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Fitbit Alta is a Flexible, Fashion-Forward Fitness Tracker

Daniel Howley
Technology Editor

Fitness trackers aren’t usually the most stylish devices you can wear. But Fitbit is looking to change that with its new Fitbit Alta. Available for preorder today for $130 and hitting the market in March, the Alta is a fitness tracker with a decidedly sartorial slant.

Fitbit invited a handful of journalists to the Trump SoHo Hotel to try out the Alta during an actual workout session. I’m still not quite sure whether the workout was to give us a sense of how well the Alta worked or to punish us for the way the Fitbit Blaze was received by the press at the Consumer Electronic Show.

Update: The Alta is not the first Fitbit to get call, text, and calendar notifications.

Read More: 22 Fitness Bands and the Battle for Your Wrist

Either way, the Alta is a genuinely attractive tracker that’s comfortable to wear. The fashion-forward wearable comes with a silver tracker and your choice of a black, blue, teal, or plum band. Fitbit says it will also release a version of the Alta with a gold tracker.

Like the Blaze, the Alta will be available with a variety of optional bands including classic rubber ($30), leather ($60), and a stainless steel bangle ($100).

I grabbed a silver Alta with a black rubberized bracelet. The included band, however, was a bit small for my wrist, so I had to jump up to the extended band. Switching out the bracelet is fairly easy: You just push in on a button under the tracker and slide the band off.

The Alta, like the Fitbit Charge, comes with an OLED display that shows you the time, the number of steps you’ve taken, the number of calories you’ve burned, the distance you’ve walked, and the minutes you’ve been active. If you don’t stand up and move around after a certain amount of time, the Alta will alert you to do so.

To view your on-screen information, you can either double-tap the display or lift your wrist to have the Alta automatically wake from sleep.

As with the Fitbit Charge HR, Surge, and Blaze, the Alta automatically determines when you’re working out and records that data in the Fitbit app for Android, iOS, and Windows devices. The Alta also offers automatic sleep recognition, so you can see why you wake up bleary eyed and exhausted every morning despite getting in a solid eight hours.

With the Fitbit app, you’ll also be able to log your food and track your weight, set fitness goals, and compare and compete with your friends via the app’s social feature.

Unfortunately, the Alta doesn’t include a heart-rate monitor, which other trackers like the Under Armour UA Band and Jawbone UP3 do. That might be just as well, though, given that Fitbit is facing a class-action lawsuit over claims that its Fitbit Charge HR’s monitor is inaccurate.

As is increasingly common among fitness trackers, the Alta provides notifications for incoming calls, as well as texts and calendar updates. (You can’t get things like Facebook messages or Google Hangouts notifications, though.)

In terms of battery life, Fitbit says the Alta will keep ticking for up to five days on a single charge. After that, you’ll have to break out the proprietary charger to give it more juice.

Overall, based on my short but sweaty evaluation, the Fitbit Alta is an attractive and comfortable fitness band with a good set of features. But I’ll have to use it some more because I can say whether I’d want to live with it full-time. For that, you’ll have to check back later for our full review.

Email Daniel at dhowley@yahoo-inc.com; follow him on Twitter at @DanielHowley or on Google+.