Nearly two years after the merger was finalized, Fitbit is launching its first smartwatches under Google, which at one point seemed to be the death knell for the brand’s smartwatches. We now have the Fitbit Versa 4 and Fitbit Sense 2.
Both the Fitbit Sense 2 and Fitbit Versa 4 have a lot of similarities with their predecessors. They continue to have multi-day battery life, the Fitbit OS, and a strong emphasis on fitness tracking. Both use the same squircle software and design; their only real difference is in the sensors they use.
A simple fitness tracker, the Fitbit Versa 4 has features like step counting, heart rate monitoring, sleep tracking, SpO2 information, support for recording workouts, and more.
The Fitbit Sense 2 augments the offering with ECG functionality. The Sense 2 also has a brand-new Body Response sensor that constantly records electrodermal activity (cEDA) for tracking and managing stress throughout the day.
The hardware change that most people will notice is that Fitbit has replaced the solid-state buttons from the Sense and Versa 3 with physical, clickable buttons. In order to be more accessible, the button is also positioned higher on the design. Despite having the same sensors and battery life as the first version, Fitbit claims that Sense 2 is 15% lighter and 10% thinner.
The software is where the Fitbit Sense 2 and Fitbit Versa 4 see the biggest modifications, and this is where Google is most noticeable.
Google Wallet is also now supported, or at least will be in the near future.
Since a few years ago, Fitbit smartwatches have allowed NFC mobile payments, but the most recent model goes beyond Fitbit Pay to use the same mobile wallet as Google, which is available on Android smartphones and Wear OS smartwatches. On the Fitbit Charge 5 and other older trackers and smartwatches, Fitbit Pay is still available—at least for the time being. The Sense or Versa 3 won’t support Google Wallet, according to Fitbit’s plans.
Beyond Wallet, Fitbit’s UI is another area where Google’s influence may be seen. As previously indicated, these smartwatches use Fitbit’s proprietary technology rather than Wear OS. But this year, a version of the Tiles that Wear OS introduced a few years ago has been added to the UI, making it somewhat more similar to Wear OS. In essence, they serve as movable widgets next to the clock face. Unfortunately, this is now only available in first-party apps, primarily fitness-related apps.
Additionally, the app drawer now closely resembles the one from Wear OS 3 (as seen below).
There is no release date for Google Maps, which will offer turn-by-turn directions on these smartwatches.
Oddly, Google Assistant capability is not mentioned, despite the fact that it was available on the previous model.
Fitbit is developing a true Wear OS smartwatch, but these devices will have a longer battery life than most.
This latest version is expected to achieve battery life totals of 5–6 days, depending on usage, similar to the Fitbit Sense and Versa 3. Fitbit claims that one day of power can be obtained after only 12 minutes of charging, thus charging times should be quicker this year as well.
While the Sense 2 starts at $299.95 and the Fitbit Versa 4 starts at $229.95 . Both smartwatches come with a complimentary six-month trial of Fitbit Premium.
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