Fitbit has a wide range of devices for monitoring health and fitness activity. With a price tag at the time of our review of just under $100, the Fitbit Alta is a reasonably-priced entry-level fitness wristband. Its main selling points are the pleasant design, the interchangeable armbands, the ease of use and its build quality. In this review, we take a closer look at the Fitbit Alta device and the Fitbit app that comes with it. Is it a worthy investment? Read on to find out:
What is the Fitbit Alta good at?
The Fitbit Alta is an excellent device for:
- People who value the looks and customization of their fitness tracker
- People who want a light, simple, easy to use device
- People who want a friendly interface that gathers the relevant data for their daily schedule and fitness activity
Pros and cons
Summarizing our findings, we liked the following about the Fitbit Alta:
- Stylish looks
- Simple to use
- Removable, replaceable armbands
- Excellent battery life
- Very good mobile ecosystem
- Affordable pricing
However, there were also some things that we did not like:
- It is not waterproof
- We found it difficult to put on and to remove
- Its measurements do not have 100% accuracy
The Fitbit Alta is easy to use, a simple tracker which also happens to look great on your wrist. The armbands are detachable and replaceable, ensuring you can have a Fitbit Alta for every occasion. The mobile application interface is easy to use, compatible with most operating systems and provides a high amount of data. While its OLED screen is mostly there for show and is too small to be of real use, it does display the basics without sacrificing the battery life. Add to this the phone call and message notification feature, and you have a perfect device for people who need to monitor their daily activities, without being too professional about it.
Unboxing the Fitbit Alta
The Fitbit Alta comes in a drawer-type white and blue box, which has a premium feel. On the front of the box, there is an image of the product with the chosen wristband color.
The back of the box contains some specs and marketing text regarding the product, in five languages. When you open the “drawer,” you discover a solid light blue box with a magnetic latch, a nice touch which gives a good first impression. Inside, the first things you will see are the Fitbit Alta and the accessories box. Ours came in the Plum/Stainless Steel combination.
The package contains the wristband, a wireless sync dongle, the charging cable, the warranty and a quick setup guide.
The Fitbit Alta unpacking gives the user a good first impression. The wristband is carefully packaged, and the screen is protected by a removable plastic strip. The package contains all the items needed and the accessories look and feel like good quality.
Design and hardware specifications
The device itself looks futuristic, and it is very light. There are no physical buttons to be found on the wristband. It has a two-pronged fastening system and metallic snap-lock mechanism for removing the armband from the device.
The back of the device contains the contacts for charging and not much else. The lack of a heart rate monitor becomes apparent, as such a sensor has a distinctive led system and is always placed on the back of the Fitbit Alta. However, there is an HR version available for the Fitbit Alta, which is slightly more expensive.
The Fitbit Alta armbands come in three sizes: small, large and extra-large. To correctly choose the size that fits you, you should read this guide. The device has some degree of water resistance, but it can only take small quantities of water, like sweat, rain and water splashes. You cannot swim with it, take a shower or wash the dishes while wearing it. You must take it off during such activities.
The Fitbit Alta comes in three color combinations: black armband/stainless steel body, plum armband/stainless steel body or a black armband combined with an extravagant 22k gold-plated body. You can also buy two types of leather armbands (pink and camel) and a sleek metal one.
Regarding sensors, Fitbit Alta only packs a 3-axis accelerometer. There is no heart rate monitor, altimeter or GPS, apparently making it useful just for basic monitoring of your physical activity. As you will read later in the review, this is not the case.
Fitbit Alta also has a vibration motor, which notifies you of incoming calls or messages on your smartphone, provided you have it paired with the wristband, and the Bluetooth is turned on.
The standard wristband is made of a flexible elastomer material similar to that used in many sports watches. It attracts dust and dirt, but since it is removable, you can easily clean it. Don’t worry about rust; the clasps are made of stainless steel.
The device has a simple OLED display that you can turn on by “bumping, whacking or tapping it” or by flicking your wrist as you would when checking the time on a wristwatch. The screen can also display, besides the time and the information regarding your activity, the phone number of incoming calls on your mobile device.
The promised battery life of the lithium-polymer battery is up to 5 days and the charging time of one to two hours. To charge it, you must use the charging cable included in the package. You cannot use anything else for charging because this device has its proprietary power jack and a simple but efficient clamping mechanism which secures the charger to the wristband.
To send and receive data to other devices, Fitbit Alta has a Bluetooth 4.0 radio transceiver. The device can track up to 7 days of detailed motion data (minute by minute) and up to 30 days of daily totals. The application support of the Fitbit Alta includes Windows, Android, and iOS.
The Fitbit Alta is a great-looking product. It has multiple options as far as colors and materials go and the build quality is excellent. However, the technical specifications indicate that the device has only basic activity tracking functions and might not be useful for people who want or need to track their daily routine in detail.
On the next page, you will find details about the Fitbit software and our experience using the Fitbit Alta.