The name “Inspire”might be a bit of a misnomer for this very basic device which only just qualifies as a smartwatch. More likely a glorified step counter, the Inspire may be relatively affordable but it also has quite a limited appeal.
Taking its inspiration from some of the older original Fitbit fitness trackers, the Inspire may be a new design but it has little to offer that is different from those older models like the Flex. With its basic functionality, it may have style on its side, but it lacks the capabilities that most of today’s smartwatches can boast.
There are very limited features offered by this smartwatch. For a start, while the platform is quite motivationally effective and fun, its homescreen is outdated and uninspiring. Similarly, the Inspire offers most of the same apps as the older models, including the ability to participate in adventures – mapping your steps to real-world routes where you can unlock pictures and facts along on the way.
This adds a little more excitement to your workout and you can also join challenges with your friends who also own a Fitbit. Alternatively, you can pay a subscription fee to join the Fitbit Coach service with its guided workouts.
The Inspire also tracks sleep patterns, but it doesn’t have the deeper functionality of some of the later incarnations. It can’t break down sleep into deep sleep and REM. Consequently, this means that really all you can see is the number of times you woke and how long you slept for.
The other main extra offered by the Inspire is notifications including call and SMS alerts. You can only see snippets of your messages though, and you can’t read through conversations. Not only that, but you can’t reply to any messages through the Inspire either. There is, however, a vibrate function which allows you to use the device as a silent reminder or alarm. There’s also a countdown timer and stopwatch integrated into the design.
The Inspire is similar in style and design to the Fitbit Alta, although its band is wider at an inch. Furthermore, this watch isn’t very distinctive, and nobody will identify the brand that you’re wearing at a glance. The strap is, however, very simple to replace and there are a range of bands to pick from. Both large and small strap sizes are also available.
The silicone strap comes as standard and while it isn’t especially comfortable to wear with a tight fit, there’s no reason to ensure that the watch is a tight fit to the skin since there’s no heartrate sensor. When worn loosely, this device is so comfortable you often forget it’s there.
there’s no heartrate sensor. When worn loosely, this device is so comfortable you often forget it’s there.
The Inspire is controlled by both buttons and the touchscreen. The interface is intuitive and suitable for everyone to use although the display is very basic with a monochrome OLED. The resolution is also pretty low which means that the quality of the display isn’t great.
The Fitness Tracking
It’s important to be aware that the Inspire isn’t supposed to be used as a training device, so if you go in with these expectations you won’t be disappointed. The concept behind this device is to inspire people to get moving and walk more. For this purpose, only a limited range of sensors are required, so they are the only ones incorporated into this smartwatch.
The Inspire boasts only a three-axis accelerometer. There isn’t any Wi-Fi, GPS or heartrate sensor and so this severely limits its capabilities. You can only track your calories burnt, step count, distance travelled and active minutes. While this might be sufficient for someone who simply wants to give their everyday activity level a boost, it certainly isn’t enough for anyone who is even slightly interested in tracking their sporting activity.
The Inspire may be capable of auto-detecting activities such as walking, running and cycling, but it isn’t recommended for any kind of serious fitness training. The limited sensors mean that the data you’ll receive from any tracked session won’t be very useful. There aren’t any maps either since there’s no GPS, not even connected GPS.
What Are The Main Advantages?
- Stylish and slim design
- Simple sleep monitoring functions
- Comfortable to wear
- Low price
- Intuitive design
- Wide range of straps to choose from
What Are The Main Disadvantages?
- Very basic fitness tracking functionality
- No heartrate monitor or GPS
- Unappealing monochrome OLED display
There are numerous devices out there which are worthy competitors to the Fitbit Inspire, although most are more costly. Nevertheless, the extra expense is outweighed by the additional features and functionality they provide. If you’re a fan of the Fitbit brand but would prefer upgraded fitness tracking functionality, the Versa 2 could be a good choice for you. It offers a lot more in terms of sports tracking as well as handy connected GPS and even the ability to speak to Amazon Alexa through your watch.
How Do We Test Smartwatches?
We’re dedicated to testing a wide range of smartwatches to check whether they’re fit for purpose and who they’re best suited to. We always look at the key elements of every smartwatch to see how well they live up to expectations. Design and the comfort of wear are the first things we look at. Does the watch feel good on your wrist? Is the interface intuitive and user-friendly?
Of course we also look at the fitness tracking functionality to see how effective and accurate it is. We test heartrate sensors, GPS functionality and LTE if it’s built in. We’ll also determine how good the battery life and processing is before bringing you all the information that you need to decide whether it’s the right watch for you.
If you only need a very basic step counter that’s comfortable to wear and looks pretty good on your wrist, the Fitbit Inspire might be a good choice for you. However, if you’re serious about your sports tracking or simply want something a bit more up to date for your money, you should probably look elsewhere.