Today we are comparing Bluetooth Smart heart rate monitor straps; the Polar H7 to the Wahoo Fitness BlueHR. We have reviewed both of these Bluetooth Smart heart rate monitors in past posts. The links to these reviews can be found at the end of the review.
Polar H7 Versus Wahoo Fitness BlueHR Bluetooth Smart Shoot Out!!
Before we get started, we should tell you a little bit about us and how we perform product evaluations. We have a group of 4 people who do the evaluations of all of the stuff. One person is the lead on a piece of gear, but everyone gets an opportunity to evaluate the product. We have 2 guys and 2 ladies, so it’s a good mix of people. It gives us better insight, and we get a better review overall. Everyone has an input to the review, and if there is a major disagreement, we will note it in the review. If you want to know who these people are, check out our About Us page. Four of us are seasoned triathletes, and 2 of us are are also full time Pilates instructors. Jennifer Lynn, who is a guest blogger, is a full time Pilates/spinning instructor. All swim, bike, run, do Pilates and Yoga, and use all of the gear on a daily basis. Many of you have read the FitnessElectronicsBlog disclaimer, but here it is in case this is your first time reading one of our reviews. For the record, we are in no way connected with Polar or Wahoo Fitness or any of the companies whose gear we review. We love playing with the latest technology, and we couldn’t keep our hands off this stuff if we tried. We typically don’t take gear for free, and there is never give-us-gear for a favorable review, or anything like that. We call ‘em as we see ‘em. It keeps us honest. Typically, if we like the product, we spend our own money to make sure we have it around to use. it helps us answer questions, and compare products, and check out the latest software updates. So, enough with the babble. Let’s get to the review.
We will start off by giving you the manufacturers specs. Here they are:
The Polar H7 heart rate sensor features are shown below:
- Compatible with iPhone 4S and Motorola Droid Razr
- Bluetooth Low Energy transmission
- Compatible with Polar training computers, including the FT series, RS100, RS200, RS300, RS400, CS100, CS200, CS300, and RCX5
- Also compatible with Polar compatible gym equipment using the 5 Khz coded protocol
- Can transmit up to 30 feet
- Battery life up to 350 hours
- User replaceable battery CR2025
- Soft, washable strap
- Suggested retail price $79.95
The Wahoo BlueHR Bluetooth Smart heart rate features are shown below:
- Compatible with iPhone 4S and later iPhones
- Bluetooth Smart (Bluetooth Low Energy 4.0) transmission
- Typical transmit range greater than 10 feet
- Battery life up to 1 1/2 years with typical usage
- User replaceable battery CR2032
- two-snap connection is easy and fast and includes adjustable length strap
- waterproof up to 5 feet
- Soft, washable strap
- Weight – Sensor Pod: 0.6 ounces, strap: 1.0 ounces, Total: 1.6 ounces
- Suggested retail $79.99
To start off, lets talk about some of the product similarities. Both products use the new Bluetooth Smart protocol (a subset of the Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy protocol), and are made to work with the iPhone 4s and later. They both pair easily and work well with the iPhone 4s. They have adjustable soft straps, and are comfortable enough to wear all day (which we’ve done). They both have user replaceable batteries, and claim 350 hours and 1 1/2 years of battery life, which is longer than standard Bluetooth HRM straps. They are both waterproof in normal swimming conditions. They both retail for about $80.00. The straps do snap/clip differently, so we thought we would show you. The Polar H7 has a hook that slides into a loop on the other end of the strap. The HRM transmitter can be snapped in or removed, with the elastic band staying in place:
The Wahoo Fitness BlueHR strap is snapped together with each side of the transmitter:
Both worked well, and I can’t say that one method is better than the other.
Ok, that’s great. So how well do the electronics work?
They both work well when you are within 8-10 feet of the iPhone, which is more than enough distance if you have your iPhone in a pocket or somewhere on your bike. We did not have any connection issues with either heart rate monitor straps. No connection drop outs, or any connection issues at all. Both heart rate monitors also picked up my heart rate easily after the straps were wet. I use tap water to wet the pickup sensor locations on the strap. No heart rate dropouts were noticed on either HRM strap. Also, neither strap had an issue getting a reading when my shirt was really wet due to excessive sweating in the heat. I’ve had some other heart rate monitor straps stop working under these conditions.
So they sound pretty much the same, right? Well, there are a few differences that you may care about. The Polar H7 will also work with some of Polar’s heart rate monitor and bike computers Here is the current list:
- RCX5 Tour de France
The Polar H7 is also compatible with most gym equipment like ArcTrainers and treadmills via the H7’s built in 5 kHz transmitter.
On the other hand, the Wahoo Fitness is compatible with more iPhone apps. Here is the current list of apps that work with both heart rate monitors:
- Endomondo Sports Tracker
- Endomondo Sports Tracker PRO
- Cardio Mapper
- runtastic PRO
- 321Run Free
- Cycle Log
- Cyclist PRO
- cyclist Ultimate
- Endomondo Sports Tracker
- Endomondo Sports Tracker PRO
- Heart Rate Monitor
- Jog Log
- MotionX GPS
- Pedometer Free GPS+
- Pedometer Ultimate GPS+
- RitmoTime Stroke Monitor
- RitmoTime Stroke Monitor Free
- seconds Pro Interval Timer
- Strava Cycling
- Strava Run
- Wahoo Fitness
- Wahoo Fitness Sensor Utility
Thoughts, Opinions, and Summary
Both heart rate monitor straps work really well. The main difference is that the Polar H7 has a 5 kHz transmitter that works with indoor gym equipment and some Polar watches and gear, and the Wahoo Fitness BlueHR works with more apps.
Since I also spend a lot of time in the gym, especially in the winter months, I personally would give the edge to the Polar H7. I think there will be more apps that work with the Polar out soon, and this is such a rapidly growing area that things change every day. The Wahoo BlueHR is a great piece of gear, and I think you can’t go wrong with either one.
Q. Do these Bluetooth Smart heart rate monitors work with the android phones that claim to support Bluetooth Smart (Motorola Razr Maxx, Samsung Galaxy S3)?
A. Here is a response from Polar – Polar H7 supports Bluetooth Smart Heart Rate profile fully. But the Android Operating System does not officially support it, which is why we cannot promise H7 compatibility to Android phones for now. Nor can we promise compatibility with independent Bluetooth Smart implementations made by some manufacturers of Android phones/applications. This is because they are not fully compatible with the Bluetooth Smart specifications and standardized Heart Rate Profile.
We have had many comments from users telling us that they were unable to get the HRM straps to work with the Motorola Razr Maxx or the Samsung Galaxy S3.
If you would like to read our reviews, they can be found at:
In addition, we have covered the apps that work with each of these heart rate monitor straps. If you want more in depth info, you can read these at:
If you want to learn more about Bluetooth, check out some of our pages and posts listed under the “Useful Posts heading in the right sidebar. You can also find in depth reviews on many of the apps discussed in the articles above by checking out our Product Reviews page.
As usual, I will leave you with a few videos to watch:
I found a trick on the internet that will get the Polar H7 up and running with Runkeeper. It seemed to work for me. Here is the video:
Here is a how to video for the Wahoo Fitness BlueHR:
How to pair your BlueHR with the Wahoo Fitness App:
Wahoo Fitness BlueHR – The first Bluetooth Smart heart rate monitor: