Earlier this summer season, Fitbit threw down the gauntlet with the ambitious Fitbit Sense and a revamped Versa 3. However whereas these devices launched a number of months in the past, among the marquee features teased in August have been nonetheless MIA. Nicely, not anymore. Fitbit OS 5.1 is touchdown right now for U.S. customers and the updates included are among the most substantial we’ve seen in a very long time.
For starters, now you can use Google Assistant on the Sense and Versa 3, making this maybe the primary smartwatch that allows you to select between two of the three main digital assistants. Samsung locks you into Bixby, a nothingburger assistant that might soon take a backseat to Google Assistant on Samsung’s personal telephones. The Apple Watch forces Siri, another incompetent dingus, down your throat. And till now, Google Assistant for the wrist was largely restricted to Put on OS gadgets. Fitbit launched Amazon Alexa to its gadgets with the Versa 2 final yr, however this replace offers you choices.
The power to decide on is main, and the pending Google-Fitbit merger in all probability had one thing to do with Fitbits gaining Google Assistant compatibility. It’s additionally nice information for Android customers, because it offers them a number of extra choices for a full-featured smartwatch with fewer trade-offs. Whereas Samsung’s Galaxy smartwatches are nice, most of the greatest options are just for customers with Samsung telephones. In the meantime, Put on OS slots properly into Google’s ecosystem however is the ugly stepsister of smartwatch platforms.
To allow Google Assistant, you first must obtain the Fitbit OS 5.1 replace. As soon as that’s achieved, you possibly can faucet Account on the highest left of the Fitbit app. You then choose both the Sense or Versa 3, select Voice Assistant, choose Google Assistant, after which log in to Google to hyperlink accounts. Sadly, as with the Fitbit OS 5.zero replace, that is just for the Versa Three and Sense. Versa 2 customers are out of luck. A Fitbit spokesperson advised Gizmodo that the omission is because of the truth that the Versa 2 doesn’t have a speaker.
Alexa on the Sense and Versa Three can be getting a lift. On the Versa 2, Alexa queries resulted in silent solutions in your wrist. (Actually…that’s preferable in my humble opinion.) Nevertheless, now you will get audible replies as effectively from the Sense or Versa 3’s built-in speaker.
One other large replace is that each iOS and Android customers will be capable of take calls instantly on the wrist, offered their cellphone is close by. No Fitbit to this point has mobile functionality, so that is extra for situations when your cellphone is in one other room. Android customers get just a little bit additional—they’ll now reply to textual content messages with voice-to-text instructions.
Lastly, Fitbit’s additionally tweaking its SpO2 options for each watches. Beforehand, as a way to get SpO2 readings, you needed to obtain the SpO2 clock face. (This doesn’t apply to Estimated Oxygen Variation readings, which additionally make the most of the SpO2 sensors.) It was frankly type of annoying, provided that form of nerfs the entire level of getting an enormous gallery of clock faces. Nevertheless, Fitbit OS 5.1 will make SpO2 readings at evening computerized—which means you don’t have to make use of a particular clock face to get that metric. Fitbit additionally says it’s including seven extra SpO2 clock faces to the App Gallery by the tip of the yr, in case you need an SpO2 clock face however don’t significantly just like the one choice at the moment out there.
These are all good options, however this replace is particularly nice for anybody on the lookout for extra inexpensive options to the premium flagship smartwatches on the market. The Fitbit Sense is the costlier of the 2, and that’s $330—$70 cheaper than the GPS-only 40mm Apple Watch Series 6 and the identical as a mobile 40mm Apple Watch SE. It’s additionally cheaper than the $400 Bluetooth Galaxy Watch 3, which is at the moment the very best full-featured smartwatch for Android customers with Samsung telephones. It was a serious disappointment when Samsung revealed earlier this fall that non-Samsung smartphone customers would not get the ECG app, which might take electrocardiograms cleared by the U.S. Meals and Drug Administration. The Fitbit Sense can take ECGs no matter smartphone platform, and given right now’s updates, the Sense is now extra of a compelling different for Android customers. To not point out those that don’t give a flying hoot about ECGs also can go for the even cheaper $230 Versa Three with out giving up SpO2-monitoring.
Actually, right now’s replace is a large step towards closing the hole between Fitbit and Samsung. At this level, the principle issues holding Fitbit again from snatching the “Finest Smartwatch for Android” title are design (nobody actually loves a squircle Apple Watch clone) and the shortage of LTE. Repair that, and perhaps Android customers will lastly get a smartwatch that ticks off all the suitable bins.