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Fitbit Inspire 2 review: The little fitness tracker that gets me

The best value Fitbit tracker.

As I prepared to write this Fitbit Inspire 2 review, I didn't expect to experience such a rollercoaster of feelings about the little fitness tracker. When the device was announced late in the summer of 2020, I was really excited to give it a go and put it up against my then beloved Charge 3. However, I ended up having some initial frustrations with this device that had me reevaluating my role as fitness band champion. I even briefly considered just moving on to smartwatches like the rest of the world.

After spending more time with the Inspire 2, I've gotten past those frustrations and have found myself settling into a rhythm with the new device. I've even started to forget that I'm wearing it most of the time, which might just be one of its biggest selling points, if I'm honest. It would appear that I'm not alone in my fondness for the minimal fitness trackers either. During Fitbit's online launch event for the Inspire 2 and Fitbit's other crop of new smartwatches, a spokesperson for the company quoted an IDC study indicating that nearly 40% of the fitness tracker market by 2021 would be comprised of fitness bands. After championing the Charge series and now spending some time with the Inspire 2, I think I can safely say that if you're going to get a fitness band, it's going to be really hard to pass up the Inspire 2.

Fitbit Inspire 2

Bottom line: The Fitbit Inspire 2 is a great option for those looking for a comfortable and feature-packed fitness band. Those with smaller wrists, those who prefer a less obtrusive tracker, and/or those who like to accessorize with their bands will enjoy the Inspire 2's flexibility. They will also appreciate the advanced metrics and data that they'll be able to access thanks to a free year of Fitbit Premium.

The Good

  • Very comfortable and lightweight
  • Fitbit packs a ton of health-tracking technology into a tiny package
  • Battery life has doubled from the previous version
  • One year of Fitbit Premium included for free

The Bad

  • Band attachment mechanism is frustrating
  • No on-board GPS
  • No NFC for Fitbit Pay

From $83 at Amazon

Fitbit Inspire 2 Price & availability

The Fitbit Inspire 2 was announced in late August 2020 and started shipping in late September 2020 for $100. However, the tracker has gone on sale several times since it was released, and you can often find it for $70-$85 if you happen to catch the sales just right, and for that price, you're getting a really good value in a fitness tracker.

Form, fit, function, and freebies

Fitbit Inspire 2: What I like

If you were to see the Fitbit Inspire 2 in a store showcase next to the previous generation Inspire HR, you might not be able to tell them apart at first glance. That's because, in large part, they share a similar design language, and fans of the tracker should appreciate that continuity because it means that this device can use the same bands as the previous generation (something that hasn't been a strong suit for Fitbit in the past). There are some subtle differences between the generations, of course, which we'll get to below. Most notable among them is a slightly more streamlined design of the Inspire 2 and the absence of any physical buttons.

The Inspire 2 is so lightweight and comfortable that you'll forget you're wearing it, which is kind of the point.

Although I regularly test smartwatches, I prefer the lighter feel and minimalistic approach of a traditional fitness tracker, and the Inspire 2 doesn't disappoint here. The size and weight are so slight that I can go for hours without even noticing the device on my wrist, and when I do, the soft silicone band feels very comfortable against my skin.

Speaking of the band, the Inspire 2 is available in three different colors, including Black, Lunar White, and Desert Rose. To be clear, the watch casing for all three is black; it's just the bands that come in different colors. Fitbit offers other first-party bands, including premium Horween leather options, fancy stainless steel mesh options, and classic sport options. There is even a nifty clip that you can put your Inspire 2 watch case in if you're someone who doesn't like wearing a watch on their wrist all of the time or if you want to wear a fancier watch from time to time but still want to track your steps and activity discreetly. Of course, there already is an entire ecosystem of third-party bands and accessories available to suit just about every need or desire, and the bands from the Inspire HR and Inspire will also fit the Inspire 2.

Even though the Inspire 2 has a small display, it's surprisingly readable.

The one area that I thought I would be complaining about here was the display, but I came away really enjoying it. True, the screen is much smaller than even that on the Charge 3 and 4 trackers, but Fitbit did a good job with the text size and brightness so that I had no trouble seeing what was on the screen — pretty impressive for these degrading eyes.

Navigating the display is mostly an enjoyable experience as well. I found the touchscreen much more fluid and responsive than the one on my Charge 3. Tapping on the screen (or squeezing the sides) wakes the display, and swiping up from the bottom shows you basic metrics like battery life, your steps, active zone minutes, heart rate, calories, distance, sleep data, weight, water intake, and progress towards your weekly activity goals. Swiping down from the top of the screen gets you to your notifications, exercise modes, the relaxation app, timers, alarms, and device settings. And, of course, squeezing the sides of the watch takes you back a screen (repeat as necessary).

