Fitbit Alta HR vs Charge 3: What’s the difference?

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Fitbit has no fewer than nine activity trackers in its portfolio. The latest in the line up is the Charge 3, which succeeds the excellent Charge 2fitness tracker from 2016. The Alta HR meanwhile, was introduced in 2017 and as its name suggests, it adds heart rate monitoring to 2016’s slim and stylish Alta tracker.

The addition of HR monitoring means the Alta starts to step into Charge territory. Starts being the keyword there though. There are quite a few features the Charge 3 has over the Alta HR. Here is how the two compare.

Fitbit Alta HR review : The new Alta HR plays to Fitbit's strengths with improved fitness tracking

  • Alta HR is smaller and more discreet
  • Larger display on Charge 3
  • Both have interchangeable straps
  • Charge 3 is water resistant and swim-proof

The Fitbit Alta HR has a very similar design to the Fitbit Alta, offering a slim build with a metal chamfered body measuring 15mm wide, a textured elastomer band and a 1.4-inch OLED tap display. It’s small, discreet and subtle enough to wear with most clothing.

There are no physical buttons on the device, interchangeable straps that are swapped over by pushing back the clips on the underside of the device and the Alta HR is secured via a colour-matched buckle. The PurePulse heart rate monitor sits beneath the device, alongside the charging pins and it is splash and rain proof, but not swim proof.

The Fitbit Charge 3 on the other hand is quite a bit larger than the Alta HR making it a little more obvious when worn, though the Charge 3 has smoother edges and a slimmer profile. The Charge 3 has an aluminium body with a textured elastomer band as standard and it has a larger OLED touchscreen display that is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3. It also has an inductive button to the left of the display.

Like the Alta HR, the Charge 3 also has interchangeable straps but the mechanism is more steamlined on the Charge 3 and the buckle is a metal one rather than a coloured one. The PurePulse heart rate monitor sits in the same position on the underneath of the casing, but the Charge 3 adds an SPO2 monitor too and it is also water resistant to 50-metres, meaning it is also swim-proof.

The Alta HR comes in four colour options, while the Charge 3 comes in two and they also both come in special edition options. There are a number of straps available for both, including leather, but the Alta HR also has a bangle for those who want to make it look like jewellery.


  • Same battery life
  • Charge 3 offers extra functions, like VO2 Max, Connected GPS, swim tracking
  • Charge 3 has real-time stats on display during workouts
  • Charge 3 has more advanced smartphone notifications

The Fitbit Alta HR and the Fitbit Charge 3 both measure steps taken, distance travelled, calories burned, active minutes and continuous heart rate. Automatic sleep tracking with sleep stages, silent alarms, Reminders to Move and hourly activity are all also on board, along with smartphone notifications in the form of calls, texts and calendar alerts.

Additionally, both models also have Fitbit’s SmartTrack, which is a feature that allows both trackers to recognise certain activities and record them in the exercise section of the Fitbit app in order for users to categorise them and see a more detailed account of what they have done.

The Alta HR’s features stop there, while the Charge 3 adds several more, marking the biggest differences between these two trackers aside from their size. The Charge 3 also offers Connected GPS, meaning it will use your phone to record a map of your running or walking route, Guided Breathing, which is designed to offer personalised breathing sessions based on your heart rate and Cardio Fitness Level, which is a VO2 Max measurement.


The Charge 3 also has Fitbit’s Multi-Sport Mode, which enables the user to track workouts and see stats in real-time on the display, a new feature called Goal-Based Exercise, allowing users to personalise exercise with a specific calories burned, distance or duration goal, and Run Detect with Auto Stop so runners can stop at lights without having to pause their workout.

Smartphone notifications are also more advanced on the Charge 3, with Quick Replies for Android users and the ability to answer and reject calls. The Charge 3’s display will show all of the metrics found in the app on the display, including hydration and female health tracking, and the Charge 3 also has swim tracking.

The two Special Edition models of the Charge 3 don’t just offer different strap options but they also feature an NFC chip, meaning these models are both Fitbit Pay enabled.

Both the Alta HR and Charge 3 claim to have a seven day battery life.

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  • See Fitbit Alta HR on Fitbit
  • Alta HR is cheaper
  • Both have special edition models

The Fitbit Alta HR starts from £129.99, with special editions costing more and specialist bands also costing extra.

The Fitbit Charge 3 starts from £129.99, and again, special editions and bands cost extra. The Charge 3 Special Edition models with NFC cost £149.99.

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The Fitbit Alta HR is the smaller, slimmer and more subtle of these two Fitbit devices, while still offering a number of great features, including heart rate monitoring and detailed sleep data.

The Fitbit Charge 3 on the other hand is the more feature-rich device, with some great additional functions, including swim-tracking, VO2 Max, Connected GPS, Multi-Sport mode and Goal-Based exercise.

There isn’t a great deal of difference when it comes to price, meaning the decision between these two really comes down to the features that are important to you and whether you’d rather have a slim stylish tracker that does many of the necessities when it comes to tracking, or whether you’re happy to have something a little larger for the extra functions.




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