Today we are continuing on our journey to learn more about heart rate monitors, and the best way to choose the right one. Today we review the SportsTracker Bluetooth Heart Rate Monitor for Android.
For those of you who were wondering how SportsTracker got its start, the Sports Tracker mobile application was originally created in 2004, when the founding team worked at Nokia Research Center. The founders had a vision of an easy and fun training application that would help people train better and connect with each other. The Nokia Sports Tracker Beta was launched in 2007 gathering a huge global following as the first application of it’s kind to hit smart phones. The current company Sports Tracking Technologies was founded in 2009 after a successful spin-off from Nokia. Sports Tracking Technologies decided to branch out and develop the SportsTracker app for other smart phone platforms, and today it is available for iPhone, Android and Nokia phones.
SportsTracker has recently released a Bluetooth heart rate monitor strap that is compatible with Android, Nokia N9, and Nokia Symbian phones,but it’s not iPhone compatible. The HRM strap is powered by a rechargeable lithium polymer battery, and a USB charger is included. The retail price is 69.90 euros.
The Sports Tracker mobile application was originally created in 2004, when the founding team worked at Nokia Research Center. The founders had a vision of an easy and fun training application that would help people train better and connect with each other. The Nokia Sports Tracker Beta was launched in 2007 gathering a huge global following as the first application of it’s kind to hit smart phones. The current company Sports Tracking Technologies was founded in 2009 after a successful spin-off from Nokia.
What’s in the box?
Here is the box that the SportsTracker HRM comes in:
Here is what is included in the box:
Here is a closeup of the Bluetooth transceiver:
Using the HRM strap:
First, I downloaded the SportsTracker app to an HTC Thunderbolt. I put on the HRM strap, and clicked the app icon to run the app. The first time you use the HRM strap, you must pair it with your phone, similar to other Bluetooth devices. This is where I got into a little trouble. I opened the app, and tried to pair the HRM strap under the Sportstracker app settings menu. It failed. I couldn’t get it to pair, so I went to the SportsTracker website and checked out the support page. On the support page, there is a note about known issues with HTC phones. I followed the instructions, but this still did not fix the problem. I was able to pair it in the Bluetooth settings menu on the phone, but when I went into the SportsTracker app, the HRM strap was not recognized. I completely rebooted my phone, and after doing this a few times, I was finally able to get the HRM strap to pair under the phone Bluetooth settings. Once that was done, I ran the app, and everything worked fine.
As usual, to test the comfort of the HRM strap, I wore it all day. The strap is made from a soft elastic material that is adjustable from 24.4 to 61 inches.
The Bluetooth connection distance was excellent. SportsTracker claims that the strap will remain connected for up to 66 feet away from the phone. As long as the phone was in the general vicinity, I was able to consistently log my workout.
Remember that this is not a review for the SportsTracker app, but a review of the SportsTracker HRM strap. But, to give you a little idea about how the HRM strap works, I thought I would give you a few screen shots of the app:
Here you can set what your workout activity will be, and whether you want auto pause on or off:
Here is my main workout screen that I use during a workout. It shows a map of your location, and your key workout metrics:
I have also included some of the screenshots from SportsTracker’s website. Here you can see the different screens that are available. We will cover these in more detail when we review the app.. Check out the sharing screen, where you can share your workout with others. There is also a screen that allows you to explore other people and workouts:
You can follow people you know on the friends screen:
Thoughts, Opinions and Summary:
Remember that this review is focused on the hardware, not any of the software apps. The apps will be covered in another review.
So what do I think of the hardware? Once the strap was paired, the Bluetooth HRM strap worked well. The connection range was excellent. Battery life was very good. The app has all of the metrics I needed, and the graphics and screens were great.
- The strap was soft and comfortable.
- The connection, once established, was excellent. The phone could be placed in a pack or pouch, and still maintain a good connection.
- The heart rate connection range was excellent. No dropouts occurred. The manufacturers claim 66 feet for connection coverage.
- The HRM uses a rechargeable lithium battery. The battery lasted for many workouts, but we did not get a measurement of battery life. The manufacturer claims 40 hours before recharging is required. Charging from a half dead battery was a few hours.
- Although we are not reviewing the app, the app worked well, and looks great. I was unable to determine if the HRM strap would work with other applications. I will follow up with more info when we review the app in a separate post.
- With the HTC Android phone, it took some time to get the HRM to pair with the phone. There were warnings on the website letting me know that with this brand of phone, problems may occur.
- 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. Typically, the GPS in the phone is not as good as the GPS in a good GPS fitness watch, but I am pretty amazed at the accuracy of the newer Android smart phones,
And here is a quick video on the SportsTracker software: