Fitbit brings continuous heart rate tracking to the Alta

Fitbit has been fairly quiet since the start of the year, but the San Francisco manufacturer is back again with a new gadget. This time, its bringing continuous heart rate tracking and a range of new features to one of its slimmest and most stylish fitness trackers.

The Alta HR looks a lot like the much-loved Alta fitness tracker. It has swappable bands and can track steps, distance, calories and sleep. And just like the original, it displays notifications for incoming calls, text messages and calendar alerts. The Alta was, however, missing out on a couple of features, one of which is becoming fairly standard these days – heart rate tracking.

With this new tracker, Fitbit has shown that it is possible to bring its Pure Pulse technology to a device this small. The Alta HR will monitor your ticker 24/7 and allow you to better measure your calorie burn, exercise smarter and keep better tabs on your overall health.

The gadget will automatically detect various activities such as running and biking. During exercise, Alta HR displays your real-time target heart rate zone, so you can optimize your sessions for fat burning, a fitness boost, or performance benefits.

Most people who exercise will tell you they want to lose weight or simply get fitter. Not many people, however, know what their heart rate is, or where it really should be. All top athlete’s heart rate train, as they know this will help them to reach their top potential in the shortest amount of time possible.

Essential reading: Heart rate zone training with wearables

Fitbit’s stylish new tracker will also monitor your resting heart rate. The resting heart rate is how fast your heart beats outside of any physical activity, when all your heart has to do is keep your basic body functions running. Outside of any specific ailment, a lower resting heart rate correlates very closely to a state of greater general fitness and health.

Furthermore, the tracker will benefit from Fitbit’s yet-to-be introduced sleep features. ‘Sleep Stages’ uses accelerometer and heart rate data to more accurately estimate how long you spend in light, deep, and REM sleep stages each night. ‘Sleep Insights’ delivers actionable guidance and coaching to help you improve your sleep.

“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,” said James Park, co-founder and CEO of Fitbit.

“The miniaturization of our PurePulse heart rate technology opens up exciting opportunities for future generations of devices and new form factors. Our advances in sleep will provide millions of users around the globe accessibility to invaluable insights that previously could be obtained only through expensive lab tests.”

Just like the original, the tracker features a discreet, slightly curved, 1.4-inch OLED touch display and 128 x 36 pixel resolution. It’ll automatically turn on or off based on your wrist movements. Like most companies, Fitbit does this to save battery. You can switch the screen on by lifting your wrist or by lightly tapping on the display. There is also a new clasp to make the new model more secure for the heart rate tracking.

Rather impressively, despite the addition of heart rate monitoring, Alta HR can keep going for up to a week before needing a top-up. For comparison purposes, Fitbit’s Charge 2 tracker lasts up to 5 days on a single charge.

Alta HR is not waterproof, but Fitbit may be saving that for the 2018 version. It Is also missing a barometer/altimeter so won’t track how many floors you climb, as well as Multi-Sport Tracking, Connected GPS, Guided Breathing and Cardio Fitness Level all of which you will find on a Charge 2.

Alta HR is available for sale in select countries on Amazon and everywhere else on fitbit.com. It will be in stores globally in early April 2017.

View technical specs

 

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