When it comes to activity trackers, Fitbit is a name to be reckoned with. The company has been coming out with excellent trackers that have successfully caught the world’s attention. Two of their earlier devices are the Fitbit Alta HR and the Fitbit Charge.
How does one compare to the other? And should you still buy one of these devices in 2019?
Contents (Jump to)
- 1 Fitbit Alta HR
- 2 Main features
- 3 Fitbit Charge
- 4 Similarities between the Fitbit Charge and Fitbit Alta HR
- 5 Differences between the Fitbit Charge and Fitbit Alta HR
- 6 Fitbit Charge vs. Fitbit Alta HR: A Comparison
- 7 Side-by-side comparison between the Fitbit Charge and the Fitbit Alta HR
- 8 Should You Buy the Fitbit Alta HR or the Fitbit Charge?
Fitbit Alta HR
The Fitbit Alta HR was awarded the fitness tracker of the year by the Wareable Tech Awards in 2017. It boasts of a slim profile that hid the device’s robust features and functionality.
Like any fitness tracker worth its salt, the Fitbit Alta HR monitors your steps, calories burned, distances, active minutes, stationary time, heart rate, and hourly activities. This is made possible by the sensors onboard including the optical heart rate, the three-axis accelerometer, and the vibration motor.
With SmartTrack, the device can automatically know what kind of exercise you’re doing and then logs it accordingly. You can still get credit even when you forget to set it to track at the beginning of your activity. It also has the PurePulse Heart Rate that gives you constant tracking of your heart rate. It also simplifies the readings with the heart rate zones.
More than these, the fitness band also reminds you to move. It prods you to reach 250 steps per hour. It also gives you a more in-depth understanding of your health with the Cardio Fitness Level that shows you how you have improved with your Cardio Fitness Score.
The Fitbit Alta HR connects to your smartphone and shows you notifications when you receive a call, an SMS message, or a calendar alert.
The Alta HR tracks your sleep and then tells you how much time you spend in different sleep stages. You will know how long you were in a deep sleep, as well as when you’ve had a restless or restful sleep.
For some people, sleep tracking features on their fitness bands are useless because they forget to turn it on when they hit the hay. Fitbit solves this problem for you. It will automatically track your sleep as soon as it detects that you are slumbering. The device will also wake you up with its silent alarm.
The Alta HR has a battery that is rated to last up to seven days.
The Fitbit Alta HR looks like an ordinary fitness band with a stainless steel face and an OLED touch display. It measures 0.61 inches wide, making it thin enough to be unobtrusive on your wrist. It comes in three strap sizes from small to extra large, fitting wrists from 5.5 inches to 9.3 inches in circumference.
The wristband and the face come in different colors and materials. For instance, you can combine a black, violet, blue, or coral band with gunmetal, steel, or rose gold tracker. The strap can also be replaced with metal or leather straps.
Reviews and ratings
The Fitbit Alta HR gets an average rating of 3.8 stars out of 5 stars from more than 5,300 reviewers on Amazon. The device gets a lot of fans because of the constant heart rate monitoring it provides. They also love the activity tracking and sleep tracking that this device offers. Others like the range of statistics that it gives you, from the number of steps you make to your heart rate, to sleep quality, and even your food intake and hydration.
However, there are complaints that the Alta HR does not really keep your phone away. It only notifies you when you receive a call, you will need your phone to answer it. The same thing is true with text messages, the device will only show you the text message received. You will still need to get your phone out to reply.
There are also complaints about how terrible the company’s customer service is. Others also warn interested buyers that Fitbit’s devices are not durable. Some users say that the display is resistive to touch.
The Fitbit Alta HR is available on the manufacturer’s online store for anywhere from $120 to $130. You might be able to buy it for a lot less off Amazon, where it sells for anywhere from $80 to $230, depending on the size, band material, color, and other factors.
What you would like about the Fitbit Alta HR
The Fitbit Alta HR is a device that is comfortable to wear. The slim profile of this tracker allows you to forget that you are even wearing it.
And some users really do forget about the Alta HR. No problem because it can continuously monitor your heart rate without you doing anything. It can also automatically recognize and then log your activities.
What’s more, the Alta HR has very accurate steps counting and heart rate monitor.
What can be better
There are some things that Fitbit needs to improve, however. For one, this tracker needs a better screen. The Alta HR’s display is sometimes unresponsive. It is also a challenge to read it under bright light.
What’s more, the Fitbit Alta HR is quite expensive for a device with its offered features. It has a limited range of sensors, which severely limits its features and functionalities. You can get a better, more fully featured device for a lot less.
The Fitbit Charge tracks pretty much the same things as the Fitbit Alta HR with a little difference. It can monitor your steps, the distance you traveled, the calories burned, active minutes, and the floors you climbed. The Fitbit Charge does not have a way to monitor your heart rate, but it does tell you how many steps you’ve climbed.
Similarities between the Fitbit Charge and Fitbit Alta HR
Both of these devices are not swim-proof. They are both safe from rain, sweat, or splashing water, but you cannot take it swimming. Additionally, it’s advisable to take them off when you shower.
Both of these devices can notify you if somebody calls your phone. They also remind you of your meetings, as well as your text messages. It can also automatically track your sleep, a feature that comes in handy if you go to be dead tired and goes straight to sleep.
