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article imageFitbit announces the Alta, a stylish touchscreen fitness tracker

By James Walker     Feb 3, 2016 in Technology
Fitbit has added a new fitness tracker to its collection of wearables, breaking from tradition by emphasising style as well as functionality with the new product. The Fitbit Alta is a $130 low-profile wrist band for appearance-conscious fitness fans.
The Alta is essentially an upgraded and redesigned version of the Charge, one of Fitbit's most popular products. The company describes the Alta as "a wristband that lets you wear fitness your way" as it can be customised with a selection of plastic, metal and leather bands.
The Alta seeks to put to rest one of the most common concerns amongst people considering a fitness tracker. Devices like Fitbits are often associated with bulkiness and uncomfortable designs that don't look as good as a traditional wrist band or bracelet.
Fitbit Alta
Fitbit Alta
Alta's low-profile looks, curved OLED display and range of accessory options may make it more appealing to fashion-conscious buyers. The improved stainless steel design hasn't forced Fitbit to skimp on functionality either as the Alta has very similar capabilities to the older and plastic-only Charge.
It supports all-day activity tracking, automatic sleep detection, notifications for calls, texts and calendar appointments and rich insights into health and exercise via the Fitbit companion app. Alta can provide hints throughout the day to persuade its user to be more health-conscious, such as the "get moving" reminders that can be scheduled at intervals.
The wearable is controlled with its OLED touchscreen using simple taps and gestures. Alta's clock face "home screen" can be customised with a selection of different designs. Layouts are available for vertical and horizontal orientations to suit the preference of each wearer.
Fitbit Alta
Fitbit Alta
Fitbit's announcement of the Alta comes only a couple of weeks after it introduced the high-end Blaze fitness smartwatch. Blaze also has a sense of style not seen on previous Fitbit products with a leather band, smart fascia and large colour touchscreen. It can be used for exercise tracking as well as more traditional smartwatch features.
Blaze has been criticised for not doing enough in the smartwatch division though. Notifications can only be viewed and not responded to — just like with Fitbit's other trackers — and it omits important fitness features such as a GPS detector. Investors weren't impressed with the smartwatch and Fitbit stock crashed by more than 12 percent in early January.
The company will be hoping that Alta proves to be more popular. The newest member of the family is now available for pre-order for $130 or £100 and the first shipments will begin in March. Small, medium and large variants are available with battery life for all versions stated as five days without a charge.
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