No one needs a task tracker. Sure, you are feeling a whiff of superiority wagging your wrist and boasting about how precisely much ground you’ve covered today. But let’s not pretend that wearing a wrist computer enables you to an improved person.

If you want to improve your athletic training, get yourself a good sports watch and a heartrate monitor. If you wish to count your steps, use your phone. If you desire a reminder to create healthy choices, hell, tying a bit of string around your finger are certain to get you there. But if, for reasons uknown, you think wearing a little computer on your own wrist may be the key to living your very best life, fine. Be my guest. I want to introduce you to the Fitbit Alta HR.

Like all activity trackers, the Alta HR doesn’t offer life-changing feedback about your wellbeing. But it enables you to log your fitness fundamentals without much fuss, and it offers a heart-rate monitor. So that’s cool. And it looks nice enough that you will actually wear it.

Barely There
Fitbit’s seventh activity tracker may be the smallest yet, commensurate with the company’s push to create its products feel less like computers and similar to jewelry. The OLED display isn’t much wider than your finger, and works together with a range of bands obtainable in materials like leather, stainless and, of course, rose gold. I hesitate to call it fashionable-it’s a task tracker, people-but the sleek design all but disappears on your own wrist.

Tapping the screen twice wakes it, you then tap once to toggle through enough time, the step counter, heartrate, daily distance traveled, calories burned, and number of active minutes. Pairing it together with your smartphone reveals more descriptive information through the Fitbit app, and brings message and call notifications to the tiny screen. You can’t answer those messages, but I came across the gentle buzz of an incoming text weirdly satisfying.

In Fitbit, as in life, it is important to set #goals. The Alta HR prompts you to create three: boosting your daily step count, drinking more water, whatever strikes your fancy. I made three, but I only ever remembered to take 10,000 steps daily because my Fitbit never reminded me about others.

Still, the Alta HR does a good job reminding you to get right up and move. Once every hour between 9 am and 6 pm, (if you are probably to be sedentary), the band buzzes to coax 250 steps out of you. That’s harder than it sounds! You can customize the frequency of your reminders, or change the benchmarks. As you get nearer to obtaining your goal, the band chimes in with an encouraging message like, “Just 94 more steps!” Hit your daily step goal and the it lights up and buzzes with an intensity that I came across a lot more validating that I care to admit.

The Fitbit application enables you to manually log things such as water consumption, calorie consumption, and weight. But it surely shines with the stuff it can alone. The first day I wore the Alta HR, the SmartTrack feature recognized my morning bike commute. By enough time I attained work, it had logged my 20-minute ride, recorded the length, even tracked my heartrate through the entire ride, estimating just how many calories I’d burned and how long I’d spent in the “fat burn” zone. Later in the week, I learned it might parse the difference between a brisk walk and a run, both which it logged without me even opening the app.

The HR lacks an altimeter, so don’t expect a gold star when planning on taking the stairs. It generally does not have a GPS tracker, either, so you will need another iphone app to map your run. (Yes, the Fitbit offers distance estimates, but they’re imprecise.) Serious runners might balk at that. It is not waterproof, so swimmers are out of luck. And even though the Alta HR recognizes aerobic workouts, it does not have any idea what you’re doing. You need to log that Zumba class manually, you overachiever.

Maria Lokke/WIRED

Sleeping at the Switch
Fitbit introduced its latest sleep-tracking technology in Alta HR. Use it to bed and awaken to a written report detailing how long you slept, and just how much of this time you spent in light, deep, and REM sleep. As time passes, Fitbit synthesizes of the data with all your other data to provide “sleep insights.” It could, for example, let you know that you sleep better on the times you take a long haul, or you do not fall asleep as well every night. As Fitbit collects more data about you-your diet plan, your daily exercise, your water consumption-it will offer practical recommendations that will help you snooze better.

That’s amazing … when it works. Sometimes my Alta HR recorded my total hours of sleep, however, not my sleep stages. One night, I woke at 4 am to a ruckus outside my window, however the sleep log indicated I’d slept during the night. Tightening the band appeared to help (and make the heartrate monitor more accurate), but I came across it uncomfortable.

The silent alarm needs work, too. I really like the theory behind it: awaken to a gentle buzz on the wrist instead of blaring beeps. Just finished . so you can get up at 5 am without waking your spouse, right? Except half enough time the Alta HR’s alarm wasn’t powerful enough to wake me, therefore i used my iPhone as a back-up. You can’t wind up the intensity of the vibrations, and the Alta buzzes 3 x before snoozing, that makes it completely too simple to ignore. Worst of most, it generally does not optimize wake-up time predicated on if you are in light sleep-which is silly, since it’s already tracking your sleep cycles.

Generally, though, the Alta HR does accurately what it promises. It logs your daily activity, reliably and constantly monitors your heartrate, and synthesizes the info to recommend healthier options. Plus, finished . has incredible stamina: I wore it night and day for weekly before it prompted me to recharge it.