Fitbit Inspire HR review
Basic Fitbit bands like this have often been quite restrictive. You might be able to track steps, but not runs. Some only had very basic notifications support, if any at all.
The Fitbit Inspire HR is not a revelation in terms of its features. But it does have just about everything we want in a low-maintenance tracker.
There are two killer parts here. The Fitbit Inspire HR supports notifications from any app you like, not just the SMSs no-one sends anymore and the calendar we forget to keep up-to-date.
WhatsApp and Gmail are the real winners, for us at least. You can read a chunk of messages and email headlines, to tell whether you need to dig out the phone or not. The Fitbit Inspire HR vibrates when these come in, for a veneer of smartwatch-like functionality.
You can read ultra-long messages. You can’t reply to them. You can’t even dig into the notifications you’ve received earlier. It’s just the basics, but perhaps that’s good enough.
Connected GPS is the other biggie, and this is not present in the version of the Fitbit Inspire without a heart rate sensor. This means it’s radically better for runners and gym fans.
The normal Inspire uses activity detection to log runs, walks, swims and cycles automatically. You only get the most basic of stats from these.
Fitbit’s Inspire HR is in a completely different league. It does the same kind of auto exercise tracking, but you can also manually log exercise. Do this and the band hooks onto your phone’s GPS signal to fully map your runs and walks, just like a fancy Garmin runner’s watch.
As there’s a heart rate sensor on the back too, you really do get just about all the same data as such a fitness obsessed tracker. Of course, this only works if you run with your phone. If you don’t, the Fitbit Inspire HR isn’t anywhere near as useful. But most of us run with music or a podcast playing, right?
GPS tracking is accurate, and the heart rate readings are good too. You can make the Fitbit Inspire HR record your heart rate all day and all night, letting you keep an eye on your resting heart rate.
There’s more too. The Fitbit Inspire HR’s heart stats feed into sleep tracking. You see, with the non-HR model you see only the most basic of info: when you were asleep and when you wake up, whether that’s at 2am after a nightmare, or 6am after a nightmarish alarm. This one breaks down each night into the various sleep stages. Those are REM, deep and light sleep. You can really see the difference in sleep quality between a night when you go to bed at a sensible hour, and after a night at the pub. Booze is bad for you: who’d have thought it?
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The Fitbit Inspire HR is more affordable than the fitness bands it replaces within Fitbit's range and it comes sporting more tech than those older products too. It isn't the most affordable tracker on the market, but everything works well here and it's a great option if you're looking to start tracking your fitness journey.
- Premium design
- Lots of tracked metrics
- Strong battery life
- No Fitbit Pay
- Screen can be unresponsive
- Large bezel
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The Fitbit Inspire HR is a slim fitness tracker that'll help nudge you towards developing healthier everyday habits. It's now been succeeded by the Fitbit Inspire 2, which adds extra workout tracking tools such as Fitbit's 'intensity minutes' metric, but the Inspire HR is still a solid choice if your needs are simple.
We're expecting to see some good deals on older Fitbits like the Inspire HR for Prime Day 2021 as Amazon aims to clear out stock, so it's a great opportunity to grab a bargain.
Previously, the likes of the Fitbit Flex 2, Fitbit Alta, Fitbit Alta HR and even the Fitbit Zip sat in that lower price bracket, but with the Fitbit Inspire and Fitbit Inspire HR that has all changed.
The company has slimmed down its budget range and brought it all under one roof with these two new affordable trackers. They try and achieve more than the devices listed above but don’t come with the same level of functionality as the Fitbit Charge 3.
Fitbit Inspire HR release date and price
You can now buy the Fitbit Inspire HR from the official Fitbit website as well as a variety of third-party retailers in the US, UK and Australia.
The Fitbit Inspire HR is a touch more expensive than its heart rate-less sibling at $99.95 / £89.99 / AU$179.95. That’s for a version with a silicone band, while other bands cost between $24.95 / £19.99/ AU$44.95 and $64.95 / £59.99 / AU$99.95, with options including leather, double wrap and stainless steel.
You can buy clips for the basic Fitbit Inspire that allow you to wear it on a belt, pocket or bra rather than around your wrist, but these aren't compatible with the Fitbit Inspire HR, so you'll have to opt for the cheaper tracker to be able to use one.
Considering the Fitbit Alta HR - a product with a similar spec to this tracker - launched in 2017 for $149.95 / £129.99 / AU$249.95, this is quite an affordable fitness device. Arguably, it’s one of the best trackers from a price standpoint that the company has ever created.
Fitbit is generally more expensive than its competition though, so this isn't the most affordable tracker on the market for the functionality you'll be getting access to here.
Design and display
This is one of the narrowest and therefore sleekest-looking fitness trackers you can buy right now - though it's quite thick. Still, it’s by far one of the most attractive trackers Fitbit has made, and it's notably lighter and thinner than the Fitbit Charge 3.
