Customer Reviews: Garmin Premium Heart Rate Monitor (Soft Strap)
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on May 26, 2013
After going thru 2 versions of Garmin and a Polar HRM&strap, this one finally works! I had been fed up with intermittent and erroneous heart rates, and no matter what I did (wet the pads, use electrode gel, etc.) there always would be crazy readings of 22 and even 222. This one worked fine right from the start. What's the difference between them all? This one has a shielding layer which mitigates the static electricity and interference that seemed to upset the other straps. It also has a 'polarity' - where you have the Right and Left side indicated as well as the shielding layer making contact to the skin. Garmin recommends to remove the transmitter module and wash in a regular washing machine after 7 uses, it would appear that a build up of sweat 'shorts out' the sensor pads and machine washing cleans up the salty sweat.
55 comments| 174 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
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).
1212 comments| 140 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on August 5, 2015
This unit works very well until it flakes out and fails. I've had two of them. The first started to lose contact with my Garmin 510 after about a year. Replacing the battery helped only marginally so I bought a new one. After only three months it is starting to fail, which leads me to my second complaint. Of course the first thing you do when the unit starts to fail is replace the battery! But this is tremendously tedious and error-prone. Rather than use something reasonable like a tiny hex-head screw, the unit has miniature philips-head screws, so tiny that even a #0 driver doesn't fit. I end up using jewelers tools, but the screws are in so tight, the only way to get them out is to clamp a vise-grip on the tiny screwdriver and wrestle it into submission. Here's hoping that the battery is the problem this time.
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33 comments| 67 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 7, 2013
This is my third Garmin Heart Rate Monitor. I own the "old" style hard strap which came with my forerunner ages ago, and while it still works I've always found it a bit uncomfortable. The Premium strap which came with my 310XT was more comfortable, but it suffered from the heart rate spikes that so many people have complained about. I misplaced/lost that strap while travelling about a year ago, and have been making do with the old-style hard strap.

With the purchase of a Concept 2 erg and its PM4, it was time to find something comfortable again. I wavered between buying a the newest version of the Premium HRM strap and sensor or just going with the sensor and buying the Polar wearlink strap (a la DCRainmaker). I obviously went with the whole Garmin package, and I'm very happy. The strap is very comfortable and I have had no issues with it communicating with my 310XT or the PM4 on my Concept 2. I think the re-design with the silver fabric has helped solve the heart rate spiking problem.

If you've had issues with Garmin's older premium soft strap, are still committed to Garmin HRM products and ANT+, are in the market for a new one, I recommend this updated version.
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on March 8, 2015
Avoid this product! As mentioned by others, the battery cannot be removed because the screws are in too tight. Formerly you could open these devices with a penny; now four screws indicates the cheapest assembler in China now has the business. I have bought several of these devices and none is as poorly designed as this one. Second, the strap that Garmin sent me is *not* adjustable; so now that it has stretched, it no longer holds its position and doesn't work. Cheap, shoddy, overpriced and now, mine is useless. Go elsewhere for a heart rate monitor.
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on November 3, 2014
A must have, not necessarily for the high performance, but for everyone; since the heartbeats need to be maintained below 190 /min ; out of a few hundreds of slides, I could select the listed below, that i find most complete, and will give a quick idea of what range do you fall in.
You might consider a watch too, but they tend to skip when jogging and cant collect the data, a snapshot of your heart beat is a very limited data; also, try reading it when running and not crashing into a garbage can, stepping on a dog or bumping into a hot fitness babe and then saying it was not on purporse...
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on May 7, 2016
This is HRM3 vs HRM1 (which ships with vivofit2 bundle (as of 5/2016),
Each take same cr2032 replacement battery but have completely different locking mechanism for battery compartment..
THIS HRM3 uses 4 tiny screws vs the coin-twist convenience of the HRM1..
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0Comment| 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on September 26, 2014
I received this strap with a Garmin Edge 800 and have a second one courtesy of Garmin tech support. Both are worthless. I ride just about every day and record my rides in Training Peaks software so I'm looking for consistent data from all this gear.

The values transmitted by this strap are inconsistent at best. On descents when my heart rate is around 95 bpm, this thing is transmitting values over 200 bpm. My max HR is 180. This happens even when I wear a tight jersey that doesn't flap around. I have to "fix" the data in Training Peaks after every single ride if I want real training information.

Most users have seen the recommendations from Garmin - 1) wear a cotton shirt 2) take out the battery, turn it around, wait a minute and reinstall. 3) get the strap wet 4) use electrolyte gel. The list goes on and none of these make any difference. According to Garmin tech support, there is no alternative replacement.
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on October 10, 2013
I had the former version of this (the one that is entirely black– with no dark grey), and I had problems with it. Primarily, it seemed to have issues conducting signal in random situations. I read a number of online articles about people having erratic heart rate reports on their Garmins, and the number one suggestion was to swap out or modify the strap. I never had the chance, because the actual unit ended up going dead.

While Garmin happily replaced my old unit and strap for free, I impatiently ordered this one on Amazon so that I could continue my training ASAP. (Never hurts to have two! =P ) Both of the replacement units have the "new" soft strap, and I'm super pumped, because they're significantly better.

First and foremost, all heart rate and conductivity issues seem improved. While, I'm not sure of the exact science, there are some clear changes in the form of different patches of material on the band. Whatever it is, it seems to work!

Despite my own skepticism when reading about the "increased comfort," I have to admit that something about this material is also much more comfortable than the old version. It seems slightly thicker and sturdier. The material on my old one actually began to wrinkle after a year of use, so it became somewhat morphed. 90% of the time it just hung in my closet, so it really wasn't under and major stress. A few hot days of sitting wadded up in my gym bag distorted it. This strap is hold it's shape much better!

Overall, this unit and strap are great. Both of my previous issues seem fixed with the "new improvements," so I can't report any complaints.
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on May 19, 2015
I highly recommend the Garmin Heart rate monitor if you are trying to lose weight or get fit. It is very comfortable to wear. I barely notice it is there once I get it on and start working out. Sometimes I even forget that I am wearing it after I turn it off. (It turns on and off on your connected device.) I use this HR Monitor with my Garmin Vivofit. I haven't had any issues like some of the reviews I have read. The only thing you need to do is wet the strap before putting it on as it states in the instructions. It also needs to be in direct contact with your skin right below your breast plate. I usually tuck it under my sports bra to hold it in place. The HR monitor gives a much more accurate calorie burn vs. using the Garmin Fit app or just active steps.

I use this HR monitor mostly for indoor cardio and running. When I use the HR monitor with my Vivofit, it logs a new activity on my Garmin account and shows all your heart rate stats; i.e. Distance & Average Speed (via Recorded Steps while HR is turned on), Average HR, Max HR, Calories burned, Time, HR zones. Depending on the type of Indoor Cardio you are doing, it may log your activity as a run or walk on your Garmin account, but you can go on and change it to represent the type of activity you did.

I do not suggest using the Garmin Fit app and HR monitor at the same time; it doubles up your activities on your Garmin page as 2 different activities… it doubles up your calories burned and distance. When you are calorie counting with MyFitnessPal, this is not ideal. I only use the Garmin Fit app if I don’t have my HR monitor on me; this way it will estimate my calories burned. If you are a runner, I suggest using a different app to record your actual distance.
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