Fitbit is undoubtedly a behemoth in the fitness tracker market. Over the years, they have been producing Fitbit watches; they have invigorated the wearables market with fitness-focused devices comparable to Garmin and other brands. At this point, their expertise can’t be doubted, and when people look for an accurate fitness tracker, they often just compare different devices from Fitbit to find their preference.
So let’s do just that, let’s put two of the leading Fitbit devices against each other and see which one comes out on top.
When comparing Fibit Alta HR vs Charge 2, the former is a worthy heart rate monitor with a slender design, while the latter a slightly bulkier activity tracker with additional features. Which is the best Fitbit device between the two?
The design of both of these fitness trackers are very similar. Both have a sleek silicone band with a sturdy buckle system to keep the device on your wrist. Both of these bands opted for the stainless steel buckle over the flimsy pop clasp of their earlier iterations, which is fantastic for comfort and ease of use.
The Alta HR adopts a more slender design that, from a comfort point of view, is much more slender and well-fitting on the wrist. Think of it as a slightly larger version of the Fitbit Flex 2. The Charge 2 is quite large and unwieldy for a fitness band, but this does come with advantages that we will come on to convey.
The designs of both are attractive, with a streamlined and modern aesthetic that looks great on the wrist. The look of them might not be the most dynamic or formal, but they are both sophisticated-looking fitness bands.
Size & Display
In terms of device bands, both the Fitbit Charge 2 and Alta HR offer leeway with a small, large, and extra-large size covering a length of 5.5 to 9.3 inches. The sizes give users a lot of different measurements to choose from.
The OLED display is one of the main differences between Alta HR and Charge 2. Both have the same type of touchscreen, but Charge 2’s display is larger than that of the Alta HR. This larger screen allows the user to get a full view of any analytics and stats the fitness band collects. The choice is between a big screen or a more slender design.
The two devices have the same amount of water resistance, meaning they can be worn in the rain and they can withstand sweat as well, but can’t be worn while swimming or in the bath.
Sleep & Heart Rate Tracking
The Alta HR design and functionality is similar to the Alta, but with heart rate tracking added as well. Both Fitbit devices use an optical heart rate monitor that assesses the speed of the blood going through the veins in your wrist using a light.
The PurePulse heart rate monitoring allows for the Fitbit Charge 2 and Fitbit Alta HR to give more in-depth health and fitness readout, as well as continuous heart rate tracking.
The heart rate tracking also allows both fitness trackers to initiate a more intricate sleep tracking functionality. The heart monitor enables the Fitbit Charge 2 and the Fitbit Alta HR to assess not only the duration of your sleep but also the separate sleep stages that you go through throughout your rest.
This enables the user to get a more insightful look at their sleep cycle, and subsequently, what they may be able to do to improve it.
OS & Apps
Both of the Alta HR and Charge 2 are quite pared-down fitness trackers. Their functionality is mainly based around tallying up health and exercise analytics, so the Fitbit OS they both run on doesn’t have a considerable amount of things to process. They both run on the same proprietary OS which works well connected with iOS or Android. This allows both devices to count steps taken, calories burned, and distance traveled.
With these fitness trackers, it’s not about getting apps onboard the device, as this is not possible. What is possible is connecting different third party apps to your device via your Fitbit app. These are mainly fitness-centric apps for Fitbit, like Strava, Habit, and Peloton. These apps feed off of the data collected and allows you to do several things.
The activities that both the Fitbit Alta HR and Fitbit Charge 2 are the same. Both track a multitude of activities and come with SmartTrack exercise recognition. This integrated feature means that you do not have to register or input exactly what sport or workout you are doing. Your Fitbit will automatically log the activity you’re taking part in. Both devices are great for multi-sport activity tracking, recognizing running, walking, cycling, hiking, and cardio.
The Fitbit Charge 2 edges the Alta HR to a certain extent as it does include Connected GPS. The GPS means that if your Fitbit Charge 2 is connected with your smartphone via Bluetooth, you will be able to review your cycle or running trail after. The Connected GPS does give you a lot more of an advantage when trying to refine your health and lifestyle.
Another feature worth noting available on the Charge 2 but not on the Alta HR is guided breathing sessions. These can help you to regulate your breathing and destress after a long day or taxing workout.
Both Charge 2 and Alta HR have smart notifications. These notifications allow you to see if you’ve had a call or a text and if you have a calendar reminder as well. These notifications are received via Bluetooth connection to your smartphone. A fantastic feature that helps you to stay alert and aware of calls and text messages or events you need to remember straight to your wrist.
Apart from the GPS features in the Charge 2, there isn’t anything to separate the two Fitbit smartwatches. Unlike an Apple Watch, Fitbit’s rely on the connectivity they have with the Fitbit app to record workout information. They don’t claim to be the most connected devices when it comes to other features, so there isn’t much else besides the smart notifications.
The larger screen and Connected GPS take a toll on the Fitbit Charge 2’s battery life. The larger fitness band only has a five-day battery life, whereas the slender Alta HR has a seven-day battery life.
Its battery life (alongside its smaller design) is probably the one advantage that the Alta HR definitively has over the Charge 2. Those extra two days just give you a little bit more of a buffer if you take a few days away from home without your charger.
Both devices charge using a charging cradle that can be plugged into the wall, or a USB port.
As can be seen on the table at the very top of this article, the Fitbit Charge 2 is just about $20 more than the Fitbit Alta HR. Both devices are available from Fitbit’s official Amazon page as well as retailers like Best Buy and Target as well.
Neither of these trackers is available from Fitbit’s website itself. The company favors the Inspire Family over that of the Alta. They have also moved on to the Fitbit Charge 3 now.
It seems that the larger screen and Connected GPS are enough to push the Fitbit Charge 2 to a higher price than its competitors. My opinion is that it depends on what you need from a fitness band. Luckily if you prefer a smaller band, you’re going to be able to get the cheaper device.
And if you feel you don’t necessarily need a heart rate tracker, you can get the plain Alta from Amazon for prices starting from $64.99.
The conclusion is that this is a preference decision. The two devices run virtually the same features and programs; they even charge the same! The choice comes down to what you want. Do you want a large screen or a slender band design? Do you want a week-long battery life, or would you be okay with five days?
Do you want Connected GPS for your device, or are you happy without it? These are the sorts of questions you need to ask yourself when looking at the Fitbit Charge 2 vs. Alta HR. Both are fantastic devices that provide a wonderfully refined fitness experience. It comes down to what you want out of a fitness band.
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.