This is my first HR monitor. My brother has a more expensive brand with GPS. Over all I am pleased with this unit. I had searched for a detailed review and could not find many so I hope the detail I give will help some. The HR monitor has some quirks but once you figure out how to set it up it has been working well now for a few weeks.
The first one came fine but the back light button did not work. See my service comments.
Second watch works just fine. The belt fits me fine and can go down to 19" so should fit most people of average to small size. The HR is hard to pick up before you sweat at times and positions. So you have to wet the pads if you do not sweat fast. Many HR monitors are like this. You can also put it on your back and it works.
Some might be stumped by the birth year or height.The directions do not explain this. It starts too high, I think 1986. What you do is cycle around to its max (2050) and it will start over and you can get to your year. You can do the same with the height.
It seems to calibrate figures based on HR, height, weight, age and fitness level.
It has presets or you can change your limits.
The tap on screen DOES WORK! But it can take some practice. It is shock activated I think. So a tap might not always do it. I find a FLICK with my finger nail gives a hard tap every time. This feature is not needed but I found it useful. You can choose one of 6 other things to view. So if you have the time and current HR showing you can quickly flick it to show you the average HR , the time, the % your heart rate is of your max or other features like calorie count.
The watch will beep once when you hit your zone or twice when you go over your zone. However it is not very loud and easy to miss if the wind is rushing by and you are on the road. Since it only beeps once or twice, it is easy to miss but it will been again at some point. It seems to be maybe when you drop or go over every 10 beats.
Its unique bonus is the vibration mode. You can set it to just vibrate. It vibrates twice when you go under and over and keeps vibrating every 10 seconds until you get back in your zone. This is not as annoying as some watches that will beep very loud over and over or you Have to turn it off. So here you get a gentle double buzz every 10 seconds you are not in the zone. It is a bit soft as well. I find it takes a while using it to tune into it. I am using this to bike on the road in a mountainous region and find the first few days I would not feel it when going fast. I actually HEARD it more than felt it at the start. Now I am better tuned to the vibrations. It could be stronger but then, it has to fit in this watch and the larger it is the more battery power you use.
A nice feature is that you can choose to have both the tone and vibe signal go at the same time. However as stated you will feel the vibe more if not in your zone.
However if you have headphones or in a loud spin class you will need to train your sensitivity to the vib.
Just other notes that were not in the instructions. First, the in/out zone alert only works when you have the chronograph running. It will hold your calories and average HR when you stop it but you should know that the % of HR is a running number always changing.
I would say the largest disappointment, and this is stated in the copy, is that its range is only 25-26" reliable. This is where the lower price comes in play. The transmitter has been working fine but much further past the 25" and it can loose the signal. Even 30" would insure most would not go out of range or allow you to mount it. Oregon Scientific has poor email support. When trying to figure out why the back light button was not working they never returned my email. However a call to them I did get someone but to be honest, he was only reading from the same instruction sheet I had! But they were nice and said if Beach could not remedy the issue they would take care of me. So if you do have an issue, you should not bother with email but call them. However the CS did not know anything more that what the instructions state so do not try to ask them how the watch figures out how to display key numbers.
I can not say how accurate a read it is. I have not had two brands to test side by side yet.
Over all for the low cost it does quite a bit that more expensive watches do. Most would call this an entry level model but I feel it does what most will need it to do and has a feature those big boys do no. (Vibration mode)
Really for this price as long as the electronics hold up, it is good value.
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