There was a time when Fitbit had nine activity trackers in its portfolio, though the company recently retired the Flex, Alta and Zip lines when it launched the Inspire family. The Inspire and Inspire HR sit just below the Charge 3, replacing the Alta HR and Alta, as well as the Flex 2.

If you're wondering whether the Fitbit Charge 3 or the Inspire HR is right for you, or whether to upgrade from the Alta HR, here is how the three families compare.

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Fitbit Inspire vs Charge vs Alta: Price

  • Inspire:£70
  • Inspire HR: £90
  • Charge 3: £130
  • Alta HR: £130

The Fitbit Inspire HR costs £89.99, while the standard model without heart rate costs £69.99. Accessories are available and they start at £19.99.

The Fitbit Charge 3 starts from £129.99, with the Special Edition models offering Fitbit Pay jumping up to £149.99. Accessories are available again and start at £19.99.

The Fitbit Alta HR is no longer available through Fitbit, though you might find it elsewhere. When it launched, it started at £129.99, with special editions costing more and specialist bands also costing extra.

Fitbit Inspire vs Charge vs Alta: Design

  • Alta/Alta HR: Small and discreet, stainless steel body, tap display
  • Inspire/Inspire HR: Waterproof, slim, plastic body, touchscreen display
  • Charge 3: Waterproof, premium in design, large touchscreen display
  • All models have interchangeable straps

The Fitbit Alta HR has a very similar design to the Fitbit Alta, offering a slim build with a metal chamfered body measuring 15mm wide, a textured elastomer band and a 1.4-inch OLED tap display. It's small, discreet and subtle enough to wear with most clothing.

There are no physical buttons on the device, interchangeable straps that are swapped over by pushing back the clips on the underside of the device and the Alta HR is secured via a colour-matched buckle. The PurePulse heart rate monitor sits beneath the device, alongside the charging pins and it is splash and rain proof, but not swim proof.

The Inspire HR is a little larger than the Alta HR in terms of width, though smaller than the Charge 3. It opts for a plastic body over stainless steel, making for a lighter device and once again, it's small and discreet. The Inspire HR has a smooth silicone strap as standard, which is also interchangeable and fastened with a buckle.

An OLED touchscreen display is present on the Inspire HR and there is also a singular button on the left for returning to main menu and quick access to settings. The heart rate monitor and charging pins sit beneath the Inspire HR like on the Alta HR, with only the charging pins on the Inspire, and both Inspire models are water resistant up to 50-metres.

The Fitbit Charge 3 is a little larger again than the Inspire devices, making it a little more obvious when worn, though the Charge 3 has a more premium finish thanks to the aluminium body. It also has a slimmer profile than both the Inspire models and the Alta models.

A textured elastomer band is present as standard for the Charge 3 and it has a larger OLED touchscreen display than the Inspire and Alta, protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3. It also has an inductive button to the left of the display rather than a physical button like the Inspire.

Interchangeable straps are present again and the PurePulse heart rate monitor sits in the same position on the underneath of the casing, but the Charge 3 adds an SPO2 monitor too. Like the Inspire models, it is also water resistant to 50-metres.

Fitbit Inspire vs Charge vs Alta: Features

  • Alta HR: Steps, distance, calories, HR, elevation, active minutes, advanced sleep
  • Inspire: Steps, distance, calories, active minutes, basic sleep
  • Inspire HR: Steps, distance, calories, HR, active minutes, advanced sleep, VO2 Max, Connected GPS, swim tracking
  • Charge 3: Steps, distance, calories, HR, elevation, active minutes, advanced sleep, VO2 Max, Connected GPS, swim tracking, NFC

The Fitbit Alta HR, Inspire models and the Fitbit Charge 3 all measure steps taken, distance travelled, calories burned, active minutes and continuous heart rate, though the latter is not present on the standard Inspire, only on Inspire HR. Automatic sleep tracking, silent alarms, Reminders to Move and hourly activity are all also on board all models though, along with smartphone notifications. All models except the standard Inspire also offer advanced sleep stages.

Additionally, all models also have Fitbit's SmartTrack, which is a feature that allows trackers to recognise certain activities and record them in the exercise section of the Fitbit app in order for users to categorise them and see a more detailed account of what they have done.

The Alta HR and standard Inspire's features stop there, while the Inspire HR and Charge 3 add several more, marking the biggest differences between these trackers aside from their size and appearance.

Both the Inspire HR and Charge 3 also offer Connected GPS, meaning they will use your phone to record a map of your running or walking route, Guided Breathing, which is designed to offer personalised breathing sessions based on your heart rate and Cardio Fitness Level, which is a VO2 Max measurement.

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The Inspire HR and Charge 3 also have Fitbit's Multi-Sport Mode, which enables users to track workouts and see stats in real-time on the display, Goal-Based Exercise, allowing users to personalise exercise with a specific calories burned, distance or duration goal and swim tracking. The standard Inspire is waterproof but doesn't offer swim tracking.

Smartphone notifications are also more advanced on the Inspire HR and Charge 3 than the Alta HR, and even more so in the case of the Charge 3, which offers Quick Replies for Android users and the ability to answer and reject calls. The Charge 3's display will also show all of the metrics found in the app on the display, including hydration and female health tracking, while the Inspire models offer some but not all.

The Charge 3 also measures elevation. Neither the Inspire or Inspire HR have an altimeter so they won't measure floors climbed, though the Alta HR will.

Last but not least on the feature front, the two Special Edition models of the Charge 3 don't just offer different strap options, they also feature an NFC chip, meaning these models are both Fitbit Pay enabled. 

Both the Alta HR and Charge 3 claim to have a seven day battery life. The Inspire models claim to offer a five-day battery life.

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Fitbit Inspire vs Charge vs Alta: Conclusion

With the Inspire range brought in to replace the Alta family, many of the reasons to buy an Alta HR have been taken away. Unless you can find it cheaper than the Inspire HR, you prefer its design, or you really want elevation data and don't want the bigger Charge 3 device, there are few reasons to buy the Alta HR over than Inspire HR.

The Inspire models aren't as premium in their design as the Alta and Charge models, but they are quite a bit cheaper. The Inspire model does the basics, but the extra £20 for the Inspire HR is certainly worth it for all the extra features you get - heart rate, VO2 Max, connected GPS, swim tracking, to name but a few.

The Charge 3 is the more feature-rich device on this list, but only by a fraction compared to the Inspire HR. It adds some extra function for smartphone notifications, more on-screen data and the option of NFC if you pick the Special Edition model (though this is almost double the price of the Inspire HR). It also has elevation data.

The decision will likely come down to your budget and which features are really important to you. The Inspire HR is the model we'd recommend over the standard Inspire and the now older Alta HR, even though we still love the Alta HR. The Charge 3 is the model we'd recommend for those after a slightly larger device and a more premium look with all the features of the Inspire HR, along with a couple of extras.