Why you can trust ZDNET
:ZDNET independently tests and researches products to bring you our best recommendations and advice. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission.Our process
'ZDNET Recommends': What exactly does it mean?
ZDNET's recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.
When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNET nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.
ZDNET's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form.
There is no question that the past two years have brought a shift in focus toward our personal health and wellness. That's why products like the new Fitbit Inspire 3 are quintessential. The latest model serves as a tiny, unobtrusive tracker to capture your health and wellness data 24/7 with very little interaction needed.
Fitbit has upgraded from an older monochrome display to a colored one this time around while maintaining over a week of battery life to reduce your charging cadence. The device is extremely comfortable and the bands I tested were light enough to make me forget it was on my wrist.
If you don't like wearing watches or trackers that you have to charge daily and, frankly, don't want a watch that requires much fidgeting, this sub-$100 Fitbit is a solid option.
I tested the Morning Glow Inspire 3 with all three watch band options (Midnight Zen and Lilac Bliss are the other two colors), as the color of the box will tell you (see image below). No matter which variant you buy, it'll come with a frosted matte black coating that pairs well with virtually any band.
The front glass display curves down on the edges into the plastic frame/casing of the Fitbit module, which makes the tracker's AMOLED display easy to tap, swipe, and interact with. Speak of which, the display is vibrant, bright, and much easier to read than the monochrome panel of previous Inspire generations.
There are touch-sensitive areas on both sides of the module. To turn on the display, you can simply touch both buttons with your fingers, essentially squeezing the pebble, and perform the usual swipe-up, down, left, and right to scroll through the user interface. A second squeeze will either turn off the display or take you to the Inspire 3's always-on display mode.
The heart rate and temperature sensors are found on the back of the Inspire 3, with four gold charging connection points on the bottom and the Fitbit logo on the top. Quick release pins are positioned on the ends of the bands so you can slide them over to release the band. It takes a bit of practice to insert the end of another band but I definitely recommend taking your time with the installation so you don't break any pins or components.
Two adjustable ends are provided with the default band so that the Fitbit Inspire 3 will fit all wrist sizes. I positioned the longer end of the band on the Fitbit for my use and it was perfect. It is a soft, comfortable silicone material with well-built clasps. The Morning Glow sport band was included with my evaluation unit and then Fitbit also sent along the Platinum Stainless Steel Mesh ($69.95), shown below, and Deep Dive Translucent band ($34.95) for testing.
A note on the Stainless Steel Mesh Band
The Stainless Steel Mesh band comes in one size and I had to extend it out to the very end to get it on my wrist. Even then, it was still a few millimeters too short. Fitbit states this band fits wrists 7.5 inches in circumference, for what it's worth. You need a flat screwdriver to open the band adjustment lever so don't try to do this with your fingernail. It's a lovely soft metal material, but just a bit too tight for my wrist. The large Deep Dive Translucent band fits wrists sized 7.1 to 8.7 inches and that one is extremely comfortable. I love the translucent edges of the band and the cool, modern blue color that is also found on the buckle and loop. Out of the three bands I tested, it is definitely my favorite.
Finally, a USB-A cable, with a black plastic end that fits up against the back of the Inspire 3, is provided to charge up the Fitbit. The charger is rated to take the Fitbit from 0 to 100% in two hours. My experiences with the battery closely matched what Fitbit advertises; 10 days in typical mode, with a couple of days less when the always-on display is enabled for waking hours. This is solid battery life for such a small tracker with a color display.
The user interface on the Fitbit Inspire 3 has been updated since the previous generation to help improve the usability of the tracker. To wake up the tracker, you can tap the screen twice, rotate your wrist, or push the two side buttons as I mentioned earlier.
Swiping down from the top gives you access to quick settings like water lock, sleep mode, DND mode, and auto wake. Within the settings app, you will also find options for the display, quiet mode, heart rate, Active Zone Minute notifications, and vibrations. Swiping up from the main watch face lets you see your daily stats for all of your health metrics. These metrics include steps, Active Zone Minutes, sleep, and much more.
Swipe left and right to move through the apps that you have installed on the tracker.
One feature I love on Fitbit devices is the smart wake setting that wakes you up with an alarm during a light period of sleep. However, I don't like that the window for this is limited to 30 minutes as I may be taking shorter or longer naps every now and then. To help, I'd love to see a 15-minute window as it would encourage me to use smart wake more often.
iOS and Android users will be happy to know that the Fitbit app is available on both platforms. Google Fast Pair is also supported so the Inspire 3 can appear quickly as a pop-up on your Android phone once it is turned on. We tested the Inspire 3 with a Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4.
Within the app, customization of the Today display (home screen) is possible with options to show steps, distance, Active Zone Minutes, Readiness score, stress management, various health metrics, and even menstrual health. This level of personalization is key to optimizing and improving your Fitbit experience, allowing you to view details and reports over periods of time.
The Inspire 3 clock faces, apps, and many other settings are also managed in the Fitbit app, with 21 different clock face options and eight different apps. More than 20 exercise modes are available with up to six able to be stored on the Inspire 3 at a time. I'm particularly a fan of how Fitbit provides stress management sessions, workout guidance, and much more, while automatically turning the collected data into actionable steps to improve my health and wellness. It's essentially a built-in fitness coach.
The Fitbit Inspire 3 is a marginal upgrade over the Inspire 2 with that color display and a more comfortable curved design. It's refreshing to wear a tracker that nearly disappears on your wrist and yet captures key health and wellness data while requiring very little direct interaction. It's a solid watch with time, date, timer, and stopwatch capability.
The Fitbit Inspire 3 comes with a free 6-month trial of Fitbit Premium and I highly recommend you take advantage of this service. This is a $40 value (based on annual billing) or $60 value (based on monthly billing) and provides a wealth of additional services atop the free Fitbit ecosystem. Services include advanced health and wellness insights, 30-day and 90-day trends instead of just a 7-day period, an upcoming Daily Readiness Score, more than 200 audio and video workouts, more than 300 meditations and soundtracks for mindfulness sessions, and more details on your sleep breakdown. It is clear that the Fitbit Premium service is worth the cost if you want to optimize your health and wellness experience.
Alternatives to consider
If you are looking for another tracker option or a health/wellness device that is not a smartwatch, here are some to consider.