Fitbit Alta review

Fitbit's best-looking wearable to date is limited in scope

Fitbit Alta

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Fitbit's Alta fits snugly in its product offering as a competent tracker that doesn't cost too much. This one, unlike many of the others, has the added benefit of rocking a style that will turn heads.

When Fitbit announces a new product, people pay attention. But for how long should the masses be captivated by the Alta?

There's a lot to like here, but it's also bogged down by some things that just don't sail all that well even in 2016 when it launched, let alone in 2018.

We liked

This tracker struts a gorgeous look. I really dig the angular shapes found on the module and the swappable bands can help you stand out from a crowd of joggers.

Battery life is important to me, and I'm glad that Fitbit is among the small list of companies that still lead the charge of juice-packed devices.

The Alta is super comfortable. During my first week with the activity tracker, I didn't encounter any instances of pinched hairs, rashes, or snagging on my clothing. I even felt a little naked once I took it off, the tell-tale sign of a wearable that is probably worth your money.

We disliked

The Fitbit Alta wins big as a reliable tracker of fitness-related tasks, but the inclusion of a screen seems pointless. The touch-based gestures (tap twice to power on, once again to turn a page) rarely work as advertised and there's really no depth or unique quality to the visual experience that Fitbit provides here.

A screen on a wearable, ideally, would allow me to do much more without having to travel to and from my phone to execute a command. Other competitors, like the UA Band, allow for such options while dealing with a similarly small amount of screen real estate.

This fitness tracker, while fairly comprehensive in its exercise coverage, isn't for the hardcore. It isn't waterproof, and doesn't pack in a heart-rate monitor or GPS capabilities. But if you're looking for these features in a Fitbit, you'll have to pay more.

Final verdict

If you're looking for a fitness tracker that does exactly what it says it will do and not much more, there are a lot of options will satisfy that very itch. The Fitbit Alta is one of those options.

It's relatively affordable, works on numerous platforms, rocks a stand-out style and brings along some killer battery life. Those are some big positives.

But along with it, there are some real bummers here. The screen, while a seemingly thoughtful addition at first, is pretty useless. It adds little to nothing to the experience, but often detracts from the overall enjoyment because of its lack of responsiveness.

Overall, the low points of the Alta don't wipe away the fact that this is a competent, devilishly good-looking fitness tracker. You probably won't fool anyone into thinking you're wearing the latest in designer jewelry. But it's about the closest that $70/£50/AU$150 – plus another chunk for the Luxe leather band – will get you to that accolade.

Cameron Faulkner

Cameron is a writer at The Verge, focused on reviews, deals coverage, and news. He wrote for magazines and websites such as The Verge, TechRadar, Practical Photoshop, Polygon, Eater and Al Bawaba.