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Wando64

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Jul 11, 2013
2,191
2,784
Hi, the Apple Watch has become mature enough for me to consider it as a possible replacement for my fitness watch (TomTom cardio).
However the Heart Rate monitoring is essential for me and it must work very well.

I've read mixed reviews regarding the performance of the HR monitor on AW 3 and 4.
To a degree these are to be expected as optical HR monitoring needs some getting used to (tight strap, about an inch from the wrist or even higher up), also I assume it is not suitable for everybody.

Does anyone here has direct experience of comparing the AW HR monitor with any optical HR monitor based on Mio technology, such as TomTom or any Mio own product?
How do the two compare?

Thanks
 

iamasmith

macrumors 6502a
Apr 10, 2015
839
416
Cheshire, UK
It will be interesting to hear about the AW4, I'm pretty happy with my AW3 for walking but I always use a Polar H10 paired to the watch when running as there are way too many dropouts and irregularities when doing something vigorous and it's made me skeptical of optical solutions.

Compare a lunchtime walk using the watch sensor..
IMG_9E27F5EE9A49-1.jpeg


With a run on the same day using the Polar H10 input to the watch.
IMG_C17506C8E0BA-1.jpeg
 
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oeagleo

macrumors 6502a
Feb 5, 2016
712
417
West Jordan, Utah
Honestly, I own both an AW4, and a Garmin Fenix 5+, and they both lack accuracy when doing a number of activities. While they both do very well for the 24/7 Heart Rate monitoring, I've found that certain activities, like Rowing, Weights, (including the machines), Elliptical, or "classes" such as Zumba, etc they simply don't perform correctly at all. I have a Polar OH1, Scosche Rhythm+, and a Wahoo Tickr-x, and I will use the Polar OH1 mostly, as it's comfortable, easy to take to the gym if I don't take my gym bag, and very accurate for everything that I've done with it. Advice, invest in a decent Chest strap if you don't mind the comfort factor, if not, get a GOOD OHR like either the OH1, or the Rhythm+, personally, I've found that I like the Polar better than the Rhythm+, but that's just my 2c worth, for my situation. For serious HRM tracking, don't even think about the internal HR monitor on the AW, for 24/7, it's great, but not for hard activities.
 
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MungoA

macrumors newbie
Oct 13, 2016
8
1
Why not a chest strap? It is cheaper and more accurate and less likely to get fooled still. Either way the "is it worth it" calculus is entirely personal.

With wrist-based, even when running, there is a risk of cadence locking. Both your HR when running and your cadence are within normal HR ranges and rhythms. Because of this, the Apple Watch can confuse variations in green light reception caused by wrist motion for variations in green light reception caused by skin flushing. This can make the watch report your arm swinging (at 150-180 steps per minute) as if it were your heart beats. I personally can recommend Aidlab Chest Strap. For things like cycling or lifting or other wrist-bending exercises the chance of completely garbage HR when taken at the wrist increases.

Not sure if someone did mention Aidlab before, sorry if so!
 

Wando64

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Jul 11, 2013
2,191
2,784
Why not a chest strap? It is cheaper and more accurate and less likely to get fooled still. Either way the "is it worth it" calculus is entirely personal.

With wrist-based, even when running, there is a risk of cadence locking. Both your HR when running and your cadence are within normal HR ranges and rhythms. Because of this, the Apple Watch can confuse variations in green light reception caused by wrist motion for variations in green light reception caused by skin flushing. This can make the watch report your arm swinging (at 150-180 steps per minute) as if it were your heart beats. I personally can recommend Aidlab Chest Strap. For things like cycling or lifting or other wrist-bending exercises the chance of completely garbage HR when taken at the wrist increases.

Not sure if someone did mention Aidlab before, sorry if so!

When I first purchased my TomTom watch I was unsure about the HR monitor, so for a while I was wearing both the TomTom (wrist) and a Polar monitor with a chest strap.
After a short while I convinced myself that the TomTom optical/wrist monitor was working as well as the chest strap so I stopped using the latter. This was years ago and I rarely have problems with it.
The TT monitor is based on a Mio sensor/technology. Hence my question.
[doublepost=1547545805][/doublepost]By the way, I am now wondering whether people here are wearing this thing right when exercising (lol I sound like SJ).
A wrist, optical, HR monitor should be worn very tight and quite high up the forearm.
About 2 inches from the wrist joint (definitely no less than one inch).
This is obviously not a natural position for a watch when worn normally, but it is essential for accurate HR monitoring.
 

tgara

macrumors 65816
Jul 17, 2012
1,154
2,898
Connecticut, USA
I can only relate my experiences, but I use an Apple Watch Series 3 for workouts in the gym. My workouts include mainly strength training with weights and some cardio (sprints on the treadmill, rowing machine, or lighter weight movements for higher reps).

In addition to the watch, I wear a chest strap that communicates with the gym wifi system and displays my statistics on a big TV screen and records my progress. I can say that the real-time heart rate data from the Apple Watch is within 2-3 bpm of the chest strap. Good enough for me.
 

buckethead

macrumors member
Oct 20, 2008
82
48
I can only relate my experiences, but I use an Apple Watch Series 3 for workouts in the gym. My workouts include mainly strength training with weights and some cardio (sprints on the treadmill, rowing machine, or lighter weight movements for higher reps).

In addition to the watch, I wear a chest strap that communicates with the gym wifi system and displays my statistics on a big TV screen and records my progress. I can say that the real-time heart rate data from the Apple Watch is within 2-3 bpm of the chest strap. Good enough for me.

I echo this statement. Today was a cardio day and my AW3 and chest strap strap (MyZone which my gym uses to display on HR on a TV screen) had the same average HR over the 63 minute workout. MyZone does not have a nice easy to read HR graph that I can put side by side with the AW HR info to show you, but generally the average of the two devices is within 2 - 3 bpm over a 45 minute+ workout.
 
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Wando64

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Jul 11, 2013
2,191
2,784
Thanks for the responses.
On my current watch I can set HR rate alarms and HR zones (with an alarm buzzing, and the watch vibrating) whenever I go out of the set HR zone.
Anything similar on the AW?
 

PaladinGuy

macrumors 68000
Sep 22, 2014
1,616
1,030
I used to use a chest strap HR monitor for strength training with every previous version of the Apple Watch. The series 4 seems to be much more accurate/capable for me, to the point where I don’t use my chest strap anymore. It catches up very quickly now.

That’s just my experience. They don’t advertise it as being more accurate, but I find it to be.
 
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