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Fitbit Alta HR In-Intensity Evaluate

In what would possibly appear to be a sea of Fitbit fashions, the Fitbit Alta HR makes an attempt to strike the steadiness between what other folks need as an easy process tracker, whilst making some nods against fundamental exercise strengthen.  I’ve been dressed in a unit now for approximately two months – monitoring my strikes 24×7.  So I figured now’s a great time to dive into how smartly the unit works and the place it stands in opposition to the contest.  Particularly for the reason that aggressive panorama continues to get an increasing number of crowded.

Prior to we pass too a ways even though, right here’s the elemental view of the present Fitbit ball box:

Fitbit Zip: Sure, they nonetheless make it (it’s now not tremendous present).  Nevertheless it’s tiny and kinda superior.
Fitbit Flex 2: A band that tracks your steps, however no show, only a mini mild display.
Fitbit Fee 2: A small show, a button, and a center charge sensor.
Fitbit Alta: A small show with out the center charge sensor (got here out a 12 months in the past). No button, contact faucet best.
Fitbit Alta HR: An Alta with the HR sensor (this publish).
Fitbit Blaze: Their primary full-featured smartwatch (no GPS).
Fitbit Surge: Their GPS watch that’s in point of fact previous.

Were given all that? Just right.  I’ve omitted the older Fitbit Flex, and Fitbit One…as a result of they’re older and now not outmoded by way of one thing else.

One ultimate word is that Fitbit despatched me out a loaner unit to take a look at out.  Once I’m executed with this overview I’ll send it again to them like commonplace.  Simply the best way I roll.  You’ll be able to hit up the hyperlinks on the finish of this overview in case you to find the overview helpful and wish to strengthen the web site.

With that – let’s get cookin’!

Dimension Comparisons:


In terms of having a look at how the Fitbit Alta HR sizes up, it’s certainly one of the crucial smallest in the market in its elegance.  In fact, this elegance of gadgets has a tendency to be lovely small.  Evaluating it for instance to the Garmin Vivosmart 3, you’ll realize each have slight variations however are very identical.

Fitbit-AltaHR-vs-Garmin-Vivosmart3 Fitbit-AltaHR-vs-GarminVivosmart3-band

The Garmin Vivosmart 3 is a color bit higher in width than the Fitbit Alta HR.  At the flipside, it has extra purposes for recreation and monitoring than the Fitbit does. Although, the Alta HR has band swappability, while the Vivosmart 3 doesn’t.

Should you then evaluate that to one thing just like the Polar A370, you’ll see that the A370 is a good bit larger.  However alternatively, the A370 has a miles brighter and larger show and way more recreation purposes.

Fitbit-Alta-HR-vs-Polar-A370-1 Fitbit-Alta-HR-vs-Polar-A370

So, basically, the larger you get, the extra stuff they cram in there.  Similar can be true in case you in comparison it to the Garmin Vivosmart HR+, which is within the ballpark of the Polar A360/A370 for measurement – but additionally incorporates GPS.  Right here’s a snappy take a look at the weights of every of them:

Fitbit-Alta-HR-Weight Garmin-Vivosmart3-

Polar-A370-Weight Garmin-VivosmartHR-Weight

Good enough, with sizing out of the best way, let’s dive into the main points.

The Fundamentals:


In terms of the usage of the Fitbit Alta HR, issues are lovely straight-forward.  For probably the most section you’ve best were given a couple of displays to faucet your manner thru.  In a large number of techniques, nearly all of the information amassed by way of the unit is viewable from the app – now not the instrument itself.

Positive, you’ve were given core such things as energy, steps, and distance proven at the instrument – in addition to your present HR.  However to look information from exercises or HR tendencies, you’ll want the app.  However let’s now not get too distracted but. First the unit itself.

The show will all the time be off except you both elevate your wrist to have a look at it, or double-tap it.  I’d say about 80% of the time it as it should be will get the wrist-raise, however the remainder 20% I’ll must double-tap it.  Generally the place I’ve to double-tap it’s since the wrist movement wasn’t vital (like studying a guide or sitting at the sofa and best reasonably transferring to look the display screen).  The battery lifestyles is as said, a couple of week.  I haven’t had any problems there.


