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Polar FT60 Women’s Heart Rate Monitor Watch (Purple)

Perfect for both men and women, the Polar FT60 is one of the most popular Polar heart rate monitors out there. It can guide you through any training regimen; all you have to do is input your usual training habits and it can assist you in setting goals and achieving them. The Polar FT60′s Polar Star Program can give you weekly training targets to keep you motivated. The Polar FT60 can be like your personal trainer, minus the pressure and stress.

The big thing about the Polar FT60 is that it is a very precise device. It keeps track of your heart rate in impeccable accuracy and shows it in a number of ways including bpm (beats per minute), as a percentage of your maximum heart rate, and as a graph with target zone indicators. Aside from this, the ft60 can also compute your energy expenditure for both single and accumulated training exercises.

We have found the best price for Polar FT60 Women’s Heart Rate Monitor Watch (Purple) at Amazon – click here to check it out.

Features:

  • Innovative training assistance features. Intuitive to your actions and able track your calorie activities specific to your conditions.
  • The easy tap functions allows access to different modes and displays without complex button combinations. Extremely useful when you are ‘on the go’.
  • G1 GPS sensor is sold separately and is quite useful. This add on is a great addition for those that need location tracking
  • Excellent heart rate display makes your progress easy to see with squinting.
  • Personalized Polar Star program for regular feedback and training target set-up.
  • Water resistant up to 30 meters for the swimmers out there.

The Polar FT60 is a heart rate monitor from Polar Electro which was released in 2008. It was developed to further assist people (not only athletes) in keeping to their specific training programs through several innovative features.

Although some people might not notice it right away, the Polar FT60 can take charge of everything within your exercise or training program. For example, if you trained too hard this week, it will automatically adjust your training schedule based on all the data it gathered about your exercise sessions so that you can slow down the next week or take a day off for some recovery time.

One disadvantage of the FT60 is that the interface is difficult to see clearly unless you are in well-lighted areas. While the product does have a night-light feature, it only changes the text color into green and is not very reliable. The font size may be too little for some people as well. Other than these, the FT60 is undeniably a exceptional heart rate monitor.

The Reviews:

“I have been looking to improve my health and start working on getting fit for a few years now. Although heart rate monitors may not be an item you have to have during training, they can serve as great motivators. The ft60 gave me just that and more. The watch was very easy to use and has assisted me to adjust my pace accordingly whenever I fall below or beyond my target zone. For someone wanting to lose weight, get this hrm. You can check out how many calories you burn right after you train! A wonderful product!”

“The polar ft60 is the best exercise trainer I have ever used! It definitely works better than having a human trainer. It keeps track of absolutely everything and makes me want to try harder to reach my goals efficiently. I love it!”

How To Choose a Heart Rate Monitor

Heart rate monitor watches now come in a vast array of options with all kinds of features and facets, and with prices ranging from budget to costly. To get the best heart rate monitor you need to decide what features you need and do some research on the varieties available. Lets review all aspects you have to consider in order to choose your best heart rate monitor.

1. Your Workout Experience Level

How to choose the best heart monitor watch depends, among other things, on the level of your workout experience.

If you are at the beginner level of a sports activity then you may want to go with a standard watch, as you’ll probably only require a few features such as the timer, heart rate zone measure and an alarm. With this, you can sustain your heart rate at safe but challenging limits, and also to track the progress of your exercise program.

For intermediary and advanced level sports people, more sophisticated heart rate monitors are available with features that track and measure your workout over many different parameters. These include heart rate zone, speed control, screen scrolling abilities, data entry (for weight, age, gender, etc), alarms, calendars and many more. Some advance watches can track how many calories are burned during the exercise routine – a very popular feature. You can also adjust the settings depending on the intensity of the exercise you’re doing – for example jogging, yoga, walking, etc.

More sophisticated heart rate watches allow you to download data onto your PC and this way you can track your progress over a long period of time. Another feature of advanced monitor watches is that they enable you to plan future workout routines, very useful if you’re working towards a particular exercising goal.

For the techno-phobic and the ‘keep-it-simple-and-sweet’ individuals, a basic watch with just the standard features is most advisable.

2. Your Sport Activity Type

Another consideration when making your purchase decision is the type of sports activity you are engaged in. Some watches are specifically designed for certain kinds of sports such as swimming, jogging or cycling. Joggers may want to calculate breathing rates and oxygen consumption. Swimmers may prefer designs that are solidly waterproof.

Some watches have GPS features as well as distance and speed trackers – great for cyclists traveling over long routes. For weight loss training, get a heart rate monitor watch that tracks your calories and heart rate zone.

3. Ease of Use

Keep in mind, as well, how comfortable and easy to use the watch is. Can you change the settings in the middle of a work out, or is the data on the screen easy to read? Are the buttons easy to operate and does the watch have back-light features?

For watches that come with a chest strap, how comfortable is it to wear? Some sportswomen have found the chest wraps problematic during workouts and prefer just the wristwatch. Polar and some other companies are now making smaller models for women.

4. Design

Some of the best heart rate monitor watches have become fashion accessories. You can find styles and designs that range from elegant to chunky, in different colors and with specific models for men and women. Manufacturers have also come up with designs that can be worn as an everyday watch as opposed to just during exercise time.

5. Selecting a Brand

Selecting a brand from a reputable manufacturer is another key element when for how to choose the best heart rate watch. There are many firms in the sports watch market, but some names pop up quite regularly in the field of heart rate monitors.

Polar heart rate monitor watches are acknowledged as a top brand in this field. They’re the leaders in the manufacture of general heart monitors and their monitor watches are some of the best. They have a series of options with different features and prices range from about $50 to $300.

Timex heart rate monitor is another good brand to try out, with their watches combining quality and reasonable prices of under $100. They’re also known for the ‘INDIGLOA® night-light’ feature which is found in many watches.

Best Heart Rate Monitor – How Can You Find One?

Summary: Heart rate monitor is an electronic device that is used to monitor measure and record the heart rate of a person.

The best heart rate monitor would be equipped with useful features like GPS, stopwatch, timer, alarm, etc. The heart rate monitors are available in various forms, but mostly preferred as strapless wristwatches.

Have you ever considered the benefits offered by a heart rate monitor? If yes, then you would definitely like to invest in the best heart rate monitor. A heart rate monitor is an electronic device, which can monitor and measure your real time heartbeat, and even record your heartbeat for a study.

