Heart rate monitoring is becoming increasingly popular in the fitness world, most fitness enthusiasts desire it to determine optimal fitness results when running and cycling and simply just to keep the heart in check.
The Mio Alpha 2 is the successor to the much successful Mia Alpha released a couple years ago, and this latest iteration brings to the table a few new features starting with an onboard indicator light that flashes different colors to keep you updated of your current hear rate zone on the fly.
New Features of the Mio Alpha 2
In addition, the Mio Alpha 2 syncs your fitness data to apps such as Endomondo and MapMyRun. It does not however have onsite GPS, but on a brighter note is what a fitness device should be and is extremely comfortable.
Highlights of the Mio Alpha 2
The Suunto Ambit 3 Sport is designed to track several sports including cycling, running and even swimming. In addition, it can be paired with a heart rate sensor that records data during workouts on both land and water. Suunto – one of the leading names in dive computer design is famed for their high quality products and the Ambit3 Sport is no different.
This latest addition to their lineup boasts a robust build, is GPS enables and is waterproof to immense depths. If you’re new to the Suunto brand of fitness watches, then the Ambit 3 is a multisport, adventure wrist based watch, and if you already own one of the other Suunto fitness watches, the Ambit3 is an upgrade to the much successful Ambit2.
Highlights of the Suunto Ambit3
As I mentioned in my previous post, it was only matter of time to have the vivoactive with wrist-based heart rate monitor system. Cool! As an owner of vivoactive and also vivofit (1 generation), I’m pretty excited about vivoactive HR, as the vivofit found its place somewhere in a drawer, and I was missing the extra feature included in the new activity trackers – wrist-based heart rate, on my vivoactive (that’s my choice for day-to-day activity tracker ).
At first sight, it does look good. Comparing to vivoactive, the vivoactive HR has more rounded edges, which gives it very neat, more complex look.
Beside the sport app included in the first version of vivoactive (review here) such as running, biking, swimming, golfing, walking, we are also getting paddle boarding, rowing, skiing and snowboarding. :-O I guess I will have to make a trip from tropical Thailand somewhere to snowy mountains to check on skiing and snowboarding 😉
Vivoactive HR, except of the basic activity tracking options as steps counting, it also provides data on floors climbed (this information is taken from Garmin’s official announcement. I guess they had in mind “steps counting” instead of “floors climbed”). And…what’s most important for this model, it will give us 24/7 heart rate data analyzes of calories burnt and our workout activities. I believe it will significantly affect batty life….. Well, I don’t have to “believe”, the specs on Garmin website prove that the battery life on vivoactive has been reduced from 3 weeks to 8 days on vivoactive HR. No surprise on that. But still, as usual, the major “battery drainer” is a GPS receiver, which reduces battery life from 8 days of smartwatch mode with 24/7 HR, to only 13 hours. While talking about the GPS, vivoactive HR operates with two systems: GPS and GLONASS, which allow for faster satellite lock and better position accuracy.
Except the smart notifications (e-mail, text …) also included in the previous model, vivoactive HR display us data on a screen with higher resolution, and consists of electronic compass and barometric sensor. I’m pretty much amazed that Garmin managed to put all this high tech into a nicely sized smartwatch. Obviously the extras must have influence on size and weight of the new vivoactive HR, but Garmin doesn’t make it clear to us with the “X-large, without band” (weight) information:
|Physical dimensions||Watch only: 1.19″ x 2.24″ x 0.45″ (30.2 mm x 57.0 mm x 11.4 mm). Regular fits wrist circumferences 5.39″ to 7.68″ (137 mm to 195 mm); X-large fits wrist circumferences 6.38″ to 8.86″ (162 mm to 225 mm)||1.72″ x 1.52″ x 0.32″ (43.8 mm x 38.5 mm x 8.0 mm)|
|Display size, WxH||0.80″ x 1.13″ (20.7 mm x 28.6 mm)||1.13″ x 0.80″ (28.6 mm x 20.7 mm)|
|Display resolution, WxH||148 x 205 pixels||205 x 148 pixels|
|Weight||Regular bands: 47.6 g; X-large bands: 48.2 g||Without bands: 18.0 g (0.63 oz); With bands: 38.0 g (1.34 oz)|
Garmin VIVOACTIVE on Amazon available for pre-order:
Garmin Part Number: 010-01605-03. Price: USD 249.99.
Fitbit recently unveiled the curtains of its all new fitness activity tracker – Blaze – a device that is positioned as an upgrade to the much successful Charge HR. The Blaze has a lot going for it starting with tits superior 5 day battery life. Upon first glance, the Fitbit Blaze looks relatively similar to the Apple Watch, only that it doesn’t come with all the third party complications often a non with smartwatches.
The Blaze is everything you’d expect from a fitness tracker and a smartwatch and is able to track more than a dozen activities, render heart rate with its integrated heart rate monitor, but lacks GPS tracking. In addition, the Blaze fitness watch tracks sleep automatically and records heart rate readings every 5 seconds. Apart from regular fitness activities such as running, the Fitbit Blaze automatically tracks activities such as soccer, basketball and tennis so you don’t have to manually start a workout.
What’s in the Box?
Highlights of the Fitbit Blaze
Fitbit Blaze Design
The Blaze is appointed with a color a smooth, soft and comfortable classic (black, blue and purple colors available) band that makes the device a joy to wear even for longer periods. In boasts a rather unique aesthetic appeal – pleasing of course with a stylish modern octagonal shape watch face with stainless steel casing and an elastomer band.
The Blaze can also be had with a premium silver metal link bracelet or a leather band (black, brown or grey colors available) as part of the Luxe collection. It is much slimmer that’s its own older cousin the Surge and the Apple Watch, and is a pop-out fitness tracker, meaning you can swap bands in and out of different bands and frames on the fly.
The all new color touchscreen LCD display is crisp and clear and is easy viewable even in bright light conditions. It displays your stats front and center, and you can tap the screen to cycle through the various metrics including your calories, steps and heart rate. The heart rate monitoring screen changes color in line with changes in your heart rate, a very nice touch, and there’s even a dedicated screen with a Do Not Disturb toggle and music controls.
The Blaze will display a range of notifications when paired with your smartphone such as call, texts and calendar alerts, but lacks email notifications. It is also appointed with a class leading and highly accurate PurePulse heart rate sensor that renders superior results. One of the noteworthy features of the Fitbit Blaze is its ability to track exercises automatically, which is great for those times when you go for a walk or run and forget to activate the tracking software.
However, Fitbit does advise that manually selecting your type of activity such as running, cycling, weights and elliptical workouts will result in more accurate results. And for those times that you can’t make it to the gym, the FitStar (company acquired by Fitbit last year) app will provide you with seven minute workouts that you can perform whenever and wherever you want. Additionally, these guides’ workouts are represented by some charming animations, but don’t expect Disney quality cartoons displaying yoga positions.
These comprehensive details can be viewed by simply opening the Fitbit app on your paired smartphone. The app even allows you to set alarms and get a silent alert at a time you choose so this could definitely up as an everyday wear watch apart from being a fitness tracker. The Fitbit Blaze does lack GPS, meaning that the metrics captured such as active minutes and floors climbed, heart rate sleep and steps are the same it’s the Charge HR.
The Blaze does offer Connected GPS, which means that it will pull GPS data from your smartphone if you run or cycle with your phone in tow. Operating the Fitbit Blaze is pretty straightforward, where you simply swipe up from the watch face to reveal notifications and left and right to reveal the various menus available. Battery life of the Fitbit clocks in at an impressive 5 days when fully charged, meaning you can sleep well knowing that you will receive a comprehensive and accurate sleep activity first thing when you wake up via the Fitbit app.
Fitbit Blaze Key Features
Advanced tracking is one of the key features of any successful fitness tracking watch, and the Fitbit Blaze doesn’t disappoint in this area by recording all the usual statistics, all enriched by accurate heart rate data. This fitness tracking device will track your steps and calories by day and monitor your sleep at night. What’s interesting is the fact that you don’t even have to tell the Blaze you’re planning to snooze as it activates sleep tracking based on your movements and heart rate data.
