Heart rate monitors are a device that seem to be getting more and more popular lately, are they just a fashion accessory, an expensive gimmick? Or are they worth the investment?
This is the Fitbit Charge HR and Fitbit accounts for about 50% of the heart rate monitor market.
It’s unboxed pretty easily and inside was a charging cable, wireless dongle, (which allows it to wirelessly sync to a PC) a very brief set of instructions and the device itself.
The charge HR is small, unobtrusive and very subtle. It looks a lot like an ordinary rubber wrist band (that were all the rage 5 or so years ago). It’s hard to even tell it’s a device.
They do come in a range of colours but the black is very anonymous, which I quite like.
The whole device is made from a silicon like rubber which is soft but feels very durable apart from a tiny plastic strip across the front which is the OLED screen, and a screen on the back which flashes two green LED lights to gather heart rate data.
The screen stays black until you raise your wrist towards your face, it then illuminates to show the time, steps, heart rate, calories burned, distance covered and flights of stairs climbed. It’s bright very easy to read and it’s a nice touch which adds to it discretion.
There’s also something charming and futuristic about watching it light up and provide data, it never gets old.
The device comes in three different sizes, and while there is no option to change the straps I found there was a lot of range in size. The device I tried was a large but it fitted both myself and Mrs The_Beltsander very comfortably.
Trying it on, it’s very comfortable, the rubber strap stretches quite a lot and they’ve made the clasp very small and narrow so it can’t snag on anything.
It packs a pretty impressive amount of hardware for its thin design.
I manage to sleep wearing it without any issue and for the most part I forget it’s even there.
It does however tend to catch on long sleeves occasionally though due to it’s rubbery texture so if like me, you wear a suit to work you might find this mildly annoying.
I consider it a trade off for how comfortable and durable it is.
It’s easy to workout with, you simply press the button on the side to let it know you’re starting a workout and press it again when your finished. It then sets this information aside for you to browse later.
It also breaks down this information further, allowing breaking your heart rate beats per minute down into fat burning, cardio and peak. You’ll be able to identify the moments you were really pushing yourself.
Cardio is no issue and it doesn’t get in my way with weight training, deadlifting etc not a problem. I forgot it was even there. It does get coated in chalk pretty easily which looks horrendous on the black colour but a quick wipe down soon remedies this. Also I didn’t notice any skin irritation at all.
Throughout the day it’ll continuously monitor your heart rate and at night it’ll monitor your sleep pattern. Showing you all the moments you were awake throughout the night and the moments you were “restless” or not getting quality sleep. I also found this to accurately reflect my nights sleep.
It also has a good battery life, it lasts a long time for a tiny device that’s always switched on, I got around 5 days run time before I received an email informing me it was time to recharge it. One thing to note is that they use a unique cable to charge, unlike a micro USB cable, if you manage to break this you’ll be emailing Fitbit to try to buy a new one.
For a basic looking device it’s packed with features, when paired with a phone it’ll vibrate to indicate a phone call and it also has a silent alarm which Mrs the_Beltsander loved because it woke me pretty well to get up for work without alarming her.
Other nice features include the ability to customise the display.
The device links to your phone via Bluetooth and all the information is displayed on an app. So when you want the more detailed data, it’ll all be waiting for you on your phone.
The dashboard displays all your basic data and a quick tap shows more in depth figures for you to browse.This is where this device really shines, the software is superb,easy to read, informative and even motivational. It allows you to pick a specific daily goal and then vibrates to let you know when you’ve reached it.
If your a fitness nerd (like me) this will rock your world.
I loved the clean, simple look. It takes something that’s relatively complex and breaks it down to make it easy to understand,appealing and I think anyone regardless of their knowledge of the subject could learn a lot by just using this app.
Someone at Fitbit’s software department really knows what they’re doing and it shows.
The app also has the option to add calories and foods which I found a bit clumsy and lacking when compared to ever popular my fitness app.
So do I think this is a potential problem?
It can pair with my fitness pal to cross reference calories in vs calories out. Just when I think I’ve found fault with it, it proves me wrong. The whole app makes the device highly customisable and theres a complete guide / manual included on it.
For me Fitbit always seemed to be marketed towards cardio bunnies and calorie-phobics but this device has completely converted me. It’s subtle, hard wearing and it does it’s job discreetly without making its presence known.
I really love this device. I found it gave me great, useful information based on my heart rate and steps taken.
It won’t of course be able factor in all elements when it comes to calories in vs calories out so it’ll be up to you to how you use the information it provides.
A lot of people asked how accurate it is in terms of heart rate monitoring. Without having anything else to compare it to it’s hard for me draw any real conclusion.
I instead did a bit of research online. It seems that the general consensus is that Fitbit’s are in fact, pretty accurate. My take on this is that once it provides data that is consistent, then I have a number I can work with in order to help me with my goals (be them gaining or loosing weight) accuracy really isn’t that important to me. Its worth noting that they are not as accurate as a chest strap monitor would be but I guess what you loose in accuracy you gain back in comfort.
Fitbit also have excellent customer support, it’s worth mentioning that they took the time to answer every question on my Instagram post when I put it up a few weeks back.
Would I buy one?
Absolutely, for the money this is a great little device, the nerd in me is in love with it’s many functions and the way in which it delivers the data for me to obsess over, and the software that it comes with is superb.
I can see it being a real commodity to me whether I’m in a gaining phase, or while cutting.