A heart rate monitor consists of a transmitter and a receiver. The working of a heart rate monitor depends on the electrical pulses sent out by the user’s heart muscles. The transmitter in the monitor traps or detects the pulses, and then transmits them to the receiver in the form of electromagnetic signals. The transmitter is generally in the form of a chest strap, and the receiver is a portable device like a wristwatch or mobile phone.

Modern heart rate monitors are generally designed as wristwatch models to enable efficient and easy usage. With the evolution in design, strapless heart rate monitor watches were developed in order to ease out the inconvenience caused due to the chest straps. The strapless heart rate monitors are equipped with sensors and microprocessors that determine and display the current heart rate. Advanced models have the facility to measure other fitness parameters such as breathability rate, heart activity, variability, dehydration, core temperature, speed, distance, etc.

Features of the Best Heart Rate Monitors

When you take a quick look at the heart rate monitors available in the market, you may find the features of all those monitors to be quite similar, and hard to distinguish. Some of the following features can help you categorize a heart rate monitor as the best in its class.

  • Convenience: A quality heart rate monitor offers you the convenience to use it, irrespective of the weather. The monitor should be water resistant in order to work efficiently even in humid conditions or during a strenuous gym regime. It should be equipped with a GPS, safe workout zone alert, timer, stopwatch and a heart rate recorder.
  • Clarity: The monitor should be able to project clear results even during a workout or an activity. Genuine manufacturers maintain clarity on the warranty offered on their heart rate monitors.
  • Configuration: The heart rate monitor should allow you to connect or configure it so that it can work in synchronization with a treadmill or your computer.

How to Select the Best Heart Rate Monitor

Reviews on the various heart rate monitors available in the market will help you in selecting the right heart rate monitor. These help you in identifying your needs and matching them with the best options available to you. In addition to helping you in determining the type of heart rate monitor you need, the heart rate monitor reviewsassist in comparing the convenience factor and usability of the top heart rate monitors available in the market.

When you are confident about the features, you desire to have in your heart rate monitor, you can easily compare the top heart rate monitors available in the market. The best heart rate monitor watch provides you all the necessary options needed to monitor your heartbeat along with various other helpful features to aid you. Some of the top heart rate monitor watches include Suunto T6D, Polar FT7, Polar FT60, Polar F6, Timex Ironman, Garmin Forerunner 60 and ePulse2 strapless heart rate monitors.

Top 3 GPS Heart Rate Monitors

When hitting your target heart rate zone is important, nothing can help you out like a heart rate monitor watch.  One of the advanced features in modern HRMs is the built in GPS functionality. It adds an extra dimension to your training and hiking activities.  These devices range greatly in price and features.  While typical GPS watches are on the higher end of the price spectrum, you can find a few that will fit your budget. A GPS is not a must have when it comes to training, but if you want a more complete watch or you have extra cash to spend, then the following are some of the top choices when it comes to performance and reliability.  Here’s a quick overview of my top 3 choice for heart rate monitor watches with GPS functionality.

1. Garmin Forerunner 910XT

This watch is due to hit the shelves just before the Thanksgiving holiday.  It is built for serious training with a triathlon or high-endurance exercise in mind.  This piece comes with GPS on board to easily determine your speed, distance traveled, heart rate, cadence, power, swim metrics and even your optimum altitude with on board altimeter.

2. Polar RCX5

This heart rate monitor was designed with runners, cyclists, and triathletes in mind.  It comes with on board GPS as well and keeps track of your speed, distance and traveled route.  With an sensor, you can also track your cadence.    This device is especially recommended for runners as it does an excellent job of tracking speed, distance, pace, and lap information.

One of the cool features here is the Zone Optimizer.  This allows you to see 5 different optimum heart rate targets at once so you can easily see if you are meeting your goals or missing your target completely.

3. Timex Ironman Run Trainer

This watch also has a GPS feature installed.  It also allows for up to 5 target heart rate zones to be loaded and monitored as well as calorie counter, coded chest strap, interval timers that can be custom set, a recovery heart rate timer, and data transfer to a Mac or PC with the optional Data Recorder device accessory. This is a great watch monitor for anyone training for an event or just trying to meet and beat their best times.

No matter what your goal is, a heart rate monitor watch will be an aid you will soon wonder how you lived without.  A GPS heart rate monitor is a great addition to your training arsenal. If you want to have a complete all in one package, GPS is a must have for the travelers and hikers.

Timex Ironman Heart Rate Monitor

As with all Timex heart rate monitor watches, the Ironman Road trainer is another trusty reliable device for any dedicated athlete. This watch has quite a few technical features for data tracking and display. If you want to use it you can, if not you stick to the basics.

From a consensus of many users, this watch is extremely accurate and easy to use. The onscreen display is intuitive and easy to program even for someone who’s never used an HRM before. The watch is slightly older to date, but it’s reliable to the end. Especially at the price it’s selling at, it’s no wonder it’s a favourite among many athletes. As with many watches you can toggle the display between split/lap time, as well as percentage of maximum heart rate or actual heart rate. All with a touch of a button, you can easily switch as the functions are very intuitive. The Indiglo light gives great readability in the dark. In addition, it’s a great looking watch that you wouldn’t mind wearing.

This watch has a maximum heart rate monitoring features. It has a recovery heart rate timer, which is set to measure your heart rate after a pre-determined time. The watch also sets 5 training zones automatically based on calculations it makes during your work outs. You can input 1 zone manually yourself. It has a simple data transfer function that is easy to use by many. You don’t need to be a tech wizard to transfer the data from your watch to the computer. It is compatible with Data Recorder software. In addition to recording data, it also works well with your treadmill and other exercise equipment. It is fully optimized to prevent from cross talk interference.

We have found the best price for Timex Ironman Heart Rate Monitor at Amazon – click here to check it out.

Features:

  • A water resistant hatch for quick and easy battery changes anywhere
  • lap and split options with 100-hr. chronographs
  • Average heart rate per lap calculations with 50-lap memory
  • 100-hr., 2-mode countdown timer
  • Owner-Replaceable Battery
  • Scratch resistant mineral crystal

One of the obvious draw backs is that this heart rate chest strap is a bit small for larger men. If you have  a chest larger than 48”, it might be a bit tight.

