Fitbit Versa 4 review: The button returns, but some features are gone

Wearables continue to be great longevity tools – and they can potentially transform healthcare, as users can address and improve habits and lifestyles based on data gathered from their gadgets.

With Fitbit’s recent release of their new generation fitness trackers and smartwatches – we have seen the very colourful Inspire 3 and the stress-tracking Sense 2. Finally, it’s time to talk about the new Fitbit Versa 4.

Fitbit Versa 4
Rated 4/5 based on 20 customer reviews
Longevity.Technology scored Fitbit Versa 4 at 20/25
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Fitbit Versa 4 in a glance

Not too expensiveBundled strap is terrible
The same superb appAudio quality for calls isn’t outstanding
The button returnsInconsistent tracking
Stylish designSome features have been removed

Fitbit Versa 4 button – it’s back!

Similar to the Sense 2, the Versa 4 boasts of a new and improved button. The raised physical button is aimed for easier usage. 

It can be used to turn the screen on, take you to a list of your favourite apps, or to a customised feature you can assign in the settings. Some functions to set it on are Alexa integration, alarm clock, exercise selection screen or Fitbit pay.

Shop for Fitbit Versa 4 on Amazon.

Fitbit Versa 4 user interface

The Versa 4 has a further simplified user interface, where the brand always excels. You have an easy-to-use, no-frills interface that anyone can understand and jump right into using.

It’s a promising sign of further improvement in an already great area.

Users swipe up to modify settings, down to view notifications, left or right to browse through different tiles, like exercise selection, your primary goal (set it up through the app) sleep score and weather, among others. Something to look forward to is the new heart rate tile, delivering the previous few hours of your heart rate record [1].

Fitbit Versa 4 screen

Everything the Fitbit Versa 4 does looks excellent on the bright AMOLED touchscreen. With many available watch faces, anyone should be able to find something they’ll like.

The Versa 4 is also much lighter, at just 24g, making it 15 per cent lighter than the Versa 3. It’s also about 10 per cent thinner. It’s much smaller despite having the same-sized display and battery life.

Fitbit Versa 4 battery life

The Versa 4’s battery life will typically last five to six days, though with the always-on display enabled, it falls to roughly two to three days.

If you tend to work out outside, use GPS tracking and turn up the brightness to the maximum while outdoors to make screen viewing easier, the battery lasts a decent couple of days. In addition, it’s pretty quick to charge, taking around 12 minutes to get a full day’s worth of battery life if you are not using the always-on display.

Fitbit Versa 4 workouts

Fitbit has 41 workout choices for tracking, which is twice as many as their lower-priced fitness trackers in the market. The workout screen is straightforward, showing you one primary metric at a time. 

The metric you’re currently viewing is adjustable with a press. This isn’t going to be great for someone who likes to see a broader range of running metrics all at once, but again, Fitbits are more for someone who wants something uncomplicated and easy to follow. 

Fitbit Versa 4 GPS accuracy

Identical to Fitbit’s Sense 2 and Charge 5, the Versa 4 has integrated GPS, meaning you don’t have to run with your phone if you choose not to. Regarding GPS accuracy, the Versa 4 is quite fitting for its price. 

The GPS tracking stays on target well. There are a few instances of it being thrown off, which is ideal for a fitness tracker at $229. The Versa 4 is rated water-resistant for 50m of depth, as was its predecessor. This is enough water resistance for swims and in the shower.

Fitbit Versa 4 health and sleep metrics

While you sleep, the Versa 4 will track various health metrics: breathing rate, HRV or heart rate variability, oxygen saturation, resting heart rate and skin temperature variation. On top of those, it follows your sleep and details it into the period of time you spend in various sleep phases.

Fitbit employs your health metrics to provide a readiness score to assist you in determining better how prepared your body is to handle further training or exertion.

The Versa 4 and Sense 2 seem to be some of the most accurate wearables. They even accurately track naps, which is usually missed by others.

Although the actual tracking is good, the scores seemed too optimistic. For instance, getting an excellent readiness score when the sleep quality wasn’t as good is something they could probably improve on.

Fitbit Versa 4 Bluetooth and sync range

Versa 4 has upgraded Bluetooth and sync range, allowing for a better connection to your mobile and a much more comprehensive sync range, extending from 9 feet to 30 feet.

