Buttons are a tricky subject among smartwatch owners, but new Fitbit Sense 2 and Versa 4 photos have leaked from 9to5Google indicate that the company is ditching capacitive buttons for its two next-gen smartwatches.
We got a hint that Fitbit might be bringing physical buttons back to the Versa 4 a few months ago, but it wasn’t clear at the time if this would extend to the Sense 2. The decision comes as no surprise. Fitbit introduced the capacitive button as a way to create a slimmer profile and avoid accidental presses, but in reality it created a finicky user experience. Many Versa and Sense users have found the button unresponsive or just plain unreliable. (Ironically, when I reviewed the original Sense, it was all too easy to accidentally trigger the capacitive button.)
Otherwise, it doesn’t look like Fitbit is rocking the boat too much in terms of design. Besides the physical buttons, the most notable update from these leaks is the bezel of the Sense 2. The original Sense integrated the EKG sensor into a subtle metal frame around the case. This time around, it looks like Fitbit has managed to push the EKG sensor into the bezel itself, below the glass touchscreen. This would suggest you need to touch the glass screen to complete the ECG circuitry – which would be unusual compared to other ECG-enabled smartwatches. The Apple Watch and Samsung Galaxy Watch 4, for example, require you to touch metal buttons with your finger. It’s disappointing that Fitbit doesn’t seem to be adding more screen real estate, but hey, if you’re sticking with an extremely large bezel in 2022, you might as well get the most out of it.
Meanwhile, photos of the Sense 2’s sensor array on the underside of the case have revealed a new raised bezel – although anyone’s guessing if that’s a significant change. It could hint at a new sensor, or maybe the modified design is aimed at ensuring better contact with the skin. What we do know is that the markings near the bottom of the matrix (they are extremely faint in the picture) indicate that the device will have an ECG sensor, body temperature sensor, built-in GPS and resistance to water 50 meters. .
As for the Versa 4, the new photos don’t reveal much. The sensor array appears to be unchanged from the Versa 3, and according to 9to5Google, there is no electrocardiogram or body temperature sensor. It still has a microphone, as well as built-in GPS and 50-meter water resistance. This suggests that the Versa 4 may not add much on the hardware front, with major updates coming in the form of new software features. To be fair, Fitbit isn’t shy about adding new Versa watches to its product lineup. There has already been four versions of the smartwatch since its launch in 2018, each slightly different from the last.
Judging by the photos, it looks like an official launch is on the horizon. That said, 2022 has been an odd year for the usual cadence of Fitbit products. The company typically releases at least one device in the spring and another in late summer. However, spring 2022 has already come and gone with no new Fitbit in sight. Meanwhile, Google, owner of Fitbit, may also be muddying the waters with its plans to launch the Pixel Watch this fall. One of the flagship features of the Pixel Watch will be a shiny new Fitbit integration – which Fitbit is ostensibly putting the finishing touches on with Google. That, along with all the new software features for Sense 2 and Versa 4, means a lot for a company to work on at the same time.
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