Polar WearLink+ Bluetooth Heart Rate Monitor In Depth Review

 

We are continuing on our  journey to learn more about heart rate monitors, and the best way to choose the right one. Today we are reviewing the Polar Wearlink+ Bluetooth heart rate monitor. The Wearlink+ Bluetooth is made to work with Android phones. If you are looking for a Polar heart rate monitor that works with the iPhone 4S, check out our review of the Polar H7 Bluetooth Low Energy Heart Rate Monitor In-Depth Review.

 

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 a chance 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 any of the companies whose gear we review. We remain disconnected, in large part, because we love playing with the latest technology, and we couldn’t keep our hands off this stuff if we tried.  No 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 will buy it to have around, use, and be able to check out software updates and answer questions.  So, enough with the babble. Let’s get to the review.

We thought we would give a little background on all of the heart rate monitor straps that Polar makes, and what products each HRM strap works with. First of all, Polar makes heart rate monitors that use different frequencies and different protocols. Polar makes heart rate monitors that use a low frequency 5 kHz connection method. They also make a 2.4 GHz high frequency proprietary protocol called W.I.N.D. Finally, they also make two models of Bluetooth HRM straps; Bluetooth (Bluetooth 2.0, or normally just called Bluetooth), and Bluetooth Smart (Sometimes called Bluetooth Low Energy or Bluetooth 4.0).  So if you check out the Polar site, and look under accessories, you will find eight different heart rate monitors (plus 2 replacement straps). If you don’t care about the differences in HRM straps, and only care about the Polar WearLink+ Bluetooth review, skip down to the Getting Started section, which is where the review starts.

So, eight straps? Wow! Why all of the different straps? Well, first of all, lets group the straps into three different groups.

The first group is Straps that work with current Polar HRM watches and bike computers:

  • T31
  • T31 coded
  • WearLink+
  • WearLink+ W.I.N.D
HRM’s that work with other watches and devices:
  • WearLink+ Nike
Bluetooth HRM’s that work with smart phones:
  • WearLink+ with Bluetooth
  • H7 Bluetooth Smart
You can see that the Wearlink+ Bluetooth and the H7 models work with smartphones. The WearLink+ Bluetooth works with Android phones. It does not work with any of the Polar HRM watches or bike computers. The H7 Bluetooth Low Energy  works with iPhone 4S (not earlier iPhone models), but it does have a 5 kHz transmitter that allows it to work with most Polar products. The complete list of compatible Polar products is listed in the review.

For your convenience, I have copied specs and compatibility chart from the other Polar heart rate monitor straps below, directly from their site for reference purposes. This may be helpful comparing the differences between the HRM’s. Here they are:

WearLink+ Heart Rate Monitor Straps

It not only measures your heart rate but also seamlessly adapts to your body shapes so you feel as if it’s not even there. The transmitter consists of an electrode strap and a connector, and with its new side-clip mechanism, it’s just as quick to put on as it is to take off.

  • Soft fabric material feels like clothing on the skin
  • Ergonomically designed to feel like it’s a part of you
  • Removable and machine washable textile strap
  • Anti-Bacterial
  • User replaceable battery
  • Sizes XS-S, M-XXL
  • Retail price $59.95
Compatible with:
  • CS100
  • Cs200cad
  • CS300
  • FT1
  • FT2
  • FT4
  • FT40
  • FT60
  • FT80
  • RCX5
  • RCX5 Tour de France
  • RS100
  • RS400

Updated March 31, 2014:

The WearLink+ with Bluetooth heart rate sensor is compatible with the following phones:

Android phones:

  • HTC Wildfire S, Desire S, Sensation XE, One SV (LTE)
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505, Galaxy Ace S5830i, Galaxy Gio GT-S5660, Galaxy S i9000, Galaxy Y GT-S5360, Galaxy Xcover GT-S5690, Galaxy Mini GT-S5570
  • LG Thrill

Symbian phones:

  • Nokia 5230, 5530 OMU, 5530 XpressMusic, 5630, 5630 OMU, 5700 XpressMusic, 6110 Navigatori, 6290, 6700 slide, 6710 Navigatori, 6760 slide, C5-00, C5-03, C6-00, C6-01, C7-00, E5, E52, E63, E66, E7-00, E71, E72, N76, N8-00, N97 mini, N97 mini OMU, X6 OMU
Wearlink+ W.I.N.D  Heart Rate Monitor Strap

With a soft fabric chest strap it’s the latest generation of Polar’s proprietary heart rate sensing and transmission technology.

