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Fitbit Alta Review

Fitbit Alta
  • Editor Rating
  • Rated 3.5 stars
£85 to £130
  • 60%

  • Fitbit Alta
  • Reviewed by:
  • Published on:
  • Last modified: 2nd June 2018
  • Heart Rate Monitor functions
    Editor: 0%
  • Activity Tracking features
    Editor: 75%
  • Running functions
    Editor: 45%
  • Cycling functions
    Editor: 35%
  • Fitness monitoring features
    Editor: 70%
  • Ease of Use
    Editor: 90%
  • Battery Life
    Editor: 90%

The Fitbit Alta is a stylish activity tracker designed to keep you active throughout the day, as well as connected to your smartphone for email, text and calendar alerts and also monitor the duration and quality of your sleep. I awarded the Alta a 3.5/5 star review and not higher as I found the display quite hard to see in bright outdoor sun conditions. This criticism is not exclusive to Fitbit, any units with these OLED displays suffers in the same way. I also found the FLICK method of changing screen a little hit and miss .. although i did get used to it over time. It’s a solid, competent fitness tracker if not a little over priced. The Fitbit Alta activity tracker has been reviewed by Tristan Haskins aka CardioCritic

Reviewed - the Fitbit Alta fitness band by Tristan Haskins aka CardioCritic

Release Date (UK) > April 2016

Product it replaced > None – Alta is a new product

Suggested Retail Price (at time of released) > from £99 upwards depending on case etc.

NEWS > In March 2017 Fitbit released the Alta HR with off the wrist heart rate monitor

NEWS > Fitbit’s have a new smartwatch with built-in GPS and wrist based heart rate. Read our review of the Fitbit Ionic here

Who’s it For?

The Fitbit Alta is for the customer seeking a discrete, stylish, adaptable fitness tracker that features time of day, movement reminders, step, calories and distance tracking plus smartphone connectivity and incoming call / text notifications. It does NOT monitor heart rate nor does it track floors climbed. It’s really a Flex 2 with the addition of a display giving access to time of day and daily activity progress.

Main Features

  • 5 Day Battery Life
  • Water Resistant (sweat, rain and splashproof – not swim proof)
  • All-Day Activity tracking
  • Auto Sleep Tracking – monitors duration and quality of your sleep
  • Reminders to Move with the aim of achieving 250 steps per hour.
  • Time of Day Clock – with wake up alarm
  • SmartTrack™ – Auto Exercise Recognition
  • Tap Display
  • Smarthphone Connectivity – Call, Text & Calendar Alerts
  • Accessory Bands – Sold Separately
  • Compare – Alta versus the Charge HR & Surge
  • Compare – Alta versus the Blaze & Surge
  • REVIEW Conclusion
  • Check for lowest prices

Next model UP

The next model up in the current Fitbit product lineup is the Alta HR. Same as this model with addition of wrist based heart rate monitor. Looking further up the range is the Charge 2 with more comprehensive smartwatch functionality plus Pure Pulse built in heart rate sensor.  If you’d prefer a more “full-sized” watch then consider the Blaze which can pair with the GPS on your smartphone to give running / biking speed and distance feedback. Alternatively, if you prefer to have built-in GPS, then you should consider the top of the range Fitbit Surge.

Fitbit Alta HR built-in HR

Fitbit Charge 2  bigger, brighter display with built-in HR & GPS sharing ….

Fitbit Blaze large colour display, built in HR & GPS sharing

Fitbit Surge large square display, built-in HR & built-in GPS

Next model DOWN

The model below the Alta is the Fitbit Flex 2 from the current lineup and the Fitbit Charge from the legacy products. The Charge has a much smaller display and does not feature smartphone notifications. The Flex 2 has very similar activity tracking functionality, however, these is no DISPLAY so it doesn’t replace your time of day watch.

Fitbit Charge no smartphone notifications & smaller display

Fitbit Flex 2 no display, but it’s SWIM PROOF

Closest Competitors

The nearest product in functionality and price to the Alta are the Vivofit 3 and the Vivosmart HR. A short while ago it would have been the original Vivosmart, but the newer Vivosmart HR is a very similar price to the Alta and has the added benefit of off the wrist heart rate.

Garmin Vivofit 3 much clearer display

Garmin Vivosmart HR  clearer display and built-in HR like Charge 2

There is also the innovative Mio Slice. The Mio Slice is the world’s first fitness band to incorporate PAI (Personal Activity Intelligence). More advanced than simply counting daily steps the Slice wants to see elevated heart rates for extended periods throughout the day.

Mio Slice the world’s first fitness band with PAI score

Summary & Conclusions

I enjoyed testing the Fitbit Alta however it’s not the fitness tracker that I would wear 24/7. If I had to choose a Fitbit fitness tracker I would either select either the Flex 2 and keep my regular watch on the other wrist, or the Charge 2 with it’s larger and clearer display. Or … dare I say it, from the other side of the fence … the Garmin Vivofit 3. However, there is no doubting it’s a solid performer, well made and functionally competent which is why I have awarded it a rating of 3.5/5 stars

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  • Essential Activity Tracking functions
  • Stylish & Discrete design
  • Clear bright display ... see also Cons
  • Sleep Tracking & Silent Wake alarm
  • Auto Exercise recognition
  • Cons

  • I found the TAP to change display a bit frustrating
  • In bright direct sunlight the display is hard to read
  • No floors climbed
  • Photos from the Review

    Fitbit Alta on test showing Calories burnt

    The Alta calculates your daily calorie burn using it’s clever algorithm in conjunction with your daily activity and personal settings (height, weight etc)

    Fitbit Alta on test showing distance walked

    Inside the Fitbit Alta is an accelerometer, a sensitive movement sensor, that will track your daily distance walked fairly accurately. If you want more accurate distance feedback from runs etc, then you might want to consider the Charge 2 which shares your phone’s GPS or the Garmin Vivosmart HR+ with built-in GPS.