This replaces the Fitbit Alta HR and Fitbit Flex 2 in the company’s line-up of trackers, and it feels like an amalgamation of those two with a few refinements to ensure it's a smoother product.
You’ve got the color choices of black, lilac or white for this tracker. Silicone bands come with it by default, but you can upgrade to a variety of other straps if you’re looking for a more formal or just different look.
For the purposes of our review we used the black tracker, but the other two choices look good on the wrist as well. If you don’t like this look specifically, it’s notable that there’s a large variety of different straps and accessories you can use to change up its look. Fitbit makes some but there are also lots of third-party options.
On the right hand side of the body there's a button that you can use to wake the device and take you back to the home screen. To go through your various stats you’ll be using the touchscreen, but it isn't as responsive as a smartwatch display.
All you really use the screen for is swiping between a couple of menus to show your stats for the day. You can start a few features using the touchscreen, including exercises and guided breathing sessions, but you’ll have to swipe up to find these.
That's quite an unintuitive part of the user interface, and we often found ourselves scrolling through the menu a couple of times before we remembered where the option we were looking for sat. The screen also didn’t register all of our swipes, so sometimes you may find yourself getting frustrated with navigating around the tracker’s menus.
It’s a black and white display, which isn’t an issue for the sort of stats you’ll be looking at on the screen. It’s important that you also know the display doesn't take up the whole front of the device shown in the images in this review.
There are some big, thick bezels at the top and bottom of the display as well as lines going down either side of the Fitbit Inspire HR's screen. Those bezels at the top and bottom of the screen are 11mm, while the ones to the side are 3mm.
Considering the tracker is 37mm long and 16mm wide that doesn’t leave a huge amount of space for the screen. That said, we didn’t find it irritating in day to day use, and especially with the bezels being black it’s not clear that you’ve got these big bezels on all sides.
The Inspire HR comes with a swim-proof build which means you can wear this in the shower without worrying about it getting ruined. At the time of our original review, we thought the Inspire HR was incapable of tracking swims but it's actually possible to track swim lengths, duration, distance and pace.
We've yet to test out this feature, but we hope to update our review with a full verdict on its swim capabilities at a later date.
Image Credit: TechRadar
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Current page: Introduction, price, design and displayNext PageWhat’s it like to use?
James is Phones Editor for TechRadar, and he has covered smartphones for the best part of a decade bringing you news on all the big announcements from top manufacturers making mobile phones. James is often testing out and reviewing the latest and greatest mobile phones, smartwatches, tablets, virtual reality headsets, fitness trackers and more. He has also worked on other leading tech brands, such as T3 and Gizmodo UK, as well as appearing as an expert on TV and radio for the BBC and other publications. Be sure to follow him on Twitter for all the latest smartphone news.
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The newest affordable fitness tracker, the Fitbit Inspire HR, was released earlier this year. In this Fitbit Inspire Review, I'll tell you how it stacks up to other Fitbit models. If my review helps you make your purchase decision, I'd love it if you would purchase yours through one of my referral affiliate links used throughout my review.
I have been a Fitbit fanatic for years, always excited to try out the latest model. I share them with family members so we can all find our favorites.
One of my top priorities when shopping for fitness trackers is to find the best waterproof fitbits. I was so excited to hear that Fitbit was adding another waterproof tracker to the lineup.
For purposes of this review, to give you an idea of the type of life I lead, and the kind of things I've used the Fitbit Inspire HR for…I'm a work at home mom to 2 school aged kids. I walk the kids to school and walk our dog every weekday, so I tend to exceed my step goal most weekdays. Weekends are more relaxed and I have to really work to make sure I hit my goal. I'm not a big athlete at this point in my life, but I do like to workout 2-3 times a week….when I am not in physical therapy. 🙁
I have put the Fitbit Inspire HR through the paces for a little over a month now. It's been through hectic morning routines, minivan dashes, a family vacation with TONS of walking, as well as several workouts.
I'd say the closest comparison to this tracker for me has been the Fitbit Alta HR. If you have previously used a Fitbit Flex, Alta, Zip or One, this is going to fall in the same space, with some notable upgrades mentioned below.
If you've used a smartwatch like an Apple Watch, Fitbit Ionic or even Fitbit Versa, this is going to be much more bare bones- for better or for worse.
Let's walk through the pros and cons of the Fitbit Inspire and Fitbit Inspire HR to see if it's right for you!
My Honest Fitbit Inspire Review
Below are what I see as the pros and cons of the Fitbit Inspire HR and Fitbit Inspire, which were released March 2019.
