Fitbit Alta HR Review Facts
Fitbit continues to be the leading brand in the wearable fitness tracking industry. Their products are accessible to everyone, easy to use, and make achieving your fitness goals fun. The Fitbit Alta HR is Fitbit’s latest fitness tracker and arguably their best one yet. It is the minimalist version of the Fitbit Charge. It is essentially the Fitbit Alta with a heart rate sensor. Amazingly, even with the addition of the heart rate sensor, there is no noticeable difference between the size, weight, or feel of the Fitbit Alta HR and the original Fitbit Alta. It is your personal fitness coach sitting right on your wrist, reminding you to get up and move! It doesn’t have intimidating buttons and screens that scare away more than half the consumer base. The design is so simple that even my grandmother can use one! (No offense, Grandma.) With the addition of a heart rate sensor and all the features it offers, the Fitbit Alta HR comes closer to perfection in being the best fitness tracker on the market.
When you’re done with this review, don’t forget to check out our Fitbit Charge 2 and Fitbit Charge 3.
The Fitbit Alta HR is designed to track all your daily activities whether it is your morning run, or climbing up the stairs to your apartment. (Though it doesn't have an altimeter so it can't tell you how high you went.) It has a feature called SmartTrack that automatically detects when you are starting an activity. It might classify the activity incorrectly but you can change it later in the Fitbit app. There is no way to manually start an activity as in the Fitbit Charge or Fitbit Blaze
. Also there is no timer displayed when you start an activity. It also tracks your sleeping activity -er, inactivity. The only activity it can’t track is swimming (or shower squats if that's your thing) because it is not water resistant. Currently Fitbit's only water resistant product is the Fitbit Flex.
The Fitbit Alta HR's basic features serve to help you reach your fitness goals
. It has a 3-axis accelerometer that tracks your daily steps. It uses this information to calculate daily distance traveled. It also displays daily minutes active and calories burned. It reads your heart rate every 5 seconds to display your current heart rate. It also connects with your phone and displays text messages, calls, calendar reminders, or notifications. The pedometer has a progress bar underneath the amount of steps you've taken to show you how close you are to achieving your goal. It vibrates to remind you to move if you've been inactive for a while and it vibrates to congratulate you when you reach a goal.
The point of the Fitbit Alta HR is to help you set goals and achieve them and it does a good job of achieving this. It gives you daily step goals or you can set your own. To make sure you reach your goal, it will vibrate if you haven’t taken at least 250 steps in a given hour. Once you reach your goal, the Fitbit goes into a fit of vibrations congratulating you. It is honestly quite rewarding. You can set silent alarms which vibrate the Fitbit Alta HR and supposedly wake you up without disturbing anyone else, though if you are a deep sleeper I recommend having a back up plan. The Fitbit Alta HR is capable of detecting movement during sleep so it can detect deep sleep, light sleep and REM cycles. If your sleep insights tell you that you are going to bed later and later, there is a feature to set up a reminder to tell you to go to bed. You can customize your watch display in the Fitbit app.
If you feel like you need completely accurate numbers for your training data, the Fitbit Alta HR or any of the Fitbit bands might not be the device for you. Distance is calculated by steps taken so compared against a watch with GPS, the distance slightly varies. The heart rate
sensor takes your heart rate every 5 seconds by default which might not get the most accurate readings. But you can adjust the settings to read it every second if you want a more accurate heart rate reading. Also if the Fitbit is fitted loosely around your wrist, the reading might not be as accurate if it were slightly higher and tighter on your wrist. Fitbit calculates your target heart rate zones with a formula from the American Heart Association which might not accurately reflect your target heart rate zones but you can change it manually in settings.
One of the great things about Fitbit products is their software. You can use your phone or computer to sync your Fitbit and upload activities with the charging cable or wirelessly via Bluetooth. A great feature of the Fitbit software is that you can connect with friends and family who wear Fitbit products and help motivate each other. When the Fitbit Alta HR is connected to your phone via Bluetooth, it automatically syncs your data and activity as well as displays notifications from your phone like calls and texts.
The Fitbit Alta HR would essentially be useless without the Fitbit app. You can’t view your activities and stats on the watch but everything syncs to the app
so that you can see everything clearly there. Fitbit does a great job with the app interface so that it is easy to view your activities and insights. Not only does it show your data over time, but it also calculates helpful insights such as how you might take less steps on a certain day of the week or how many hours you sleep a night on average. Everyone can learn something they didn't know about their lifestyle by using the Fitbit software.
