While still retaining the basic, slim Fitbit style the A$199.95 Alta has a range of optional interchangeable bands – Classic colourful silicone at $49.95, leather at $99.95 and classy metal at $169.95.
Yes, it is a fitness tracker with some smart benefits but it has the advantage of a five-day battery life because it concentrates on what it does best – fitness tracking.
That means it only needs a 3-axis accelerometer (pedometer) instead of the 11 in the Microsoft Band 2 – the comparison is meant to bury or praise either but to make the distinction between basic fitness tracking and the more comprehensive offerings available. For many the Fitbit is sufficient.
Its fitness tracking is basically auto-exercise recognition – walking, sleeping, and aerobic. The smart features are call, text and calendar alerts – as well as a clock and alarm.
The software is limited to a timeline based activity report and estimates steps, distance, calorie burn and active minutes. The app runs on Android, iOS and Windows Phone/Mobile.
It will be available from major Australian retailers including Harvey Norman, JB Hi-Fi, Officeworks and Rebel Sport in March 2016.
To do the job properly you need the right tools. Fitness trackers and smartwatches all vary so much that I need to include some advice.
If you want something basic, then Fitbit Alta is great. Its one sensor produces timeline motion data and the app interprets that into a ‘theoretical’ dashboard.
Fitbit also make the Charge with has a heart rate monitor and altimeter - that adds a little more data.
One step up is the new Blaze that has heart rate, a GPS and altimeter – that adds a little more data – and is more multisport capable.
The top of the range Surge has GPS, 3-axis accelerometer, 3-axis gyroscope, Digital compass, Optical heart rate monitor and altimeter – that’s pretty good but will cost $399.95.