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  1. Thread AuthorThread Author   #1  
    lv1
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    Default Apple Watch as an exercise heart rate monitor

    I currently use a Polar Heart Rate Monitor (HRM) when I am exercising and considering using the Apple Watch instead to monitor HR. I have not read much about the technology that is uses to communicate with other devices and apps. I tried the Fitbit and it did not communicate with any equipment in my fitness center like the Polar chest strap. Also it did not work with my fitness app "Digifit" which supports Bluetooth Smart, Bluetooth Low Energy protocol. How about the Apple Watch?
    Bifurcated likes this.
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    Bifurcated's Avatar
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    Default Re: Apple Watch as an exercise heart rate monitor

    I'm very interested in this too. To be compatible with general programs, HR monitors need to implement the Bluetooth LE Heart Rate profile. I haven't been able to find anything indicating that the Apple Watch does. My favourite exercise app, Endomondo, has no information on their site about the Apple Watch, other than that they're looking into it.

    All of this is leading me to think that for now, the only way of getting HR information from the watch is via Apple's Health Kit, and that they're not supporting the standard Bluetooth LE HR profile.

    (There may be a technical reason for this - Bluetooth LE allows only one connection at a time, and Apple may be reserving this for their own always-on phone/watch connection, making it impossible for another app to get this data directly from the watch.)
    lv1 likes this.
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    Default Re: Apple Watch as an exercise heart rate monitor

    The Apple Watch uses wrist based visible and non-visible LED sensors to illuminate blood vessels beneath your skin, measuring how they expand and contract to measure your pulse. It isn't as precise of a measurement as a Polar/Garmin/Suunto chest HRM, but it definitely has much more convenience to it than any of those options. It directly interfaces with your iPhone via bluetooth LE, taking heart rate measurements during workouts or whenever you check your pulse at a glance. To my understanding it does NOT continuously monitor your heart rate throughout the day.
    EchoOne30 likes this.
  4. #4  
    Wtsitmn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Apple Watch as an exercise heart rate monitor

    If it can't even monitor my heart rate throughout the day, I don't want the thing. So I guess I'll hold off my purchase decision until there are concrete answers to such issues.
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    Default Re: Apple Watch as an exercise heart rate monitor

    Having experimented with the Mio Link I'm a bit worried the Apple Watch will have problems with light leaks unless you wear it real tight. The optical technology also has a bit of lag compared to a chest strap, and can't measure R-R/HR Variability.
  6. #6  
    Dave Marsh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Apple Watch as an exercise heart rate monitor

    Quote Originally Posted by akanne View Post
    Having experimented with the Mio Link I'm a bit worried the Apple Watch will have problems with light leaks unless you wear it real tight. The optical technology also has a bit of lag compared to a chest strap, and can't measure R-R/HR Variability.
    Every technology has trade offs. Non-athletes aren't going to walk around with a chest band. I have one for my elliptical, and I've never used it. The hand grip sensors are good enough for me. Apple is about picking the best technology for its mass market target. I'm sure the wrist LED sensors will be fine for my use.
  7. #7  
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    Default Re: Apple Watch as an exercise heart rate monitor

    Quote Originally Posted by circlez View Post
    The Apple Watch uses wrist based visible and non-visible LED sensors to illuminate blood vessels beneath your skin, measuring how they expand and contract to measure your pulse. It isn't as precise of a measurement as a Polar/Garmin/Suunto chest HRM, but it definitely has much more convenience to it than any of those options. It directly interfaces with your iPhone via bluetooth LE, taking heart rate measurements during workouts or whenever you check your pulse at a glance. To my understanding it does NOT continuously monitor your heart rate throughout the day.
    Good info here thanks for the post. My wife and I also use the polar chest strap and I would be interested in an apple watch if it could replace that, as like you said it's much more convenient.

    Will have to wait and see what's reported back by early adopters.
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    Default Re: Apple Watch as an exercise heart rate monitor

    Yeah, we've done some serious test of the Mio Link, having people wear the Link and a chest strap at the same time under different exercise conditions so we can compare. The Link is very accurate under some conditions, very inaccurate under others. I've been really interested to compare to the Apple Watch, since I'm assuming Apple would not release a product which was less than highly accurate. It would be awesome to have a highly accurate wrist-mounted HR monitor.
  9. #9  
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    Default Re: Apple Watch as an exercise heart rate monitor

    Quote Originally Posted by Bifurcated View Post
    Yeah, we've done some serious test of the Mio Link, having people wear the Link and a chest strap at the same time under different exercise conditions so we can compare. The Link is very accurate under some conditions, very inaccurate under others. I've been really interested to compare to the Apple Watch, since I'm assuming Apple would not release a product which was less than highly accurate. It would be awesome to have a highly accurate wrist-mounted HR monitor.
    I've sort of done the same comparsion out of pure necessity: When I had a Suunto watch I used a Mio Link to feed HR data to an ANT+ USB stick when on my bike trainer since the Suunto HR strap is Private ANT and thus not compatible with the USB stick. While there was usually a bit of lag between the chest strap and Mio Link they usually tracked each other pretty well. Unfortunately, that's pretty much the only situation I've been able to get the Mio Link to work reliably.

    Since Apple seems to use more than one color of light in its optical sensor it may work better than the Mio Link and perhaps it also is less sensitive to light leaks?
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    Default Re: Apple Watch as an exercise heart rate monitor

    Anyone own one and can comment on this yet?
  11. #11  
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    Default Re: Apple Watch as an exercise heart rate monitor

    The Watch can connect to Bluetooth heart rate monitors you may have... Try it.
  12. #12  
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    Default Apple Watch as an exercise heart rate monitor

    Quote Originally Posted by akanne View Post
    Having experimented with the Mio Link I'm a bit worried the Apple Watch will have problems with light leaks unless you wear it real tight. The optical technology also has a bit of lag compared to a chest strap, and can't measure R-R/HR Variability.
    Light leaks are possible if you don't wear it tightly yes, but there is a fix for that is build in, it uses two types of light, green and infrared. When one does not get a good reading, the power is increased in that color range and if it still does not get acceptable reading the other color is turned on and the same process is applied until a good HR is achieved. The watch is set at a default 10 min HR interval. Meaning to takes your HR every ten minutes all day long whether exercising or not. But on the bright side you can force the watch to monitor your heart rate at anytime, it will get a initial reading then continue to monitor and record your HR (and displays the ongoing readings) until the display times out with no activity. It will also show you what and when its last reading was while its doing this.
    dianahk and EchoOne30 like this.

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