Fitbit Inspire 2 full review

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The Fitbit Inspire 2 is a feature-packed activity tracker that offers the best value for money of any Fitbit.

While it’s the company’s entry-level tracker, it boasts nearly all the fitness features of the top-end Sense at 70% of the cost. It’s also nearly a third cheaper than the company’s other non-smartwatch tracker, the Charge 4.

It lacks the complex health functions of the smartwatches but offers just about everything you need in terms of simple and even quite advanced fitness tracking, from step count to sleep quality.

The Fitbit Inspire 2 replaces both the original Inspire and Inspire HR, and joins Fitbit's other non-smartwatch activity tracker, the Charge 4; read our comparison of the Inspire 2 and the Charge 4. While the Inspire 2 lacks the built-in GPS and altimeter, we think it's a better choice for many in terms of features for the price.

The version 2 Inspire doesn't offer a lot to tempt Inspire HR owners to upgrade, although Inspire owners should consider the benefits of its heart-rate monitor.

Design and build

The Fitbit Inspire 2 look just like the Inspire HR that it replaces, although it's actually a little slimmer and loses the physical side button for a touch-sensitive tap or squeeze. It’s a tracker rather than a smartwatch, so it has a monochrome OLED touchscreen display rather than a colour screen that would enable onscreen workouts and smarter apps.

You can now brighten the screen if you want better outdoor visibility, and Fitbit claims it is 20% brighter than the previous generation.

That said, it's undeniably easier to see the stats on a larger colour smartwatch screen of a Fitbit Sense or Fitbit Versa 3 - but the slimmer design might better suit your fashion. And the size of the screen means you have to use the mobile app for some features (such as setting alarms).

The tracker itself is the central black part with the screen. It is water-resistant up to 50m, and comes with two sizes of silicone wristbands included, so you can choose which fits you best. Fitbit lets you print out a guide to find your right size.

At 37g, it’s lightweight and comfortable.

It has a robust aluminium buckle that is secure - indeed it feels more secure than the new Infinity Band that ships with the top-end Sense and Versa 3 Fitbits.

Fitbit Inspire 2 colours

The Inspire 2 is available with Black, Lunar White and Desert Rose Classic bands - a better selection than with the older Inspire family.

And you can accessorise with other available options. Swapping the bands is pretty easy when you get the hang of it, although I found it a little more fiddly than with the new smartwatches.

You can also accessorise the Inspire 2 with patterned, leather and stainless steel mesh bands, from £24.99 or US$29.95.

Another option is a £19.99/$19.95 clip that you can attach to a belt, pocket or bra. You need to set it to an On Clip mode, and of course while in the clip it won’t be measuring your heart rate, so you’ll lose a bunch of features but keep the fitness basics (steps, distance, etc).

Features and tracking

The Fitbit Inspire 2 is an activity tracker and it does that job very well, measuring steps, distance and calories burned.

Fitbit Inspire 2 step count

The Reminders to Move feature is a great motivator to get up and start moving, and hitting the 250 steps per hour goal. This has become one of my favourite targets to reach each day.

It can automatically recognise when you are exercising: running, hiking, cycling, swimming, yoga, dancing, kickboxing, working out, and more. Indeed, there are over 20 exercise modes you can track with the Inspire 2.

You can set yourself targets for calorie burn, distance and time, and the Inspire 2 will give you real-time updates when each is reached.

Swim tracking includes lengths, duration, distance and pace. You need to add the pool length in the Exercise app first, but swim tracking is otherwise automatic.

The Inspire 2 starts its water lock when you begin swimming to prevent accidental taps.

Fitbit Inspire Screen Options

Importantly, it has an optical heart-rate monitor, just like the Inspire HR before it but better than the heartless Inspire.

This 24/7 heart monitoring gives you deeper insight into your exercise and workouts, as well as the quality of your sleep. It's not the latest 2.0 version of Fitbit's PurePulse, but the same as on the Inspire HR.

Fitbit sets heart-rate targets that it separates into zones: Fat Burn, Cardio, and Peak.

As you move in and out of these zones, you earn Active Zone Minutes that are a better fitness metric than just how many steps you make. The tracker gives a buzz when you reach each target heart rate.

Knowing your resting heart rate (RHR) is also a key fitness indicator. A lower resting heart rate can indicate more efficient heart function and cardiovascular fitness. Poor sleep, stress and weight gain can raise your RHR. Walking, cycling and swimming are great exercises to lower your overall resting heart rate.

Compared to the top-end Fitbits, it lacks just the altimeter to count the number of floors you climb during that - a great stair motivator, but probably the activity metric you can do without - and a built-in GPS.

Instead, you connect the Inspire 2 to your phone’s GPS for pace and distance stats. If you run with your phone, you won’t miss the lack of built-in GPS, and you’ll save on the tracker’s battery life. But if you want to exercise away from your phone, you should consider the Charge 4.

Sleep and mindfulness

As with all of today’s Fitbits, the Inspire 2 offers sleep tracking. You can check both sleep duration and the quality of your sleep by checking your periods of Light, Deep and REM sleep.

Fitbit Sleep tracking

You get a sleep score so you can motivate yourself to go to bed earlier, and in a better state for proper rest: dropping the caffeine, and practising some mindfulness with Fitbit’s guided breathing sessions - personalised by your heart rate.

Under the Relax app, there is a two-minute Guided Breathing session that offers motivating vibrations as you breathe in and out. There are further mindfulness features within Fitbit Premium; see below.

It also includes menstrual health-tracking features that examine your cycle and symptoms.

Impressive battery life

The Inspire 2 offers the longest battery life of any Fitbit: a massive 10 days, double that of the Inspire HR it replaces and several days longer than any of the other Fitbits available today.

Fitbit Inspire 2 charger

The charger is different from that of the older Inspire and Inspire HR but works in the same way, clipping firmly to the back of the tracker. It feels a little firmer connection than previously, which helps you know it's doing its job.

Smart features & app

The Fitbit Inspire 2 is a tracker rather than smartwatch, so lacks most of the apps that you get by spending more.

That said, it will give you on-wrist app smartphone notifications including Caller ID, texts, and alerts for other messaging apps (for example, WhatsApp and Facebook).

There’s also a handy countdown timer and stopwatch. And you can set alarms, too - although alarms have to be set in the Fitbit app rather than on the tracker itself.

There are a bunch of different clock faces to choose from, and you swipe up and down to set and see your metrics.

Fitbit app

What sets the Fitbits apart from their rivals is the excellent mobile app that groups together all the stats you can see on the tracker plus plenty more - and more again if you subscribe to the Premium service.

There's the competitive Friends Leaderboard, where you compete for the most steps in the past seven days, accomplishment badges galore, and a great selection of virtual challenges and “adventures”.

While the Xiaomi Mi B is possibly a better option for cost-effective activity trackers, and certainly cheaper, its app is no match for Fitbit's.

Extra features with Fitbit Premium

The Inspire 2 comes with a full year’s free subscription to Fitbit’s Premium service, which normally costs £79/$79 – almost the same price as the tracker itself!

Fitbit Premium Health metrics Inspire 2

This will offer owners of even this entry-level Fitbit the advanced Health Metrics dashboard, with breathing rate, resting heart rate and heart rate variability data. You also get workout videos and guided programs on exercise, nutrition, health and mindfulness.

To really take advantage of Premium, though, you should consider one of Fitbit's colour-touchscreen smartwatches that boast more features.

Price

The Fitbit Inspire 2 costs £89.99 in the UK, $99.95 in the US, €99.95 in the EU, $129.95 in Canada, and $179.95 in Australia. You can buy it directly from Fitbit, or from Amazon or any of the usual tech stores wherever you are.

If you'd rather spend less, you can still buy the Inspire HR at a discount – head to our best Fitbit deals roundup for the very latest prices. The HR’s battery life isn’t as great, and you don’t get the Active Zone Minutes metrics, but you’ll likely save a few quid.

The original Inspire, without a heart-rate monitor, can be found even cheaper. But we’d seriously recommend the Inspire 2 for the heart stats and outstanding battery life.

You might also want to consider some of the other fitness trackers we've reviewed - some, like the Xiaomi Mi Band 5, offer most of the same tracking features as the Inspire 2 for less than half the price.

Verdict

The Fitbit Inspire 2's fitness feature set covers the basics very well - steps, calories burned, Active Zone Minutes, distance travelled, heart rate, sleep tracking, swim tracking, guided relaxation breathing, the ability to auto-detect workouts with reasonable accuracy, and notifications. 

A third cheaper than the Charge 4, the Fitbit Inspire 2 offers incredible value for money for its extensive fitness tracking features, smartphone notifications, and heart-rate health insights.

It might lack a built-in GPS, but can connect to your phone’s GPS for greater sporting stats and maps. Everything else is built right in.

This is a great price for a light, smart-looking device with a solid feature set. Fitness fanatics will want something more advanced, such as the Versa 3 or Sense, but for most of us the Inspire 2 will be all we need.

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