  • Polar W.I.N.D. technology eliminates interference from external influences such as power lines
  • Anti-Bacterial
  • User replaceable battery
  • Sizes: XS-S, M-XXL
  • Retail price $69.95

Compatible with:

  • CS500+
  • CS500X
  • RCX5
  • RCX5 Tour de France
  • RS800X
  • RS800CX Multisport GPS pack
Polar Wearlink+ Nike+ Heart Rate Monitor Strap

Polar WearLink+ transmitter Nike+ picks up your heart’s signals and transfers that data into the Nike+ system. The soft fabric chest strap seamlessly adapts to your body shape, bringing full freedom of movement to your training. With its hook mechanism, transmitter is just as quick to put on as it is to take off.

  • Provides heart rate information to nikeplus.com web service with compatible Nike+ devices
  • Uses coded 5 kHz transmission, ensuring that your Polar training computer finds your heart rate signal
  • Washable fabric strap
  • Water-resistant connector
  • User replaceable battery
  • Size: M-XXL
  • Retail price $69.95
Compatible with:
  • CS100
  • Cs200cad
  • CS300
  • FT1
  • FT2
  • FT4
  • FT40
  • FT60
  • FT80
  • RS100
  • RS400
Wearlink+ Hybrid Heart Rate Monitor Strap
The WearLink®+ Hybrid transmitter picks up your heart’s signals and transfers that data into a compatible Polar training computer. The soft fabric chest strap seamlessly adapts to your body shape, bringing full freedom of movement to your training. With its hook mechanism, the transmitter is just as quick to put on as it is to take off.
  • Uses both 5kHz and 2.4GHz W.I.N.D. transmission, ensuring that your heart rate signal is found at all times
  • Transfers heart rate information while swimming
  • Machine washable fabric strap
  • User replaceable battery
  • Sizes: XS-S, M-XXL
  • Retail price $69.95

Compatible with:

  • CS100
  • Cs200cad
  • CS300
  • CS500+
  • CS600x
  • FT1
  • FT2
  • FT4
  • FT40
  • FT60
  • FT80
  • RCX5
  • RCX5 Tour de France
  • RS100
  • RS800CX
H7 Bluetooth Low Energy Heart Rate Monitor Strap (see our in depth review here)

The Polar H7 heart rate sensor provides live heart rate on your mobile training application, so you can make the most of every session. In addition to low energy Bluetooth smart technology, the H7 heart rate sensor uses coded 5 kHz transmission to connect with the majority of Polar training computers on the market and with compatible gym equipment. The soft fabric chest strap seamlessly adapts to your body shape, bringing full freedom of movement to your training.

  • Uses Bluetooth smart technology and coded 5 kHz transmission, providing ECG-accurate heart rate to any Bluetooth smart ready device and compatible Polar training computers
  • Makes it quick and easy to add heart rate to your smartphone
  • Long transmission range (~10m)
  • User replaceable battery
  • Includes a soft and comfortable hand washable fabric chest strap
  • Retail price $79.95
Compatible Phones:
  • iPhone 4S
Compatible with:
  • CS100
  • Cs200cad
  • CS300
  • CS600x
  • FT1
  • FT2
  • FT4
  • FT40
  • FT60
  • FT80
  • RCX5
  • RCX5 Tour de France
  • RS100
  • RS400

The Polar Wearlink+ Bluetooth – Getting Started

What’s in the box?

Here is the product box:

Here’s what’s inside:

So what are the features and specs?

The Polar WearLink®+ transmitter with Bluetooth® wireless technology picks up your heart’s signals and transfers that data into a compatible mobile training application. The soft fabric chest strap seamlessly adapts to your body shape, bringing full freedom of movement to your training. With its hook mechanism, the transmitter is just as quick to put on as it is to take off.

  • Provides heart rate information to compatible mobile training applications
  • Uses Bluetooth transmission, ensuring that the mobile device finds your heart rate signal
  • Washable fabric strap
  • Water-resistant connector
  • User replaceable battery
  • Anti bacterial
  • Size: M-XXL
  • Retail price $79.95

Recommended Android phone compatibility:

  • HTC Wildfire S, Desire S, Sensation XE
  • Samsung Galaxy Ace, Galaxy Mini, Galaxy Gio, Galaxy i9000
  • LG Thrill

Compatible with the following apps:

 

Using the HRM strap:

Here is the WearLink+ Bluetooth after a quick run. We wore it all day to check out the comfort. It is very comfortable, and feels good.

Here is the transmitter:

On the back, you can see the replaceable battery compartment. To turn the unit on and off, you just disconnect it from the strap:

Here is a pic of James testing the WearLink+ Bluetooth:

To start using the WearLink+ Bluetooth with our phones, we first needed to pair the device. Make sure Bluetooth is turned on, and scan for devices. You can see that Polar IWL shows up.