By including a 24/7 heart rate monitor and Active Zone Minutes, Fitbit is elevating the Inspire 2 to become a more holistic fitness band.

The Inspire 2 can track over 20 exercise modes thanks to Fitbit's SmarTrack technology that automatically recognizes continuous movement over 15 minutes and does a pretty accurate job of categorizing it in the Fitbit App. If it guesses incorrectly, you can always change the exercise name manually after the fact. This is also the cheapest Fitbit that can track Active Zone Minutes, which take into account your heart rate zones during different physical activities and award you a corresponding score on your watch and within the app. The goal is to maximize the efficiency of your exercise efforts beyond simply trying to hit a step count or calorie goal.

Other key features that the Inspire 2 includes over the previous HR model are a new 24/7 heart rate monitor, on-device guided breathing in the relax app, sleep tracking, and twice the battery life as before (10+ days vs. 5+ days). The band also includes female health-tracking, and it is water-resistant up to 50 meters. It does not have onboard GPS, though you can connect to the GPS on your phone, nor does it offer any wrist-based media controls like the Charge 4, Versa 3, or Sense.

Including a one-year free subscription to Fitbit Premium is very cool of Fitbit, especially for a relatively low-priced item in its lineup. For comparison's sake, the company is only offering six months of Fitbit Premium access to new users who purchase a Fitbit Versa 3 or Fitbit Sense, which start at $130 and $230 more expensive than the Inspire 2. You may not elect to use all of the features included in Fitbit Premium, but there is a little something there for everyone, from enhanced health metrics and tracking to guided workouts and meditation activities. Just remember to set a reminder to cancel this renewal in your Google Play or iOS Appstore account if you don't want it to automatically renew a year from now!

Months after the Inspire 2 launched, Fitbit brought even more features to the band, such as Stress Management tracking accessible through the Fitbit Dashboard. It also partnered with Tile to allow users to locate their missing Inspire 2 via the Tile tracker app.

Overall, I think the Inspire 2 is a fantastic value and a great way to get into Fitbit ecosystem. Yes, you can find cheaper fitness trackers, but few offer such a well-designed app, robust community, or in-depth tracking and metrics as Fitbit does.

Band, buttons, charging cradle

Fitbit Inspire 2: What I don't like

I've gushed quite a bit about the Inspire 2, but the experience isn't all roses either.

Starting during the setup process, you're presented with an offer to purchase SquareTrade device coverage. That's kind of cool, and I get that conversion is highest during the setup process (as opposed to later via email), but it was just a little annoying. Also, for me, the Not Now button was hidden, and it took me a few seconds to figure out how to dismiss the offer. I don't think this was intentional; rather, it seemed like a UI bug because when I tapped where it should have been and the offer went away.

While I do appreciate the bright and easy-to-read display, the watch face selection is un-Inspiring. It's nice that there is a selection at all, and some of the animal faces like the cat, raccoon, and owl are cute, but they don't give you much information at a glance. That probably can't be helped given the screen's size, but it's something to take into consideration.

My biggest source of frustration with the Inspire 2 was the band attachment mechanism. At first, it was enough to sour me on the experience as a whole, but once I calmed down, I got over it. I still don't fully understand why Fitbit can't make it a simple snap-on band like the new Versa 3, Sense, and Charge 3 and 4 devices. Perhaps it felt it was more important to maintain compatibility with the previous generation Inspire and Inspire HR bands, or it wanted to keep redesign costs down, or both. Either way, I would expect the next generation of Inspire trackers to have an easier band system.

Fitbit has been notorious for its constantly-changing, proprietary charging cradles, and the one for the Inspire 2 falls right into this pattern. At first glance, it looks relatively simple; you just line up the pogo pins and snap it in. It's just not the best experience, and it's another darn cable to remember. And no, the cradle for the Inspire HR doesn't work on it either. It would be lovely if Fitbit could standardize the charging experience moving forward.

