HRM accuracy on Series 2

eyecrispy

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Hey all, wondering how accurate you all are finding the HRM on the series 2 AWs? My Nike+ one seems to run high. I mean, whether I'm running or walking briskly, it consistently shows my heart rate between 160-190. So, I can see it getting high while running, but a brisk walk? Really? I'm not straining to breathe during the walks and definitely don't feel as taxed as compared to when I'm running.

Wondering what everyone else's experience has been?
 

StraightlineBoy

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There's a lot of articles on the web that shows that wrist based HR reading is not a perfect science yet and that applies across all brands. I think I've read that it works for some people better than others (probably to do with skin colour, body composition etc).

I posted some thoughts on the thread in this forum about using a HR strap with the AW and gave examples of it being unreliable for me, sometimes too high and sometimes too low. I'm not training for the olympics or anything but if I'm going to analyse my data after running, it's to be reliable and accurate or I'm chasing ghosts. If I run, think it was hard work but the HR shows only 140, what have I learned? Nothing. Equally if it said 190, nothing because my HR essentially doesn't go that high (unless I'm being chased by a lion).

If yours is showing 190 then it depends on your age (max HR decreases with age) but even if you're fairly young a HR of 190 should be pretty much you doing a flat out sprint; if you're doing anything less than giving absolutely everything then it's unlikely to be correct.

There's a real danger with companies putting out tech for important stuff like HR monitoring that doesn't work reliably. Not everyone is a doctor and may not have the knowledge to understand what they are being told may well be wrong. I've used enough gym equipment over the years to have a good understanding of what my heart is doing and have a fair idea if the HR reading is reasonably accurate or not; not everyone has this background
 

eyecrispy

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There's a lot of articles on the web that shows that wrist based HR reading is not a perfect science yet and that applies across all brands. I think I've read that it works for some people better than others (probably to do with skin colour, body composition etc).

I posted some thoughts on the thread in this forum about using a HR strap with the AW and gave examples of it being unreliable for me, sometimes too high and sometimes too low. I'm not training for the olympics or anything but if I'm going to analyse my data after running, it's to be reliable and accurate or I'm chasing ghosts. If I run, think it was hard work but the HR shows only 140, what have I learned? Nothing. Equally if it said 190, nothing because my HR essentially doesn't go that high (unless I'm being chased by a lion).

If yours is showing 190 then it depends on your age (max HR decreases with age) but even if you're fairly young a HR of 190 should be pretty much you doing a flat out sprint; if you're doing anything less than giving absolutely everything then it's unlikely to be correct.

There's a real danger with companies putting out tech for important stuff like HR monitoring that doesn't work reliably. Not everyone is a doctor and may not have the knowledge to understand what they are being told may well be wrong. I've used enough gym equipment over the years to have a good understanding of what my heart is doing and have a fair idea if the HR reading is reasonably accurate or not; not everyone has this background

I'm in good shape. My HR should never get up 190, esp walking briskly when I'm able to speak in complete sentences I feel that my series 0 AW was more accurate than the Nike+ I'm using now.
 

StraightlineBoy

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I'm in good shape. My HR should never get up 190, esp walking briskly when I'm able to speak in complete sentences I feel that my series 0 AW was more accurate than the Nike+ I'm using now.

My understanding was the HR sensor was the same in series 0 and 2 so this shouldn't be so but maybe there's a software issue.
 

doogald

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DC Rainmaker had a really good review of the original Apple Watch, with great analysis of the two heart rate meters (there is an optical one used during exercise and an infrared one used for normal, non-exercise use.) I suspect that AW2 is the same. tl;dr: the heart rate meter used during exercise can be all over the place. Sometimes it's right on. sometimes it's all over the place. And, as he says, if you want to use a high-quality HRM, you can pair the watch to a BT model to get better accuracy.

https://www.dcrainmaker.com/2016/02/apple-watch-review.html

I don't use the workouts app on my watch while I run (I use a Garmin watch instead), and the AW doesn't seem to track my heart rate while I exercise (every day that I exercise, there is a gap that is almost exactly as long as my run), so I can't say if it is accurate or not. Even while I was out with the snowblower this morning, there was exactly zero heart rate readings.

(Well, I did do one treadmill workout with the workouts app a month ago, and I just looked - it had my max heart rate at 130 - probably right.)

The non-exercise heart rate monitoring looks pretty good to me, though I haven't taken my pulse while the heart rate app is running or anything.
 

tcuprof

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Hey all, wondering how accurate you all are finding the HRM on the series 2 AWs? My Nike+ one seems to run high. I mean, whether I'm running or walking briskly, it consistently shows my heart rate between 160-190. So, I can see it getting high while running, but a brisk walk? Really? I'm not straining to breathe during the walks and definitely don't feel as taxed as compared to when I'm running.

