Fitbit Versa 4 and Sense 2 are a step up from the earlier generations in some respects, but in other respects they are a step back. At least for the moment. Another feature that is currently missing from the duo is support for 3rd party apps.
The non-existent ability to install software from the Fitbit App Gallery extends to 3rd party watch faces. Which means users need to rely on one of the 120 preinstalled watch-faces and the bunch of default apps.
Essential reading: Best fitness trackers and health gadgets
Presumably, the functionality will come in time but it is something those considering a purchase should be aware of. On Versa 3 and Sense, there is full support for 3rd party apps and watch-faces which allows for more decision making freedom and choice over what to install.
Is Google purposefully dumbing down Fitbit devices?
Unfortunately, the list of missing features on Versa 4 and Sense 2 as compared to their immediate predecessors does not end there. Which poses the question – with the launch of the Pixel Watch in just a few days time, is Google artificially dumbing down the smart functionality of Fitbit devices? If this is the case, it doesn’t sound like a clever move.
In addition to no App Gallery support, the functionality that is missing right now includes the following:
- No music control (or Spotify, Deezer, Pandora support for that matter). This is in addition to the lack of support for downloading music to the watch. But that one is there on the predecessor generation, as well.
- WiFi is built-in but it is deactivated – a strange decision to build a feature but not allow users to access it. It basically means slower operating system update installations. WiFi is also a feature that is often used for testing by 3rd party app and watch-face developers, so their job will be more difficult.
- there is no Google Assistant. Another odd decision considering Fitbit is owned by the search giant. For now users only get Amazon Alexa. We would be surprised, though, if Google Assistant doesn’t come via a firmware update soon.
- no Google Maps and Google Wallet. We mention these because Versa 3 and Sense 2 have the features. Fitbit has confirmed this will be coming but has not announced an estimated arrival date. It might be in a few days, or a few months – it’s anyone’s guess.
- no call support. If your smartphone rings, the notification will not come through to the device on your wrist. Again, this is something that will be coming, but with no specified timeframe.
As these things have come to light, they are making Versa 3 and Sense sound all the more attractive. Particularly as the health and fitness upgrades that came with this latest generation are marginal.
It is always a risk buying something with the hope it might do something later via firmware updates. The predecessor generation already packs these additional features so you will be getting more bang for your buck.
What makes Versa 3 and Sense even more attractive is that their price will aggressively come down due to their age. A few big sales events are coming up in the near future. The first is Amazon Prime Day on October 11th and 12th. This is the first time Amazon will host two Prime Day sales events in a year. Also, great deals will be available for Black Friday in November, as well as the subsequent holiday period.
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