Earlier this summer time, Fitbit threw down the gauntlet with the bold Fitbit Sense and a revamped Versa 3. However whereas these devices launched just a few months in the past, among the marquee options teased in August have been nonetheless MIA. Nicely, not anymore. Fitbit OS 5.1 is touchdown immediately 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 may quickly take a backseat to Google Assistant on Samsung’s personal telephones. The Apple Watch forces Siri, one other incompetent dingus, down your throat. And till now, Google Assistant for the wrist was largely restricted to Put on OS units. Fitbit launched Amazon Alexa to its units with the Versa 2 final 12 months, however this replace offers you choices.
The flexibility to decide on is main, and the pending Google-Fitbit merger most likely 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, lots of the finest 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 should obtain the Fitbit OS 5.1 replace. As soon as that’s executed, you may 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 5.0 replace, that is just for the Versa 3 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 3 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 may get audible replies as nicely from the Sense or Versa 3’s built-in speaker.
One other massive 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 date has mobile functionality, so that is extra for cases when your cellphone is in one other room. Android customers get slightly bit further—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 form of annoying, on condition 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—that means you don’t have to make use of a selected 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 12 months, in case you need an SpO2 clock face however don’t notably just like the one choice at present out there.
These are all good options, however this replace is particularly nice for anybody searching for extra inexpensive alternate options to the premium flagship smartwatches on the market. The Fitbit Sense is the dearer of the 2, and that’s $330—$70 cheaper than the GPS-only 40mm Apple Watch Sequence 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 present one of the 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 immediately’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 may go for the even cheaper $230 Versa 3 with out giving up SpO2-monitoring.
Actually, immediately’s replace is a big 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 dearth of LTE. Repair that, and perhaps Android customers will lastly get a smartwatch that ticks off all the suitable bins.