(Fitbit's newest smartwatch, the Versa 2, has been announced. But below is information on the budget Versa Lite that was released earlier this year, and is still available.)
There used to be a ton of Fitbit trackers to choose from. But now the list is smaller: Fitbit's streamlined its lineup and added a handful of new trackers that are aiming to be more affordable.
The Fitbit Versa Lite Edition is a more budget-targeted $160 version of the company's 2018 Fitbit Versa watch. Meanwhile the new Inspire and Inspire HR replace the company's Alta, Flex and Zip lines. They cost less too, priced at $70 and $100, instead of $100 and $130.
The Fitbit Inspire looks to be the company's new entry-level tracker. It has a touchscreen, it's got a slim design, and it has optional always-on heart-rate monitoring on the step-up Inspire HR model. It's also water resistant for swimming, but it does not track swim laps like the Fitbit Versa, Ionic and Charge 3: instead, it just logs swim time. It lacks the Charge 3's extra Weather mini-app, but still does timers, stopwatch functions, exercise shortcuts, and launches the meditative Breathe app (on the Inspire HR), and gets phone notifications for messages.
The Inspire HR has always-on heart-rate monitoring and about a five day battery, but doesn't have the extra SpO2 sensor that the Charge 3, Versa and Ionic do, which could lead to more accurate heart and sleep tracking (and maybe apnea detection) down the road. But it's also $50 less than the Charge 3, has a slimmer design, and now seems like a better bet for most people.
The heart rate-free Inspire also works with a $20 clip-on accessory that turns the tracker into a replacement for the classic clip-based Zip tracker. The Inspire and Inspire HR have a more plastic design than the previous steel-cased Alta, but both sport a clean look and have a much-improved touchscreen and display animations, similar to the Charge 3.
Fitbit's new lineup: Versa Lite, Inspire, Inspire HR and Ace 2See all photos
Budget version of Fitbit Versa
The Versa Lite Edition also seems like a better choice than last year's Versa, if you're OKk with the slight compromises. It's nearly the same watch, with downloadable apps and watch faces. It also cuts some features: NFC mobile payments, onboard music storage, stair-climbing via altimeter, swim lap and calorie tracking, and support for Fitbit's on-screen workout routines on Fitbit Coach are all gone. (Fitbit's music and payment functions have never worked all that well for me anyway.) Fitbit's still going to offer those features on slightly more expensive Versa variants. The Versa Lite Edition otherwise looks just like the Versa and supports the same bands, but it comes in a few more vibrant colors, including a blue-green and magenta purple. A set of new woven and elastomer bands look vivid, too.
Kid fitness: Fitbit Ace 2
Fitbit's also making a new, kid-targeted fitness tracker, the Ace 2, arriving this summer for $70. It's a follow-up to the company's first kid's fitness tracker, Fitbit Ace, released last year. The Fitbit Ace 2 is really just the Fitbit Inspire with a rubberized kid-friendly outer case and straps, animated watch fitness-goal watch faces, plus algorithms that are meant to track kid fitness. The Ace 2 targets even younger children (age 6 and up, while the first Ace was for ages 8 and up), is fully water resistant and can track swimming, which the first Ace couldn't. Fitbit allows the Ace 2 to be set up as a subset of a parent's account.
It's debatable whether kids really need fitness trackers, but this one might not be a bad place to start, and Fitbit boasts that it will transform into a regular Inspire-like design by working with other bands and watch faces, should a kid suddenly find the kid-like design less appealing.
Maybe this is part of a larger trend: Samsung's newest smartwatch has gotten far more affordable, and recent Wear OS watches have dipped into a similar, sub-$200 range. This leaves Apple in a significantly different price tier for the Apple Watch, which currently starts at $279.
Aiming to get on more wrists?
There's nothing very notable about the new features on these Fitbits, but the focus on price says something about where Fitbit is headed. With more advanced sleep tracking tech on the horizon and a larger focus on enterprise, corporate health plans and insurance-friendly devices, Fitbit's current goal this year seems to be to just get on more people.
The Versa Lite Edition, Inspire and Inspire HR are available to preorder now, while the kid-friendly Ace 2 is coming this summer. Stay tuned for more impressions and reviews soon.