Top positive review
33 people found this helpful
Can't be beat for the price
on January 7, 2013
I have had this monitor now for about 3 months. I've so far gotten about 380 hours of use out of it (not all during conventional exercise) and still have not needed to change the battery. However, I am careful to always remember to disconnect the transmitter from the chest strap since while it is connected it will continue to try to send the signal to the watch rather or not there is a signal to send.
On to programming. The set up for entering your stats was simple and fast. Instructions (if needed) were easy to understand and follow even for the most tech challenged. You are asked to enter various personal preferences ( language, metric or standard measurements and time and date) along with your gender, height, weight and birthday as well as given an option to enter in a max heart rate. This will cause the watch to flash and give a warning beep every 20 or so seconds once reached (You can turn off the beeps if you like).
When connecting the unit to you, it is advisable to wet both the silver cloth on the inside of the strap as well at the 2 metal snaps on the outside where the transmitter connects. This allows for max conductivity. Failure to do so will often (but not always) result in a message on the watch reading check transmitter. This will also sometimes occur even when properly wet, simply adjust the strap, as it is likely not placed correctly and try again. Keeping it well maintained also helps. This means rinsing well after every use. I find that it is easiest to clean in the shower since that is where I go right after my workout. I rinse the strap every time, and hand wash it will bar soap every other use (careful to not let soap residue collect in the metal snaps.) and allow to air dry.
I have also found the burned calories count to be the most accurate estimate. I use a treadmill for most of my runs that has a calorie display which does not take into account age, gender, height, weight or heart rate and I use the app RunKeeper which gives a calorie count without HR input but includes the rest of the stats. For example, after a 15 minute run at 5 mph, the treadmill estimated 65 calories burned, RunKeeper 122 calories burned and the heart rate monitor 129 calories burned. (RunKeeper and the monitor tend to be fairly close, but the longer the workout, the wider the gap becomes.) After checking out several algorithms online to estimate calories burned it seems the monitor is almost perfect.
The monitor will also show you at the end of your workout how much time you spent working out in your "fat burn" zone and your "fitness" zone, which is established durning each workout. It is an interesting stat to see, but the HR threshold between the 2 zones changes every workout and isn't very accurate unless you follow the specific instructions on how to find your threshold for the day. Which I find to be too time consuming and VERY tedious for the little gain it provides for me. (takes about 15 minutes)
The heart rate display seems to be incredibly accurate. It shows a "heart" on the upper middle of the display that flashes in real time with each heartbeat and is sensitive enough to even pick up when I experience premature ventricular contractions. Heart rate displayed is updated by finding any time variance between 2 heartbeats meaning it is beat-by-beat up to date. However if you are experiencing an arrhythmia, the number displayed will not change until a reliable pattern is found again, though the "heart" will still flash accurately with the arrhythmia. I am unsure what the full heart rate range is for the monitor but I have seen it as low as 44 bpm and as high as 227 bpm.
The watch also saves the most resent 100 workouts in it's history which you can go back to review. It shows the date and time the workout started along with the duration, calories burned, time in "fat burn" and "fitness" zones, average HR, and max HR.
And lastly I find the chest strap to be extremely comfortable since I don't really notice it. The strap sits in the exact location as my sports bra's lower band so I feel no difference.
All in all I am extremely happy with the purchase of this monitor. I researched many monitors and read dozens of reviews on several different brands and models (including more pricey ones that I could not afford). This monitor had everything I was looking for, including many "high end" options at a very good price.