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.


Fitbit Inspire HR review: Tiny activity tracker packs in a stunning amount of tech, adopted by health providers

Written by Matthew Miller on

Fitbit Inspire HR

  • Lightweight and comfortable for 24/7 wear
  • Long battery life
  • Detailed sleep and heart rate data
  • Fitbit ecosystem well supported
  • No altimeter for stair climb data
  • Hard to read in direct sun
  • Editors' Review
  • Specs

The Fitbit Alta, see our full review, was released in 2016 and last week we saw the introduction of its successor, the Fitbit Inspire and Inspire HR. I've spent the last week wearing the Fitbit Inspire HR and its clearly one of the most subtle activity trackers for those not interested in wearing a smartwatch.

The Apple Watch Series 4 has dominated the wearable news wires for the past few weeks, but according to Fitbit's research 36 percent of adults planning to purchase a wearable are looking for an activity tracker, compared to 34 percent looking for a smartwatch (Q1 2019 data). The Fitbit Charge 3 was released last fall and is a great device, but the new Inspire HR is much smaller while also giving you the flexibility to clip it on.

See also: Fitbit Charge 3 review: Comfortable activity tracker backed by a powerful fitness platform

Fitbit actually released the Fitbit Inspire and Inspire HR through its healthcare unit and directly to health solution providers earlier this year. Later this week, the rest of us can purchase the Inspire and Inspire HR.

When I look at the extensive list of features provided in the miniscule Fitbit Inspire HR, my mind is just about blown at how far we have come in the last decade when it comes to wearable technology. The Fitbit Inspire HR supports just about everything we see in the larger smartwatches while having a bit longer battery life. I also love that you can remove the band and snap it into the optional clip for an old school Fitbit experience.


  • Display: Grayscale touchscreen OLED
  • Materials: Plastic body and display
  • Wireless: Bluetooth 4.0
  • Water resistance: Up to 50 meters and sweat, rain, and splash proof
  • Sensors: 3-axis accelerometer, optical heart rate monitor, vibration motor
  • Battery life: Up to five days


There is no official weight listed for the Fitbit Inspire HR ($99.95), but it feels almost like air in my hand. That is to say that it is extremely lightweight with bands that also are very light. If you are bothered by anything on your wrist when sleeping, get the Inspire HR and you will not even notice anything is mounted to your wrist.

Top ZDNet Reviews

Raspberry Pi 4

Top ZDNet Reviews

Raspberry Pi 4

Motorola Moto G100

Top ZDNet Reviews

Motorola Moto G100

Raspberry Pi 400

Top ZDNet Reviews

Raspberry Pi 400

OnePlus Watch

Top ZDNet Reviews

OnePlus Watch


I remain stunned by all of the sensors inside this small package and the amount of data captured and presented when I wear it. It's an all plastic body with a comfortable silicone band in the package.

Unlike the Charge 3, there is a physical button on the left side of the Inspire HR. I personally find this more user-friendly than the capacitive area on the Charge 3 and found it to be accurate and responsive every time I pressed it.

Fitbit Inspire HR review: in pictures

The small grayscale OLED is very difficult to see through the glossy plastic finish in bright sunlight, but since we don't get many of those days in Washington State it's not an issue here. If you live in a sunny area of the country or world, then you may want to look at the Versa Lite or another Fitbit device with a bright display.

The Inspire HR retail package comes with small and large flexible silicone bands. The included band is very comfortable and well built. I also tried out a midnight blue Horween leather band ($34.95), which is both lightweight and extremely comfortable.

Fitbit also has Horween leather double wrap ($39.95), stainless steel mesh ($69.95), family print ($29.95), and classic silicone ($24.95) bands to help you customize the look and feel of your Inspire HR. It was also cool to see the clip accessory that lets you turn your Fitbit Inspire HR into a clippable Fitbit that conveniently works with your pocket, waistband, bra, or other part of your body.

A USB-A cable with a magnetic end secures to the Fitbit Inspire HR and is included in the retail package.

Inspire HR band software

After charging up and connecting your Fitbit Inspire HR to your Android or iOS device, the first screen that appears when you rotate your wrist is the watch face. There are currently nine clock faces to choose from in the Fitbit app gallery. Five apps are available for the Inspire HR, including timer, settings, alarms, exercise, and relax.

Swipe down from the clock face to jump into the different apps, including exercise, relax, timers, alarms, and settings. Swipe up from the clock face to view the Fitbit Today data, including steps, heart rate, calories burned, activity minutes, distance, and a graphic of active times throughout the day.

Once you find an app you wish to use, tap on it to open the app and then dive into running the app. Use the smartphone app to select the seven exercises that you want to appear on the Inspire HR with more than 15 goal-based exercise modes available.

Press in on the left button to go back one display. Press and hold on this button to view the battery status, toggle screen wake up, and view your notifications.

PC/Mac Software

While you can use the Fitbit website to view your data, the richer experience is present in the actual Fitbit app found on both Windows and Apple computers. Like the smartphone app, the Fitbit PC app launches with the dashboard. You can customize what appears on the dashboard and this is reflected down to the Charge 3.

Fitbit announces Versa Lite, Inspire HR, and Inspire: in pictures

Other tabs in the PC software include challenges, guidance, community, and notifications. You can also access your Fitbit ecosystem settings for your Charge 3 and other connected gear. Clicking on various elements on the dashboard will also show you more details and then you can even dive down a few more layers to see all of the details of your collected data. There is a rather stunning amount of data available in the Fitbit software, collected by the Charge 3.

Smartphone Software

There are iOS and Android apps for Fitbit. The Fitbit app essentially mirrors what we see in the desktop software with a slightly different user interface.

In addition, you can setup your smartphone notifications for the Inspire HR. Options include calls, text messages, calendar events, email and app notifications. On Android, you have full control over which apps have notifications appear on the Fitbit Inspire HR. The notifications are very basic and just provide you with the information in a few lines.


There is no GPS integrated into the Fitbit Inspire HR, but it supports connected GPS so it uses the GPS receiver on your phone to connect and track your exercises with GPS. I tested the Inspire HR with a Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus and iPhone XS and it worked very well, consistently tracking my exercise with key information shown on the display.

One of the major strengths of the Fitbit Inspire HR with its PurePulse heart rate tech is the advanced sleep tracking. With something as light and comfortable as the Inspire HR, it is easy to sleep with.

The Fitbit Inspire HR does a great job of tracking your daily activity and sleep with the ability to also track exercises with some basic information shown to you as you use it. It is very comfortable and can be worn for days between charging.


Netgear Orbi Quad-Band Mesh WiFi 6E System (RBKE963): Fast but expensive wireless mesh networking

Netgear Orbi Quad-Band Mesh WiFi 6E System (RBKE963): Fast but expensive wireless mesh networking

NexDock 360 Touch review: Transform your Samsung smartphone into a capable laptop

NexDock 360 Touch review: Transform your Samsung smartphone into a capable laptop

Dell XPS 17 9710 (2021) review: A highly configurable premium 17-inch laptop

Dell XPS 17 9710 (2021) review: A highly configurable premium 17-inch laptop