In this article we look forward to Fitbit Versa 4. Technical specs and design to expect, rumors, our wish-list and a possible release date.
Fitbit Versa 3 was announced in August 2020. It comes with a few important extras over the second generation. The most important of these are a larger display and built-in GPS. Probably not enough to prompt most owners of Versa 2 to upgrade but nice upgrades, nevertheless.
Essential reading: Fitbit Versa 3 or Versa 2: should you upgrade?
Will we get bigger changes the next time around? Let’s delve right into things.
Worth noting, unlike Charge 5, so far we’ve not had any credible leaks or rumours on Versa 4. It might be a bit too early for that. So this article is based on our view of the logical progression of the Versa range. We will update when some leaks and rumours start emerging.
Fitbit Versa 4: Design expectations
Display and overall look
Fitbit is not really known for rocking the boat when it comes to the looks department. Put all the different iterations of Versa side-by-side and you’ll notice how similar they really are.
Rather than big changes, Fitbit had introduced small visual enhancements each time around. Why reinvent the wheel? Perhaps this is why Sense has borrowed Versa’s design.
For generation three, however, there was one important change. The AMOLED size was upped to 1.58 inches, from 1.39 inches. Needless to say this is a good move as a bigger display is easier to read. Even better, this was achieved without increasing the case size of the device too much – it only went up from 39.8mm x 39.8mm to 40.48mm x 40.48mm.
What this has done is it has shrunk the bezel around the display. It is still not edge-to-edge so that leaves a bit of space for another tiny enlargement of screen space. Who knows, Fitbit might even introduce curved screen technology for a true edge-to-edge experience – we’ve seen this with smartphones.
Another area for improvement could also be the display resolution. Versa 3 comes in at 336 x 336 pixels, and that could be bumped up perhaps to 454 x 454 pixels. A more high-res display would be more battery hungry so that is something they will need to keep in mind.
Any other changes?
While we don’t see Fitbit increasing the case size, they could make Versa 4 slightly thinner. Particularly considering the thickness of the latest generation has increased from 12mm to 12.35mm .
Another change with Versa 3 was that instead of two, there is only one physical button. The original had three buttons. The one on the latest generation is recessed so blends nicely into the case.
In our view we don’t see Fitbit eliminating physical buttons entirely. They are useful, for example when your hands are wet or in cold conditions when you are wearing gloves. In those cases touch display controls are useless.
When all is said and done, it really is difficult to see Fitbit changing very much in the looks department. Hence, we expect more of the same for Versa 4, with perhaps a fraction larger, more high-res display.
Water resistance will likely stay at 5 ATM, as there’s no reason to up this. The entire Fitbit family is water resistant down to 50 meters which is enough to splash on.
Battery life is always an area ripe for improvement. With normal use Fitbit Versa 3 can go around 6 days. With the always-on display option switched on this falls to just 2 days. Switch GPS on and this goes down to 12 hours. Let’s hope the company manages to improve on this.
Fitbit Versa 4: Features
As far as possible features, this is largely dependent on the release date. We are expecting a pretty big shakeup in sensor technology in the near future. Blood pressure from the wrist is around the corner as is more exciting technology that might make smartwatches and fitness trackers must-haves rather than nice-to haves.
One prominent example is Rockley Photonics. Apple and other brands are exploring next-generation health tech with the UK electronics startup. It is said they have developed a unique spectrometer-on-a-chip platform capable of detecting blood pressure, glucose, hydration and alcohol levels with medical-level accuracy from the wrist. A game changer even if it does only half of these things. Devices with this technology are expected by mid-2022.
Outside of that, a person could reasonably expect some functionality from Sense to make its way over to Versa 4. This includes the ability to measure your electrodiagram. To take a reading on Sense you need to place your fingers on the corners of the case.
Another upgrade could be stress tracking. Versa 3 can do this but Sense taps into readings from the electrodermal activity (EDA) sensor which reads moisture in the skin. This makes for more precise readings.
Further improvements will largely depend on where sensor technology goes from here. The list of possibilities is quite long. As mentioned, big changes could be around the corner.
Will Fitbit get rid of the paywall?
This probably tops most people wish lists. Fitbit has introduced an annoying paywall. Yes, you can still read most of your fitness and health metrics. But for longer-term trends and more details on some data you have to fork out for a Premium Subscription.
We’re clearly not a fan of this approach. Most people aren’t. It does generate an additional income stream for Fitbit, but most brands do not adopt this approach. Let’s hope Fitbit reconsiders.
Built-in storage for music
In theory, both Sense and Versa 3 can store music. But that’s not as straightforward as it sounds.
The duo has 2.5GB built-in storage space for this purpose. This is enough for around 300 songs. Spotify, Pandora and Deezer all play nice with the smartwatch which provides access to millions of songs. And you can use some of these to download tunes to your watch, but few are happy to pay for another subscription.
The problem is you cannot manually upload songs to the watches. With Ionic, Versa and Versa 2 you are able to do this.
Perhaps Fitbit sees this as another income stream. The company said recently it has no plans to bring the ability to load your personal music onto Fitbit Versa 3 and Sense. It makes previously free functions available only for those that use a paid service.
Those that like to run or cycle without their phones would love to see true offline music support. It is a silly thing not to have. Many users want to have freedom to transfer music through their own music apps.
A new operating system?
The Google acquisition of Fitbit has not really changed things that much. At least not so far. It all seems to be business as usual and Fitbit is churning out devices on a regular basis. But that might change soon.
Who knows, Fitbit’s next generation smartwatch could even transition for the current operating system to Wear OS 3.0. Which would make the next device a big departure from the rest of the range. Probably not going to happen, but you never know. It would provide access to a plethora of third-party apps.
Fitbit Versa 4: Release date
Fitbit is pretty regular at dishing out new iterations about every two years. The Versa range, however, is a bit of an outlier and has seen updates more frequently. Perhaps because of its popularity.
Here is the release schedule of the Versa range so far:
- April 2018 – Fitbit Versa
- September 2019 – Fitbit Versa 2
- August 2020 – Fitbit Versa 3
Looking at this one could expect a Versa 4 release date to fall in the latter part of 2021. But we think this is highly likely as it would eat into sales of Fitbit Sense. Therefore, the earliest we are expecting to see the next generation of Versa is Spring of 2022, perhaps not before next Summer.
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