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

Samsung’s Note 20 accessories look fabulously polished

Sustainable, stylish protection

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Samsung’s newest Galaxy Note 20 series may look glamorous without a case, but having a stylish case is worth considering when you have an expensive phone.

Luckily, the South Korean company released fabulous phone cases to protect the Galaxy Note 20 while looking good. There’s the Kvadrat cover, a case familiar to most Samsung users and loyalists following the annual Unpacked event.

In case you’re just discovering Kvadrat, it’s a Danish textile company taking inspirations from its Scandinavian roots. The company produces a sustainable textile called Revive, made from post-consumer recycled polyester like plastic bottles.

Samsung and Kvadrat’s collaboration aims to reduce the environmental impact of production and plastic waste.

Even though it looks thin and stylish, the Kvadrat Cover complements the Note 20 series’ striking shape while staying durable — protecting your phone from accidental drops and damage. It comes in Red and Gray.


Samsung’s usual Clear View and LED View cover are still part of the Note 20 series’s lineup of accessories. It comes in Gray and Samsung’s most appreciated color this year and a step-up of the previous Rose Gold — Copper.

Price and availability are yet to be announced and may vary per region. This page will be updated accordingly.

WATCH our Galaxy Note 20 Series video

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Accessories

Samsung Galaxy Buds Live now official, has ANC

Building on previous Galaxy Buds

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Galaxy Buds Live

It took them three tries but Samsung finally offers TWS earphones with ANC or active noise cancellation with the new Samsung Galaxy Buds Live. 

Unlike most TWS earphones churned out by other brands, the Galaxy Buds has veered away from the AirPods design. Samsung says this is not only for a distinct look but also for a comfortable fit.

As usual with Galaxy audio devices, the Buds Live is tuned by AKG. It has a larger 12mm speaker compared to the Galaxy Buds+ and also has a bass duct for a deep and rich sound.

It has three microphones with Voice Pickup Unit so the person on the other line hears you loud and clear during calls.

Lastly, the Buds Live has an open type Active Noise Cancellation feature. This makes sure you’re isolated from the sound of your surroundings and are immersed in whatever it is you’re listening to.

Pricing and availability 

In the US, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live will be available starting August 6 for US$ 169.99, and will come in Mystic Bronze, Mystic White, and Mystic Black. It will be available at Samsung.com, as well as major retailers and carriers.

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Accessories

47Ronin watch straps: Where smartwatch meets Japanese art

Bridging heritage and modern technology

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Japan and its culture have drawn people like moth to a flame. It’s incandescently captivating, irresistible, magnetizing. One even embraces and allows it to seep into their lives.

That’s what happened to Tong Cheuk Fung, a Hong-Kong born, Singaporean watch strap artist whose humble beginnings started in Kyoto, Japan’s ancient capital.

Living in Japan made Tong love its crafts and culture, giving birth to 47Ronin — Tong’s very own watch strap brand designed and handcrafted by marrying horology, smartwatches, and Japanese art.

Japanese art on your wrists

47Ronin’s name traces back to a chronicle from over 300 years ago, where 47 Ronins — free-roaming Samurais without a master — exhibited bravado and loyalty through vengeance against the injustice committed to their late master.

The watch straps embody this tale to its designs, catering to a certain niche resembling Ronins; free-spirited individuals leading a life according to their own philosophy.

With pieces made and sourced from Japan, 47Ronin wraps the country’s history and beauty on people’s wrists through its watch straps. Most of its pieces were made from exotic materials such as leather, Kimono textile, and Katana elements — all sourced from Japan.

Where future meets history

Traditional crafts are declining; handcrafted straps are already considered a sunset industry. The advent of futuristic wearables made the younger generation prefer minimalist and sleek designs by the likes of Apple, Samsung, and Google.

For the fashion-oriented, hybrid smartwatches are the favored statement often sold by designer brands such as Fossil, Michael Kors, Frédérique Constant, and Skagen.

Yet even with a decline in demand and appreciation, 47Ronin perseveres to preserve the craftsman’s spirit and its culture. The brand cultivated designs that work with analog timepieces and smartwatches, putting the attention to the strap rather than the technology.

The traditional craft’s heritage lives on as 47Ronin forges its historic design into modern wristwatches. The Japanese-inspired Singaporean brand worked with technology companies like Mobvoi and produced bespoke designs for Apple watches.

Personalized, artisanal straps

Since 47Ronin’s watch straps are handcrafted by Tong himself,  ordered pieces are instilled with the artist’s creative thoughts, and tailored to the customer’s wrist and watch’s components.

The Singaporean brand houses multiple collections, too, where customers can pick a design that resonates with their personality.

Most designs retail above US$ 200, entailing a personalized process — communicating to customize the lug width, length, and thickness, and sourcing rare materials — for four weeks and up to two months.

47Ronin certainly pushes itself as an exemplar of art rather than an accessory, creating a unique proposition among leather watch straps.

A heart for the environment and people

Nowadays, sustainability becomes an integral part of a business. 47Ronin partakes in the fight to a sustainable future through its up-cycling program.

The watch strap maker retrieves damaged watch straps and buckets to repair it, preserving an artisanal watch straps’ life. Old watch straps and buckles are also retrieved and reused to create new products.

Moreover, 47Ronin collaborated with 20 local watchmakers in Singapore as a means to lift each other up, as businesses and online sales have been affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

Shop custom, artisanal watch straps at 47Ronin’s online store with free worldwide shipping.

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