Testing out my new Polar H10 heart rate monitor & chest strap

I mentioned previously that my wife bought me a new Polar H10 heart rate sensor and chest strap for my birthday. I’ve gotten used to chest strap heart rate sensors over the past 3 years. While I’m sure wristbands are more portable and convenient, the chest strap models are more accurate. If I’m exercising, I value accuracy over mild inconvenience. I use a heart rate sensor at the gym.

Speaking of which, it’s been a year since I purchased one of these for when I go to work out at Orangetheory Fitness. While it works well in the gym, the complimentary OTbeat that would allow one to monitor their out-of-the-gym workouts has always given me trouble. Outside of the gym, I always have trouble pairing the sensor to my phone, and the app has a tendency to crash mid-workout, irrevocably out your session data. This happened most recently during my bike ride to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. It’s also happened when I’ve attempted to use the sensor and app at a gym during business trips or on vacation.

Polar H10 heart rate sensor

Polar H10 heart rate sensor

The Polar H10 is the latest version of Polar’s chest strap sensor, replacing the H7. The strap has been improved, and the pod is slimmer. It still supports Bluetooth but it seems Polar dropped ANT+ support so you can’t synch this with some gym equipment. Not important to me. Here’s a nicely detailed review at The 5K Runner. Part of the purchasing decision making process was a product that worked with good apps. The Polar H10 worked with a bunch like the Polar Beat, UA Record, etc. That’s good because I need good app options.

Polar apparently offers two apps, Polar Beat and Polar Flow. The Polar Flow app is the smartphone gateway to the internet for Polar’s sports watches. The Flow app doesn’t record a session itself, but seems to be for overall fitness monitoring like UA Record app. The Polar Beat app uses your smartphone as a recording device and you pair the H10 within the app. Apparently, the H10 also caches data. It says it will cache one exercise. That one exercise can be 65 hours long and data is stored on a per second basis. I guess you can pair it with your phone, kick off a workout, then leave your phone in the hotel room?

I tested out the Polar Beat app last Saturday during a bike ride. It paired effortlessly. I mounted my phone to my bike, started the app, and I was off. Now the only hiccup I encountered was that I didn’t change the units from Metric to Imperial, and you can’t do that during a workout, oddly enough.

I warmed up, stopped my parents’ house to check in on them, then restarted my workout again, without the metric system. The rest of the ride went well, except I felt sluggish. The app and the H10 did great. I especially like the little GPS map that records your workout route

Folks, we have a winner.

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