Android Heart Rate Monitor

Android Heart Rate monitors are ones that are able to connect to your android smartphone. They normally work via a bluetooth connection. A chest strap which contains the bluetooth transmitter has to be worn to send the signal to the phone. There are several apps you can install on the phone to record your heart rate. These include things like SportsTracker, Endomondo or Runtastic Pro. Some require a monthly subscription, so do check before you buy.

There are not many Heart Rate Monitors out there that are compatible with Android phones. This is mainly because of the fact that many monitors use Bluetooth 4.0. Although Android phones have the hardware compatible with this, the operating system does not yet support it. However the good news is that Google are going to include it in an upcoming release, we just do not know when. When this happens many other Heart Monitors will become compatible with the Android phone.

At the moment I have found three, which work. Here is my review of them.

Zephyr HxM Bluetooth Wireless Heart Rate Sensor

Zephyr HxM Bluetooth Wireless Heart Rate Sensor for AndroidThe Zephyr HXM is one of the most popular monitors around. On Amazon it gets 4.3 out of a possible 5 from over 180 reviewers (at the time of writing).

Check it out now on Amazon.com

It uses a machine-washable chest strap which contains the bluetooth transmitter. The strap is self-adjustable up to 40 inches (101cm). One good thing is that is has around 20 hours of battery life and the batteries are rechargeable via USB. Bluetooth can sometimes suffer from the devices having to be very close to one another for a good and accurate transmission. Zephyr say that the HxM works up to 10m. One reviewer explained that "It synchs quickly (I use SportsTracker on my droid phone) and has decent range. I have also put my phone on a pouch on my back while biking or lifting and it stays connected".

Other features of it include:

  • Records Heart Rate and the R-R interval (this is what is shown on an ECG monitor),
  • Records Speed,
  • Records Distance,
  • Tracks the Intensity level of the exercise.

Some of these features depend on the capability of the app you are pairing it with. For a list of compatible apps have a look here – http://www.zephyranywhere.com/apps/

  • Water Resistant up to 1m, so will perform if you sweat or in the rain. Not suitable for swimming, but then neither is your phone!

​The majority of the reviews for the Zephyr HXM on Amazon are positive. Most follow this line – "Awesome product! Very comfortable, slimline, and pairs with my HTC Android phone (running Endomondo Pro) without any hassles." A few people have had issues with getting the device to connect to their phone. One thing to note is that "paired, but not connected" is the default state. It will not show connected until you start the app and select the HxM from the list shown within the app. Some apps will not show this and just connect automatically.

Click here for pricing and to Buy Now on Amazon.com for the Zephyr HxM Bluetooth Wireless Heart Rate Sensor

Scosche RHYTHM Bluetooth Armband Heart Rate Monitor

Scosche Rythm ArmbandScosche are not one of the most well-known makers of Heart Rate monitors, but their pedigree is assured. They are more known in the car audio category and other types of in-car entertainement, much of which uses Bluetooth technology. They have used this knowledge and designed the Scosche RHYTHM Bluetooth Armband

On Amazon.com it recieves top marks at 5 out of 5, however this is only from two reviewers. 

The main difference between this and the other two Android compatible monitors we are looking at is that this is an armband and not a chest strap. Therefore it may suit you if you find the chest straps uncomfortable, or are a larger person and they do not fit very well. One reviewer says of the armband that it is – "way more comfertable then the ones that strap around your body".

The main features of the Scosche Rhythm are:

  • Works best with the Rhythm App, which is free to download from the Google play store.
  • Records your pulse rate in real-time,
  • Records distance,
  • Records average speed and average pace,
  • Records Calories burnt,
  • Able to view your workouts via a Web Dashboard, 
  • Keeps a workout calendar, so you can track previous workout stats on your phone,
  • The armband has the capability of allowing you to control your music, such as change tracks, increase/decrease volume without the need to take the phone out of your pocket or bag.
  • The battery life is 6 hours, but it is rechargable.
  • Compatible with other Third party apps such as the iRunner, iCardio, iBiker and Digifit. For a full list click here – http://www.scosche.com/rhythm.

​One reviewer on Amazon said that – "By far the best HRM I have ever owned, highly recommend and worth the $99! :)"

Click here to Buy Now at Amazon.

Polar Wearlink+ Transmitter With Bluetooth

Polar Wearlink+Android Heart Rate MonitorPolar are one of, if not the Industry leader when it comes to Heart Rate Monitors. They have been a bit slow to design one that is compatible with the Android. Others in the range including the Polar H6 and H7 are not compatible and only work with an Iphone. The Wearlink+ Transmitter changes this and works with an Android phone as well as a Blackberry. It is compatible with many of the apps available on the Google Play store including CardioTrainer, RunKeeper and runtastic.

It uses a strap with a clip on Bluetooth transmitter. The strap is hand washable and most people report it as comfortable. 

On Amazon it gets 3.3 out of a possible. This is from 159 reviewers at the time of writing.

Click here to have a look for pricing, rating and reviews on Amazon.

Most people who give it a bad review seem to have connectivity problems with getting the device to pair and stay connected with the phone. Part of this seems to be caused by the fact that the Wearlink+ needs direct line of sight to the phone and the phone needs to be no more than 1m away. This means that you cannot keep the phone in a backpack while training, or possibly in your pocket. This is inconveinet especially when running or cycling. It appears that if it is in line of sight it is fine and accurate, eg clipped onto the handlebars of bike or worn on an Armband. So it seems that you need to think about what you want to use the device for and if this limitation will not be a problem for you.

Another issue with it is that the batteries it uses are not re-chargeable. It uses CR2025 type and these last approximately 150 hours, depending on how often you use it. They are user-changeable.

One other think to note is that it is not compatible with other Polar devices. 

I know this review does not sound very positive, so let us try and correct that. It seems that for some people it does work great and that I think very much depends on what they are using it for. For example one reviewer says "i have had my phone sitting across the room when working out at home and it picks it up no problem."​ In this situation there is probably little interference to the bluetooth signal and the phone is in line of sight of the transmitter.

Another reviewer states that "I use it with my Nexus One Android, together with Endomondo Free version. Not one single problem with it. I use the cellphone in an arm band on my right arm, and had no connectivity problems." 

Get Further details and buy now on Amazon.

Conclusion on Android Heart Rate Monitors

We have reviewed three very different Heart Rate Monitors for Android phones. Each one has its pros and cons. Before buying one, I recommend checking out this guide here – http://beingfitandhealthyrocks.com/heart-rate-monitor-watches-the-essential-guide/. It explains what heart rate monitors are, what to look for and why you need one.

For these three think about what you will be using it for, whether you want a chest strap or not and if the monitor you like is compatible with an app that has the features you need.

In my opinion the Zephyr HxM is the best one. This is because it has good bluetooth connectivity (up to 10m), compatible with many of the most popular apps on Google play and is a decent price.

Which do you think is the best Android Heart Rate Monitor, here are the links on Amazon for all three:

Zephyr HxM Bluetooth Wireless Heart Rate Sensor for Android

Scosche RHYTHM Bluetooth Armband

Polar Wearlink+ Transmitter With Bluetooth

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