Top critical review
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Nice looking product but ruined by poorly designed battery door
on March 28, 2014
(updated review below)
Original review: While this has a nice strap and a low profile sensor, the 4 Phillips screws that hold the battery cover in place are very small and very soft. The first thing I did when I received this from Amazon was check the battery, which requires removing the 4 screws on the back of the unit. I used a jewelers screwdriver and 3 of the 4 small screws came out relatively easily, but the 4th stripped the head and now can't be removed. Low quality screws with soft metal tend to do this, or the screw may have been over-tightened. Either way, this HRM will only be usable until the battery dies, which will be within a year. This is a very poor design or materials choice. I hope most units aren't like this, but you won't know until it's time to replace the battery. The unit will be out of warranty and then the user will be out another $50 because they'll need to buy a replacement HRM.
Other brands have a more sensible and easier to access battery door (e.g. coin twist door on the Cateye). Garmin is smarter that this and they should produce a higher quality product using better quality screws or design it in a way that doesn't require such small screws to be used. I'm very disappointed with them on this. I will be returning this HRM and looking for one that will last through multiple battery changes.
Update 3/31/14: I'm upping my review to 3 stars from 1. I prefer the slimmer design of this unit over some of the other brands I looked at, so I decided to give it another chance and ordered another one. I checked the screws on the back of the new unit to see if also had the same problem (soft/defective or stuck screw). This second one was fine and the screws all came out and went back in without any problem or damage. I've returned the 1st one as defective and will keep this second one. I still stand by my assertion that the design choice to use 4 tiny screws to hold the battery cover is bad. Perhaps my first one just had a defective screw? I recommend that if you purchase this HRM, check the screws to make sure you can get them out (to eventually replace the battery) before you get outside the return/exchange window (30 days).