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Four things you'll love about Fitbit Alta — and two you won't

James A. Martin | June 28, 2016
Alta is the sleekest activity tracker Fitbit has ever made. It's also relatively inexpensive and reminds you to move every hour. However, it lacks some important features, and its display isn't well suited for use in bright settings.

2 things you won't love about Fitbit Alta

1. Alta's screen is terrible in bright sunlight

Unfortunately, Alta's OLED screen is nearly impossible to read in bright, sunny weather. I've had this problem with other Fitbit devices, to one extent or another, except for Surge. Yes, you can see everything you need to know in the Fitbit mobile app, but you have to stop and look at your smartphone screen during exercise, which isn't ideal.

2. Fitbit Alta makes it tough to toggle through on-screen stats

Instead of pushing a button to easily toggle through stats such as steps taken and calories burned, you must tap Alta's screen, which is awkward. You also have to tap the display somewhat forcibly, which takes some getting used to. 

Is it bad that Alta can't track heart rate or floors climbed?

I was tempted to list the lack of heart rate tracking and flights of stairs climbed as things I disliked about Alta. But other Fitbits offer heart-rate tracking and floors climbed. Also, the goal with Alta was to offer a super-slim wearable, which Fitbit says wasn't possible with an altimeter or heart rate monitor. So criticizing Alta for lacking these features feels a bit like complaining that an iPad mini is too small.  

Alta includes plenty of other cool Fitbit features, too, such as automatic sleep and exercise tracking, and three smartphone notifications: calendar appointments, text messages, and caller ID. Still, the lack of heart rate monitoring and an altimeter will be a deal breaker for some, especially serious athletes. Which raises another important question ...

Exactly who is the ideal Fitbit Alta user?

Alta will be a good fit for people who don't want to spend a lot of money, don't care about heart rate measurements and elevation stats, and who want the most attractive Fitbit available.

There's one other potential Alta user who I doubt Fitbit had in mind: the Apple Watch owner. If you must wear a Fitbit along with your Apple smartwatch (which I sometimes do, at least when working out), the combo looks pretty good. 



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