The wearables market is in a strange state. There has been so much consolidation at the top, that there is now a clear market leader, and a bunch of others way down when it comes to market share. A lot of companies which were significant players in this segment have bowed down, even as Fitbit continues to expand its presence around the world. Launched in India about a year back, this US brand has recently refreshed its entire range. Among the new smart bands to hit the stands is Fitbit Alta HR.
The Fitbit Alta has been among the more popular bands from the company, tracking fitness and sleep, while being among the slimmest bands with a display. The latest version goes one step ahead and offers real time heart rate monitoring as well. Also, acting on feedback from users around the world, Fitbit Alta now comes with bands that can be changed so that you don’t have to change the device because the strap has worn off.
What is good?
The design is quite good given that it is almost as slim as a bangle. Having used the Fitbit Charge HR and Charge 2 before, this is certainly easier to forget once on your wrist and does not come in the way when you are working, especially on the computer. The simple strap keeps the band in place and it doesn’t appear like something that will wear off fast.
The display is very handy and gives basic information—time and heart rate—as soon as you glance at it. Steps taken, calories burnt, activity time are all one tap away. The bands vibrates and the display shows a contact or number when a call comes on your phone.
The activity tracking on Fitbit has always been accurate. I matched it with the Apple Watch and the difference between the two when it comes to steps and calories burnt was insignificant. It also recognises a lot of fitness regimens automatically and adjusts how calories are counted for these sessions. Another good thing about the Fitbit Alta HR is that it gives heart rate in real-time. This data is handy for a lot of users, especially those who are approaching middle age and would like to keep an eye on stress and the factors inducing it. Heart rate data clearly shows the times of the day when it shoots up and you can map that against events so that you have a clear idea about the situations to be avoided.
The Fitbit app comes with a dashboard that helps you take control of your fitness and set realistic goals. Plus, there are challenges for those who find it tough to be self motivated for a daily walk in the park. The guidance tab is for those who want for special handholding and leads to the Fitstar apps from which one can get guidance for specific goals. I also loved the new community tab, almost like a social network of like minded people when it comes to fitness and health goals.
What is not good?
My only real issue with Fitbit Alta HR is the price. For features similar, the Charge 2 has a price tag that is cheaper. For users to consider this over the other, the need to wear a thinner band has to be really, really, strong. Also, even when you are not wearing the band, the HR tracker is active. I think controlling this bit can help the battery life of the band go up many notches.
Should you buy?
Yes, if you want the thinnest Fitbit around. There is nothing really wrong with the Fitbit Alta HR and you will enjoy wearing this device, which should be able to help you make informed decisions about your health. Meanwhile, I think the Fitbit Charge 2 is still a great product offering and those who don’t want to spend so much on the Alta HR, this has to be on the radar.
Estimated street price: Rs 14,999