The SmartTrack feature on the Fitbit Alta automatically recognizes any activities that are continuous and high-movement, such as walking, hiking, running, outdoor cycling
, and walking/running on the elliptical. In addition to these specific activities, it recognizes two general categories: sport, and aerobic workout. In the sport category, it recognizes high-movement sports such as basketball, soccer, and tennis, but will not be able to track sports that don’t have continuous movement, such as golf. In the aerobic category, it tracks continuous-movement aerobic activities such as kickboxing and dancing. It does, however, take the Alta fifteen minutes before it recognizes these various activities.
Along with tracking your steps, the Fitbit Alta tracks the distance you go and the calories you burn, as well as your active minutes and your stationary time. The SmartTrack feature recognizes various types of exercise and automatically records your workouts for you. By tapping the display, you are able to see the time, workout stats, and notifications of texts, calls, and calendar alerts. Not only does the Fitbit Alta record your active time, it also automatically tracks your sleep,
letting you know how long and how well you slept. Considering all of these features, the Alta has an impressive battery life. While the Fitbit website says the Alta can last for five days on a single charge, one reviewer
claims the battery in his Alta lasted for eight days of continuous use!
As noted above, the SmartTrack feature automatically tracks various types of workouts—but you can customize what activities SmartTrack recognizes by turning auto-detect on or off. You can also set the length of time it requires before recognizing your activity. Along with its tracking capabilities, the Fibit Alta has another special feature: it reminds you to get up and get moving! During waking hours, it vibrates ten minutes before the top of every hour (i.e. 11:50, 12:50. etc.) and flashes a message like “Feed me steps!” or “Only 200 steps to go,” always encouraging you to stay active. (You can customize these reminders as needed.) When you meet your goals, the Alta congratulates you by buzzing and shooting fireworks across its screen.
Even when you tumble into bed at the end of a long day, the Fitbit Alta keeps working for you by measuring your sleep, dividing your bedtime hours between asleep, restless, and awake. You can see these stats on the app, where a star appears if you hit your sleep goals (goals which you program-in yourself). Also, if you don’t enjoy being jarred awake by a noisy alarm come morning, you can set the Alta to vibrate silently, easing you out of your rest and into the new day.
The Alta does not have a GPS
, therefore it is unable to specifically track distance and pace in runs. Even with the step-counter, it can be overly sensitive and sometimes records more steps than you’ve actually taken. There has also been concern about the accuracy of the sleep tracker. Some users have experienced the Alta recording sleep time when the wearer was actually awake or vice versa. That said, the device is mostly accurate. While it might not give the exact time of your run and does not provide the sort of detailed information (such as pace and heart rate) necessary for an athlete in
training, it does give a strong sense of activity participated in, calories burned, and time slept.
The Fitbit Alta can connect to Bluetooth 4.0 devices with Android 4.3 and up, and iOS and up. They can also connect to many Windows phones. To pair, you must download the (free) Fitbit app to your phone and create an account. Once you’ve paired your Fitbit and phone, they automatically sync whenever in range (20 feet and under). You can also sync manually by plugging the Alta into your phone or computer.
The Alta is designed to sync with the Fitbit app, a clear, easy-to-use interface that offers plenty of information but doesn’t overwhelm you. One of the great things about the app is its social aspect: you are able to challenge friends and earn badges, further motivating you in your fitness goals. In addition, you can track your weight loss and record your food and water intake. The main screen displays each day, and you can click to see your performance over a longer period of time. The downside of the app
is that initial setup can be a challenge, sometimes requiring you to fiddle with the device and restart your phone.
The Alta has two prongs that insert into holes in the band to fasten. Although this can be somewhat difficult to do, once on there’s no fear of it falling off— and it’s so comfortable you won’t want to take it off. Because of its slim design, the Alta is almost unnoticeable, even when wearing long sleeves, and even when wearing it to bed. And, since the band is interchangeable, you can switch between sporty rubber, leather, and a variety of metals. There is even a special edition available, where both the tracker and prongs are coated with 22k gold (perfect for anyone with a metal sensitivity).
Style is where the Fitbit Alta truly stands out. Unlike many smartwatches and other wearable tracking devices, the Alta is very trim and sleek. But its delicate size isn’t the only thing stylish about it—Fitbit has partnered with designers Public School and Simply Vera Vera Wang
to provide an array of bands appropriate for any occasion. Fitbit itself offers leather bands in brown, lavender, and indigo, as well as faux silver and gold bands as cute as any bangle. Their designer partners offer everything from double-wrap leather bracelet bands to gold metal hinged bands to black paracord bands. With so many different styles available, you really can wear the Fitbit Alta anywhere.
