Fitbit has been innovating its health and fitness watches again. The new Versa 2 has some new features, and a new look thanks to some special edition styling.
What is Fitbit Versa 2?
Fitbit Versa is a smart watch that counts steps, monitors sleep, tells time and sends you text messages, call and other alerts when connected to your smartphone. It also has 24/7 Heart Rate Tracking, can track swimming, and can give you nudges to get up and move, or help you with your workouts.
What’s new in Fitbit Versa 2? Amazon Alexa digital assistance
The key feature that’s been added to Versa 2 is Amazon Alexa functionality. A built-in microphone and support for Amazon Alexa lets you use your voice to activate Alexa skills from your wrist. You can now create alarms, set timers, check the local weather, and even control your smart home devices
That microphone has another purpose. You can use it for creating voice replies on Android-connected smartphones. The new microphone will hear you and that means you can now use it to respond to texts and other notifications using your voice.
Bigger, better display
The display on Versa 2 has been improved too. Now an AMOLED display, you’ll notice blacker blacks and better overall colour and resolution. The screen is also a touch larger so it’s easier to read.
Always On display
If you want to see what’s on screen all the time, you can now enable Always-on display mode. This lets you check the time and see your stats at any time, without lifting your wrist or pressing a button. Not surprisingly this will suck up more battery, but battery life without this feature on is said to be about 5-6 days, another improvement for Fitbit.
This new feature is handy, but it’s worth pointing out the always on display shows you a different screen than the watch face you choose; it’s a more simplified monochromatic display, likely designed to save battery. To see your chosen watch face you need to tap it or raise your wrist.
How to Turn on Always-on display mode
There are two ways to enable always-on display mode. You
can swipe down on the clock face, tap the control center icon on the right and tap the clock icon on the left. Alternatively, you can turn it on by swiping over to the Settings app on Versa 2 and tapping Always-On Display. Here you can also customize the clock style, core stats and off hours.
Sleep Scoring is also new. The new Sleep Score is actually available with any Fitbit device that has heart rate tracking, and provides daily insight into your sleep quality based on heart rate, restlessness, time awake and sleep stages. To view your score, wear your Fitbit Versa 2 to bed, and sync it in the morning. In the Fitbit app, tap the Today tab , then tap the sleep tile. Your sleep score is displayed in a circle to the right, beside each daily sleep log. I don’t know how much I need a score to tell me how I slept, especially since I can see the data in detail, but I guess some folks might find this handy for at-a-glance viewing.
Sleep Mode lets you silence alerts from your phone or the watch during meetings or while you’re sleeping. There are two ways to enable Sleep Mode. You can swipe down on the clock face, tap the control center icon on the right and tap the moon icon. Alternatively, you can turn it on by swiping over to the Settings app on Versa 2 and tapping Sleep Mode. Here you can also schedule it to automatically turn on during sleep hours.
If you’re a Spotify Premium subscriber, the new Spotify app for Fitbit lets Premium subscribers control playback, change playlists, like songs, and easily switch music output right on your wrist.
Let’s dig in on some of these newer and bigger features. By the way, I’m not going to get too deep this time into the basics of operating a Fitbit, or into some of the more well known features that have been part of Fitbit for a couple of versions of these devices; things like female health tracking, workouts, and Fitbit Pay.
Using Alexa on Fitbit Versa 2
You should be prompted to enable Alexa during the initial setup, but you can also connect your Amazon account by opening the Fitbit app, tapping your profile image to enter Account settings, selecting Versa 2, tapping the Amazon Alexa tile and clicking on the Login with Amazon button. Then simply login with your Amazon credentials, grant Fitbit access to Alexa and enable location support for the full Alexa experience.
Once you have paired your Amazon account, press and hold the button to enable the microphone and ask Alexa a question. You can do things like check the weather, set reminders, get on-screen answers to your questions and more using Amazon Alexa.
You don’t use Alexa in the typical way, by invoking Alexa’s name. You push and hold the button on the side of the watch and ask your question. It’s not actually hands-free like using an Alexa smart speaker is.
Do I need an Amazon Echo or Alexa device to use the Alexa feature on Versa 2?
No, you don’t need an Amazon Echo or Alexa device. For added functionality, you can set up the Amazon Alexa app on your phone to access a variety of Alexa skills to bring more features to your wrist.
Do I need to say ‘Alexa’ to use the Alexa feature on Versa 2?
No, you don’t need to say ‘Alexa’ to use the Alexa feature on Versa 2. To wake Alexa on Versa 2, press the side button and say your request.
Does my phone need to be nearby to use the feature?
Yes, because Alexa uses a Bluetooth connection with your phone, your Versa 2 and phone need to be in range in order to process your voice request.
Can Alexa tell me about my Fitbit stats?
Fitbit says yes, you can enable the Fitbit Skill in the Alexa app to ask your activity for the day, how you slept last night and more. However in my Alexa Skills list, Fitbit is not an option. Likely it’s not being offered yet to Canadian customers.
Overall the Alexa functionality works pretty well, and it seems like a handy addition to the Versa 2.
Overall review of Fitbit Versa 2
I really like Fitbits and have recommended them for years as the best and most accurate way to keep tabs on your fitness. I find them very accurate, easy to set up and use, and they come with a lot of useful features.
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