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Fitbit is a household name in the smartwatch and fitness tracker space. The brand motivates users to reach their fitness and health goals by coming up with products that make it easy to keep track of their day, including their activity, weight, exercise, food, and sleep.
To put it simply, Fitbit helps you see how every small step you take could make a significant impact on your fitness. It offers a device that suits every person’s health and fitness needs and objectives, as well as their personal preferences.
One of the most popular in Fitbit’s lineup of wearables is the Fitbit Blaze. However, the company has also come out with a newer player: the Fitbit Versa. And they say that the Versa is a replacement of the Blaze. But is it, really? How are these two products differ from each other?
Contents (Jump to)
- 1 Fitbit Blaze
- 2 What you would like about Fitbit Blaze
- 3 What can be better
- 4 The final word about Fitbit Blaze
- 5 Fitbit Versa
- 6 What you would like about Fitbit Versa
- 7 What needs work
- 8 Fitbit Blaze vs. Fitbit Versa: Which One Is for You?
When Fitbit Blaze came out, it was marketed as the ultimate smart fitness watch. This all-in-one wearable offers reliable exercise tracking on top of basic smartwatch functionality. It allows you to maximize your every activity, thanks to its advanced technology that enables you to keep track of your workouts, monitor your performance, and assess your progress. You can also monitor your heart rate and check out the intensity of your exercises with this device.
Fitbit Blaze has a versatile design, allowing you to change straps and frames to personalize your style.
Here’s the catch though – and we feel you should know this before reading ahead: Fitbit has discontinued the Blaze with its release of the Fitbit Versa. But while the company no longer carries Blaze on its website, you can still get it from third-party retailers.
What are the main features of the Fitbit Blaze?
- Multi-Sport. With Blaze’s multi-sport tracking capability, you can track a variety of sports and activities, including runs, cross-training, cardio workouts, and biking. You can just select the sport mode, and you will be able to see real-time statistics displayed on the screen.
- PurePulse Heart Rate. Fitbit Blaze gives you continuous wrist-based heart rate monitoring through the PurePulse technology. This means you will be able to check the intensity of your workouts and maximize these with continuous heart rate and simplified zones without having to use those constricting and uncomfortable chest straps.
- SmartTrack. Blaze uses SmartTrack to recognize and automatically record your exercises. So even if you forgot to log your activities, you could still get credit for it as long as you have your Blaze on.
- Connected GPS. You can connect your Blaze with the GPS on your smartphone to map your routes. You can, therefore, see your run stats, such as the duration and your pace, displayed on the screen.
- Workout Goals + Summaries. You can set weekly workout goals in your Fitbit app, then you can check summaries of your workout on your Blaze to see where you are in your goal.
Fitbit Blaze can sync wirelessly to computers and over 200 smartphone models, allowing you to conveniently check out your workout summaries, track your nutrition, and analyze your trends, among other things. What’s more, you will be able to receive calls, text, and calendar alerts when you sync your Blaze with your phone. That means you don’t need to take out your phone when you’re working out just to check whether you have received text messages or calls. You can also control music on your phone’s player!
Aside from all these workout-centric features, Fitbit Blaze has multi-faceted clock faces on its hi-resolution touchscreen, and you can choose whichever face you like. Fitbit Blaze has interchangeable bands and frames, too, so it is easy to personalize your look.
The device uses a lithium polymer battery, and it has a battery life that can last up to five days before you need to recharge it. Of course, battery life and charge cycles vary according to how you use your Blaze, the settings, and other factors. The device also has auto sleep and silent alarms.
Reviews and ratings
Fitbit Blaze is rated 3.5 stars out of 5.0 by Trusted Reviews. They have listed the Blaze’s color screen, good battery life, multiple strap options, and reliable exercise tracking as its pros. However, they are not thrilled about the Blaze not having built-in GPS, not being water-resistant, and not having third-party notification support.
Blaze also gets a 3.5 out of 5.0 stars rating from more than 9,000 reviewers on Amazon. Many Blaze users find the features really helpful and useful. However, there are those who said they loved their Blaze at first until it just stopped working correctly or stopped charging after a year or so. Many also pointed out that their Blaze wasn’t accurate when it comes to counting steps and tracking other activities.
