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7 things you need to know about Fitbit's new Versa smartwatch

13 March 2018

Fitbit is also rolling out a new device just for children, the $100 Fitbit Ace, which is created to encourage kids 8 and older to stay active.

"As the wearables category continues to grow, Fitbit Versa fills a critical need in the market by delivering a beautifully designed, full-featured smartwatch that is easy to use at a very competitive price", Fitbit CEO and co-founder James Park said in a prepared statement.

Fitbit's Versa watch had already been leaked ahead of today's announcement, and it looks just as we expected. They'll also be able to see other gender-specific health and fitness stats alongside tools aimed at helping them optimize their health and life planning. Ace will launch from Q2 for United States dollars 100.

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It will run Fitbit OS 2.0, which offers a new personalized dashboard and smart replies for Android users.

The water-resistant wristband will track steps, active minutes and sleep patterns with customisable daily goals to help promote a healthy, active lifestyle.

The device resembles the Fitbit Alta HR and is designed for children age 8 and older. The battery is said to last five days on a single charge. If you opt for the Versa, you'll get a watch with a more squared-off look, akin to something more like the Apple Watch, or heck, even the Pebble Time. The Versa promises to automatically track exercises, including running and biking. There's also a special-edition Versa model priced at $229.95, which includes NFC and Fitbit Pay capabilities in the US and comes with an exclusive style, featuring woven bands in either lavender or charcoal coloration with either a rose gold aluminum or graphite aluminum case. The rounded corners make it visually similar to an Apple Watch. The gadget received mixed reviews.

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For what the Versa lacks compared to the more sport-focused Ionic, which honestly isn't a lot, it seems to be priced accordingly to reflect the differences. "Ionic was just a first step".

If you snag the Versa, GPS tracking is still possible, though you'll need to bring your phone along for the journey as well to handle the tracking on the new Fitbit's behalf. Apple has always been lauded for their design and aesthetics, so it's no wonder that Fitbit is taking a note out of their playbook with the release of the Fitbit Versa. For example, Joliet Township High School, which is south of Chicago, has given students Fitbits for the school year as part of a broader physical education program. That will extend to reminders and social challenges later in the year.

Fitbit isn't the only tech company eyeing a younger audience.

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While these are both clearly cheaper than the Fitbit Ionic, it's worth noting that other manufacturers manage to get Global Positioning System as part of the deal for less money - indeed Fitbit's own discontinued Surge managed it for the same price a couple of years ago. Both products will be available for pre-orders starting Tuesday.

7 things you need to know about Fitbit's new Versa smartwatch