Fitbit Inspire 3 review

A decent fitness tracker at a mid-range price.

Competitive
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For anyone who wants to track their activity levels, the best budget fitness trackers are a relatively affordable choice compared to many fully-fledged smartwatches. They offer many of the same health and fitness tracking features, but forgo some of the added bells and whistles that can bump the price up. 

Fitbit has been making fitness trackers for years, and the Inspire 3 is one of its newest devices, having been released in September 2022 as a replacement for the Inspire 2.  

The Inspire 3 offers plenty of the features you’d expect from a fitness tracker, such as step counts, heart rate monitoring, sleep and exercise tracking. In addition, this device offers blood oxygen monitoring, and via Fitbit Premium you can unlock a wealth of other metrics, including in-depth stress measurements, a Daily Readiness Score, and more. 

It’s a solid all-rounder. But given that there are plenty of broadly comparable rivals that are much cheaper, and more advanced devices that are just a little pricier, can the Inspire 3 still vie for your attention? 

Fitbit Inspire 3 hanging from a branch. The time and date are on displayCredit: Saga Exceptional
The Fitbit Inspire 3

Fitbit Inspire 3

Competitive

The Fitbit Inspire 3 offers a brilliant introduction to the world of fitness trackers. It has plenty of features, is ably supported by a simple-to-use touchscreen and has a well-designed app. There’s an awful lot to like about it, but price changes of rival products mean this device struggles to find a niche. 

Design

Features

Performance

Value


Who’s this for?

The Inspire 3 is a good option for anyone new to the world of fitness trackers, who doesn’t want anything too complicated, but still wants access to plenty of insights about their health and fitness.

Our likes and dislikes

  • Lots of health and fitness tracking metrics
  • Bright AMOLED display
  • The Fitbit app is easy to use
  • Fitbit Premium subscription is needed to access some features
  • Small display makes the touchscreen a little fiddly to use
  • Less accurate than some devices we’ve tested

Expect to pay

RRP: £84.99 The Inspire 3 has an RRP of £84.99. But we’ve seen it available for as little as £64.99 in sale periods.

Fitbit Inspire 3 Review method

How we test

We tested the Fitbit Inspire 3 over a ten-day period, wearing it almost constantly, to assess as many different aspects of it as we could. We wore it while sleeping, and during a wide variety of exercises, including strength training, HIIT (high-intensity interval training), yoga and walking. This allowed us to see how it performed during exercise, and regular day-to-day use. We were also able to test battery life. 

Alongside this, we compared it with the Fitbit Charge 5 and the Polar Unite, two other fitness trackers, to gauge how these devices compared in terms of a variety of metrics. This allowed us to judge them in terms of accuracy and consistency when compared with each other. 

We also made extensive use of the Fitbit app to see how well the data synced, and what additional information was available. We tried it both with and without Fitbit Premium, to get a sense of how many features are hidden behind the subscription service. 

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Fitbit Inspire 3 Setup

Up and running in under 15 minutes

Screenshots of the setup process for the Fitbit Inspire 3Credit: Saga Exceptional
It’s a step-by-step process

Opening the box, you are presented with the Inspire 3, a proprietary charging cable, a second watch strap so you can choose which size best fits your wrist, and a quick start guide. It’s all very minimalist, and most of the work happens via the app on your phone. 

It was simple to set up the Inspire 3. After connecting the charger and switching it on, all we needed to do was move our phone close to the fitness tracker, and we were automatically prompted to set up the device.

If you haven’t already got a Fitbit account, download and install the Fitbit app (iPhone | Android), then go to ‘Set up a Device’ in the app menu. 

There are plenty of screens to scroll through during setup, and it took a few minutes for a software update to download. But we were up and running in under 15 minutes from start to finish.

Fitbit Inspire 3 Design

Lightweight but high quality

The watch strap of the Fitbit Inspire 3Credit: Saga Exceptional
The Inspire 3 feels robust and well made

We were struck by how small and light the Inspire 3 is. It weighs so little (17.69g/0.62oz) it’s easy to forget it’s on, and it will be attractive to anyone who wants something that isn’t too chunky on their wrist. We hesitate to call it unobtrusive, as our watch strap is a vibrant orange that’s hard to miss. 

