Fitbit’s product development team has been hard at work and probably pushing those calorie counters as the brand rationalises its portfolio. The California-based brand began 2019 by retiring devices like the Alta and Flex. The Charge 3 made its debut in India, after which the brand has added two more wearables that join the Fitbit Versa and Ionic its top of the line smartwatches. The first is a scaled down, almost diet version of the Versa and the other – the Inspire and Inspire HR duo -- have trained their guns on first time buyers who aren’t sold on a wearable yet.
Fitbit Versa Lite Edition
I’ve used the Versa on and off for almost a year now, it’s the best Fitbit yet. The Lite Edition knocks off a few features that Fitbit believes are not deal breakers for many customers and offers a Rs 4,000 price advantage for those omissions. The big question is whether these misses make it too bare bones for you. The Lite Edition looks almost identical to its pricier sibling except it sports only one physical button (the Versa has three). The smooth on-screen navigation ensures you won’t miss these extra buttons. There’s no room on the Lite to store music. I carry about 300 songs on my Versa and hook up with Bluetooth headphones during workouts. But I’ve found the process of transferring music from a laptop to the Versa quite tedious. So, this one’s not a biggie for users like me.
There’s no altimeter – so you can’t pat yourself on the back for all those floors you climbed. The lack of a gyroscope means you can’t track your swim laps. Calorie burns are tracked though plus all the other Fitbit essentials from steps to sleep tracking and also heart rate monitoring. The other minor misses are a lack of Wi-Fi – you need to piggyback on your phone (via Bluetooth) for watch faces or Apps. The Versa Lite has the same vibrant 1.34-inch display and elegant design (there are couple of new coloured watch case options including a cool Marina Blue). Buy this over a Versa if you won’t miss the exclusions but if you’re undecided spend that extra Rs 4,000 for the Versa (The Versa Lite Edition costs Rs 15,999).
Fitbit Inspire HR
There are many of us who still cling on to a conventional watch and use our right wrist for a tracker. The Inspire HR is light and compact enough for that type of user. Fitbit is also hoping the Inspire HR and its twin (Inspire) will entice first time buyers who prefer the Fitbit ecosystem to an unknown brand. The key difference between the Inspire HR, which we tested and the Inspire is heart rate tracking. The Inspire HR makes some welcome improvements from the previous generation of Fitbit entry-level trackers. The OLED display is sharp (text, especially steps and calorie counts is still teeny), the slightly curved design looks better while the physical button and on-screen navigation is way smoother.
The heart rate sensor gives this the edge over the Inspire aside from additional features like sleep tracking, connected GPS and swim tracking. The Inspire HR sits below the Charge 3 that features an aluminium body (instead of the lighter plastic on the Inspire HR) and a larger display. Both devices offer a similar (about 6-7 days in our tests) battery life. The Inspire HR may not be the cheapest fitness tracker out there but Fitbit’s polished and time-tested companion App gives it a discernible edge (Rs 8,999 and Rs 6,999 for the Fitbit Inspire).
(Ashwin Rajagopalan writes extensively on Gadgets & Trends, Travel & Lifestyle and Food & Drink. He owns and manages Brand Stories, a creative Content outfit andwww.bytesize.in, a premier lifestyle blog with a focus on short-format content. Instagram: ‘ashwinpowers’)