Fitbit Inspire HR – Big on features, small on size, price

Fitbit Inspire HR

If you’ve been in the market for a low-cost full-featured fitness tracker but don’t want the bulk of many models or the complexities of a Smartwatch or the cost, then the Fitbit Inspire HR, the most recent addition to the Fitbit family might just be the solution for you or your loved one this holiday season. 

In reviewing it, it’s hard to miss the family resemblance, modelled, after its big brother the Fitbit Charge 3 that we reviewed here at and syndicated sites roughly a year ago.

While much slimmer, the Inspire HR still has the same intuitive greyscale touchscreen and OLED backlit display where you can tap or swipe to get info. It has over two-dozen features many of the same we’ve come to expect with a Fitbit. Some of these include customized clock faces – 10 on the Inspire HR, allowing you to see at a quick glance the data like date, time, steps, calories burned and heart rate personalized the way you want.  Swiping from the clock face and scrolling through one can access other on-device dashboard like activity, stats and health metrics.

The tracker is also swim proof, down to 50M so you can wear it in the pool or shower, literally anywhere 24/7 only taking it off for one to two hours when you need to recharge. There’s still no built-in GPS, but you can connect it to your phone’s GPS and track on-screen, your walk, hike or bike in real time.

Beyond your basic tracking, it has 15-plus goal-based exercise modes. For example, while swimming, you can adjust the pool length; on the treadmill, you can adjust the time, calories and distance. The SmartTrack feature will also automatically recognize your workouts whether you’re walking; biking, swimming or what have you. An inconspicuous gentle vibration acts as a gentle reminder when you’ve achieved your goal. You can also set timers, track alarms, adjust the vibration intensity or turn notifications off when sleeping.

For added convenience you also get calendar, enhanced text alerts and call notifications as well as the ability to directly reject or accept an incoming call. But you’ll still need to physically use your phone to talk.

And for the ladies, the Inspire HR can help you better understand your body and using the Fitbit app record your symptoms, track your cycles and more.

Fitbit Inspire HR (L) Charge 3 (R)

Inspire HR versus Charge 3

Comparing it with the Charge 3, you’ll notice a few tradeoffs, likely due to its smaller size and probably its 35% lower cost (at retail). The Inspire HR has shorter battery life, i.e. five days compared to seven. It also does not track the number of floors climbed, nor does it offer Android Quick Replies, the ability to quickly send a brief preset message to the caller, like “I’ll call you later.”  Also absent is Fitbit Pay, (Fitbit’s answer to Apple Pay, the ability, available only on the Charge 3 Special Edition, to make mobile payments right from your wrist.)

Fitbit app tracks many activities including sleep patterns

The body, although it looks similar to the Charge 3 appears to be made of some type of thermoplastic rather than aerospace-grade aluminum of its sibling. Ironically despite its reduced size, the display still offers adequate screen real estate to properly display all its functions, although extended texts may be truncated or require more scrolling and depending on your eyesight, may be a bit hard to read.

After wearing both for weeks, the difference in the experience was minimal. With respect to the added features, while nice to have, I really didn’t miss most of them. 

Charger with 5″ cable

One final difference I’d like to mention is the included charger. Unlike the Charge 3 charger, which clamps around the body of the tracker’s housing, Inspire HR uses a lightweight magnetic system with a very short five-inch charging cable that could inadvertently get detached. While I do like Fitbit’s products, I question Fitbit’s decision of continued use of proprietary and different USB chargers on its models rather than a standard USB cord. 

Regardless, Fitbit Inspire HR overall comes with very high marks and would make for a great holiday gift for yourself or for someone who would like a little more than just tracking in a sleek and style compact format. In fact, at only 37mm long x 16.2mm wide and 12.6 mm high, it’s the smallest and also the lowest cost Fitbit with most of the advanced features found in higher-priced models. Visit Fitbit’s dedicated page for a full list of features.

Stylish steel mesh band, just one of many options, including a clip

The Fitbit Inspire HR comes in different colour combos with two band sizes and a charger in the box. Other optional bands are available. It retails in Canada for $129.95, although you can find one right now at a real bargain for under $100. You can find it at many retailers, including Amazon, Atmosphere, London Drugs and directly from Fitbit.

A syndicated version of this article is available at Troy Media.

Greg Gazin, also known as the Gadget Guy and Gadget Greg, is a syndicated veteran tech columnist, communication, leadership and technology speaker, facilitator at Crestcom International, blogger, podcaster and author. Reach him @gadgetgreg or at

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