Published: Tue, March 13, 2018
Science | By Joan Schultz

Fitbit announces Ace, the company's first kid-friendly fitness tracker

Fitbit announces Ace, the company's first kid-friendly fitness tracker

Menstrual tracking will also make its way to the Ionic in Spring 2018 - and is only available to Fitbit users who identify as female.

Fitbit is today extending its wearable lineup with a new, more affordable smartwatch - the Fitbit Versa. No one buys smartwatches that aren't Apple Watches.

The Fitbit Versa is available for preorder today for $199 on Fitbit's website. U.S. or Australian pricing has yet to be confirmed, so that may be a bit different when we hear from Fitbit. The watches still don't connect directly to cellular networks either, the flagship new feature on the latest version of the Apple Watch.

You have the choice of silicone (which felt particularly comfortable and is by far the best option if you're planning to exercise a lot), while there's also a variety of metal and Horween leather options too. For $30 extra, you can get a Special Edition model in either Graphite Aluminum or Rose Gold, both with woven bands.

There's a 1.34-inch screen which should be bright enough at 1,000 nits. And there is a special $330 version of the Ionic made in partnership with Adidas that includes special exercise tracking features from the sneaker maker. It doesn't have a ton of sensors - step counting, sleep tracking, and keeping track of "active minutes" are the main functions - and it lacks a heart-rate monitor or Global Positioning System (i.e. if you want to track your kid's location, this isn't the tracker you want).

Some may find that frustrating, but it's a sensible feature to lose if you want to save a bit of money.

The company also spoke a little more about the Fitbit Ionic: adidas edition. Versa and Ionic will be able to view where they are in their cycle on-device; owners of other Fitbit trackers will still be able to track their periods via the app. USA users can also listen to Pandora. It promises to track workouts, sleep and overall health; its smartwatch features include displaying notifications, accessing a range of unique apps and, if you have an Android device, allowing you to quickly reply to text messages.

One new feature on the watch is specifically for women to help in tracking their menstrual cycle. Whether or not the Versa makes it onto our best fitness trackers list remains to be seen.

Think of the Versa as a follow-up to the Fitbit Blaze.

It runs Fitbit OS, which is limited in scope but comes with a variety of apps through the Fitbit App Gallery. Many women already use period-tracking apps, but Fitbit is building period-tracking into the Versa, so women can see how their periods affect their sleep and activity. That is not the only thing Fitbit is banking on though.

There's also space on the watch for up to 300 songs if you upload the actual files, or you can use a partnership with Deezer to put the songs onto your watch, but you'll need to be subscribed to use that.

The goal for Fitbit Ace, the company says, is to encourage kids to build habits around being physically active from an early age.

The other bragging point is that the battery purportedly lasts four days or more on a single charge. We will bring you a full Fitbit Versa review as soon as we can.

We knew it was coming, and now it's official: Fitbit has announced the Versa, its "mass appeal" smartwatch, which is aimed at, well, everyone.

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