While the Fitbit Inspire can't match the top models when it comes to health and fitness tracking or deluxe features, we still think it's an all-around good product and worth considering if you are shopping on a limited budget. It did alright in our basic tests, pairing that with an interface and smartphone app that are very straightforward and easy to use. It looks great and offers lots of options if you are hoping to compete or challenge your friends and family, all for a relatively low price point.
Fitbit Inspire Review
Pros: Great value, user-friendly, looks great
Cons: Doesn’t have all the features of top-tier models
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Our Analysis and Test Results
Unfortunately, the Fitbit Inspire doesn't offer the most detailed or comprehensive set of fitness tracking abilities and can be a little limited in the data it does collect. This makes it great for a casual user but people that are seriously training might find this tracker to be wanting and should probably opt for one of the premium models.
Right off the bat, we started by ranking and scoring the fitness tracking abilities of each wearable, which is responsible for 30% of its overall score. The Fitbit Inspire earned a 5 out of 10 for its decent performance, based on its accuracy at tracking different workouts and counting steps, as well as by how well it monitored the amount of stairs you climb each day.
To measure and compare the step counting skills of the Fitbit Inspire, we took it on three mile-long walks and compared the step count it came up with against the true count we took using a mechanical click counter. Like the other Fitbit models, the Inspire scored well, having an average error of around 30 steps above the true count. It also did well when it came to calculating the distance as well, only undercounting by an average of 0.04 miles.
Unfortunately, the Fitbit Inspire didn't carry this strong performance into the other types of workout tracking we scored it on. It doesn't do much besides monitor estimated calories burned, active minutes, and overall duration for a cycling workout. It automatically starts tracking after 15 minutes but doesn't connect to your phone's GPS to get data like speed, elevation, or route. It also failed to even track our cardio workout, as the Inspire failed to auto-detect that we had started. We feel like this is a bit of a flaw, since you have to rely on the automatic detection to start. You can also only have 7 profiles on the device: walking, running, cycling, elliptical, sports, aerobic workout, and swimming.
We also didn't find anything on this tracker that shows you how many flights of stairs climbed in a day.
The next most significant set of tests focused on the overall health focused functions of each fitness tracker, which are responsible for 25% of the total score for each model. The Fitbit Inspire delivered another middle-of-the-road result, earning a 5 out of 10.
A large portion of the score for this metric is based on the accuracy of the heart rate tracker, which the Inspire lacks completely, putting it at a bit of a disadvantage right from the start. However, we did like that the Fitbit app has integrated diet tracking, allowing you to scan barcodes right in the app to keep track of your consumption throughout the day. The estimated RMR calculation for normal calories burned throughout the day also seemed to be quite accurate.
The Inspire will also remind you to get up and move if you haven't taken at least 250 steps every hour. It will also automatically track your sleep, showing you the amount of time you were fully asleep, restless, and awake each night. Its results from our tests matched up fairly well with our recollections of the evening but still seemed like it missed a bit. You can also set the Inspire to act as a silent alarm, with a strong enough vibration that it will usually wake you.
Ease of Use
The Fitbit Inspire delivered a much better performance in this group of tests, meriting it an 8 out of 10. It's one of the more user-friendly and intuitive models that we have tested, helping it quite a bit in this selection of tests that are responsible for 20% of its total score.
This fitness tracker has a claimed battery life of 5 days and recharges in 1-2 hours, which is fairly respectable for these products. It does use a proprietary charging cable that can get knocked out without too much force.
The Inspire usually syncs your data to the companion app in less than 10 seconds and the app is one of our favorites. Your data is clearly shown without having to search for it and all of its other functions are intuitively laid out and easy to find. It's also very easy to navigate through the menus on the Inspire itself using the touch screen and side buttons, with a long press taking you to a quick settings menu. It's water-resistant to 5 aTM or 50 meters, so you can take it in the pool or shower without worrying, and its low-profile clasp makes it easy to put on.
Next, we rated and scored the comfort, look, and feel of the Inspire for our Ergonomics metric, which accounts for 15% of its final score. The Fitbit Inspire received a 7 out of 10 when it came to ergonomics.
Our judges thought the Inspire looks quite nice, with a sleek bezel design leading to an overall stylish look. It's available in a couple of different colors and isn't particularly large or uncomfortable to wear. However, we have tested more comfortable options in the past.
The Inspire also maintains a low enough profile to your wrist that it doesn't usually get caught on things but we did find that it will periodically get snagged when putting on a jacket or backpack — maybe 1 out of 10 times.
Finally, our last metric focused on the Fitbit Inspire's display, which comprises the residual 10% of its overall score. It did fairly well, earning a 7 out of 10, based on what the screen shows, how easy it is to read, and how responsive the touch screen is, as well as what notifications from your phone can be received.
The Inspire's main screen can be set to show the time and date depending on how you customize it in the app and further screens show your current step, calorie, and active minutes, as well as how many steps you take per hour and how many days you have been active of the past three.
The Inspire can receive most push notifications — call, calendar, text, and app — that your phone gets when it's paired and the touchscreen is usually responsive enough to register most taps and swipes. Unfortunately, we found it to be a bit difficult to read the screen in bright sunlight but it is bright enough to be easily seen in the dark.
The Fitbit Inspire is a great bargain option if you are just looking for some basic fitness data and won't miss the presence of a heart rate monitor or a connected GPS module.
We would highly recommend the Inspire to anyone shopping on a smaller budget and wants a basic and easy to use fitness tracker. It can't do everything the top-tier models can but it costs a lot less and still has plenty of functionality if you don't expect too much.
— David Wise and Austin Palmer