From possible Wear OS support to a proper side button, the Sense 2 could evolve in various directions.
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The Fitbit Sense burst onto an already crowded smartwatch scene in late 2020, promising advanced health metrics and tracking features in a premium wrist-wrapping package. While it eventually delivered on most of its early promises, the wearable stumbled a bit out of the gate. When it launched, it lacked some of its most anticipated features like an ECG app, Google Assistant support, and audio responses from smart voice assistants.
Despite its initial handicap, the original Fitbit Sense was a thing of beauty, and since its launch, Fitbit and Google not only brought those aforementioned features to the watch but added new ones like the ability to personalize low and high heart notifications, additional language options, and improved reliability of notifications and UI performance.
But in the 18 months or so since the Sense and Versa 3 launched, Fitbit hasn’t released a new smartwatch, sticking to trackers like the Charge 5 and Luxe. Thanks to a recent leak, we have a clearer picture of what the Fitbit Sense 2 will look like and when Fitbit’s next smartwatch will finally arrive.Sponsored LinksTop Courses Might Be Worth Including in Your CVTop Courses | Sponsored Links
Here’s what we know about a possible Fitbit Sense 2, and what features we’d like to see.RECOMMENDED VIDEOS FOR YOU…CLOSEhttps://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.517.2_en.html#goog_16857127911 second of 13 minutes, 44 secondsVolume 0% PLAY SOUND
FITBIT SENSE 2: RELEASE DATE
Fitbit hasn’t let out a peep about when to expect its new smartwatches. But a source at 9to5Google(opens in new tab) — who also showed off an alleged picture of the watches’ design — told the site that “a spring launch is currently being targeted for the Fitbit Sense 2 and Versa 4, though plans might change.”
Spring ends on June 20, so if Fitbit truly does intend to release the Sense 2 and Versa 4 this spring, Fitbit will have to announce them soon. Otherwise, if plans do change, Fitbit would likely target an August 2022 release date, the same launch month as the previous models.
WILL FITBIT SENSE 2 SUPPORT WEAR OS 3?
Back in May 2021, around the time Google announced Wear OS 3, Fitbit CEO James Park announced that Fitbit features would come to future Wear watches — and we now know the upcoming Pixel Watch will integrate Fitbit Premium, reaffirming this news. But he also claimed the brand’s own upcoming smartwatches would run Wear OS:
“In the future, we’ll be building premium smartwatches based on Wear that combine the best of Fitbit’s health expertise with Google’s ambient computing capabilities,” he said.
Considering the Fitbit Sense is the brand’s most “premium” watch thus far, we assumed that the Sense 2 would update to Wear OS and that this could explain the long delay.
But a March Fitbit leak showed that the Fitbit Sense 2 and Versa 4 would use the same “bridge” between your watch and phone as before, while Wear OS watches use a different system that goes beyond Bluetooth. While this isn’t ironclad evidence, it could mean Fitbit will stick to its own OS after all.
There are positives and negatives to this rumor. Fitbit OS means that it’ll work just as well for iPhone owners who bought the last Sense, whereas Wear OS would exclude them. And the old OS requires less processing power than Wear, so Fitbit can prioritize long battery life and a lower price than it could otherwise. But it also means the Sense will miss out on many of the benefits that come with Wear OS, like better app support and control over your phone.
FITBIT SENSE 2: PRICE
As we mentioned above, the original Fitbit Sense was announced in September 2020 and became widely available for purchase shortly thereafter. It debuted at a price of $329, the highest ever for a Fitbit wearable, but now costs $300 at full price and regularly drops as low as $200 with most retailers.
Most successor watches tend to mimic their predecessors’ prices, so $300 to $330 for the Fitbit Sense 2 is a reasonable assumption. But perhaps all the recent discounts indicate Fitbit knows the Sense cost too much for most people. It could dip to a slightly lower list price as a result.
If it adopts Wear OS or adds LTE as an optional add-on, the price could get more expensive. But with Google launching the Pixel Watch this fall at a rumored price of $399, it wouldn’t make much sense for Fitbit to compete with a similarly priced watch and the same Premium support.
Speaking of Fitbit Premium, the Fitbit Sense bundled six months subscription to the platform. We can assume the Sense 2 will offer a similar perk, after which you’ll have to pay $10/month or $80/year for full access to its health data.
FITBIT SENSE 2: DESIGN
In the early fall of 2020, Fitbit explained that it was focusing its industrial design and UI/UX on something it called “Biologic Industrial Design Language,” using a softer, curved look to mimic organic shapes in the human body. Both the Versa 3 and Sense used identical square displays with rounded edges and removed their traditional side buttons for haptic strips that you squeeze to trigger an action.
