Fitbit has an Apple Watch competitor on its hands
In brief: Google is still in the process of acquiring Fitbit, but the company has been busy taking its successful wearables forward. The Fitbit Sense is their latest flagship smartwatch that even promises to measure your stress levels over time thanks to a new sensor that measures electrodermal activity.
Fitbit announced two new smartwatches today, including a new lineup that is designed to compete directly with the likes of Apple Watch and Samsung Galaxy Gear. As for its existing products, they also got a few key updates to make them more attractive for people looking for a more basic wearable.
After the disappointing Ionic smartwatch, Fitbit found a good recipe with the Versa, which sits comfortably in the middle ground between smart bands and smartwatches. The new Versa 3 features the same overall design and essential fitness features like heart rate monitoring, exercise modes, and sleep tracking, but also adds a built-in GPS.
The physical button found in the Versa 2 has been replaced with a pressure-sensitive area to improve reliability, as it was prone to jamming. There’s also a speaker for richer interaction with voice assistants and taking calls, and a new magnetic charging dock that supports faster charging. Fitbit says twelve minutes of charging can give you a full day of battery life, but all of this does come at a higher price of $230 — $50 more than the Versa 2.
The bigger news, however, comes with the new Fitbit Sense which builds up on the proven design and feature set of the Versa but adds two new sensors for ECG and skin temperature detection. The company says it’s obsessed with the idea of stress detection as the next big thing for health wearables, and the timing couldn’t be better.
With the electrodermal activity (EDA) sensor, you can put the palm of your hand over the watch’s face and the device will look at the skin’s sweat level. To get an idea about your stress levels, the watch will also look at other things like heart rate, overall activity level, and sleep quality.
The EKG functionality is still pending FDA approval, but combined with the EDA and other readings it could reveal trends over time. Other than that, you get all the features found on the Versa 3, including Fitbit Pay and “Activity Zone Minutes.” To get all the health features you’ll need Fitbit Premium, and there’s a six-month trial included with the purchase of a Fitbit Sense, which will set you back $330.
The Versa 3 and new Sense are available for preorder starting today on Fitbit’s website, the wearables are expected to ship and become available in US retail stores next month.