Fitbit Versa vs Apple Watch

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After trying the Versa on, I noticed stark differences between Fitbit's new watch and Apple's offering. Like the Ionic, it's platform agnostic.

Now, you can see your daily and weekly health stats, historical activity, heart rate, and exercise summaries right on your wrist. Like the Ionic, it features 24/7 heart rate tracking, NFC payments, sleep tracking and on-device music. That will extend to reminders and social challenges later in the year. There's also a special-edition Versa model priced at $229.95, which includes NFC and Fitbit Pay capabilities in the USA 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.

It comes in a choice of finishes: black, silver or rose gold. Plus, Fitbit is partnering with the Council of Fashion Designers of America to fund emerging label PH5, which will offer knitware bands and accessories for Versa. The woven bands are exclusive to the Special Edition.

Of course, in marketing the Ace, Fitbit is looking to sell more trackers, but it appears to be handling the move in a responsible way: Kid accounts must be tied to an adult-created family account, and the child has limited access to the data, if any.

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In terms of design, the Ace borrows heavily from the Fitbit Alta and Alta HR, with a few tweaks.

For Fitbit, the feature has the dual appeal of embracing a huge demographic often overlooked by wearables and helping the company as it works to broaden its appeal to healthcare providers. It automatically tracks steps, active minutes, and sleep, has an estimated five-day battery life, and is safe to wear in the shower. It will be available in two different colors, electric blue and power purple. This will include parental view settings, so you can control who friends your children.

The Ace is available for pre-order now at $99.95 and is expected to ship before July. First, there's the Fitbit Versa, a $199 smartwatch that can do nearly everything that the Ionic, Fitbit's $299 smartwatch that was released this past October, can do.

As the company notes in the accompanying press material, "According to a recent Fitbit survey, 80-percent of women did not know how many phases are in a menstrual cycle and more than 70% were unable to correctly identify the average length of a cycle, demonstrating a lack of awareness about women's health".

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The revamped version 2.0 of the software also gained hundreds of new apps and clock faces that weren't available when the Ionic debuted, including programs from United Airlines (ual), Yelp (yelp), and Google's (googl) Nest. US users can also listen to Pandora.

This is all part of Fitbit's push to expand into new demographics. Versa runs the new Fitbit OS, and any Pebble apps need to be rewritten to the new APIs.

With childhood obesity and diabetes rates continuing to rise, Fitbit clearly believes it has a responsibility to help more than just parents get in shape. It also brings fitness tracking that becomes more personalized over time and a new personalized health dashboard.

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