When I first hooked up the Fitbit Inspire 3, I felt like I was navigating through a portal to 2015 — back to the time when fitness bands were at their heyday, and smartwatches were heavy devices that had yet to find their purpose. And I must say it made me yearn to buy simple wearables.
The $99.95 Inspire 3 is Fitbit’s new entry-level tracker. The Inspire line is known for its affordable price and 10-day battery life. For the third-generation Inspire, Fitbit added a color OLED display — a departure from the monochrome screen of previous versions. It’s basically a less luxurious Fitbit Luxe. Instead of a metal case, the Inspire 3 opts for matte black plastic with induction buttons on both sides. I appreciate the sporty feel of the pink silicone strap of my review unit. The Jelly Retro from the ’90s Fitbit formed a new transparent band. But if you want to get close to the elegant atmosphere of Luxe, you can choose the bands of interest along with
My main concern with the new screen is how it affects battery life. Fitbits are known to last several days on a single charge, and the Inspire 2 had a battery life of 10 days — something Fitbit claims for the Inspire 3. I haven’t had a chance to hang the Inspire 3. With my usual testing method, but I do see that the always-on OLED makes an impact in this claim. With Always On Display enabled, I got close to three days on a single charge. I also took the Inspire 3 on a four-day business trip without Truck. For the trip, I disabled the AOD and it left with about 85 percent of the battery. When I got home, I left 10 percent. Not terrible, but not the promised ten days.
Other than that, the Inspire 3 reminded me of what I loved about fitness teams in the first place. It is very light and comfortable to sleep in and doesn’t overdo things. It won’t help you control your smart home, but it does provide basic notifications, lets you set alarms and timers, track your workouts, and most importantly, track your step count for the day. With Fitbit Premium, you get access to advanced metrics like daily readiness score and stress tracking, although they are optional.
You can take the Inspire 3 out of its wristband and attach it with a simple attachment clip — just as you did with the Fitbit One a decade ago. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed wearing a glorious pedometer around my waist. I missed some heart rate readings when wearing it with the clip, but it was pretty reasonable that I didn’t care in the end. If tracking steps is what you’re after, this is a great way to stay active. (Everything old is new again. Newer trackers like Hoop 4.0 also allow you to wear trackers on other parts of your body or on clothing.)
In 2022, I don’t think I’ll go back to wearing a fitness band as my main tracker. I love the reading that larger smartwatch screens can handle. I’ll admit it – I’m addicted to smart features. However, the Inspire 3’s blend of affordability and simplicity is a refreshing change of pace. This makes a compelling case for hardware no Do more than the basics. Sometimes a gadget is enough to do its job and blend into the background.
Photography by Victoria Song/The Verge
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