Alta2.jpgPerhaps in response to increasing competition in the wearable technology space, Fitbit has taken the skeleton of one of their best-selling models—the Fitbit Flexand enhanced it with a number of updated features that focus as much on form as they do on function. The result is the new Fitbit Alta, which will hit store shelves in March. What does the Alta bring to the activity tracker table? Here’s what you need to know …

 

 

Activity Tracking

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Like the vast majority of activity trackers on the market, the Fitbit Alta tracks number of steps taken, stairs climbed, distance traveled, calories burned, and active minutes throughout the day so you can stay on the path of healthy living. When worn at night, the Alta also tracks your sleep patterns and will wake you gently and peacefully with its vibrating alarm.

On Screen Alerts

Although the Fitbit Alta is similar in design to the Fitbit Flex with its narrow, minimalistic and adjustable wristband, there is one big difference–the Alta features a large OLED screen that can show select notifications from your smartphone, including incoming calls, text messages, and calendar alerts. The screen also helps keep you motivated by displaying your activity stats as they are achieved throughout the day. This feature is very much in line with the functionality of smart watches, and definitely a value-add for Fitbit.

Hourly Step Goal

The Fitbit Alta takes the “get up and move” reminder function already offered by a number of other fitness trackers a step further, and actually encourages you to meet a mini-step goal of 250 steps an hour. That might seem like a lot, but 250 steps equates to about two or three minutes of walking, so is definitely doable, and if you haven’t reached your goal 10 minutes prior to the top of the hour, the Alta will remind you with a little vibration. Plus, you’re congratulated when you meet your goal, and who doesn’t like kudos? There’s also a “do not disturb” setting so you can silent your reminders whenever needed.


Automatic Exercise Recognition

The Fitbit Alta really takes the guesswork out of activity tracking through its SmartTrack functionality, which recognizes when you are active and automatically records that activity–be it walking, running, elliptical training, outdoor biking, or a general aerobic workout–in the associated Fitbit app. You can also sync these stats with a number of other fitness apps like FitStar, MyFitnessPal, Runkeeper, LoseIt!, MapMyFitness, and Endomondo, so you can really stay on top of your health and fitness goals without having to enter data into a myriad of apps.

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Let’s be honest, fitness trackers are not necessarily the most aesthetically pleasing of devices, so to me, what really makes the new Fitbit Alta stand out is that you can personalize your look with a variety of interchangeable accessory bands. Perhaps you want to go with a leather band during the day, the classic band during your workout, and then dress it up with the stainless steel band for your night out. True, it still looks very much like a fitness tracker, but with a more personalized “jewelry” flair.

 

Long Battery Life

The Alta’s battery lasts up to five full days and nights on a single charge and recharges in approximately two to three hours, which is pretty darn great for an activity tracker.

The Fitbit Alta certainly looks like it will do well in the casual lifestyle tracking market, however, it does not come equipped with a heart-rate monitor or built-in GPS so likely won’t be the first choice for die-hard athletes. All I know is that I want to get my hands on one and deck it out with the stainless steel band!  Fitbit did just announce another new device this month, the Fitbit Blaze: check out to learn more.

 

The Fitbit Alta is currently available at BestBuy.ca.