Clicking on Polar IWL took me to the pairing screen. I entered 0000, and I was ready to go:

Next, I opened Endomondo (or whatever app you want to use), selected sensors, and chose the Polar IWL. Choosing and enabling the sensor is different for different apps, so you may need to play around with this:

Once we were in the app, we checked Bluetooth connection distances. We could walk into the next room and still keep the heart rate monitor display on the phone working. We never had any issue with connection. We tried placing the phone in a shorts pocket, and reception was fine. Moving it around, and placing it behind us in a fanny pack didn’t cause any issues. Don’t expect to swim with it and still pick up a heart rate. The WearLink+ is waterproof, but Bluetooth doesn’t transmit well through water. It’s not the HRM’s fault; it has to do with the frequency of Bluetooth and the transmitted power level.

So, off for a run! The device works well, and works as well as any of the Polar HRM straps. Data was alway consistent on our Anroid phone display.

Thoughts, Opinions and Summary:

Since the strap and case on the WearLink+ Bluetooth is identical to the Polar H7 that we evaluated earlier, our opinions on the comfort and design are identical. We did perform the same tests, with identical outcomes. As is typical, I wore the strap for the day to gauge its comfort. I also used it during workouts, and it definitely felt as comfortable as any strap on the market. The Bluetooth connection was great, with no signal or dropout issues noticed in my data. The device paired easily, with no signal issues at all. Our office, with all of the test gear, has many Bluetooth devices running, and we did not have one issue. The hardware seems to be well built, and the strap should hold up well if our other Polar straps are any indication. We have not found any specifications on battery life, but we would expect it to be pretty good. The transmitter uses a CR2025 coin cell, and is user replaceable. Since typical battery life is 1 year on products like these, we would expect similar results.

Pros:

  • The connection was great.
  • The strap was soft and comfortable.
  • Seamless operation.

Cons:

  • I wish it had a 5 kHz transmitter to allow it to work with other Polar devices
  • As with any phone application, all of the data that is based on GPS location information, such as speed and distance, is only as good as the GPS capabilities of the phone. Bottom line, your phone’s GPS performance may vary, but this has nothing to do with the WearLink+ HRM.
So would I recommend the WearLink+ Bluetooth HRM? Definitely yes. We consider it every bit as good as the H7 (except for the lack of a 5 kHz transmitter to work with other Polar devices), but built for Android phones.  The retail price of the Polar WearLink+ Bluetooth is $79.95.

Here is a video using the Polar WearLink+ and RunKeeper:

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  11 Responses to “Polar WearLink+ Bluetooth Heart Rate Monitor In Depth Review”

  1. […] Monitor and iPhone Apps That Work With The Polar H7 Bluetooth Low Energy Heart Rate Monitor , the Polar WearLink+ Bluetooth Heart Rate Monitor , and the Wahoo Fitness Run/Gym Pack Heart Rate Monitor […]

  2. […] Wearlink+ Bluetooth Heart Rate Monitor Polar Wearlink+ Bluetooth Heart Rate Monitor In Depth Review In-depth review. Read our review of the Polar WearLink+ Bluetooth heart rate monitor strap. This […]

  3. Hi, thank you for you review. Do you know or did you test any other phones (like HTC)? I have HTC ONE and its not listed in manual as supported. I think that bluetooth pairing will not be problem.. but maybe higher power consumptions or lose of connectivity could arise.

  4. Will the Polar Wearlink +Bluetooth HRM work with my Samsung Galaxy Note II ?

  5. Vil Polar H7 kunne pares med Sony Xperia Z1 Compact mot endomondo?

    • Ragnar,

      I haven’t tried it, but as far as I can tell, the Sony Xperia Z1 should work with the Polar H7 and Endomondo. The Sony Xperia Z1 has Bluetooth Low Energy 4.0, so it looks like it should work. Let me know how it works out.

      John

  6. Hi, does Polar Wearlink +Bluetooth work with samsung galaxy 3 mini ?

    • As long as your phone operating system detects the bluetooth wearlink, it will work. Android used to have trouble with Bluetooth, but now it works fine! To pair it enter the code 0000.

  7. Hi, thanks for the review. I have the H7 Bluetooth HRM and love it. Contrary to one of your listed “Cons”, I understand the H7 currently comes with 5 kHz and can transmit to Polar HRM “watch” type devices and some gym equipment. There might be a similar H6 that does not transmit via 5 kHz.

    I’m curious if there are any bike computers (besides the expensive Polar devices) the H7 can talk to. I would still track all my data on my iPhone, but it would be nice if the heart rate could be displayed on a bike computer, since I don’t want to mount my phone on the handlebars.

  8. Hi,

    I have this wearlink and it works just fine with Android.
    But your article says it is compatible with the watch Polar-RS100. I have this watch and it does not detect it at all. the RS100 detects a wearlink without Bluetooth.

    Are you sure it is compatible with this watch? or any other watch?

  9. Hi , I have waterproof Bluetooth fitness tracker, But the heart rate monitor is cool which helps for old people who need to monitor regularly. Good explore on Polar. Do you know any device which alerts on overeating ?

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