It’s not a huge surprise that Fitbit would at some point release a follow up to the Versa. Actually, I’ve been waiting kind of impatiently because I really want to see this smartwatch from Fitbit do well. However, I wasn’t expecting an update to the Samsung Galaxy Active so soon. It feels like I just reviewed the new watch a few months ago, and indeed I just did!
UPDATE: We now know the dates that both the Fitbit Versa 2 and Samsung Galaxy Active 2 will be released. The Versa 2 will be announced in just a few days and available for purchase or pre-order on September 15th. The Galaxy Watch Active 2 will be available on September 27th with pre-orders beginning September 6th.
I’ll be reviewing the Fitbit Versa 2 and the LTE version of the Galaxy Watch Active 2 when it is available. Right now the date for the release of the LTE version isn’t known but will follow the Bluetooth or standard version of the watch.
Fitbit did release a Lite version of the Versa earlier this year but I really didn’t get the point of that iteration and apparently a lot of other consumers didn’t either. Sure you could save a little bit of money buying a version of the Versa that had less features than the original but it’s not like it’s a huge savings and the Versa, as smartwatches go, isn’t super pricey anyway.
Beyond all that I was excited when I first got the Versa about a year and half ago. I thought it would be a strong contender versus the Apple Watch and I was hoping it would have some Pebble charm to it, since Fitbit had purchased Pebble.
I liked the design, the look, and the functionality of the Versa but connectivity issues (syncing with the mobile app not working reliably, connected GPS dropping during workouts, etc), drove me nuts.
Also, there wasn’t many apps to choose from. Compared to Apple, the wide variety of WearOS smartwatches, and even Samsung, there were very few apps to choose from to add to the Versa. I missed a good hiking app like View Ranger and Endomondo which I quite enjoy using, Spotify was missing and a good weather app with radar. I particularly like MyRadar.
It remains to be seen if we’ll see any of those apps ever available through FitbitOS anytime soon but I remain hopeful.
My biggest gripe with the Versa, as I already discussed, was connectivity issues galore. And I wasn’t the only one. Read through Fitbit’s support forum and there are lots of people who experienced the same issues I did.
The fact that the Versa didn’t have built-in GPS bothered me too. [UPDATE: It doesn’t look like the Versa 2 will have built-in GPS] I don’t mind connected GPS in the Fitbit Inspire because it’s not marketed as a smartwatch but for a watch like the Versa that is, it seems like built-in GPS should have been included.
I’ve reviewed watches that go for less than $100 that have built-in GPS so it’s not expensive to add the feature. I’ll be very disappointed if the Versa 2 doesn’t have it. And yes, as an update, I’m disappointed.
A feature many are pretty sure will be included with the Versa 2 is support for Alexa. This has been confirmed now. Alexa is a smart assistant similar to Google Assistant and Siri. And if the Versa 2 is going to support Alexa then it has to have a mic for sure and probably a speaker. [UPDATE: A mic for sure but it doesn’t look like it will have a speaker.]
Hopefully that means users will be able to reply to text messages by voice or possibly answer phone calls through the Versa 2. Of course, this would only work if the Versa is paired with an Android smartphone unless by some great miracle Apple finally lets their users have a choice in what smartwatch they’d like to use. Yeah, I’m not expecting that…
From leaked images I’ve seen on Tom’s Guide, it also looks like Versa 2 will be a little sleeker in design. That would be a good thing because I found the Versa to be just a tad bit wide on my wrist. It just didn’t feel as comfortable to wear as the Apple Watch Series 4 (40mm version) or the round Samsung Galaxy Active.
The Versa 2 also looks to be sporting an AMOLED display which I hope doesn’t kill battery life.
The first version has a pretty decent battery life of about 3-4 days. That’s more than double the battery life of an Apple Watch.
So when will Fitbit be releasing the Versa 2? I would expect in August or September 2019. The holiday shopping season isn’t far off and the major brands typically release their flagship devices in the fall. We should be seeing it very soon.
Samsung Galaxy Active 2
Now onto the Samsung Galaxy Active. I don’t know how I feel about a new release so soon. I feel kinda jipped. Yeah, it’ll be great if the Galaxy Active 2 is a great smartwatch but so soon?
What is expected on the Galaxy Active 2 is an LTE version and support for ECG. Also, I’ve read a few rumors that while it won’t have the physical rotating bezel Samsung is known for, it may have a touchscreen version.
I really felt like a touchscreen bezel should have been on the first version. It just makes sense, considering the UI of the watch. I don’t know if a software upgrade can make that happen for the original version but I certainly hope so. Not holding my breath but a girl can dream.
UPDATE: I’ve seen the Galaxy Active 2 and it looks like a terrific watch. It’s what the first Galaxy Active should have been. Besides the digital touchscreen bezel, it will also have an upgraded heart rate sensor and other fitness related upgrades that I’m eager to test out.
While I loved the look and size of the Galaxy Active, it did have some bugs, like step counting going wonky once in a while. Overall, as a fitness watch it tested out well but it could use some improvement.
It looks like the design of the watch will remain largely the same which is a good thing because it’s a good design.
Look for the reviews of both watches when I get my hands on them. The Versa 2 and Galaxy Active 2 are direct competitors. Of course, the Apple Watch 5 is coming too. We’ll know about it in just a matter of days -probably September 10th.