The Fitbit Inspire HR didn’t really need an update. Fitbit’s affordable tracker has been near the top of our best cheap fitness trackers list since it was announced in early 2018. However, Xiaomi’s Mi Band line has been making good progress over the years, offering better hardware, longer battery life, and more health sensors at a far cheaper price point. Look no further than the Xiaomi Mi Band 5 to see what I’m talking about.
The Fitbit Inspire 2 — the new tracker that succeeds the Inspire and Inspire HR — might be a bit underwhelming if you were expecting a revamp of the Inspire line. Yet, Fitbit knows a good fitness tracker is more than just hardware. This is why the company is throwing in a full year of Fitbit Premium (for new users) with Inspire 2 purchases. That significantly increases the value of this new fitness tracker, even if that perk isn’t available to everyone. Throw in an upgraded display and double the battery life, and you have yourself a promising new fitness device.
Fitbit Inspire 2 vs Fitbit Inspire HR
Fitbit announced the Inspire 2 only a year and a half after the Inspire HR. The Inspire 2 isn’t entirely different from its predecessor, but there are a handful of small upgrades:
- Slightly improved case: The Inspire 2’s case is more pebble-shaped and rounded than the boxier Inspire HR.
- Touch-sensitive buttons: The Fitbit Inspire 2 has a touch-enabled button on each side of its case, which will only register taps if they’re pressed at the same time. The Inspire HR only has a small physical button on the left side of its case. To be clear, these touch-enabled buttons are easier to press and far less laggy than the inductive buttons that can be found on the Fitbit Sense, Versa 3, and Charge 4.
- Brighter, more vibrant display: Fitbit says the Inspire 2’s display is 20% brighter than the Inspire HR’s. Whites are whiter on the Inspire 2, too.
- Improved device navigation: Swipe down on the touchscreen to see notifications, exercise and relax shortcuts, timers and alarms, and settings. Swipe up to see device stats like the date and battery percentage, steps, calories, Active Zone Minutes, heart rate, distance, sleep, and more. Touch and hold both side buttons to reach quick settings (do not disturb, sleep mode, screen wake, water lock).
- Improved charger: The Inspire 2’s charger holds a stronger connection to the device when attached. It’s also slightly longer than the Inspire HR’s, but only by a couple of inches.
- New colors: The Fitbit Inspire 2 is available in Black, Lunar White, and Desert Rose. The Inspire HR was only available in Black, White, and Lilac.
- Improved battery life: The Fitbit Inspire 2 can last up to 10 days on a single charge, while the HR could only last around five.
- Active Zone Minutes: The Inspire 2 can track Fitbit’s new Active Zone Minutes metric, unlike the Inspire HR which only tracks active minutes.
Aside from the improved battery life, there really isn’t much differentiating the Inspire 2 from the Inspire HR. With that said, the two trackers have plenty in common:
- 24/7 heart rate monitoring via Fitbit’s PurePulse heart rate sensor (both have the same sensor model)
- Connected GPS
- 20+ exercise modes
- SmartTrack automatic activity recognition
- Tracks steps taken, distance traveled, calories burned, and sleep
- IP68 water resistance
- Smartphone notifications
- Move, health, and wellness reminders
- On-device guided breathing
- Menstrual cycle tracking
- Food/hydration intake, weight tracking
- No Fitbit Pay, no music storage or music controls
How does the Fitbit Inspire 2 perform?
This shouldn’t really come as a surprise, but the Fitbit Inspire 2 performs similarly to the Inspire HR.
The new backlit OLED display is okay. I didn’t notice any major differences until Fitbit pointed out that the Inspire 2’s display is brighter and more vibrant. It’s definitely not a reason to upgrade from the previous model. I had a few issues viewing the Inspire 2’s display in direct sunlight. You’ll also notice it’s quite hard to capture the display in photos.
One of our main gripes with the Inspire HR was its charger. It only loosely stuck to the device when connected, but that appears to have been fixed with the Inspire 2. The new charger looks just about the same, only it has two small clasps that latch onto the device when connected. Once it’s connected to the charger, it’s not going anywhere. Now, if only we could get Fitbit to adopt a single charging cable like Garmin has, and we’ll be golden.
For the most part, the Inspire 2’s new touch-sensitive side buttons are less laggy than the buttons on the Sense and Charge 4. However, they struggle to register touches when they get sweaty. After every workout with the Inspire 2, I struggled to pause/stop my workout because my touches wouldn’t register. It’s annoying.
