Omron debuted this new, accurate pedometer in 2012. It is a silent tri-axis accelerometer that isn't fussy about being tilted, so you can carry it in a pocket or wear it clipped to your waistband. It uses a replaceable battery that lasts for months. It counts steps, aerobic steps, distance, active calories burned, pitch (steps per minute) and time of day.
In addition to viewing the past seven days of data on the pedometer, you can download your data via the built-in USB stick to a PC or Mac and view your daily data graphs online on the OmronFitness.com Dashboard. Earn badges for your ongoing achievements and share them via Facebook or Twitter.
What You Get
The HJ-323U is a larger pedometer, a little over three inches long and an inch and a half wide. It has a cap at one end that covers the USB stick. You have the option of carrying it in a pocket or wearing it clipped to your waistband or bra with an included slip-on clip. It also comes with a pedometer leash. It comes with the replaceable CR2032 battery installed and a cute little screwdriver for opening the case to replace it. The battery should last about six months of normal use.
Set-up: You program it with your weight (to get calories burned), choose pounds vs. kilograms and miles vs. kilometers, set height and stride length. How to set your pedometer stride length.
To install the Omron Fitness connection software, you go to the web site and download it. Be warned that you are likely to need to install the .NET software as well, which took over 10 minutes on my home computers. If you don't have a computer with a USB port, you won't be able to download data from the HJ-323U. You can still set up a free OmronFitness.com account and manually enter your data.
On the Pedometer
My aging eyes like the big, dark numbers on the pedometer, although the tiny units are harder to read without putting on my reading glasses. It has a simple three-button operation.
Using the Mode button, you can see your data for today. The unit resets itself at midnight without you having to do anything. The display powers off after five minutes and you can press any button to view your data.
- Step Count: Total steps taken since midnight. You can't reset this number or track specific bouts of walking separately.
- Distance: estimated from your stride length and the step count, you can choose miles or kilometers.
- Calories: This number is based on the speed of your steps taken, number of steps and your weight. The number is the active calories burned, not your total calories burned per day.
- Aerobic steps: These are steps taken when you logged more than 60 steps per minute for more than 10 minutes, which is Omron's definition of brisk walking. If you want to track your moderately intense physical activity each day, this is the measurement that you can use. Health experts recommend a minimum of 30 minutes per day to reduce health risks and 60 minutes for weight loss.
- Pitch: I hadn't seen this measurement on other pedometers. It is the average number of aerobic steps per minute. You can use it to track your walking speed. The pedometer uses this measurement to give a more accurate calorie estimate.
- Time of Day: You can select 12-hour or 24-hour clock.
You can review the past seven days on the pedometer, for each of the different measurements.
22-Day Memory Storage
The pedometer saves up to 22 days worth of data to download. If you haven't downloaded it, after 18 days the Transfer Indicator begins to blink to prompt you to do so. After 22 days, it deletes the oldest data.
Downloading to the OmronFitness Dashboard
Remove the end cap and plug the USB stick into a USB port and the download happens swiftly and launches the OmronFitness.com Dashboard.
You create your profile for free at OmronFitness.com and link it with your pedometer. You can also manually edit the daily data. If you don't use the HJ-323U, you can still use the dashboard with manual editing.
The Dashboard deals only in full days worth of data. I was confused at first when I downloaded data the first afternoon and nothing showed on the Dashboard. I learned that nothing shows until the next day.
You don't see any graphs of your activity within a day, no hour-by-hour totals, only the daily totals. This is a lot less detail than you get with devices such as the Fitbit.
You can see a weekly, monthly or yearly graph and see the totals for each day and an ongoing total for that time period.
Goals: You can set goals for the week for steps, distance and calories and see your progress towards those goals. Rather than set a daily goal for 10,000 steps per day, you set a weekly goal of 70,000 steps.
Personal Bests: See your best days for steps, distance and calories. I noted that these are only for those I uploaded from the pedometer, they don't register the best days I logged manually.
Badges: Earn badges for milestones for distance and personal bests. You can share these via Facebook and Twitter.
Social Sharing: You can send your dashboard totals out via Facebook or Twitter. You can also connect your account to Runkeeper and have the Omron data update your Runkeeper account. At initial set-up, the instructions say you can invite friends to share information. I couldn't find a way to invite friends after the initial set-up.
Bottom Line on the Omron HJ-323U
This is a very good update to their line of pedometers, and should replace the Omron HJ-720itc Pedometer. The tri-axis design is more accurate than their older dual-axis designs. However, the online Dashboard gives fewer details than the Omron Health Management Software did for the 720itc, which shows hourly details. I like that you can use this entirely off-line if you wish, and it has a long battery life so you don't have to plug it in every few days.
This pedometer doesn't track individual walking workouts. It is useful in tracking your aerobic steps and minutes so you can set goals for meeting physical activity guidelines.
If you want more details of your daily activity, I'd spend just a few bucks more and get the smaller Fitbit Zip, which also connects to a phone app via Bluetooth. Its online data tracking is superior.