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8 Reasons to Avoid a Fitbit Versa 4 Today

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8 Reasons to Avoid a Fitbit Versa 4 Today

Key Points

  • The Fitbit Versa 4 requires a membership for advanced features, which is disappointing for customers who don’t want to worry about another subscription. 
  • The Fitbit Versa 4 smartwatch lacks support for third-party apps, including popular ones like Spotify, which is another disappointment for potential buyers. 
  • Considering the lack of third-party app support and feature set, many consider the price of the Fitbit Versa 4 to be too high. 

There is no question that wearables are enjoying their time in the spotlight and for all the right reasons. Comfortable, useful, and, of course, portable, wearables like the Fitbit Versa 4 are able to not only help you limit how much you look at your phone but also help give you a health boost by encouraging more activities like running, biking, and lifting weights. 

However, the reality is that while there are a great many options available in the wearables space, the Fitbit Versa 4 is unlikely to be your first or second choice. There is no doubt Fitbit has made a name for itself, but the Versa 4 didn’t win any awards in 2022 and has already been well surpassed in 2023 by competitors. 

With that in mind, let’s take a look at the 8 reasons you can safely skip the Fitbit Versa 4 this year. 

What is the Fitbit Versa 4? 

Before diving into all of the reasons you can skip the Fitbit Versa 4, it’s important to ground ourselves in what the Versa 4 is. The successor to the Fitbit Versa 3, the Versa 4 launched in 2020 and is one of the more affordable entry points in the Fitbit lineup. 

One of the most impressive benefits is the 6-day battery life, as well as things like enabling 10 key sleep metrics or tracking your fitness and exercise results. There is no question these are useful and often interesting features to have right on your wrist. 

Another major highlight of the Versa 4 was the re-introduction of a physical button, but aside from that, the rest of the changes from the Versa 3 were incremental at best. Given that this fitness-lovers watch didn’t introduce anything groundbreaking between generations, do you really want to pick it up? 

Let’s take a look at the biggest reasons why you should avoid the Fitbit Versa 4 and choose a different wearable. 

Great Value
Fitbit Versa 4
$199.95
  • 1.69-inch screen
  • Health metrics dashboard
  • Water resistant up to 50 meters
  • Daily Stress Management Score
  • Includes a 6-month Premium membership
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
01/17/2024 06:10 am GMT

8 Reasons to Avoid the Fitbit Versa 4

#1: You Need a Membership

While this reason isn’t specific to the Fitbit Versa 4 itself, it’s quite surprising to learn that once you buy your Versa 4, in order to enjoy the best possible features, you need to pay even more.

By purchasing a Fitbit Premium Membership for either $9.99 a month or $79.99 annually, you get advanced features like health metric trends over the past 90 days, a wellness report, skin temperature details, 200+ workouts, sleep score breakdown, 200+ mindfulness sessions, and more. 

While none of these are bad benefits per se, that they are locked behind a paywall is a bit of a downer. This is going to be especially true for those who don’t want to get into the Apple Watch because it isn’t for them or because they are Android users.

There will be plenty of excitement around the purchase of a Fitbit Versa 4 only to learn that aside from your $200 smartwatch purchase, there is also an extra cost requirement from the manufacturer itself. It’s one thing to go in knowing you will need to purchase third-party apps separately and that’s likely already understood, but any services direct from the manufacturer is a big disappointment. 

#2: No Third-Party Apps

Yes, you read this title correctly as Fitbit removed third-party app support for the Fitbit Versa 4, which is quite a questionable decision. Even apps like Spotify, which is, by all accounts, an app that doesn’t interfere with the built-in functionality of the Versa 4 or its premium subscription, has also been removed. 

This means that in order to stream music on your Versa 4 when you go for a run, you also need your phone as there is no opportunity to use internal memory for audio. The result is that any hope you can go for a run solely with your smartwatch as a fitness tracker is scaled back. Keep in mind that your phone can already track your GPS location for distances and calories burned as well. 

To call any smartwatch app “smart” without the inclusion of third-party apps feels like a big mistake. Instead, you get the addition of a bunch of new smartwatch faces, which is not at all a viable consolation prize for the complete abandonment of third-party apps. 

#3: Costs Too Much

Without support for third-party apps, the $200 price tag of the Fitbit Versa 4 feels too high. While the Fitbit Versa 4 shouldn’t be free, the price tag of $200 is just too much.