With the Fitbit Sense 2, it appears the brand may keep the general design of the original but add a proper side button again. A leaked photo of either the Sense 2 or Versa 4 shows an identical design to their predecessors, except you can see a single button on the display’s center-right.
The Sense’s faux button was one of our reviewer’s biggest complaints with the watch, as you’d sometimes squeeze it and get no proper response from the UI. He said that “I know the button-less aesthetic is cleaner and more appealing, but you just can’t beat a good, physical button.” With the Sense 2, it appears he’ll be getting his wish.
This design offers further evidence that the Sense 2 isn’t likely to get Wear OS 3. Just one button isn’t ideal for navigating a complicated UI; you’d want a digital crown like the Pixel Watch or more buttons like other Wear OS watches.
FITBIT SENSE 2: NEW FEATURES AND SPECS
Because the Fitbit Sense 2 will likely have a similar design to its predecessor, we can make some simple spec predictions: a 1.58-inch AMOLED display, 5ATM water resistance, a weight around 1.7 ounces, and a battery life of about six days or 12 hours of GPS tracking. But the final numbers could be slightly tweaked depending on what Fitbit packs inside of it.
The original Sense already sported the most advanced sensors of any previous Fitbit device, so we’d expect the Sense 2 to follow suit. It already has Fitbit’s latest heart rate monitor sensor, as well as the capability to read SpO2 levels, skin temperate, and electrodermal activity (EDA), along with (most recently) irregular heartbeat notifications approved for accuracy by the FDA.
It’s certain that the Sense 2 will have these capabilities as well. We also expect that the Sense 2 will retain NFC for contactless payments (though it might transition from Fitbit Pay to Google Pay) and that it will continue to have on-device GPS for exercise tracking.
But what new features might it add to compete with the Apple Watch and the best Android smartwatches?
For starters, Fitbit doesn’t need to use Wear OS 3 to benefit from its new partnership with Google. Some Fitbits support limited third-party apps like Spotify, so you’d think the Sense 2 could handle Google apps like YouTube Music, Google Calendar, or even Google Maps turn-by-turn directions. And it should support Assistant straight out of the gate this time.
Because the Sense 2 would be Fitbit’s most advanced health tracker, perhaps it will borrow features from Apple and Garmin, like fall detection. We might also expect it to have more robust Fitbit Premium integration, including not only a free trial period but more on-device workout integration. Greater third-party app support would also be much appreciated, whether or not it runs on Wear OS 3.
The Sense (and Versa 2 and 3) all have onboard GPS, so it would be nice also to have on-device maps to track your workouts while you’re engaged in a run, hike, or ride. That’s something several premium Garmin watches offer.
One of the biggest missing features from Fitbit’s smartwatches is LTE, so it might make sense to see that added to the Sense 2. Whether that would be in the form of limited LTE for safety purposes, as we see on the Garmin Forerunner 945 LTE, or more full-featured LTE, as we’ve seen on Samsung’s Galaxy Watches, remains to be seen. The Garmin implementation wouldn’t surprise me on a Fitbit-branded watch, but we would be shocked if the Google Pixel Watch didn’t have full LTE capabilities.
In terms of software, the original Sense came with plenty of bugs, choppy performance, and missing features patched in after the fact. Even if the Sense 2 doesn’t use Wear OS, we can at least hope Fitbit does a better job with Fitbit OS that doesn’t require a year of patching to fix.
The Sense 2 may look remarkably similar to its predecessor and may forego Wear OS, but a proper button and some of these new features could make it the best Fitbit yet regardless.
The current generation of Fitbit Sense is one of the most well-rounded, fully-featured health wearables on the market. It can track your steps, sleep, and stress and even gives you a portal to Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.US$219at AmazonUS$219.99at AmazonUS$239.99at Amazon
Senior Editor, VR/AR and fitness
Michael spent years freelancing on every tech topic under the sun before settling down on the real exciting stuff: virtual reality, fitness wearables, gaming, and how tech intersects with our world. He’s a semi-reformed Apple-to-Android user who loves running, D&D, and Star Wars. Find him on Twitter at @Michael_L_Hicks.MORE ABOUT…Samsung Galaxy Watch 5: Everything we know so farUpgrade your home theater for just $100 with the Roku Memorial Day saleLATESTHelm Audio’s $99 Bolt DAC is the easiest way to get better audio out of your phone