The Inspire 2 doesn't have any physical buttons like the Inspire HR or Inspire before it did. Instead, it opts for haptic virtual buttons on each side of the casing. The Charge 3 was the first of Fitbit's wearables to ditch physical buttons, followed by the Charge 4, Versa 3, and Sense, and now the Inspire 2. I've been using this input method on my Charge 3 for nearly two years and have had few issues there. However, I did have some inconsistencies with it on my Inspire 2 review unit. Sometimes I'd have to squeeze multiple times to get the input to register, while other times, I inadvertently set it off based on the watch's position up against my wrist or hand. Perhaps these inconsistencies compared to my Charge 3 can be explained by the sensors' position and the casing material; the Charge 3 has an aluminum casing, and the sensor is only on one side, whereas the Inspire 2 has a plastic casing with touchpoints on either side.

While the responsiveness for swiping on the screen was fantastic, I had mixed results with the side panels' squeeze gesture and haptic feedback.

When it was first launched, there weren't exercise presets for walking or hiking, which seemed like a missed opportunity. However, both of these exercise modes have since been added, thankfully. Some of the other available exercise modes that you can select include running, biking, swimming, treadmill, weights, and interval workouts. You can reorganize the order from the app, but you can't choose any other manual modes like you can on Fitbit's more expensive trackers.

I mentioned this earlier, but the Inspire 2 doesn't include built-in GPS or NFC for Fitbit Pay contactless payments. If these features are important to you, you'll want to consider upgrading to the Charge 4 or a smartwatch.

Fitbit Inspire 2: Competition

The Xiaomi Mi Band 6 is a nice alternative band that features a color AMOLED touchscreen and most of the same health and fitness tracking features as the Inspire 2 but it comes in at two-thirds the price.

The other major player in the fitness tracking space is Garmin, and its line of Vivosmart and Vivofit trackers (both on their fourth generation) could be good alternatives to the Inspire 2. The Vivosmart 4 has a larger screen and a Pulse Ox sensor for $30 more than the Inspire 2, while the Vivofit 4 comes in nearly $20 cheaper than the Inspire 2.

If you like the idea of a functional Fitbit band and don't mind a slightly wider, thicker watch, then you might want to check out the Charge 4. It features more workout modes, onboard GPS, and Fitbit Pay for contactless payments.

Alternatively, the recently announced Fitbit Luxe has most of the same features from the Inspire 2 but puts them in a beautiful stainless steel enclosure with a color AMOLED screen. If you want fashion with your fitness, the Luxe is the way to go.

Fitbit Inspire 2: Should you buy

You should buy this if ...

You prefer a smaller, less obtrusive tracker

The Inspire 2 is just about as small as you can get a tracker and still have a viewable display and advanced health sensors.

You like to accessorize your tracker

There are over a dozen sporty and premium bands available on Fitbit's website, including Horween leather and stainless steel mesh, as well as a clip holder. This isn't even taking into consideration the hundreds of third-party options.

You need long battery life

If you're like me, you absolutely hate taking off your watch to charge it regularly, or you just forget to. Thankfully the Inspire 2 has 10+ day battery life.

You should not buy this if ...

You have limited vision

The display shows more than I expected, but it's still pretty small. If you have poor eyesight, you will want to get something with a larger watch face.

You need GPS and NFC

The chances are that the target market for the Inspire 2 isn't all that worried about onboard GPS, but if you are, you should upgrade to the Charge 4. NFC is nice to have, but it makes sense why it didn't fit in such a small device.

You like to swap bands frequently

I know that I just said that the Inspire 2 is great for those who love to accessorize, but this could also be a pain point for those same people; at least, it was for me. You see, the Inspire 2 uses a more traditional pin mechanism to attach and detach bands, which I find to be incredibly frustrating. If you're someone who likes to change bands frequently, this might prove to be a major annoyance for you as well.

We already have it rated highly on our list of Best Fitbit devices, and it compares favorably in just about every head-to-head we've put it through so far. As the Inspire 2 grew on me, only two factors kept me from rating it higher: I wish it had NFC for contactless payments, and I wish the band attachment process was as easy as it is on the newer Charge, Versa, and Sense smartwatches (though I give the Inspire 2 points for fitting in a clip). Overall, the entire package and value proposition of the Inspire 2 is strong, especially when you consider all of the tracking technology packed into such a small device, its comfort and low profile, and the free year of Fitbit Premium.

Fitbit Inspire 2

Bottom line: The Fitbit Inspire 2 is a great option for those looking for a comfortable and feature-packed fitness band. Those with smaller wrists, those who prefer a less obtrusive tracker, and/or those who like to accessorize with their bands will enjoy the Inspire 2's flexibility. They will also appreciate the advanced metrics and data that they'll be able to access thanks to a free year of Fitbit Premium.

From $83 at Amazon


Source: androidcentral

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