My Fitbit Versa Review – A Month in With My Swimming Smartwatch

Fitbit Versa Swimming Smartwatch Header

My Fitbit Versa Review - Swimming Especially

My Fitbit Versa Review – A Month in With My Swimming Smartwatch

I have been a Fitbit user for many years now. I have had quite a few Fitbits now, most recently the Flex and the Charge 2. I wanted a new health and fitness tracker and so my most recent purchase was the Fitbit Versa – which is the one that I’m going to review for you today.

After using it for a while now, I really just wanted to share my opinions and experience with it – what I like and what is not so great. If you’re looking for Fitbit Versa reviews, then this one’s for you.

General Fitbit “Pro”

What I like most about Fitbits, in general, is that they motivate me to get moving, on an hourly and daily basis.

I am one of those crazy people you hear about – who finds themselves jogging in place at 11:45 p.m.- in order to reach their 10000 steps every day.

In fact, I am “writing” this post by dictating into my phone as I pace around my living room just to get more steps…

Yes I am a weirdo…sometimes.

Other than my daily 10,000 steps, my main workout is swimming, and that is what I really wanted the Fitbit Versa for — my pool workouts.

Versa For Swimming…Yes or No?

I admit I am no Michael Phelps, but I do swim around three times each week, for just over thirty minutes, non-stop, doing the breaststroke the whole time.

I had been wanting a wearable device that would measure my laps, my time per lap and overall time for those fifty laps that I do.

That really was the main thing that I wanted it for. So you can imagine my delight to see that Fitbit had launched two new devices in 2018 that could measure time in the pool – The Ionic and the Versa.

Finally, I thought to myself! But alas, as you’ll soon see, all was not golden, as it were. I am getting ahead of myself here. Let’s go back a bit…

I Read, I Watched, I Hemmed, I Hawed, I Bought

Throughout the week before Christmas, while in California, I kept watching the price and reading the reviews and debating it.

Then my father died on the 23rd and the whole Fitbit research took a back seat until my return to the UK. (Besides, after Christmas the price had gone back up to $200, and then you have tax on top of that and I didn’t want to spent that much).

After much debate and many reviews read, I went ahead and bought the Fitbit Versa from Amazon UK January of 2019, as a belated Christmas present to myself.

So, I have now been using the Fitbit versa for more than 5 weeks and I thought I would report my results over the past month or so.

Fitbit Versa Maiden Voyage Swimming - A Fail

My Fitbit Versa Review: Regarding Swimming in Particular

1) The first thing I have to tell you is that the Fitbit has only accurately measured my laps two times (out of all of those workouts!)

It has been as far off as 10 laps, e.g. reporting 40 when I have done 50, but generally it’s 4-6 laps short. So infuriating…

2) I did see a lot of people claiming that it wasn’t good for the pool, and some said theirs had stopped working as soon as they swam, so I was a little bit apprehensive to start swimming with it to begin with.

Thankfully, in spite of its inaccuracy, has worked well in the pool.

Or, erm, I mean at least it hasn’t died on me.

Fitbit Versa Inaccurate for Pool

It has been helpful in timing my 50 laps – which is at least something.

3) As far as the steps go, I don’t feel like it is as accurate as the Charge 2 either. But maybe it was the Charge 2 that was inaccurate who knows?

One thing that bugs me about the steps is that, on the days that I swim, it counts my laps as steps which is odd to me. So on swimming days, I always end up with a super good amount of steps, which I guess is a good thing…(ha!)

4) OK, so it’s not all bad. I like the look and feel of the watch.
As the steps are so important to me I do wish that the numbers were bigger for steps because my eyesight is a bit challenged (I sometimes need my readers on to read the steps).

However, when I do swipe up, it does go to a screen that allows me to read the steps, total and for the hour, with ease.

It’s just that it’s more effort than simply tapping my Fitbit or turning my wrist and getting that quick glance.

