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What follows is not a paid review, but rather is an honest assessment of my Fitbit Versa 3, which I love. I posted a copy of this review on the Amazon site as well. I have owned Fitbits before and liked them all but the Versa 3 is the best yet. It has been a great motivator.
I bought my Versa 3 directly from the Fitbit website. I love it! My doctor said I MUST build muscle and do cardio if I am to have any quality of life in the future. And I have NEVER stuck to any kind of exercise program in my life. In that moment, I redefined myself. I created the self-concept that I am now a person who exercises and I must do something active every day of my life from now on. But how to stay motivated? How to bring some fun into the routine. The answer was get a Fitbit, a fancy one with all the options.
I am a competitive person, but only with myself. I find it fascinating that the woman next to me is pumping huge amounts of iron, but what matters to me is that I was only able to curl 1 pound with my injured arm three weeks ago and now I can do 3 pounds. When I started using the elliptical a month ago I could only do 0.11 miles; three weeks later I can sustain 45 minutes and 3.3 miles! I compete with myself to challenge my personal bests. The Fitbit is terrific for this, because it stores all of my data and I can see evidence that I am getting stronger and developing endurance. I can even wear it swimming!
It also rewards me for a job well done. Some people reward themselves with a cookie - not me. I feel amply rewarded when I hit those 10,000 steps and the display in the ap flashes and says "You did it!" I find the rewards provided by the Fitbit - goal achievement and a graphic display of what I accomplished for the day -- are strong motivators.
I love that I can set the exercise timer to specific activities. When I hike, it tracks my route by GPS, and afterwards I can see not only my mileage, but my route on a map, my pace, and how hard I exercised along the way. I have the premium membership, which unlocks all of the features. The Versa 3 tracks my heartrate, my heartrate variability, my body temperature while sleeping, sleep stages, and my readiness for exercise. It can also track mindfulness and mood, and has tutorials and exercises to cultivate calmness.
A few Amazon reviews mentioned that Fitbit has poor customer service, and that gave me pause when considering which device to buy. This was not my experience! As it turns out, I needed to use customer service within the first 3 weeks of purchase- the Fitbit wouldn't change and the battery went dead. I ran into problems with their "message a representative" options - the site kept giving me error messages. However, when I called the help desk number (which was not difficult to find on the site) I was only on hold a short time before an agent answered and guided me though the surprisingly simple answer to my problem. I had slathered on moisturizing lotion after my shower the night before, and it obstructed the charging contacts. She had me swab the charging surfaces of the Fitbit and the charger with an alcohol wipe, and that resolved the issue. So, A+ for customer service.
The ap includes a feature where I can log my water intake (hydration is a huge challenge for me) and log my food intake. At the end of the day I can see my intake of not only calories but carbs, fats, and proteins. I have learned a lot about my eating habits and how to strategize for improvement.
The versa 3 specifically is super comfortable and I like the big wide display. It is easy to read even in bright sunlight. I got the pink one, which is a pretty, cheerful salmon color. You can change the clock face to whatever display pleases you. There are third party options for displays. I like the one with the dandelion that opens into a full seed head as you do more exercise. I finally settled on the photo display that allows you to upload your own image. My choice is a painting I made of my beloved horse who recently died- it is comforting to see her on my Fitbit whenever I check the time or data.
There are a few shortcomings. I am a midwife and work 24 hr shifts; we nap when we can. When I sleep in 2 or 3 hour intervals the Fitbit does not track my sleep stages. Also, annoyingly, when I am lying in bed unable to sleep, the Fitbit thinks I am in either light sleep or REM sleep. This design flaw artificially inflates my sleep total; the ap might say I got 6.5 hr and bestows a good sleep score, when in reality only I logged only 4.5 hours of sleep and I was groggy and cranky all day. Another problem is that I want to gain weight. Fitbit is heavily slanted towards people who want to lose or maintain. The ap does not have a feature that tracks calories towards my goal of a 10 pound slow gain to support muscle development. Also, while there are settings for tracking elliptical, circuit training, hiking, etc, there is no setting for rowing. I use the general workout setting when I row.
The Versa 3 was pricy, and I had to carefully weigh the options before purchasing one of the most expensive trackers on the market. Overall, though, Fitbit in general and Versa 3 in particular are worth the investment. I think if I had bought a cheaper tracker with fewer features, I would have eventually bought a Versa 3 down the road. I previously owned Fitbits, and the Versa 3 is the best of them.
Bonnie Gruenberg is a certified nurse-midwife, artist, author, photographer, blogger, and hobby farmer. She also struggles with the challenges of a chronic connective tissue disease: Ehlers Danlos Syndrome.