Reviews:

“I have used heart rate monitor devices for over 30 years and this is the best one to date. It is easy to use, easy to read and very simple to program. I have to give the Timex Ironman men’s road trainer heart rate monitor watch a thumbs up 100%. At a great price that’s much better than other retail outlets I’ve seen. Of all the heart rate monitor/trainer equipment I have used in over 30 yrs. This monitor is to date the best.”

“I like everything about this watch even though I bought this mostly for the heart rate monitor. This HRM does a great job for my workouts. It takes a couple of minutes to show the data accurately but once it starts it records very accurately. The target heart rate zone and calories burned function is great. In addition , the dual time zone feature is a big plus on my recent trip. A single touch of the button and it was back to regular time. Overall, I am very happy with this watch.”

Amazon has a great price and amazing return policies. Most people go here because they offer such great service with their products you won’t find anywhere. In addition, there are some great products from the market place where you might be able to find slightly used products. Amazon provides really easy return shipping labels so it did not cost me anything.

A great sale on at Amazon, better priced compared to ebay.com or other stores, right now you can get it used for a great price and the return policy is superb. The market place always offers great deals if you don’t mind used products.

Suunto T6D Heart Rate Monitor

If you haven’t noticed by now, the heart rate monitor watches we choose to review usually are of exceptional quality or price, and many times both. The Suunto T6D is definitely one in the exceptional quality department, not to mention a strap that feels lighter than air when worn. Suunto watches are known for their advanced features and high tech functions that you won’t find in most watches. The T6D honors this tradition with water resistance, dual belt, connection to the PC with top notch software.

The T6D acts much like a super computer with extreme data processing power. When you download the data from the watch to the PC, it will compile a series of data that can paint a clear performance picture for just about any data junkie. It will break down for you the following: heart rate, respiration rate, altitude, distance travelled, times and calories burned. One of the best features from Suunto is the TE (training effort) computation that provides through a series of algorithms and indexes. It gives a fairly good overall indication of your efforts in training. The software is incredibly easy to use and is compatible with both PC and MAC.

In addition to Suunto designs, you can add GPS or foot pod to track various other progress, without having to buy a high end GPS watch. You can easily just choose the pod addition that you would like instead of getting a watch that gives too many features you will never use.

We have found the best price for Suunto T6D at Amazon – click here to check it out.

Features:

  • The special dual belt offers one the most comfortable heart rate belts in existence.
  • It is extremely easy to use for such an advanced product.
  • 100 meter water resistance for all swimmers out there.
  • Very stylish comes in black and fusion red trim.

Cons:

  • Backlight is a bit dim, and could use some improvement.
  • Manual is lacking detailed information. However most people tend to figure it out on their own.

The Reviews:

“Having had this watch and foot pod for more than a year now, I use them when running at least 3 times a week. So far the watch is amazing. I no regrets would definitely buy this again. Belt and foot pod is easy to setup and simple to calibrate. I found them reliable and extremely accurate. It is easy to use when running and reading at the same time. I especially like how the custom display is setup. The watch and heart rate belt is very comfortable, so much so I forget it’s there some of the time.”

“A very good large display fitness with with functional and practical heart rate monitoring. The altimeter is a great addition.. I love the black and yellow (black flame) appearance. Not that big so it doesn’t get in the way. Very solid watch, I am satisfied with the purchase.”

A great sale on at Amazon, both black flame and black fusion versions available while supplies last.

Polar FT7 Heart Rate Monitor Reviews

Over the years the Polar brand of heart rate monitor devices has earned itself a good reputation for bringing out newer and better ones with every coming year and the new Polar FT7 lives up to this very well indeed. Since its recent launch it has proved to be a hit with both men and women users. With its latest feature known as the EnergyPointer is a huge hit with all users as it allows them to know if they are actually burning off fat during their exercise program – cleverly it also tells users if they have made any general improvement in their overall fitness. The whole process of following any progress that a user is making, storing in the diary or any other information that will be valuable to them for future reference, can be stored right in the watch unit and the screen is wonderfully easy to see and view. We have found the best price for Polar FT7 at Amazon – click here to check it out.

Features:

  • Calorie counter is very accurate and useful for walking, swimming or strength training.
  • Target heart rate graph can be used to see where you are in your progress.
  • Extremely user friendly so that anyone can set it up.
  • Capacity to store all useful files from your training. It’s helpful to look back on previous sessions.
  • Water resistant.
  • Backlight – a handy little feature that sometimes comes in useful.

Some other points worth noting about this heart rate monitor is that the design is a vast improvement on some of the older models. For instance the chest strap is definitely a lot more comfortable to wear during exercise. The device has the capacity to reduce interference from wireless devices in the area a lot more efficiently. They appear to have resolved the issues they were having with the batteries, in short users don’t have to send off to Polar for a replacement. Cons:

  • There are a couple of minor drawbacks to an otherwise great heart rate monitor and these are that the watch is a little on the quiet side when it comes to beep indicators.
  • Also, in order to download workouts a user is required to buy a separate Polar device.
The Reviews:

“Like to keep an eye on my heart rate when I am working out and wanted something that wasn’t too heavy to wear. This HR is great to use and wear. Very comfortable to wear – easy to read the screen, so far I really like it.” “Thought it was time to start using one of these things so checked out with some buddies who said that Polar were the best in town when it comes to heart monitors. I am a lorry driver by trade so need to get as much exercise as I can get to keep myself in shape is really vital, my friends recommended this gadget, I bought it and I am very happy with it.” On sale at Amazon, it usually better priced compared to other online retailers. The market place always offers great deals if you don’t mind used products. You can potentially get free shipping along with a great refund policy.

Polar F6 Heart Rate Monitor

When it comes to buying the best heart rate monitor you have to decide when and where you will be using it most. If you intend exercising in a busy area the chances are that they will be a lot of people out there who are using wireless training aids. These aids can really interfere with your heart rate monitors signal making it unreliable.

The Polar F6 comes with a feature that has a coded transmission which prevents this type of interference (crosstalk) from happening ensuring that your heart rate monitor works perfectly no matter where you are training or exercising.

We have found the best price for Polar F6 at Amazon – click here to check it out.