Wondering what everyone else's experience has been?

Those results sound way off. During a brisk walk (say 14-15' min/mi pace), my heart rate increases from a resting norm of 60 into the 80s. During a run (usual pace of 8:30-9:00 min/mi), it usually ranges from 130s to 160s. When it on occasion reports 180s, I just assume it was wrong for some reason.

That its accuracy would vary based on skin color, body composition, etc., makes perfect sense.
 

eyecrispy

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Those results sound way off. During a brisk walk (say 14-15' min/mi pace), my heart rate increases from a resting norm of 60 into the 80s. During a run (usual pace of 8:30-9:00 min/mi), it usually ranges from 130s to 160s. When it on occasion reports 180s, I just assume it was wrong for some reason.

That its accuracy would vary based on skin color, body composition, etc., makes perfect sense.

That sounds much more in range to me. I'm thin and in shape. Yellow skinned. I don't know why it's so out of whack. My Fitbit and series 0 all seemed more accurate.
 

imwjl

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I'm sure my moments of poor data collection or not right data are when the watch bounces around. This morning I knew it was not right after some stretches and pushups. It was corrected by moving the watch back to where it usually is on my wrist.

My wife's complaints about HRM reading or accuracy seemed to have stopped when I said make sure sleeves, cuffs and gloves are not messing with the watch.

I don't think this is an Apple Watch only complaint. Triathlete and endurance sports friends who have Garmin watches say they have to have chest or arm band HRMs to be happy with their setups.
 

StraightlineBoy

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I'm sure my moments of poor data collection or not right data are when the watch bounces around. This morning I knew it was not right after some stretches and pushups. It was corrected by moving the watch back to where it usually is on my wrist.

My wife's complaints about HRM reading or accuracy seemed to have stopped when I said make sure sleeves, cuffs and gloves are not messing with the watch.

I don't think this is an Apple Watch only complaint. Triathlete and endurance sports friends who have Garmin watches say they have to have chest or arm band HRMs to be happy with their setups.

You aren't wearing your AW tight enough if it moves on your wrist. For an optical sensor to have any chance of working reliably it needs to fit snugly. You are correct though that no one yet has produced an optical HRM that is as accurate and reliable as a chest strap.
 

eyecrispy

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You aren't wearing your AW tight enough if it moves on your wrist. For an optical sensor to have any chance of working reliably it needs to fit snugly. You are correct though that no one yet has produced an optical HRM that is as accurate and reliable as a chest strap.

Agree with all that. It just seems that my Nike+ AW is worse than my series 0 and my Fitbit Surge. Mine is worn snugly. Oh well.
 

imwjl

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You aren't wearing your AW tight enough if it moves on your wrist. For an optical sensor to have any chance of working reliably it needs to fit snugly. You are correct though that no one yet has produced an optical HRM that is as accurate and reliable as a chest strap.

The circumstances when it moves are known problematic for any wrist type. Jarring activities, MTB riding, strike and shove hand tools.
 

phlamethrowre

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The circumstances when it moves are known problematic for any wrist type. Jarring activities, MTB riding, strike and shove hand tools.

Exactly. My Garmin Vivoactive can't read my hr accurately if I'm weight lifting or doing a cardio machine that has upper body handles.
 

eyecrispy

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So, I tried a different band this morning. I have been using the Nike+ band for my runs and workouts since I got the S2, but switched to a apple silicone band this morning. At first, it seemed that the HR was more realistic but then it shot up to where it usually is. I was excited that maybe it was how snug the Nike+ band was but that all went away when I saw my HR shoot up about 5 min into my walk this morning.
 

upandover

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I assume it's inaccurate but will show you if you're heading in the right direction or not. I don't place too much stock in the number itself.
 

eyecrispy

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I assume it's inaccurate but will show you if you're heading in the right direction or not. I don't place too much stock in the number itself.

Yea. I just feel that the series 0 AW and my Fitbit Surge were both more accurate, and I find that a bit disappointing.
 

StraightlineBoy

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I assume it's inaccurate but will show you if you're heading in the right direction or not. I don't place too much stock in the number itself.

When I've spent good money on a device I expect better than that and I don't think that's unreasonable either. Bad data is arguably worse than no data at all. Having done a long run this morning (with my Garmin and chest strap) I can look at the HR numbers and have a fair idea of how hard I was actually trying (as opposed to what my head was telling me). If that number is even 10% out then it changes a steady run with effort to spare into one where I'm on my limit (or vice versa) and the distinction is really quite important. I don't currently trust the AW (or any other device with an optical sensor to be fair to Apple) for this reason.