Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Gadget Review: Runtastic Heart Rate Combo Monitor: Bluetooth Smart + 5.3kHz

Rating: Buy!

I have tried a variety of fitness apps and had settled on MapMyFitness. When I received this heart sensor, I gave runtastic a try.

PHONE INSTALLATION. The installation process was pretty easy, once you stopped reading the instructions (which are very confusing). Just ignore them. What you should do: download the free app, open the app and go to settings. Once there, go to the promo code section and enter the code that came with the product. This unlocks a feature in the free app that allows it to receive heart rate data. That way, you do not have to purchase Runtastic Pro.

SETUP OF THE BLUETOOTH SENSOR. The heart rate Bluetooth sensor is light and comes in two parts: the band that goes around your chest and the sensor itself. The bad has a hook that allows you to unhook, easily adjust and wrap it around your chest. Hook it up again and adjust to the desired tightness. There is no need to get all bendy and stuff trying to fit it over your head or, much less, your hips. Pairing the heart sensor to your phone took less than a minute. It was a super easy setup and in less than a minute, I was receiving data.

COMFORT. Once I put on the sensor, I forgot about it. It was a non-issue. It is not very heavy and once it is well fitted, it is just a band around your chest. Feels a lot more comfortable than the iPhone or Smartphone armband, which I have to re-adjust repeatedly.

THE RUNTASTIC APP. The app is very easy to use and setup. It tracks your mileage, location, etc. I like the interface of MapMyFitness a bit more and more of my friends use that one. But, I like the heart rate data display of Runtastic. So, I have been running both at the same time. I have the Runtastic  app setup to give me voice feedback at minute intervals. You can highly customize this. You can choose voice feedback at mileage or time intervals, or heart rate zones. The feedback it gives you is very comprehensive and you can customize it as well. It can give you calories burned, mileage, heart rate, etc. I have it set up so that it gives me heart rate at 10 minute intervals. MapMyFitness gives me the mileage voice feedback at mileage intervals, that way they do not overlap.

CONNECTIVITY WITH OTHER APPS. Note that this heart monitor sensor is compatible with other apps. I easily paired MapMyFitness to receive my heart rate monitor data. As I explore each MapMyFitness and Runtastic, I will eventually choose one, but I appreciate the ability of being able to run both simultaneously.

LIVE TRACKING. The friends voice encouragement is great. Although, a bit scary if you don't know what to expect. During my first try, I was listening to an audiobook (a memoir) whilst working out and someone liked the live tracking  post in Facebook. Suddenly, I hear a gruff, "I like it" .... I thought my phone was possessed... or the audiobook! Hidden Messages?! Reverse Playback? Does that even happen on a smartphone? It took me a while (couple of days) to figure out what had happened.

This is a great product. It provides me with great data that helps me train. It is easy to use and the app works great.

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