As soon as illuminated, the unit will by way of default display the time of day, day of week, and date – as noticed above.  You’ll be able to customise this show even though by means of the cell app.  This comprises customizing now not simply the clock face display screen, but additionally whether or not it’s in a vertical or horizontal orientation.  As noticed underneath, a few of these clock faces additionally display your present HR or growth against your objective.

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Subsequent, we will be able to faucet our manner thru as much as 8 other show pages.  Those are indexed underneath and can also be grew to become on or off as you spot are compatible.  You’ll be able to additionally customise the precise order of them:

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Right here’s how a couple of of them glance:

All over the day the unit is monitoring your steps and distance, however its genuine motivation is to get you to transport extra.  So by way of default you’ve were given a step objective (of 10,000 steps).  However you’ll be able to customise that to as a substitute be a distance objective, energy burned objective, or energetic mins objective.

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Every hour, at 10 mins to the hour (i.e. 4:50PM), it’ll buzz you in case you’ve neglected the doorstep objective for the hour.  In doing so it’ll come up with some little little bit of encouragement to forestall being lazy.


Those transfer reminders can also be grew to become off, or another way custom designed on your get started and finish occasions of the day.  Or, if making a decision that on Sunday you’ll be able to be further lazy.

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In fact – a large a part of the usage of an process tracker is to trace your steps and distance (in addition to different process).  With the Fitbit Alta HR, you’ll get the day by day standing as proven within the gallery a couple of paragraphs up.  However what if you wish to see trending over the years?  For that, you’ll crack open the app.  It’s right here that you’ll be able to see evaluation stats for every day, after which faucet left/proper to modify days.  You’ll be able to additionally faucet any given metric (corresponding to steps) to look what issues seem like for every day of the week, permitting you to scroll again so far as you’d like.

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The similar is right of alternative metrics like energy or energetic mins.  Word that the Fitbit Alta HR does now not observe flooring on the other hand, which is why you spot it as 0 above.

Subsequent, we’ve were given extra common notifications – particularly smartphone notifications.  With the Fitbit Alta HR, you’ll get each textual content and make contact with notifications, in addition to calendar reminders.  However that’s it.  You received’t get Twitter notifications or every other app you’ve were given.  So in case you occur to make use of WhatsApp for instance, you’re hosed.

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It is a bizarre sticking level that Fitbit continues to keep on with – regardless of maximum in their competition permitting you to customise what indicators you get (you understand, the entire consumer in regulate factor).  Whilst Fitbit has opened this up on a few of their upper finish devices, they proceed to limit it right here.

On one hand you might want to argue the show is tiny and nearly pointless for anything else of period.  And that’s most probably true.  However there’s no genuine distinction in period between a textual content message despatched by means of the local textual content and that of WhatsApp.  It’s nonetheless my buddy asking if I wish to join up for a trip the usage of the similar wording.  Thus…I’m now not positive why Fitbit continues to field customers in.

In spite of everything, closing however now not least we’ve were given sleep functions.  The unit itself doesn’t show sleep metrics, however fairly as a substitute data sleep information as you put on it every night time.  That information is then obtainable from the app.  Fitbit has semi-recently up to date their sleep metrics to be moderately just a little extra helpful than it was once prior to now.  To start out, after all, you’ve were given an summary of sleep hours by way of days within the week for the previous week (you’ll be able to pass additional too).  You’ll be able to then faucet on any given day to get extra information about that night time of sleep:

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(Should you’re questioning how I finished up with a crapton of sleep one night time – I used to be transiting timezones, so issues ended up funky for no matter reason why that night time.)

You’ll realize up peak at the proper that I’ve were given the time asleep (6hr 16mins), but additionally a cool waveform like having a look graph that presentations you what form of sleep I used to be in right through the night time.  I will be able to scroll down within the app to get extra information about that, after which comparisons to my averages in addition to everybody else:

2017-06-13 14.33.00 2017-06-13 14.33.08 2017-06-13 14.33.11

I will be able to additional click on at the sleep main points to get extra sleep level data by way of day.  Moreover, you’ll be able to customise sleep objectives, corresponding to a goal time to be asleep and wake-up every day, in addition to then a reminder so that you can hit the sack.

