A first-time wearables user reviews the Fitbit Alta HR


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Fitbit has eight different fitness trackers on the market right now. And while the companys fiscals are downright troubling, its still shipping more product that every other wearable corporation. Thats due in part to tremendous epithet recognition, solid product design and mainstream appeal. The company offers eight different tiers of products, but theyre all intend with everyone in mind.

The Alta HR falls somewhere in the middle. At $150, the price isnt negligible, but its still cheap enough to be a populist device. Its not designed with long distance runners or cross fit fanatics in head only people who are looking for some help to step up their game a bit. Walk more, stand up more often, maybe sleep a bit better and booze more water.

So we handed the device off to a first time wearable wearerer. By behavior of explaining her fitness history, our producer Veanne told me a story about how she and a friend used to stand outside the local gym feeing burritos within eyeshot of poor, sweaty treadmill runners.( I was in college she says in her defense ).

But karma caught up to me, she added. Now Im in my 30 s, everything is lumpy. Im wheezing walking up two flights of stairs and it sucks. Im trying to take better care of myself.

So opportunity presented itself in accordance with the arrangements of a salmon-colored Fitbit Alta HR review, a $150 piece of wearable technology that she wouldnt have gone out of her behavior to buy herself. But shes expend the last week wearing it around and largely enjoying the experience. Its not a love story, precisely, but its a blossoming relationship, even if its one that is likely purposed, as so many do, with one party swimming face down in the toilet.


A Fitbit should fit. Its right there in the epithet. But the one-size-fits-all approach is an on-going issue with wearables in general. Some, of course, are worse offenders than others. The Galaxy S3 and LG Watch Sport immediately spring to mind. The bulky devices are fairly representative the male-centric approach many manufacturers take with their devices.

Fitbits surely more populist in its product design. The corporation is mainstream to a fault, and nothing in the companys line goes anywhere near those smartwatches insane majority. The company offers bands up in different sizes as well, but the module itself is the same on both. At 54, our intrepid producer is an inch shy of the average altitude for an American girl, but still procured the Alta a bit uncomfortably large-scale when she first tried it on.

Its a bit too big for me, she explained. I actually have to wear it backwards for it to fit, means that, in the week thats elapsed, shes worn the device with the presentation facing down. When she needs to check notifications, she turns her wrist over. Not the end of the world, but not ideal.

Also, stylistically, its one of the nicer pieces of hardware the company has rendered. Though, as Veanne will merrily advise, only dont get the salmon-colored one. I, too, can confirm that its not a great look.

Life coach

Wearability aside, Veanne told him that shes pretty well won over by the thing or at least the notion of fitness trackers in general. And surely Fitbit offers one of the more polished experiences in its category. The driving factor there has been one of the key appeals of fitness trackers all along: motivation.

Theres the inherent incite factor of simply buying and wearing the thing, like tying a piece of string around your finger to remind you that really shouldnt only be sitting around the working day. Fitbits also improved its movement reminders over the years, giving your wrist a buzz when youve been sitting around too long, editing a video in Veannes case.

I like the little reminders, she told. Im on deadline, Im specifying at my desk and theres a little beep to take 200 stairs. I dont know how much healthier I am. I havent lost any weight, but I feel better. So, definite net positive on that front, as her objective has quickly shifted from 5,000 to 10, 000 stairs a day in the week or so shes worn it.

Sleep tracking has been improved for most of Fitbits line, offering a most detailed view of different sleep degrees, thanks in part to the inclusion of optical heart rate monitoring on the back. Veanne said the tracking seems largely accurate, though it sometimes misses her wake hour as she doesnt immediately jolt out of bed in the morning,

Also, she generally doesnt find the whole sleep tracking thing as incite as the fitness facets. The app is embarrassing and its a constant reminder that Im not getting enough sleep. A video producers work is never done.

Long-term fitness

The battery is, as promised, quite good. The corporation says itll got to get a full week on a charge. Her experience was closer to six days still , not bad. You genuinely dont want to have to accusation the thing any more frequently than that, particularly when youre supposed to wear the device to sleep.

The touchscreen, meanwhile, can be a bit finicky, she told. I retain having to find the sweet spot to get it to project. I wish there was a button. Unlike the Charge, the Alta doesnt have any physical buttons, so when the touchscreen doesnt work great, thats a bit problematic.

Oh, and the Alta isnt waterproof a lesson we learned the hard way. It genuinely ought to be a standard are available in wearables in 2017, so you can swim, rain or, as is the case with this sadly lost device, drop it in the toilet. Its not recommended, but you are familiar with, shit happens. Weve all was right here, and its nothing a few rinses shouldnt cure.

We can work it out

So, all in all, a positive experience. Were still hoping to bring the device back to life, but maybe youll want to consider that $40 warranty. Its also worthy considering a less expensive device. The Fitbit Flex, for example, has much of the same functionality, without the heart rate monitor or presentation, neither of which seem to be a bargain breaker for Veanne.

And they are those insanely cheap wearables like Xiaomis Mi Band, which are rapidly eroding Fitbits marketshare on the low-end. Though Fitbit does give one of the most polished end to terminate fitness band experiences on the market assuming you keep the toilet lid down. Karma can be a real bummer.

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