It’s been around a year since Fitbit unveiled the Alta, its first stab at a wearable that’s both thin and attractive. Now Fitbit is introducing a new model that delivers one of the Alta’s most requested features: heart-rate tracking. The $150 Alta HR looks almost exactly like its predecessor, but turn it over and you’ll see the telltale signs of a new sensor. As with other Fitbit devices, the Fitbit HR can give you real-time heart-rate measurements throughout the day, and the new feature will also help you more efficiently measure the calories you burn.
Additionally, Fitbit is also improving sleep tracking on several of its devices, along with the Alta HR. Its new “Sleep Stages” feature is exactly as it sounds, tracking as you move between light, deep, REM sleep throughout the night. And building on the data it collects from you and other Fitbit users, the new “Sleep Insights” feature will give you helpful tips to improve your shut-eye. Yes, this is pretty much what we saw on Jawbone’s wearables years ago, but it’s nice to see Fitbit catching up.
You won’t find many surprises with the Alta HR. It looks and feels practically the same as the original version, though in my brief testing the heart-rate tracking worked well. The company said it had to develop an entirely new chip to fit the feature into such a slim device. The Alta HR should last for around seven days on a single charge, and it’ll also bring over all of the features from its predecessor, including automatic activity tracking.
The Alta HR will be available in early February, and the new sleep features will hit the new band, Charge 2 and Blaze bands in spring.