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Over the course of the last year, daily walks and exercise have been a saving grace to keep me occupied and hopeful during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to giving my brain a much-needed break from doom-scrolling social media, there's definitely a lot of truth to the whole "fresh air will do you good" thing.
Most Saturdays I wake up and go for a 2+-hour with my dog, Luna, to kick off the weekend. But until recently, I was relying on my iPhone's step counter as my only measure of fitness. I knew I was taking a lot of steps but had no idea how many calories I was burning, what my heart rate was or how much my elevation had changed during the day. And forget about any other type of exercise — if I went for a 15K bike ride, I would basically chalk it up as non-existent since my iPhone step counter really only works for...well...steps.
So when I was offered a chance to try out the Fitbit Versa 3 Smartwatch with Voice Assistant, GPS & 24/7 HR
SHOP IT: Best Buy, $230 (originally $300)
What is it?
The Fitbit Versa 3 is a sleek smartwatch, complete with built-in GPS. This watch tracks your heart rate, calories burned, steps, and even sleep — and it also comes equipped with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa to provide hands-free convenience and keep you connected to your phone calls, texts, emails and more.
The Versa 3 comes in four colours — pink clay, midnight, black and olive green, an exclusive Best Buy colourway. There are also plenty of bands you can purchase separately if you feel like further switching up the look of the watch.
Initial thoughts and setup
When I first took the Versa 3 out of its box, I'll be honest — my first thought was that it was too big. I have a small wrist and was worried that the larger screen would be overpowering — it measured a bit bigger than my boyfriend's Apple Watch, which I already thought was borderline too big for me. However, I'm happy to report that while it originally felt a little large, I quickly got used to it and now feel like it seamlessly fits with any outfit.
Despite the initial size reservation, I was pleasantly surprised with the look and feel of the Versa 3. The olive green band is a truly stunning colour that is great if you're looking for something a bit more trendy than plain black, but still neutral enough to go with everything.
The Fitbit was super easy to set up. I am not tech-y person by any means — and it was still a total breeze, even for me. You set up by downloading the Fitbit app on your phone, which pairs to the watch, and allows you to monitor your data and control your Fitbit settings on the go.
One tiny frustrating thing is that I'm left handed, but the Fitbit Versa 3 doesn't come with an option to flip the screen for easy wear on my right wrist. It's not a big deal by any means, and I haven't found it to be a problem in the time I've owned the watch, but just one thing for fellow lefties to keep in mind.
I've never really felt the need to own a smartwatch. I walk a lot as my main form of exercise, so I've always thought that a smartwatch would just be a glorified pedometer for me. But the Versa 3 proved me wrong.
In addition to tracking your steps, exercise, calories burned and heart rate, the watch's built-in GPS lets you see your real-time pace and distance as you run, bike and more. The Active Zone Minutes feature tracks your progress towards weekly goals and uses your resting heart rate to gauge exercise efforts, alerting you when you ramp up the intensity — I've found this really useful too when it comes to pushing me to hitting my targets for the day.
One of the coolest features of the Versa 3 is its sleep tracker. It monitors your blood oxygen levels while sleeping, and tracks your time spent in light, deep and REM sleep. The data combined provides a sleep score, which helps you understand your quality of sleep, and why one night may leave you feeling rested while the next leaves you feeling sluggish and grouchy.
Another cool sleep-related feature I've fallen in love with is the smart wake alarm. Instead of setting an alarm at an exact time, with this feature, you set the latest time you want to wake up (I set it as my usual alarm time). The smart wake function then wakes you up at the best point in your sleep cycle between that time and 30 minutes prior. Being woken from particular stages of sleep can leave you feeling groggy — and I've definitely found this has helped.
And of course, integrated Amazon Alexa and compatibility with Google Assistant are great features as well. You can use simple voice commands to get quick info, set reminders and more, and a built-in mic and speaker let you take Bluetooth calls hands-free, send callers to voicemail and adjust volume.
The watch also comes with a 90-day free trial for Fitbit Premium, which offers even more in-depth fitness tracking, goal-setting and more.
One of the most impressive features of the Fitbit Versa 3 is, undoubtedly, the battery life. While the Apple Watch is a notoriously battery-draining smartwatch, the Versa 3 is very much the opposite. I find that I can wear it for about two days on one charge — for comparison, my boyfriend charges his Apple Watch multiple times a day.
Another great feature when it comes to the battery life is the option to opt-in to app and/or email reminders when your Fitbit is running low on battery. I found it to be a really helpful reminder on busy days when I knew my battery was running low but kept getting distracted by other tasks and forgetting to charge it.
The Fitbit Versa 3 usually retails for $300, but right now, it's on sale at Best Buy for $70 off, bringing the price down to $230. While there are definitely more affordable smartwatches on the market (and Fitbit does have several more affordable options), the Versa 3 is great bang for your buck if you're looking for a sleek, functional smartwatch with tons of features that doesn't break the bank.
While I was a bit skeptical at first of how much use I would get out of the Fitbit Versa 3, this smartwatch has really impressed me. The easy-to-use features, especially the sleep tracking, coupled with the amazing battery life set it apart from other smartwatches on the market — and it doesn't hurt that it just looks really, really nice.
I've been raving about my smartwatch for the past few weeks — and I've already convinced my mom to pick one up, too, which just goes to show how versatile they are for pretty much anyone.
Looking for more cool new gadgets? Check out Best Buy Canada's Latest & Greatest Tech — we've rounded up some of our top picks below.
Breathe easily and enjoy peace of mind with the Dyson hot air purifier. It offers a heat function to gently warm your room and works as a fan, delivering a steady stream of cool, purified air to ensure year-round comfort.
SHOP IT: Best Buy, $900
Illuminate your home in a virtually endless variety of ways with the Philips Hue Iris Smart LED lamp. Boasting a wide range of white and coloured lights, it casts a customized glow throughout your room.
SHOP IT: Best Buy, $130
Safeguard your property whether you are at home or away with the Ring Floodlight Cam Pro wired outdoor IP camera.
SHOP IT: Best Buy, $325
Its bright display and powerful speaker keep you entertained with shows, videos, or music while compatibility with thousands of devices lets you turn on the lights, lock the doors, monitor video doorbells and cameras and more.
SHOP IT: Best Buy, $130
Set the mood in any space with the help of this LIFX A19 smart light bulb.
SHOP IT: Best Buy, $45
Select from more than 42,000 CourseView maps and view precise yardages to help you make your shot and avoid hazards.
SHOP IT: Best Buy, $260
This lightweight and easy-to-use vacuum comes with a handy charging stand so it's always ready to go whenever messes arise.
SHOP IT: Best Buy, $370 (originally $400)
This pocket-sized drone is completely portable while still delivering impressive 12MP photos and sharp 1080p videos.
SHOP IT: Best Buy, $180
SHOP IT: Best Buy, $250