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The Fitbit Alta takes charge at fashionistas

Fitbit has announced a sleek new wearable that favours fashion over function.

4 February 2016: Overnight, wearable pusher Fitbit announced the latest addition to its wrist-worn family, the Fitbit Alta. Fitbit are marketing the Alta as a "fashion-forward" device and are releasing it alongside their recently announced smartwatch, the Fitbit Blaze, this March.

The Alta is a bracelet wearable that fits under the same aesthetically pleasing umbrella as the Jawbone UP24 and looks to replace the Fitbit Charge. It's also closely priced to the $179.95 Fitbit Charge at $199.95.

Unlike the Jawbone UP24, the Alta has interchangeable bands to match your personal style. Bands come in a series of classic fitness straps (black, blue, teal, and plum), premium hide leather bracelets (graphite and blush pink) and hand-polished silver, with a more decadent gold bangle arriving later this year.

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To save you from snagging on something and losing the fitness tracker, the Alta is locked in place and can be removed using the quick-release feature.

The Fitbit Alta's monochrome OLED display runs lengthways like the Microsoft Band, as opposed to the smaller, letterbox display of the Fitbit Charge.

One of the complaints about the Microsoft Band's horizontal display was that it felt unnatural to view (at least to the average watch-wearer), but the Alta comes with a variety of faces to switch between, with both horizontal and vertical options available.

Fitbit's range of Tory Burch accessories will also extend to the Alta, although not at launch.

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On the features front, the Fitbit Alta doesn't offer anything revolutionary. It has all the bells you'd expect from an activity tracker, like a silent alarm and auto sleep tracking, but it does have a few extra features that the Charge did not.

If you're stationary for too long, the Alta will give you a few words of encouragement and ask you to meet a "mini step goal" (250 steps each hour). These kind of reminders aren't new to the world of fitness trackers, but it does seem like a less intimidating approach to the function.

The Alta also boasts a new automatic tracking feature, SmartTrack, which claims to automatically recognise and record a handful of activities and sports including aerobic workouts, basketball and gymnastics. We'll have to wait and see just how accurate that feature is once it's released.

The Alta is Fitbit's low-cost, activity tracker alternative to the $329.95 Fitbit Blaze smartwatch, and a few features are omitted for the sake of price and fashion. Check out how the Alta stacks up against the Blaze (and other stylish smartwatches) below.

Model Fitbit Alta Fitbit Blaze Apple Watch Samsung Gear S2 Garmin Fenix 3 HR
Screen size N/A 31.75mm 38mm/42mm 30.2mm 30.4mm
Band options Rubber, leather, metal Rubber, leather, metal Rubber, leather, metal Rubber, leather Rubber, leather, metal
Battery 5 days 5 days 18 hours 2-3 days 3 weeks (watch mode), 40 hours fitness tracking
GPS No via connected phone via iPhone Only in 3G model Yes
Heart rate sensor No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Apps? No No Yes Yes No
Calling ability No No Yes, when paired with iPhone No No
Price $199.95 $329.95 $499-$24,000 $499-$598.99 $949-$1249

Brodie Fogg

Brodie is the Assistant Publisher at finder.com.au for everything tech and telco. When he's not drooling over the latest comic book releases or grinding away at the newest time-devouring RPG, he's helping people choose between Australia's streaming services, suggesting better broadband plans or comparing the latest mobile plans.

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