Users of the Fitbit Alta differ widely on the matter of the device’s durability. Many claim to wear the tracker almost 24/7 (not in the shower, as it isn’t waterproof) while being extremely active, and not dealing with so much as a scratch on the screen. Others feel they’ve done nothing to warrant scratches, but are nonetheless finding them on the face of the tracker. Fitbit does offer screen protectors, which enhance the durability of Alta’s face. And, while most people find the band it comes with to be strong and lasting, if the original band does wear out, you can easily replace it (unlike with many other wristband fitness trackers).
The Fitbit Alta’s
face is is a narrow, rectangular, Gorilla glass screen. In order to save battery power, the screen is blank unless you purposely turn your wrist
or tap the face to wake it up. When on, the screen displays time, date and day, steps walked that day, distance (in miles or kilometers), calories burned, active time, and the alarm, if you currently have one set. To see these metrics, you tap the face—and tap, tap, tap—to move through the various stats.
One of the best—and the most unique—things about the Fitbit Alta is the band. At just 0.61 inches in width, it’s slim, smooth, and light. Unlike bands on past Fitbits
, the Alta’s is interchangeable; as mentioned in the style section, there is a great variety of different bands available. The Alta originally comes with an elastomer (e.g. rubber) band, available in black and plum. (To keep this band clean, Fitbit recommends regularly rinsing it with water, or wiping it lightly with rubbing alcohol, and drying thoroughly.) The tracker has a quick-release feature that makes switching out bands quick and easy.
The Fitbit Alta is 0.61 inches in width and comes in three different sizes: small, large, and extra large. The small works for wrists with a circumference of 5.5 inches - 6.7 inches, the large for wrists with a circumference of 6.7 inches - 8.1 inches, and the extra large for wrists with a circumference of 8.1 inches - 9.38 inches. In case you’re uncertain which of these sizes is the right one for you, the Fitbit website conveniently provides a wristband fitting tool
—a document which you can print out and wrap around your wrist to make sure you get just the right fit.
Ease of Use
The Fitbit app is intuitive and clear, easy to understand and navigate. Most of the features on the device itself are automatic, requiring you to do very little with your Alta; however, many people have complained that the device’s touch screen tends to be finicky. It is supposed to show you the time when you turn your wrist, but often the Alta remains unresponsive, even when fully charged. In order to “wake up” the Alta, you may have to tap the screen repeatedly. This problem persists when trying to look through your stats (i.e. steps, calories, active minutes). Although you are supposed to simply tap the screen to tell it to move to the next metric, it often requires vigorous tapping to get it to move from stat to stat.
One of the exceptional aspects of the Fitbit Alta is its battery life. To get a full charge takes just 2-3 hours, and power lasts for up to five days (or longer, according to many users). To charge it, simply use the cord it comes with to plug it into your computer or an outlet. This cord clips to the back of the device, ensuring it doesn’t slip from the charger. Unfortunately, this power cord is unique to the Alta, so you do need the new charger even if upgrading from a different type of Fitbit.
The Fitbit Alta is far less expensive than an Apple or Garmin
smartwatch, or even Fitbit’s own Blaze. While a bit less than the Fitbit Charge, it is also a bit less functional, with no heart rate sensor. What sets the Alta apart from the Charge is its interchangeable bands—but, while stylish and chic, these only raise the cost of this fitness tracker.
The most notable accessory for the Fitbit Alta is the band. With designers offering whole collections of varied bands, you could (if you had plenty of money to spare) have band accessories suited to any outfit and any occasion. Another way to accessorize is to subscribe to the Fitstar Personal Trainer
, an app that helps you get in shape with unlimited, personalized workout videos.
• An interchangeable band, with many stylish bands available
• All day, automatic tracking of steps, calories, and active vs. stationary time
• Hourly reminders to get up and move
• Celebratory buzzing and encouraging notes when you hit your goals
• Automatic sleep tracking
• Excellent battery life
If you are an intense athlete or a major gym rat, the Alta’s lack of GPS and heart rate monitor probably mean it’s not the right fitness tracker for you. But if you lead a more laid-back lifestyle and are looking for a fitness tracker with all the basic features that continuously encourages you to pursue your goals, the Fitbit Alta is right up your alley. And, if style and fashion are important to you, the Alta is exactly the fitness tracker you need.