Fitbit Charge 3 vs Fitbit Alta HR: Read Before you Buy

Are you confused between Fitbit Charge 3 and Fitbit Alta HR? Which Fitbit has more features? Then this article about Fitbit charge 3 vs Fitbit Alta hr is for you.

Fitbit Charge 3 vs Fitbit Alta HR

Fitbit probably has the biggest collection of fitness bands which include Charge Series, Alta, Versa, Flex, Iconic, and Inspire. Alta Series was a huge success, and it was a game-changer for Fitbit.

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Here we will cover the two iconic trackers of their respective generation, Fitbit Charge 3 vs Alta HR. Though they are pretty much close in terms of design and hardware, there are few differences. We will take a closer look at these differences by comparing the two trackers for factors like design, display, sensors, app support, activity tracking, and battery.

Fitbit Charge 3 vs Fitbit Alta HR

Let’s look at each aspect of the fitness tracker and find out how different the Alta Hr and Charge 3 are:

SpecsFitbit Charge 3Fitbit Alta HR
DisplayOne inch OLEDOLED
Screen ProtectionCorning Gorilla Glas 3No
CompatibilityAndroid & iOSAndroid & iOS
TouchYesNot touch but need to tap up and
downl for screen navigation
Weight30 Grams27 Grams
Battery7 Days7 Days
WaterproofYes(up to 50M)Only Splashproof
GPSYes(Phone Supported GPS)Yes(Phone Supported GPS)
NFCYes(Available in Special Edition only)No
Sensors3-axis Accelerometer, SpO2,
Altimeter & Heart Rate
Heart Rate Sensor and Motion Sensor
Automatic Activity DetectionYesYes
Music ControlYesNo


If you look at their launch dates, the Alta HR was launched in 2017 and Charge 3 was launched in 2018, clearly Charge 3 seems like an improved version of Alta HR.

The Alta HR has a width of 15 mm which is much slimmer compared to Charge 3. It almost feels like a friendship band with a screen. Though it looks good, it sticks out of your wrist because of the thick strap.

In comparison to Alta HR, Fitbit Charge 3 has a large profile and seems more prominent even when looked from a distance. For those looking to make the fitness tracker an integral part of their fashion, Charge 3 offers a much better option.

When comparing the body of the two trackers, Charge 3 has an aluminium body with a premium-looking finish whereas its predecessor uses stainless steel body with chamfered edges. Both use a high-quality metal but aluminium has offered a premium look.

To get a much better feel, we tried both the watches. The charge 3 feels comfortable due to the slimmer band compared to Alta’s thick band.

Another aspect of Charge 3 which beats Alta HR is that it is completely waterproof. You can dive into 50-meter deep water and tracker still works. It gets even better. You can track your swimming activities with charge 3. How may trackers can do that? Not Alta HR for sure.


Fitbit Charge 3 and Charge  2

The significant difference between Fitbit Alta HR and Charge 3 is the display. The Alta HR uses OLED tap display whereas Charge 3 uses a touchscreen. And there is no doubt touchscreen is a much user-friendly way to interact with smart devices. You can use swipes and touches to navigate through pop-ups, notifications, and settings.

In addition to the new user-interface, Charge 3 has the durable Corning Gorilla Glass 3 making it a perfect tracker for outdoor activities. It protects the tracker against water or scratches. You can even rub your keys against the screen and it would hardly have any scratches.


For Alta HR, the array of sensors includes the MEMS 3-axis accelerometer, vibration motor, and optical heart rate tracker. You can’t complain about the collection of the sensors because it covers almost all the basic requirements for a good fitness tracker.

Charge 3 being the successor of Alta HR, it does have all three sensors but it has two new additions:

  • Altimeter.
  • SpO2 Sensor.

The altimeter is a sensor that measures the change in the altitude. It allows the tracker to track activities like climbing, hiking, floor clumping, etc. much accurately. However, the sensor has a limitation. It operates below 30,000 feet. Probably it would be a bad idea to use it on a flight.

Relative SpO2 is a new addition to the Fitbit fitness trackers with the Fitbit OS 3.0 update. The sensor tells about the oxygen level in your bloodstream or in medical terms, it shows the amount of hemoglobin in your body which is useful for monitoring several types of medical conditions.

Yes, one thing that Fitbit Charge 3 and Fitbit Alta HR lack is a GPS sensor. However, the advantage of having Charge 3 is that it can connect to your smartphone for GPS. All you have to do is connect your Charge 3 with any smartphone by Bluetooth and turn on the GPS.

You can take advantage of the NFC sensor if you go for the special edition of Charge 3. NFC is useful if you regularly do contactless payments. You can use the Fitbit pay app for NFC to enable fitness trackers.

Apps and Notifications

Like any other Fitbit tracker, both Charge 3 and Alta HR use the Fitbit app. The app is available for all Apple or Android devices. When it comes to using the tracker with a phone, there are no issues. But if you want to analyze the data on your laptop or PC, then you require Fitbit Wireless Sync Dongle. Most of the Fitbit device is come with a Fitbit Dongle, if not you can buy it from Fitbit Store or Amazon.

