I have been a massive fan of my Fitbit Charge HR since I got it for my birthday in 2015, I’ve worn it religiously since and so monitored every step, flight of stairs, minute of sleep for many months.
So imagine my devastation when it stopped working last week. After a particularly energetic boxing session it just stopped counting steps – and no amount of resetting would get it to work, and then the screen died completely.
Now I know Fitbit customer service is brilliant and will send you a replacement (and they subsequently have – thanks Fitbit!) – but that would mean waiting for 5-7 working days, which seemed like an eternity stretching out in front of me (pathetic I know!) and I’d also secretly had my eye on the new Alta – so with Amazon Prime I could have that the next day so I ordered one immediately (how did I ever function without Amazon Prime?! Even if my mother doesn’t approve of their taxation arrangements, they do make my life much simpler!!)
So the next day – after a seemingly wasted 24 hours (steps without wearing your Fitbit are just so pointless………….) my shiny new Fitbit Alta arrived.
I very excitedly set it up – but couldn’t get the ‘buzzing’ function to work.. I read online that the vibration is a lot more gentle than the Charge HR – but unless the feeling in my arm was going, I was certain it wasn’t working. I Googled (oh dear, more people my Mum doesn’t approve of tax-wise) possible fixes, but nothing worked. Therefore I contacted Fitbit and a new Alta was on its way.
Thankfully the initial one still counted steps (phew!) – but I hadn’t realised just how much I relied on the vibration function for alarms / call alerts etc, so it was a real relief when a fully functioning Alta arrived a few days later.
A number of friends have asked me for my views on the Alta (being an oversharer means people always know I have an opinion) so here goes!!
FitBit Charge HR
The Charge HR monitors EVERYTHING – including the one thing that makes it unique amongst the FitBit stable, your heart rate. This is really interesting (yes, I’ve checked it after many different activities!!) and you can get pretty graphs when you log on to the website.
The Charge HR also counts the flights of stairs you’ve gone up and down (I’m still not sure how it does that – potentially magic?!). This has made me park on a higher floor in the car park and walk up and down the stairs more regularly at work rather than saving everything I need to take down until the end of the day.
It automatically registers sleep and exercise (I think some of the other FitBits don’t do that – although don’t have any personal experience)
You can set it to buzz for an alarm and when you’re receiving a phonecall. This worked brilliantly for me as I often don’t end up in my own bed come the morning (annoying children, nothing more exciting!) but I know I will still be woken up. It also means if you’ve left your phone on silent in your handbag you don’t miss a call (or if you’re in a meeting you can still be alerted without looking rude and having your phone out!!)
When I bought an HR they only came in black – since then the range has increased so you can have it in 6 different colours. However, whichever you buy you’re stuck with that colour – you can buy ‘bling’ to brighten it up, but the base colour remains the same.
It is quite a chunky size, and so looks quite cumbersome and not very feminine – particularly if you’re going ‘out out’! (And you couldn’t not wear it, as then you wouldn’t get all of the steps when you’re dancing / walking home from the pub etc). The strapmark I have after a week in Scotland getting a tan makes it look HUGE!
It’s not splashproof so you need to be careful when you wear it. I didn’t wear it for the mud run I did because of this (I’m still a bit bitter about the missed step countage!)
** Edited to add: I’ve just been shown by a friend that it is splashproof just not fully waterproof – I shall be less careful in future.**
It’s BEAUTIFUL – sleek and stylish and much less ‘functional’ in its looks. You can also change the bracelet for other options – leather, metal, beautiful designs – meaning it can look more like jewellery.
You can set it to alert you with a gentle buzz as an alarm, when you receive a call or text message (it tells you who it’s from – and with a text also shows you the content) and also if you haven’t done your 250 steps that hour. Pretty much all the buzzing functionality of the HR and then some.
Again, as the HR, it automatically monitors your sleep and exercise.
The battery seems to last a lot longer than the Charge HR (even though I’ve perfected the ‘charge it in the car to not waste a single step’ routine).
It doesn’t measure flights of stairs. I didn’t realise before I bought it and was a bit sad to start with. But this was mainly because it was the one target I managed to hit most days – so I guess, if I already hit the target it doesn’t matter?!
It doesn’t measure heart rate – I don’t think this is the end of the world though, I guess it depends what you want your FitBit for.
Sometimes it doesn’t want to sync with your phone app. I never had this happen ever with the HR. However if I turn wifi off and on again it tends to then work – so who knows why!!
Overall I am a total FitBit convert / addict. The customer service has been great with both problems so whilst reliability has been an issue (and even worse for some friends) it has never been a major issue.
I also love the fact that you can connect with friends who also have FitBits and do workweek hustles or weekend warriors to see who’s done the most steps. One of my workweek hustle groups is lovely – we chat most days, and whilst it is a bit competitive – mostly we’re just competitive with ourselves and hitting our own 10,000 steps per day (even if that means walking around the house / garden as midnight approaches!!)
And it’s definitely got me walking more – 100% – so that’s got to be a good thing?!
My name is Libby and I’m a FitBit addict………………………….