Here are the good things about the Fitbit Inspire HR:
- Both Fitbit Inspires are affordable (Inspire is probably going to replace the Fitbit Flex 2 and Fitbit Alta in the overall product lineup and it's at the low end of pricing for fitbits.) I have found that the best place to buy a Fitbit Inspire is Amazon. Fitbit sets the Amazon price at the same as the sale prices on their website. If you already have your payment and shipping details entered in Amazon and if you are an Amazon Prime User, then it's a no-brainer! Check Amazon's Price for Fitbit Inspire HR.
- Fitbit Inspire and Fitbit Inspire HR are both waterproof. (No- Every Fitbit is NOT waterproof) At this stage they seem to be shifting to waterproof models, but a lot of people assume they have always been waterproof because of the silicone band. You def need to check the specs of any tracker you buy to confirm if it is waterproof.
- You can change out the band on Fitbit Inspire and Fitbit Inspire HR by sliding a small pin out where one band meets the tracker body. There are already TONS of additional Fitbit Inspire and Inspire HR fashion bands for men and women if you want to dress it up or have other color options. I bought a double wrap leather band for my Fitbit Inspire HR as shown in the photo below:
More Pros of the Fitbit Inspire and Fitbit Inspire HR
- Much like the Fitbit Flex 2, Inspire offers swim tracking. I have not been in the pool with it yet but it is standard on both the Inspire and Inspire HR.
- It's slim and not very bulky. After using the Fitbit Ionic, Fitbit Charge 3 and Fitbit Versa, this tracker is very light and small. If you're looking for a smaller and more affordable tracker, this one is a good choice.
- You can choose to wear Fitbit Inspire as a wrist watch or buy a clip style holder. This isn't really the case with the more upscale fitbits.
- Fitbit Inspire and Inspire HR have a watch face so they do tell time, which is a plus compared to the bracelet style Fitbit Flex 2.
- You can set Fitbit Inspire up to show your call, text and calendar alerts.
- Fitbit Inspire HR can link to your smartphone to show real time pace and distance using your phone's GPS. How awesome that they are adding some of the more premium features of their more expensive smartwatch models to their more affordable trackers!
- You can choose to buy a Fitbit Inspire with or without heartrate tracking. Here you can see a comparison of the features of the Fitbit Inspire vs. Fitbit Inspire HR:
Here are the less good things about Fitbit Inspire HR
- Fitbit Inspire and Inspire HR do not track floors climbed, in case going up stairs is a stat you like to track.
- Neither Fitbit Inspire model stores music. Gots to check out the fancier models for that feature!
- The screen is pretty small. If you are coming from an Apple Watch, Ionic or Versa, the small screen may be a turnoff. It was one of the things I disliked about the Alta, the way the text was scrunched. If you have never had one of the larger smartwatch style trackers, this may not bother you in the least. Especially for this price. Or if you are coming from a Fitbit Flex, Fitbit Flex 2 or one of the clip style trackers, having an actual watch face may be a welcome change, even if it isn't huge. If you have a hard time reading the words on a smartphone then some of the text might be challenging for you to read, depending on the face you choose.
- You can change the watch face display (To do so, from your Fitbit App, tap the Account icon at the top right, then select your Fitbit Inspire, then tap Watch faces and select the one you want) BUT there are only 10 watch face options as of now. With Fitbit Ionic and Fitbit Versa there are soooo many layouts and options for the watch face. I found the lack of options annoying, because none of the options available had the combination of stats that I really wanted. Perhaps they will add more options in the near future, and if you are not quite as picky as I am then it probably won't be an issue. 😉
Are Fitbit Inspire and Fitbit Inspire HR Worth the Money?
Overall despite the “less good things,” it's pretty solid for an entry level fitness tracker. Adding in the heart rate tracking and waterproof features really give you a lot of bang for your buck! Fitbit Flex 2 used to be my top recommendation for Best Budget Buy, but it looks like the torch is being passed on to Fitbit Inspire!
Final Verdict: Fitbit Inspire or Inspire HR would be perfect for anyone who wants a basic waterproof fitness tracker with a good balance of upscale features and simple design, all for a relatively low cost compared to all the other brand name trackers on the market.
If you are more flexible on price, then my top pick for a an everyday lifestyle fitness tracker is still Fitbit Versa, while my pick for the best fitbit for an athlete is a Fitbit Ionic.
To see why I picked them, check out my article comparing the Fitbit Ionic Vs. Fitbit Versa Vs. Fitbit Charge 3.
Have you tried it out? Let's hear your Fitbit Inspire Review in the comments below!
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The Fitbit Inspire HR was once one of Fitbit's best sleep trackers and could be counted amongst the best fitness trackers in general. That time has passed, with the likes of the Fitbit Inspire 2 and Fitbit Charge 4 showing how things are done these days.
However, that doesn't make the Fitbit Inspire HR worthless by any means. If you can track down a cheap Fitbit deal, it still pairs up well with the Fitbit app, demonstrating how well-designed much of the Fitbit ecosystem is when it comes to longevity.