2017-06-13 14.33.16 2017-06-13 14.33.47

And with that, we’ve just about coated all of the capability there’s at the Fitbit Alta HR itself except for exercises.  You notice, there’s no explicit exercise mode at the instrument, however fairly, that’s induced from the app for your smartphone.  So let’s head on into the exercise phase to dive into that just a little extra.

Exercise Modes:


In contrast to the Fitbit Fee 2, the Alta HR doesn’t have a devoted button for beginning a exercise from the band itself.  As an alternative, you’ve were given two choices – one is to let it mechanically stumble on your workout.  And the second one is to manually get started an workout from the smartphone app.

See, by way of default the unit may even mechanically observe positive actions (like a run or trip) the usage of the accelerometer inside of it.  So that you don’t wish to open the app in case you don’t care a couple of GPS map or extra main points.  Those mechanically detected actions will mechanically display up throughout the app with none pre-workout telephone touching required.  You’ll be able to additionally tweak those if want be to cause them to shorter/longer.

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They’ll display up to your exercises web page at the app – permitting you to look every form of process there:

2017-06-01 16.30.11 2017-06-01 16.29.49

However what if you wish to have a exercise observe with a GPS observe?  Or if you wish to have extra accuracy for distance than the accelerometer will most often supply?  For that, you’ll use the smartphone app to cause the exercise beginning.  To take action you’ll faucet the + icon at the app, then make a choice ‘Observe Workout’ which is able to ask what form of exercise you’re doing:

2017-06-13 13.53.29 2017-06-13 13.53.35

You’ll be able to best trade to Run, Hike, or Stroll…which…is frankly kinda silly and lame.  Why now not biking for instance?  I imply, in the end it’s best monitoring your center charge from the instrument – so anything else must in point of fact be imaginable right here.  Or most likely you wish to have weight coaching whilst indoors?  Or Yoga?  Or fill within the clean right here.

As well as, you’ll be able to configure audio voice cues, which come out of your telephone (both the speaker, or headphones plugged in).  Those can also be custom designed to talk other metrics at other issues.

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What occurs after you press get started is that you simply’ll get center charge information from the unit stored at once to the app by means of Bluetooth Good.  So that you will have to take your telephone with you for this to paintings.  You’ll additionally be capable of see the precise distance at the app itself.  Word – there’s no further information displayed at the Fitbit Alta HR, that’ll do exactly its commonplace displays.

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So principally, the app is appearing like every other GPS health app – with the exception of it’s merely pairing in your Fitbit Alta HR to get your center charge (sorta like pairing to a center charge strap).  Talking of which, the Fitbit Alta HR does NOT broadcast your center charge to different apps in real-time (many different trackers do).  So no, it does NOT broadcast over both Bluetooth Good or ANT+ same old HR profiles.  Nor will it be in contact with fitness center machines like treadmills.

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As soon as your exercise is completed you’ll be able to finish the consultation at the telephone and also you’ll get stats about it (noticed previous on this phase).  You’ll additionally most probably get some congratulatory goodness as you end your run.

2017-04-28 11.31.47 2017-04-28 11.32.00

As you’ll be able to see, it’s a sexy simple enjoy that’s truthfully much less complex than any third birthday celebration app like RunKeeper, MapMyRun or others.

After the exercise you’ll see the finished exercise information – together with the map – throughout the app or on-line:


With the game capability coated, let’s discuss whether or not the HR capability is value a hill of beans or now not.

Center Charge Accuracy:


So what about optical HR accuracy?  Neatly, there’s two items to that.  First is the 24×7 HR part.  How smartly does it file center charge when now not in recreation?  For that, I discovered issues lovely excellent.  In some ways Fitbit’s optical HR sensor is healthier tuned for twenty-four×7 mode than recreation mode, and it presentations right here.  It’s sampling at a 1-second charge, and is recording moderately close to that as smartly.  And all of the information I’ve noticed whilst evaluating more than one gadgets without delay for twenty-four×7 mode seems lovely excellent at the Alta HR.

2017-06-13 16.59.44 2017-06-13 16.59.55

Word that the 24×7 mode information is proven at the unit itself the usage of the HR information web page, or by way of customizing the clock face to turn it by way of default.  Additionally, the information can also be noticed throughout the app too – each in real-time in addition to historic tendencies.