The strap itself is an extremely comfortable silicon, which didn’t cause any irritation or discomfort. We were pleased to see a traditional watch-style buckle, as this was much easier to put on or remove than some other fastening styles we’ve tried. The strap can be replaced, so if you prefer a different colour or material, plenty of options are available. 

The Inspire 3 is the first Inspire device to have a colour screen, and the result is a very bright, clear display that can be set to ‘always on’ mode, allowing you to easily check the time without needing to tap the screen.  

It is a clear display, but it is still small, and there were times when we found it a little fiddly to use. The text is quite small and can’t be adjusted. So, if your eyesight isn’t the best, it could potentially be difficult to read, despite how clear the screen is. It’s much easier to use the app for checking all your data. 

There are plenty of customisation options, with lots of different watch faces available to download and install via the app, if you want to change how it looks.  

We’ve already mentioned it’s light, but it doesn’t feel cheap. The main unit is nicely rounded, smooth and comfortable on the wrist. There are no physical buttons, and instead you either use the touchscreen, or there are some haptic sensors on the sides which you can touch to wake the device or return to the main display. 

The biggest change compared with its predecessor is the colour display. And while, for some, its size will make it tricky to use, overall it’s a nice package. 

Fitbit Inspire 3 Features

All the essentials are tracked

The Fitbit Inspire 3 surrounded by blue flowersCredit: Saga Exceptional
The Inspire 3 has everything a beginner might need

The Inspire 3 offers most things you’d expect from a fitness tracker. This isn’t a smartwatch, so it lacks some features that you’d find in more expensive devices. But for someone starting their fitness journey who wants to track their key metrics, the Inspire 3 probably offers everything you’ll need. 

You can receive notifications on your wrist when your phone is nearby, including call, text and other app alerts. You can’t send messages or take phone calls directly from your wrist, however – unlike the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5, for example. Notifications worked effectively enough, with a vigorous buzz to alert you to any incoming calls or messages.  

There are a few missing features you find in many fitness trackers and smartwatches; for example, it lacks inbuilt GPS or contactless payments (although given how limited Fitbit Pay availability is, that may not matter to many people) and there’s no altimeter.  

For a fitness tracker, it’s arguably the absence of the altimeter that is most significant, as you can’t measure stairs climbed, or elevation when you are out hiking, for example. 

Health and fitness tracking

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The Fitbit Inspire 3 showing heart rate during exerciseCredit: Saga Exceptional
There are lots of health and fitness-related features

The Inspire 3 offers plenty of health and fitness tracking features, as you’d probably expect for a Fitbit device. All the standard metrics are there – most notably heart rate, sleep tracking, and activity tracking for up to 21 different types of exercise. Alongside these, it will track your step count and estimate your daily calorie burn.  

There are a few extras as well, including skin temperature variation tracking (which may be related to activity, illness, or menstrual cycle, for example), blood oxygen tracking, stress management, mindfulness sessions and a Daily Readiness score. Many of these are only available via a Fitbit Premium subscription, which we’ll talk more about later.   

Blood oxygen and heart rate monitoring are useful to track potential changes in your wellness. If your heart rate seems unusually high or low, the Inspire 3 will alert you – we received a notification when our heart rate dropped below 50bpm – and you have the opportunity to complete a short survey to identify if there may have been any potential causes.  

In terms of exercise tracking, you can select up to six options to display on the device itself, so you can quickly start tracking them. While this fitness tracker may not offer the sheer volume of activities of some other devices, it focuses on the most common exercise types, so will be suitable for most people. It’s also water resistant, so you can use it in the swimming pool should you wish. 

It’s very easy to start tracking a workout. Swipe left or right to reach the exercise tab. Swipe up or down to choose the activity you’re about to begin, and tap on it to select it. When you’re ready, hit ‘play’ to get started. To finish, wake the screen, swipe down and pause the workout. Swipe down once more and press ‘stop’ to finish. You’ll get a little breakdown of the main metrics from your workout, including heart rate, calorie burn, and active minutes.  

