First let me start off by saying, I have been a Fitbit customer for many years. I love my Fitbit Versa. I haven’t replaced it because it has been super reliable and accurate for a wrist based sensor! And then came the Sense and Versa 3…
Recently, I started to notice a lot of features in the app getting put behind a pay gate. At first, I didn’t mind as they were just “extra insights”, but as we now see with the latest released of the Fitbit Versa 3 and Fitbit Sense you are not only committing to the highest priced Fitbits ever sold, but you are tacking on an additional 120$ to your yearly “subscriptions”. I don’t know about you all, but I am pretty much maxed out on subscription fees, between the 500 different streaming channels, to Spotify(which isn’t even offered by Fitbit, we will touch on this later on), I don’t want to spend near Apple Watch prices for a smartwatch only to be pay gated from the analytics it promises.
But the main issue I am having here isn’t even the high price + subscription fee which would have totaled over 700$ since purchase if this was necessary with my Versa 1. The issue is almost like one of those memes
And it pains me how close to the reality these new watches are. I pre-ordered the Sense because I saw all these amazing features, which I am now going to list with their “Promise” vs “Reality”.
You must put your hand over the face of your watch throughout the day, not for any real reason, hold it there for two minutes, and try to stay calm. Then it pops out a reading of your heart rate when you started to when you stopped. You are then told to say how you feel on a stress level of Happy EMOJI or Mad EMOJI. Seriously.. Emojis? If that wasn’t bad enough, it then needs you to wait until the next day to get a “score” in which it tells you responsiveness, exertion balance, and sleep pattern scores. All of which you cannot click and tell you absolutely nothing on WHY you got the score, what you can do to improve, or if this “manual stress tracking” is even helpful at all. Did you know on a side note, Garmin uses Body Battery and Stress tracking already throughout the day without you needing to do a damn thing based off all your metrics and is generally VERY accurate and those are in watches 2 years OLDER than the Sense. So what the hell are we doing here Fitbit?
NOT AVAILABLE UPON RELEASE. Because once again, this product was rushed to market to sell to investors to consumers. So we have no idea if it will work. So why are we paying release day prices, when we know Fitbit puts their products on sale often, for a half baked product? Brand Loyalty? Yeah you all lost my loyalty when you started hiding features from my Versa 1.
SpO2 Oxygen Saturation
Now this one is just another example of having to work FOR your device rather than the device working for you. On Garmin, you can take manual reading during the day of your SpO2 as well as have it trigger all day or only while sleeping. On the Fitbit Sense and Versa 3, you are only going to get SpO2 readings if you have their “special watch face” installed and active. Not only that this watch face lags and drains the battery like no other… what the hell Fitbit? I am not trying to rant here, but you make it hard to see the good in the rush to market piece of crap you delivered to us.
Ok let’s talk about a good thing. Fitbit’s sleep tracking is on another level of accuracy. I love it. Everyone loves it. BRAVO. However, here we go again: any insight beyond what they deem “minimum” is paywalled behind premium… SIGH. No seeing why you slept the way you did or how you compare to others (the gamification that fitbit is known for), unless you PAY THEM MORE. STOP IT FITBIT! STAWP IT!!!
A new advanced HR Sensor!
This one is truly the one that takes the cake. In every test, comparison to other products like Garmin, Apple, Chest Straps, THE OLDER VERSA MODEL 1 and OLDER FITBITS the new heart rate sensors are completely OFF. They.. wait for it.. DO NOT WORK ACCURATELY. They were in such a rush to beat Apple or whatever they rushed for, that they forgot the test the one feature that will determine every other features accuracy on a Smartwatch, THE HEART RATE MONITOR.
I am not the only one, check any review out there, even those who are usually YAY about every product they review, was amazed at the inaccuracy of the Sense’s new sensors. DC Rainmaker (a very truthful reviewer was told his HR was too in fit for the Fitbit… WUT?)
But once again people go “Oh they will fix it with an update”…. WHEN?! Fitbit is the slowest company in the world to roll out updates and when they do it breaks all sorts of other things if they even install in the first place. And again, why am I buying a premium product that is NOT ready and I have to buy it, then WAIT to use it? Makes no… oh lord this joke isn’t dead yet… SENSE!
6 months free premium!
Well, actually only if you didn’t use your 15 or 60 day trial during COVID. And then once that is up and you were smart enough to cancel your recurring sub, your watch is crippled. I don’t need to go into more on this. Well except for other offerings from Garmin and the like have more stats than the Fitbit, in a more concise manner, and that make more sense together, and not behind a paywall. If anything as new stats are available, they give them to you fast!
