Accessories

Fitbit Alta HR review

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Working out is like falling in love. The awkward and hesitant start may be quite daunting to most but eventually, something inside (whether it be attraction or diabetes) will compel you to at least try. In fitness (and in love), consistency is key.

This is what I’ve learned in the last two years of attempting a healthier lifestyle (and maybe a few relationships along the way). To be able to achieve a certain level of fitness, one must commit to changing multiple aspects of everyday life. It doesn’t end with just weekly workouts. Diet, sleep, exercise, water intake — they’re all part of the healthy equation; take one out and your fitness progress isn’t optimized.

A good way to get yourself to commit (big word) to this healthy lifestyle is through tracking your daily activity. This is easily doable via a fitness wearable. The Fitbit Alta HR was my weapon of choice for the last few months, and this is how it fared.

Meeting and initial impressions

This newest member of the Fitbit collection features a slim rubber band that comes in many different colors (of course, I chose fuschia) and an equally slim face. It sits comfortably on my small wrist with an unassuming blank screen.

Tap to view, lift to activate

It looks good and it’s very cute, but it matches nothing other than my workout clothes and purple hair.

As cute as the fuschia is, it will most definitely clash with most outfits.

This becomes a problem because the whole point of a fitness wearable is having it on 24/7, and that can’t happen if it does not match half of my wardrobe. (Even I can’t wear athleisure wear all the time.)

After moving on from my initial fashion apprehensions on color matching (i.e., I stopped caring), I now focus on function.

Dates and working out

The Alta HR automatically tracks all your movement and computes your active minutes. Now, a recurring problem I’ve had with other wearables I’ve tried is that they usually wouldn’t record my less basic exercises. Sure, there’s always a built-in tracker for running, but my other activities like HIIT or DragonBoat paddling were exercises nowhere to be found on the pre-made list of workouts.

On the FitBit app, though, that shouldn’t be a problem. Although some exercises aren’t on the list, the Alta HR records the activity with corresponding workout details (like duration, heartbeat, and calories burned). For my Dragonboat training, it usually recorded under “Aerobic exercise” and I just edited the label afterwards.

Sleeping together

Did I mention that this thing is supposed to be on your person at all times? Yes, that includes sleeping and everything in between.

The Alta HR tracks your sleep cycle and it lets you know what quality of sleep you’re getting. This is done through measuring your heart rate and movement throughout the night. What’s great about this is you can also set alarms that will indicate what time you should sleep and wake up to ensure you get enough rest — something that definitely helps if you’re someone who tends to work late nights like me.

The morning after

Updates on your activities are sent via email weekly, which means you could track your fitness progress more easily. I personally appreciate this, as it serves as little benchmarks for my progress or little nudges to get my fitness on (if I’ve been lazy throughout the week).

The Fitbit app is able to track your food intake. If calorie counting is your thing, this will definitely help. I’ve found that consolidating all your health data simplifies everything — calories burned throughout the day are computed against your caloric intake automatically. Additionally, water intake can also be tracked.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

For something that you’re supposed to wear everywhere, I would’ve loved for it to have been water resistant and not just splash resistant. Although it did fare well against the many splashes it endured, this extra feature would have given me a better peace of mind. One too many times (because of my many random activities), I paused what I was doing to worry about if my band would get wet.

By design (even the ones that came in black and neutral colors), the band itself looks cute but a little too sporty for my everyday aesthetic. I would have liked it to look a little less screaming “I WORK OUT!”

I do love the idea of being able to translate everything I do into concrete information, and aside from just taking note of my activities, I found that wearing one does push me to be more consistent in trying to reach my fitness goals.

If you’re someone looking for commitment and a little more consistency in your life, the Fitbit Alta HR is for you; this machine is never too complicated, won’t ever let you down, and never flake on you.

It all works out, like I’ve been doing.

The Fitbit Alta HR retails for PhP 8,490 in the Philippines and INR 14,999 in India.

SEE ALSO: App Review: The road to getting Kfit

[irp posts=”10747" name=”App Review: The road to getting Kfit”]

 

Accessories

AMX XP 60: The most convenient USB-C PD charger

One brick, four devices

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MicroUSB used to be a must-have on all phones a few years back. With rising megapixels and resolutions, the industry also moved on to a new port called USB-C. It’s easier to use thanks to a reversible connector and also carries more power as well as data. OnePlus was among the first to incorporate the port and pretty much every other brand has made the shift.

Though, Apple is yet to make up its mind. The Cupertino giant has equipped the MacBook’s with just USB-C ports and removed all older lesser beings. Unfortunately, the brand still uses a lightning port for the iPhones and that means I need to carry at least two charging wires — one for the MacBook and one for the iPhone.

