Before I get on with this review, let me paint you a more accurate picture of how I use smartwatches plus my short history with Fitbit.
I’m moderately active and I do try to be more fit by gyming and doing high-intensity interval training, but I’m not the most consistent person. On days that things get busy, or when I travel, I mostly forget about my health goals only to remember later on when I start feeling like a sack of potatoes because of all the inactivity.
I usually have a wearable as I’ve found that guilting myself to exercise can be an effective way to get my lazy butt to the gym; I loved my time with the Fitbit Alta HR which was the first fitness tracker I actually stuck with (at least by my standards). For a health tracking beginner (which I was at that point, and probably still am considering I haven’t really been true to my fitness goals), the Fitbit app was a great and easy way to check out my stats.
This newest release, the Versa, is small, sleek, and cute with its rose gold face. This is the Fitbit wearable I was waiting for.
Here are my thoughts on this device.
Look and feel
In the looks department, this wearable is a definite departure from the previously released Ionic. I can tell you now that the one deal-breaker I had with that watch is how it looks. Surely, I couldn’t be expected to wear that clunky thing 24/7?
The Fitbit Versa, on the other hand, is something I could get on board with, in fact, it hasn’t left my wrist in the last weeks I’ve had it. It’s light, sleek, and it comes in rose gold! It matches everything I own, which is a definite plus for me.
My unit is the special edition Versa that came with a cute purple woven straps and basic black silicone straps, both of which I’ve loved so far. I do get a little jealous of the pink silicone strap that the standard edition Versa came with, though replacement straps are also available in a number of styles and colors.
There are three different face options: Rose gold if you’re a fan of color, like me, and black or gray, if you’re looking for a more neutral look.
I’m honestly feeling pretty confident with this Fitbit look. Most outfits can and will match the Versa aesthetic.
Navigation and OS
There are three buttons for navigation and you can also navigate via gestures or tapping around on the touchscreen. Swipe down for phone notifications, up for the day’s fitness statistics, and left to get to the menu. Both buttons on the right act as customizable shortcut buttons and the left button acts as a home or back button.
Although the screen is bright and colors are punchy, there’s still a tiny lag when you wake the screen and its raise to wake function isn’t as sensitive as I’d like. When you get past this, however, navigating through menus is a breeze.
It still works the same way: The watch connects to the Fitbit app on your phone and the app allows you to better customize settings on your device. It also gives you a better and more detailed breakdown of the info you have.
Like I mentioned earlier, the Fitbit app is my first-ever fitness tracking app. I personally love it for its ease and simplicity. On this app, all health info gathered is presented in a way that’s understandable, even for a beginner. It runs on both Android and iOS so there are definitely #noexcuses for slacking off.
What can it do?
Like other Fitbit wearables, the Versa will track everything you do — from number of steps, to active minutes or exercise, calories burned, sleep, and even your continuous heartbeat. You can input your food, water, and caffeine intake on the app so you can keep tabs on that, too. You can also set and customize daily goals in the app to make sure you’re reminded of your fitness aspirations and get moving.
For those who aren’t so versed in workouts and exercises, the Versa has a built-in coach that gives you quick, timed exercises you can start with. Yes, the watch will literally show you what to do and time you as you go through the workout.
You can also set up exercise shortcuts for seven activities you’d want to track. I love that interval training is one of them. I used to need my phone and a separate app that timed my home HIIT exercise, but now, I only need the Versa. It guides me through my workout with mild vibrations every time a set is done and automatically records everything when I’m finished.
Now, on good days, I get my butt up and work on my serotonin levels. But, let’s be real: I’m not made to be pumped up about working out on all days. Some days (note: most of them), I still have to force myself. This is where Fitbit Labs comes in. The “Fitbit Research initiative” creates fun apps and watch faces that will help you get moving. A favorite of mine are these pet faces — yes, these virtual pets get sad and hungry when you don’t feed them food that you earn from steps or moving.
Amazingly, the promise of four-day battery life holds true. Despite all these functions, my watch has consistently lasted me four days, or even more when notification alerts are turned off.
Fitbit OS 2.0: What’s new?
This month, Fitbit 2.0 rolled out. A quick update will give you the new Fitbit OS but be warned: The process takes time and it can get glitchy. It took me a few tries and the realization that connecting my Versa directly to Wi-Fi is the best way to go about updating.
The two most notable new features are quick replies and female health tracking. I’ve been particularly excited about the latter as I’ve long wanted an all-around health app that integrates my menstrual cycle. Unfortunately, this feature is only available on iPhones as of now. Fitbit says Android support is coming soon, hopefully.
