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Fitbit Alta HR vs Charge 2 (2021): Should You Choose Form Over Function?

Fitbit has long been making waves as one of the best manufacturers of fitness trackers in the industry. Two of their best-selling products are the Fitbit Alta HR and the Fitbit Charge 2. Both models are very well-rounded devices with cutting-edge displays. However, there are several features and characteristics to take into consideration when deciding which Fitbit is best for you. Check out how the Alta HR and Charge 2 compare in our review below!

Fitbit Alta HR vs Charge 2 Comparison Chart

ModelFitbit Alta HRFitbit Charge 2

Connected GPSNoYes
Workout ModesNoYes
Sleep TrackingYesYes
Heart Rate MonitorYesYes
Battery Life7 days5 days


The Alta HR has a significantly slimmer screen and strap compared to the Charge 2, but lacks the side button that allows you to control the device.

Fitbit Design
The Alta HR features a significantly slimmer strap that can be swapped out for different designs, colors, and materials.

Measuring in at only 15 mm, this slim design makes the Alta HR seem more like an accessory and, thus, easier to pair with more formal outfits. It also feels like the overall look and feel of the Alta HR is geared more towards female consumers, although men would undoubtedly be able to appreciate the leather strap designs, too.

The Charge 2, on the other hand, boasts a slightly larger strap but still looks more or less similar to the Alta HR. Both have a relatively small black and white OLED display, a silver body, and textured straps that are customizable and can be swapped out for different designs, colors, or materials.

How the designs impact your experience ultimately depend on your personal preferences. If you prefer a larger screen with buttons to help you navigate the device, then purchase the Charge 2. In contrast, the Alta HR doesn’t have any buttons and everything is controlled by tapping the screen. Since Fitbit screens are known to need an extra tap to register, you might prefer the Charge 2’s combination of pressing the side button, swiping, and tapping.

In terms of water-resistance, the Alta HR and the Charge 2 are the same. Both are sweat-proof, splash-proof, and rainproof. However, both are not recommended for use underwater or in the shower.


The Charge 2 offers more features, some of which are absent in the Alta HR.

Fitbit Features
The Charge 2 has some key features that the Alta HR lacks.

The Charge 2 has ConnectedGPS which works in conjunction with your phone’s GPS to provide more accurate distance data if you’re out running. In addition, the Charge 2 also offers workout modes and Relax which is used to track breathing exercises. The Relax feature is absent in the Alta HR which is both surprising and disappointing as it would have gone nicely with the lifestyle device.

As for the sports features, both Fitbit models feature a heart rate sensor and use the Fitbit app and ecosystem, so you can expect more or less the same graphs, dashboards, and leaderboards. There’s also a new feature on both models called Fitbit Adventures which encourages you to get more daily activity by exploring scenic or iconic locations.

Despite not being marketed as smartwatches, both these models offer smartwatch-like features such as providing notifications from apps like Facebook Messenger. If you get phone calls or text messages, you’ll be able to see who it’s from. This feature works well on both devices.

Activity Tracking

The Fitbit Charge 2 and Alta HR have the same accuracy level for tracking activities, but their heart rate monitoring becomes unreliable during high-intensity workouts.

Fitbit Activity Tracking
The Fitbit Charge 2 and Alta HR struggle to keep heart rate data accurate during high-intensity workouts.

Generally, the Charge 2 is pretty accurate for day-to-day use, although we did notice it miscount some steps and missed some stair climbs when we tested. The SmartTrack feature automatically detects what type of activity you’re doing, be it cycling, running, or any other type of activity. The Cardio Fitness Level (or VO2 Max) is also a reliable fitness metric.

The PurePulse feature is extremely accurate and you’ll find that your heart rate data during steady runs is usable. Unfortunately, once you start doing high-intensity workouts, the Charge 2’s heart rate monitor becomes highly unreliable.

The Alta HR is similar to the Charge 2 in many ways, but we also noticed that step counting is slightly off for this model. For day-to-day use, however, the Alta HR is generally very accurate and does the job. Despite lacking GPS, the Alta HR is able to track distances pretty well.

During our test runs, the Alta HR was only off by about 5bpm when compared to our chest strap and, like the Charge 2, we noticed the accuracy level of the device dip when getting into high-intensity workouts.

Sleep Tracking

The Alta HR and Charge 2 show the same level of accuracy when tracking sleep.

Fitbit Sleep Tracking
The Fitbit Alta HR and Charge 2 offer sleep tracking features such as Sleep Stages and Sleep Insights.

During testing, we didn’t notice any difference between the two. It is worth noting, however, that both models struggled when sensing waking up times. Both models have the Sleep Stages feature which allows them to detect light as well as deep and REM sleep based off of heart rate data and the accelerometer. You also get to enjoy Sleep Insights on the app which are daily tips based on your sleeping habits.

Battery Life

On each full charge, the Charge 2 lasts about 5 days while the Alta HR lasts about 7 days.

However, in testing, we found that both models lasted about 6 days with heart rate monitoring, sleep tracking, and notifications turned on. Of course, battery life will always depend on how you use the devices. While the Alta HR is fully capable of lasting up to 7 days on a single charge, the difference in battery life between the two isn’t significant enough for your decision to be swayed just based off of battery life.


The Fitbit Alta HR provides a better form while still being a reliable lifestyle tracker, but the Charge 2 is more ideal for those with more active lifestyles.

It really all comes down to how you want to use these devices. As far as design goes, the Alta HR wins points for being the sleeker, slimmer alternative. Unfortunately, you will miss out on features such as ConnectedGPS and workout modes which are both present in the Charge 2. If you aren’t a gym buff, however, these features won’t be missed.

Because they perform so similarly, the easiest way to decide between these two models is to just base your decision off of the design and pick which one you’d prefer to wear.

Last update on 2022-08-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Andy Mathews

Lead Editor at Compare Before Buying. Product researcher and tech enthusiast passionate about consumer products, comparison charts and surfing.