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Garmin Premium Heart Rate Monitor (Soft Strap)
Product Packaging: Standard Packaging|Change
Price:$42.99+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

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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on July 26, 2017
I haven't even used it yet, but the battery issue is a serious one. I went through TWO tiny screwdrivers trying to get the screws off to inspect and eventually gave up when they both snapped. This strap will be trash after the battery dies since it is impossible to replace. The old coin screw battery pack worked fine, why did they replace that?


After four months this is even more disappointing than I could ever imagine. It worked very well...for a time. The strap is already falling apart and it reads heart rate only 50% of the time. My last Garmin strap lasted me four years, this is truly truly disappointing.
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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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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).
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on October 1, 2017
This is my third Garmin HR soft strap. This one is an HR3. The other two are HR2. The HR2s both began to have issues with low HR readings after a year. Turned out it was salt deposit that would short out the signal once the strap got soaked with sweat during a workout - 15 to 40 minutes in. I brought them back to life by soaking them in a warm vinegar solution and agitating them. Then threw them in the wash a few times. Was happily surprised when they started working again. Did that after I had bought the HR3 (this product).

Bottom line for me is to follow the instructions and rinse the HR strap after each use and throw it in the washing machine (sans transmitter and in a delicate bag) on gentle cycle every 7 uses or so. So far so good with the new strap.
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on March 23, 2017
There was a discussion of HR straps on the Zwift FB page, and someone made the comment that "I know the Garmin is a piece of crap" followed by a bunch of similar FB whining. No idea where that intelligence came from, but mine has performed like a champ. I don't use any special gels or even water and it pairs right up with my Garmin 800 and with the Zwift program. My last HR strap was a Polar system which required replacing the entire strap and transmitter, so I like the idea of just having to (eventually) replace just the transmitter with the Garmin. Readout is accurate.
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on December 27, 2017
Ridiculous battery cover design. Who would select such tiny, easily malleable screws to attach the back, versus a simple coin-slot cover like every other product on the market? Now, I am left with one cover of my module that can pop up (thus allowing the battery to shift) because the stripped-out screw won't go all the way back down. A quick online search reveals the company has been dealing with this for YEARS without addressing the design flaw.
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on July 12, 2017
I bought this for my girlfriend so she can do aerobic base building. I have my own working HRM3 that I got from REI. This review isn't a knock on the Garmin product as much as it is a knock on whoever is responsible for quality control shipping these out. This is the second time I have bought a strap from Amazon at reduced price and gotten a bad product that either had a flakey connection or no connection at all. Later on, I went to REI and payed full price and I get a perfectly functional device.

1. Product arrived in a plastic bag, not the retail box packaging.
2. Product did not connect to any of my ant+ devices (Garmin 235, Garmin 935)... even after troubleshooting all known fixes.
3. The strap appeared to be brand new, but upon closer inspection of the monitor, the screws were worn as if it had the battery replaced and there was a scratch on it as if it had been worn/used previously. Let me repeat, the monitor was dead when it arrived and would not connect. I even followed the instructions to replace the battery and it connected for a second then died/disconnected and was never discoverable again. Is it a refurbished device? Who knows. All I know is that I have noticed a pattern and now will not buy these from Amazon anymore.
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on January 21, 2018
I use this running very often. My only issue with it is that it leaves little scratches/scrapes on my skin. According to the instructions, it's supposed to be worn on bare skin. But the strap is very stiff, so if you're sweating and running, it moves a bit and will cause minor scrapes and/or irritation. Not a big deal, and not enough for me to stop wearing it, but a minor annoyance.
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on December 1, 2017
The monitor itself is fine even though somehow the black color has worn off in spots and is grey. But the one star is really for the absolute junk strap it comes with, this strap is wound three times through the closures and yet still slips constantly, but adjusting it takes forever because of the stupid three wraps. I have three other chest straps a Nordic track, Polar, and a Zephyr, all of which are a thousand times better than this overpriced piece of junk from Garmin. In case you're curious as to why I bought it when I have the other ones that work better is that none of them would sync with my Garmin Fenix 5x watch.
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