Fitbit app

Where the Inspire 3 really shines is when it’s used in tandem with the Fitbit app. The app is one of the most user-friendly we’ve seen, presenting data clearly and intuitively. On the home page you get a snapshot of key metrics, and you can tap on them to access more in-depth analysis.  

There’s also a wealth of supporting content, ranging from meal plans to workouts, and guided programs. Some of our favourite features include the Cardio Fitness Score and the Daily Readiness Score, which are also available via the app. 

Cardio Fitness Score

Screenshots of the Cardio Fitness Score on the Fitbit appCredit: Saga Exceptional
The Cardio Fitness Score on the Fitbit app

As the name suggests, this is a metric that estimates how fit you are, based on your resting heart rate. It is an estimate of your VO2 Max, and the higher the number, the fitter you are. It also shows you how you compare to people of a similar age and gender. It’s a score that can be improved over time, and we felt this was a good motivational tool.   

Daily Readiness Score

Screenshots of the Daily Readiness Score on the Fitbit appCredit: Saga Exceptional
Daily Readiness can help you decide what type of activity to do

Daily Readiness Score takes into account your recent activity levels and intensity, sleep, and heart rate variability, and calculates how ready your body is for exercise. 

A ‘low’ score will imply that your body needs rest, and that your focus should be on active recovery, such as walking, stretching, or yoga. A ‘medium’ score means you can probably cope with some moderately intense exercise, while an ‘excellent’ score means your body is ready for something a little more intense. 

We’ve seen a similar feature in Garmin devices, and we really like the idea that your device can help you not to overdo things, or when you can push a little harder. It takes several days for your first score to appear, and after a couple of weeks, the score will be optimised. 

Fitbit Premium

While we like many of the features available in the Fitbit app, we do need to highlight that many of these features, and the deeper insights that come with them, are only available if you subscribe to Fitbit Premium, for £7.99 a month, or £80 a year if you pay in full upfront.  

You do get a lot of added content with it, such as: 

  • Daily Readiness Score 
  • Stress Management Score Breakdown  
  • Wellness Report 
  • Workouts 
  • Mindfulness content, including guided audio from Calm 
  • Sleep Score Breakdown 
  • Blood glucose trends 
  • Recipe inspiration 

However, in a year you’ll potentially have paid more for a Premium membership than the Inspire 3 costs in the first place. Many competitors offer features similar to the likes of Daily Readiness or Cardio Fitness at no extra cost. It makes Fitbit Premium irritating, and it’s a big drawback for what is an otherwise outstanding app. 

Fitbit Inspire 3 Performance

Less accurate than other devices we’ve tested

Screenshots of some of the tracking metrics on the Fitbit app - step count, calorie count, and the Home ScreenCredit: Saga Exceptional
The Inspire 3 tracks a lot of data, albeit imperfectly

When it comes to performance, we’d describe the Inspire 3 as OK, rather than excellent. In some respects it did very well, while in others, we didn’t feel it was as accurate as some of its competitors. 

GPS

The Fitbit Inspire 3 lacks built-in GPS, so instead makes do with connected GPS – which relies on your mobile phone to do the tracking for you. We’ve used connected GPS on other devices, such as the Withings ScanWatch and Garmin Vivosmart 5, and found it is often consistent when compared with devices that have inbuilt GPS.  

On this occasion, however, the Inspire 3 was consistently underestimating the distance we covered. It’s the same route that we’ve done repeatedly before, and have consistently measured it at around 5.6km (3.47 miles).

But the Inspire 3 was typically a full kilometre less than the Charge 5 (which has inbuilt GPS) and the Vivosmart 5 (that also uses connected GPS). This is a significant difference, and certainly does not appear to be accurate in this regard. 

