Savvy shoppers rejoice! Fitbit has announced a new lineup of more affordable fitness trackers — the Versa Lite ($160), Inspire ($70), Inspire HR ($100), and Ace 2 ($70). The new devices will target the casual consumers that Fitbit claims have been left out of the smartwatch market.
In our review of Fitbits, we found two camps of people who use fitness trackers — enthusiasts dedicated to tracking their active lifestyle, and casual users who are curious about improving their sleep and step habits. Fitbit’s new line of more affordable trackers should appeal to the latter.
The company hopes the new Versa Lite, in particular, will attract the budget-conscious consumer base that has been passed over by competitors like Apple Watch and Samsung (whose entry point for smartwatches is closer to $400).
Visually, the Versa Lite is twin to its predecessor — sleek, low-profile, and stylish. The Versa Lite has only one button (Versa has three) and will be available in four vibrant colors (white, lilac, mulberry, and marina blue). Like the Fitbit Versa, the Versa Lite will track steps, calories, sleep stages, workouts, and heart rate.
At $40 cheaper, the Versa Lite skips out on a few advanced features. You won’t be able to track swim laps (though it is still waterproof); there’s no onboard Wi-Fi or storage for music; it doesn’t record floors you’ve climbed (still tracks your steps, but not your elevation); it has no NFC chip for payments; and there are no on-screen workouts from the Fitbit Coach app. In our experience, these features aren’t dealbreakers. They’re more secondary to fitness and health tracking features. On the other hand, without these capabilities, it’s possible the Fitbit Versa Lite becomes less of a smartwatch and more of a fitness tracker shaped like a watch. Stay tuned — we hope to take a more hands-on examination in the near future.
Versa Lite wasn’t the only shake-up announced. Fitbit is also introducing a new tracker line called Inspire, to replace the Alta, Flex, and Zip. Affordability is the goal again here. At just $70, it’s a more wide-appealing replacement to the Alta ($130). The fitness functionalities are the same as the Alta — step tracking, sleep tracking, heart rate monitoring, waterproof, calorie burning, etc. Its most impressive improvement is a true touchscreen — no more aggressively tapping until something happens. Previous iterations of “touchscreen” wristband trackers were more force-responsive.
The Inspire is impressively dynamic and can be worn as a clip-on or a wristwatch. The Inspire HR is $100 and more ambitious. Theoretically, it’ll highlight your oxygen consumption, provide pace information, and offer more detailed data on your sleep quality.
Fitbit has also updated its trackers for kids, with a $70 Ace 2 on the way (down from the original Ace’s $100 starting price). This device is now waterproof and includes cartoon animations on the main screen to celebrate goals. With childhood obesity on the rise, a lower entry cost for children’s fitness trackers could be a great way for families to motivate each other to remain active — and a great way for Fitbit to build brand loyalty at a young age.
Users can also look forward to a Fitbit app redesign later this year, which will include a reward system for hitting workout goals. You could earn prizes like Adidas sneakers, and Blue Apron discounts — a tactic Fitbit hopes will entice consumers to join the Fitbit ecosystem.
You can preorder the Fitbit Versa Lite, Inspire, and Inspire HR now (shipping later this month). And the Ace 2 is set to debut in the summer. In the meantime, check out our review of currently available (and soon to be on sale) Fitbits, where we discuss the Versa in more detail.