Fitbit Inspire HR review: I was inspired enough to workout everyday

Product photos by Nitesh Guleria

Ever since I started exercising daily, I wanted to try out a Fitbit product. Their brand recognition in the fitness circles is unparalleled. Yes, I know I am really late to the game but well…I am late to start exercising as well. So, that’s that. And, what’s the point of using/reviewing a product if I am not going to test out its main features? 

Anyway, coming back to the point; Fitbit sent out a unit of their new Inspire HR fitness band for review. So, problem solved. 

After using it for more than a month now, I get the allure of using a Fitbit. Let’s find out what I think.

Fitbit Inspire HR: design, fit and comfort

Inspire HR is like most other fitness bands. It comes with a plastic band and a unit with the display. Pretty standard design, if you ask me. There are three colour options for you to choose from. The one I used for the duration of the review was the Black one with a White band. The second option is all Black and the third one is Lilac option. I have used the Inspire HR extensively as my primary fitness band, and there are design and display-related problems that I noticed. 

  1. The plastic doesn’t work well with sweat and I had a rash on my wrist after prolonged usage.  I’d go with a different band for my use. 
  2. The display attracts scratches very easily if you are not careful. And, it is not bright and legible in the dark either. 

That said, it is super comfortable to wear for long durations and I really like the fact that Fitbit actually bundles two bands of different sizes. That is pretty thoughtful. Coming to the display unit, it’s made of plastic and feels fairly tough. The display is crisp indoors but the sunlight legibility is not that great. Waking up the display works fine, though.

In comparison, the Alta HR has an aluminum casing and it is slimmer as well. I think design-wise the Alta HR is more attractive. 

Fitbit Inspire HR: workout features

It is definitely not the design of the Fitbit that impresses but the utility and whole fitness lifestyle experience that has been created for you. Essentially, you can interact with the display using touch or a physical button. You can short press this physical button to wake the display or long press it to bring up a menu that shows the Notifications, Screen Wake on/off toggle, and the Battery Indicator. 

There are ten simple clock faces that you can choose from. I really liked the Stats Heavy one, so I ended up using that one more often. Anyway, one swipe up and you can check your vital fitness stats from step count to heart rate to calories consumed (if you are tracking it). The wobbly animation when you scroll through the menu is rather cute. 

Coming to the actual workout features, I was particularly impressed by the Fitbit app. The community feature is incredible and if you have a few friends using the app, it can be a great motivator for someone like me who has just started his weight loss journey. I did a weekly Workout Hustle with a few folks and the constant jostling for the top spot in step count was exhilarating, to say the least. Heck, I was doing two walks a day just to get to the top of the standings. 

By the way, initially, the Inspire HR had a problem with step tracking. It was counting steps even if I moved my hands sitting at one place. However, there is a fix for this problem. All you need to do is to wear the fitness band in your non-dominant wrist but fool the Inspire HR into thinking it is your dominant wrist in the settings. It worked incredibly well after that, In fact, I manually counted close to 500 steps and the Inspire HR nearly matched it with 498 steps. I think it is a good thing that Inspire HR is actually being conservative than reporting more steps. That happened a lot with the Honor Watch Magic I had used last. 

There’s also the sleep tracking feature and it is pretty useful if you ask me. The data set can help you sleep better and find pain points during your sleep cycle that you can fix. I used it a couple of times to track my sleep and didn’t feel any discomfort wearing it for the sleep duration. The 24-hour heart-rate monitor does a good job as well. There are preset heart-rate zones and I like the fact that you can change these to your preference. 

Now, I used the Fitbit HR to track my daily walks. Weirdly, there is no option to track walks from the band directly. I had to track walks from the app, so I just reported to tracking walks as runs. But, forget all that; the Inspire HR has auto workout tracking. Essentially, you just need to start running and it will automatically start tracking your workout. How cool is that? Obviously, it is a bit of a hit and a miss for now. For example, there were times when it started tracking my scooter ride to work as cycling. Anyway, there’s also GPS tracking available for your runs and walks. 

Also read: Honor Watch Magic review: a fitness band aspiring to be a smartwatch

You can also set goals in the app. And, it works as it should. Moreover, if you are a woman reading this, there is an option to track Female Health stats as well. I am sure this is useful to keep a track on your menstrual cycle. 

Honestly, as far as fitness-related features are concerned, the Inspire HR is extremely well-equipped for its price. The only prominent feature that is missing is an altimeter for tracking how many stairs you’ve climbed. But since the Inspire HR is swimproof you can easily use it to track your swimming sessions as well. 

Fitbit Inspire HR: other features

The only smartwatch-style extra that you get is the option to pull notifications to your Inspire HR. You cannot do anything with it but just view it. I really found no use for that. By the way, if you are not going to pull in any notifications as I did, you will easily get at least four days of battery life from the Inspire HR. But, I feel the Honor Watch had a better battery life overall. 

Should you buy the Fitbit Inspire HR?

The Fitbit Inspire HR is sleeker than the Alta HR and there are very many advantages over the previous version. As far as smart bands go, there are cheaper bands around like the Mi Band. However, the Fitbit Inspire HR’s step tracking and well-thought out app is really killer. It draws you in and you want to keep using it more and more. There are issues with it. I am not a fan of the plastic strap and would definitely switch it out for something more premium. And, I feel Fitbit should’ve provided a better quality band for the asking price of around the Rs 8,000 mark. 

All in all, though, I can tell this with a fair amount of confidence that the Fitbit Inspire HR, true to its name, inspired me to workout every day. Now, what more do you need than that in a fitness band?

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Ershad Kaleebullah
ershad.kaleebullah@u2opiamobile.com

When Ershad isn't writing, he spends time killing virtual zombies on his PS4. Having worked with a slew of renowned publications like PCWorld, Channelworld, CIO, NDTV Gadgets (now Gadgets360), MySmartPrice, The Inquistr, and 91Mobiles, Ershad brings a whole world of experience to Mr. Phone. He is trying hard to convert all the team members into Apple fans but is facing a lot of resistance. Is anyone willing to help?