Review: The Fitbit Alta HR fitness tracker

Can wearing a fitness tracker 24/7 really make you healthier? Kate Guest finds out

By Kate Guest | Published: 30 Oct 2017

Fitbit Alta HR
Photo: iStock photos

Fitbit Alta HR

Available from, Harvey Norman, Digital World, Gizmart and elsewhere. Retail price from RM730, additional bands from RM130.

Fitbit Alta HR is the world's slimmest fitness wristband with continuous heart rate monitoring. It also has Sleep Stages, to analyse light, deep and REM sleep, and provide guidance to help improve your sleep. It was developed with a panel of leading sleep experts from three US universities.

Knowledge is power, but is the knowledge of just how unfit you are powerful enough to propel you off the couch and into the gym? In an attempt to find out, I strapped on the new Fitbit Alta HR three months ago and I haven't removed it since. What did I learn? That I walk and sleep less than I should. No news there. What I didn't know was just how poor my sleep quality can be, how high my heart rate can get, and how motivated I would become to fix them both.

First, I downloaded the Fitbit app, input my stats and set goals for calories burned, steps walked, water drunk, and active minutes. Then I strapped on the Fitbit and forgot about it, until I got a buzz 10 minutes before the hour, reminding me I had to walk another 60 steps to reach my goal. Soon I was going out of my way to walk more, whether taking the long way to the printer or doing laps of my bedroom at 11.45pm to reach my target, at which the Fitbit buzzed and erupted into pixellated fireworks.  However it's not great at measuring steps when your hands are pushing things, such as trolleys or luggages at airports – where I do a lot of my walking. I learned to overcome that by making an educated guess based on distance covered, some counting, and manually inputting the steps.

The Ftbit Alta HR in Rose Gold and Black

The Alta HR is the slimmest fitness tracking device to continuously measure heart rate – my favourite feature. During exercise, it instantly tells me when I'm in the fat-burning zone. At night, it measures changes in my heart rate to calculate how long I spend in light, deep and REM sleep, and how long I'm awake. It was shocking to learn I'm often awake for an hour or more, and that I average only six hours' sleep a night. Fitbit can also make links between your daily activity and sleep patterns, pointing out, for example, that you sleep better on days when you exercise.

Fitbit doesn't just lead you into despair with all this knowledge though; it uses its insights to offer tips and workouts from real  trainers, via the app, which I love doing at home. But for me the Fitbit Alta HR's USP is that it makes me compete with myself. One look at my wrist is enough to get me off my seat. Short of doing the work for you, it makes being healthy as easy as it gets.

Refresh your skin and keep up the post-workout glow with these products.

Caudalie Beauty Elixir 20th Anniversary Limited-Edition, RM69; Shiseido Waso Fresh Jelly Lotion, RM120; Estelle & Thild Micellar Cleansing Water, RM114

This article first appeared in the October 2017 issue of ELLE Malaysia.

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