    Fitbit Alta on test showing daily steps walked and progression towards target

    This image above shows your current STEPS walked. The 10 dots on the bottom will illuminate as you move towards your daily target.

    Movement Reminders

    Reminders to Move keep you moving throughout the day.  Many of us spend too long sitting at our desks, staring at our computer. In the past, it was considered a good thing to have a desk job. Now that we realise the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle, the Alta is here to help you make subtle, but dramatic changes to your daily routine. Moving for a few minutes every hour can help you keep your metabolism up and help reduce the negative impacts of sitting. The Alta attempts (default setting) to get you to move for 250 steps per hour. A quick walk around the office will achieve this. If you want to turn OFF the movement reminders, that’s fine, just pop the Alta in to DO NOT DISTURB mode.

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    Time to move reminders

    Automatic Exercise Recognition

    SmartTrack is a clever feature also found on the Surge and Blaze. Your activity tracker will automatically recognise when you are exercising and what exercise you are performing. Moving for a continuous 15 minutes tells the Alta that you are exercising, even if YOU do not realise you are. It could be something as casual as walking the dog, or it could be an adhoc game of football in the park with the kids. It’s ALL exercise and it’s ALL good. The Alta sees everything and records it automatically.

    SmartTrack automatically recognises exercises
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    Weekly Goals to Keep you motivated

    Weekly exercise goals can be found in the free to use Fitbit APP. This APP is one of the best we’ve worked with and it really does help to motivate you throughout the days and weeks to maintain a consistent activity / fitness routine. Setting GOALS is one of the tricks of the trade that all personal trainers use to help clients achieve the targets.

    The Fitbit APP and your Alta works in the same way. You chose your fitness goals. They are then tracked and displayed in the app on a daily basis. Your weekly goal is precisely that, it is YOUR goal. You can personalise it to fit in with your lifestyle. Setting a realistic and achievable goal is essential. The APP also allows you to set how many of your SmartTrack activities to include in your goal count.

    All-day activity and automatic sleep tracking give you the foundational real-time health and fitness stats you need to track your progress, stay motivated and keep informed to reach your goals. View your step count, distance, calories burned, active minutes and the time on the easy-to-read OLED tap display (struggles in bright sunlight) and use the Fitbit app to learn how long and how well you’re sleeping, plus set silent, vibrating alarms.

    Video (Fitbit’s own)

    Customisable & Stylish

    Customise your Alta to suit your style

    The Alta can be customised to suit your mood and environment. There are a selection of easy to change wrist bands in METAL, LEATHER and CLASSIC.  Just pop the unit from one strap to another. The clever easy-to-read OLED tap display can also be personalised with one of many clock faces in both portrait and landscape. The convenient tap display provides easy access to your daily activity records, time of day and notification alerts

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    Smartphone Connectivity

    Receiving smartphone alerts on your wrist unit is a feature that most of the latest generation of activity trackers must be able to offer. The Fitbit Alta uses Bluetooth Smart to give alerts for  call, text and calendar notifications. As long as your phone is within Bluetooth range you will receive these alerts by way of a visual indicator on the display and also via a gentle vibrating alert. The Alts is currently compatible with more than 200 smartphones operating across the three main platforms of Android, iOS and Windows mobile devices.

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    Battery Life Expectancy

    The Alta has a long battery life of up to 5 days from a single charge. This includes sleep monitoring, daily activity tracking and data upload to smartphone APP.

    Comparison – Alta + Flex 2 + Charge 2

    We have added a comparison table below to help you to select the Fitbit product that best meets your requirements. This table compares the top level features of the Alta with the Flex 2 and Charge 2. The main differences between the Alta and the Flex 2 is that the Alta provides Time of Day. The Charge 2 is an all together more advanced fitness band with with built-in heart rate sensor. The Alta is an activity tracker featuring smartphone connectivity but no GPS and no HR.  The Alta is more focused on activity tracking and motivation throughout the week, more similar to the Garmin Vivofit 3

    Comparison table - Fitbit Flex 2, Charge 2 and Alta

    Fitbit Charge HR Fitbit Surge

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    Compare the Alta to Blaze & Surge

    The Surge is my personal favourite product from the current Fitbit line up, but that’s because I run 2 – 3 times per week and cycle 2 – 3 times per week. I need speed, distance and heart rate data for all my exercise sessions. the Surge gives me activity tracking, heart rate (off the wrist) and GPS (built-in) The Blaze does NOT have a built-in GPS, but it shares the GPS from your smartphone which is safely tucked away in your pocket. So, for me, the Alta does not meet my requirements.

    However, if you want a motivational activity tracker and you do NOT have an interest in heart rate and you are happy to have an accurate estimation of distances walked or jogged them the Alta is perfect. If you want Heart Rate and want to keep it in the Fitbit family, then you need to be looking at Charge HR, Surge or Blaze from the Fitbit stable. Alternatively, you might want to consider the Polar A360 or Garmin Vivosmart HR … just a thought …

    Compare Features - Fitbit Alta, Blaze and Surge

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