2017-06-13 17.00.02 2017-06-13 17.00.10

However what about recreation mode?  Neatly, that’s gonna range individual to individual, and scenario to scenario.  One of the vital issues that makes smaller band accuracy tougher is how a lot mild will get in from the facet (sunlight is the arch-enemy of optical HR sensor accuracy, and a unfastened becoming and really skinny band is tremendous tricky).  Nonetheless, with that during thoughts, I went out and examined it in a couple of other eventualities.

Remember that with a view to check this accuracy you want to start out a exercise from the telephone.  That manner you’ll be able to get a exercise report to check in opposition to different recordsdata with.  For those exams I used to be the usage of each a chest HR strap in addition to every other optical HR sensor watch, and in some instances a fourth HR sensor (such because the Scosche Rhythm+ at the higher arm).  No wrist had multiple instrument worn.

First up is a run in San Diego on a rather heat and sunny day.  On this run I began off at an affordable tempo after which slowly escalated.  Sooner or later I dipped into doing durations – 6 repeats in overall.  Right here’s the evaluation (and the information set within the DCR Analyzer):


As you’ll be able to see, general the Fitbit Alta HR did if truth be told lovely smartly, particularly within the period portion.  Early on on the other hand within the first 7-10 mins it struggled somewhat bit, and overshot on HR in comparison to the opposite gadgets.  For this run I had a chest strap (Wahoo TICKR-X), a Scosche optical sensor (higher arm), and the Suunto Wrist HR (different wrist).  So 3 optical HR sensors and one conventional chest strap.  Given the terrain throughout this run was once pancake flat (critically, a table-top has extra deviation than this direction did), I’m now not transparent why within the first 10 mins we see the Fitbit Alta HR have bother.

Nonetheless, the truth that it didn’t have bother after that time is extra significant to me.  As you’ll be able to see once I zoom into the durations, it tracks the ones moderately properly if truth be told:


Let’s shift to every other run, this one additionally in hotter temperatures, however just a little extra constant in depth for probably the most section.


You’ll be able to see a identical development to the former run – the place the unit wobbles just a little early on with regards to accuracy, however by way of concerning the 10-minute marker is lovely glad for the rest of the run.  There’s slight variations (+/- a couple of BPM) over the process the remaining, however that’s lovely commonplace whilst you get started having a look at slight variations in dimension and recording charges, and seeking to evaluate the ones.

Now my subsequent check was once to test accuracy whilst biking.  Or if truth be told, in point of fact every other recreation.  With the exception of you’ll be able to’t.

See, take into accout again when you select to start out a exercise with the Fitbit Alta HR you get precisely 3 workout varieties: Run, Stroll, and Hike. That’s it:

2017-06-13 13.53.29 2017-06-13 13.53.35

Because of this for anything you get an auto identified process. Which in flip method no GPS protection.  And that issues as a result of for years (nonetheless), Fitbit doesn’t permit information exports with HR information to non-GPS actions. Positive, you’ll be able to pass onto the web site and click on ‘Export to TCX’ for anything else.  With the exception of the report it’ll come up with for a non-GPS process is solely empty.  It’s a pointless and null report.  Fitbit doesn’t name {that a} malicious program – however fairly some form of ‘characteristic’.  Hmm….good enough.



Whilst I may try to evaluate the information between the image above and the true HR sensors I had, that’d be needless. Why?  Neatly, two causes.  First is that the accuracy of doing so is sketchy at easiest.  However extra necessary is that someone can simply see those two graphs glance not anything like every different (the Fitbit turns out to assume I crowned out at about 118bpm, regardless of primary lengthy climbs).  The Fitbit Alta HR is dismal in terms of monitoring optical HR at the motorbike – an issue I’ve had with all Fitbit devices at the motorbike.


At the brilliant facet, it was once nonetheless a pleasant motorbike trip.

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So general I’d say that at the operating facet of items I’ve noticed most often excellent growth from Fitbit (it’s significantly better than it was once).  Alternatively, biking is dismal as all the time.  As for different sports activities – smartly, once more, it’s arduous to grasp/inform as a result of unusually Fitbit doesn’t if truth be told assist you to observe the ones sports activities with the Alta HR.  No indoor fitness center mode to trace lifting, or Yoga, or anything.

