‘Wearable’ tech has been a hot subject in gadget circles over the past few years. It’s often seemed like a solution looking for a problem, but then companies like FitBit took off and everyone has decided (Apple included) that health and fitness monitoring are the way forward.
These wrist mounted gadgets are a great way of monitoring your activity throughout the day (and night in some cases) to get a general idea of how you’re doing. And I mean general.
ECG Technology Beats Optical
The Beats Blu heart rate monitor strap is aimed at the physically active person who wants to get more accurate and detailed heart rate information than that provided by a fitness wearable or smartphone sensor. Whilst they use simple LED and optical technology (lighting up your capillaries!), the Beats Blu is more advanced and uses similar technology to an EKG machine. However, just like wrist mounted fitness wearables, the Beats Blu will talk to various smartphone apps and lets you keep track of progress..
The gadget itself is a slice of black plastic with a ‘cell’ type battery already installed. At 16 grams, once on, the monitor and strap is comfortable enough to forget about and clicking it together is all it needs to switch on (detaching puts it back to sleep).
Setup and Connection
Connecting the heart rate monitor to my phone was simple too. There’s no need to go through Bluetooth pairing. Instead, compatible fitness apps can find it for themselves and automatically start reporting and recording your heart rate in real time. iPhones from the 4S onward will work with the Beats Blu and any Android with Bluetooth v4.0 should be fine.
Beats Blu have a list of compatible phones on their website, but if you don’t see yours, I suspect it’s because they can’t test them all. I tested with a Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and that worked just fine.
Really, it’s your choice of fitness app more than the phone that will determine how well you get on with the heart rate monitor. It’s compatible with a decent list popular ones for Android and I spent time with MapMyWalk and Endomondo. MapMyWalk required a little setting up. You go into ‘Connect Apps and Devices’ then ‘Workout Devices’ and finally ‘Heart Rate’ and from there you click on your Beats Blu. After that one time setup, every time I put on the strap and hit the running machine or went for a walk, the app recorded my heart rate along with my Fitbit data and gave me aggregate activity results based on all the information together. It’s a great compliment to other fitness gadgets like the Fitbit ZIP.
Beets Blu Bluetooth Heart Rate Monitor Verdict
I’m not a fitness guru (far from it), but I do try to keep active and the data these apps provide is a great incentive to keep going and try to improve. There’s little for me to criticise here, although I did struggle to get the monitor working first time. Taking five minutes to read the instructions taught me that the sensors both need to be moistened before the strap works properly. After that all was fine.
Heart rate information gives you more accurate feedback as to how much energy you're burning and it helps you make sure you’re not overdoing it. The Beats Blu Heart Rate Monitor enhances the data you put into your fitness apps and I think if you’re into one of the apps listed as supported, you’ll enjoy them that little bit more with one of these.
Thanks to Beets Blu for providing a unit for review