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Fitbit's Versa 4 Has a Slimmer Look and New Workout Options

Lisa Eadicicco Senior Editor
Lisa Eadicicco is a senior editor for CNET covering mobile devices. She has been writing about technology for almost a decade. Prior to joining CNET, Lisa served as a senior tech correspondent at Insider covering Apple and the broader consumer tech industry. She was also previously a tech columnist for Time Magazine and got her start as a staff writer for Laptop Mag and Tom's Guide.
Expertise Apple, Samsung, Google, smartphones, smartwatches, wearables, fitness trackers
Lisa Eadicicco
3 min read
Fitbit's Versa 4 smartwatch

Fitbit's Versa 4 smartwatch


What's happening

Google's Fitbit division just announced the Versa 4, its new mid-tier smartwatch.

Why it matters

The launch shows Fitbit intends to remain committed to its own product line even as the Google Pixel Watch is expected to arrive soon.

What's next

Fitbit will launch the Versa 4 globally alongside the new Sense 2 and Inspire 3 band in September.

Fitbit's new Versa 4, which the company announced on Wednesday, has a thinner design compared to the Versa 3, support for Google Wallet and Google Maps, more exercise modes and a new tiled interface that should provide easier navigation.

Fitbit announced the new Versa alongside the Sense 2 smartwatch and the Inspire 3 fitness band, showing that it intends to keep its own product line up to date even as the launch of Google's Pixel Watch is expected to come soon. The Versa 4 will cost $230 and is available for preorder on Aug. 24 ahead of its global launch this fall. 

The Versa 4 is a moderate upgrade to the Versa 3. The biggest changes are more focused on design and ease-of-use rather than introducing new features. Fitbit says the new watch is slimmer than the previous model, and it's bringing back the physical side button for smoother navigation. Fitbit's interface is also getting a new look with a tiles that sum up metrics, which should make the software appear more streamlined. The Fitbit Versa 4 will also continue to work with both the iPhone and Android phones, even as Google continues investment into Wear OS 3 for the upcoming Pixel Watch and on Samsung's Galaxy Watch 5.

The Versa 4 has the same six-day battery life and selection of health-oriented features as the Versa 3. That means you'll be able to do things like check your heart rate, track active zone minutes during workouts, monitor blood oxygen levels, log your sleep, see a sleep score that evaluates the quality of your slumber and track runs directly from the watch with integrated GPS, just like on the Versa 3. 

But the Versa 4 can track up to 40 different types of workouts, including new choices such as CrossFit, dance, skiing and HIIT, while the Versa 3 only has about 20 options. But unlike the more expensive Sense 2, the Versa 4 doesn't measure electrodermal activity changes to detect when your body is showing signs of stress.

Instead, the Fitbit Versa 4 just provides a general Stress Management Score based on heart rate data, heart rate variability, sleep and physical activity to assess how your body might be handling stress. Like the Versa 3, the Versa 4 also lacks the ability to take an electrocardiogram from the wrist like the Sense and Sense 2. 

For the most part, the Versa 4 offers the same smartwatch functionality as the Versa 3 as well, except it will support Google Wallet and Google Maps. That should tie Fitbit's smartwatches more closely to Google's ecosystem of apps and services, although Fitbit Pay will still be available, too. Fitbit says Google Wallet and Google Maps will be coming to the Versa 4 and Sense 2 "soon," but the company hasn't specified when. 

Similar to other Fitbit products, you'll also need a Fitbit Premium subscription to unlock in-depth tracking and advanced features on the Versa 4. Fitbit is giving away a free six-month membership with the Versa 4 and its other newly announced products.

The launch also comes as Google is preparing to release the Pixel Watch later this year, which the company teased in May. Google, which owns Fitbit, collaborated with Fitbit to bring some of its health tracking functionality to the Pixel Watch. The arrival of the Versa 4 and Sense 2 suggests Fitbit intends to keep its own independent product line fresh even after the Pixel Watch debuts this fall. The biggest question is how Google will position the Pixel Watch alongside Fitbit's watches, considering there will likely be some overlap in functionality.