Technology makes life easy; sometimes too easy. It’s time we use technology to fight our laziness and raise the bar with exercising. The Sports Tracker Bluetooth Heart Rate Monitor is a perfect example of using technology to promote activity and health. The Heart Rate Monitor wirelessly connects to Android phones and provides accurate real-time heart rate measurements. The free Sports-Tracker app monitors and logs heart-rate, but it also records all of your workouts, with information on duration, distance, average pace, average speed, energy burned, and more.
What’s in the Box
-Heart Rate Monitor
-Elastic Chest Strap
-Quick Start Guide
The actual Heart Rate Monitor (HRM) bluetooth device is no bigger than a pack of tic-tacs, but it’s rounded like a pebble. The Heart Rate Monitor needs to be used in conjunction with the elastic textile chest strap. The underside of the HRM device features two snaps; these snaps secure the HRM to the chest strap or to the USB charger. The chest strap is adjustable and has two sensor pads on the inside. With the HRM device attached to the strap and centered on your chest, one of the two padded sensors will line up with your heart. The device and strap are pretty light, so neither cause much discomfort.
The Sports Tracker Heart Rate Monitor is used solely with the Sports-Tracker app. The app is available for free in the Android, Apple, and Nokia Symbian app stores, however the HRM bluetooth is not yet compatible with any Apple devices. This means the heart-rate feature is unfortunately missing from iOS. The heart rate monitor measures and transmits heart rate in real-time over a strong 20 meter (66 foot) bluetooth connection. The monitor uses a rechargeable battery capable of 40 hours of operating time. It’s even water resistant.
There are quite a few features built into the Sports Tracker app; it’s a “social sports computer” to track and analyze your activity and share it with friends. Sports Tracker can log location, distance, altitude, and calories burned by just utilizing your phone’s technology. Since it’s a “social” app, you can also discover new routes, trails, and adventures anywhere in the world. All of the information gathered, including your workout diary, is stored in the cloud (privately or publicly) and syncs with all of your devices that have the Sports Tracker app.
With the Heart Rate Monitor charged, you snap it to the elastic chest strap. It doesn’t matter which way it’s snapped as long as the label sits upright when it’s centered in the middle of your chest. The orientation of the HRM determines the sensor that’s closest to the heart. The sensors are supposed to be moistened with water, it’s easiest to slip a dab of water on the sensors after it’s strapped to your chest. The Heart Rate Monitor needs to be in contact with bare skin. The strap has a hook that connects the belt at your side.
You only need to pair the heart rate monitor with your devices once, this can be done in the Sports Tracker app settings. It’s an easy process as long as the device is found. If it’s not found you need to remove the heart rate belt, reapply water, wait a minute and try again. After it’s successfully paired, the Sports Tracker app automatically incorporates heart rate into all workouts.
When it’s set up, the Heart Rate Monitor works perfectly. The app actually reflects your heart rate in real-time and it even refreshes at fractions of a second. You’ll notice just how easily your heart rate can change. You can put triggers to the test and see how different thoughts and breathing patterns effect heart rate. And, of course it’s extremely beneficial to track and monitor heart rate during any sort of physical exercise. The app charts your heart rate on a graph that you can zoom in and out of in real-time. To make the most of the monitor, it’s helpful to do a bit of research on heart rate. Your maximum heart rate is 220 BPM minus your age. For weight loss your heart rate should be 60-70% of your max heart rate; hardcore Anaerobic training should be in a zone of 80%-90% of your max heart rate.
When using the Heart Rate Monitor the bluetooth connection remained strong between my devices even with some distance. In the few instances where the connection cut out, the app just lags on refreshing. Heart rate data is still recorded and syncs as soon as the connection is restored.
After reviewing the FitBit fitness tracker, we were spoiled by effortless fitness trackers. While FitBit did not actually measure Heart Rate, it worked independently of a phone/app and easily clipped to any pocket. The Heart Rate Monitor is a little more involved, but it does deliver the most accurate heart rate read out. We tested the Heart Rate Monitor with three different Android Devices, two of which paired with the monitor in under a minute, and the third Android was difficult and had trouble pairing with the Heart Rate Monitor. Once the Heart Rate Monitor is paired, it works almost perfectly. You can even take off the heart rate monitor mid-workout and it will re-sync automatically as soon as it’s back on. We were happy that it stayed on nicely during all of our exercises, including running. If you have any sort of a chest (even as a male), the device is hardly noticeable.
The Sports Tracker Heart Rate Monitor adds a very beneficial and accurate feature to the Sports Tracker mobile app. An active read out of your heart rate can be beneficial for lots of reasons. The Sports Tracker app itself is also very beneficial in promoting, logging, tracking, and sharing exercise data. The app is completely free with every feature except heart rate, so you can test it out right now and decide if the Heart Rate Monitor would suit you. The Sports Tracker Heart Rate Monitor can be purchased from Sports-Tracker.com for 69.90 € and free shipping for any country in the European Union. Outside of the EU, the tax is reduced and the price is 56.83€ ($74) shipped.
The Good: Free app is great, data syncs with all devices, HRM is accurate, good refresh rate, bluetooth connection is strong, long lasting battery, lightweight and works well after first pair.
The Bad: Needs to strap around bare chest, doesn’t work on iOS, relies on paired bluetooth device, set-up can be finicky and using it is somewhat involved