Say goodbye to Fitbit’s Alta, Alta HR, Flex 2 and Zip, a popular quartet of fitness trackers that comprised the company’s budget devices, and say hello to the Fitbit Inspire and Inspire HR ($69.95 and $99.95).
Fitbit began offering the Inspires on Jan. 1 through health insurance companies and corporate health programs, but now anyone can buy the devices. The two bands are designed for fitness newbies in search of a lightweight, versatile and motivational tracker to help boost movement, weight loss or reach other health goals.
I tested out the Inspire HR in a 15-minute high-intensity interval training workout that interspersed boxing moves with squats, bicycles, jumping jacks and other aerobic moves. For the price, this might be the best fitness tracker you can buy.
What’s changed since Alta HR
The Alta HR was a perfect device. I recommended it to friends and family, specifically the women in my life who were looking for a slim and stylish fitness tracker that could be customized with interchangeable accessories. (The Charge lineup, including the new $150 Charge 3, has always felt a little too bulky for me.)
Design-wise, the Inspire and Inspire HR resemble the Alta HR but without the stainless steel trim. Instead, the newer models have a matte plastic body, but retain the side button on the left for toggling between screens.
The more expensive Inspire HR has built-in heart-rate monitor and connected GPS that unlocks a suite of features that the lower-priced Inspire doesn’t have, including Sleep Stages tracking, goal-based exercises, cardio fitness level score and the Relax guided breathing app that anyone who has used the Charge 3 or Fitbit Versa smartwatch will be familiar with.
Working out with Inspire HR
As I jumped, punched and squatted, I could barely even feel the Inspire HR on my wrist. It’s incredibly lightweight, and the traditional watch buckle clasp makes it easy to get a comfortable fit.
You navigate between menu options by swiping up and down on the touchscreen display, then tapping on the icon (for instance, Exercise to see more workouts, or Settings to adjust brightness). You can only see one option on the display at a time, which is a bit of a bummer after using the Charge 3’s giant screen.
The sleek, lightweight design is comfortable and unobtrusive. The base-model Inspire can even be popped out of its band and clipped to your clothes if you don’t want to look like you’re wearing a fitness tracker. You can also snag accessory bands in a range of styles, including double-wrapped leather bracelets and stainless steel milanese bands, which range in price from $20 to $70. And each comes in colorful colors, in addition to classic black. The Inspire is also available in sangria, and the HR comes in a deep purple with a lilac band and a two-tone black-and-white.
I tested the lilac option, and it was a pleasant change from the basic black common to most fitness trackers under $100.
Fitbit lineup expands
Fitbit also announced a new version of its Versa smartwatch, the $159.95 Versa Lite, and a refreshed kids’ fitness band, the $69.95 Ace 2. The Versa Lite is available now, and the Ace 2 is coming this summer.
If you’re looking for a smartwatch, the Versa Lite offers most of the same features as the Versa does, but sacrifices on-board music storage and on-screen workouts for $40 less. We’ll compare the two in our full review coming soon.
Hardware-wise, there are a slew of reasons why someone might want to buy an Inspire or Inspire HR, aside from their extremely affordable prices and sleek style.
Then there’s the power of the Fitbit app, which is undergoing a redesign to condense all of its features — the daily dashboard, workouts, community and social features — into three tabs. The redesign will roll out later this year, but the existing app is one of my favorites when it comes to fitness-tracking. The Inspire lineup will also have the same female health-tracking features (both in the app and on-device) that the Versa does.
For Fitbit newcomers, the Inspire HR offers the right mix of features at a solid price. And for those who feel the Charge 3 is overkill — both in size and price — the Inspires are worth a look. Stay tuned for a full review.
Credit: Tom’s Guide