General tracking

Despite the issues we experienced with GPS, we found the Inspire 3 to be generally in line with the Charge 5 in terms of step count, albeit with a few relatively small differences. The Inspire 3 actually counted more steps per day than the Charge 5 (generally around 800 more against a total of between 14,000-16,000 steps a day).  

In terms of calories, the two devices were usually closely in agreement, with a difference of around 100 calories per day. We don’t know how accurate these calorie estimates are, but we can say that they were consistent.    

Heart rate

Screenshots of heart rate tracking on the Fitbit app, recorded by the Fitbit Inspire 3Credit: Saga Exceptional
Heart rate tracking was consistent

We tried a range of activities during testing, including HIIT, strength training, walking and yoga. The Inspire 3 was generally very similar in its readings to the Charge 5, and tracking seemed to be consistent in every type of activity we tested.  

Average heart rate differences during the workouts were usually no more than three or four beats apart. The largest difference we found was on one long walk, where the average difference was eight beats per minute. 

With more intense types of exercise, the maximum heart rate on the Inspire 3 was, again, consistently five or six beats per minute lower than that measured on the Charge 5. A relatively small difference, and certainly in the right ballpark.  

Sleep

Screenshots of the Fitbit app, showing sleep tracking by the Fitbit Inspire 3.Credit: Saga Exceptional
There’s plenty of information available on your sleep

Sleep tracking is pretty inconsistent on smartwatches and fitness trackers. And, despite the Inspire 3 and Charge 5 being made by the same company, we did note some sizable differences between the two devices.  

They were reasonably close in terms of sleep duration. But there were some larger disagreements about the volume of deep sleep and REM sleep that they measured. On one occasion, the Inspire 3 estimated double the amount of deep sleep than the Charge 5. Frustratingly though, on some nights, the Charge 5 estimated more deep sleep, and on others, it was the Inspire 3. 

But on the plus side, we didn’t feel that they were ever wildly inaccurate, either. We didn’t for example, spend a night awake, only to find the Inspire 3 telling us we were sound asleep.  

The overall inconsistency suggests that we shouldn’t rely too heavily on these devices for the accuracy of their sleep tracking. We’d recommend using them as a (very) rough guide. 

App

We mentioned earlier that the Fitbit app is excellent, and when used with the Inspire 3, we have no reason to change our minds. Data syncs quickly, is easy to read, and there is plenty of added insight if you want to learn more about what the data means. 

When you buy a new Fitbit, you’re offered a six-month free trial of Fitbit Premium. This meant we could really test the app and all the metrics it measures, particularly features such as Daily Readiness and Cardio Fitness. 

We felt these features enhanced the overall experience. Daily Readiness takes about 14 days to fully calibrate, but you will start receiving scores before this, giving you an idea of whether today is a day to exercise hard, or take things a little easier. This could be particularly helpful for less experienced exercisers, who may be at greater risk of overdoing things.  

Cardio Fitness Score is another feature that we liked, and there was plenty of explanation of what it is, and how we compared with others. This could be very motivational if, over a period of weeks and months, you start to see your score improving.  

Battery

The back of the Fitbit Inspire 3 showing the charging dock, and the charger itselfCredit: Saga Exceptional
The proprietary charger for the Fitbit Inspire 3

Fitbit claims that the Inspire 3 offers up to ten days’ battery life. In our experience, this was about right. This was despite the screen being always on, and using it to track multiple workouts, while having notifications switched on. Although ten days of battery isn’t particularly impressive these days, it’s still more than enough for most people, who will only need to think about charging it once a week at most. 

In terms of charging, it does have a proprietary charger that clips into place. We could envisage these clips being a potential area of failure, compared with a magnetic charger as on the Charge 5, or a standard USB-type connection. It’s also worth noting that the cable is one of the shortest we’ve seen, at about 20cm (8in).  

Charging itself was quick – once the battery died, we went from 0% to 50% charge in around 25 minutes, and it took around 90 minutes to charge to 100%. This is slightly better than the two hours’ charging time Fitbit suggests. A quick charge while you take a shower and get ready, for example, would probably give you enough charge to keep the Inspire 3 going for several days.