Although there’s no GPS onboard, the Fitbit Blaze does estimate distance, and you’ll even be presented with a report of your activity session whether a run or a gym session or brisk walk to the bus that includes your heart rate and time spent during zones, time taken and calories burned. The heart rate sensor of the Blaze is works round the clock, meaning it even measures your resting heart rate, which documents a reading as soon as you wake up.
Sleep tracking reporting isn’t as complex as seen on other fitness trackers, but in the Blaze is simplistic and static. The graph displays a blue block, which represents your sleep duration, and you can access your total time along with the day’s stats in the app. Speaking of the app, it is neat, clean and simple to use and syncs rather quickly with compatible devices.
When you open the Fitbit app, you will be presented with all your data from the data including distance travelled, heart rate, stairs climbed, calories burned and the number of active minutes. You can also access historical data for any of the above mentioned metrics as well as weekly totals, making it much easier to boost performance. There’s even a challenges tab that when accessed allows you to beat certain step goals, and even invite friends to participate.
Pros of the Fitbit Blaze
Cons of the Fitbit Blaze
The Fitbit Blaze has a whole lot to get excited about starting with the fact that you can track of myriad fitness activities with a single nicely designed and attractive fitness watch. It can be ordered in a wide range of colors and bands, and even track activities automatically so you can rest assured of tracking even when you forget to manually activate the feature.
All in all, the Fitbit Blaze is a great fitness tracker for anyone looking to track several activities and even stay connected with smartphone notifications right from their wrist.
The Garmin Forerunner 235 is the latest iteration of its much successful predecessor the Forerunner 225 and this time comes in with a rich new set of features. For starters, this latest wrist running watch is appointed with an optical heart rate sensor, which is not the Mio sensor but own engineered by Garmin. Upon first glance, the FR235 isn’t much of a departure from Garmin’s other fitness watches yet there are some significant aesthetical updates that make it stand out from the pack.
Weighing in at just 42 grams, the Forerunner 25 looks good on a suit and at the gym, and even comes with a swappable strap so you can mix and match on the fly. With regards to battery life, the FR 235 is good for an astounding 11 hours in training mode and up to 9 days in activity mode with smart notifications turned on.
Apart from heart rate monitoring, this Garmin running watch is designed to calculate a plethora of running metrics most notably ground contact symmetry, stress score, vertical score, stride length and vertical ratio. In addition, all run data is automatically uploaded to the Garmin Connect mobile app, and can be linked with a MyFitnessPal account to sync nutrition and calories information. Continue reading
Garmin Forerunner 235 (GPS watch for runners) had been introduced to the Thai market.
Forerunner 235 Garmin Part Number: 010-03717-54
Last year tendency of including wrist-based heart rate (HR) is also provided in this model. 🙂
At first glimpse easily noticeable lightweight of this watch. Pretty impressive if you consider all the technology Garmin put into it, including GPS and GLONASS receivers, vibration alerts, Bluetooth, battery (life: 11 hours training, 9 days watch + activity tracking + notifications + heart rate), and of course the wrist-based heart rate sensor.
The review on Forerunner 235 should follow next Monday (8th February).
Physical & Performance
|Physical dimensions||1.77″ x 1.77″ x 0.46″ (45 x 45 x 11.7 mm)|
|Display size, WxH||1.23″ (31.1 mm) diameter|
|Display resolution, WxH||215 x 180 pixels|
|Weight||1.5 oz (42 g)|
|Battery life||11 hours training, 9 days watch + activity tracking + notifications + heart rate|
|Water rating||5 ATM|
|Smart notifications (displays email, text and other alerts when paired with your compatible phone)||✅|
|Find my phone||✅|
|Watch functions||Includes date and alarm|
Maps & Memory
|History||200 hours of activity data|
|V02 max estimate||✅|
|Accelerometer (calculates distance for indoor workouts, without need for a foot pod)||✅|
|Bike speed/cadence sensor||Yes (optional)|
|Heart rate monitor||Yes (wrist-based)|
|Foot pod||Yes (optional)|
|Auto Pause® (pauses and resumes timer based on speed)||✅|
|Auto Lap® (automatically starts a new lap)||✅|
|Auto Scroll (cycles through data pages during workout)||✅|
|Advanced workouts (create custom, goal-oriented workouts)||✅|
|Pace alert (triggers alarm if you vary from preset pace)||✅|
|Time/distance alert (triggers alarm when you reach goal)||✅|
|Interval training (set up exercise and rest intervals)||✅|
|Heart rate-based calorie computation||✅|
|Calculates calories burned||✅|
|Training Effect (measures impact of an activity on your aerobic fitness)||✅|
Activity Tracking Features
|Auto goal (learns your activity level and assigns a daily step goal)||✅|
|Move bar (displays on device after a period of inactivity; walk for a couple of minutes to reset it)||✅|
|Sleep monitoring (monitors total sleep and periods of movement or restful sleep)||✅|
|Garmin Connect™ compatible (online community where you analyze, categorize and share data)||✅|
|Automatic sync (automatically transfers data to your computer)||✅|
First unveiled at the IFA I in Berlin in September 2015, the TomTom Spark is a feature rich fitness watch that is designed for cyclists, swimmers, runners and gym goers alike. You’re probably thinking that there are several watches that do the same exact same thing, but what makes the Spark stand distinct from its competition is heart rate monitoring, GPS and even onsite wrist based music playback – a feature that many fitness watches lack.
