If exercising is key to your lifestyle, you will have heard of Fitbit by now. Fitbit is an American company that specializes in activity trackers and wearable tech. In direct competition with the likes of the Apple Watch series and Garmin’s various releases, Fitbit produces devices in which fitness and wellbeing are paramount.
Fitbit produces several sleek fitness bands, and one of the ones of particular note is the Alta HR. Its lightweight, streamlined design coupled with a stalwart heart rate monitor, sleep stage recognition, and other highly advanced features, make it a definite gadget worthy of attention. The Alta HR is an extension of the original Alta; you can read a review of the Alta on our site, written by my colleague Ellie Keith. This article is our official Fitbit Alta HR review.
So what’s changed from the original Fitbit Alta device? Where have Fitbit sought to make improvements, and where have they kept things the same?
Color: Black, Blue Gray, Fuchsia, Coral, Gunmetal Series Black, Rose GoldBlack, Blue Gray, Fuchsia, Coral, Gunmetal Series Black, Rose Gold
Material: Stainless Steel, Aluminium, Silicone
Water resistance: Splashproof
Battery life: up to 7 days
Warranty: 1-year warranty
Price & Availability
The Alta HR was released in March 2017, roughly a year after the original Alta. Its release presented the market with every benefit of the Alta, while also including an additional heart tracking functionality.
Since its release, Fitbit’s attention has been on devices such as the Inspire and Charge 3. So they do not sell the Alta HR on their website anymore. You can still purchase it from Amazon though. They offer a choice of small, large and x-large in which the strap sizes are of different lengths. They also provide bands varying in color and style.
The design utilizes the streamlined and sleek aesthetic of its predecessor. The silicone band provides flexibility, which is essential when running or exercising. Promotional material for the Alta HR does boast a range of leather and metal band alternatives. Still, it seems the only option available at this time from Fitbit’s own Alta and Alta HR lookbook is the lavender leather band.
The band’s design as a whole is incredibly attractive; the central module of the Alta HR fits smoothly within the band width for a modern look. The standout feature of the Fitbit, its heart rate sensor is on the back of the module. Fitbit has sought to quash the concerns of those consumers that thought watches like the Fitbit Ionic or Fitbit Blaze were a bit bulky with the Alta HR’s design. Its look is dynamic, understated, and cool.
Design & Build Quality
The build quality is surprisingly sturdy. When people see the flexible design and dainty look of the Alta HR, they immediately imagine it to be fragile, but this is not the case. The steel casing that the face of the watch resides in gives it more than enough protection to withstand the bumps and bruises that come along with exercising.
Fitbit devices are frequently praised for their hardy nature, and it is nice to seem the company implements that in its smaller, more frail-looking devices.
The build quality is improved from the original design of the Alta. An aluminum buckle replaces the unreliable pop clasp of the earlier iteration. This is more sturdy, helps with heart rate accuracy, and looks better too.
Size & Display
For what the device is, and how slim and discreet it is, the touchscreen is a plus. However, it just doesn’t feel big enough. It just doesn’t share the readability of something like the Versa 2. Even the Fitbit Inspire HR manages a hefty screen in the outfit of a slender fitness band.
The screen is perfectly fine for most things. The touchscreen can be unresponsive, but the movements you need to make are so basic that this rarely becomes a problem.
Brightness can be an issue. In most walks of life, you will be able to see the screen fairly quickly. However, if you want to go for a run on a blindingly bright day, the display will fade significantly. And shielding your Alta HR’s face to see how many steps you’ve taken is not the coolest look.
Comfort to Wear
As previously mentioned, the Alta HR’s buckle allows for a much more tightly fitting and comfortable wearing experience. The design of the Alta HR is fantastic in the sense that its heart rate sensor is discrete and non-protruding. This means that the Alta HR proves itself to be a wearable that does not disturb sleep.
The fitness band’s comfort is entirely dependent on the band that you wear with the Alta HR. A significant advantage the Fitbit has is the absence of any side buttons; this allows the user to wear it without fear of pressing buttons accidentally. When you’re pushing yourself up a steep hill, you’ll be happy your wearing a sleek Alta HR.
Bands & Accessories
As mentioned, wearing a Fitbit Alta HR offers users a selection of interchangeable bands and accessories. Fitbit themselves creates many of the accessories, but others are made by third-party companies that have expanded on the Fitbit Alta HR’s attractive design and overall popularity.
Screen and sleeve protectors are available for those wary of scratching the display, metal bands for those looking for a more formal look, and even clip cases for those looking to have the Fitbit Alta HR clipped onto their pocket (note that the heart rate monitor will not work in this instance)
Features & Performance
Heart Rate & Sleep Tracking
The Fitbit Alta HR’s heart rate monitoring abilities deliver magnificently. It is nice to see Fitbit release something with a definitive improvement, rather than just rebadging the same device. The heart rate monitor integrated on the device allows for continuous tracking, an insight into resting and active heart rate, and a more accurate calorie burn tracking.