What you would like about Fitbit Blaze
The Fitbit Blaze was a well-received product when it was released. While it breached the gap between a smartwatch and a fitness tracker, Blaze is really more of a fitness tracker in terms of its function and a watch in terms of its design. So Fitbit Blaze is excellent for people who are looking for a fitness tracker that leans toward being a smartwatch.
Users also like that Fitbit Blaze is a lot more affordable compared to the Apple Watch and the Garmin smartwatches. The Blaze was launched with a $199 price tag, and this price has significantly dropped during sales periods. You can now get it for as low as $147 on Amazon.
Another thing that users love about Blaze is its color LCD display, making it the first Fitbit product to have such a feature. This display is clear and bright, and, if you chose the right clock face, it really jumps at you. Compared to earlier Fitbit devices, the Blaze also has a larger screen.
Fitbit Blaze also has interesting fitness features run on Fitbit’s own software. The Exercise app is handy as it monitors the exercises you are doing. The “Today” app shows the number of steps you have taken, your heart rate and your resting heartbeat throughout the day, the number of calories you have burnt, the number of miles you have walked and the flights of stairs you have climbed.
At the end of the day, Blaze automatically transforms into a sleep tracker and starts to monitor your sleep. It will let you know how long you sleep each night and take note of your restlessness in an easy to understand timeline view.
Blaze also has useful features that are not really related to fitness. It includes a timer, alarms, the ability to control the music on your phone’s player, calendar notifications, and text and phone call alerts.
One of the best things about the Blaze — or any Fitbit device for that matter — is that the Fitbit app is compatible with over 200 smartphones and mobile devices. In fact, Fitbit is one of the few wearables that can be used across multiple platforms, including iOS, Android, and Windows.
The Fitbit Blaze’s five-day battery life is also a significant deciding factor for many users. Considering that it has a relatively large, color screen, this is impressive. The battery takes at least three hours to fully charge, but you can always do it overnight when you are not doing anything significant.
What can be better
One of the significant turn-offs of the Fitbit Blaze is its odd and unattractive design. A lot of users are not into its square screen and the metal parts of its strap. Some also find the thick bezels on the side of the screen too bulky. It would be better if a lot more thought were put into the design, and it was made more stylish in the looks department.
The device has a relatively large screen, but it feels like it’s a lot of wasted space because it displays very little information. You can only see the basic fitness stats, like the number of steps you have taken and your heart rate. And for a supposed touchscreen display, it can often be unresponsive. You can tap it multiple times, and it still won’t budge.
While the Blaze can be customized by swapping the straps and frames, it doesn’t come cheap. For example, you have to shell out $100 if you want the leather bands and $130 for the stainless steel.
Another aspect of the Fitbit Blaze that needs improvement is its functionally limited notifications. You get alerts for phone calls, texts, and calendar events, but that’s about it. Third-party apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp cannot send notifications. So if you are into social media, you may find Blaze lacking.
The final word about Fitbit Blaze
Fitbit Blaze does a great job at fitness tracking, and it has brilliant features that help keep you motivated to reach your fitness goals. Fitstar is also an exciting addition for those who love exercise challenges.
Many people are, however, confused as to whether Blaze belongs to the fitness tracker category or to the smartwatch category. It sure is a lot smarter than the average fitness tracker. But for a smartwatch, it is somewhat lacking.
With the release of the Versa, Fitbit said goodbye to the Blaze. Some say that the Fitbit Versa is a replacement for the Blaze. But for others, the Blaze is a fitness tracker while the Versa is a smartwatch — and is, in fact, only the company’s second smartwatch after the Fitbit Ionic.
Whichever is the case, the Fitbit Versa certainly improved on specific aspects of its predecessors, and added some other cool features, too.
The Versa has three variants: Versa, Versa Lite Edition, and Versa Special Edition. These variants differ in style and in certain features. The Versa sells for $199.95 at the Fitbit site, while the Lite Edition retails for $159.95 and the Special Edition sells for $229.95
Just like the Blaze, Fitbit Versa has the PurePulse Heart Rate to continuously monitor your heart rate. It also has the automatic sleep tracking, where it tracks the quality of your sleep and your sleeping stages, from light, to deep, to REM, and get insights about your night.
