Fitbit released its original Versa watch about a year ago as a smarter, more playful extension of its range of fitness watches. It was, in effect, a cheaper rival to the smartwatch big guns: the Apple Watch, and Samsung's Gear series.

This is the 'Lite' version, which is a pared-back model, so it's missing a couple of functions.

You can't store music, it won't track your swim laps, there are no on-screen workouts and it's got just the single button on the left-hand side. But, because of all that, it's also a bit cheaper, making it more accessible for those who can't afford the top brands.

How does it work?

Like most Fitbit watches, you charge it up, strap it on, synch it to an app on your phone, and away you go. It will count your steps, measure your heart rate, and track your sleep. The battery lasts around five days, it's waterproof so you can take it swimming, and there are different watch straps for different sized wrists. The biggest change here is the colour: the Versa Lite comes in some very bold shades of metallic blue and lilac. Good move.


What's its best feature?

Fitbit has worked hard lately to improve their straps, and it shows. The Charge 3 included its best one yet, but the Versa Lite's strap might be even better. It's smooth on the wrist, doesn't pinch the skin, and the straps are easily replaceable with the push of a button.

The new Fitbit Versa Lite has a range of interesting strap designs. Photo/Fitbit.
The new Fitbit Versa Lite has a range of interesting strap designs. Photo/Fitbit.

The ability to swap out watch faces is also great: just log onto the app and pick your favourite. Be warned: there are hundreds, so you might be a while. I spent far too long doing this.

And what's the worst?

The Versa Lite doesn't include the option to load up your credit card and pay for things using your watch. That doesn't matter in New Zealand, where some banks have been incredibly slow on offering customers contactless payment. So this isn't really a dig at Fitbit, but more at the banks holding them back. It would be nice to have the option sometime soon.

How much is it?

The original Versa retails for $349.95, but the Lite version is $269.95. Unless you're deadset keen on using your watch as a music player during workouts, I'd go for the Lite version. It's been my default watch for several weeks now, and I'm not planning on taking it off anytime soon.

Pros: Great strap, nice colour options, good selection of watch faces
Cons: Missing several fitness functions, no contactless payment
Reviewer's Rating: 7/10