Polar H7 Heart Rate Monitor

Bluetooth Heart Rate Monitor Chest Strap Teams with Apps

Polar H7 Heart Rate Monitor and App
Polar H7 Heart Rate Monitor and App. Courtesy of Amazon.com

The Polar H7 is a heart rate monitor chest strap that transmits data via Bluetooth Smart (Bluetooth 4.0) and/or GymLink to compatible mobile devices such as the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy S4, as well as to Polar heart monitor display devices. As my eyes get older, I like the option of hearing my heart rate numbers while I workout vs.checking a wrist display. 

If you use their Polar Beat app on your mobile device, you can keep up with your heart rate, distance and pace via audio update as well the app screen display. It plays well with other popular apps, too.

It's a good choice for people who carry their mobile device on runs, walks, bikes and other workouts and don't want the complications of wearing and checking a wrist monitor. If you're happy with hearing your heart rate at set intervals and checking the app for details, this may be all you need. You can view the full details of your workout afterward on the Polar Flow site and app.

What You Need to Use the Polar H7 Heart Rate Monitor

The Polar H7 is just the transmitter on a chest strap. To see and review your heart rate data, you need to be able to link it with a compatible mobile device or Polar display unit.

For mobile devices, it is compatible with iOS products running iOS 5.1 or later. These include iPhone 4S, 5, 5s, 5c, iPod touch 5th generation and later, iPad 3rd and 4th generation, iPad mini, iPod nano 7th generation, Samsung Galaxy S4 (Android 4.3 and later).

You don't need a Polar wrist display as you can just use it with the mobile app. But if you already have one, check their compatibility chart to see if it works with the H7. The Polar Loop wrist activity monitor is compatible with the H7.

Wearing the Polar H7 Heart Rate Monitor

I've had lots of problems over the years in getting consistent heart rate data with a chest strap heart rate monitor. But I had no problems at all with the H7.

The transmitter runs on user-replaceable coin batteries. You just snap the connector onto the band, and off you go. No turning it on or off. However, you need to remove the connector from the band after use, rinse the band and clean the connector and dry and store them separately. Otherwise, if they stay wet and salty from your sweat, they may keep transmitting and reduce the life of your batteries.

If you are using a mobile device, pair it with it under the Bluetooth settings. Now just open the app and you will be able to see your heart rate and start recording exercise sessions.

You can also use it with the Polar Loop wristband activity monitor and view your heart rate on the band. However, you have to unpair it with the mobile app if you want to see your data on the Loop. When you use it with the Loop, it will show you whether you are in a fat-burning zone or fitness zone in addition to the beats per minute.

Polar recommends that you wear your receiving device in front of your body to get the best data stream. They specifically say not to put your phone in a backpack and expect to get a good data stream.

Besides the Polar Beat app, it is compatible with Endomondo, Cardio Mapper, Runtastic, and iSmooth Run.

Using the Polar Beat App

With the Polar Beat App, you can track your workout sessions for time, distance, speed, heart rate, and heart rate zone. With GPS, you can also see your workout on a map, and use the map to help navigate or retrace your steps.

You can choose walking, running, hiking, cycling. treadmill and several other types of workouts. The app also pairs with the Polar stride sensor. You can start a free training workout or one that has a goal for distance, duration, or calories burned. You can also upgrade the app for a few dollars to add benefit target workouts and an energy pointer that will tell you which zone you are in.

I liked the clear display on the app of my time, distance, heart rate, pace, and calories burned. It was easy to pause and resume my workout. I often switch to map view as I'm a roamer and need to see where I should be navigating next.

You can select audio guidance and tell it how often you want updated based on distance.

When you finish, you can review your workout in detail and send it out to your friends via Twitter or Facebook. I like the simple analysis of how much time you spent in each heart rate zone, but also enjoy the details of my heart rate throughout the workout. The map detail view tells you your average heart rate on each mile and your lap time for each mile. You can switch to metric units if you prefer kilometers.

Using the Polar Flow Web Site

If you use the app or your Polar display device communicates with the Polar Flow website, you can view your workouts in detail. If you tracked your workout with the GPS on your mobile device, you can see your workout on a map and even "relive" it in an animation. You can see automatic splits for half mile, mile, and more, including average speed, average heart rate, and split duration. You can see a graph of your heart rate vs. speed and time in the five heart rate sport zones.

The Polar Flow site also tracks your progress over time, with analysis, personal bests, and more.

Bottom Line on the Polar H7 Heart Rate Monitor

I was very pleased with the band and app for simple recording of my workouts and heart rate. You have to purchase the upgrades to get real time coaching for heart rate zones, etc. I liked this system as it didn't require me to wear yet another device, yet I get excellent heart rate recording and analysis of my workouts. I rank it as a very good option for a heart rate monitor under $100.

Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer.

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