Fitbit Alta HR

Cool factor ****
Usability *****
Value for money ***

The Fitbit Alta HR is the new iteration of the Alta range of Fitbits. As the name suggests, it has incorporated a heart-rate sensor into the little, wrist-worn wearable.

The sensor is a great addition, putting the device in the midrange between “smart pedometer” devices and the more hardcore training devices that come with all the bells and whistles. The heart-rate information really gives you a lot more insight into your day, and advocates of resting heart-rate monitoring argue that it provides a clearer picture of your overall fitness and health — or at least adds a bit more nuance to that picture.

Heart rate aside, the Alta HR includes the features we have come to expect from wearables. These include sleep and activity tracking, reminders to move, and a clock display — plus call capability, calendar entry and text alerts.

While tracking your steps, it also provides metrics for calories burnt and distance covered, the former being much more reliable because of the heart-rate info. The battery also promises up to a week of use on a single charge.

On the downside, it’s not waterproof enough for a shower or a swim — though it shouldn’t fizzle out in a drizzle or sweaty workout.

The band is comfortable, light and slim, and the device has an attractive face. It closes with a simple buckle, and is available in six standard colours, with four additional accessory band options on the market too.

The Fitbit app is user-friendly enough, with a clear dashboard-type opening screen. On that you’ll see all the top-level stats of your daily activity, including hours of sleep, kilometres covered, calories consumed and active minutes.

All things considered, it’s a great everyday wearable that won’t break the bank. The device, without accessories, will set you back R2,499.

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