|Garmin Premium Heart Rate Monitor|
|Polar H7 Bluetooth Smart Heart Rate Sensor|
|Polar FT7 Heart Rate Monitor|
|Wahoo TICKR Heart Rate Monitor for iPhone and Android|
|Scosche RHYTHM plus Heart Rate Monitor Armband|
Garmin Premium Heart Rate Monitor
Soft Breathable Fabric
The Premium has a soft comfortable fabric, which wraps around the chest. This strap has an adjustable design (with a size ranging from 21″ to 29.5″), so it will fit you perfectly. Made of breathable synthetic mesh material it can be worn on the body without any irritation or chaffing. The material enhances airflow around your chest and reduces the accumulation of sweat and moisture, especially while you are running or working out in the gym.
The strap connects to wearable devices without much effort. To see your heart rate values, it connects to many compatible Garmin and third party devices including smart wristwatches. Garmin Premium connects using the ANT network protocol. ANT is a short range wireless communication technology for short range connectivity. It will connect as long as it is within a distance of 3 meters from your chest.
ANT communication technology is very effective because it will not interfere with other devices and equipment, especially when you are training in the gym. After the first connection has been made subsequent connections are fast and seamless. Immediately after you will see your measurements on your wearable device.
Multiple Compatible Devices
The Premium is compatible with over 100 Garmin wearable devices. So if you already have a Garmin wearable device that supports the ANT wireless network protocol, you should be able to enjoy instant connectivity with this monitor. Some of the popular Garmin wearable brands that are compatible with the Premium HRM3 include: Astro, Colorado, Edge, eTrex, fenix, Forerunner, GPSMAP, Montana, Oregon, Rino, VIRB, Vivoactive and Vivofit. Most of these devices connect directly with smartphones, so you will also be able to see your heart rate on the Garmin fitness website.
Like every premium fitness strap fabric, the Garmin needs to be cleaned to keep performing well under rigorous training conditions. It comes with a detachable monitoring module so you must remove it before washing the strap. Cleaning it regularly will prevent the build up of salt, sweat and dirt that can affect the accuracy of the measurement. If you use it every day, washing it once a week will make it more efficient and enhance the accuracy of the device. The installations manual contains detailed instructions on how to wash the strap by hand or in a washing machine.
Polar H7 Bluetooth Smart Heart Rate Sensor
The Polar H7 comes with an adjustable chest strap and a small clip-on transmitter. Polar provides two elastic options that cater to different sizes. The first option is XS-S (extra small to small) and the other one is the M-XXL (medium to extra large). To hold the monitor, Polar adopted a clip and loop device that is easy to operate.
Located at the back of the transmitter is a CR2025 coin battery that provides power for many months. To ensure that the battery lasts long, you need to disconnect it when you are not using it. This will prevent sweat and moisture from activating the transmitter electrodes and draining out your battery. However, the battery is relatively cheap and easy to replace.
Wearing it during a running session or while working out in the gym is not uncomfortable or distracting. It has a secure fit and it won’t bulge if you strap it properly first beneath your chest muscles. There’s no irritation when you wear it underneath your sports shirt. It provides faultless operation and it does not suffer from signal drop-outs.
ECG Sensor Technology
The H7 has an electrocardiogram (ECG) heart-rate sensor. This allows it to record the electrical activity of the heart and provides both continuous and resting data. The ECG sensor offers better and more reliable measurement than other heart-rate monitors, which use optical sensors to detect the variations in the blood volume of the heart. Although the readings from H7 may not be regarded as 100 percent accurate, they are still very reliable and consistent.
The device connects to both Apple and Android smartphones via Bluetooth. Presently, it connects seamlessly with phones running iOS 7 or Android 4.3 and above. It can work efficiently with popular fitness apps like Strava or Runkeeper as well as smart sports wristwatches. H7 also provides support for the GymLink network protocol that is found on other Polar fitness tracking products.
Polar Beat Smartphone App
The Polar H7 works with the native Polar Beat app, which you can download free of charge on iOS and Android. This app was designed primarily for tracking your fitness and related activity while you run. But it may be adapted for strength training, skiing, cycling and other sports activities. In this app, each session is divided into sub-sections that show you data on your routes and heart-rate. You will be able to observe the changes in your heart-rate while running and the amount of time that you spent in various heart-rate zones. The app also provides various in-app purchases that include access to a running index and fitness test.
Scosche RHYTHM plus Heart Rate Monitor Armband
Rhythm+ has a PerformTek precision sensor and it can connect to one Bluetooth Low Energy device and any number of ANT+ devices. Scosche provides two straps with sensors fitted into them. One strap is large enough to fit on your upper arm while the second one fits on your forearm. Both straps must be fastened properly with Velcro. The single button in front is for switching it on or off and for pairing it with Bluetooth Low Energy or ANT+ compatible devices. On the back of the monitor, there are sensing lights and charging pin connectors. The LEDs have two colors with backlights spaced out from each other to enhance visibility.
After opening the box, you need to charge the battery with the custom micro USB cradle provided by Scosche. A fully charged battery will normally last for about 7 – 8 hours before going flat. The best position to wear is on the inside of your forearm. But you could also wear it on the upper arm or wrist. Note that some users who gave their own reviews said that it worked better on white hairless skin that has no tattoo.