Features-wise, the Fitbit Inspire HR covers most of the bases besides standard activity tracking, and that includes a connected (if not built-in) GPS which should satisfy many users. A small 1.4-inch monochrome OLED screen isn't the best but its 128 x 72 resolution is sharp enough that it's clear at least, if not exactly pretty.
A 5-day battery life won't compare with the Fitbit Inspire 2 but that's good enough given the connected GPS functionality, and still means you won't have to remember to charge it too often. This is a fairly hands-off device which is convenient as we're not huge fans of a somewhat awkward strap.
So, the Fitbit Inspire HR isn't the best Fitbit around, and probably won't be most people's first choice for a fitness tracker. But if money is tight and you find a good bargain, it could well be worth snapping up as an introduction to your Fitbit experience.
Fitbit Inspire HR review: price and release date
The Fitbit Inspire HR was first released in 2019, with an RRP of USD$99.95 / GBP£89.99 / AU$179.95. Those times have changed and the best prices now come from third-party retailers or refurbished units. That's also for a version with a silicone band with other bands available including leather, double wrap, and stainless steel. Again, if you can find them.
The main features of the Fitbit Inspire HR include 24/7 heart rate monitoring, a swimproof design, 5 days of battery life, activity tracking, sleep tracking, and automatic exercise tracking for specific workout sessions.
Fitbit Inspire HR review: setup and use
Much like the rest of the Fitbit range, the Fitbit Inspire HR is very easy to set up. It takes minutes to unpack, place on your wrist and set up via the Fitbit app. Of course, it's even quicker if you have an existing Fitbit account but either option is pretty speedy.
We're not massive fans of the wrist strap admittedly. The standard one that comes with the Fitbit Inspire HR is a fairly cheap but surprisingly sturdy plastic strap. The downside to this sturdiness is that it can be awkward to wrap around your wrist, especially if your wrists are slender. Alongside that issue is the fact there's only one buckle to hold the remaining/loose strap to your wrist. Rather than a regular watch strap design like the one seen on the Fitbit Inspire 2, for instance, you clip the band in with a press and it's not quite as secure as we'd have liked.
Outside of those physical issues though, and once the Fitbit Inspire HR is on you, it's simple stuff. The Fitbit app is intuitive and merely requires you to enter a few key details like your age, weight, and fitness aims, before figuring out what's best for you. While the battery life isn't the longest of fitness trackers, 5 days is enough that means you won't have to fight with the wrist strap too often either.
Fitbit Inspire HR review: design and build quality
The Fitbit Inspire HR was one of the sleekest looking fitness trackers when it first launched, despite being a little thick. It's not quite as shiny or classy looking now when you compare it to the competition but it still doesn't steal focus by any means.
Standard color choices are black, lilac or white with black likely to fit most into someone's aesthetic. The build quality is sturdy too, giving you a sense that it's not going to be easily damaged while you work out or partake in a swim.
The right hand side of the device has a button for waking the screen up or taking you back to the home screen with swipes on the touchscreen helping you negotiate the commands. It's not as responsive or as fancy looking as a smartwatch but it gets the job done. For the most part, you'll be using the app to check stats anyhow but it's convenient to be able to view your performance via the small but sharp 1.4-inch OLED screen. It's also possible to start a few exercises here or use the guided breathing sessions although it's not the simplest of interfaces.
Style wise, we're not fans of the thick bezels that surround the display, wishing that space could have been used for something better but again, it's a slight sign of the age of the device given newer Fitbits are sleeker.
One big pro for swimmers is that the Fitbit Inspire HR is swim proof so you can use it to track duration and calorie burn. We didn't get to test this ourselves but it's worth noting it's generally considered to be fairly basic compared to other swim trackers.
Fitbit Inspire HR review: features
The Fitbit Inspire HR has a key feature that the Fitbit Inspire 2 lacks – a connected GPS. While it's not as good as a 'proper' GPS because you'll still need to keep it close to your phone to track where you've been, it's a step up and rather useful if you take your phone out a lot anyhow.
There's also 24/7 heart rate tracking unlike with the standard Fitbit Inspire which is always a big advantage when tracking how you're doing throughout the day. SmartTrack is in there too which automatically recognises your workouts and records them for you. Like with other Fitbit devices, it's pretty accurate too. Use the running workout, for instance, and it'll show distance, pace, average pace, heart rate, calories burned, and so forth. Heart rate will never be as accurate as with a dedicated heart rate monitor but it's a strong backup for your wrist.
As with other fitness trackers, the strength here really is in the day to day stuff. The Inspire HR tracks your daily steps, resting heart rate and calories burned. It's a useful indication of how well you're doing that day when it's likely a more dedicated fitness enthusiast may prefer a smartwatch for 'proper' routines.
Similarly, we doubt you'll be using the guided breathing exercises often, instead favoring dedicated apps but it taps into the idea that the Fitbit Inspire HR does a little bit of everything able nothing impressively well.
