Fitbit Sense and Versa 3 unveiled with GPS, Google Assistant, and more

Fitbit Sense
Fitbit Sense (Image credit: Fitbit)

Fitbit Sense

Source: Fitbit (Image credit: Source: Fitbit)

What you need to know

  • Fitbit's smartwatch family is expanding yet again, this time with the Sense and Versa 3.
  • The Versa 3 has built-in GPS, six-day battery life, 24/7 heart-rate monitoring, etc.
  • You get a similar experience on the Sense, in addition to stress-monitoring and an ECG sensor.

Fitbit has grown a lot in recent years. The company that used to only offer fitness trackers has since established a solid foundation in the smartwatch space, largely thanks to the Fitbit Versa series that we've had since 2018. Fitbit is once again furthering its smartwatch offerings, and for 2020, we have two to talk about — Fitbit Versa 3 and Fitbit Sense.

Both watches have a lot in common, but as the saying goes, "the devil is in the details." To kick things off, let's take a look at what the Fitbit Versa 3 is bringing to the table.

Fitbit Versa 3

Source: Fitbit (Image credit: Source: Fitbit)

Overall, the Versa 3 looks very similar to the Versa 2 that came out before it. There are now rounded corners for the display and the physical button has been replaced with a capacitive touch area, but this is the same general design Fitbit's been working with for a couple of years. It's a friendly squircle shape that's not too big or bulky, and while it may not be anything revolutionary, it's a proven design that works really well.

Source: Fitbit

One of the biggest changes for Versa 3 is with its heart-rate sensor, which now features the company's upgraded PurePulse 2.0 system for more accurate tracking of your heart-rate throughout the day. We also finally get built-in GPS for accurate pace and distance information, along with an external speaker that enables you to take phone calls and hear spoken responses from your voice assistant.

Speaking of which, the Versa 3 keeps the Alexa integration introduced on the Versa 2 while also throwing Google Assistant into the mix. You'll be able to pick and choose which digital helper you prefer using, and as of right now, Google Assistant will remain exclusive to Versa 3 and not make its way to the Versa 2. Also on-board is six-day battery life, fast charging, and a new band system that should be easier to use.

The Versa 3 looks to be a solid (if modest) upgrade over the Versa 2, keeping what worked about its predecessor and adding a few welcome features. Where things get really interesting, however, is when we look at the Fitbit Sense.

Fitbit Sense

Source: Fitbit (Image credit: Source: Fitbit)

Fitbit Sense is the new flagship wearable that's at the very top of Fitbit's product offerings, and at its core, it has all of the same goodies found with the Versa 3 — GPS, six-day battery life, improved heart-rate tracking, Google Assistant, etc. On top of all that, Fitbit has added an array of new sensors that allow the Sense to go a step further with how it can be used for your body's physical and mental health.

Just like the Galaxy Watch 3, the Fitbit Sense has ECG sensors for analyzing the rhythm of your heart and detecting potential health issues. It's still pending approval by the FDA in the United States, but once that's complete, you'll be able to get a full reading just by placing your fingers on the corners of Sense for 30 seconds. From there, you can view a full readout of the ECG test in the Fitbit app and then print a PDF if you want to share it with your doctor.

Source: Fitbit

You'll also find an EDA scanner of the Fitbit Sense, which is short for "electrodermal activity." The tech is used for understanding your body's current stress levels and how you react to various stressors that you encounter. It's part of Fitbit's bigger push into mental health along with physical health, and it'll be really interesting to see how long it takes for this tech to trickle down into more affordable wearables.

Finally, the Fitbit Sense rounds out its sensor loadout with an on-wrist skin temperature sensor. The sensor checks your skin every night, and by doing so, you can potentially detect a fever or the start of your menstrual cycle.

Fitbit hasn't announced specific availability info for either smartwatch, but what we do know is the price. The Fitbit Versa will cost $229 when it goes on sale, with the Fitbit Sense costing significantly more at $329. Both watches will also come with free trials for Fitbit Premium, which usually costs $9.99/month.

Joe Maring
  • I wish the Sense looked more like the Ionic. It would add some variety to Fitbit's lineup plus the Ionic is overdue for a refresh.
  • So, Ionic was fun, no doubt, but it was trashed for its look/design. It was very divisive, to say the least. I feel certain there will never be an Ionic 2, and Sense is its spiritual successor. I'm also not sure how an Ionic 2 would differentiate from Sense besides design i.e. what is Sense actually missing?
  • In my dream scenario, there wouldn't be a Sense. There would just be a new Ionic with the innards of the Sense.
  • Does fit bit os get an upgraded ui as well I miss my fitbit ionic but when it capped I inherited a fossil g4 Explorist and the big screen and oled make it hard to go back. It would depend more toe on the os. However that said the sensors in this thing like the ionic before it are jumping the other fitness wearable.
  • Dan, how big is the screen in relation to the ionic, is it oled and all day. And I see it has a speaker is that just for Alexa or also for calls. Lastly it has Alexa but not Amazon music?
  • I greee, the Ionic was nice. I owned three, before finally switching to the Galaxy S3 Watch. The only real reason I switched was becasue of the heart rate sensor that stopped working and then the watch itself. I liked the overall design of the Ionic. They could still maintain the basic design, with more refined look and maybe slightly bigger screen, while adding every thing the Sense will have. However, with these new features and improved hear rate sensor I may decide to come back to Fitbit.
  • This is probably an ionic replacement and the ionic line is dead.
  • I am still using my Ionic that I bought at launch. The sleep tracking has become hit & miss (despite being tightly strapped to my arm). I actually prefer the look of the Ionic over the Versa. I Pre-ordered the Sense this morning and am looking forward to the upgrade in hardware and UI.
  • While I'm happy at the possibility of finally upgrading my Ionic, I'm still concerned about how Fitbit as a company is being run these days. I haven't updated to the latest firmware because, as their Community boards clearly show, their updates frequently cause serious issues, and the last one released earlier this year BRICKED many devices. Fitbit's response? Offering a 20% discount to buy a NEW one??...knowing this new device is about to be released? Who is running the show there, and will Google's potential acquisition help or hurt this? Before I drop $329 on a new watch, I want to know it has solid software development (and TESTING) behind it.