Fitness tracker manufacturer Fitbit today launched its new Blaze smart watch and soft-launched the smart band Alta.
With a focus on the ability to change bands and hopping between gym and business meetings, Fitbit is trying its best to track your fitness and health through the entire day, no matter what you’re doing.
The Blaze is the fancier of the two, with a colour touchscreen, animations illustrating exercises and a host of tracking options. While it does have an elegant aesthetic and would fit well with a suit or fancy dress, we feel we should point out how similar it looks to a certain other company’s smart watch.
You’ll be able to pick up the Blaze from today.
Note that the prices you see in the ad below aren’t for different models of the watch, as there is only one model.
Rather, the Blaze you see at the top left corner in the ad is the watch and the stock band that comes with it; the other prices are for specific bands, which cost extra. So if you want a Blaze with a metal strap, for instance, you’ll be paying R3 999 plus R1 999.
On the other side, the Alta is a simpler device and a band instead of a watch. The ability to change the band to your liking is still on this cheaper model, but you’ll find a lot of the tracking options available on the Blaze, just minus the screen. The Alta will only arrive in South African stores from April this year.
You may notice that these prices are a bit on the high side, especially when the metal bands cost half (or more) the price of the actual device. While we initially thought this was because of the terrible exchange rate (we’re currently R15.36 to the dollar), that isn’t the case. The RRP of the Blaze is $200 (R3 061 , plus applicable sales tax depending on which US state it’s bought in) while the Alta is $130 (R1 990); that means the South African price difference is R939 and R509 for the Blaze and Alta respectively.
And lastly, the elephant in the room: the Discovery Vitality issue. Since Discovery Vitality changed its terms and conditions regarding how Active Rewards are earned, various fitness devices and the way they supply Vitality with data have become incompatible with the new system. We were told at the launch event that Discovery and Fitbit’s systems “aren’t playing nicely” together at the moment, which is “causing problems”. Fitbit promised they are looking into the situation with an eye to reaching a resolution in the coming weeks.
Will you be buying a Blaze or an Alta, or would you rather wait for the dust to settle before committing? As always, let us know.
//Update – the difference in price was wrongly attributed to a markup, which did not include external additions such as US state taxes and various import fees, South African VAT etc. The story has been changed to correct this.