Features:

One main feature is that it allows user to uplink and transmit diary information from wrist unit directly to Polar’s web service wirelessly. Excellent for monitoring improvements over time and seeing how you are progressing. The OwnZone function allows you to effectively calculate workouts within varying BPM Zones or user can set these themselves. The Polar F6 can monitor high or low energy expenditures by way of an alarm and arrows. There is also a diary function allows user to view stored workout sessions individually.

  • Zone Pointer: Visible/ audible feature displays your heart rate – showing  target heart rate zone and where current heart rate is within that zone.
  • Polar OwnCal: This feature shows energy expenditure during a single exercise session as well as accumulated kilocalories during several exercise sessions. Allows user to set daily/weekly goals.
  • Polar OwnZone: Guides user through appropriate warm-up routine. Automatically determines safe and effective heart rate zone.
  • Polar OwnCode: This technology blocks unwanted signals from other heart rate monitors that may be in the vicinity of where user is exercising or training.

More Features:

  • Some other great aspects of the F6 is that it displays the heart rate, exercise time and average heart rate during an exercise program.
  • The 24 hour clock is a nice feature and has a stopwatch.
  • The screen is very user friendly and easy to read.
  • It is water resistant to a depth of 30 metres (100’) and the battery has an average of one year’s life in it.

The only real drawback about the F6 is the bad reputation they have when it comes to replacing the battery. It may deteriorate faster than others, and there have been many complaints. Although the replacement is very simple and easy to do.

The Reviews:

“I just bought this and so far so good, has a nice feel to it and it comfortable to wear when exercising. Only used it a few times so will let you know if things change.”

“Bought this when it first came on the market – very pleased it works really well would recommend this to anyone who is serious about exercising. Very easy to check out heart rate on watch screen and nice and simple to set goals out. Very happy with F6 think it is value for money.”

Garmin Forerunner 310XT Heart Rate Monitor Watch

With up to 20 hours of battery life, the Garmin Forerunner 310XT is the ultimate GPS watch to aid you with your training and is perfect for triathletes thanks to its water resistance. Take a look out our Garmin Forerunner 310XT Review to see if this watch will suit your needs.

Garmin have labeled it as the first waterproof GPS watch on the market giving it a swimproof tag and stating that it’s waterproof up to depths of 50 meters. This makes it highly useable if you’re into your swimming, enabling you to time and track your progress whilst in the water – great for training purposes or during your competition.

What makes it brilliant is the ability to move it from your wrist to your bike frame, ensuring the smooth transition from bike to water in the triathlon. The Garmin Forerunner 310XT has easy-release mounts so you can change its fixed position from wrist to bike and back to wrist again for the final running leg.

After you’ve finished your competition or workout, the ANT+ technology can be used to transfer data wirelessly to your computer for further analysis. Also, if you want to share your progress with others, then all your info is easily uploaded to Garmin’s varied online services, such as Garmin Connect or Garmin Training Center.

All the data that’s collected from the Garmin Forerunner 310XT will be useable to track your progress and help you shape your future training to improve performance. The GPS connection on this GPS watch is brilliant, being able to record distance, pace, heart rate and more. Garmin are famous for their ability to connect your GPS watch to accessories to further enhance your tracking, such as the foot pod, heart rate monitor and cadence sensor.

Read more reviews for Garmin Forerunner 310XT at Amazon – click here to check it out.

Product Features and Specification

  • Great GPS – tracks position for running and cycling and your distance traveled and pace
  • AMT+ technology – easy upload to computer and Garmin’s services for further development
  • Easy to use display – large and clear for view whilst training
  • Good battery life – up to 20 hours of continuous use plus easy to recharge
  • Waterproof – ideal for use in triathlons or swimming on its own

Although the Garmin Forerunner 310XT was designed for triathletes in mind, this isn’t to say that non-triathletes can’t benefit from its great features. If you’re a pure runner or a cyclist, or even just into gym work or hiking, then the 310XT will be perfect for you. All the features can be used be all sports with distance, pace, heart rate and tracking all needing focus for all disciplines.

Pros:

  • Great battery – safe in knowing you won’t lose data
  • Lightweight – won’t feel heavy on your wrist
  • Reporting – upload wirelessly to computer or website
  • Accessories – for further monitoring of performance
  • Clear, large screen – great for “on the fly” viewing
  • Good connection – locks onto GPS satellites faster than older and newer models
  • Vibrates – indicating a lap completion so no need to constantly check the watch

Cons:

  • GPS in water – there are reports that the watch won’t connect via GPS whilst in water

The Reviews:

“Despite the GPS issue with swimming, this is the best GPS watch for triathletes. I didn’t have to re-read the manual to become accustomed to its features, unlike previous GPS watches I’ve had.”

“I found the Garmin Forerunner 310XT easy to set up and use. The ability to customize the display and the features were a must for me and this watch does it all and more. The addition of being able to track calories burned and heart rate make this perfect for beginners and professionals alike.”

Being great for all disciplines and packed with a houseful of features makes the Garmin Forerunner 310XT one of the best GPS watches out there on the market. You’d be foolish to overlook the 310XT.

Garmin Forerunner 305 GPS Receiver With Heart Rate Monitor

Just when you thought Garmin had cornered the market on powerful, affordable, and effective wrist-mounted GPS devices, here comes the Garmin Forerunner 305. The release of this device is a major achievement from a design and technology perspective. This isn’t just marketing-speak; the Forerunner 305 is the most accurate, most reliable wrist-mounted performance and GPS tracking tool we’ve ever tested. Yes, it’s that good. While no device this compact can do everything (yet), the 305 pushes the boundaries of what is possible from something strapped around your wrist. The 305 model includes wireless heartrate monitoring and it can also be connected to Garmin’s wireless bicycle speed and cadence sensor. If you don’t need these features, consider the lower-priced Forerunner 205.

Design
The 305′s design is a radical departure from Garmin’s previous generation of wrist mounted GPS devices, which reached a pinnacle with the Garmin Forerunner 301. While the 301 delivered accurate heart rate monitoring, good performance tracking, and decent GPS reception, it didn’t quite deliver in the design department. The form factor was bulky and wearing it wasn’t much different than duct taping a full-sized GPS device to your wrist.