You can use the Versa 4 to receive notifications from your phone, and it also has a find-my-phone app. Soon, there should be call support to handle calls directly on the Versa 4 itself – to hang up or ignore phone calls.

Fitbit Versa 4 Google Wallet and Maps

According to Fitbit, Google Wallet and Map integration will be available soon on the Versa 4. As these are not currently out, these features haven’t been tested yet. A release date hasn’t been announced yet, but for the meantime, there’s the FitBit Pay app to use as a wallet.

Fitbit Versa 4 watch strap

It would be neglectful, not to mention the included watch bands. The Versa 4 has small and large sizes, and the bands are easily removed and changed for a different band.

However, the included band feels a little plasticky. Putting it on kind of feels like going through two tight gaps and securing it through a stud that you must be pushed unpleasantly near your wrist veins [2]. What’s good is, earlier Sense or Versa 3 or bands will work on the Versa 4, as basically any 24mmFitbit band will do.

Fitbit Versa 4 heart rate accuracy

While the GPS and sleep tracking accuracy were pretty solid, there was less luck with the heart-rate tracking while working out. At rest, or when not doing a demanding workout, heart rate seems to track pretty well, but going on higher intensity, the Versa 4 seems to have a bit of lag. 

It would usually take a minute or so to catch up, and sometimes, I could never entirely adjust to where my heart rate was. Likewise, it’s not lousy for lower-effort, uninterrupted activity, but for interval training or more strenuous exercises, the heart rate tracking looks a bit far from dependable.

Fitbit Versa 4 premium features

Many features, like the Daily Readiness Score, Sleep Profile, analytics, wellness reports, games and challenges and video workouts, are locked behind the Fitbit Premium Membership. You get six months of free membership with the Versa 4, but it costs around $10 a month to resume after that [3].

Fitbit Versa 4 downgrades

Features removed: there are some noteworthy downgrades to the Versa 4 over the Versa 3, with some features removed. Some of the casualties are snore and noise detection, but removing Google Voice rather than Alexa is just baffling.

Longevity-wise, this specific model isn’t as remarkable( as the Sense 2 at least). While it lacks some of the more advanced tracking features like the ECG capability from the Sense 2, the features on the Versa 4 are essentially the same. You get all the standard 24/7 activity and health tracking options like heart rate, breathing, stress levels and sleep, making the Versa 4 quite a holistic device [4]. 

Lacking third-party apps and music support: the complete discarding third-party apps and music support is where things get truly unappealing. Pulling out third-party app support removes the ability to add any extra functionality that may be missing. 

This is especially disadvantageous when we consider removing apps such as Spotify, which would let you to play and download music onto the Versa 4. Unable to download content onto the watch demands you to carry your phone for outdoor workouts if you want to stream audio. This makes the integrated GPS less admirable because you’ll likely need to have your phone with you on a walk or run regardless.

In addition, no third-party app support makes it hard to call the Versa 4 and Sense 2 “smartwatches.” These feel more like premium health and wellness trackers now – not much different comparing the Versa 4 to the $99 Inspire 3.

Fitbit Versa 4 cost

The Versa 4 is an excellent fitness tracker, but it feels a little misplaced at a cost close to that of an actual smartwatch. If you want a simple, easy-to-use, well-designed fitness tracker, you could choose the much cheaper Charge 5 or Inspire 3.

If you want a lot of the benefits of a smartwatch, you’re more likely to go for an Apple Watch SE or the Google Pixel watch. The Fitbit Versa 4 seems only for someone who wants that excellent, simple fitness tracker and is willing to spend much more for the best-looking version.

Probably that was Fitbit’s point: to keep the Versa 4 simple, stripped-back and streamlined, so you remain focused on core fitness tracking, while leaving more sophisticated features for the forthcoming Pixel watch, which is expected to be packed full of Fitbit health and fitness functionality as well as being a full-on smartwatch.

Shop Fitbit on Amazon.

The Fitbit Versa 4 hasn’t changed much from the Versa 3

None of the mentioned concerns are problems in isolation but, added together, they do leave the Versa 4 feeling like an oddly less substantial product than its predecessor, which shouldn’t ever be the case with a numbered upgrade.

Maybe some features will come back with software updates. But for now, even with the return of a physical button, it’s tough to explain purchasing a Versa 4.

It’s still a lovely watch with a great app. Still, it’s not a very recommendable gadget with patchy activity tracking, a bunch of paywalled data, and less functionality than its direct ancestor.


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