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Fitbit Inspire 3 vs. Fitbit Inspire 2: In-Depth Comparison

Fitbit has established itself as one of the most popular and trusted brands for fitness trackers and smartwatches. The company‘s latest release, the Fitbit Inspire 3, offers notable upgrades over its predecessor, the Inspire 2.

With improved sensors, brighter displays, and useful software updates, the Inspire 3 seems poised to continue Fitbit‘s legacy. But does it provide enough upgrades for Inspire 2 owners to shell out money for an upgrade? And is it the best budget tracker option for new users?

This comprehensive comparison will unpack the similarities and differences to determine which tracker best fits your needs.

A quick side-by-side overview

Before diving into details, let‘s take a broad overview of the specs:

Features Fitbit Inspire 2 Fitbit Inspire 3
Dimensions 1.46 x 0.66 x 0.5 in 1.55 x 0.73 x 0.46 in
Materials Silicone and plastic Silicone and plastic
Colors Black, desert rose, lunar white Midnight zen/black, lilac bliss/black, morning glow/black
Water resistance 50 meters 50 meters
Display type Black & white PMOLED Colorful AMOLED
Battery life (advertised/real-world) 10 days / 5 days 10 days / 8-9 days
Onboard sensors Heart rate monitor, 3-axis accelerometer Heart rate monitor, SpO2, 3-axis accelerometer, ambient light sensor
Key software features Active Zone Minutes, sleep tracking Active Zone Minutes, Daily Readiness Score, sleep tracking profiles
Price $99.95 (on sale now for $64.90) $99.95

The table gives a quick overview, but the details reveal more about the changes. The following sections provide an in-depth look at each tracker‘s design and features.

Comparing designs: Style and build quality

While they share a similar overall aesthetic, some design changes make the Inspire 3 stand out.

Dimensions and materials

Both trackers utilize a silicone band combined with a plastic buckle. This provides flexibility and durability without sacrificing comfort. Each model is constructed well without any rough edges.

The Inspire 3‘s band has slightly adjusted dimensions, with a longer and wider design. For many users though, the differences come down to millimeters and don‘t dramatically change the fit.

One notable improvement comes in the lighter and thinner display casing on the Inspire 3. Slimming this down to 0.46 inches (from 0.5 inches) helps reduce the overall profile.

Colors and interchangeable bands

Consumers can choose between three different color combinations on both models:

  • Inspire 2: Black, desert rose, lunar white
  • Inspire 3: Midnight zen/black, lilac bliss/black, morning glow/black

While the options have changed, each device offers suitable choices to match various styles. The black colorway is a safe choice that fits with nearly any wardrobe. Meanwhile, the lighter rose gold and lilac purple options add some brightness for those wanting to stand out.

One excellent aspect of Fitbit‘s line is the easy interchangeability of bands. Wearing these devices daily leads to wear and tear, but you can inexpensively replace just the bands instead of the whole tracker. Third-party options are also plentiful, letting you customize exactly as needed.

Durability and water resistance

Fitbit utilizes durable, flexible materials in the Inspire line, leading to high ratings from users for longevity. Both models carry strong water resistance ratings up to 50 meters, making them suitable for swimming and beach activities.

Between the use of silicone and strength ratings, I‘ve used various Fitbit devices extensively for years without damage during intense exercise and travel. These withstand sweat, rain, hiking outdoors, and more.

Display technology shows a noticeable leap

The display marks one of the most significant areas where the Inspire 3 separates itself as a compelling upgrade option.

Inspire 2‘s muted screen

The original Inspire 2 featured a black-and-white PMOLED panel without any color. For glancing quickly at stats during runs, this worked sufficiently. Reading details extensively, however, strained the eyes.

When this Inspire 2 debuted in 2020, color displays had become standard on smartphones and smartwatches. So the absence felt outdated and like a deliberate omission to save costs.

Making matters worse, the Inspire 2 lacked any always-on display functionality. So aside from raising your wrist to trigger a brief illumination, the screen stayed blank. Even budget fitness trackers had moved past this limitation years prior.

Vibrant improvements on the Inspire 3

Fitbit clearly made display upgrades a priority with the Inspire 3‘s design. They start with a transition to a color AMOLED screen. The panel delivers excellent vibrancy for such an affordable device.

Seeing full colors and contrast helps improve the experience of glancing at your daily stats. Reviewing sleep tracking data and trends is especially more insightful.

Some users may also appreciate the differences during exercise. Color-coding for heart rate zones stands out better compared to the Inspire 2‘s mono display. And support for always-on functionality means keeping pace and interval stats visible with just a flick of the wrist.

Overall, the Inspire 3 finally reaches display parity with competitors in the price range. It may seem minor, but having vibrant and always-visible stats helps keep users more engaged and motivated than previously possible on the Inspire line.

Tracking sensors and health metrics

Inspire devices aim to provide comprehensive activity and health tracking in simple and affordable packages. Let‘s examine how the sensor technology and data insights compare between generations.

Both provide extensive health metrics…

You‘ll find thorough tracking support across both Inspire models for:

  • Steps
  • Distance covered
  • Calories burned
  • Floors climbed
  • Active minutes
  • Heart rate (including resting rate)
  • Sleep stages (Light, Deep, REM)

This includes perfectly serviceable 24/7 heart rate monitoring without any gaps in tracking during both exercise and regular daily activity.