In addition to its lightweight design and fairly large monochrome display, the TomTom spark also offers onboard local to store up to 500 (3 GB of local storage) of your favorite tunes and playback via Bluetooth. This feature alone gives the Spark an edge over its competition and makes it a solid choice if you’re looking to incorporate music into your workouts. This latest fitness watch by TomTom is a significant departure from its predecessors, and can be ordered in several different color variants.
In the box you receive:
The one thing that Polar has been doing a bit differently in the last few iterations of its fitness watches it trimming down their physical size and improving their look and this is quite evident in their flagship model – The V800. A successor to the Polar M400, the V800 Polar fitness watch is mainly designed with triathletes in mind, but also offers open water and swimming modes as well as cycle and run tracking.
The only feature that the V800 does lack is an onsite heart rate sensor, but fitness experts claim that accurate heart rate readings are best be determined with when paired with a standalone heart rate monitor chest strap. On a brighter note, the Polar V800 has recently received a slew of software updates, most notably one that now renders smartphone type notifications on the display when paired with an iOS device.
If heart rate monitoring is a must have in your fitness regime, Polar does offer a package that comes along with a H7 heart rate sensor, and at a cost that won’t break the bank!
What’s in the Box?
Highlights of the Polar V800 GPS Watch
Design, Build and Battery Life
For starters, the Polar V800 boasts a robust build, and features five metal buttons, comfortable rubber strap that’s perfect for a fitness watch and a high resolution Gorilla Glass protected 128×128 pixel dot matrix display. Adding to this, the screen surprisingly is clearly visible in almost all light conditions and even offers a choice of watch faces.
The actually watch face design is pretty much the same as the M400, but the V800 owing to Gorilla Glass protection is more water proof up to 30 meters deep and also exudes a much more premium feel. The V800 is lean enough to be worn all day and can even pass as normal digital watch, The two silver buttons on the right control up/down functionality, whereas the red button on the right is starting laps and selecting and confirming items in the menu.
The first button on the right is to power on the light and also to access the menu while running, whereas the other serves as a back button to pause or end a particular activity. It comes pre-loaded with a plethora of metric screens laps, distance, and pace and heart rate, and the screen displays date time and even your name. To view metrics such as distance, heart rate or pace as you want them, you will have to use the Polar software to set up the respective data pages.
Battery life is another area where the Polar V800 excels and clocks in at a whopping 50 hours of power in low GPS mode or 13 hours of training time or 10 kms runs or 4-hour cycle rides. The V800 features an onsite barometric altimeter that helps determine elevation changes so each time the fitness watch is powered on, it will use GPS technology to calibrate the altimeter. After successful calibration, you can you will begin to receive altitude information during a specific activity.
24×7 Activity Tracking and Orthostatic Test
The Polar V800 offers superior activity tracking features perhaps because it was one of the first fitness watches to double as an activity monitor. Activity tracking does not refer to tracking sports activities, but rather what you do when you’re not exercising like walking to a grocery store or other normal non-endurance activities. The goal of activity training is to give you a clear insight of the activities you do outside of training, and determine your day to day workout effort.