And, if you’re carrying along any other Android phone or accessory, it’s a bare minimum rule to also carry a microUSB wire. With so many different ports, how do you charge your devices on the go? Each will need a separate charging brick that not only takes space but also weighs you down.

I’ve been using AMX’s XP 60 charger for a couple of weeks now and it has definitely become one of my favorite accessories of 2019. The brick has one USB-C port and three USB-A ports along with a tiny blue-colored indicator showing successful power delivery.

Obviously, finding a brick with multiple ports is not groundbreaking. However, the USB-C port on this charger supports PD charging, a standardized protocol for faster charging. PD charging doesn’t require any proprietary gear, so you can simply plug your mobile, laptop, accessory, or even power bank.

On top of that, PD optimizes power management across multiple peripherals so each device will draw only the power it requires for the current process.

The rest of the USB-A ports support 18W fast charging cheap. And it was pretty much every phone shipping with fast charging tech, it’s always nice to have more options. I’ve quickly managed to charge my iPhone 8, Redmi Note 8 Pro, Mi A3, and MacBook Air simultaneously from just one power outlet.

Considering the price of INR 1,199 (US$ 17), this is a steal. OEM chargers sometimes cost more than that and are often limited. However, the charging brick feels a little flimsy. Some improvements to the overall build quality would be highly appreciated.

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Accessories

Casetify’s collaboration with Pangram Pangram is inspired by travel

For those diagnosed with a serious case of wanderlust

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Nothing inspires us to keep hustling like the places we want to travel to — whether that’s a remote island or a concrete jungle. Packing and carrying a heavy suitcase, going through airport security and passport control, waiting at the airport and finding nothing but overpriced food — all these are so much more exciting than going through everyday commute and the routine of office work.

If nothing feeds your soul like a travel adventure, Casetify’s collaboration with type foundry Pangram Pangram is made for you. It’s inspired by the journey through the airport, from luggage scan tags to boarding passes, and airport restaurant bills.

Customize your iPhone case by choosing an airport and adding your name — et voila! You now have your very own luggage scan tag case. As of writing there are more than 30 cities to choose from, and here are some of our favorites:

New York

Paris

London

Boston

Jeju

San Francisco

Singapore

Berlin

Shanghai

Casetify is adding more cities based on the demand, so if you don’t see your favorite destination or hometown let them know on Instagram. The cases are available for iPhone 7 and up, including the new iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max starting at US$ 35. Cases for Airpods 1 and 2, as well as Apple Watch bands for Series 1-4 are also available.

To shop the collection visit casetify.com.

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Accessories

Sony’s WI-1000XM2 joins their noise cancelling lineup

A new superb option

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Sony’s noise-cancelling headphones are one of, if not the best in the market right now and today they’re adding another option to that already amazing lineup. Joining the WH-1000XM3 and WF-1000XM3 is the WI-1000XM2 — a neckband headphone.

Curiously, Sony didn’t skip the number two unlike what they did with the WF-series. Which just goes to show that the company has a looooong way to go in terms of properly naming their devices. However, that’s about the only knock on Sony’s headphones.

Noise cancelling excellence

The WI-1000XM2 will also be equipped with Sony’s HD Noise Cancelling Processor QN1. If the performance of the WH-1000XM3 and WF-1000XM3 are any indication, this means we’re again getting perhaps the best noise cancelling tech you can buy right now.

The neckband headphone is also promising the same quality of sound as its sibling with its HD Hybrid Driver System which includes a 9mm dynamic driver and Balanced Armature driver. It also has Digital Sound Enhancement Engine HX (DSEE HXTM) that upscales compressed digital music files including MP3 formats, to bring you closer to the quality of High-Resolution Audio.

It’s also equipped with the same bells and whistles found on its siblings like support for Google Assistant and Adaptive Sound Control.

Designed for comfort

The neckband is made of silicone for flexible fitiing and weighs approximately 44 g. Inside the box you get different options for the earbuds so you should have no trouble finding the perfect fit.

It promises up to 10 hours of continuous play time. When it runs out, you’ll be back up and running quickly as 10 minutes of charging should give you about 80 minutes of play time.

When you need to tuck it away, the magnetic earbuds snap together easily and can be stored inside the accompanying carrying case that can also hold the audio cable, USB charging cable, and plug adapter for in-flight entertainment.

Pricing and availability

The Sony WI-1000XM2 will retail for SG$ 449 (US$330) and will be available at selected Sony Stores, Sony Centers and Sony authorized dealers starting December 2019.

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