Instead, without third-party apps, Fitbit should have reduced the price of the Versa 4 down closer to $100-$150, which might have been a sweet spot for those who just want a wearable that can be used for fitness tracking. 

#4: Poor Heart Rate Monitoring

If there is one universal con mentioned by online reviewers around the Fitbit Versa 4, it’s poor heart rate monitoring. The Fitbit Versa 4 comes out of the box with the company’s PurePulse optical heart rate sensor technology, but its accuracy seems to have gone backward with the release of the fourth edition of the Versa smartwatch. 

What most reviewers noticed online was the idea that when they rested, the Versa 4 would provide what it believed to be an accurate look at a resting heart rate. However, when things ramped up and workouts got more intense, there was a noticeable lag between the level of exercise and an increase or decrease in associated heart rate tracking. For the many people who exercise and keep track of their heart rate to find the optimal level for losing fat and burning calories, this is a big miss on Fitbit’s part. 

One other final note around heart rate monitoring is that the Versa 4 doesn’t offer an ECG sensor, something that does come with the Fitbit Sense 2 and, of course, the Apple Watch. Apple has touted the Apple Watch’s ability to look for Afib detection as a major reason to pick up the Apple Watch. This is especially true for their most recent iPhone 15 launch event, which was kicked off in celebration of those who used the Apple Watch to detect Afib inconsistencies and seek immediate medical treatment. 

#5: Best for Casual Fitness Tracking

Given the poor heart rate monitoring, it’s important to note that those who want the Fitbit Versa 4 for intense workouts should stick to more casual fitness tracking. An additional reason for this consideration is numerous reports that the GPS can take a few extra moments to properly triangulate and, therefore, cause you to wait in one place until you are certain your location has been properly identified. 

If you attempt to move too quickly, your workout distances can be easily thrown off due to the poor GPS calculation abilities and you may lose out on valuable health data that you rely on to judge the effectiveness of your workouts. 

As far as more casual tracking, things like your daily step count are thought to be more reliable than heart rate monitoring or GPS location. This means that, at the very least, you can still rely on the Versa 4 to give you an accurate step count. 

Fitbit Versa 4 vs Fitbit Versa 3
While the Fitbit Versa 4 has a lot going for it, a lack of third-party apps, premium subscriptions, and no ECG sensor makes it an overall disappointment.

#6: No More Challenges and Adventures 

As of March 2023, Fitbit watches got a little less exciting, especially for those who do take the plunge and dive into the premium subscription tier. The Challenges & Adventures section was one the biggest highlights of the Fitbit app and would help you find new and exciting ways to keep your workouts from getting boring. 

This was also a fun feature to help you challenge other Fitbit owners around the world, or even your own family by going through real-world locations and exploring them while tracking your steps and workout with your watch. 

The removal of this feature, for reasons unknown, has made ownership of a Fitbit watch a little less exciting. It’s this type of community feature that helped differentiate Fitbit from the likes of Apple, and without this feature set as part of the Premium subscription, this goes back to the idea that any subscription requirement is a bridge too far from Fitbit. 

#7: Cannot Track Stress

One of the bigger benefits of Fitbit smartwatches has been a built-in dedicated feature to track stress using an EDA scanner built into the watch. While this is on the more expensive Sense lineup for Fitbit, it has not been introduced into the Versa 4. This is another missed opportunity for Fitbit to try and better differentiate its full product set from the likes of the competition. 

Google’s Pixel Watch, the latest hot entry into the Android smartwatch space, has made it a sticking point to note it tracks stress levels. Regardless of the reason for not including it, Fitbit struck out with the Versa 4, as being able to track stress levels can be a hugely valuable feature to figure out how you can also reduce stress during your day.

The lack of this technology on the Fitbit Versa 4 is a glaring omission. 

#8: Steep Smartwatch Competition

It should come as little surprise the Fitbit Versa 4 faces steep competition in the smartwatch space. Between rival products from Apple, Samsung, Google, and more, there are a lot of different smartwatch companies, all with different approaches that are far outpacing the likes of Fitbit and the Versa 4. 

Apple is no doubt the leader in the space with more than 36% of the total smartwatch market thanks to its yearly release cycle and multiple products. Samsung also has a steady set of releases that continue to explore new ideas and opportunities with every release. 

Everything from voice assistance, crash detection, third-party app support, and better syncing with both iPhone and Android help make competitive products a far better choice for most people than the Versa 4.  