Fitbit Inspire 3 Value

Difficult to justify

While the RRP of £84.99 puts it towards the top end of what we consider ‘budget’, the Inspire 3 does offer a decent product for the price. There are cheaper alternatives out there that offer many, if not necessarily all, of the features of this device. We’d certainly suggest waiting for a deal, to really get the best value from this. And if you do get it for less, you’ll probably be quite happy with a high-quality device and an excellent app. 

But this is where things start to get complicated. While we like the Inspire 3, and can see it being suitable for many, there is the issue of Fitbit Premium. If you want to make the most of this fitness tracker, you’ll need to pay for a subscription, which can cost as much, if not more, than the Inspire 3 did to begin with. And after a year or two, your overall spend enters smartwatch price territory. 

Secondly, the Fitbit Charge 5, which was almost twice the price when it launched, is now often available for under £100 when it’s on offer (and almost always under £125). It offers a few extra features, including inbuilt GPS, which means it is much more accurate for outdoor exercise tracking. 

When you consider the Inspire 3 by itself, you’re getting a decent product for the money. But in comparison to the Charge 5, and potentially with the cost of Fitbit Premium on top, it becomes a less attractive package. 

Fitbit Inspire 3 Competition

You might also like…

If you aren’t certain that the Fitbit Inspire 3 is right for you, here are some potential alternatives to consider:

Fitbit Charge 5

The fitbit Charge 5 lying on a stone surface, with grass and white flowers in the backgroundCredit: Saga Exceptional
The Fitbit Charge 5 has more features for not much more money

The Charge 5 used to be almost double the price of the Inspire 3. But now that it’s around two years old, the price has come down considerably, making it a far more competitive proposition for those considering the Inspire 3.  

It offers all the features of the Inspire 3, plus built-in GPS, electrodermal activity measurements, and ECG. We think it’s a more accurate device as well.  

It is slightly larger, and the battery doesn’t last quite as long. But for the relatively small difference in price (often as little as £30), this is a compelling alternative if you still want the Fitbit app experience. 

Huawei Band 7

Different colour versions of the Huawei Band 7 fitness trackerCredit: Huawei
The Huawei Band 7 offers a lot for under £50

For anyone looking for an even cheaper fitness tracker than the Inspire 3, the Huawei Band 7 is a good choice. It’s even lighter than the Fitbit, has a larger screen, and offers up to two weeks of battery life.  

It also offers many of the same monitoring features, such as blood oxygen, heart rate, stress and sleep tracking. This is on top of tracking 96 different workout types. Like the Inspire 3, it lacks built-in GPS – but for less than £50, you are getting plenty of features for your money, 

Garmin Vivosmart 5

The Garmin Vivosmart 5 on a white surfaceCredit: Saga Exceptional
The Garmin Vivosmart 5 doesn’t require a premium subscription

Garmin is another brand well-known for its sports and fitness tracking devices. The Vivosmart 5 is a fitness tracker that continues its excellent reputation. 

It’s more expensive than the Inspire 3, with an RRP of £129.99. But unlike the Fitbit device, none of the health and fitness insights are hidden behind a premium subscription. This includes features such as the Body Battery, stress and sleep analysis, and VO2 max estimates.  

The app is very user-friendly as well, and ideal if you are interested in detailed fitness tracking. The screen is black and white, so isn’t as attractive as the Inspire 3. But it’s a high-quality device that’s a more than capable alternative. 

Fitbit Inspire 3 Final Verdict

Stuck in the middle

The Fitbit Inspire 3 hanging from a dumbbellCredit: Saga Exceptional
A good product that struggles to compete in its market

The Fitbit Inspire 3 is a very good, if not quite perfect, fitness tracker that we feel would be best suited to beginners entering the world of health and fitness tracking. Fitbit has been doing this for a long time, and the simplicity and user-friendliness of their apps and devices really shows. Beginners will find the Inspire 3 easy to use alongside the app. 