Outside of the fitness/general wellbeing side of things, the Fitbit Inspire HR also offers the option to track notifications from your phone. The tiny screen means you'll rarely see the full text or WhatsApp message but it's a useful starting point so you'll know if it's worth digging your phone out or not.
Like with other Fitbit devices of this age, don't expect music playback or Fitbit Pay support here.
Fitbit Inspire HR review: sleep tracking
The Fitbit range is generally pretty good at sleep tracking and that's the case here with the Fitbit Inspire HR being a good, cheap way of tracking how you sleep. That's aided by the fact it's comfy to wear so you won't notice it while you sleep unlike with smartwatches or anything bulkier.
It's not as in-depth as a dedicated sleep tracker but you'll get the amount of time you've slept, how often you woke up, and how many times you were restless in the night. There's also the useful Sleep Stages breakdown which gives you an idea of any underlying issues or simply if there's a particular time where it feels like your neighbours keep making a lot of noise. It works via a mixture of the accelerometer and the heart rate monitor so it feels reasonably effective.
Advice is also offered on how to improve your sleep quality but a lot of this is common sense and something you probably already (grudgingly) know.
Fitbit Inspire HR review: comfort and fit
Once you get the Fitbit Inspire HR on your wrist, it's very comfortable. You won't notice it's there thanks to it being so lightweight. The plastic strap isn't the easiest to attach to your wrist thanks to being quite inflexible but it's secure to your arm at least once there.
That's perfect as you'll want to wear this all day and night to monitor your sleep as well as your daily activities. Being waterproof means you won't have to worry about it in a rain shower or your actual shower either, with swimming and bathing an option too. The 5-day battery life isn't as strong as something like the Fitbit Inspire 2 but it's accurate. We found it lasted that long with the magnetic charging cable doing the hard work to recharge. It's a proprietary cable which is never ideal but it works well enough and only takes a couple of hours to get you from 0% to 100%.
Fitbit Inspire HR review: verdict
The Fitbit Inspire HR remains a reasonably good fitness tracker but it's showing its age. It's possible to buy cheaper and more stylish devices that offer similar or better features, such as the Fitbit Charge 4 or even the Fitbit Luxe.
Still, find it at a good price and the Fitbit Inspire HR will serve you well. You'll still need your phone by your side for GPS tracking but at least it's possible (not the case with devices such as the Fitbit Inspire 2). It might lack more advanced exercise tracking such as Active Zone Minutes (a killer feature amongst newer Fitbits) but the Fitbit Inspire HR does a little bit of everything quite well.
It's robust enough to survive a few knocks and its swim proofing will be helpful for some users even if its swim tracking is a touch limited for avid water enthusiasts.
Time has moved on a little for the Fitbit Inspire HR but don't write it off just yet. Look out for it at a good price and it can still prove a good entry to the Fitbit family until you move onto knowing more about what you're specifically looking for.
The best fitness trackers field is extensive and time has moved away from the Fitbit Inspire HR. Still decent enough, it's a good sleep tracker but less so a good fitness tracker.
The Fitbit Charge 4 is more expensive but offers the same sleep tracking tools as well as GPS and Active Zone Minutes. The latter feature is particularly useful if you're keen about pushing yourself a little more while working out but want to know just what you're doing to your body.
Alternatively, you could go cheaper and buy something like the Xiaomi Mi Band 4. It's a bargain and offers a lot of the features that the Fitbit Inspire HR including heart rate tracking but there's no GPS. On the plus side, its battery life is an impressive 20 days and it also offers sleep monitoring.
Go the other way and there's always the massive treat – the Apple Watch Series 6. Overkill for those looking to track their sleep, it's still gorgeous with an always-on display that looks as expensive as it is, extensive app support so you can find plenty of health and fitness options that suit you, and some very powerful health sensors. This is complete overkill if you're on a budget but if you're looking to invest in a long term solution, you won't be disappointed.
Prices - Fitbit Inspire HR:▼
Review hr fitbit inspire waterproof
Fitbit Inspire HR updated review: still a top tracker for 2020
The Inspire HR is Fitbit's low-cost, entry level tracker – but that doesn't stop it from being a surprisingly powerful health and activity device that will suit plenty of people.
New model: Fitbit Inspire 2 review
It doesn't look like Fitbit's going to replace its device any time soon. But over a year after its release, is it still a contender? We've been using the Fitbit Inspire HR for much of the last year, and felt it was time to update our review against the latest fitness trackers.
The Fitbit Inspire HR manages to combine heart based activity tracking, workout detection and powerful sleep monitoring into a small and discreet wrist band form. What's more, with a generous screen, it will also display notifications and your goal data too.
At $99.95, although often available cheaper, the Inspire HR is pretty wallet friendly, and sits below Fitbit's new Charge 4, which offers more data and more advanced metrics, and is better suited to committed fitness types.