Conclusions about my Fitbit Versa

If you’re considering getting a Fitbit Versa solely for the pool like I was, then I’d urge you not to bother with it.

Given just how off and inaccurate it is in the pool, I should have just sent it right back. My friend John thinks I am bonkers for keeping it.

To be honest, the only reason I didn’t is that I couldn’t be bothered do so, and then trying to find something else.

I will definitely look to replace it sooner than later though.

Have you got a better suggestion for me? One that works well in the pool? I’d love to hear from  you. Or if you have a Versa, let me know what you think of it and how you experience it. Thanks.

#5x50Chal – Day 23

D#5x50chal - Day 23on’t worry lovely readers, I’ve been doing the #5x50chal every day – as I committed to doing.

Most days it’s been pretty easy to do my alloted 30 minutes of exercise.

In fact, almost too easy. I’ve maybe averaged the 5k a day or thereabouts.

Yesterday was 10km I think. Boy did I feel it, too. Had a wonderful walk all over Glasgow’s west end with my friend. It was a day to be out, to be sure.

I think I’ve lost a tiny bit of weight – an almost imperceptible amount – but better than nothing.

Weather this past week or two has been pretty glorious which always helps, doesn’t it? ‘So much easier to get out there and active when it’s not bucketing down. Long may that continue.

Today’s walk was a simple two or miles around the Quay and along the River Clyde in Glasgow.

Really when you think about it, what a difference a few weeks can make. I look back to the earlier pictures of rain, sleet and hail stones at the start of the challenge – and now this.

#5x50chal - Day 23

Thank goodness seasons change…

Speaking of seasons changing, that reminds me of the fabulous Susie Suh song…(random collage video by a fan no doubt). Really wish I was seeing her in Berlin next week.

Maybe some day I will…(Either there or here.)

Well that’s all for now. I should call it a night. I’ll be back in a day or so with another blog about #29Social which is just around the corner now (29/4). Very excited about the night. It will be great. If you’re in the central belt, come along…Please.

RSVP NOW: #29Social

#5x50chal – Update through Day 15

Update on the #5x50chal

I seem to have left my daily blogging by the way-side. I’ve managed to do the challenge all week as committed to – but I haven’t been doing so good with updating this blog I guess. The week has been spent walking. Weather for the most part has truly held out.

Today my friend G and I walked around Newlands. Was good to catch up and go to a park I’ve never even seen before.
#5x50chal Run Day 14

Day 14 – Yesterday I ran, solo, for two-and-a-half miles (38 minutes) all around the River Clyde. I’m running a bit longer each time I do. I’m still not quite at the 5k mark but not too bad for an ole gal, I reckon.

#5x50chal collage | Thea

Also during the week my #5x50chal workouts were spent doing things like walking home from town, twice (appx 2 miles by the time I got weaved my way home). Friday was a walkabout in the West End. One night during the week was through one of my fave Glasgow neighborhoods.

So basically I do my best to mix up the #5x50chal  both in terms of areas but also with type of fitness. So far it’s mostly been walking and running but soon I ought to pull the roller skates and my bike out to really mix-it-up.

Watch this space.

#5x50Chal – Days 6-9

Well it’s been a super-busy Easter weekend and the weather has vastly improved since the start of the challenge. Thank goodness!

As I was playing hostess for much of the break, I didn’t quite get the time to update the blog as I’d have liked to – so I am now…Mostly in pictures. It’s been a lot of walking this weekend…in Luss, Glasgow’s East End, and in various southside areas. #5x50chal - Day 6Luss was lovely as ever! Weather did leave a little to be desired but nothing compared to the beginning of the week so I won’t complain!
#5x50chal - Day 7An East End of Glasgow saunter with friends – Neil and Cathie. We had a long walk to Richmond Park in the east end and then back again, winding up at West brewery at Glasgow Green.

day8collageA nice way to spend an Easter Sunday morning in the park. Enjoyed a short break in the Walled Garden. Soon the hyacinths will be in bloom and I can’t wait!