Not so with the 305. Garmin’s engineers obviously burned the midnight oil and have come up with a waterproof design that, while certainly not as small as a sports watch, feels just as comfortable. The curved casing allows the unit’s antenna to face the sky when you’re running, while the widescreen display is perfectly positioned for viewing when you need it. And the display certainly deserves a few kudos. While it’s smaller than the display found on previous Forerunners, its resolution is far higher, offering incredible clarity and crispness.

Garmin has smartly given the 305 a simple button layout and the buttons have a nice tactile feel with good pressure response. The right side houses the menu selection and enter buttons, while the left houses a power/backlight button and a mode button. This simple and elegant solution is a big improvement over the sometimes confusing button functionality of previous Forerunners.

The underside of the 305 is pretty nondescript, except for a row of contacts that interface with the included charging and data cradle. The cradle is small and unobtrusive and its single mini-USB port connects to either an included AC adapter, or a USB cable that connects to your PC. In addition to data transfer with the USB cable, you can also charge the 305′s embedded lithium-ion battery via a powered USB connection from your computer.

GPS Performance
The big news about the Forerunner 305 is that it features an integrated, high-sensitivity SiRFstar III GPS receiver. What does this mean? It means that the 305′s ability to both track, and maintain a lock on, your position is better than anything before it. After an intial battery charge, the tester had the 305 on his wrist and was tracking speed and distance with GPS satellites within 3 minutes. The next time we used the 305, satellite acquisition was nearly instantaneous. A run through dense trees didn’t faze the unit either; tracking remained true and steady. Performance on a bike was equally impressive. Whatever witchcraft has been cooked up by the designers of the SiRF technology, we like it!

Training Functions
While the Forerunner 305 isn’t billed as a GPS navigation device, it does have some rudimentary mapping, waypoint marking, and routing capabilities. In addition to marking locations along your journey, you can zoom in or out of a simple map that displays your current direction and path. There’s also a “go to location” feature that routes you back to your starting location, or to any location you have defined. Once you have defined several locations, you can save this information as a route, allowing you to travel the same path in the future. As you’ll see below, the 305′s new “Courses” feature gives you new levels of control over how you define your favorite runs and rides.

The 305 is first and foremost a training tool, and its ability to organize a ton of data types into a user experience that is intuitive and simple is no small feat. Whiz-bang technology aside, if you can’t use it and make it a natural part of your exercise routine, it’s worthless. When it comes to these factors — and here’s the take home message on the 305 — this device is successful where many other devices fail.

The heart and soul of the 305 can be found on the data screens, which give you real-time information about all aspects of your workout. In fact, the 305 can display a dizzying array of data, such as calories burned, distance, elevation, grade, and heading, as well as multiple lap and pace modes. The 305 adds the ability to track heartrate, lap heartrate, average heartrate, and heartrate zones via the included coded heartrate chest strap. With the purchase of a separate wireless cadence and speed meter, you can also track bike performance data.

Thankfully, the device makes it easy to define how much or how little data you want to view during a workout. You can arrange the data that’s most important to you and then make that data appear front and center on the device. Indeed, within a few minutes of skimming the manual and fiddling with the device setup, you’ll have your most important data displaying just the way you like it. The ability to display heartrate is a big plus, too, as it’s a fairly good indicator of excercise output, fatigue, and fitness level. The 305 has all the heartrate functions you’d expect from a full-function monitor, including the ability to set target zones and alerts to maximize the effectiveness of your workouts.

Garmin’s Virtual Partner function was cool feature of previous Forerunners and they’ve decided to keep a good thing going with the 305. If you’re the type that performs best when you’ve got a competitor egging you on, you’ll love this function, as it allows you to set up virtual running or biking companions that compete against you.

If you’re looking for an complicated workout with a variety of intervals and intensity levels, or just a quick three-mile jog against your best time last week, the 305 has you covered. Navigating to the Workouts menu on the device yields three options: Quick Workouts, Interval, and Advanced Workout. A quick workout is just that; set the distance and time, distance and pace, or time and pace of your planned workout and off you go. Interval workouts are just the same, but they allow you to add repetitions and rest between them. When you really want to get fancy with your exercise, you can step up to advanced workouts, which include goals for each workout step, as well as varied distances, times, and rest periods. You can use the Garmin Training Center software to set up these workouts and then upload them to the device.

Computer Connectivity and Software
Garmin has been outfitting their devices with USB connectivity for some time now — a welcome move for those who struggled with serial port connections in the days of yore. Thanks to USB, the 305 integrates seamlessly with the Training Center software and we quickly had workout history uploaded and stored on the computer. Not only does Training Center–which is compatible with both PC and Mac–make it easy to track your performance, you can graph data such as heartrate alongside your speed and distance. Over time, this is a great way to view your fitness levels increase, and it also helps you see what types of workouts are necessary to strengthen your weaknesses. For instance, if you see your heartrate begin to spike after a certain distance, you know you need to increase your endurance workouts to train that area of fitness.

In a first for the Forerunner series, the Training Center software also lets you define courses on your computer that you can upload to the device. When course information is combined with uploaded workout information, the Forerunner becomes a complete guide, telling you where to go, when to make a turn, and what kind of workout to do when you’re on the road or path. Back on the computer, the software’s ability to overlay workout data on maps of the course makes it easy to see where the course offers up the tough hills and the easy recovery spots. Plus, the ability to track historical performance on a given course is a great way to measure your improvement.

The 305 is also fully compatible with Garmin’s MotionBased service, which takes your training to another level by connecting your data with the Internet. While we weren’t able to use the service, the promise of sharing courses, maps, workouts, and performance data with other users is intriguing. And if you’re a serious endurance athlete, you’ll be glad to know that the 305 is also compatible with TrainingPeaks.com, an easy-to-use web based training system designed to help athletes train for any event.

Pros

  • Radically new design is better in every way
  • Amazing accuracy and fast satellite acquisition time
  • So simple to set up and use, you will actually use it

Cons

  • Okay, it’s bigger than a sport’s watch — but so much more powerful

What’s in the Box
Forerunner 305, Garmin Training Center CD-ROM, heart rate monitor, docking cradle, expander strap, A/C charger, USB cable, owner’s manual, quick start guide.

We have found the best price for Garmin Forerunner 305 GPS Receiver With Heart Rate Monitor at Amazon – click here to check it out.