Quick replies, on the other hand, allow you to reply to messages straight from your Versa. These replies, however, are limited to pre-set messages that you can customize per app. This feature is only available on Android devices as Apple doesn’t allow that level of customization (boo). Cool as this feature may be, it still has to be pointed out that other smartwatches have allowed for custom replies for a while now. Thing is, I never really ever reply using my smartwatch — because why would I even bother struggling with that tiny screen since I can just get on my phone — so this didn’t really bother me.
Is the Fitbit Versa for you?
I’ve always said that wearables, especially ones you use for fitness tracking, need to be on you at all times to be able to do their job well. This has always proved to be a struggle for me as I’ve only seen a handful that look nice enough to wear every day with my different outfit moods. The Versa seems designed to overcome this personal daily wear struggle: It’s cute enough, it’s light, and it packs enough battery power. These are the same reasons why this thing is on my wrist, still.
Worth it to note though, that there are still a number of things that can be improved on this device: A higher level of customization, more compatible apps, fewer screen lags, and an easier update process.
The thing is, despite all these flaws, the Fitbit Versa ticks most of my tiny boxes. I’m not the most exacting when it comes to smartwatch functions and I just need my basics covered when it comes to fitness tracking. All things considered, I enjoy wearing this thing a lot. If your priorities are the same as mine, the Versa is worth checking out.
5 timeless gifts you can give to a mom anytime of the year
Bizarre gifts on their secret wishlists
We’ve seen it all: the kinds of gifts we need to give moms in our lives — whether they’re your mom, someone who’s a long-time mom, a friend who recently became a mom or a colleague that’s soon-to-be a mom. Every year, we get new ideas on how to celebrate them and how to make them feel special.
But this year, we’re taking it differently. We asked a few moms what’s secretly on their wish lists. And y’all, we didn’t expect these responses. Here’s a round-up of the bizarre gifts that we can gift every mom, Mother’s Day or not.
Pregnancy is a beautiful journey albeit an arduous one. For Ana, 25, and a soon-to-be mom, body pain and finding comfort have been the biggest issues in her wonderful journey. While she gets excited to see her newborn, she finds it difficult to get a good night’s sleep. For her, having a pregnancy pillow would solve 99 percent of her body pain — which she experiences every day.
Buy here: Lazada
Taking walks during sunset could be a therapeutic and beneficial exercise for soon-to-be moms. However, the pandemic imposed restrictions to keep us safe that resulted in a challenging situation where it’s difficult to cope and relax. Sunset lamps offer a good alternative; projecting aesthetically pleasing lighting similar to golden hour. All at the comforts of your own home.
When you’re a new mom, all your attention and resources shift to providing what your baby needs. To a point where you forget how to take care of yourself. For Lorraine, 31, and a mom to a 10-month old boy, self-care days are a must: getting a massage, going to a spa, having her hair styled, and other treatments to her skin, mind, body, and soul.
Given the dire circumstances, going out is dangerous for her and her baby, which is why she secretly wishes to be gifted by a self-care kit — a massager, hairdryer, hair straightener, and an epilator.
Space-saving and eco-friendly form of transportation
For Jean, 26, and a mom to a 4-year old boy, taking care of your health is more than just about the food you eat and the exercises you do. It’s also taking care of your emotional and mental health, and making a contribution to making the world a better place.
Through a foldable bike, she wishes to lessen her carbon footprint by using an eco-friendly form of transportation and save space, something that meticulous, organized homemakers want. Coincidentally, it’s also a good bonding activity with her kid. Think: mom and son biking on a Saturday afternoon.
Buy here: Lazada
A bigger TV
Having a TV is integral in keeping your family together. After all, it is a centerpiece for any home. Jenny, 48, a mom of four young adults, is always concerned about her and her children’s health. Although, secretly, she wishes to have her TV upgraded to a bigger one — at least 55- or 65-inch such as the Samsung Crystal UHD TV — to host movie nights and bond with her children, now that everyone is already having their own lives.
As a long-time mom, Jenny doesn’t like to splurge on what’s the latest gadget or appliance there is in. She wants the best value, and of course, something that lasts for a long time.
Couple co-op games to play during the pandemic
Loving from a distance
It goes without saying that the pandemic has drastically altered our lives. And, for the lucky few who’ve found love amidst the global chaos or barely kept their love life while apart, playing games has become one of the best past time in quarantine.
Below are cooperative games you can play with your partners or friends. We’re open to all forms of love here. Also, note that this list won’t include classic multiplayer games like Minecraft, Stardew Valley, and Animal Crossing: New Horizons because I’m assuming you and your partner or friends have already played these for an ungodly number of hours. Which, by the way if you haven’t, I recommend you start there.
