Fitness trackers aren’t exactly the most stylish devices you can wear. But Fitbit is looking to change that with its new Fitbit Alta. Available for preorder today for $130 and hitting the market in March, the Alta is a fitness tracker with a decidedly sartorial slant.
Fitbit invited a handful of journalists to the Trump SoHo Hotel to try out the Alta during an actual workout session. Though, I’m still not quite sure if the workout was to give us a sense of how well the Alta worked, or if it was to punish us media types for the way the Fitbit Blaze was received by the press at the Consumer Electronic Show.
Either way, the Alta is a genuinely attractive tracker that’s comfortable to wear. The fashion forward wearable comes with a silver tracker and your choice of a black, blue, teal, or plum band. Fitbit says it will also release a version of the Alta with a gold tracker.
Like the Blaze, the Alta will be available with a variety of optional bands including classic rubber ($30), leather ($60), and a stainless steel bangle ($100).
I grabbed a silver Alta with a black rubberized bracelet. The included band, however, was a bit small for my wrist, so I had to jump up to the extended band. Switching out the bracelet is fairly easy. You simply push in on a button under the tracker and slide the band off.
The Alta, like the Fitbit Charge, comes with an OLED display that provides you with information including the time, your steps, how many calories you’ve burned, how far you’ve walked, and how many minutes you’ve been active.
And if you don’t stand up and move around after a certain amount of time, the Alta will give you a nudge to do so via an alert.
To view your on-screen information you can either double-tap the display or lift your wrist to have the Alta automatically wake from sleep.
As with the Fitbit Charge HR, Surge, and Blaze, the Alta automatically determines when you’re working out and records that data in the Fitbit app for Android and iOS. The Alta also offers automatic sleep recognition, so you can see why you wake up bleary eyed and exhausted every morning despite getting in a solid 8 hours.
With the Fitbit app, you’ll also be able to log your food and track your weight, set fitness goals, and compare and compete with your friends via the app’s social feature.
Unfortunately, the Alta doesn’t include heart rate monitor, something other trackers like the Under Armour UA Band and Jawbone UP3 both offer. It might be just as well, though, since Fitbit is currently facing a class action lawsuit over accusations that its Fitbit Charge HR’s heart rate monitor is inaccurate.
As is becoming more common with fitness trackers, the Alta provides notifications for incoming calls, and is the first Fitbit to offer text message and calendar updates. You won’t be able to get things like Facebook messages or Google Hangouts notifications, though.
In terms of battery life, Fitbit says the Alta will keep ticking for up to five days on a single charge. After that, you’ll have to break out the proprietary charge to give the tracker some juice.
Overall, the Fitbit Alta is an attractive fitness band with a good number of features that is comfortable to wear. But I can’t yet say how well it works or whether I’d enjoy living with it full-time. For that you’ll have to check back for our full review.