Fitbit has officially unveiled its latest fitness tracker – the Alta HR. But what’s new, and is it any good?
Speaking about the new device, Fitbit CEO James Park said: “Alta HR and these powerful new sleep features demonstrate our continued focus on evolving our innovative technology to deliver deeper, more actionable insights to help our users improve their health.”
Here’s what you need to know.
1) IT’S A FITNESS TRACKER, OBVIOUSLY
It’s a fitness tracker, first and foremost. You’ll be able to track all the usual Fitbit metrics, including your daily calorie burn. This’ll work even during non-step based activities like yoga or your spinning class. You can then enter your food details into the Fitbit app to get a good measure of your in-out calorie balance.
2) BUT IT’LL TRACK YOUR HEART RATE TOO
To help boost the Alta’s fitness tracking, Fitbit has embedded a heart-rate tracker. The ‘PurePulse’ feature is based on a custom-built chip that offers continuous all-day heart-rate tracking, so you can check how intense your workouts are, as well as resting heart rate trends to see how your cardiovascular health is improving (or getting worse) over time.
3) YOUR SLEEP ISN’T SAFE FROM TRACKING, EITHER
But it’s not all about fitness; you’ll be able to measure your sleep too, thanks to two dynamic sleep tools: Sleep Stages and Sleep Insights.
Sleep Stages uses data from the heart-rate tracker and the accelerometer to estimate how long you spend in light, deep, and REM sleep stages – as well as how much time you’re awake.
“From helping maintain a healthy immune system, to preserving your cognitive functions and managing a healthy weight, your sleep – or lack of – plays a critical role,” said Dr. Allison Siebern, Stanford University and Fitbit Advisory Panel Sleep Expert. “Fitbit’s new sleep features use a scientific-based approach to show your sleep patterns over time, and provide you with validated, actionable guidance to help you make changes in your daily routine to achieve greater quality sleep – and in turn improve your overall health.”
Siebern continued: “Given the comfort and accessibility of this product, it’s one of the most valuable and useful sleep tracking solutions available to consumers outside of a sleep lab.”
Sleep Insights, meanwhile, uses Fitbit data gained from over three billion nights of logged sleep (that’s about 2.5 million years) to provide “actionable guidance and coaching” to help you improve the quality of your sleep. For instance, if you’re sleeping a lot more on the weekend, the app will question whether you’re getting enough sleep on weekdays, and advise you on how to balance the numbers.
Both Sleep Stages and Sleep Insights won’t be available until March 27, 2017 however.
4) THE DESIGN IS STYLISH AND SLIM, APPARENTLY
Thanks to a custom-built chip, Fitbit claims it has been able to slim the Alta’s design down by 25% compared to the non heart-rate tracking model. You’ll also be able to get the following variants:
- Classic trackers with black, blue gray, fuchsia or coral classic fitness wristbands and matching aluminum buckle.
- Special Edition trackers in soft pink classic band with 22k rose gold plated tracker and black classic band with matte gunmetal tracker.
- Luxe leather collection in brown, indigo and lavender with matching buckle.
- Luxe stainless steel bracelet that can stack with your other jewellery.
- Designer collections from PUBLIC SCHOOL and soon from Tory Burch.
5) IT’S UP FOR GRABS RIGHT NOW
You can pre-order the Fitbit Alta HR starting today, with deliveries going live from March 13, 2017. You’ll be able to pick it up online and in-stores, with listed retailers including Amazon, Argos, Currys PC World, Shop Direct, and John Lewis.
The Fitbit Alta HR costs £129.99/$194.99, while the ‘Special Edition’ will set you back £149.99/$224.99. And you’ll pay extra for Classic Fitness Bands (£19.99/$29.99), Luxe Leather Bands (£39.99/$59.99), and Luxe Metal Bracelet (£69.99/$104.99).