The New Fitbit Alta vs. Garmin Vivofit 3

The New Fitbit Alta vs. Garmin Vivofit 3 Fitness Tracker Bands

For fitness-phobes like myself, buying a fitness tracker is a daunting thought! With so many devices flooding the market it’s easy to get caught up in the hype and be overwhelmed by the range available, so we thought we’d compare the latest offers from two of the fitness tracker elite – Garmin and Fitbit – and see which would be the best investment for someone looking to get themselves in shape without breaking the bank!

Up for review is the Fitbit Alta (£99.99, available now) and the Garmin Vivofit 3 (£89.99, available for pre-order; launching Q2 2016) – two entry to mid-level fitness trackers perfect for beginners like myself, or for those looking to upgrade their current device.

Fitbit Alta price when reviewed: $119.86


Features – Fitbit Alta vs Garmin Vivofit 3

fitbit altagarmin vivofit 3The most important factor when buying any tech is, of course, making sure it has the functionality you require. Neither of these devices disappoint, both taking care of all the essentials: automatically tracking and recording steps taken, distance covered, calories burned and time active, as well as you sending gentle reminders to stay active via their built in displays.

Both devices also track how long and well you sleep, with the Fitbit Alta having the added bonus of a silent vibrating alarm to wake you up at the optimal time and hopefully help you avoid the morning grump!

Strangely, the Vivofit 3 lacks a heart monitor, which many consider essential (although a strap with this feature is available for an extra £49.99) – and for this reason alone the Fitbit comes out on top!

Garmin Vivofit 3 price when reviewed: $79.99


Practical Points

Opting for a traditional coin-battery over a rechargeable alternative, the Vivofit 3 claims to have a full one-year battery life which makes the Alta’s ‘up to five full days and nights’ seem rather measly by comparison.

Granted, the Alta takes only an hour or two to charge, but for those of us who are looking to wear our tracker 24/7, the Garmin is clearly the better choice.  Furthermore, your Alta will need to be removed again for both swimming and showering! Although ‘sweat, rain and splash proof’, you cannot submerge this particular Fitbit in water so if swimming is your thing, stay clear.

By comparison, the Garmin is waterproof up to 50 metres, so unless you’re into scuba diving, you’re good to dive straight in!

Essential Reading: The Best Waterproof Fitness Tracker

Smartphone Sync

Of course, both of these trackers effortlessly sync up to your smartphone, with native apps recording and storing your fitness data as well as visualising emerging trends so you can monitor your development over time.

Garmin Connect (Android | iOSWindows) also has a handy calendar function which will automatically populate with workouts and rest-days based on your fitness level and target event (perfect for those of us who struggle to get started) as well as allowing you to connect with friends (or foes) to motivate each other whilst simultaneously sharing your progress to all the usual social media sites.

The Fitbit App (Android | iOS | Windows) has similar functionality, providing the same tracking and trends as well as setting sleep goals, allowing you to complete in Fitbit Challenges, and tracking eating habits as you work towards a goal weight.  More impressively, you also get smart notifications straight to the Tap Display whenever you get a call or text – which is pretty nifty, considering this is a fitness tracker and not a smart-watch!


fitbit alta bandsFor those of us more concerned with form over function both the Vivofit 3 and Alta devices are available in a range of colours, with interchangeable bands available to make sure you have a style for every occasion.

This is where the Alta comes into its’ own, with a wide range of ‘classic’ rubber, leather and metal bands available (ranging from £19.99 to a hefty £79.99) allowing the wearer to customise the device to their personal tastes.

By comparison, the Vivofit 3 offers only a handful of coloured classic bands (sold as duos for £22.99) as well as a ‘style’ collection featuring a further 3 rubberised designs (£29.99) and 2 designer collaborations with Jonathan Adler – but if you’re not a fan of bulky rubber, it’s unlikely that any of these will take your fancy.

So, Which Fitness Tracker Band Comes Out on Top?

These fitness trackers certain appeal to different type of people but in terms of both form and function, I’d pick the Fitbit Alta, as the lack of heart-rate monitor Garmin Vivofit 3 is, in my eyes, a big disappointment.

Realistically, as far as practicality is concerned the Garmin Vivofit 3 blows the Fitbit Alta out the water (pun intended) but overall, the subtle and sleek design of the Alta – alongside its wider range of features – makes it my overall winner in this battle!

Which one would you pick – the Alta or the Vivofit 3? And why? Let us know in the comments below!

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