Looks like the physical button will make a comeback
New details about Fitbit’s upcoming Sense 2 and Versa 4 smartwatches emerged courtesy of leaked photos 9to5Google obtained from a regulatory agency.
The biggest update here is confirmation the devices will sport a physical button, a significant change after Fitbit’s insistence on using the much-maligned capacitive ‘button’ on its smartwatches and fitness over the last few years.
Previous rumours suggested the new Fitbit wearables would still use a capacitive button but make it protrude from the body of the watch rather than using an indented capacitive button like on the Versa 3 and original Sense. It seems that won’t be the case, and the company is finally returning to a reliable physical button.
Another major design change is that the Fitbit Sense 2 moves the electrocardiogram (ECG) sensor under the glass. The original Sense included a steel ring around the edge of the watch for ECG, but the Sense 2 includes the sensor under the glass, forming part of the bezel around the screen. You can see it in some of the photos as a lighter area between the screen and the case.
As The Verge notes, moving the ECG sensor under the glass is a pretty major change compared to past Fitbits and other smartwatches. The Apple Watch and Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 4, for example, require users to touch their fingers to metal buttons to complete the ECG circuit.
The underside of the Sense 2 includes another major change. The collection of sensors on the bottom of the smartwatch has a new layout, specifically moving away from the large metal plate to two metal arcs around the hub of sensors in the centre of the watch. 9to5 notes it’s unclear if this change will improve existing functionality or will usher in new features.
The underside also reveals faint markings confirming the Sense 2 will offer ECG, temperature sensing, GPS, and 50 metres of water resistance.
As for the Fitbit Versa 4, the images suggest it won’t include ECG or temperature tracking like the Sense 2. Beyond that, it should have GPS and 50m water resistance like the Sense.
Concerning when Fitbit will announce the Sense 2 and Versa 4, well, it remains unclear. Fitbit announced the original Sense and Versa 3 in August of 2020, so we could see the new Sense and Versa arrive in August. However, Google’s upcoming Pixel Watch could disrupt that. Google owns Fitbit, and the Pixel Watch will sport Fitbit integration, which likely means Fitbit is involved in the Pixel Watch in some way. Doing that, plus rolling out an update to its own line of watches could be a lot — maybe we’ll see a later launch for the Sense 2 and Versa 4 as a result.
Images credit: 9to5Google