The Fitbit Alta is a simple, wrist-mounted fitness tracker that is small and easy to use. This thin tracker offers plenty of features in a tiny form factor, as well as customizable bands to match your style.
Fitbit Alta Review
Pros: Small, minimalistic, comfortable
Cons: Touchscreen is finicky, no heart rate monitoring, limited features
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Alta is a minimal fitness tracker that can track your sleep automatically, remind you to get up and be active, and deliver call or text alerts. This model scored well in our test, earning an overall score of 62 out of 100, but was just narrowly edged out by the award winners. This model is focused more towards the casual user — someone who primarily walks or runs — and is great if you don't care about heart rate monitoring or tracking other activities.
The Alta did decent in our fitness impact test, earning a 6 out of 10. This model offers an acceptable level of accuracy when it came to step counts, has some basic tracking abilities when it come to other physical exercises, but has a fantastic level of community compare.
We manually counted out the steps for a mile walk with a crowd counter, and then compared it to the number produced by the tracker. The Alta averaged about 3% off with a slight tendency to overestimate the step count. This model could also be tricked relatively easily into recording false steps.
This model will supposedly auto-detect and track an activity after 15 minutes, but we found it to be a little sluggish and off by 7-9 minutes in our tests. However, the Alta does allow you to participate in the Fitbit online community. This community offers summaries of your progress, as well as offers competitive and non-competitive challenges to help you get active.
The Alta continued its solid performance into our health impact category, earning a 6 out of 10. The only real pitfall for this product that we found was the lack of heart rate monitoring, present on most other trackers.
This tracker will track your sleep automatically, though our testers noted that it wasn't the most comfortable to wear at night when compared to other models. This model does have a vibration alarm to wake you up, without waking up your partner.
This model, like the other fitness trackers from Fitbit, does an excellent job at aiding you in dieting, through its companion app. This all allows you to search for food, or scan the barcode and the relevant information will automatically populate if the item is in Fitbit's database.
You can also track your water consumption in the app to ensure that you are remaining properly hydrated. The Alta also did a spot on job of calculating our tester's resting Metabolic rate (rMr), based on a generic calculator using his height and weight. This model also offers alarms 10 minutes before the hour, reminding you to get up and move if you have not taken at least 250 steps in that time. The main display also shows your current goal progress with a quick glance, as well as the current time.
Ease of Use
The Alta is easy to use, and consequently scored well in this set of tests, earning a 7 out of 10, putting it in a tie for the second highest score. This model lasts for up to 5 days in a charge, per the manufacturer's claim, and utilizes a proprietary charger. When depleted, it takes about 1-2 hours to completely re-charge.
The Alta does sync extremely quickly with the app, only taking about 2-10 seconds. We found the app to be intuitive, where we could easily check our previous progress.
It was a little finicky to navigate through the menus on the device, as the touch screen wasn't the most responsive. This model isn't waterproof, but it is sweat, rain, and splash proof. It took a little effort to tighten the wrist strap, but still was doable to fasten smoothly.
The Alta continued its trend of doing well in our ergonomics test. Our testers felt that it was relatively comfortable to wear on the wrist, and its small, low-profile design wasn't prone to catching on other objects.
Scoring a 7 out of 10, the Fitbit Alta did well in our display evaluation. This model very clearly shows the current time on the home screen, and does offer some degree of personalization.
This model did have a strong enough backlight to be super visible in the most direct sunlight, but did fine in lower light conditions. We found it took a little bit of experience with this tracker to reliably wake up the device, but can definitely be very frustrating for new users. The Alta offers text, call, and calendar notifications as well.
This model is an alright value, but some of the other models we tested performed well enough to win an award and were only marginally more expensive. This model would be an excellent value if found on sale.
The Fitbit Alta is a good fitness tracker, but could very easily be supplanted by newer models that are rapidly becoming available. This model's main merits are its smaller size and slightly less expensive price, but at the cost of a few features.
— David Wise and Austin Palmer