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Fitbit smartwatches are getting this stress-free upgrade to battle Apple Watch

Fitbit Versa 3 review
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The relentless bustle of modern life can be pretty stressful, but Fitbit is aiming to offer a solution to this problem with the latest feature addition to its smartwatch range: stress tracking. 

During a press event for the company’s latest fitness wearable, the Fitbit Luxe, it was announced that the Stress Management feature, which first debuted on last year’s Fitbit Sense, would be coming to the current Fitbit range of smartwatches and fitness bands. 

The models that will be getting the feature are Versa 3, Versa 2, Luxe, Charge 4, and Inspire 2 — older Fitbit models that no longer receive updates won’t be receiving the Stress Management suite. 

The feature itself sits within the Fitbit Dashboard, and tracks your heart rate variability, exercise patterns, and sleep data to generate a single stress score. If you’ve signed up to Fitbit Premium you’ll have access to a granular breakdown of your score, whereas non-premium users will just get a daily score.

You can also add your own feedback, alerting your Fitbit that you’re having a particularly stressful day. Although seeing as the app doesn’t actually use this information to train its stress-score algorithm, we’re not entirely sure what the value of essentially telling a smartwatch you’re having a bad day is. 

Dr Samy Abdel-Ghaffar, a scientist behind Fitbit’s Stress Management system, told Wareable that: “our Stress Management Score was designed to help you understand your body's ability to handle stress, which is an important health metric that can impact your physical and mental health.

“If you receive a high score, it means you're showing fewer signs of physical stress, so you may consider taking on a new project or exercising, whereas if your score is lower you may want to give yourself a break by going to bed early or meditating.”

The idea is that over time you gain an understanding of how your daily routine impacts your stress levels and can tweak it accordingly if certain aspects are causing you unwelcome anxiety. 

Fitbit is currently making a large effort to create more relaxation content and anti-stress features, the company recently teamed up with Deepak Chopra to create mindful content for Fitbit Premium subscribers and this Stress Management rollout is another weapon in the company’s war on stress. 

While stress monitoring and management is nothing new in smartwatches, with the Apple Watch 6 — our top pick for the best smartwatches — and the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 sporting support for such features, they can be pretty expensive. Fitbit's smartwatches are often more affordable and with this extra feature become that bit more desirable.  

Rory is a staff writer at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics including tech news, deals, gaming, streaming and more. When he’s not writing hot takes on the latest gaming hardware and streaming shows, he can be found watching a borderline unhealthy amount of movies and being thoroughly disappointed by his terrible football team.