Top critical review
Well-Made Heart Rate Chest Strap; But Not Compatible with My WaterRower Rowing Machine (even though both use ANT+ "standard")
on July 15, 2017
I purchased this Garmin ANT+ Chest Strap Heart Rate transmitter to work with my WaterRower rowing machine. For the WaterRower, I bought an internal ANT+ heart rate receiver. Since both devices use the ANT+ protocol, I assumed that they would easily work together. I was wrong. After contacting support at both Garmin and WaterRower, neither company was able to give me any advice on how to make one manufacturer's ANT+ device work with the ANT+ device of another maker. Both companies said that there is no pairing process, that the devices should simply sense each other automatically, and start working. Unfortunately, they didn't.
It seems that ANT+ is not a robust interoperability standard like Bluetooth or WiFi. ANT+ is essentially owned by Garmin, but the "standard" is open source so that other manufacturers can use it, too. But as far as I can tell, there is no standards group that tests and assures interoperability between ANT+ devices coming from different manufacturers.
So if you are buying this Garmin Heart Rate Monitor to work with a Garmin watch, you are probably OK. But if you try to use it with another manufacturer's ANT+ equipment (e.g. ANT+ gym equipment), you are on your own -- it might work, it might not.
The Garmin chest strap seemed well made, was comfortable, and I liked how easy it is to replace the battery. From a mechanical standpoint, I give this chest strap 5 stars. But the lack of interoperability with ANT+ devices from other manufacturers caused me to return this chest strap, and lower my overall rating to 3 stars.