Price when reviewed:$99.95 Check price on Amazon
Natural comparisons will be made with the Xiaomi Mi Band 4, Garmin Vivosmart 4 and Samsung Galaxy Fit. Fitbit's riposte isn't simply to cram in every feature under the sun, but to make its tracker better value for money while sticking to the formula that has made it a powerhouse in the world of wearables.
Because when choosing a fitness tracker, it's often about the insights and motivation from the app, just as much as the design and sensors on the wrist.
How well does the Inspire HR achieve that balance? We've been living with the fitness tracker to find out.
Update: We originally published this review in March 2019 when the Inspire HR was released. At Wareable we don't stop using devices when the review is finished, so we've updated this test after a year's wear to see how the Inspire HR compares to the latest trackers
Fitbit Inspire HR: Design and comfort
Fitbit Inspire/Inspire HR key specs
- Swimproof design with swim tracking
- Track steps, distance, active minutes, calories burned
- Sleep tracking
- Automatic exercise recognition
- 24/7 heart rate tracking (Inspire HR only)
- Sleep Stages (Inspire HR only)
- Guided Breathing (Inspire HR only)
- Connected GPS (Inspire HR only)
- Goal-based exercise modes (Inspire HR only)
The upside is that it weighs just 20 grams, making it barely noticeable to wear, and really easy to sleep with. And it still manages 50 meters if water resistance.
The display itself maximises the width of the unit and is a greyscale 128 x 72 touchscreen.
It’s not winning any awards for screen clarity and does have issues with legibility in bright, direct sunshine, but it does the job. It doesn’t feel lacking like the Charge 4 does, just because visual feedback is so minimal.
However, like the Charge 4 it’s irritating that a screen so lacklustre isn’t always-on. What’s more, the wrist raise is a bit slow and often doesn’t register, which means it’s not a brilliant time-telling device.
You cycle through data by swiping the screen, and there are menus up and down which can be a little disorientating. Swiping down will let you see your daily stats, which are all easy-to-read on the small screen – and up will get you to menu options including exercise mode.
There’s a button on the device too, which will also let you cycle through stats, take you back to the main clock screen and start/stop workouts.
Customisation is a theme that runs through Fitbit devices, and the bands are easily swappable. That’s just as well as the standard black silicone band is really bland, and there are plenty of Inspire HR bands to choose from on Amazon.
Likewise, you can actually lose the band altogether. The Inspire HR can be clipped onto waistbands or bras unlike any other Fitbit.
It’s designed to replace clip-on trackers like the Zip and the One, for those who can’t or won’t wear something on their wrist. It’s great for those that push buggies, for example, can actually boost accuracy.
Fitbit Inspire HR: Sleep tracking
Sleep tracking compared: Fitbit (left) and Garmin (centre and right)
When you're done with your day's tracking it's over to bed time and tapping into one of Fitbit's strongest features: sleep monitoring.
Fitbit's approach to sleep is in in our opinion still the most impressive from a wearable point of view. It's generally accurate and there's an effort to offer insights as to how to improve your sleep quality.
The Inspire HR will automatically track your sleep, as is the case with all Fitbit wearables.
As we’ve mentioned, the Inspire HR is super comfortable to wear in bed, and we barely noticed it.
You can't view sleep data on the device itself, so it's over to the companion smartphone app where you can see a breakdown of sleep into light, deep and REM, plus time you spent awake.
Your nightly rest is summed up in a single sleep score, which is a great way to quickly assess sleep quality without looking at loads of graphs.
We tested it against the Withings Sleep Analyzer and found that while there were differences, sleep patterns were in sync, and the sleep scores themselves were generally spot on.
You can also benchmark yourself against similarly aged Fitbit users to see how you stack up.
You don’t get the Estimated Oxygen Variation data, because the Inspire HR doesn’t have an SpO2 sensor on board.
Fitbit Premium subscribers will also see nightly heart rate, and time spent above and below resting. Better sleep will have more time spent below resting, and this is something you can work on to feel more restored.
Fitbit sleep tracking is a lot more harsh than other wearable trackers, but if you’re keen on making positive changes, it offers some of the best data. Spending 8 hours in bed will regularly only include 6.5 hours of restful sleep, and from there you have the information you need to make changes.
Fitbit Inspire HR: Fitness tracking and sports tracking
The Inspire HR is more than just a simple fitness tracker and there are features that run deeper for gym-goers and weekend warriors.
It's got the Fitbit staples covered, letting you track steps, distance, active minutes and calories burned.
The Inspire HR doesn’t have the new Active Zone Minutes tracking which tracks active time based on heart rate, and Fitbit says it has no plans to add them to its budget tracker.
Step tracking compared: Fitbit (left) and Garmin (right)
The Inspire HR will also display how close you are to hitting the 250 steps an hour Fitbit recommends, with reminders to get up and move. One notable omission is the altimeter, which means it won’t track climbing stairs.
We tested the Inspire HR alongside the Apple Watch and step tracking was always in sync, with some small variations.
From a motivational point of view, not a whole lot is going on here outside of the hourly reminders to move and nudges to hit your daily goals.
We're a big fan of the adaptive step goals on Garmin's trackers, and something like this would be a nice addition to encourage being more active in a very subtle way. Maybe it's time for Fitbit to offer some more on-board motivational features.
It's not just about counting steps and logging your shut eye here. While it might not be immediately apparent, you do get some of the sports tracking skills available on pricier Fitbit devices.
You can choose activity profiles from within the Fitbit app, with running. cycling, yoga, workouts and more – all trackable from the device itself.
While running and cycling show up as workouts with pace, distance and other data thrown in, every other activity is essentially just time, heart rate and calories. However, it's nice to see sports tagged properly in the Fitbit app.
The waterproof design also introduces swim tracking, although it will only track swim duration and doesn't count lengths or recognise strokes. That's a little disappointing to find when this is effectively replacing the Flex 2, which was able to offer some swim metrics.
Run tracking without GPS: Fitbit (left) and Garmin GPS (centre and right)
Unsurprisingly, there's no built-in GPS here, but you do have the ability to piggyback off your phone's GPS to see real-time pace and distance data for activities like running, hikes and bike rides.
The screen is really too small to actually rely on for proper pacing, but it's great for a Saturday jog, so you can get some data about your run, and get all the credit for it against your daily goals.
We put the tracking to the test without leaning on my phone's GPS and the reported distance was a little short of the same session tracked by a GPS running watch.
Fitbit's SmartTrack tech compared to a manually logged run
Naturally, Fitbit's SmartTrack automatic exercise recognition tech is here, and generally it worked well. It picked up a strong walk or running, but did throw up the odd activity. For example, it told me I'd gone for an outdoor bike ride for 20 minutes on one day. Just one problem: I don't even own a bike.
So it has had some blips, but when it works, it's one of the Fitbit Inspire HR's most impressive features.
Fitbit Inspire HR: Heart rate accuracy
Heart rate monitoring is the one feature that separates the Inspire HR from the cheaper Inspire. With the addition of a heart rate monitor you can unlock features like 24/7 heart rate monitoring, resting heart rate data, the ability to recognise your heart rate training zones and see your cardio fitness level score.
It also opens the door to get more detailed sleep data to further analyse your sleep quality, and enables Fitbit's guided breathing feature.
On the whole we've found Fitbit's heart rate tech to be well equipped at delivering reliable resting and continuous HR data and it's certainly more of the same with the Inspire HR.
Daily and resting heart rate was spot on, both tracked against the Apple Watch Series 5 and when spot checked manually against the Wahoo Tickr Fit heart rate monitor.
Resting heart rate is a focal point of the app, and it also provides a baseline for advanced sleep data too. And this had no complaints from us.
If you're into getting sweaty then the Fitbit Inspire HR does a decent job, too.
Strapping on a Polar heart rate chest strap for a running workout, the Inspire HR typically matched or was at most one or two BPMs off the data from the chest strap.
Heart rate tracking compared: Fitbit (left) and Garmin (right)
It's when you ramp up the intensity that things begin to falter somewhat – which is the same story across optical trackers.
In extreme testing, running a quick half marathon race (top) and putting it to the running intervals test (bottom), average heart rate data was generally lower than that recorded by the chest strap.
It also managed to report a significantly higher maximum heart rate reading, hitting the 200 mark when the strap maxed out at 189bpm during the race. It's another case of being useable for steady workouts but simply not being quite cut out for high intensity training and the sudden jumps and drops in heart rate.
All in all, the Fitbit Inspire HR is a superb health monitor with accurate heart rate. Optical sensors will throw up the odd blip, especially if you throw big swings in bpm at them. However, the Inspire HR is in the top bracket of its competition.
Fitbit Inspire HR: Notifications and extras
Fitbit keeps the smartwatch-like features to a bare minimum on the Inspire HR. There's support for notifications for calls, texts, emails, calendar and third party apps such as WhatsApp (you need to turn this on manually).
You can't respond to these notifications though, they'll simply pop up on the screen (as long as your phone is nearby) and you can swipe up and down on the screen and then close them.
The slightly wider screen on the Inspire HR certainly makes reading these notifications more manageable, though it's not exactly suited to reading long correspondence.
They appear as soon they do on your phone, and paired to an iPhone and Android phone gave the same experience. However, we actually turned most notifications off – and we did experience one issue where the iPhone seemed to sync shared calendars at 00:00 causing a vibration storm. It's good that there's such granular notification control, however.
There are other notifications not tied to the action on your phone, but based on your tracked activity. So when you haven't put in enough steps for the hour or you're nearing your daily goal, you'll be prompted to 'feed' your tracker.
