The Fitbit Inspire HR is the newest fitness tracker from Fitbit. In this Fitbit Inspire HR review, you can read about our experiences during exercise and in daily use. The Inspire HR is suitable for anyone who does not (yet) want a smartwatch but wants to measure activities.
Fitbit Inspire HR review: the new standard
Apple has quickly become the best-selling brand for wearables, but Fitbit is still participating. Along with the Fitbit Versa Lite (see review), the company is launching the Inspire HR, the successor to the Alta HR. For people looking for a fitness bracelet, this is an affordable ( 99 euro ) option to record your steps, exercise, and sports activities, to measure your sleep and your heart rate. It contains all kinds of useful health functions for people who don’t need a smartwatch.
The Fitbit Alta HR was the fitness bracelet for everyone: simple to use, but with sufficient functions. The Inspire takes over, in two versions: the regular Inspire and the Inspire HR with heart rate monitor. They are intended for people who want to upgrade the Alta HR or purchase a fitness bracelet for the first time. This is the new standard when it comes to fitness trackers: all other products will be measured against this.
Inspire HR in short
- The successor to the Fitbit Alta HR.
- Two models, with and without a heart rate monitor
- Choose from the colors black, white, red or lilac
- Heart rate monitor, sleep analysis and other advanced functions
- Available from € 69.95
Design of the Inspire HR
The Inspire HR consists of a plastic module and a flexible silicone bracelet. In many ways, it resembles the previously published Fitbit Alta HR, but with two notable changes. The housing of the module has become slightly wider and everything is now water resistant up to 50 meters so that you can now also swim with it. The 1.45 x 0.63-inch screen is unfortunately not borderless and shows the data only shades of gray, but has technically improved a bit. Previously you could only tap it, now it has become a fully functional touchscreen with swipe movements. There is one button on the Inspire, which is both for switching on the screen and for going back to the previous screen.
Conveniently, with Fitbit, you can choose from all kinds of straps that you can easily change. This is a major advantage over cheaper products, which are often only available with black silicone bands. If such a tape breaks, such a fitness tracker immediately becomes unusable. At Fitbit, you simply buy a replacement strap made of silicone, leather or one of the other materials. The straps of the Inspire HR are comfortable enough to wear it day and night. You can also attach the Inspire with a clip, for example to your clothing.
The Inspire looks better and has more to offer than the Alta HR, so we only recommend purchasing the older model if you can find a really good deal. The biggest step back is that the battery life has become slightly shorter: with the Alta HR, it was seven days, with the Inspire just five days. But that is always longer than the one and a half to two days of the Apple Watch.
Inside you will find an accelerometer, optical heart rate monitor (only on the HR version) and a vibration motor for notifications. The Inspire measures steps, distance, activities, calories, and sleep. In addition, your heart rate is measured every 5 seconds; even every second during exercise.
Sports functions of the Inspire HR
Now that we have arrived at the sports functions: the Inspire HR is also very suitable for this. It is of course not a complete sports watch, but it allows you to record walking, running, cycling, swimming, and other usual activities. You start the workout manually or (on the HR version) automatically with SmartTrack based on your heart rate. You decide in the Fitbit app on the iPhone which workout shortcuts you want to see on the bracelet. If you swipe up from the dial, you will see stats such as a number of steps, calories, and heart rate. If you swipe down, you will see apps, for example, to work out with.
It contains more than 15 predefined exercises, including running (outdoors or on the treadmill), swimming, cycling, walking, weightlifting, interval training, golf, and tennis. From this you can choose six as a shortcut: swipe down on the home screen, tap the exercise you want to do and you can start right away.
During exercise, we were shown all relevant information on the screen, such as current heart rate, heart rate zone, distance, and duration. GPS is not there, so if you also want to know your route you will have to bring an iPhone. The altimeter is also missing because it can be nice if you want to know how many stairs you have climbed. We do not find this function really necessary.
Notifications and productivity
The Inspire HR is not a smartwatch, so don’t expect too much in terms of apps and notifications. In the Fitbit app (for iOS, Android and Windows 10) you can set which apps you want to receive notifications from. If you receive such a notification, you can read a piece of text from a message or e-mail. You cannot read back or respond. If you want more, you will have to buy one of Fitbit’s more expensive products, such as Versa or Ionic. They also offer the possibility to install all kinds of extra apps and dials. With the Inspire you have a few simple apps and 10 dials. There is no support for Fitbit Pay because it does not have an NFC.
The Fitbit constantly reminds you of healthy habits. So bad, in fact, that we have set the notifications only a little less. For example, Fitbit warns you to stand up regularly and exercise.
The Inspire cannot keep track of your water and food consumption, but you can do so via the mobile app. Recently, there are also special functions for women.
Measuring sleep with the Inspire
Measuring sleep is a subject in which Fitbit has invested a lot. Almost all Fitbits also offer standard sleep functions, while you still have to search for them in vain on the Apple Watch. The app shows how many hours you have slept in, which sleep phase, how long you have been awake and whether you have kept your sleeping times neatly. You can compare your data with others of the same age and gender. You can also see what your heart rate was during sleep. If you have sleeping problems, then Fitbit can help you to get a better grip on that – although we also noticed that being a bit too fanatic with those sleep data can also make you restless. On the Inspire without a heart rate monitor, the information is somewhat more limited.
Conclusion Fitbit Inspire HR review
The Inspire HR offers everything you expect from a Fitbit these days. It works with iOS and Android and contains all the functions for sports, exercise and sleep that you need as an average user.
Now that we are so used to smartwatches, you immediately notice the limitations of a fitness bracelet. The screen is small and the text itself is even smaller. Moreover, you cannot read the full messages and there is no storage space for music. But that is reflected in the price: for 99 euros, this is also the cheapest Fitbit with built-in heart rate monitor. Compared to earlier models you get more functions for less money.
It all feels familiar, as we are used to at Fitbit. Fitbit Inspire HR review clearly assumes that there are still enough people who want to buy a fitness tracker for the first time and find a smartwatch too expensive. The only sad thing is that Fitbit continues to refuse to support HealthKit, so you have to rely on workarounds.
Buy Inspire HR
If you are faced with the choice to buy a smartwatch, then we think the Apple Watch Series 3 or 4 is a better choice than the Fitbit options. When it comes to fitness bracelets, however, Fitbit is hard to beat: these straps are much cheaper than a smartwatch and are packed with useful functions. For people who want it a bit simpler and cheaper, Inspire HR is a great choice. The prices have also become more attractive. Previously, for a Fitbit with a heart rate monitor, you lost around 150 euros, now it is 100 euros. If you do not need a heart rate monitor, then you are even cheaper with the Inspire (without HR addition).
If you are wondering whether the Inspire suits you, then it is mainly about which sports and productivity functions you need. Especially sports, low productivity? Then the Inspire HR is a great choice, especially if you prefer a not too striking band. Just keep in mind that it does not include all the smart functions that you get with a smartwatch. But that is a deliberate choice of Fitbit.