Fitbit announces new Sense 2, Versa 4, and Inspire 3 fitness trackers

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Fitbit

Fitbit today announced the availability of three new fitness trackers: the Inspire 3, Versa 4 and Sense 2. All successors to previous-generation devices, the three range from Fitbit’s best-equipped to the most basic fitness wearables.

“Basic” is a relative term among fitness trackers, as they are all getting closer and closer to full smartwatch functionality. Notably, the Inspire 3 adds blood oxygen monitoring during sleep and a full-color AMOLED touchscreen to the entry-level tracker, which can already receive phone alerts such as text messages, calls, and app notifications. Setting the display to the optional “always on” setting drops battery life from 10 days to just three, which is much more in line with full-featured smartwatches, though less than Fitbit’s Sense and Versa watches. .

By contrast, the Sense 2 and Versa 4 are the two most capable trackers that Fitbit offers. They’re both rated for about six days of use (without the always-on display enabled) and now feature a fast-charging capability that Fitbit claims can give you a day’s worth of battery life on just 12 minutes of charge.

From left to right: Fitbit Inspire 3, Versa 4 and Sense 2.
enlarge / From left to right: Fitbit Inspire 3, Versa 4 and Sense 2.

Fitbit

The Sense 2 sits on top of the Fitbit family, with ECG sensors for atrial fibrillation (AFib) detection, EDA (electrodermal activity) for stress measurement, GPS, blood oxygen and heart rate monitoring. The previous Fitbit Sense had all this too. But the Sense 2 builds on this by incorporating new hardware and software for continuous (and thus more useful) AFib and stress monitoring.

Fitbit calls the new hardware a “Body Response” sensor, which monitors your stress levels throughout the day and warns you when you’re under stress. When it detects stress, you’ll get recommendations for guided breathing or meditation exercises to do on the wrist or in the Fitbit app. The Sense 2 can take on-demand EDA readings through the display itself “using a technique that turns metal into vapor, allowing [them] to integrate the metal electrodes of these sensors directly into the display glass of the device,” according to Fitbit. Sounds high-tech, but in the end it just means a slightly smaller bezel without the ring around it for EDA measurements.

The new continuous AFib monitoring algorithm has been in the works in one form or another since 2020, when Fitbit launched a heart study aimed at detecting AFib. Before making its way to the new Sense 2, the company proved that its algorithm could detect 98 percent of AFib cases in a sample of more than 450,000 people.

Passive AFib detection is available on the Sense 2, Sense, Versa 4, Versa 3, Versa 2, Inspire 3, Inspire 2, Charge 5, Charge 4 and Luxe trackers. But it only works when the user is asleep. It uses photoplethysmography (PPG) to detect changes in blood volume (and therefore heart rhythm) that may indicate signs of atrial fibrillation (AFib). That’s on top of the Sense’s still included spot-check AFib sensor that existed in the previous Sense generation. Random checks require users to sit still with their palm in front of the screen, while passive monitoring does not. Both the sensor and the PPG algorithm have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration and are CE marked, which means they meet the requirements of both the US and the EU for safety, health and environmental protection.

The Versa 4 doesn’t add any new hardware over the Versa 3, meaning there’s no Body Response sensor here. Instead, it received a minor physical update, becoming slightly thinner and lighter while the physical button returned for more reliable use.

As for the user interface, both the Sense 2 and Versa 4 have been tweaked to offer customizable data tiles, compared to the static presets of yesteryear. Fitbit says Google Wallet and Google Maps will also be coming to these devices “in the coming months.”

Google Wallet and Google Maps were coming
enlarge / Google Wallet and Google Maps are said to be coming “soon” to the Versa 4 and Sense 2, but until then, users can enjoy a more customizable and aesthetically pleasing user interface.

Fitbit

Meanwhile, users can enjoy twice as many activity modes (40-plus) on their new devices. This introduces modes for high-intensity interval training, weightlifting, CrossFit, skiing/snowboarding and dancing, among others. Fitbit says it has no plans to bring these new activity modes to previous-generation Fitbits, but it will “continue to evaluate the possibility.”

One thing remains certain for all of these new devices, though: many of Fitbit’s most useful tools and insights (outside of collecting raw data) are locked behind the company’s Premium plan. That includes daily readiness scores for assessing your physical recovery and recommending appropriate exercise options for each day, sleep profiles to help users understand their sleep patterns and how they may change over time, and wellness reports and health statistics, which longer-term (30 days to a year) charts, trends, and averages for a range of biological data, including heart rate variability, skin temperature, blood oxygen levels, sleep patterns, weight fluctuations, and activity levels.

The growing trend of paywalled data in the fitness/wellness tracker world is the bane of my existence. It only reinforces that access to well-being and health can be measured by one measure: wealth. Fitbit offers six months of free Fitbit Premium for new users who purchase a Sense 2, Versa 4, or Inspire 3. Unfortunately for the Inspire, that’s six months less than Fitbit used to offer.

All three devices are available for pre-order starting today. The Sense 2 retails for $300 ($50 more than its predecessor), the Versa 4 for $230 ($30 more than the launch price of the Versa 3), and the Inspire 3 for $100 ($20 more than the original). price of the Inspire 2).

Ars Technica may earn compensation through affiliate programs for sales of links on this post.

List image by Fitbit

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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