Wearables

Polar H10 monitors heart rate accurately

The H10's new Polar Pro chest strap uses extra electrodes to ensure that your heart rate is captured accurately and without interference.
The H10's new Polar Pro chest strap uses extra electrodes to ensure that your heart rate is captured accurately and without interference. PHOTO: POLAR

Polar claims that the new H10 is the most accurate heart-rate monitor (HRM) it has ever made.

The H10 looks like any regular chest-strap HRM, with an HRM pod and the new Polar Pro chest strap, which is made of a soft textile material with slip-preventing silicone dots. It also uses a more secure buckle.

The strap uses extra electrodes to ensure that your heart rate is captured accurately and without interference, while the pod features an entirely new measuring algorithm, according to Polar.

In addition, the H10 is waterproof down to 30m. So you can swim with it and it is still able to read your heart rate. The pod uses a CR2025 battery that is supposed to last 400hr.

Even though I have never been a fan of chest-strap HRMs, I found the H10 to be quite comfortable to wear. It does not have that tight body-hugging feel of other chest-strap HRMs.

The H10 can work with all Polar Bluetooth-compatible watches and trackers, as well as most fitness apps and gym equipment. But, for this review, I tested the H10 alone.

  • TECH SPECS

  • PRICE: $139

    CONNECTIVITY: Bluetooth

    WEIGHT: 60g

  • RATING

    DESIGN: 3/5

    PERFORMANCE: 4/5

    BATTERY LIFE: 5/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

The pod has built-in memory for heart-rate data from one training session of up to 65hr. It seems strange that it can record up to 65hr, but not multiple training sessions.

Thus, you need to transfer the heart-rate data from the HRM to the free Polar Beat app (available for Android and iOS) after every training session, including swims.

The Polar Beat app is quite intuitive and allows you to select various workouts, ranging from the usual jogging to sports such as rowing. It uses your smartphone's GPS to track runs, and lets you read your heart rate when used together with the H10 when you go for your workouts.

Using the Beat app with the H10 for jogs, I found the data gathered, like distance and pace, to be quite similar to that of my calibrated Apple Watch Nike+.

The H10's heart-rate readings, though, differed from those on my Apple Watch Nike+, by around 4 beats per minute.

Unless I have an electrocardiogram machine, I would never know if the H10 is really as accurate as Polar claims. But by putting two fingers to the pulsepoint on my neck and doing a manual count, the H10's readings do seem to be more accurate than the Apple Watch Nike+'s.

Trevor Tan

•Verdict: For those who want heart-rate data and do not want to wear a running watch during workouts, the Polar H10 chest-strap HRM provides a cheap but accurate alternative.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 10, 2017, with the headline 'Polar H10 monitors heart rate accurately'. Print Edition | Subscribe