Sleep tracking is excellent on the device. Using the heart rate capabilities, the Alta HR can give you not only your sleep activities but also the times in your sleep where you transition from a deep sleep, light sleep, or REM sleep. This gives the user a useful insight into the patterns that their body behaves in when they turn out the lights.
Fitness tracking is where Fitbit’s excel and the Fitbit Alta HR activity tracker is no different. It tracks steps, distance, and calories; you can set your own goals and see how far you are away from them with a simple tap of the screen. The Fitbit Alta HR automatically recognizes what exercise you are doing without you having to action any mode.
The lack of dedicated sports modes is a shame, however. That feature is one of Fitbit’s greatest additions to smartwatches like the Ionic or Versa 2 but is absent from the Alta HR. However, with the price tag what it is, it’s hard to complain.
Reminders to move is included in the Alta HR, a great little feature that keeps you on your toes and achieving your fitness goals.
The Fitbit Alta HR’s primary smart offering is the use of notifications or a limited number of apps. Calls, texts, and calendar alerts can all be viewed from the display when your smartphone is synced to your device via Bluetooth. Unfortunately, in terms of messages, these notifications only stretch as far as basic SMS. The Alta HR does not offer notifications for WhatsApp or any other external messaging apps.
And that’s about it for smart features. As we said, the Alta HR (and often Fitbit in general) ‘s outlook is focused directly on fitness features.
Data accuracy is the most sought after thing when looking for a device that is going to help you refine and improve your workout. Luckily, for a small and budget device, the Alta HR’s readouts prove fairly accurate.
When compared with a chest strap monitor, the Alta HR’s readings drop short at some points, but in a general sense, give near the same readout. This is impressive, especially for wrist-based fitness trackers. However, Fitbit Alta HR does show clear signs of inaccuracy. But, for a precise, accurate result, a chest strap is always the way to go.
Battery life is a strong asset for the Fitbit Alta HR. It edges to very near the top when comparing Fitbit devices in terms of battery power. A 7-day battery length pretty much ensures that the device won’t quit on you mid-run or in the middle of a tough workout. This reliability provides constant tracking and readings. It is safe to say that on a full charge, the Fitbit Alta HR can be an incredibly useful fitness companion.
Having said this, constant readings on your fitness analytics alongside continuous synchronization with the Fitbit app can drain the battery a great deal. Like any device, the battery power can be the best in the world, but if you want to use the device’s intricate features, your battery will pay the price.
Value for Money
Value for money is a standout aspect of the Fitbit Alta HR. It was so apparent that we rated it the best value Fitbit in our choice of Best Fitbit for Men. There may not be many smart features, and the accuracy may be slightly unreliable at times, but with the price tag being under $100 in most instances, value for money is not an issue.
Fitbit offers something quite special with this; they offer users the chance to redefine their health, wellbeing, and fitness. What’s more, they offer this for a fraction of the price of some competitor’s devices.
Who is it for?
You will love Fitbit Alta HR if you…
Want to start tracking your activity – everything you need to track your activity is provided.
Want a dynamic looking tracker – The Alta HR’s design oozes a modern style.
Want to track your heart rate – The Alta HR offers the opportunity to understand what makes you tick.
You might not like Fitbit Alta HR if you…
Want smart connectivity – The device doesn’t provide much in the way of smart features.
Need dedicated sports tracking – Individual sports modes is an aspect where this Fitbit falls down.
Is Fitbit Alta HR Worth Buying?
The Fitbit Alta HR is a reasonably beneficial purchase, especially considering its price. It positions itself as an excellent middle ground between a basic step counter and a smart fitness device. It gives the user a necessary means of tracking their activity and also helping them to delve into their analytics and uncover their fitness habits. And the heart rate tracking certainly sweetens the deal considerably.
The Fitbit Alta HR’s leaning towards durability through the use of sturdy materials ensure that it will be on your wrist, tracking your activity for the foreseeable future.
With all of these factors considered, the Fitbit Alta HR is a worthy purchase for those looking for an activity tracker.
The Fitbit Alta HR’s value should make it serious consideration when looking for a fitness band. Fitbit is a more than reliable company when it comes to creating devices that can keep you a severe leg up in fitness and health.
It doesn’t sit up there with the more mainstream fitness watches of its time like the Apple Watch 3, its design and features do not fit the remit of an all-round smartwatch. But as a fitness band, it does offer a lot of fitness features. Its design is small but effective in what Fitbit can provide.
Liam writes articles for a myriad of sites and publications. With a deep-set love for electronics and music, often finds himself drawn to writing about the latest bands and gadgets. He has a degree in Drama and English, enjoys acting, producing music and writing in a number of formats. He also works as a copywriter, providing content for clients around the world.