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Nifty little starter HRM that isn't the size of a clock...
on January 15, 2009
*** Update 5/2/13*** It is a pleasure to report that it has been almost 4.5 years and this product is still working flawlessly. I used it on a 5.5 mile run and it is as good as the day I got it. See comments to this review -- others have made good tips that I agree with. The bottom line -- if you are still using it after this amount of time, you are either ready for an upgrade or at least won't mind having to buy another unit!
I'd hoped that getting this new running gadget would encourage me to exercise more often. So far so good. I asked for this for Christmas and, well, it has accomplished it's primary function for me... I've been running almost every day since I got it. I was turned off by the gigantic size of some HRMs, and did not need something to keep track of splits as I run on my treadmill at home and the gym.
As a heart rate monitor, the functionality is pleasantly simple. It tracks your heart rate for the whole workout. You hit the big button to start, and it goes to work tracking the length of time, the average heartbeat, and the peak. While you are running, it displays your current heartbeat. That's it -- but sometimes it's better to keep it simple.
I should point out that, as a watch, the watch piece tells the time and date only. If you want/need splits and a stopwatch, you should look elsewhere.
Here's some other thoughts: I was worried that the strap would break but realized after a couple workouts that I was probably wearing it a little too tight. Since adjusting, it is much more comfortable, has not fallen off, and, as a guy, you *almost* forget that you have it on. My wife cracked up when I took my shirt off after a recent workout. She said that, from the back, it looked like I was wearing a bra (or Manzierre, or Bro, if you prefer).
I had no original intention of wearing it while NOT working out, but I've found it addictive, and have enjoyed observing how drinking a cup of coffee while sitting at my desk does raise my heart rate about 10-15 beats per minute on average. Also, as I've started to get in a little better shape over the last 3 weeks, I see that I have to run either farther or faster to get my heart rate up to certain thresholds. And, now my heart rate does not go up as high from merely climing the stairs at home. I believe that these insights, among others, are very encouraging for someone who is just getting back in shape. The encouragement aspect combined with the simplicity makes this a great starter heart rate monitor for anyone considering.