Fitbit unveils affordable smartwatch in bid to eat into Apple domination

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Fitbit unveils affordable smartwatch in bid to eat into Apple domination

Fitbit announces the launch of a lower-priced smartwatch, Versa Lite. Look a little closer and you can see the corners Fitbit has cut to reach the new price point and release its most affordable smartwatch yet.

At $99.95, the Ace 2 is $30 more affordable than the outgoing model it replaces. The company announced stripped-down versions of the Versa and the Ace that are up to $40 cheaper than their predecessors. This is because the devices were available exclusively to Fitbit's corporate, wellness, health plan, and health systems partners and customers of their organisations, participants and members.

Adults aren't the only ones getting a new Fitbit tracker to play with. Without the swim tracking function, the Versa Lite doesn't need the buttons.

In fact, Amazon sold the Fitbit Versa for only £135.99 / $145 over the Christmas sales period. The Fitbit Inspire is a similar device selling for $69.95 that has no heart rate tracking capability but keeps the activity tracking most people want.

If you never own a Fitbit before, this is probably the one you should go for. "We really think of our users as being on Fitbit".

It's a solid product for £89 although in many ways, no different to a Fitbit from 3 years ago.

Fitbit unveils affordable smartwatch in bid to eat into Apple domination
Fitbit unveils affordable smartwatch in bid to eat into Apple domination

There are thick bezels around the display here, but if you're using a black watch face it's hard to notice these.

The fitness-focused brand is also revamping its Fitbit app's interface and adding a new Fitbit Focus section and launching a new Rewards program later in the year. As you'd expect, it comes in a range of bright hues.

You also get female health tracking, guided breathing routines and access to tons (seriously, so many) clock faces.

The Versa Lite is available in white, lilac, mulberry, and marina blue, and bands come in six colors, including scarlet, charcoal, and sunshine.

Across 90 million devices, Fitbit has tracked 181 billion hours of heart rate data, 175 trillion steps, and 457 billion minutes of exercise - giving the company one of the world's largest databases of biometric data. The former has essential health and fitness features such as sleep and exercise tracking, reminders, and goal celebrations, whereas the latter is a more fleshed out activity tracker offering Sleep Stages tracking, guided breathing exercises, and connected Global Positioning System.

Despite this, it is water and swimproof, it just won't track you when you take a dip. There are no on-screen workouts here though, which is something reserved for top-end Fitbit products. According to Fitbit, the sensor "has the potential to estimate changes in blood oxygen levels and help track new health indicators about health, such as sleep apnea". You'll get a clear picture of your daily stats on the watch, but the app is where you'll be able to break down data over a longer period.

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