Fitbit announced in March this year its latest wearable tech, the Fitbit Alta HR. It claims to be the world’s slimmest fitness wristband. Its main feature is the continuous heart rate tracking thanks to its PurePulse technology. It also introduced Sleep Stages for analyzing sleep quality, as well as Sleep Insights to provide guidance on improving sleep.
The Fitbit Alta HR combined form and function. But did it perform enough to get good grades from reviewers? Check out the review roundup.
Pretty Accurate Heart Tracking
Valentina Palladino of Ars Technica calls the Alta HR a proof that people can wear a device that “works as hard as you do without being ostentatious and without much sacrifice.” She gave thumbs up to the stylish design and comfort of the Alta HR, which for her encouraged people to wear it all day and night, which consequently lets the device perform its functions fully well.
She also gave good marks on the battery life, remarking that seven days of continuous wear makes it competitive especially with all the heavy load of continuous heart tracking and sleep monitoring it performs. Speaking of heart tracking, she found it to be “pretty accurate.” However, she disliked the need to tap the display to see your heart rate, which was frustrating if you are in the middle of a workout. Her other biggest gripe with the Alta HR is the lack of guided workouts in the free version of the Fitbit app.
Good Battery Life
Dan Graziano of CNET praised the Fitbit Alta HR for being the best all-around fitness tracker, giving it an 8.4/10 grade. For him, the Fitbit HR is all about the design. The slim and stylish design is comfortable enough to wear all day. He liked the swappable bands of different colors and materials. But the biggest plus for him is the seven-day battery life. The Fitbit does not need charging for a week, which means more time to work out wearing it.
However, he found the lack of some features a letdown. He cited the lack of water resistance (can’t be used for water sports) and the display tends to be hard to read especially during heavy workouts. The automatic-only setting and lack of on-band controls tend to miss the right workout. Although fixable using the Fitbit app, he thought that the lack of manual setting for individual workouts is a minus.
Cherlynn Low of Engadget focused more on the Fitbit Alta HR’s sleep monitoring feature. She acknowledged that sleep is a concept difficult to measure, and she gave props to Fitbit’s effort to monitor it. However, she felt that it may not be that accurate after days of use. The device incorporated the heart rate in the sleep monitoring and this for her is what separated Alta HR from other similar devices. The sleep stage tracking (light, deep, REM) works for her, but she did not find it very scientifically accurate. And at times, the sleep tracking feature was inconsistent, lacking the sleep stage information at times.
However, she found the design similar to its previous model. But although comfortable, she was less impressed by the design’s “plain, blockish aesthetic.” But she did find the swappable bands easy and customizable.
Christina Warren of Gizmodo described the Fitbit Alta HR the “best fitness tracker for normal people.” She found the slim design better than Fitbit’s other products. For wearable techs, the right fit is very important (naturally). So having a device that fits comfortably is a big deal. The slim profile is big enough to fit all the features: heart rate monitoring, signal detection, and display. She found the battery life long-lasting, but not exactly seven days as the company claimed; she often found herself charging at the day-six mark.
However, what bogs the otherwise superb Fitbit Alta HR is the display. It tends to be slow and unreadable. She also found the lack of altimeter a letdown, since people who climb stairs cannot track it.