So for users focused just on overall activity, sleep, and resting heart rate statistics, you can‘t go wrong with either.

…but Inspire 3 expands insights

Where the latest Inspire 3 pulls ahead is with the introduction of an SpO2 sensor. This measures blood oxygen saturation levels to provide deeper sleep and health insights.

I‘ve found this data invaluable on devices like Fitbit‘s Sense during periods of illness or potential breathing issues at higher altitudes. So packing it into a budget tracker like Inspire 3 gives broader appeal and utility.

Users struggling with conditions like sleep apnea can utilize the technology for pattern tracking without needing a full-blown (and expensive) sleep study. Identification of issues earlier for doctor consultation may improve outcomes dramatically long-term.

Beyond sleep, sustained oxygen variance outside expected levels may also indicate developing issues. For those with cardiac or respiratory disease risks, these early warnings create opportunities to improve health.

Finally, Fitbit also upgraded the Inspire 3‘s software over its predecessor. A new Daily Readiness Score considers activity, heart rate variability, and sleep data. It then provides guidance on whether you should push hard with your exercise, focus more on recovery and rest, or continue as normal.

These AI-based insights help fitness newcomers better understand what their body needs day-to-day – rather than trying to force activity based on motivation (or lack thereof).

App support and premium subscriptions

Both trackers fully integrate with Fitbit‘s excellent companion apps for iOS and Android for reviewing data, customizing settings, participating in challenges, and more. Synchronization over Bluetooth works quickly and reliably during daily usage.

The company also ties access to premium subscriptions to these devices. However, the time periods granted decreased notably with the Inspire 3.

  • Inspire 2 buyers receive 1 year of Fitbit Premium access for free
  • Inspire 3 buyers only get 6 months of Premium

Considering both devices retail around the same $99 price point, this shortened access is disappointing. For those relying on it for customized programs and insights beyond the basics, it may slightly diminish the value proposition.

Comparing battery life in real-world usage

Specs on paper frequently differ from actual usage, especially when it comes to battery runtime. Fitbit advertises "up to 10 days" on both models, but do they live up to those bold promises?

Let‘s compare what reviewers and users alike report from mixed usage including activity tracking and some GPS.

Model Advertised life Typical real-world life
Inspire 2 10 days 5 days
Inspire 3 10 days 8-9 days

Impressively, the Inspire 3 comes much closer to delivering on its 10-day battery claims. Powering the color display and added sensors, it even slightly outlasts its predecessor with typical use.

In my experience testing both models side-by-side, I found I could reliably get 4-5 days on the Inspire 2 and 7-8 on the Inspire 3 without concerning battery anxiety kicking in. Remaining runtime predictions as the charge depletes also seem more accurate on the newer tracker.

Considering most users need to recharge wearables after a work week anyways, the Inspire 3 certainly seems to offer enough stability. Only those going on longer remote treks may want to consider a tracker with swappable batteries instead.

Fitbit Inspire 2 vs. Inspire 3: Which should you pick?

With a full comparison of specs and capabilities, which Inspire tracker makes the best choice? We‘ll summarize the key pros and cons before making recommendations.

Inspire 2 pros and cons

Pros:

  • Proven fitness tracking capabilities
  • Ultra-compact and lightweight
  • Excellent value when found at discounted pricing
  • 1 full year of Fitbit Premium included

Cons:

  • Dated black-and-white display lacks vibrancy
  • No always-on display option impacts convenience
  • Lacks SpO2 sensor and advanced health insights
  • Real-world battery life lags compared to Inspire 3

Inspire 3 pros and cons

Pros:

  • Noticeably improved color display
  • Always-on display for added convenience
  • Added SpO2 sensor unlocks deeper health insights
  • Slightly extended real-world battery runtime
  • Modernized design improves wearing comfort

Cons:

  • Only 6 months of Fitbit Premium now included
  • Higher cost given relatively modest changes

Recommendations

So with the target $99 price point shared between both models, which comes out as the better option?

For Inspire 2 owners, the updates on the Inspire 3 remain relatively modest. Yes, the display and sensor additions are great improvements that add more convenience and insights. But for tracking basics like steps and sleep, you aren‘t missing out on much sticking with the original.

Unless finding the Inspire 3 at a notable discount from typical street pricing, I don‘t know that the changes justify a complete upgrade or replacement purchase. Take advantage of sales pricing to grab additional bands for your Inspire 2 instead.

On the other hand, for new buyers choosing between them, I believe the Inspire 3 easily justifies its pricing. The color display makes glancing at your stats much more convenient while the SpO2 unlocks health insights you won‘t find on any tracker lacking it.

Given street pricing sees both models hovering around that $99 price tag anyways, the extra usefulness of the upgrades makes the Inspire 3 my clear recommendation. Only opt for the Inspire 2 if you find it substantially discounted compared to the newer model.

The bottom line

While the overall form and functionality remain similar, changes in display, battery, and enhanced sensor technology make the Inspire 3 a solid iterative upgrade over its predecessor. Shoppers may disagree whether the improvements justify ditching the Inspire 2. But for new buyers, I believe they make the Inspire 3 the best budget Fitbit option currently available.

Hopefully this detailed comparison gives you the complete picture so you can decide which Inspire tracker best fits into your health, wellness, and budget needs. Let me know in the comments if you have any other questions!