Wednesday, June 26, 2019

FitBit Alta: my thoughts

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclaimer  for details. 

It is widely accepted that the average person should be taking 10,000 steps a day.  Almost every  healthy lifestyle organization promotes this number.  But, how do you know how many steps you take  There are quite a few devices and gadgets out there to help you with the task of monitoring your steps.  The fitbit is one of the biggest names in step counters, with multiple devices on the market aimed to please any user.  Just recently I replaced my Fitbit Alta..and I upgraded.  However, my Fitbit was fantastic!  So while I don’t use that Fitbit Alta anymore, I wanted to stop and pay tribute to a great product that I actually highly recommend!  

The Alta  (Amazon Affiliate Link) was released in March of 2016.  It was just another trend setting device for this health minded company.  The alta was slim and operated as not only a step counter but it could also be used as a watch. I wanted one!  I pondered this fitbit for quite some time.  Would I even use it?  Were there enough features for my lifestyle needs.  Were there too many features for my needs?  I debated back and forth for months.  One minute I was ready to buy the Alta, the next minute I was saying "NO", Not yet.

Finally, during a celebration I was given some gifts.  One of my gifts was the Fitbit Alta.  Mine had the  Plum colored arm band.  I was so excited.  I couldn't wait to try it out!   The opinions listed below are solely my own and are totally unsolicited.  I have received no compensation for choosing to write this review.

Easy to Use
Straight out of the box, this device worked perfectly!  I did have to set up an account and download the application for my phone.  But that took only a minute or two.  Even better, the bluetooth paired up with my phone immediately with no issues!   The set up really was only a few minutes from start to finish!  Before I knew it I was prancing around the room ecstatically counting my steps!  The Alta is really that easy to use.  The steps count automatically without having to reset the device each and every day, which really does make this a device that you put on your arm and forget about.
Straight out of the Box and onto my arm
Syncing your Alta 
The Alta is designed to automatically sync up with the online profile. (If you have it set to all day Sync.).  I found this process to be a bit hit or miss.  I could never find a rhyme or reason to when my Alta would automatically  send the information over to my profile versus when I would need to log onto my phone app to manually sync the device.  Luckily, syncing the two together to upload the stored data is as simple as opening up the fitbit app on my phone.  Whenever the application is opened, it prompts an automatic upload/sync.  If it hasn't been done in a few days it may take a bit longer, but usually it's only a matter of seconds for this information to be transferred.  For me this is no inconvenience and has no effect on the usage of either the app of the Alta.

The Battery
I had absolutely no problem with the battery life when I first started using the Alta.  It held it's charge for a week and a half.  It wasn't until the Alta went over the two year old mark that I had to charge it more often.  But even then, it only needed charged every 4-5 days.  I definitely give the battery life two thumbs up!

The Phone App and Website
The phone app interface in which a user can interact with the gathered statistics is very easy to navigate. The stats that are gathered are informative and helpful.  The sleep cycle is particularly interesting as it notes your sleep patterns....usually quite accurately!  Navigation through the phone app is easy and very intuitive.  The website definitely shows more information and details.  Admittedly, I rarely went onto the website, simply because the phone app had everything I really needed right at my fingertips!

The Community
A Fitbit comes with a ready made community.  There are people, even random strangers that are willing to accept a challenge to step more.  You can participate in a weekend step challenge, a daily step challenge or a work week step challenge in order to motivate you to walk a bit more.  I was also pleased to see quite a few of my friends already within the FitBit community when I joined.  

If you are more of the solo challenge type of person, there are adventures that you can embark upon.  With each step you take counting as you virtually tour a location   Fitbit will also reward you with a badge for each achievement you make as you progress through various predetermined goals.  (I.E.  your first time stepping more than 25000 steps in a day, etc.....) I never paid much attention to these......but they can be found on the online website. 

When you set a step goal for your day the Alta will celebrate (vibrate and fireworks type graphics on the face of the Fitbit) when you reach your daily goal.   It is an easy neat way to celebrate reaching your daily goal!

The community and challenge area is very much designed to keep any and every type of person motivated to move more and to achieve step goals.

The Arm Band
I found that the arm band that arrived in the box with my FitBit Alta lasted about 6-8 months before needing to be replaced.  It was fine at first,  but then the latch that attached the band to the face of the Alta would not stay attached any longer.  I purchased a replacement band.  That one also only lasted about 6 -8 months.  I switched to an after market (non Fitbit name brand) band....simply because I didn't want to be without my Alta (I do love it that much).  The after market bands were the only ones I could find in stock at my local stores and were readily available...I would have had to order a Fitbit brand replacement band from online....and wait a few days to get it!   The after market bands lasted about the same amount of time before they needed to be replaced.  The cost was so much more affordable that from that point on, I used after market bands!  (In fairness, I did take a tumble at one point..ok maybe two....over the handle bars of my bike and the wrist that I had the fitbit on took the brunt of the fall, so that could have affect one...or two of the bands!)

The Alta as a Watch
This fitbit doubles as a watch.  The watch face actually remains dark for most of the day.  To access the time or your step count it requires a light tap on either end of the face of the device or a certain wrist movement that will wake up the face.  The  movement is described as just turning your wrist toward you to wake it up.

After a while I was an expert at awakening my Alta.  However, when I first started to wear this fitbit, I could be seen tapping the watch rather uncontrollably and with increasing frustration.  OR I would be moving my arm up and down trying to awaken no avail.   But as I said, with time, I did become adept.     I find that it takes a bit more of a swooping motion to get the Alta to awaken and as for the tapping...well, it just took some time to learn the quirkiness needed in my 'tap tap'.  Once again, minor issues and honestly, mostly user issues and not any issue with the Alta.

Jason, my boyfriend, was always teasing me and giving his wrist a double tap as he teasingly mocked me.  And when I did the swoop of my arm, he just about always fell over laughing as he lovingly teased me.  (Jealousy maybe since he didn’t have a cool watch...hahaha)

Smart Notifications
I didn't think I would like this feature.  Oh, I thought I would have fun with it as a novelty at first.  But I didn't think it would ever be a huge feature that I would never want to live without.  Boy was I wrong!  This became my most favored feature about this fitbit.  I LOVED that I could see my incoming texts and phone calls without having to find and pick up my phone.  It very quickly became something I relied on All. The. Time!   In fact THAT is the reason that I was also so desperate to get a new arm band when they broke....sadly not because I was desperate to count my steps.  But no, I was desperate for the convenience of my smart notifications!    Is this a necessary feature?  Of course not.   Is it a totally convenient and much appreciated feature?  Absolutely!  I'm hooked!

Overally, the Fitbit Alta (Amazon Affiliate Link) is a great purchase.  You get a lot of bang for your buck!  It is the perfect purchase for someone interested in taking steps to more closely monitor and improve their fitness.  The quality of the product has been amazing! I have absolutely no complaints and I have actually recommended this product to quite a few of my friends.