t go that far. When it comes down to it, the Fitbit Versa doesn’t look as nice and doesn’t do nearly as much as the Apple Watch. On the flip side, comparing it to the Apple watch is comparing apples to oranges. Regardless of the Apple Watch customizations, the Fitbit Versa will always be a more powerful fitness smartwatch with the 4-day battery-life AND light, sporty fit. Plus, with the price of under $200 ($230 for Special Edition – with NFC Wireless Payment Chip), it’ll keep your wallet in shape, too.

When it comes to the Ionic, you have to be all in with the look because of the ridged, square chassis, giving it a sporty look with almost any replacement band. The most notable feature that didn’t make it to the Versa is the built-in GPS, which is a very nice feature if you like leave your phone at home for your morning runs. Just like the Versa, you have space to load music directly onto the watch, but just like the Versa, it takes forever to load the music. If your phone is always on you, then it’s best to avoid a headache and just stream from your phone.

The other nice part about the Ionic is the stock watch strap. It’s more comfortable than the Versa, but both models have a nice selection of 3rd-party replacement bands to choose from.

The bottom line is, if built-in GPS and wireless payments aren’t a necessity, you won’t miss out on anything choosing either the Ionic or the Versa. Just pick the look that works with your style. No matter what, your getting a powerful fitness tracker with a long-lasting battery, paired with the best pound-for-pound fitness app on the market.

Choose the Fitbit that fits your style:

Versa






















See On Amazon.com

Ionic


















See On Amazon.com

Favorite Bands: Fitbit Versa











Favorite Bands: Fitbit Ionic








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