Product Features and Specification

  • High-Sensitivity, Watch-Like GPS Receiver That Provides Exceptional Signal Reception
  • 1 Piece Training Assistant That Provides Athletes With Precise Speed, Distance & Pace Data
  • Includes Training Center Software, Which Allows Users To Download Workout Data For A Detailed Analysis
  • Used For Multiple Sports Such As Cycling, Cross- Country Skiing & Windsurfing
  • Data Acquired May Also Be Analyzed With Motionbased, Which Provides Online Mapping & Route Sharing

The Reviews

The Garmin Forerunner 305 Heart Rate Monitor Watch is very accurate and really helps me pace myself. It’s very light weight despite how it looks. Would reccomend it to anyone.

I like the Garmin Forerunner 305 quite a lot. I’ve had it for about three weeks, and have used it on 12 workouts so far. I use it primarily for running, with biking a secondary usage. The main reason I wanted it was for the instantaneous readout of distance, running pace and heart rate, the latter needed for the speed work I want to do this running season.

The core functionality (distance and heart rate monitoring) works perfectly. There’s none of the signal drops I’ve had with other heart monitors. Once the satellites are initially acquired, I’ve only had one dropout when I was outside. The initial acquisition of the satellites can be quirky and can take some time. The accuracy (according to the readout) is +/- 25ft, depending on how many satellites can be found. I’ve compared the distance measurement on the GPS with a known, measured distance on one of the trails I run on (the Chicago lakefront path). The GPS always increments a mile when I’m within 5 or 10 feet of the mile marker sign on the path. Well, I guess that’s the least I should expect from a $350 GPS unit! Of course it’s bigger than a normal running stopwatch, but that hasn’t bothered me at all. The heart rate strap is also very comfortable and well-designed.

The display is crisp and has one outstanding feature: The information presented on the various pages can be completely user-customized. The default screen layout is rather poor, but in just a few steps I could replace it with the information I wanted to see while I run. There are almost 40 different data fields you can choose from for display. Examples: current pace, average lap pace, average run pace, heartrate, distance.

The only disappointment is the point-in-time (instantaneous) pace measurement: It varies wildly during a run. I see swings as big as +/- 3 minutes/mile. I’m a marathoner and I know my pace is fairly consistent during a run. I just looked at my run today, and according to the data the first mile varied from 5:57/mile to 12:06 mile. I suspect the problem is either in the averaging algorithm (too short a distance?), or in the uncertainty that results from different satellites coming in and out of view. The variations seem to get worse under tree cover compared with an open area. Luckily there’s a lap-average pace that can be presented, and at least that value is useful and more accurate. The bottom line is that you can’t look at the watch and say “right now I’m running 9 mins/mile”. There is the ability to specify a pace smoothing factor, but I have it maxed out and still see the variations. The elevation readout also seems inaccurate, but that isn’t important to me.

Upload of workout data to the PC software (Training Center) is transparent. The PC software is very good for presenting time/distance/pace/heartrate/calorie data. However the maps it shows are very crude. I’ve worked a bit with one of the online, subscription services (MotionBased). That looks really good and provides some additional functionality beyond the included Training Center software, although I still haven’t decided if it’s worth the money yet for long-term data storage. MotionBased allows export to Google Earth, and it’s tremendously cool to see your running path superimposed on a satellite image. You can recharge the unit through the USB port on your computer, although it’s slower than using the dedicated recharger.

I had hoped that owning this device would prove motivational for me, and indeed it has. I can’t imagine running or biking without it. Updating my training log is trivial now: Plug this thing into my computer, and it’s done. My hope is that a future software update will do something about the pace calculation (maybe a few additional levels of smoothing?). If so, the Garmin Forerunner 305 would earn 5 stars+++.

Timex T5G941 Heart Rate Monitor

The Timex T5G941 is a perfect heart rate monitor for anyone looking for the basic features at an extremely affordable price. The Timex T5G941 is one of the most popular heart rate monitor products by Timex. The display is large and has a very easy to see screen. The activity timer is a special feature with the Timex T5G941 which allows this heart rate monitor to be set on a minimum, average and maximum heart rate for each workout.

The Timex T5G941 does what it’s supposed to do and more. It keeps up with the heart rate changes efficiently, and the chest and wrist bands are very comfortable. The minimal controls are intuitive and work well. I was surprised to find that it automatically timed my workout which is neat. It comes with a small instruction guide  which is easy to read and touches on all the features and possible adjustments. This is the best heart rate monitor I have had among dozens at the lowest price.

We have found the best price for Timex T5G941 at Amazon – click here to check it out.

Product Features and Specification

  • Target Zone (preset your desired heart rate exercise zone;  alarm notification when you are not in zone)
  • Preset your desired heart rate exercise zone
  • Alarm notification when you are not in zone
  • Shows the percent of max heart rate display or BPM
  • Recovery Heart Rate Timer
  • Automatic Activity Timer (elapsed workout time is automatically recorded)
  • Time in Zones (spent within your selected heart rate target zone)
  • Recalls activity time (time-in-zone, average and peak heart rates, and calories
  • Analog Heart Rate Sensor (works with heart rate interactive treadmills and gym equipment)
  • Water resistance to 30m

The Reviews

I’d hoped that getting a new heart rate monitor would encourage me to exercise more often. So far so good. The main reason I got the Timex T5G941 was so I could monitor my heart rate while I went running, which I do on a daily basis now. As a heart rate monitor, the functionality is very simple yet effective. It tracks your heart rate for the entire workout. You hit the big button to start, and it goes to work tracking the length of time, the average heartbeat, and the peak. While you are running, it displays your current heartbeat. That’s it – but sometimes it’s better to keep it simple.

I should point out that, as a watch, the watch piece tells the time and date only. If you want/need splits and a stopwatch, you should look elsewhere.

Here’s some other thoughts: I was worried that the strap would break but realized after a couple workouts that I was probably wearing it a little too tight. Since adjusting, it is much more comfortable, has not fallen off, and, as a guy, you almost forget that you have it on.

I had no original intention of wearing it while NOT working out, but I’ve found it addictive, and have enjoyed observing how drinking a cup of coffee while sitting at my desk does raise my heart rate about 10-15 beats per minute on average. Also, as I’ve started to get in a little better shape over the last 3 weeks, I see that I have to run either farther or faster to get my heart rate up to certain thresholds. And, now my heart rate does not go up as high from merely climing the stairs at home. I believe that these insights, among others, are very encouraging for someone who is just getting back in shape. The encouragement aspect combined with the simplicity makes this a great starter heart rate monitor for anyone considering.