Alternatives to the Fitbit Versa 4

#1 Best Overall: Apple Watch Series 9

#1 Best Overall
Apple Watch Series 9 GPS 41mm Smartwatch
$329.00
  • Fitness tracker has advanced metrics for insight into your workouts
  • Fall detection and crash detection
  • Blood oxygen sensor, heart monitor, ECG app, sleep tracker, temperature sensor, and more
  • Always-on Retina display
  • IP6X-certified dust-resistant and water-resistant up to 50m
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
01/18/2024 12:36 am GMT

As the leader in the smartwatch space, the Apple Watch Series 9 is unsurprisingly the best alternative to the Fitbit Versa 4. 

Introducing the most powerful chip Apple has ever put into a smartwatch and a display that is 2x brighter than before, you can now do things like use Siri directly on the Apple Watch itself. This will ensure that you get instant answers to any voice assistance questions. 

The Apple Watch Series 9 really shines with its health and fitness tracking. For health, the Series 9 includes an ECG monitor so you receive instant notifications as soon as you have an irregular heart rhythm. Additionally, fall and crash detection will put you in touch with emergency services with an emergency SOS button. 

Separately, you also get the full force of Apple’s workout app which gives you dozens of different ways to train and monitor your performance directly on the watch. Along with how seamlessly the Apple Watch works with the rest of the Apple device lineup, it’s an easy albeit more expensive choice when compared to the Fitbit Versa 4. 

Check out the Apple Watch Series 9 on Amazon.

Best for Android: Google Pixel Watch

Best for Android
Google Pixel Watch Android Smartwatch
$249.99
  • Fitbit activity tracking
  • Heart rate tracking
  • Champagne gold case
  • Hazel active band
  • LTE
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
01/17/2024 06:55 am GMT

Beautifully designed, the Google Pixel Watch is an ideal option for Android owners who want a refined watch that offers a ton of features. 

From the moment you put it on, the Google Pixel Watch feels great on your hand with a domed design that is unlike any other smartwatch on the market. Tucked inside the dome is a terrific number of features, including an ECG monitor for tracking Afib irregularities. An emergency SOS feature can also quickly notify a trusted contact of your choosing or 911 if you feel you are in an unsafe environment. 

Additionally, you have top-notch Google features like the Google Wallet for NFC contactless payments, turn-by-turn directions using Google Maps, and notifications directly from Google Calendar. 

Wear OS has been redesigned for the circular dome form factor, while Google includes Fitbit fitness tracking technology to help manage all of your workouts, heart rate tracking, and sleep tracking, all while including 6 months of the Fitbit Premium with every purchase. 

Find the Google Pixel Watch on Amazon.

Reasons to Avoid Fitbit Versa 4 Summary

Summary
#1. You need a membership.Having to pay a premium subscription to enjoy more fitness features is disappointing. 
#2. There is a lack of third-party apps.The removal of third-party apps is a big reason to skip this smartwatch. 
#3. It costs too much.With fewer features than the year before, the price should have dropped. 
#4. It has poor heart rate monitoring.The heart rate monitoring in Versa 4 is inconsistent at best. 
#5. This watch is best for casual fitness tracking.Because of inconsistent GPS, it should only be used with casual fitness events. 
#6. There are no more challenges.Fitbit removed its Challenges & Adventures app, which was great for competition. 
#7. It does not track stress.The Versa 4 lacks stress tracking, which more expensive watches do have. 
#8. There is steep competition.Compared to Apple and Google, the Fitbit Versa 4 looks really light on features. 

Wrapping Up

Unfortunately, the Fitbit Versa 4 could have a lot of promise, but by removing features and third-party applications, and requiring a costly subscription plan, it’s a disappointing experience for customers.

This is especially true as competition in the space continues to get better and take major leaps forward, while the Versa 4 feels like a step backward.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the number one reason to skip the Fitbit Versa 4?

The biggest reason to skip the Fitbit Versa 4 is the lack of third-party apps, which is a huge miss on Fitbit’s part. 

How much does the Fitbit Versa 4 cost?

The Fitbit Versa 4 can currently be purchased on Amazon for $200. 

Will there be a Fitbit Versa 5?

Fitbit is tight-lipped on the future of its product lineup but there is no reason not to think another generation will release in the future. 

Who is the best competitor to the Fitbit Versa 4?

The Apple Watch or the Google Pixel Watch are arguably the best competitors to the Fitbit Versa 4. 

How much is the subscription plan for the Fitbit?

As it stands as of September 2023, it’s $9.99 monthly or $79.99 annually. 

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