These devices pair with your smartphone, allowing you to have access to the mobile app. The app presents you with a lot of data and statistics that help you understand your health and activities better. Using the Fitbit app, you can have easy access to your numbers, as well as insights on what you can do better or what you can improve on to be healthier.
Differences between the Fitbit Charge and Fitbit Alta HR
The Fitbit Charge does not have an onboard heart rate monitor. But it does have the three-axis accelerometer that the Alta HR has. Conversely, the Fitbit Charge also has an altimeter, which the Alta HR lacks. The available sensors mean that they deliver different types of statistics and monitors your activities differently.
While both devices can track your steps, distance traveled and other similar statistics because of the onboard accelerometer, the Charge can add altitude information, helping it know when you’re climbing stairs. The Charge, however, does not give you information about your heart rate.
The Charge also has a smaller OLED display than the HR but has a slightly wider strap at 0.82 inches. You can see your stats on the Charge, but it will require a lot more swipes than when you’re using the Alta HR. Battery life for the Charge lasts longer than the Alta HR, lasting up to ten days with regular use.
The biggest turn off for the Charge, however, is that it does not have SmartTrack. You will need to remember to start tracking on the Fitbit Charge when you start exercising.
Reviews and ratings
The Fitbit Charge gets an average rating of 3.3 stars out of 5 from more than 15,000 customers on Amazon. Fans of the Charge like how you can wear it and forget it. It’s lightweight enough to just wear on your wrist without having to mind it all day long. You can even track your sleep automatically.
Some reviewers, however, complain that the device is nothing special. It tracks the same things that other, less expensive trackers monitor. Others find the design ugly and unattractive. There are also people who warn that the Fitbit Charge may not be as durable as they would like it to be, saying that the device falls apart after only a few months of use.
There are also reviewers who claim that the battery life does not last up to 10 days as the company claims and that they find their Fitbit Charge on the charging dock more often than not.
What you will like about the Fitbit Charge
When it first came out more than five years ago, it was challenging to find an activity tracker that worked as well as the Fitbit Charge and offered the same features. The device is based on the company’s Fitbit Force, an excellent fitness tracker that unfortunately had to be recalled due to issues with users developing skin irritation.
The Fitbit Charge took a lot of the Force’s features. You can count your steps, the flight of stairs you climbed, calories burned, and the distance traveled. Plus it tracks your sleep. This device is designed to be comfortable to wear, and you will find it barely noticeable on your wrist.
What can be better
The Fitbit Charge, however, suffered from its wonky clasp and the overall bland design. It doesn’t look like an activity tracker, just a piece of silicone strap with a display. The colors are boring too.
It’s also more on the expensive side, especially when it first launched, with nothing much to show why it deserved the costly price tag.
Fitbit Charge vs. Fitbit Alta HR: A Comparison
It’s easy to love a Fitbit device. These are fitness trackers that can provide you with a reasonably accurate set of metrics, rugged hardware, and access to the Fitbit app that is probably one of the best platforms when it comes to fitness metric and the quantified self.
Between the Fitbit Charge, released in 2014 and the Fitbit Alta HR, launched in 2017, you have more features to like about the latter. Looking back now, the Fitbit Charge will look like one of those basic fitness trackers with a bloated price tag.
The Fitbit Alta HR adds a heart rate monitor, which allows for better statistics and insights into your health and fitness. Plus, it can automatically detect and track your exercise. You get credit for your activities even when you ignore the fitness tracker on your wrist. What’s more, the Alta HR is highly customizable as well.
Side-by-side comparison between the Fitbit Charge and the Fitbit Alta HR
To make it easier to compare these two devices, here is a side-by-side comparison of the features offered by the Fitbit Charge and Fitbit Alta HR.
|Wristband fitness tracker||Yes||Yes|
|Maximum battery life||10 days||7 days|
Should You Buy the Fitbit Alta HR or the Fitbit Charge?
Fitbit Charge and Fitbit Alta HR made waves when they first came out. Back then, these devices represented the best of what fitness trackers were capable of. They had the latest technologies, which pretty much meant that you can expect to spend a lot on these devices.
A few years after, you can probably get the Fitbit Charge if you like a device that can do basic tracking and allows you to use the Fitbit app. It helps that Fitbit devices are compatible with Windows Phone, which other fitness tracker manufacturers have snubbed.
However, if you want something that can monitor your heart rate, then the Fitbit Alta HR will be a better choice as it can give you a more comprehensive look at your health and fitness. For those who are dismayed by the high price of Fitbit devices, you should know that the Fitbit app is probably among the best fitness tracking platforms out there. You can get cheaper devices than a Fitbit, but you might miss out on getting precious insights that the Fitbit app offers.
If you are one of those who like the best of everything, then these two will probably not work for you. Fitbit itself has come out with activity trackers that double as smartwatches. You can get the latest technologies such as onboard GPS, a better set of sensors, and even conveniences such as the Fitbit Pay. What’s more, you’re no longer limited to reading lines of text on your device. You can look at easy-to-understand graphs and graphics.
Alvin has been reviewing different types of technology from QR codes to the latest smartphones and robot vacuums for over a decade. Outside of technology, he writes about a wide variety of topics, including buses, travel, bankruptcy, healthcare, and cannabis. He was once so addicted to online shopping that he was on a first-name basis with delivery guys and courier services — and he shares his passion with all of you!