These notifications thankfully don't appear at an irritating rate, but are regular enough to give you a nudge to keep moving. You can also turn them off.
In terms of other features, you're really only looking at the ability to change watch faces to put more or less of your data on show. It can only be done on the app, with nine watch face looks in total to choose from.
Once you've picked what you want it'll quickly sync that over to the tracker, although it would be nice to store a couple of the faces on the device itself.
Fitbit Inspire HR: Battery life
Fitbit claims you should get around five days battery life from the Inspire HR, which is two days shorter than the claimed battery life on the Charge 4. Based on our experience, that's exactly what you get with the full gamut of features turned on.
As is the Fitbit norm, your device will flash up when you're running low and fire off an email to your linked account to let you know there too, giving you multiple calls to charge.
It's likely the all-day heart rate monitoring (which you can't turn off) and notification support, which can be deactivated, are the biggest battery drains here.
Throw in exercise tracking and that's going to dent things further, but on the whole it holds up well for those five days. When you've hit zero battery, you'll need to stick it onto its charger for a couple of hours to get back that five day's worth of tracking time.
Fitbit Inspire HR: How it compares to the competition
The Inspire HR costs $99.95, so if you had the same money to spend elsewhere, what else could you get, and how would that match up?
The Fitbit Inspire HR matches up to many mass-market fitness trackers, and it will draw inevitable comparisons to the Xiaomi Mi Band 4.
While Xiaomi's tracker is half the price, the Inspire HR offers most of the same features but an infinitely superior app. The sleep tracking is better, the insights are better – and if you're serious about making changes to your lifestyle, Fitbit is where you need to be.
The next big comparison is against the Charge 4. Fitbit's latest tracker has GPS, SpO2 and Active Zone Miniutes – and is the best Fitbit device on the market currently.
But it's bigger, and despite being able to track runs without a smartphone, the workout tracking is pretty much the same as the Inspire HR. If you're not working out multiple times a week, we'd say the Inspire HR will suit more people's needs.
Fitbit Inspire HR
Slim, packed with sensors and at an affordable price, the Inspire HR will suit the needs of a lot of people. The sleep tracking and heart rate insights are some of the best in the business, and if you want detailed data into your health, but hardcore workouts isn't your thing, this comes highly recommended.
- Great sleep tracking
- Good heart rate accuracy
- Thin and light
- No SpO2
- Screen is lacklustre
Is Fitbit Inspire HR Waterproof?
Moving on to the waterproofing ability of Inspire HR, here’s everything you need to know:
Detailed Overview: Swim, Shower and Scuba Dive with Inspire HR
Fitbit Inspire HR features an OLED screen that is water-resistant up to 5ATM. It can handle all the sweat, rain and splash you put it through. Not just that, you can keep it submerged under 50 feet of water without risking irreversible water damage to the tracker.
Unless you are planning to deeper than 160 feet, you can easily use this tracker for scuba diving as well.
Use Fitbit Inspire HR for monitoring vital swimming stats i.e number of laps, swimming duration, length, and pace. You just have to set the pool length on your tracker before you jump into the pool. That’s it.
You can use any type of stroke, be it butterfly, backstroke or freestyle to swim with your Fitbit tracker. However, for most accurate and precise monitoring, you should go for freestyle strokes.
Not All Water-Resistant Trackers Are Waterproof
In case you are wondering if all water-resistant Fitbit trackers will be suitable for swimming, let me tell you that they won’t. Regular water-resistant trackers should never be fully submerged in water. It could cause heavy water damage which could make the product warranty void.
Waterproof and Swim-proof Fitbit Trackers: What Are the Other Options Available?
While Inspire HR is undoubtedly one of the most affordable waterproof trackers by Fitbit so far, your options simply don’t end here.
Fitbit has a few other waterproof devices up their sleeves. Flex 2, Ionic, Versa and Charge 3 are some of the most feature-packed trackers that can be used for tracking swim stats.
Flex 2 can also withstand chlorine and salt in water, making it the safest choice for open saltwater scuba diving
When it comes to submerging the Fitbit Inspire HR, there is nothing to worry about. Get it if you are a water baby. And you won’t regret your decision.
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Can I swim or shower with my Fitbit device?
Turn on the water lock setting when you're in water, for example showering or swimming, to prevent your screen from activating. When water lock is on, your screen locks, and the water lock icon appears at the bottom. Notifications and alarms still appear on your tracker, but you must unlock your screen to interact with them.
To turn on water lock, tap swipe down from the clock screen tap Water Lock firmly tap your screen twice. To turn off water lock, firmly double-tap the middle of the screen with your finger. If you don't see "Unlocked" appear on screen, try tapping harder. Turning off this feature uses the accelerometer in your device, which takes more force to activate.
Note that water lock turns on automatically when you start a swim in the Exercise app .