Will Samsung's heart rate monitors keep us fit?

Review

The latest Samsung products, including the flagship Galaxy S5 and smartwatches, all come with heart rate monitors but do they do you any good?
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Will Samsung's heart rate monitors keep us fit?

Samsung has a range of new gadgets that pack heart rate monitors. The Galaxy S5,Gear 2,Gear 2 NeoandGear Fitall pack the new technology. But why do you need a heart rate monitor on your phone? Will tracking your pulse help you stay fit? And are built in heart rate monitor’s better than the apps that say they do the same job?

SAMSUNG’S NEW HEART RATE MONITORS

The new Samsung Galaxy S5 is the first phone to ever have a built in heart rate monitor and Samsung has added the same system to its new Gear smartwatches and Gear fitness band. They all work by shining a light through your skin and detecting the colour change that happens every time blood rushes past a tiny camera.

The Galaxy S5’s heart rate monitor is ideal for checking if you got your pulse up high enough during a workout and seeing how quickly you recover. But the ones on the Gear range have an extra use. As they’re strapped against your skin all the time, you can monitor your heart rate in real time. That’s let Samsung add a personal trainer feature to S Health, which motivates you to push harder or back off depending on your heart rate.

HEART RATE MONITORING APPS

There have been apps for measuring your heart rate for a long time and as long as the camera and flash on your phone are very close together, they should work. One of the most popular apps is Instant Heart Rate and it comes onAndroidandiOS. It works in the same way as the Galaxy S5’s heart rate monitor, using your phone’s regular flash and camera. The downside to that is the need to clean your camera lens after every use to keep your photos looking sharp.

The best thing about Instant Heart Rate is that you can tell the app what you were doing when you took each pulse, something that Samsung hasn’t added yet. The downside is that it’s slower than Samsung’s built in solution and a lot more unpredictable. You have to stay perfectly still for it to work but it seems to be about as accurate as the Galaxy S5 once you’ve got it going.

HOW WILL A HEART RATE MONITOR KEEP ME FIT?

The heart rate monitor on the Galaxy S5 and apps like Instant Heart Rate are perfect for keeping an eye on your heart over time. You can easily see how your heart rate has reacted to different activities, which could give you an insight into your general health. For this long term monitoring, the app’s ability to tag heart rates with activities is really useful, but the Galaxy S5 is easier to use and Samsung could add this feature before long.

But if you want to instantly revolutionise your workouts, you need one of the Gear smartwatches or the Gear Fit. The fact that they monitor your heart rate constantly while you’re exercising makes them much more useful. And with S Health’s new personal trainer, these heart rate monitors help you stay motivated and really maximise your workouts.

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