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Heart Rate Monitor Pedometer for Dummies

Discontinued

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating
User Rating 4 Star Rating (1 Review)

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Updated December 24, 2012

Heart Rate Monitor/Pedometer Watch

Heart Rate Monitor/Pedometer Watch

Wendy Bumgardner © 2008
This product is no longer being sold as of December, 2012.

You may wish to consider the Sportline Duo 1060 instead.

In brief: This pedometer watch has finger pads for reading your heart rate on demand. The pedometer must be turned on to start counting steps, but it can be scheduled to come on at the same time each day. The pedometer is actually counting arm motion rather than steps. If you use no arm motion when you walk, it won't record steps. I found its readings to be comparable to a waistband pedometer for a dedicated fitness walk.

One drawback is the size of the watch -- it is very large. However, the strap adjusts and can be worn comfortably on a small wrist.

For Dummies - In Depth Review

The instructions are written in the "For Dummies" fun and easy style. Since a big complaint about sports watches and heart rate monitors are complicated instructions, the "For Dummies" approach is a big selling point. The instruction booklet will fit in your pocket to take along with you until you are familiar with all of the features. It was at least 1,000 times more understandable than the instructions for other pedometer watches I have reviewed.

That said, operation of the watch is not simply intuitive (at least not for me.) Take the time to go through the instructions, and take them along with you for the first week you use the watch. Soon you will learn the right sequence of buttons to push to start, stop, and record your walks. Not to mention the other many sports watch functions: alarm, chronograph and countdown time.

Easy-to-Choose Display: Some sports watches limit your choice of how you can view your data. This watch lets you continue counting steps while you take a heart rate reading on demand. You can view your steps as well as the time of day continuously. Or, you can toggle easily back and forth between the date/time and the step count. When viewing the step count, you can also view your choice of the distance, speed, exercise time, calories, or time of day. And then go back to just the date/time with a press of a button. It's simple and flexible once you learn which button to push.

Pedometer Features

Heart Rate Monitor Function

Heart Rate Monitor Function

Wendy Bumgardner © 2008
The accelerometer pedometer measures and displays steps, distance, speed, calories and length of exercise time.

Arm Motion Counts: The motion sensor is in the watch itself. It is sensing arm motion rather than steps. You must use arm motion when walking for it to register steps. You can set the sensitivity level of the pedometer if you find it is counting too few or too many steps.

Exercise Steps vs. All-Day Counts: The watch is not fully designed to count every step throughout the day. It isn't always on. You must turn it on when you want it to begin counting steps, and then tell it to stop. However, it has an Exercise Schedule function so you can set it to turn on and off at the same times each day, for up to six start, stop, or off commands each day. If you want it to count from the time you get up till bedtime, you can set it to that schedule.

It Turns Itself Off: The pedometer turns itself off after a period where it counts no steps. You can set this setting to be from 1 to 30 minutes. If you want to count steps all day, you may need to remember to restart it after a period when you aren't moving your arms.

Memory: The Exercise History function stores daily and weekly step totals. However, you must remember to store each workout total into the daily record. It won't store it automatically. Luckily, if the pedometer turns itself off, it still retains its previous reading. If you hadn't told it to stop, it would even continue counting from the last reading.

Heart Rate Monitor

I was skeptical about the heart rate monitor. I've had poor luck with similar designs. But I found it easy to take my heart rate reading while walking. You place two fingers lightly on the two pads on the face of the watch. After 3-5 seconds, it beeps and displays your current heart rate. It also tells you at what percent of estimated maximum heart rate the reading is, and it has a little graph at the top showing where you fall in your recommended exercise heart rate zone. I found it easy and convenient to use. After a few seconds, the watch automatically reverts to the display you were using before you took your heart rate. You can review up to 50 previous heart rate reading by pressing the lower sensor button and then the start/stop and lap/reset buttons. Each reading includes the date, time, heart rate, and percent of maximum.

Comparing to a Chest Strap Heart Rate Monitor: Taking a reading may be easy, but is it accurate? I checked it against a Polar chest strap heart rate monitor and found them to match dead-on or within a couple of beats. I was amazed at how well they correlated. My satisfaction with the watch skyrocketed, I can now see using it as my primary exercise tracking devices.

Setting Heart Rate Zones and Alerts: If you want to stay in a chosen heart rate zone without having to scrutinize the readout, you can set alerts for below zone, in zone, above zone, and above maximum. These would give you different numbers of beeps when you take a reading. This is a handy feature if you want to keep moving fast while taking a reading.

Bottom Line

The more I played with this watch, the more I appreciated it as a tool for fitness walkers. I really enjoy having a reliable heart rate reading on demand. The pedometer readings appear to be fairly reliable if you use arm motion while walking. The speed and distance features will only be as reliable as your stride length measurement and consistent stride. That is no different from a waistband or shoe accelerometer pedometer.

Negatives:

  • Have to start and stop the pedometer and actively tell it to save your data.
  • More suited to tracking walking workouts than counting total daily steps.
  • Can't download the data to your computer.
  • Watch is very large. I wouldn't wear it as a fashion choice. However, it is comfortable and I would wear it on walking workouts
  • I wouldn't put much trust in the distance and speed measurements.
  • Battery is the common 2032, but it is difficult to access the battery to replace it. You really need to take it to a jeweler to replace the battery.
Positives:
  • It works as advertised.
  • Big numbers on display. Has a backlight.
  • Heart rate readings are easy to take on demand and appear to be very accurate when compared with other heart rate monitors.
  • Heart zone alerts make it easy to monitor your exercise intensity.
  • Pedometer step count seems to be fairly accurate if you use arm motion while walking.
  • Sports watch functions include stopwatch, countdown timer, daily alarm.
Overall, I am pleased with the Heart Rate Monitor/Pedometer Watch for Dummies.
User Reviews

Reviews for this section have been closed.

 4 out of 5
, Member livalitl

Aside from it's size this is a great gadget if you are tracking your cardio workout. Very easy to set up and use, and is quite accurate. I've been using it over 3yrs at least 4 times a week no prob. Not much to say about the pedometer and distance function, never used them.

2 out of 4 people found this helpful.

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