Fitbit Inspire HR review | Macworld

In a world of smartwatches and AI-infused earbuds, the Fitbit Inspire HR is decidedly old-school. It doesn’t have a color screen, a catalogue of apps, or an SpO2 sensor. You won’t be able to use it to buy coffee at Starbucks.

But there’s something refreshing about the Inspire HR’s base simplicity. Like the Alta HR it replaces, it’s a fitness band that tracks the bare essentials—steps, sleep, calories, distance—but it also brings a few tricks that you wouldn’t expect in a $100 device. And it has a sharp sense of style to boot.

fitbit inspire hr clock Michael Simon/IDG

The Fitbit Inspire HR has a small screen but it’s a mighty high-res OLED one.

It’s somewhat surprising that a company that makes several smartwatches is still investing in small trackers, but in a way, the Inspire HR is Fitbit’s smartest product, a return to its roots and a testament to what Fitbit does better than anybody else. Longtime Alta users will love it, and it might even convince a few smartwatch users to downgrade to something a little more simple.

Sweating the small stuff

The Inspire HR is the most understated wearable device from Fitbit in years. The tracker itself measures just 37 x 12.6mm, smaller even than the 40.6 x 12.7mm Alta HR. It’s incredibly light, weighing just 7 grams on its own and topping out at 20 grams when attached to the bundled silicone strap. At 16.2mm, it’s a bit on the thick side, but you won’t notice it once you strap it on.

fitbit inspire hr body Michael Simon/IDG

Fitbit’s Inspire HR is a little thick, but it rests comfortably on your wrist.

The body of the Inspire HR is actually the same as the one Fitbit uses in the upcoming Ace 2 kids tracker, which underscores its versatility. There’s nothing eye-catching about it, using plain black plastic where the Alta sported stainless steel, but the body of the Inspire isn’t supposed to stand out—its bands are. Fitbit is selling a variety of straps and bracelets to adorn the Inspire HR, and I haven’t found one yet that doesn’t look great. It’s not so much due to the neutral color—though that obviously helps—but more so because of the size. The Inspire HR is so small and light, the bands no longer need to be so rigid at the connection point, which gives it a better fit than the Alta, no matter how small your wrist is.

Bands are easily swappable via the same pin system that’s used on the Versa, and there are already dozens, if not hundreds, to choose from. Fitbit offers a variety of leather, metal, and woven ones, and several third-party sellers have also climbed on board. More than any other Fitbit device, the Inspire HR is something of a chameleon, letting the character of the band define what it is. Any smartwatch will let you swap out your sweaty sport band for a Hermes-style leather double wrap or Milanese loop, but the Inspire HR is now of the few that’s a true fashion accessory.

A fantastic fitness companion

The Inspire HR is the final Fitbit to get the OLED treatment, so while you’re still getting a greyscale display, it’s definitely an improvement over the Alta’s LCD screen. It’s basically a smaller version of the Charge 3, complete with a combination of single-button and touch navigation, and a variety of clock faces. It’s also water resistant up to 50 meters, so you can take it swimming.

fitbit inspire hr sensor Michael Simon/IDG

The HR in the Inspire’s name stands for heart-rate monitor.

Apps aren’t central to the Inspire HR experience, but you do get a few—Exercise, Relax, Timers, Alarms, and Settings—all of which do exactly what you expect them to do. You have to go to the Fitbit app to change the clock face or customize your exercise modes, but for the most part, you’ll spend very little time interacting with your Inspire HR. The best part, as plays, is the Today screen, accessible by swiping up from the bottom of the screen. Here you’ll see all of your stats, including sleep, weight, menstruation, and anything else you’ve set up, all synced and up-to-date.

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