It’s not without its flaws, however. If you’re looking for the most accurate and comprehensive data, then you’ll need to consider an alternative. Especially when it comes to GPS tracking, the Inspire 3 was way off in comparison to other devices.  

If you just want a general sense of how you’re doing, you’ll find that this device works well. It’s consistent with itself in terms of tracking steps and calories, and we found its heart rate monitoring to be very good. 

The biggest problem for the Inspire 3 is that it doesn’t really do enough to stand out from competitors. On one side, you have devices such as the Huawei Band 7 that offers many of the same features for less. On the other, the Fitbit Charge 5 is now only a little more expensive but offers more. For example, the Garmin Vivosmart 5 is more expensive to buy, but doesn’t oblige you to pay for an ongoing subscription to access all the features.  

The Inspire 3 is slightly stuck in a middle ground where it offers little that makes it stand out. It no longer competes well enough on features or price to make it a ‘must buy’.  

That doesn’t make it a bad device. We actually really like a lot about the Inspire 3, and if you did buy one, especially if you’re a beginner, we don’t think you’d be disappointed in it. It’s well built, has a lovely screen, and is a competent all-round fitness tracker. We just feel that right now, there are other options that offer a better package. 

Buy this if:

  • You’re looking for a lightweight but well-made device 
  • You want the user-friendliness of the Fitbit app 
  • You don’t need the most precise tracking 

Don’t buy this if:

  • You want accurate GPS 
  • You don’t want to pay for a subscription to access all the features 
  • A bigger screen size is important

Fitbit Inspire 3

Competitive

The Fitbit Inspire 3 offers a brilliant introduction to the world of fitness trackers. It has plenty of features, is ably supported by a simple-to-use touchscreen and has a well-designed app. There’s an awful lot to like about it, but price changes of rival products mean this device struggles to find a niche. 

Design

The Inspire 3 is small and very light, making it very comfortable to wear. The excellent colour screen is also a big step up from the Inspire 2, if perhaps a little small.

Features

Fitbit offers plenty of health and fitness features on this device, but several are only available if you pay for Fitbit Premium.

Performance

It’s less accurate than other devices we’ve tested, but still provides enough information for beginners. Battery life is solid, but not spectacular.

Value

If you’re buying this at a discount, then the value is respectable. But at full price it starts to feel a little expensive, before factoring in the cost of Fitbit Premium.


Who’s this for?

The Inspire 3 is a good option for anyone new to the world of fitness trackers, who doesn’t want anything too complicated, but still wants access to plenty of insights about their health and fitness.

Our likes and dislikes

  • Lots of health and fitness tracking metrics
  • Bright AMOLED display
  • The Fitbit app is easy to use
  • Fitbit Premium subscription is needed to access some features
  • Small display makes the touchscreen a little fiddly to use
  • Less accurate than some devices we’ve tested

Expect to pay

RRP: £84.99 The Inspire 3 has an RRP of £84.99. But we’ve seen it available for as little as £64.99 in sale periods.

Fitbit Inspire 3 Specs

Weight 17.69g
Dimensions 39.32 x 18.6 x 11.75 mm
Screen size 17.78 mm
Screen resolution AMOLED
Removable strap? Yes
Operating system Proprietary
Compatibility Compatible with android and iOS devices
Workouts tracked 21 workout modes
GPS No
Wi-Fi No
Bluetooth Yes
Cellular No
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Steven Shaw

Written by Steven Shaw he/him

Updated:

Steven Shaw has been a freelance writer for a variety of outlets, most notably TechRadar. His degree in Medieval History prepared him less adequately for his career than you might expect, but the years spent working in technology focused retail were much more helpful.

Outside of work, Steven is passionate about health and fitness, and particularly enjoys high-intensity interval training, weight training, and increasingly, spending time recovering. Steven loves reading, films and a wide variety of sports. A particular highlight was watching Viv Richards and Sachin Tendulkar batting together in an exhibition match.

He wishes he could travel more. He can also tell you a lot about the Anglo-Saxons, Vikings, and Carolingians. Most of his non-work time is spent with his young children, who are the living embodiment of high-intensity training.