If you’ve ever had another Fitbit device, the Fitbit Alta HR is just as comfortable. It is lightweight and you barely notice it on your wrist. So much so, that it is comfortable enough to wear to bed. Many other devices that offer sleep tracking are not, so if sleep tracking is valuable to you, this is important to note. The plastic that the band is made out of is flexible and soft so it doesn’t irritate your skin. The most comfortable spot to wear it on your wrist is just above the bump of your radius (see photos). This way, it does not get in the way of exercises where you bend your wrist such as weightlifting or yoga
The Fitbit Alta HR is no exception to Fitbit’s high standards when it comes to style. Even the additional heart rate sensor does nothing to compromise its sleekness. It actually looks like an elegant piece of jewelry on your wrist – especially if you opt for a metal or rose gold band. If you want a more classic look, you can purchase a leather band. Or even if you stick with the original plastic band, it is still more stylish than any other activity tracker on the market.
Since the Fitbit Alta HR is a relatively new product, it is hard to say how long they last. But most Fitbit products last at least a year. If for any reason they stop working after less than a year, the warranty is good for one year from the purchase date in most cases. Since the bands are interchangeable, if they break (which is unusual), it is easy to replace. The Fitbit itself is not indestructible. It can be damaged by excess water, it can get scratched or chipped, and the screen can crack. But it you are really anticipating severe abuse to your Fitbit Alta HR, they do sell Fitbit screen protectors.
The face of the Fitbit Alta HR is small. It is a slim black screen with white LED lettering. It is 0.61” wide and roughly 1 inch long. You can customize the face to display the time in vertical or horizontal orientation. It dims when you are not using it. To activate the screen you can turn your wrist enabling “quick view” or you can tap the face. The screen is not touch sensitive but it is responsive to tapping. To get to each different screen you tap the screen which can get slightly tiresome. You can use the app to customize the display options.
The Fitbit Alta HR band is unbeatable in the fitness tracker industry. Thin and aesthetically appealing, you can’t ask for much more in a fitness tracker. The material that the band is made of is an elastomer. It feels like a high-quality plastic with a rubbery texture. The band is interchangeable so you can customize your Fitbit with different colors, metal bands, or leather bands. It has an adjustable strap with multiple slots to make sure it fits properly around you wrist. The design is improved from the original Fitbit Alta which has a less reliable "snap-in" strap.
You can choose from three sizes when buying the Fitbit Alta HR. Small, which fits wrist sizes 5.5”-6.7”, large, which fits wrist sizes 6.7”-8.1”, or XL, which fits wrist sizes 8.1”-9.3”. Fitbit even has a size guide on their website that you can print out and use to determine which size you are.
Ease of Use
Unlike some more advanced fitness watches, the Fitbit Alta HR is easy enough for anyone to use. It was designed to be used by anyone that wants to reach their fitness goals no matter how big or small. By tapping on the screen, you can scroll through 7 different info screens. There is no button, so that is the only way to navigate the watch. The best way to customize and control how you use the Fitbit is through the Fitbit app.
Most users report the average battery life of the Fitbit Alta HR is 7 days off a single charge. Not bad for a fitness tracker that takes your heart rate every 5 seconds. But it does take about 1-2 hours to fully charge so charging it every few days might be a good strategy. The Fitbit Alta HR comes with a charging cable that clips onto the watch and plugs into any USB port like a wall charger or computer.
Fitbit has the advantage of being the leader in the fitness tracker market. There are other products that do the same things the Fitbit Alta HR does, if not better, and have GPS
that are not as expensive. But what Fitbit does that other brands do not, is make the fitness tracker something you want to wear all the time. So even though it is a little more pricey, you are paying a little more for something you will probably use a lot more.
Fitbit offers quite an impressive collection of interchangeable bands for the Fitbit Alta HR. Not only do they have different color options, they also have different types of straps. You can get metal bands that look like modern pieces of jewelry! There are also linked watch style bands and leather bands- there is something for everyone and every occasion. There are really no other accessories to go with the Fitbit Alta HR. It is designed to be a simple way to track your activity and so it does not mess with any other gadgets.
• Automatic activity tracking
• Heart rate
• Connects to your phone and displays notifications
• Sleep tracking
• Silent alarms and reminders to move
• Connects to the Fitbit App where you can view your activity
If you want a way to keep tabs on your overall health and fitness, the Fitbit Alta HR will get it done. It will not give you the most accurate data on all your activities, but it definitely gives you a good idea on where you are improving and where you need improvement. Basically, use the Fitbit Alta HR as an indicator of your health. Do not rely on it if you want specifics. It also happens to be a watch that you want to wear. It is sleek, durable, comfortable, and somehow makes exercising fun. If you want a fitness tracker that covers all the bases, the Fitbit Alta HR is the way to go.