Polar has set a reasonably excessive bar within the heart rate monitor division, so it is no shock that it is not attempting to reinvent the wheel with its newest chest strap, the H10 Coronary heart Price Sensor ($89.95). It is extra of a refinement on the favored H7, which is taken into account a gold customary by many (and our go-to gadget for comparability testing). The H10 maintains that accuracy, whereas enhancing battery life and including onboard reminiscence, making it extra handy for athletes who hate figuring out with their cellphone in tow. It falls simply shy of incomes our Editors’ Selection, nevertheless, because the excellent Wahoo Fitness Tickr X presents a wider vary of appropriate units and apps, in addition to bodily suggestions options for $10 much less. Even so, the H10 is a wonderful alternative that deserves a spot on the high of your quick checklist.
New and Improved
The H10 strongly resembles the Polar H7 from a design perspective, albeit with some key enhancements. The snap-on sensor is smaller and thinner; the strap has a brand new buckle that is simpler to regulate and placed on; and the within options electrodes and silicone dots to stop slippage (extra on these within the subsequent part). However the place the H7 is on the market in a number of completely different shade selections, the H7 solely is available in black. That is not a significant disadvantage, as you are in all probability not going to be spending a lot time displaying it off (until you train shirtless).
A lot of the different enhancements aren’t seen. The H10 can obtain software program updates wirelessly, for one. It additionally has double the battery lifetime of the H7, 400 hours, which ought to translate to months of utilization. And because it makes use of an everyday coin cell battery, you by no means must cost it. I have been exercising repeatedly with the H10 for about 4 months, and it nonetheless registers as having a full battery. One other bonus: the again of the sensor has an up to date design that makes changing the battery simpler. Just like the H7, you should use the H10 whereas swimming, which is one thing you’ll be able to’t do with the Tickr X.
However the greatest replace is that the H10 has built-in reminiscence, so it could possibly retailer one coaching session earlier than syncing. That is not a lot in contrast with a conventional fitness tracker, however it provides some flexibility. Whereas the H7 must be always related to your cellphone with a purpose to transmit knowledge, with the H10 you solely want your cellphone to begin recording, however then you’ll be able to go away it at dwelling, within the locker room, or anyplace else that is out of vary, and it’ll sync later.
The H10 does not have a display, so until your cellphone is on the market, you will not get any real-time suggestions until you employ it with appropriate gymnasium gear by way of Polar’s proprietary GymLink connection.
The H10 is comfy sufficient that you may put on all of it day lengthy. It is available in two sizes: XS-S (20-26 inches) and M-XXL (26-36 inches). I wore the strap throughout indoor and out of doors runs, in addition to on the workplace. I by no means skilled chafing, and inside a number of seconds, it was straightforward to neglect I used to be even carrying it. It did experience up below my sports activities bra once in a while, however the sensor’s slim profile by no means induced sufficient discomfort to require readjustment. And until you are carrying skin-tight garments, nobody will be capable to inform you’re carrying it.
That stated, it isn’t fairly so simple as buckling the H10 into place. First, you must dampen the electrodes with some water to make sure you get a studying. After that, you’ll be able to snap the sensor into place on the entrance. After any strenuous exercise you will need to briefly clear the strap and detach the sensor. In line with Polar, this helps protect battery life, because the electrodes might proceed to file knowledge mistakenly. You may as well throw the strap itself within the washer.
The App Expertise
You need to use the H10 with third-party fitness apps like Cardio Mapper, Endomondo, iSmooth Run, and Runtastic, however it’s optimized to work with Polar’s personal Beat and Move apps. Each are free, although you will must pay if you wish to unlock all of Beat’s options.
Beat is actually for recording coaching classes. It is also the app you employ to pair the H10 over Bluetooth. Within the free model, you’ll be able to see your coronary heart price and think about simplified statistics reminiscent of length, common coronary heart price, and energy burned. You possibly can choose from an in depth vary of actions to trace that run the gamut from working, to Latin dancing, to wakeboarding, however in any other case it is actually the naked minimal.
If you’d like extra perception into coaching depth, or how you have progressed, you will must pay for it. There are 4 upgrades: Profit Goal, Power Pointer, Health Take a look at, and Working Index. Profit Goal and Power Pointer provide you with real-time steering to your exercise, whereas Working Index permits you to monitor your run efficiency over time. Health Take a look at permits you to measure your VO2 Max rating in about 5 minutes as you lie down and chill out. Individually, these options price $2.99, however you will get all of them in a bundle for $7.99. It isn’t costly, however comparable options do not price further with apps from Fitbit, Garmin, and Jabra, as an illustration.
The Polar Move app is a extra holistic have a look at your exercise, and capabilities extra like your typical health tracker app. You possibly can monitor sleep, view your every day exercise stage, and see what number of steps you have taken in a day. Nevertheless, the H10 does not monitor these metrics, and until you intend on utilizing it with one other Polar tracker, just like the M430, you do not actually need it. However in case you do pair it with a Polar tracker, your recorded classes sync robotically and seamlessly.
Wrist-based trackers, just like the Fitbit Charge 2, sometimes use optical LEDs that measure blood circulate based mostly on gentle reflecting off your pores and skin. They’re fairly correct, particularly in recent times, however readings could be off in case you do not put on them appropriately.
You are a lot much less more likely to get skewed readings with a chest strap. For starters, they’re unlikely to slide and are positioned a lot nearer to the center. Additionally, they use electrical alerts, quite than gentle, to measure your coronary heart beat. And amongst chest straps, Polar has a stellar reputation for accuracy. The truth is, we used the H7 as a benchmark in testing the accuracy of different wearables with coronary heart price monitoring.
I carried out three one-minute pulse assessments to test the H10’s accuracy. To do that, I set a timer and counted my pulse whereas concurrently carrying the H10. Every time, the studying was correct inside two to a few beats per minute. For context, most trackers I’ve examined are likely to differ nearer to 5 to 10 beats. If you wish to significantly incorporate coronary heart price zone coaching into your routine, it is onerous to outdo the H10 for dependable accuracy.
I did discover, nevertheless, that there’s a slight lag when utilizing the GymLink function on intense exercises. As my coronary heart price climbed above 170bpm, the treadmill I used to be on would repeatedly report it as 140 to 150bpm. You typically see the same lag with wrist-based wearables. For probably the most correct outcomes, you are higher off sticking with real-time monitoring by way of the app or viewing your knowledge later.
What HRM Is Proper for You?
In case your present H7 chest strap is displaying some put on and tear, you would possibly need to take into consideration upgrading to the H10. The prolonged battery life and built-in reminiscence make it a strong funding, particularly if in case you have or are pondering of getting a Polar health tracker.
That stated, in case you’re shopping for your first coronary heart price monitor and you are not a Polar person, the Wahoo Health Tickr X prices much less and presents some options you would possibly want. It contains vibration and LED suggestions, which could be custom-made to allow you to management your music or inform you while you reached a milestone in your exercise. And along with being extremely correct, you should use it with a wider vary of units and apps, together with Strava and RunKeeper. For these causes the Tickr X stays our Editors’ Selection, however relying in your wants the H10 could possibly be the appropriate alternative for you.