 Easter Monday #5x50chal – another walk around the southside and along the River Clyde.
#5x50chal - Day 9
That’s about all for this #5x50chal update. Still going strong. Still trying to combine a walk or run with the AB workout. Just need to cut out the chocolate and I’d be slimming down in no time…

What is the 5×50 Challenge?

Interested in Learning More About the 5×50 Challenge? Read on…

Thea Newcomb - 5x50 Challenge 201430 March 2014 marks the 3rd year running (pun intended) of the 5×50 Challenge. The 5×50 Challenge is the brain child of Kelly Mason who is based here in Glasgow Scotland. Kelly, along with a “core team” of fantastic people, created this life-changing challenge. The main aim is to encourage “people to run, walk, jog or cycle 5K (or 30 minute exercise equivalent) every day for 50 days”…hoping that, in turn, will create ongoing lifetime habits.
For some, it’s an easy feat, for others it seems an impossibility. This is my third year taking part in the challenge (and yes, I did manage to complete it successfully both previous times!) Essentially it is a GLOBAL fitness challenge for both fitness and charity!


I mostly walked it in both the previous years, but on some days, when energy levels were up, I would run. On other days, when it was low, I would bike it.

Breaking it down – all a 5k is is 3.1 miles. That’s really not so bad.

One up the “upshots” that I experienced in doing it, was shrinking more than a stone! (After being a total-winter-sloth, it’s my aim to slim down by at least that – and hopefully more this time!)

My 5 Tips for Surviving the 5×50:

Thea Newcomb - Fitbit Flex - Dashboard Feb 191) Vary your workout in terms of the route you take and exercise you do. Bike. Swim. Run. Walk. Roller skate. Play football. Whatever.

2) Get a Fitbit (or similar wearable device) to keep exact track of your daily fitness. I never leave home without my Fitbit Flex (see it here on Amazon UK or here on Amazon US).

3) Team up with family and friends on the challenge to keep motivated. There will be times when you just “can’t be arsed” – so you’ll need people to keep you motivated to stick with it!

4) Reward yourself from time to time. For me, that reward might be to psyche myself up for 5-mile walk (did I mention I tried to average five miles a day not K? I did), and then come home to a big scone with jam and clotted cream!

5) Use workout time productively, sometimes! I mixed it up. Some days my walks were head-clearing walks, so silent. Others were working walks so I’d listen to podcasts about Social Media and the like. On some days, perhaps when I needed it most, I listened to inspirational or motivational speakers. Super rainy nights I’d often go to use the treadmill at the gym and read Ebooks (work or pleasure – depending on my mood). Finally on days like today, I’d do the entire walk writing a blog! This very blog was written as I’ve weaved through Glasgow’s south side (taking care to keep eyes peeled for pedestrians, puddles, poo and of course cars too!)

So yeah, that final tip is a big one really….Simply find a way to weave the 5×50 fitness into your routine so it becomes a part of your daily life, and hopefully a habit that will be set to continue.
As I say, it’s not starting until the end of March, but I am already trying to get back into the swing now, so it’s less of a shock to the system when the launch day kicks off.
Plus I really need to tackle that aforementioned winter sloth poundage I put on!

One last thing – another way I document my #5×50 journey is through pictures. I tried to take a picture (or many photos depending on where I was) on almost every workout. (Not the treadmill workouts, but when I was out and about).

Now that I am new to the Instagram party – I’ll aim to do so there – join me on Instagram if you’re on it. I could use a few more people to interact with over there!

Why not join me in the challenge? Follow along on social media #5x50Challenge. Check out this video by Tim Berridge at Dividia – below or on the 5×50  Youtube channel!

Incidentally – a lot of the places you see the team running in that video is where I tend to do my 5ks! Love my city!

Wherever you are in the world, I do hope you’ll consider doing this challenge for charity – either Sport Relief or perhaps another one that’s special to your heart…?