Not included on this list are multiplayer online battle arenas(mobas) since that’s a whole genre of it’s own. And, I’m sick and tired of blatant sexting and flirting on moba team chats. Get your lives together or stay alone, yeah?
It Takes Two
It Takes Two is a cooperative action-adventure platformer with gripping stories and game mechanics. You play as arguing parents at wit’s end stuck in doll form. The doll form bit is due to your daughter’s attempt to cope with her parents’ eventual split. Speaking of splits, it’s a split-screen multiplayer that allows you to play locally or online. The game mechanics and design are witty and eloquent–drawing you into the characters’ stories.
It Takes Two is a good game to play with your partner to see how well you work through obstacles together–in more ways than one. It Takes Two was developed by Hazelight Studios and published by Electronic Arts under the EA Originals labels.
Heave Ho! is a multiplayer co-op platformer where you and your partner or friends get through tough puzzles using your wobbly and dangly limbs. Grab on to each other’s hands, climb across dangling bodies, and swing your way into safety.
Heave Ho! forces you to work together by throwing the other, climbing over, and using our partner to get to the other side. It’s a quirky simple yet challenging game that have left players screaming desperate for hand grabbing. Heave Ho! was developed by Le Cartel Studio and published by Devolver Digital.
Overcooked! 2 is a cooperative cooking simulation video game. It’s the sequel to Overcooked! which had the same game mechanics just without the new and improved stages, mechanics, and features. Overcooked! 2 will make it necessary to yell at each other–which doesn’t have to be a bad thing. You work together as a team to prep, cook, and serve.
It’s the perfect game to play to break the ice, work together, laugh, and panic. Test your relationship, strengthen it, or break up over a silly game. Overcooked! 2 was developed by Team17 alongside Ghost Town Games and published by Team17.
Do two burly Vikings braving the elements sound like a romantic way to spend the night with your partner? No, of course not, but you’ll get hours of entertainment riding together with your nordic allies. Valheim is an explorative survival game. Build yourself a little home, roam the giant wilderness for resources, and hunt some trolls. If Minecraft doesn’t hit the same way anymore, this will probably fill that gap. But make sure you’re playing together, microphone on, and you’ll get lost in purgatory.
Valheim was developed by Iron Gate AB and developed by Coffee Stain Publishing.
Ultrahuman: The essential app to get you through quarantine
Getting through isolation days through workout and meditation
Taking care of our physical and mental health is very much important now more than ever. With everything that has been going on in the world, it’s not surprising that people are taking extra steps to advocate and practice self-care.
One way to do this is by adding good habits everyday and being disciplined to sustain these habits.
With self-care as one of their ultimate goals this year, Martynne and MJ decided to try Ultrahuman: an all-in-one fitness app that includes all the good habits they are currently incorporating in their lives — from workout to meditation.
For a few weeks, they put the app to a test and this is their verdict:
Martynne: I am a huge advocate of meditation and it has been a life-changing practice for me, as someone who finds a hard time focusing and being in the present.
Ultrahuman has a wide range of course options that can match a specific mood or emotion. One of my personal favorites is the Managing Anger course, which helped me take a step back, consolidate my feelings and give compassion to myself throughout the process.
The Singles option with one-time meditation tracks helped me become more mindful and grounded whenever I feel overwhelmed in the middle of a workday. The productivity course, on the other hand, kept my eyes glued to my laptop screen until I finished what I needed to do.
The only thing I didn’t like about it, though, is the visuals seem basic to me, and the “dark” interface is much more fitting for the workout option.
MJ: When gyms are closed and home workouts aren’t fun anymore, how do you remain committed to your fitness goals? That’s what Ultrahuman did: Filling the gap by providing fun workouts and challenges that you can do in a span of weeks. It’s similar to how Nike Training Club presents their videos albeit more personalized.
The Ultrahuman app comes with guided videos from renowned trainers, and watching their instructions during your exercises felt like having a live session with a personal trainer. Unlike most fitness apps that offer video-on-demand workouts, Ultrahuman remembers that we are all beginners, offering a collection of videos through challenges that suit different levels.
After living a sedentary lifestyle, I knew I have to ease up when working out again. The app did wonders in helping me stay active by gradually increasing the difficulty of my challenges, without straining my body or having myself complain about how difficult a certain workout routine is.
Martynne: There was an instance that I had a bad case of insomnia and I needed something to put me to sleep.
I tried listening to Ultrahuman’s Bedtime Stories and it reminded me of the sleep podcasts I used to listen to on Spotify.
The voices are relaxing, and the stories come with meditation and sound effects, but I realized I can be impatient with slow stories. I resorted to the app’s soundscapes and brain music, and they helped a lot to relax my brain and finally shut my eyes off.
I don’t exactly know what’s the science behind brain music, but they really work sometimes.
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