Looking for a slim, lightweight fitness tracker with heart rate monitoring and a remarkably long battery life? Check out the new Fitbit Alta HR! This fitness wristband is attractive and exceptionally comfortable—especially considering it has a heart rate monitor built in. The band is both well made and easily replaceable, and boasts some definite design improvements over previous Fitbit bands. And the battery life—at over 7 days—is hugely impressive. Overall, the Fitbit Alta HR is a very competent fitness wristband that does a great job at what it does…and looks great doing it. The only complaint that I had was that the new Sleep Stages tracking, which monitors the amount of light sleep, deep sleep and REM sleep each night, was a little hit and miss in my experience. Some nights the Alta HR was able to get Sleep Stages data…but some nights it couldn’t, and it simply reported the number of hours slept, as well as data on the amount of time restless or awake during the night. The help documentation points out that this can be due to less than optimal positioning or fit on the wrist, so we could be looking at some degree of user error. Overall, this is a minor issue and really doesn’t detract noticeably from the Alta HR.
* 7 day battery life (around 8, in my experience).
* Provides constant heart rate monitoring, as well as keeping track of resting heart rate.
* Tracks steps, distance and calories.
* Sleep tracker.
* Vibrates to alert you to call, text and calendar notifications.
* Reminders encourage you to get up and move!
* Very comfortable. Easy to forget you are wearing it!
* Thin and lightweight.
* Water resistant (but not waterproof).
* Replaceable band is easy to switch out.
* Long battery life makes it perfect to wear to bed—unlike Apple Watch which must be charged nightly.
* Display lights up when you tilt your hand or tap twice on the screen.
* Much smaller and more lightweight than Apple Watch, and with far better battery life.
* Display is great inside, or outside in shade, but is somewhat hard to read in bright sunlight.
* Screen shows smudges and fingerprints fairly easily.
* Odd little charger. Does the job, and has a small, convenient form factor, but lacks a certain degree of elegance, in my opinion.
* Method of tabbing through the info screens is a little hard to get used to. Once a double tap or tilt has awakened the display, you then single tap through the various screens to view each in sequence.
* SmartTrack Auto Exercise Recognition is supposed to be able to detect what sort of athletic activity you are engaged in, including biking, but in my experience, it logged biking as walking.
* Sleep Stages sleep tracking is a little hit or miss. Sleep duration, and time restless or awake, is always tracked, but Sleep Stages data, with the amount of light sleep, deep sleep and REM sleep, is not available for every night of sleep—or at least, not in my case. For seven nights, I got two nights of Sleep Stages data.
Fitbit Alta HR is available directly from Fitbit as well as from a multitude of other retailers. MSRP ranges between $149-$179, depending on the model color and configuration. Many thanks to the kind folks at Fitbit for sending me out this sample unit to review.