Trying to decide between the Fitbit Inspire HR and the Fitbit Charge 3? Well, they share a lot in common so it may be a tough choice for some. Here’s a quick guide to help you make up your mind which one is right for you.
First off, as far as performance goes, they are very similar. Both tested out very well for heart rate accuracy, step tracking, reliability, and ease of use. There just wasn’t a clear winner in any of those categories. They’re both solid fitness trackers that should provide reasonably accurate data.
But there are differences, not just in size and price but the overall wearing experience. I guess, I’ll just say it flat out that my preference in terms of which one is more comfortable and enjoyable to wear, it’s the Fitbit Inspire HR.
That’s not to say that the Charge 3 isn’t comfortable or enjoyable to wear but I was really charmed by the Inspire HR and I detailed why in the full review.
I also liked that I could wear the Inspire HR on a clip for when I can’t wear it on my wrist. I work in a sterile environment in a hospital and we can’t wear watches. Imagine that! So, it is great to be able to still get my step data when I’m at work by clipping the Inspire HR onto my scrubs.
The Inspire HR doesn’t come with a clip and technically Fitbit really only recommends it with the non HR Inspire version but it works fine for me. I just don’t get my heart rate data.
But there’s other instances in which a clip is handy, such as when I’m pushing my grandson in a stroller. It’s nice to get credit for my steps and have an idea of the distance I walked.
The Charge 3 does have its own advantages however such as a larger screen with an ambient light sensor. It automatically brightens and dims according to the level of ambient light. The Inspire HR only has one brightness setting.
Both are very readable indoors but the Charge 3 is a little easier to read outdoors in bright sunlight. I didn’t notice a huge difference though. Neither are on par with Garmin or the Apple Watch in terms of good outdoor readability but neither are marketed as hiking watches so I’m not going to knock off too many points.
There is a difference in build quality however. The Charge 3 has an aluminum body and the display is a stronger more scratch resistant Gorilla Glass. You can read the full review of the Charge 3 here. The Inspire HR is composed of plastic. The Charge 3 does feel like the better of the two in terms of materials used to construct them. That doesn’t mean the Inspire HR feels cheap. It just means the Charge 3 feels more substantial in your hands.
Both are waterproof for swimming and can count laps in a pool. You can set how many meters or yards the pool is on both trackers.
Both use connected GPS to estimate distance outdoors and I got very similar results between the two when I compared them against more robust GPS watches. I didn’t have any issues with GPS connecting and remaining connected, like I did with the Fitbit Versa.
Notifications are supported on both but because the Charge 3 has the larger screen, you can see more of the message with a a quick glance. Also, notifications are stored on the Charge 3 so if you missed one, you can go back and read it. You can’t do this on the Inspire HR.
Quick replies to text message notifications are also supported on the Charge 3 if you have it paired with an Android smartphone.
The Charge 3 supports floor counting since it is equipped with an altimeter while the Inspire HR is not, so if you really enjoy knowing the number of floors you’ve walked up during the day, then you’ll want to choose the Charge 3. A floor is calculated when the altimeter senses you’ve climbed 10 feet in elevation so it’s not just counting floors but the elevation you’ve climbed throughout the day as well.
The Inspire HR has a battery life of about 5 days while the Charge 3 has about 7, so basically you’ll probably only be charging either device once a week which is great.
Both have guided breathing to reduce stress. This isn’t a feature I use very often but probably should!
You can pay a little more and get the Charge 3 SE (special edition) which supports Fitbit Pay. This isn’t available on the Inspire or Inspire HR.
Weather is also supported on the Charge 3 so you can get a quick glimpse of the current temperature or the weekly forecast.
You can change the straps on both the Charge 3 and Inspire / Inspire HR though it may be a little easier to change the straps on the Charge 3. You simply push a small button on the back of the watch and pull the strap off. The Inspire HR uses quick release pins which are also fairly easy to use.
There are tons of third-party straps to customize the look for both trackers.
The Charge 3 retails at $149.95 and the Inspire HR retails at $99.95 though you can often find the Charge 3 for less than retails since it’s been out longer. I haven’t seen the Inspire HR drop in price yet. If all you’re really concerned with is step tracking you can get the non-HR Inspire for about $30 less than the HR version but I’d recommend choosing the Inspire with the heart rate sensor because you’ll get more in depth health data and more advanced sleep tracking.
And yes both support sleep tracking and both are very good at it!
There are several watch faces to choose from for both trackers but I really like the ones available for the Inspire HR. They’re fun! The Charge 3 has more classic looking watch faces.
Really, I think the decision comes down to style preference and your wrist size. Neither are large obnoxious trackers on your wrist but if you have a smaller wrist or just want a tracker that’s more inconspicuous, the Inspire HR is the clear choice. It’s also very comfortable and lightweight, especially to wear while sleeping.
In terms of fitness tracking, they’re both very good choices with very similar performance results, although I might give the heart rate sensor on the Inspire HR just a tad better rating. Maybe it’s just the way it sits on my wrist but the sensor was spot on compared to the Polar H10 chest heart rate strap. The Charge 3 is also very good though.
So hopefully, I’ve provided enough details to help you make the decision that’s right for your needs. Both are a good value.