The V800 displays metrics such as distance walked, steps taken, calories and your progress towards a pre-defined goal when synced with your phone or other compatible device. One of the noteworthy features of the Polar V800 is the orthostatic test, which measures fatigue and understanding the results helps you understand patterns and create specific training goals based on it. These reports can then be viewed on the Polar Flow app.
Polar V800 Running, Cycling and Swimming
Before heading out on a run with the Polar V800 fitness watch, you will have to acquire a GPS signal in order for accurate tracking. This process takes less than a minute for acquiring GPS signals from a new locations and less than 30 seconds when you start and activity from the same location. When paired with the optional Stride sensor, the Polar V800 can be mated with your running shoes to monitor cadence or footfall.
If you’d like to take the Polar V800 on a bicycle ride and have it track your performance, you can either strap it around your handlebars (no strap included) or wear it around your wrist. However, take note that the latter option entails that you take one hand off the handlebars to read data – a bit unsafe.
Being waterproof up to 30 meters deep, the Polar V800 is also designed for swimming and entering into this mode allows this fitness watch to measure time, distance, heart rate and analyze stokes in the pool with the help of the SWOLF (Swim Golf) score. Additionally, the Polar V800 will recognize several strokes including breast stroke, back stroke free stroke and everyone’s favorite breast stroke.
To enter into the swim mode, simply press the start button and select Pool Swim, and you can even change the lane length pressing down on the Light button until the quick menu appears and then setting your preferred length between 50 meters, 250 meters and 25 yards. After your swimming session, all the measured details can then be synced with the Polar Flow app.
Although the display of the Polar V800 does not render comprehensive details of a specific activity, the dedicated app and browser software is just the opposite. The app can be paired easily via Bluetooth with Android and iOS powered smartphones and data can be synced rapidly just by holding down the back button.
Apart from laying out your sports training activity, the Polar app also displays your daily activity from the steps taken to sleep quality. The app even allows you to create workout session with respective sections such as rest and sprint goals. Take note that data from the V800 can only be synced by pairing the device with a compatible phone via Bluetooth or to a computer via USB and not over WI-FI.
Pros of the Polar V800
Cons of the V800
The Polar V800 is rich in features and is a proven GPS tracker with a large clear display and impressive battery life. It is easy to use and designed to track several different activities and even fatigue with an orthostatic test. The details from the V800 can then be viewed by pairing the device with a compatible smartphone or PC through Bluetooth or USB.
The watch has received constant updates and the latest one enables smartphone notifications on the screen, making the Polar V800 on par with other more expensive fitness watches in the market
The Fitbit Charge HR is inarguably one of the best activity trackers in the market today for several reasons. For starters, the Charge HR is an all around activity tracker that offers on the wrist non-stop heart rate monitoring, tracks your sleep, tracks your active heart rate levels while you sleep or workout or rest, and syncs this vital data with virtually any major tablet or smartphone.
The Fitbit Charge HR is basically a back device with a miniscule LED screen, but its rich in features, and much more than other expensive fitness devices in its segment. It also doubles as a watch and boasts class leading battery life, and that’s with continuous heart rate monitoring. The web based interface of the Fitbit Charge HR offers a clean layout and is simple to use and integrates seamlessly with popular workout apps such as Strava, Endomondo, RunKeeper, Runtastic among others.
When shopping for a fitness tracker, you will be spoilt for choice considering the array of brands available. Fitbit however is one brand that is distinct from the competition, and its Surge fitness tracking watch is just one reason why! Fitbit – one of the first companies to create a smartphone-connected device has been creating different iterations of its original Fitbit Ultra smart pedometer, and its latest product the Surge comes in the form of a rather sophisticated device that basically does it all.
For starters, the Surge is not only able to track your sleep and every step you take, but also uses GPS technology to track outdoor activity, keep tabs on your heart rate with its onsite optical heart rate monitor and even alert you of incoming phone calls and messages in its vibrant touchscreen display. Apart from its glorious battery life, the Surge boasts all the features of other Fitbit products plus a myriad of other sports features and add to this a more aesthetically appealing and comfortable watch like design.
What’s in the Box?