The latest offering from Fitbit is big on features, small on size and price

fitbit inspire fitness
Fitbit Inspire HR would make a great holiday gift

Greg Gazin If you’re 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, the Fitbit Inspire HR might be for you.

It’s hard to miss the family resemblance of the most recent addition to the Fitbit family. It’s slimmer but modelled after the Fitbit Charge 3.

It has the same intuitive touchscreen and backlit display where you can tap or swipe to get info.

And it has over two dozen features, including many we’ve come to expect from a Fitbit. They include 10 customized face options, allowing you to see at a quick glance data like date, time, steps, calories burned and heart rate – all personalized the way you want. Swiping from the clock face and scrolling through, you can access other dashboards like activity, stats and health metrics.

The tracker is also swim proof, down to 50 metres, and you can wear it 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.

fitbit inspire fitness technology gadget
Stylish steel mesh band is just one of many Fitbit Inspire HR options.

It also 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 also automatically recognizes your workouts. A gentle vibration lets you know you’ve achieved your goal.

Inspire HR uses the same advanced technology as other Fitbit models to ensure accurate heart rate readings.

You can also set timers, track alarms, adjust the vibration intensity or turn notifications off. You also get calendar, enhanced text alerts and call notifications, as well as the ability to reject or accept calls. But you’ll still need your phone to talk.

For women, the Inspire HR can record symptoms, track cycles and more.

Comparing it with the Charge 3, you’ll notice a few tradeoffs, likely due to its smaller size and its lower cost. The Inspire HR has shorter battery life – five days compared to seven. It doesn’t track the number of floors climbed, nor does it offer Android Quick Replies. Also absent is Fitbit Pay (Fitbit’s answer to Apple Pay,

fitness technology gadget
The Fitbit Inspire HR app tracks many activities, including sleep patterns

available only on the Charge 3 Special Edition).

Despite its reduced size, the display is still adequate to show all its functions, although extended texts can be problematic.

I wore Inspire HR and Charge 3 each for weeks and found the difference was minimal. While the extra features of the Charge 3 are nice, I didn’t miss most of them.

Unlike the Charge 3 charger, which clamps around the housing, Inspire HR uses a lightweight magnetic system with a very short cable that could get detached. And I question Fitbit’s decision to use proprietary chargers rather than standard USB cords.

But overall, Fitbit Inspire HR gets very high marks and would make for a great holiday gift. Visit Fitbit for a full list of features.

It comes in a variety of colours, with two band sizes and a charger. Optional bands are also available. It retails in Canada for $129.95, although you can find one now for under $100 at many retailers, including Amazon, Atmosphere, London Drugs, and from Fitbit.

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

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