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Fitbit Versa 4 : Is The GPS Tracking Accurate?

After acquiring the new Fitbit Versa 4, I got ready to write my first review. The question that then came up was: Is the GPS tracking from the Fitbit Versa 4 accurate? I wish I could give a positive answer, but unfortunately, that is not the case. I found it hard to maintain consistency in the results I obtained. Thankfully, I was eventually able to slightly boost the accuracy of my readings, though not notably.

All in all, I’m giving the GPS tracking a rating of 6 out of 9 stars. You might be wondering if this is a good score for a device with GPS tracking capabilities, and I’d have to say that it is. My final rating consists of two parts – the accuracy of the device and the rate of GPS battery consumption. Unfortunately, the Versa 4 only really excels at one of the two, but I will explain this in more detail in the article.

As per usual, I will conduct the same tests to determine the exactitude of the GPS on any device and then compare it to another, so that you can get a better idea of the discrepancies between the Fitbit Versa 4 and my Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro.

My Experience When First Using The Versa 4 Was Challenging

Before I share with you my test results, I want to provide a bit of a summary of my experience when first using the Fitbit Versa 4. It wasnt easy, and it took me a long time to adjust to using the device. The real challenge was to get consistant results from the Fitbit Versa 4 which took me at least 3 attempts to get right.

Left : Is my first experience when testing the GPS accuracy, I was consistently getting results like this where it’s completely way off. I have managed to get the accuracy a lot better and you will see in my test results. Right : Is the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro GPS accuracy, and what it should look like with a 99% alignment on a easy GPS tracking route.

You will see in the image below provided in comparison to the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro. On the left I was getting results that were all over the place, and I was running out of energy every time I had to repeat the test until I got it right. I also had:

  • Connecting to the GPS satellites took more than a minute to connect to a GPS satellite
  • Lose connection during GPS tracking.
  • Workout ended when it could not track my location for a period of time (I think it’s 3-5 minutes).
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In order to get a better GPS reading on the Fitbit Versa 4 you must:

  1. Choose your workout mode (say hiking)
  2. Before you press start wait for at least Two minutes for the GPS satellite to connect
  3. Then press start (even if not connected yet, just press start and should connect right away)

First Test : Easy Level

In the first test I always begin with the easy test, at least that way I can get an idea of how well the watch performs when GPS tracking is required. Here is a summary of the test results :

  • Test condition : Walk into a open area, no tall buildings, trees and no over head obstructions such as dense forestry or metal awnings.
  • GPS Difficulty : Low
  • GPS Accuracy : 1 out of 4 (Bad)
Fitbit versa 4 GPS tracking accuracy easy level
Left : Versa 4 GPS tracking at easy level. Inside the blue revision clouds is where it doesn’t quite align in a very big way. Right : This is the same route using the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, where it aligns 99% correctly

There were 2 large area’s where the Versa 4 struggles to track accurately. In those particular area’s there is no tall objects or any obstructions which I think deserves the 1 out of stars accuracy on a easy test.

Second Test : Hard Level

The second test is where I get to walk through a township area and test it’s GPS tracking capabilities. This will replicate some of the walking routes that a normal person would undertake. The main challenges is really the tall buildings and the metal awnings that will block satellite view of you when tracking your location. Unfortunately the test result was exactly the same as the other, poor performance. Here is a summary of the final results:

  • GPS Difficulty : Hard, awnings, tall buildings, possible digital interference
  • Population density : Low, test was done in the early morning so no electronic devices would have been active at the time
  • GPS Accuracy : 1 out of 4 (Bad)
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Left : Fitbit Versa 4 GPS tracking, this is the best I can get it after 3 attempts and still 90% of the tracking is out of alignment. The red rectangle represents the township area, where I walk under awnings. Middle : Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro GPS tracking, this is very close with over 90% accuracy. Right : Is a snap shot of the township area. Notice the awnings above that would make GPS tracking difficult if not in plain sight of satellites

Third Test : Very Hard

I wasn’t going to do the last test, because I was getting tired doing the re tests. But I needed to be consistent with all the other articles I previously written. The very hard test is where I walk through the dense forest area. The challenges would be tall mountainous ranges, trees and dense forestry. This is to replicate anyone who likes to take walks into parks, or hiking. Unfortunately the result wasn’t positive, here is a summary of the GPS tracking.

  • GPS difficulty : Very hard, mountain ranges, tall trees and thick dense branches that will cover above you.
  • GPS Accuracy : 1 out of 4 (Bad)
Left : Fitbit Versa 4 GPS tracking, this is probably the best out of the three tests but at least 70% out of alignment. Middle : Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro GPS tracking, this is how it should look like with at least 10% out of alignment Right : A snap shot through our local hiking tracks in by back yard Te Aroha New Zealand (out by Hobbiton)

GPS Battery Consumption is Excellent

Although the accuracy of the GPS was not the best, the only real benefit to be taken from this review was the GPS battery consumption rate. Having an economical GPS battery consumption is beneficial for people who plan to go on long walks and hikes and dont have any concerns about battery life.

The Fitbit Versa 4 GPS battery consumption rate is 7% per hour, which is absolutely fantastic and put’s it in the 5 star rating. I have constructed a table below that will give you an idea how good the GPS battery consumption rate would be. It’s something that I have created myself due to my experience in testing smart watch’s.

No of StarsGPS Battery Consumption Rate
5 Up to 7% per hour
48% to 12% per hour
313 to 15% per hour
216 to 19% per hour
120 % or more
GPS Battery Consumption Rate : Rating guide that I have constructed

Final Conclusion

While its GPS tracking capabilities may be a letdown, the Fitbit Versa 4 only got a score of 1 out of 4 in this review. Trying to get accurate results from this device can be quite difficult, since I had to redo parts of the test several times before I got the desired results.

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With respect to the rate of battery consumption for GPS tracking, the Fitbit Versa 4 truly excels. It has a very low rate of 7% per hour, making it one of the most efficient GPS trackers, together with the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, Huawei Watch GT3 and Garmin Forerunner 55, so it’s very deserving of a 5 stars out of 5 in this.

With that said, the Fitbit Versa 4 gets a 6 out of 9 rating, but in terms of GPS accuracy it’s not very good. If GPS accuracy is something that you value in a smart watch, then Im afraid the Fitbit Versa 4 isn’t the right device for you.

The Huawei Watch GT3 and the Garmin Forerunner 55 are two smart watch’s that are in the same price range of the Fitbit Versa 4. Both of these devices have a rating of 8 out of 9 stars. I hope this helps and I also hope this article was useful for you.

Fitbit Versa 4 : After my review, I have given a 6 out of 9 stars for GPS tracking.