Fitbit's New Smartwatch Is Designed to Help You Manage Stress and Your Heart

Brett Williams
·3 mins read

From Men's Health

Fitbit is getting smarter, healthier, and a little fancier, too.

The health wearable brand, which has largely released follow-ups to its most successful product lines over the past few years (the Versa smartwatch and Charge tracker), just announced its latest slate of devices for 2020. Unsurprisingly, there are some familiar names in the mix if you've kept up with the devices in Fitbit's stable—the Versa gets a third iteration and the Inspire, the entry-level tracker that debuted last year, receives a second—but for the first time since 2017, there's a new premium smartwatch, called the Sense.

Fitbit Sense

Photo credit: Fitbit
Photo credit: Fitbit

The Sense replaces the Ionic, Fitbit's capable first smartwatch that has anchored the line for three years, in Fitbit's hierarchy. Design-wise, you'd be pressed to tell the difference between the Sense and the Versa line, but the premium watch is made of stainless steel with an AMOLED display. The Sense has all the bells and whistles you'd expect from a modern premium smartwatch—built-in GPS, sleep and activity tracking via heart rate monitor and other sensors, and smart notifications and apps—but goes all in on heart health features, with a new electrocardiogram (ECG) app that will aim to detect signs of atrial fibrillation (a.k.a. afib, or an irregular heartbeat). This is similar to the feature Apple introduced in the Series 4. Unlike Apple, however, Fitbit's ECG is pending FDA approval at launch.

Along with the ECG, the flashiest feature the Sense will introduce is for stress management. A new EDA scan app aims to measure electrodermal activity on the skin, which Fitbit says can indicate the body's response to stress. Using the app and other tools on the watch and partner Fitbit app, wearers can take steps meant to reduce stress and participate in guided "mindfulness" sessions.

The Sense also boasts an on-wrist temperature sensor, which logs a skin temperature reading each night to help wearers track trends over time. As the pandemic has forced people to be even more aware of their health than before, this could be an enticing passive feature to help serve as an early warning of variations from baseline measures.

The Sense will be available for $330 later in September. You can pre-order on Fitbit's site now.

Fitbit Versa 3

Photo credit: Fitbit
Photo credit: Fitbit

The Versa 3 is an update to last year's Versa 2, and enters the market as a broadly-appealing smartwatch without the Sense's most advanced health features. Instead of steel, the case is made of aluminum.

The Versa 3 finally adds a built-in GPS feature to the line, which is essential for serious runners and cyclists who want to leave their phones behind. Active Zone Minutes, a feature that launched with the Charge 4, will help users understand their activity beyond just the arbitrary 10,000 step count that has ruled health tracking for so long (don't worry, the Versa 3 will still feature a pedometer if you're a step fiend).

Other updates from the Versa 2 include fast charging and the ability to take calls via Bluetooth on your wrist (which you can also do on the Sense). You can pre-order the Versa 3 now for $230 for a late-September release.

Inspire 2

Photo credit: Fitbit
Photo credit: Fitbit

The Inspire 2 is an updated version of Fitbit's lowest-level tracker—but that doesn't mean that it's low-powered. Unlike the first iteration of the line, which offered a simple Inspire and Inspire HR, there is no version of the Inspire 2 without a heart rate monitor. The new tracker adds Active Zone Minutes and an estimated 10-day battery life, which doubles the previous iterations' five-day power estimate.

Along with the Inspire 2, wearers will get a one-year subscription to the Fitbit Premium service. The device is now available for pre-order from Fitbit for $99.

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