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Fitbit Inspire 3 review: A budget-friendly fitness tracker packed with features

Fitbit Inspire 3 review: A budget-friendly fitness tracker packed with features

As the saying goes, you can’t improve what you don’t measure. In the decade that I’ve been working out, trying new diets, tweaking macros, and experimenting with new weight lifting plans I’ve come to learn that tracking progress is key to moving forward in your fitness journey. That’s where a fitness tracker comes in. Ideally, a fitness tracker is a set it and forget it situation: You slap it on your wrist, and it quietly records helpful biometric data in order to translate it into easy to read information when you’re ready. 

That’s where the Fitbit Inspire 3 comes in. It sits easily on the wrist, and compared to other wearables it’s relatively small. The watch counts steps, tracks heart rate, and measures calories burned, among other metrics, and, in combination with Fitbit app, converts all that information into data you can use to inform your workouts. 


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The Fitbit Inspire 3 fit seamlessly into my existing workout routine, and seeing some analytics even pushed me to work harder in some cases. Some features, like hourly reminders to get up and get some steps in, felt a bit extra — particularly on days I knew I’d be going to the gym in just a few hours — but could certainly be helpful for someone hoping to more regularly include low impact activities, or for someone hoping to make fitness more of a routine. 

What features are included?

As a fitness band, the Fitbit Inspire 3 offers a surprisingly large amount of features and apps. First and foremost, it’s a pedometer; it counts your steps, and logs the miles you’ve walked or run. It also has a heart rate monitor which keeps track of your pulse, and in turn the calories you’ve burned in a day. It also tracks your sleep cycles, as you shift between light, deep, and REM sleep throughout the night. 

man's wrist with slim Fitbit Inspire 3 fitness tracker

The Fitbit Inspire 3 has a slim profile but is packed full of features.
Credit: Sam Stone / Mashable

It can automatically categorize your activity — it senses when you’re on a bike ride versus when you’re on a run for instance — and records your blood oxygen level, too. There are options to log stress levels, complete mindfulness sessions or guided workouts, and log menstrual cycles. It tracks your breathing rate, skin temperature, and heart rate variability. You can log the foods you’ve eaten to track calories, and log your weight in. It vibrates on your wrist when your phone receives texts or calls, and to top it all off the thing is waterproof up to 50 meters. 

After a few days of calibration, it really feels like the Fitbit Inspire 3 tracks nearly every major metric of your fitness — and that’s a good thing. I found that these functions were genuinely helpful in feeling better, and getting more out of my workouts. Sleep analysis can help you figure out which factors are preventing you from waking up refreshed (for me it was phone time before bed), and features like the Readiness Score, available with the app’s premium subscription for $10 per month, can help you know when to focus on recovery or get in a hard workout. 

Most functions work perfectly

From the moment I put it on my wrist, the Fitbit Inspire 3 seamlessly became a part of my fitness routine. I especially appreciate that it automatically recognized the activity I was doing, and after a particularly hard workout it was kind of vindicating to check out how high my heart rate had been.

I found the watch’s left/right swiping and up/down scrolling incredibly intuitive, and, although the app has a lot of different menus and screens to display the myriad data the Fitbit has collected, I’d mastered it by the third time I opened it. 

Almost every feature worked flawlessly. That being said, during my testing, as I went from long runs, to hard cross training, to leisurely bike rides I found a few small flaws that are worth mentioning. Most notably, the heart rate monitor becomes inaccurate, recording a lower heart rate, during intensely sweaty workouts. Sweaty wrists mean that the sensor can’t work correctly, and records the wrong heart rate. I noticed this only once or twice during particularly long and hard workouts, and I wouldn’t call it major flaw.

I also found that the Smart Wake feature, which purports to wake you up with vibration when you’re at the lightest phase in your sleep, didn’t work as advertised. I’d hoped to wake up feeling refreshed and ready for the day, but I woke up groggy every time. Sleep metrics from any fitness tracker may not be exactly accurate, though, and I didn’t mind skipping over this feature. 


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There are some small downsides

There are, however, a few issues that are worth knowing about before buying. Namely: notifications. There are a lot of them. For the most part, they’re customizable, but I found it annoying to find the right screen in order to switch them off again and again. I didn’t love getting a buzz on my wrist urging me to get up and take 250 steps every hour while I was focusing on work. I was not crazy about getting a buzz on my wrist in the midst of a workout to tell me that I was logging Active Minutes — Fitbit’s metric for minutes with an elevated heart rate. I straight up didn’t care to know that I’d met my daily calorie goal. 

The battery life, too, was a bit less than advertised. The tracker is supposed to have 10 days of battery life (dependent on use, as the Fitbit website reads), but I found it to be closer to six or seven days, instead. Since it’s charging time is just less than two hours, I definitely did not mind throwing it on the charger for a while every week. And it sure beats the Apple Watch’s battery life.

Is the Fitbit Inspire 3 worth the price?

This fitness tracker has an impressive amount of features, apps, and customizations available. Sure, there are one or two kinks that could be worked out, but overall it’s an incredible device that is super helpful for someone hoping to get into a fitness routine, or push themselves that much further at the gym. This Fitbit model is priced just under a hundred dollars, and with the monthly $10 charge for premium features, still feels like an absolute steal. For anyone new to fitness or any dedicated gym rat, the Fitbit Inspire 3 gets you more than you pay for.

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