I use this everytime I work out, it even comes with a fitness booklet. Very easy to use, It works perfectly and was a great price! The Timex T5G941 heart rate monitor is exactly what I was wanting to exercise with. Something small, accurate, and simple! The functions are very simple that after just a quick read through the instructions you are ready to go! Strap it on and hit the button at the beginning of your workout. When you are done, you hit the same button to stop the workout and then you can easily review your average heart rate, workout length, and the peak.

Since it also shows the current heart rate, it has become addicting to see how certain exercises exert more force than others. I will admit, it’s also really cool to see how something simple like drinking a cup of coffee will affect your heart rate. I thought the other reviewers were kidding about that, but it’s true! To me, that makes this product great to use for exercise and my own curiosity about how the foods I eat affect me.

Overall, great product. If you want something that doesn’t have a lot of extra features, this is it! Small, convenient, and simple.

Polar FS3 Heart Rate Monitor Watch (Dark Grey)

The Polar FS3 like all Polar heart rate monitors are very well-known for being reliable and full of innovative features. The Polar FS3 is considered to be in the top tier of best heart rate monitors that follows the Polar product tradition that is it does much more than simply measure the heart rate.

If you’re trying to get in shape and/or lose weight, the Polar FS3 is an excellent way to monitor your heart rate and see how many calories you’re burning. The Polar FS3 heart rate monitor have gotten some of the best reviews out there for both quality and functionality.

In order to get in shape, or better your health, you need to be able to monitor the your level of intensity while working out. The stylish Polar FS3 heart rate monitor helps you to easily and accurately measure your heart rate to help you get to just the right intensity or your exertion level. This basic monitor features added stopwatch and time-of-day watch features, automatic age-based heart rate zones, extra-large digits for easy readability, and one-button functionality. It provides a visual and audible alarm when you reach your target heart rate zone. It provides information on total exercise time, average heart rate during total exercise time, and maximum heart rate. Other features include a date and weekday indicator and backlight and it’s water resistant to 50 meters.

We have found the best price for Polar FS3 Heart Rate Monitor Watch (Dark Grey) at Amazon – click here to check it out.

Product Features and Specification

  • Features EKG accurate heart rate
  • Manual target zone
  • Visual/audible alarm in target zone
  • Water resistant to 50m
  • Extra-large digits
  • Time of day and stop watch
  • Records exercise time and average heartrate of total exercises
  • Chest transmitter included
  • 2-year warranty

The Reviews

This heart rate monitor has been great for helping me to maintain a more constant exercise intensity level. A feature I particularly like is that you can bring the watch near to the transmitter you are wearing around your chest and have the watch automatically step through the menu options (heart rate, time spent exercising, time of day) allowing you to easily figure out if it is time to stop exercising without having to fuss with buttons. My only complaint is that the watch has a plastic band with a buckle I don’t like too much. If fits my wrist fine (I am small-boned and thin) but I would prefer a cloth strap with velcro that went on and off more easily.

The Polar hart monitors are unquestionably the best on the market, comfortable, rugged, and even waterproof for the aquatic minded. This is a good choice basic model that I purchased for a teenage daughter starting track. It looks dainty in the ad but it totally covers her wrist and I was dissapointed that it’s just too big for a woman to wear as an attractive wrist watch. It has an optional auditory alarm when out of your zone that beats inanely & annoyingly when your HR is below or above your selected target range. My daughter always turns it off and it has been the gratest dissapointment in comparison with my ancient model that beeped in synchrony with my actual individual hartbeats when I was IN my zone. I could hear missed or double hartbeats, but all importantly I could synchronize my running cadence to my hartbeat for improved efficiency where the contracting large muscles aid circulation in synch with the hart contractions. Absence of that basic feature replaced by silence when in zone and by very annoying innane beeping when out has been a great dissapointment and a step back in the design of this equisite instrument.

By controlling and monitoring the intensity, one can prevent overtraining and injuries. Overtraining is probably the most pervasive and least noticed reason for an exercise regimen to go sideways. The FS3 I bought last week  kept me from going overboard in my effort. It connected (via wireless link) to all the cardio machines I exercised on. Actually, I didn’t even need the FS3 watch because all the cardio machines (Stairmaster, treadmill, and stationary bike) were able to receive the transmitted data from the chest strap (it picks up the heart beat electrical pulses and transmits that as a beats-per-minute reading to the watch). Setting up the watch (enter your age for auto calculation or manually enter data for heart rate limits) was very easy; only one button to push and the watch handles the rest. Great buy!

Polar FT60 Women’s Heart Rate Monitor Watch

Polar products are well-known for being reliable and full of innovative features. The Polar FT60 is considered to be one of the best heart rate monitors that follows that tradition as it does much more than simply measure the heart rate.

For example, the watch has the Polar Star personalized training program that acts like your own personal trainer by setting targets and helping you to meet them by providing constant feedback. It is also one of the best heart monitors available as it gives heart rate information in many different ways. These include as a percentage of your maximum, as beats per minute, and by a graphical display.

Ladies who are hoping to lose weight will find the Polar OwnCal mode very useful. As its name implies this mode displays calories expended and can give details for one or several workouts. It’s also possible to set calorie expenditure goals on a daily or weekly basis.

We have found the best price for Polar FT60 Women’s Heart Rate Monitor Watch (Black) at Amazon – click here to check it out.

Product Features and Specification

  • Displays heart rate as percentage of maximum, bpm, and within target zone indicator
  • Polar Star personalized training program delivers feedback and weekly training targets
  • Polar OwnCal mode tracks energy expenditure for single and accumulated workouts
  • Offers ZonePointer and Polar OwnZone modes
  • Water resistant to 30 meters
  • 12/24-hour clock with a day/week indicator
  • Built-in backlight; an alarm with a snooze
  • Low battery indicator
  • 2-year warranty

The Reviews

The Polar FT60 heart rate monitor reviews were very positive about this product, with most people giving it a top rating. This heart rate monitor watch has a lot of useful features and most reviewers found that they all were a great help in providing motivation to keep up with their training. The device was also praised for its ease of use. Although many of the features offer quite complex information, the heart rate monitor watch is easy to set-up and switch between modes. Several reviewers thought that it was the best heart rate monitor watch they had owned.