This monitor will work with almost any device. It works well with tablets, smartphones, gym equipment, sports watches, and devices that can receive data through ANT+ or Bluetooth Smart v4. Many recently released fitness tracking gadgets under popular brands like Garmin, Polar and Suunto will connect seamlessly. Rhythm+ is also compatible with more than 200 famous fitness apps including RunKeeper and Garmin fitness apps. It is important to note that when you connect with ANT+, the battery life will be extended since ANT+ uses less power than Bluetooth. Rhythm+ will allow you to connect to exercise equipment or mobile devices that are up to 100 feet away from you.
The RHYTHM+ provides very accurate results when compared to other optical sensor monitors. Rhythm+ even delivers accurate readings for exercise intensity, where similar devices perform poorly. In fact, the results obtained by other reviewers and testers show that no other optical monitor provides the same level of accuracy. In the zones above 160 beats per minute, Rhythm+ gives accurate results when other deviate.
Wahoo TICKR Heart Rate Monitor for iPhone & Android
Wahoo designed its TICKR to provide excellent comfort and durability. The simple design consists of an elastic fabric strap that eliminates chaffing, provides a comfortable feel and is easy to wash and maintain. The strap also has a two-snap connection and an adjustable length that makes it easy to put on and take off. To power the monitor, Wahoo has included a coin cell battery that should normally last for about 12 months with daily use.
Setting up this device for the first time is quite simple and fast. Put on the TICKR device and strap it securely to your chest. TICKR usually comes on automatically when you connect its straps. Select the app you have chosen to display your readings then go into its settings and locate the option for connecting devices. For instance if you want to use RunKeeper with TICKR, you should proceed through the menu options from Settings to Heart Rate Monitor.
When you want to start using the TICKR for running and training, you need to moisten the contact points with electrode gel or saliva and then strap the device to your chest. Then launch your preferred smartphone app, which you should have setup earlier. The two devices will automatically connect. For instance in RunKeeper, you will see a tiny icon that looks like a heart and your present heart rate. Then take some time to modify the app settings. You can tweak the heart rate zone and set a target zone that you will work hard to achieve while running. When you are through with running, you can use the app to do a lot of analysis with your data.
TICKR offers dual wireless technologies that allow you to connect to your iPhone and Android. Wahoo has really expanded the reach of the monitor through ANT+ and Bluetooth compatibility. The previous ones produced by Wahoo only connected to iPhone devices but the TICKR can connect to all Android devices running version 4.3 or later. Garmin fitness watches and many other GPS devices also connect seamlessly with TICKR. You can also use the popular Wahoo fitness app to upload your data and share it on Garmin Connect, Strava or Nike+.
Wahoo has also added an eight-week fitness program designed to help you burn more fat and improve your overall health and strength. In addition, you can use many 3rd party applications on Android and iPhone to boost your fitness such as Endomondo, MapMyFitness and Cyclemeter. If you need to do an intense work out that requires you to go through water, you can still use your TICKR monitor because it can be submerged into 5 ft. of water.
Polar FT7 Heart Rate Monitor
The Polar FT7 is a special heart rate tracking monitor that comes with a wristwatch and chest strap. The chest strap transmits the measurements to the wristwatch using a proprietary network protocol called Polar OwnCode at 5Khz instead of using Bluetooth. This proprietary protocol improves the accuracy of the readings you see on the smart watch because there is no interference. In addition to Polar OwnCode, the FT7 also supports GymLink, which allows it to connect to gym equipment and display your heart rate on them.
The chest strap is made of soft fabric that adapts to the shape of your chest and offers superior comfort. Included in the box it fits runners with a chest size of 30 – 45 inches. The transmitter on the strap provides a continuous reading through electrocardiogram (ECG) technology. It monitors electrical activity of the heart and it gives you a continuous stream without you pressing any button manually.
In addition, you can use the HeartTouch feature the get a quick display of the current time. Simply bring the FT7 close to the chest strap for some seconds and the current time and other readings will be displayed. You may also view readings while you are swimming because it operates at a maximum depth of 30 meters underwater.
The FT7 monitor has a relatively large display monitor with a backlight that makes it easy to read at night or in low light conditions. It supports multiple languages including Spanish, German, French, Finnish, Portuguese and Italian. Like every normal watch, you can use it to read the local time and set an alarm. The watch uses a coin battery and provides alerts when the battery needs replacement. It will last you for many months but the actual lifespan depends on how often you use it. On the watch, you can also keep a weekly record of your readings during training.
Target Zones and Alarm Alert
The Polar FT7 has a graphical target zone indicator, which gives an indication of performance during training. You can use this feature to focus on maintaining your desired intensity zone. Also, you can set a target zone manually and define the most suitable zone for your training session. You may set it as beats per minute, or as a proportion of the heart rate reserve, or as a percentage of the maximum. To enable you to know when you have gone beyond your target heart rate, the zone alarm on the watch will alert you. However, if you are in a noisy location or gym, the low volume of this alarm may not catch your attention.
The Energy Pointer lets you know whether your running session is causing you to burn fat or improve aerobic fitness. The indicator has a central reference point. When the indicator is above it, it means your training is boosting your fitness, but if it is below it, it means you are burning fat. You may also use the OwnCal feature to monitor the total amount of calories you burnt during one session or the total for the entire training.