Fitbit has revealed its new lineup of devices: the Fitbit Inspire 3 fitness tracker and the Fitbit Versa 4 and Fitbit Sense 2 smartwatches. You can pre-order all three new devices now on Fitbit website (opens in new tab)and you’ll get a six-month Premium subscription with all three.
While we don’t have a firm release date yet, all three will be available “in the fall”, so we imagine they will hit shelves before the end of September, replacing the Versa 3, the original Sense, and the Inspire 2 as the best Fitbits available on the market. a technical sense.
Let’s take a look at the new devices below. We’re excited about the Inspire 3’s new design and the return of the Versa 2’s tactile button instead of the sensor on the Versa 3 and Fitbit Sense, which was easy to accidentally brush. Smartwatches are thinner and the design ethos is consistent, but there aren’t enough new features to get us really excited about them.
Fitbit Inspire 3
First up is the Fitbit Inspire 3, which the brand touts as a “fun, easy-to-use tracker that helps you stay healthy.” It’s designed to track metrics like heart rate, sleep and stress 24/7 and can also monitor your oxygen saturation (SpO2) and comes with Fitbit’s latest innovation, improved stress management tools (more on that later) and menstrual cycle recording features. It is also water resistant up to 50 meters.
With a revamped design that’s more reminiscent of the pebble-like Fitbit Luxe than previous models in the Inspire range (it can even fully detach from the band for the first time and secure your clothes with an additional accessory), the Inspire 3 has a lifespan of claimed battery life of up to 10 days, roughly the same as the Inspire 2.
Like the previous model, it can provide daily sleep and stress scores and offer a ‘smart wake-up alarm’ to wake you up in a 30-minute window when your sleep is lighter, so you’re less groggy when you wake up.
If this all sounds familiar enough, that’s because it is – aside from the new Luxe-inspired pebble design that can turn the Inspire 3 into an old-school iPod shuffle-style clip, the Inspire 3 appears to have similar features and specs to its predecessor.
The Fitbit Inspire 3 retails for $99.95 in the US and £84.99 in the UK, with no Australian pricing available at the moment. Like the Luxe, the Inspire has easily swappable bands, with starter options ranging from silicone to a mesh band or that aforementioned clip.
Fitbit Versa 4 and Sense 2
Smartwatches that get a shine are the Fitbit Versa 4, the replacement for the Fitbit Versa 3, and the Fitbit Sense 2, the next evolution of the Fitbit Sense. On the surface, both are extremely similar, albeit thinner and lighter than their predecessors (the Sense 2 is said to be 10% thinner and 15% lighter than the original). The Versa 4 sees the welcome return of the Versa 2’s tactile button, which was taken away from the Versa 3 – a sweat session made the sensors on the Versa 3 and Sense more difficult to operate.
Both watches have a battery life of six days with fast charging (with 12 minutes of charge giving you an impressive one-day battery life), a 336 x 336px AMOLED display in a typical ‘squircle’ design, and all activities advanced, health and sleep -tracking tools available for the Inspire 3, while a new Tiles layout lets you better customize your browsing experience from your wrist.
Fitbit is also, in a nod to Alphabet’s acquisition of Fitbit, bringing Google Wallet and Google Maps, complete with step-by-step instructions, to both watches. Want to cycle to a new cafe or run 10 hard miles? Connect your headphones to the watch and get step-by-step directions from Google Maps in-ear, paying for your coffees with the watch at the end of the road. The watches are still running Fitbit OS – those are the only two true Google features announced – but at least the new Fitbits can keep up with the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro and Garmin in their route training features.
Both devices include PurePulse technology to monitor atrial fibrillation variation, or AFib. The irregular heart rhythm notifications feature will notify you if there are any irregularities, allowing you to potentially detect signs of oncoming strokes. The technology behind it, a photoplethysmography or PPG sensor, was tested by 455,000 participants with 98% accuracy during one study. You can choose to receive regular notifications or test manually with the ECG app.
Where the two devices differ slightly is in functionality: the Versa 4 is very much the ‘fitness’ device, with 20 new fitness profiles for a total of 40 – new activities tracked as you accumulate your active zone minutes for the week include weightlifting, dancing, CrossFit and HIIT.
Meanwhile, Sense offers a more ‘holistic’ approach to health, with improved stress management features, thanks to a revised sensor suite that can better detect skin temperature to monitor your stress levels. This takes the form of an electrodermal activity (EDA) sensor on the wrist, which is active day and night. ‘Body Response’ notifications not only alert you to the fact that you are stressed, but encourage you to reflect on why and select an emoji to represent how you feel at that moment.
The Fitbit Sense 2 is $299.95 in the US and £269.99 in the UK, and the Fitbit Versa 4 is $229.95 in the US and £199.95 in the UK; again, the price for Australia is tbc.
Analysis: a surface-level update
All three devices have received a facelift, with the Inspire 3’s detachable pebble design being the most significant example by far, although the return of the tactile button and slimming of the Sense 2 and Versa 4 are welcome. The upcoming AFib, some extra stress monitoring features, new activity profiles and a new set of sensors in Sense 2 round out the news. The sleep profile and daily readiness score features are already on some existing devices and locked into Fitbit Premium anyway.
The most exciting thing here for us is the introduction of Google Maps into smartwatches, allowing you to incorporate turn-by-turn directions from the Google network into your runs and rides. The Google Wallet is a nice extra. The new AFib functionality will allow people to detect warning signs of strokes and other problems that are preceded by irregular heart rhythms, which is very impressive. The new sensor is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration and rigorously tested, which gives us some confidence in it.
However, from a daily smartwatch point of view, we’ve seen it all before. These updates are hardly revolutionary, and the free year of Fitbit Premium that comes with the most budget-friendly device, the Inspire range, has been reduced to just six months, in line with the other devices – a painful blow that not enough people are talking about. This really detracts from the value and effectively adds $50 or £40 to the price of the otherwise attractive Inspire 3.
The proof will be in the testing, but frankly, we were a little disappointed – and we’re much more excited to put the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro to the test.