The Versa likewise has all-day activity tracking, SmartTrack, the Fitbit app, and multi-sport mode.
Additional features you can find on the Versa include:
- Onboard music storage. You can upload more than 300 of your own songs on your device. You can also sync with a Deezer playlist. You can listen to music using Bluetooth device.
- NFC contactless payment. You can go on a run and not take your bulky wallet or any cash with you. With your Versa, you can stop by your favorite coffee shop and just pay via Fitbit Pay.
- Quick replies. Just like the Blaze, you can get call, text, and calendar notifications here. But with the Versa, you can send a quick response to messages you get on your Android phone.
- More clock faces. You get to choose from hundreds of clock faces.
- Female Health Tracking. Ladies, you can log your period and compare your cycle against other health stats such as activity, weight, and sleep.
- More apps to download. You can download your favorite apps that are not necessarily fitness-related.
Reviews and ratings
The Fitbit Versa gets a rating of 4 stars out of 5 from Trusted Reviews. The site considers the Versa’s excellent battery life, slick and comfortable design, many tracking options, water-resistance, and bright and clear screen as main selling points. For cons, they cited its lack of built-in GPS, the shortage of apps, and its passive notifications.
Meanwhile, on Amazon, the Versa gets a rating of 3.7 out of 5 stars from nearly 6,000 users. Users love how it can track the specific activities that they do. They also love the easy setup, the waterproof feature, and the classy, comfortable design. Some users, however, are not happy with their units, citing issues with Bluetooth connectivity, syncing, NFC payments, tracking accuracy, and water resistance.
What you would like about Fitbit Versa
The Fitbit Versa has a lightweight and comfortable design, which is excellent for those who exercise and work out a lot. Its screen has a square form with rounded corners. This “squircle” design is something that many users find more attractive, more friendly, more accessible, and more classy than the Blaze’s sharp, square form.
Another good thing about the Versa is its clear and bright display. So the color display is easily visible when you are under direct sunlight or underwater. The touchscreen is also more fluid and uninterrupted.
People also love how customizablethe Versa is. Aside from the many different watch faces, you can choose from (or purchase from a third party), you can also change its look or style. Its straps are interchangeable, and there are colored metal, silicon, and fabric options.
When it comes to function, the Versa has many fitness features, so it got all major workout types covered. And when you are sleeping, the sleep analysis feature is a very insightful feature, too. Tracking exercises on your wrist is pretty straightforward. And, oh, it is a major plus point that it can track swimming — because it is waterproof.
What needs work
A common complaint among gadget experts about the Versa is its lack of onboard GPS. This limits the Versa’s usefulness for those who are more active than average because GPS is necessary to get accurate mileage data, among others. Instead, the watch connects to your phone’s GPS, so when you need this function, you must not leave your smartphone behind.
The Fitbit Pay platform also needs some work, as many users report that several payment transactions are not processed for some reason. In other words, it’s not consistent.
Another area for improvement is the actionable notifications, which is limited only to Android users. Aside from this, call, text, and calendar alerts are just that, alerts. You’d still need your phone to do something about these notifications.
Fitbit Blaze vs. Fitbit Versa: Which One Is for You?
The Fitbit Versa is a much more improved product than the Blaze, both in terms of design and features. In terms of pricing, the original Versa costs the same as the Blaze when it first came out, so that alone already means that it offers excellent value for your money.
Plus, the fact that Fitbit has discontinued Blaze already means that there’s not much going for it. Stocks in third-party retailers are already limited, and if you get a defective unit, there might be no more replacements available. Moreover, there won’t be any upgrades or updates in features. And if you want to customize it, you may not be able to get the accessories you want.
If you want a smart fitness tracking watch for a discounted price, sure, you can get the Blaze. If it works just fine, then it’s a great deal.
But if you don’t mind spending a few more bucks, go for the Versa. You get to enjoy some cool extra features, and you still have the chance to get accessories for more styling and customization options.
Alvin has been reviewing different types of technology from QR codes to the latest smartphones and robot vacuums for over a decade. Outside of technology, he writes about a wide variety of topics, including buses, travel, bankruptcy, healthcare, and cannabis. He was once so addicted to online shopping that he was on a first-name basis with delivery guys and courier services — and he shares his passion with all of you!