The Polar FT60 was said to have a clear display of all the information it can provide and it was comfortable to wear.

Not all the purchasers of this heart rate monitor left entirely positive reviews. One person thought that the information provided in the “personal trainer” mode was insufficient and not as helpful as it could be. Another reviewer had a problem with a fault developing in the watch. This appeared to be an isolated incident and the matter was resolved satisfactorily.

One plus point with this product is that the manufacturer’s customer service was said to be very responsive and helpful when information or advice is needed.

Judging from the excellent comments left by reviewers of this product, we feel quite confident in recommending it to you. It has a wealth of useful features and it is easy to make use of them. If you use your heart as a guide when training then the Polar FT60 seems to be one of the best heart monitor’s that you can buy and should certainly be on your shortlist.

Suunto Core Wrist-Top Computer Watch

There are many outdoor pursuits where it is very useful, if not essential, to have an accurate guide to the predicted weather. The Suunto Core Wrist-Top Computer Watchcan help the user to become aware of an approaching storm or similar bad weather so that appropriate action can be taken. For example, the Storm Alarm feature can sense a change in air pressure and will sound an alarm and flash a warning light, thus giving the wearer an indication of a likely storm.

Similarly, the built-in altimeter will show how high you’ve climbed or descended shows how much you’ve climbed or descended, recording the details of the climb for future reference. The altimeter is accurate to within 30,000 feet and is a valuable instrument for the mountaineer, skier or for general travel in the wilderness.

In addition the Suunto Core has a digital thermometer, weather trend indicator and a digital compass built-in, all providing vital information for the outdoor enthusiast.

Even if you’re not out in the open but simply wanting to plan an outdoor activity, the Suunto Core can be a useful guide to the probable weather. Its basic watch functions are quite comprehensive including the time, dual time, date, alarm, sports chronograph, countdown timer and predicted times for sunrise and sunset for over 400 locations worldwide.

We have found the best price for Suunto Core Wrist-Top Computer Watch at Amazon – click here to check it out.

Product Features and Specification

  • Wrist-top computer watch with altimeter, barometer, compass, and weather indicator
  • Altimeter displays current elevation, shows ascent or descent, and records session
  • Intelligent storm alarm senses drops in air pressure and notifies you of approaching storms
  • Barometer helps you predict changing conditions
  • Built-in weather trend indicator
  • Aluminum black finish
  • Accurately measures depth to 30 feet
  • Weighs 2.26 ounces
  • 2-year warranty

The Reviews

There were extensive reviews for the Suunto Core watch, most of them being very favorable towards the product. For a watch of this type the accuracy of the information it provides is paramount and the Suunto was said to be very good in this respect. All of the functions were clear and easy to access. The display, which is silver/grey letters/numbers on a black background, was considered okay but not as good as some rivals which have black letters on a white background. The display was considered to be difficult to read in dim light although the background light helps to make it better. Another slight gripe was that the strap of the Suunto Core looked a little cheap and not in keeping with the rest of the watch.

Another feature which most people liked was the fact that the watch is larger than most. This helps to provide a feeling of security and, of course, makes it easier to read the various pieces of information.

On the negative side a few reviews were from people who had one or more of the functions stop working because the buttons that activated them would not work. Another problem that one reviewer mentioned was that the watch was not waterproof as said in the specifications.

The Suunto Core is a very well-specified outdoors watch and has been given top ratings by a large number of users. Some people have reported having problems but overall the watch seems to be well-made and capable of giving accurate and useful information.

Timex Ironman Race Trainer Heart Rate Monitor Watch, Grey/Lilac, Mid Size

The Timex company needs little introduction as a watch making company as they have been making affordable watches for everyday use for over 150 years. Their involvement in producing sports watches is more recent but they have steadily gained a reputation for producing accurate and functional sports watches at very competitive prices.

The Race Trainer digital heart rate monitor watch is one example of a specialized watch that offers the users a choice of several functions to help get the most out of any training that they are involved with.

One of these functions works like a personal trainer to monitor your heart rate over a period of time to check whether personal goals are being met. There is an upgrade available which allows this information to work with a workout log online.

Another useful feature is that the battery of this Timex heart rate monitor can be changed by the owner, helping to save a little on the costs of having the battery changed by a professional. The watch is also water-resistant down to 100 meters.

We have found the best price for Timex Ironman Race Trainer Heart Rate Monitor Watch, Grey/Lilac, Mid Size at Amazon – click here to check it out.

Product Features and Specification

  • Preset your desired heart rate target zone to one of six ranges, review workout average and peak heart rate
  • 10-Workout Memory automatically saves latest workout, lock past workouts, review Time-In-Zone and calories burned
  • 100-hour chronograph with lap and split
  • 50-lap memory per workout with average heart rate per lap
  • 5-segment interval timer with training zones
  • 2-mode countdown timer
  • 3 alarms with 5-minute backup
  • Indiglo night-light with night-mode feature
  • Owner-Replaceable Battery
  • Data Xchanger USB compatible
  • Water resistant to 100m

The Reviews

The Timex Ironman Heart Rate Monitor reviews were plentiful and were predominantly good. The watch was praised for the clarity of its displays and its good appearance. The personal trainer feature was particularly liked by reviewers who thought that it helped to provide motivation and also took some of the tedium out of keeping their own records.

An important aspect of sports watches is that they should be comfortable to wear whilst training. The Timex Ironman heart rate monitor watch scored well here, with people finding it and the monitor comfortable in use.

Some of the reviews for the Race Trainer Heart Rate Monitor Watch had some negative comments to make. One was that the strap is actually moulded to the case of the watch. In the event that the strap breaks then the watch would have to be held in the hand or kept in a pocket as the strap can’t be repaired.

The watch was considered to be attractive enough to use as an everyday timepiece as well as for monitoring training sessions and it was reckoned to be lightweight and comfortable to wear.

The many positive comments about the Timex Race Trainer heart Rate Monitor Watch gives us the confidence to recommend that if you are in the market for a heart rate monitor, that you take a close look at this one. It has a wealth of useful features and has been produced by a company with a long record of producing no-frills watches at affordable prices.