New Fitbit Versa takes aim at Apple Watch

Fitbit is
stepping up to compete better with the Apple Watch with the
Versa smartwatch. The new wearable looks similar to Apple’s
watch, and offers music playback and other capabilities. Plus,
it arrives at a lower price point — just under $200.

The Versa’s unveiling comes just after Apple surpassed Fitbit
in the wearables market
. Apparently, people want much more
from their devices than just counting steps.

This is Fitbit’s second try at a smartwatch, and the company is
still hoping for its first success. Last year’s Fitbit Ionic packs GPS
and retails for $299.95, which is closer to the Apple Watch’s
starting price of $329.

The Versa
brings a rounder design than its predecessor. Fitbit promises a
four-day battery life for the device, which is waterproof to 50
meters. A special-edition version of the Versa, with two bands
and the capability for users to make NFC payments with Fitbit
, will sell for $229.95.

Versa tracks workouts and more

The Fitbit
Versa still mainly functions as an exercise monitor with 24/7
heart-rate tracking, as well as daily and weekly health and
fitness stats, and historical activity. It can also monitor the
wearer’s sleep patterns.

On top of
this, Fitbit’s latest device stores and plays music to
Bluetooth headsets. A planned upgrade will allow the Versa to
display call, calendar, text and app alerts, as well as send
quick replies to messages, as long as the smartwatch is paired
with an Android phone.

Versa pre-orders can be placed now on the company’s website for
, with global retail availability planned for

Fitbit against the Apple Watch

Given its price, the top competitor for the Fitbit Versa is
probably the Apple Watch Series 1, which goes for $249. The
lower-end Cupertino smartwatch packs a heart-rate monitor and
comes loaded with other
fitness-tracking features

It can be paired with an iPhone for alerts and even to make
phone calls, and Bluetooth headsets can be used to play music.
There’s also an App Store for adding more features, like sleep

Those planning to track their swimming laps need to go with the
Apple Watch Series 3, though. Either way, the Fitbit Versa
definitely wins on battery life: Apple smartwatches need to be
charged every day.

For more on Apple smartwatches, read our comparison:
Series 3 vs. Series 1: Which Apple Watch is right for you?

New Fitbit Ace, a fitness tracker for kids

Also today, Fitbit introduced its new Ace fitness tracker for
kids. At $99, the device works much like an old-school Fitbit,
tracking steps and offering incentives to exercise via an OLED
tap display.

for children 8 and up, it lets parents keep tabs on their kids’
daily activity levels. The Fitbit Ace comes in purple and blue
and is also available for
pre-order today from Fitbit

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