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Heart Rate Monitors

October 16, 2008

I bought myself a nice little Mio Zone heart rate watch a few months back. I thought it would be great. It has two buttons on the front that you place one finger on each but with your index finger you also need to hold down this little black button on the metal peice for it to read your heart rate. Which makes sense, you don’t want it to drain the battery by constantly reading when there’s nothing on it to read and having to buy countless batteries. The trouble comes with the watch not reading the heart rate well, and most times, or even at all.

When I’m running or jogging, I have to stop completely, press the stupid little button and hope like hell it works before my heart rate drops. When it reads it usually does so in about 6-10 seconds. If it doesn’t read in ten seconds, it probably never will so I’ve gotten now into the habit of letting go and trying again. Often it doesnt read my heart rate on the first two tries, sometimes not even on the third, which means at least 20-30 seconds have gone by. If it reads on the fourth, that’s a total of 40 seconds or greater (time to reposition my fingers between each attempt). Now, if you run or do anything that really gets your heart rate going you know as well as I do that 20 seconds can be a drop from a heart rate of 180 (which I often got when I manually did it before getting this watch) to a heart rate of 160 or even less depending on your recovery. By 40 seconds, my heart rate could be as low as 130-140 from 180.

Part of what this watch does is gives you your average heart rate for your workout based on readings. Well, if you’re readings are 20 bmp less than what it was the first time you tried to get the darn thing to work, your average is screwed and worthless. It also tells you your average percent of max heart rate during your workout, which is also worthless if you had to wait for 20-40 seconds (if you could even get it). The only feature that works is what your max heart rate was for the whole workout assuming that you at least got it to work once accurately.

So, the whole rant of this post leads me to the conclusion that push button heart rate monitor watches are a waste of money, or at least my Mio Zone was. I’m planning to buy one sometime in the not too near but near enough future to see if one with the chest strap is any better. Before I buy, if you’ve had any luck with a particular style or brand, please let me know. And the reverse, if something sucks, let me know so I dont buy another peice of junk.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 20, 2009 8:25 AM

    Hi, we review heart rate monitors (

    We stick to the big brand Polar, Suunto and Garmin. I think that the whole strapless craze is because people want simplicity, but at the same time get less accuracy in the readings

    Nice blog BTW!

    • January 20, 2009 6:30 PM

      Hi Andrew. I checked out your site as well. I’m thinking I’ll contact you. I am really wanting one that has strapless and strap capabilities. I’d rather not wear a strap with lifting and swimming but want to with running and kettlebells. I’d like one that’s fairly decent with the strapless, not anything like the 30 second read time I’m getting from the Mio. And, I don’t want to spend much money… I’m a student so I’m a bit broke :). Anything fit those categories?

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