Hearts. We all have them, and often neglect them. You know, that last batch of french fries, maybe combined with some fried chicken, followed by a nap on the couch? Yeah, we’ve all been there, and eventually it catches up to the best of us. Better eating and exercise is key, and can help to reverse the effects of that donut that tasted so good!
With exercise we need to keep an eye on our ticker, and one way to keep an eye on it (after a quick check in with the doctor saying we’re healthy enough to workout!) is to use a Zephyr Technologies HxM Heart Rate Monitor. I’ve personally used one of these for about a year now, taking advantage of it during hikes, bike rides, runs, even mowing the lawn!
The HxM connects easily through a Bluetooth connection on most Android smartphones. There is a plethora of apps that are compatible with the HxM, made possible (Geek Alert!) through their great API’s they release to ensure developers are encouraged to work with them. I personally use SportsTrackLive on my Samsung Galaxy S II, and have absolutely no problems with connection…ever.
So off I went, I did some running at times, I tried my hand with some P90X, I even cycled a lot. It wasn’t enough that I sweat enough, I put this thing to it’s test. Running it never skipped a beat (pun intended!). The chest strap fit comfortably, the sending unit was small and truthfully I never noticed it once and often would later wonder why I forgot to take it off later in the day. Then the P90X test, which once again was no problem for the HxM to send your heart rate to the phone. I tested it on a treadmill at the gym, it took a short time of adjusting the settings on SportsTrackLive, but combined they even recorded distances fairly accurately. The HxM has a motion sensor in it that helps to track distances in places where GPS signals are non-existant, as well as helping keep track of your running cadence.
After using it a few times, I started noticing trends in my workouts, appreciated the more accurate calories burned stats, and noticed I kept trying to keep working out longer. I found that I was maxing out my heart rate at times on runs, but not going into the red danger zone!
Now to be fair, I did have one thing about the Zephyr that seemed wrong. I had a unit, and would snap it into the charging cradle that they include, and there would always be a green light on. After 2 hours I’d take it off, and the unit would be fully charged, but the lights would never turn red for charging and back to green for fully charged like the instructions stated. I simply dealt with it for awhile, but then decided I’d try to test another part of the Zephyr promise. I sent an e-mail explaining the situation, stated that it’s working, but seems odd. A representative from Zephyr responded within 12 hours without questions, just apologizing for what happened and included an RMA number and requested I send the unit back to them and they would replace it. I was somewhat undecided for awhile because the problem wasn’t really an inconvenience, but decided one day to give it a shot. So I did. I sent it back to their corporate headquarters in a ziplock bag (lost the original box), and within a week I had the new unit in my hand, ready to track my heartrate! I cannot express enough the quality of customer service I experienced. Very courteous, kind, and prompt!
Conclusion? If you’re in the market for a new heart rate monitor, don’t want the full investment in a Garmin, Polar, or Suunto GPS wrist unit and have an Android phone, Zephyr is a great option. They’re soon releasing a Bluetooth Smart option as well for all of you iPhone users as well! I’ve been using the Android version for about a year, they replaced the entire unit when I noticed the charger light not being correct, but other than that I’ve seen no long term problems and highly endorse the Zephyr HxM!