Google Assistant and Connectivity
There is no Bluetooth calling enabled yet. You can cancel a phone call and see alerts but the calling feature is not turned on yet.
Google assistant is also not yet active. So another feature you have to “wait for”.
Why am I waiting for so many features on a premium priced item? My suggestion if you even buy this at all at this point is to wait till all the features are available then, purchase it at a discount.
SMALL INTERMISSION RANT: Have you ever waited for a Fitbit “update”? Fitbit is notorious for “coming soon” and by the time the next iteration of a watch comes out, they still are “coming soon”. So keep this in mind.
One watch to rule them all! And a better overall user experience through all these new functions!
Ok maybe they didn’t promise that, but they came damn close. However, how is this an upgrade:
- The removal of onboard offline music storage,
- Functions that require you to work for your watch and your watch not working for you.
- Features hidden behind a pay wall subscription mode.
- Older generations of watches including last generation getting NO update support for future Operating Systems (Fitbit OS).
- A heart rate monitor that isn’t accurate, thus making all other features obsolete as this one piece of data throws off all others.\
- Promised functions coming “Soon”.
- No support for Spotify STILL, after years of “suggestions and threads with 1000’s of comments”.
- A new button or lack there of that is triggered by your skin during workouts when you get sweaty. Ughhhh (how did they not see this coming by putting it on the bottom of the device?)
Not to mention with all these “new stats” the user interface and insights that aren’t hidden behind a pay wall are impossible to understand to better yourself or “Sense” anything. The user interface alone is so convoluted now you can’t find where anything is let alone make sense of it. The Fitbit app is now super bloated with hidden menus and swipes and some things not even able to get details on. It is really just a giant mess and a slap in the face to those who were promised a better experience. Fitbit used to work for the end user, not the other way around.
Overall, Fitbit used to take the work out of the equation of fitness trackers and just let you put it on, and then through detailed metrics, give you a great summary and insight into your day and what you needed to do to improve or continue. Now it makes you do all this work for very diluted and confusing metrics that don’t actually work together in any meaningful way. There is a whole lot of stuff here that sounds impressive, but together, as a package, it is basically just a bunch of unorganized mess. Which is going to cause the last thing you want from the smartwatch, STRESS. None of it makes any “Sense”… oh the irony.
And if that wasn’t bad enough, they have dropped support for ANY generation prior to the Versa 3 and Sense for the new OS 5. So if you purchased a Versa 2 recently, you are already obsolete in the eyes of Fitbit. This is spitting in the face of the loyal customers. This is why I always say “brand loyalty” is overrated. With products like Garmin making new strides toward actual features that track and work without needing to be manually triggered(in 2 year old products), and not hidden behind pay gates it makes you wonder what the heck you are paying for with Fitbit anymore.
I know I also make a lot of Garmin references, note I never owned a Garmin until I got my Fitbit Sense and got so fed up with it I looked to see what else was outside my walled in Garden. And wow… my eyes have been opened. If Garmin can get sleep tracking down better, Fitbit is in trouble, more than it already is.
Do a little research if you must have a tracker this year, because you may save quite a bit of money by not going for these failed “new products” in the Fitbit Versa 3 and Sense. By the time everything is working(if they get it working), you will probably be able to get the next generation of Fitbit or this one sale.
I just learned by getting access to Health Metrics with a free 90 day trial on my versa 1 I never used that the ONLY difference between this and the sense in terms of data is gathers is this:
- No ECG
- No EDA (But does have stress tracking via HRV)
- HAS Music Storage
- No GPS
EVERYTHING ELSE is there. Including night time sleeping temp, SpO2, Breathing Rate, HRV, etc. This is why they hid these features behind premium. What a sham.
Here is a full breakdown(this image is edited to reflect ACTUAL information, not promotional information) you will notice ECG is not on the list and neither is google assistant. That is because they don’t work yet.
P.S. To make matters worse, I tried to ask questions and show some of my findings on the Fitbit forums in the same format as this post to see if others experiences the same, and they deleted all my posts good or bad and I can no longer post on their community forums, even though I own the Versa still and never broke any ToS. I guess they are trying to silence people who don’t just praise them for making a crap quality product these days. They have lost a customer for sure unless they get their act together.
After reaching out to customer support they finally unbanned me blaming it on internet cache, when I didn’t have to clear anything and my posts magically re-appeared.
P.P.S. I am still using my Versa 1 as my main watch. So as much as people wanna say, I drank the Garmin coolaid, I have not, and their sleep tracking is horrible. One of my favorite stats. We will see what they do with that acquisition they did. Because the Venu is beautiful.