As far as the app is concerned there are no differences in the way you connect or use the tracker. But with Charge 3 you get additional activity modes like swimming. There are some major differences between Fitbit Charge 3 vs Alta HR when it comes to navigation.

For Alta HR, you have to follow a series of taps to reach the desired information. You have to double-tap to wake the tracker, and with each tap, you see the different stats. Here is the sequence of the data that you see:

  • Steps.
  • Heart rate.
  • Resting heart rate.
  • Distance Calories Active minutes.

It is a little frustrating to navigate on HR. I feel it is much better if you view your data on your smartphone through the Fitbit App. Even settings are much better managed over the smartphone.

On the other hand, Charge 3 with little larger display and touchscreen is a relief. Even without a phone, it is easy to navigate through stats and settings.

There are three primary swipe gestures that you have to follow;

  • Up for daily stats.
  • Down for phone notifications.
  • Left for apps.

Everything is done with swipe which is much smoother due to beautiful navigation. If the tracker had colour display it would have made the Charge 3 a more attractive package.

Managing phone calls on Charge 3 is improved compared to the Alta HR. With Alta HR you can only see the notification of a phone call but with Charge 3 you can either accept or reject a phone call. This feature is quite useful if you are in the middle of an activity. You can manage the call without taking out your phone

Activity Tracking

The Fitbit Charge 3 vs Alta HR can be best compared if you look at how both the devices perform while tracking specific activities. Let’s look at the three most common activities for which trackers are used extensively:

Heart Rate Tracking

Alta HR was specifically designed for accurately measuring the heart rate. If you compare both the tracker for heart rate monitoring, both are identical. Even the way data is displayed is the same.

The heart rate data is available in two ways:

  • Current heart rate.
  • As per the Heart rate zone.

The current heart rate is self-explanatory. It shows the present heart rate. The other data comes from different heart rate zones. For instance, if the heart rate is 50% below the maximum heart rate, it is called out-of-zone and similarly, if the heart rate is around 50%- 69% it is a fat burn zone.

There are four such rate zones:

  • Out-of zone.
  • Fat burn.
  • Cardio.
  • Peak.

You can see the data like calories burnt, time spent during each zones.

The system is the same for Charge 3 as there is no new feature or functionality. However, Charge 3 has an additional feature that helps you control your heart rate by guiding through a breathing process. Probably that’s the only difference between Alta and Charge 3 for monitoring heart rate.

Exercise Monitoring

Even during exercise both the tracker function in almost the same way. Both detect activities automatically and start tracking. However, there is a major addition of several modes for Charge 3. It has more than 15 plus modes including a swim mode.

Out of all other features, the swimming mode is very interesting to look at. The Fitbit Charge 3 has the ability to track even minute details like the rest period between the laps.

Even the distance covered while swimming is accurate. If you are a professional athlete and looking for a cheap fitness tracker under $200, the Fitbit Charge 3 is the best fitness tracker for you. The only limitation with the swim mode is it monitors only swimming pool activity and not open water activity.

Sleep Tracking

Sleeping with Fitbit

When you do Fitbit Alta HR and Charge 3 comparison for sleep tracking, both are identical. Both effectively track the different phases of your sleep.

However, we feel Fitbit charge 3 can give more accurate sleep insight because of its SpO2 sensor.

Fitbit also introduced Sleep Score beta for its trackers that have a SpO2 sensor and heart rate sensor. That is one more reason to go for Charge 3 rather than Alta HR which has no such app.

Exercise Tracking

Men running

Both Charge 3 and Alta HR can detect the type of activity and track accordingly. But Charge 3 has an advantage over Alta because of the extra modes which also includes a swim mode.

Also, Charge 3 gives you an option to create a goal-based workout. You can create custom goals like spending a certain amount of time on exercise or cover a certain distance. Such features are helpful for those who like flexibility in their workout.

Both trackers miss the most important sensor of GPS which allows trackers to map out their activity. Also, both trackers do not have an on-screen workout feature like Versa or Iconic.

If we do the math for Fitbit Charge 3 vs Alta HR considering the factor of tracking exercise, probably both are a little disappointing. However, we would still go for Charge 3 because of the accuracy and flexibility of creating custom goals.

Battery Life

As far as all the Fitbit trackers are concerned they have very good battery life. Both trackers last 7 days with a single charge.

However, with Charge 3 you can expect reduced battery life if you use the tracker with GPS. The continuous Bluetooth connectivity for GPS does eat up a lot of battery.

Like battery capacity, both the trackers have a similar charging cable. A clip-on charging cable is offered with Charge 3 and Alta HR which can be connected to any USB output.

Final Words

Just looking at the generation gap between the trackers, you should not even think about comparing Fitbit Charge 3 vs Alta HR. The successor will always outweigh the predecessor due to ever-evolving technology.

We compared both the tracker for different factors, the result is self-evident that Charge 3 has too many new things that Alta HR is missing. If you are looking to purchase one out of them, our recommendation is Charge 3.

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