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In spite of everything, for loss of sticking it any place else – I’m now not going to check GPS accuracy on this overview.  Just like the Polar A370 overview closing week, the reason being the similar: It’d simply be evaluating other telephones’ GPS accuracy – now not the Fitbit itself.  That’s as a result of with the Fitbit Alta HR the usage of your telephone for GPS accuracy, the check effects wouldn’t imply an entire lot. They’d range by way of telephone fashion and invariably you’d have a distinct fashion than I.  Then you definately get into such things as firmware variations at the telephone which will additionally have an effect on effects.  Nonetheless, for the ones curious – you’ll be able to take a look at the GPS tracks with each information set I’ve shared above (it’s proven within the DCR Analyzer).  Then again, right here’s a shot of 1 direction, with 4 other devices together with the Alta HR.  Issues are principally similar (albeit on a quite simple direction):


Word that Fitbit permits exports of the GPS observe/recordsdata the usage of .TCX layout – making it lovely simple to do those comparisons.

(Word: The entire charts in those accuracy sections had been created the usage of the DCR Analyzer software.  It lets you evaluate energy meters/running shoes, center charge, cadence, velocity/tempo, GPS tracks and many extra. You’ll be able to use it as smartly, extra main points right here.)

Product Comparisons:


I’ve added the Fitbit Alta HR into the product comparability software.  This lets you evaluate options in opposition to different merchandise within the class, corresponding to the ones from Garmin, Polar, and extra.  Whilst I’ve proven only a handful of competition underneath, you’ll be able to mix’n’match and create your individual product comparability chart right here within the product comparability software.

For the needs of underneath I’ve in comparison in opposition to the Garmin Vivosmart 3, the Polar A370, and the Fitbit Fee 2:

Once more, take into accout you’ll be able to mix’n’match your individual comparability charts right here within the product comparability software.



For most of the people, the Fitbit Alta HR select up doing what Fitbits of the previous have executed: Being a wonderfully succesful process tracker.  With the porting of Fitbit’s optical HR generation into the Alta collection, they’ve expanded the collection of wearables they have got with wrist-based center charge generation, and on this case – the power to switch bands.

However I think like in some ways once I take a look at the Alta HR, I kinda simply shrug. Fitbit didn’t in point of fact ship on anything else that will pressure maximum different present Fitbit customers to improve to it, except you in point of fact like band swappability.  Which after all – some other folks in point of fact do.  The power to have extra fashion-focused process tracker bands is certainly a scorching pattern at the moment.  However in having a look on the Fitbit lineup it’s nearly turn into too complicated with too many choices, particularly within the $80-$150 value vary.

As I regularly word – for most of the people opting for the most efficient each day process tracker (non-sport targeted) is in point of fact higher served by way of polling your folks.  For the reason that customers at the quite a lot of ecosystems (Garmin/Polar/Fitbit/Apple/and many others…) can’t face off in opposition to every different to step/process demanding situations, it’s easiest to select a tool that is living in the similar ecosystem as your folks.  Or, you probably have present recreation gadgets – the similar as the ones.

For probably the most section, those gadgets from the key avid gamers on this area all paintings smartly and all have minor nuances.  In fact, one particular person’s maximum necessary characteristic is every other’s “don’t care” characteristic – so that you’ll wish to validate no matter you select doesn’t skip that 1% characteristic that issues to you.

With that – thank you for studying!

Wanna Save 10%? Or discovered this overview helpful? Learn on!

Confidently you discovered this overview helpful.  On the finish of the day, I’m an athlete similar to you on the lookout for probably the most element imaginable on a brand new acquire – so my overview is written from the point of view of ways I used the instrument.  The critiques most often take a large number of hours to position in combination, so it’s a good bit of labor (and exertions of affection).  As you most likely spotted by way of having a look underneath, I additionally take time to reply to all of the questions posted within the feedback – and there’s moderately just a little of element in there as smartly.

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Fitbit Alta HR (make a choice dropdown for measurement/taste)

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Thank you for studying!