I think Fitbit’s 10-day battery life claims are accurate. Unlike more advanced watches, there’s really not much you can turn on or off to extend the Inspire 2’s battery life. Wearing the device basically 24/7 for sleep tracking, heart rate monitoring, and exercising every other day, the Inspire 2 is on track to last me a full 10 days.
I’d also like to briefly comment on the design. I think Fitbit could do better here. Despite its name, the Inspire 2 doesn’t do anything to inspire me to wear it. It’s bland and a bit too understated for my liking. I’d much prefer to wear the Charge 4 on my wrist. At least Fitbit offers additional straps and clips if you want to spice it up.
The Fitbit Inspire 2 comes with the same PurePulse optical heart rate sensor as the previous model. There aren’t any significant changes. Unfortunately, that means the tracker misses out on the new PurePulse 2.0 sensor that ships on the Fitbit Sense and Versa 3.
Below, you can see a four-mile run around my neighborhood with the Inspire 2 (purple), Garmin Fenix 6 Pro (orange), and Wahoo Tickr X chest strap (blue).
I like a lot of what the Fitbit Inspire 2 is doing here. Though, it’s important to remember that this is a lower-end fitness tracker. It took until the ~12-minute mark to get on the same page as the Fenix and Tickr X. The first big rise (~12-16 minutes) was solid, but it lagged a bit on my resting point at 17 minutes. When the next big rest rolled around at 23 minutes, it was actually spot-on with the Tickr X at 109bpm, while the Fenix 6 Pro only dropped to 132.
I have no idea what happened from 25-29 minutes. However, the Inspire 2 was actually able to remain more accurate than the Fenix through that time. And finally, please take a look at the ~30-minute mark. The Inspire 2 reported a peak heart rate of 180, though my actual heart rate was all the way down to 110.
Overall, it’s a decent heart rate monitor comparatively. I do wish Fitbit was able to include its newer sensor, though.
Fitbit has been pushing Active Zone Minutes with all of its recent fitness trackers, and I love it. This activity metric gives you points based on how long you spend in fat burn, cardio, or peak heart rate zones. These metrics are based on the American Heart Association’s recommended 150 minutes of moderate/75 minutes of vigorous activity per week. Judging your activity based on time spent in heart rate zones makes so much more sense than attempting to reach a step goal. I’m happy it’s here on the Fitbit Inspire 2, though I wish the feature was ported to the Inspire HR.
I probably don’t use these the way Fitbit wants me to, but I like turning off heart rate zone notifications after only a few workouts. I find my wrist constantly vibrating during workouts to be incredibly distracting.
The Inspire 2 has connected GPS like most other fitness trackers in this price range. While that’s a nice benefit for those who don’t mind running with their smartphones, it might be the main difference (other than the price) between buying the Inspire 2 or spending a little more for the Fitbit Charge 4 — a far superior fitness tracker with built-in GPS. If you’re in the category of “I don’t really care about GPS,” then perfect! Connect your phone to your Inspire 2 on a run or bike ride and you’ll have accurate distance and pace data for your workouts.
Connected GPS also enables Fitbit’s new workout intensity map in the Fitbit app. After you track your route, you’ll see a heat map of your route that displays your heart rate zones and pace — again, something that’s enabled on the Inspire 2 but won’t be ported to the Inspire HR. I always find heat maps to be useful in training. It gives me a clear indication of which zones I’m in at any given time. I can then compare those heat maps with my usual running routes to see where I’m exerting more effort.
- Free 1-year Fitbit Premium trial for new Premium users (Free trial may only be activated with device activation & within 60 days of device activation. Valid payment method required. New users only. Cancel before free trial ends to avoid subscription fees)
- Earn Active Zone Minutes as you progress toward your weekly 150 minutes of heart-pumping activity and use 20+ exercise modes to track goals like distance, calories burned and more
- Track all-day activity: your steps, distance, hourly activity and calories burned
- Use 24/7 heart rate to track resting heart rate & better measure calorie burn
- Enjoy 10 days of battery life for daily progress without constant charging. Varies with use and other factors
- Track your time in light, deep and REM sleep, then get a Sleep Score to better understand your sleep quality each night
- Stay inspired from the shower to the pool with this swimproof tracker (water resistant to 50 meters) and motivated by connecting with friends, competing in challenges, earning badges and celebrating goal milestones
- Get call, text, calendar and smartphone app notifications right on your wrist. Notifications and app alerts are available on-device when your phone is nearby
- Affordable price
- Small, lightweight design
- Great sleep tracking and insights
- Good heart rate tracking
- Connected GPS is a plus
- Bland design
- Side buttons unresponsive at times
- Display could be brighter
- Questionable value outside Fitbit Premium trial