It has been about a year since Fitbit Versa 3 was released into the wild. In this article we look forward to Versa 4, its possible release date, specs, rumors.
Versa is Fitbit’s best known smartwatch. Sure we had a spinoff that came in the form of Sense. But we are yet to see if there will be a Sense 2 or Fitbit makes a joint all-purpose smartwatch with Google. In that case we might get the mythical Pixel Watch. That one has already reportedly leaked out. Or something that will go by another name. Let’s not forget that at the 2021 Google IO event in May, the search giant revealed that it is working on a Wear OS smartwatch with Fitbit.
Essential reading: Top fitness trackers and health gadgets
So while a Fitbit Sense 2 is still uncertain, it is probably a safe bet that we will see a Versa 4. The Versa range has been a popular seller since the original device was launched back in April 2018.
Interestingly, there has been no news or credible leaks to date on the next generation watch. That should not come as too much of a surprise. Fitbit is pretty good at keeping things under wraps. Having said that, there have been a few occasions in the past when the pictures and specs of upcoming devices were leaked ahead of time. But this was usually a week or two before the actual launch date.
Which doesn’t really leave us much to go on. We will, of course, update this article when new information becomes available. In the meantime, what follows is our view on design and technical specs that would present a logical progression. Plus some of the things that we would like to see.
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.
We might, perhaps, get an even more rounded design. Something akin to the Luxe and Charge 5. They have an overall smoother aesthetic than the Versa so look more ergonomic.
But don’t expect anything drastic. 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 bumped up 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.
At the moment there’s no way to increase the screen further apart from upping the dimensions of the device. And we don’t see that happening.
However, an 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.
Something else that would represent progress would be if Fitbit manages to make the screen less power hungry. That way enabling the always-on option would not reduce battery life as much. Currently, it shrinks it by around a half.
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 more modern aesthetic, and a 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. Not many people have the need to go deep see diving with a Fitbit watch.
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, price
Fitbit is pretty regular at dishing out new iterations of devices 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. The period between ranges from 12 months to 17 months.
- April 2018 – Fitbit Versa
- September 2019 – Fitbit Versa 2
- August 2020 – Fitbit Versa 3
So what does this tell us about a possible launch date? Nothing really apart from the fact that the new device is due out in the coming months.
But don’t look for anything before the end of 2021. It would be pointless releasing a smartwatch in the middle of the holiday sales period when everything is selling at a discount.
Having said that, it has already been a year since the release of Versa 3. So there’s a chance we might get some sort of announcement at CES 2022 in Las Vegas. If not then, we might be looking at an unveiling in the Spring. After that, the next good opportunity would be IFA 2022 in Berlin – this falls at end-August/early September.
As far as price, that will largely depend on specs. Once again we should be looking at a few different editions. The standard version which will probably retail at around the $230 price point. That is what the current version sells for. Then we’ll get a cheaper Lite and more expensive Special edition. The caveat is if Fitbit releases a watch with built-in cellular. That would add anywhere between $50 and $100 to the price tag.
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