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  • HR monitor

    I do alot of hiit training and use a HR strap to get accurate results. Had to have a replacement strap so been training without the strap and I am astonished how horrific the inbuilt heart monitor is without a strap. HR reads about 70 beats below my actually HR doing a indoor cardio. When I go a run it seems to be pretty accurate but anything indoors for some reason is absolutely rubbish. My £14 mi band 2 was far more accurate.

    Anyon else get the same ?

  • #2
    I'm not defending the Garmin device, but it's technically hard to get an accurate heart rate from a wrist-worn sensor. I suspect the device has to average over a period of seconds to get a decent reading. Mine usually copes with indoor and outdoor training pretty well, so long as I don't mind a HR that seems to be averaged over about thirty seconds. In most cases, that's fine for me. With interval training, the Garmin sensor is still able to keep pace with my aging heart, but it lags the true heart rate increase by 20-30 seconds.

    I don't know why, but I find my VA3 has a sort of "warm-up" period. It can take a minute or two to begin tracking my heart rate properly. Once it has "locked on" (lacking a better expression), it tends to be OK, but the first couple of minutes of data in an exercise session are not reliable.

    A lot of folks do seem to find these devices unsuitable for HIIT-type training, and I can see why. But I think people expect too much from the technology, to be honest.

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    • #3
      Hello, I had VA3 for 6 weeks, I put them under warranty for replacement or for refund. They are far from accurate. Had FR35 and it was +- 2bpm comparing to machine. Now having F5, they are accurate w/o chest strap.

      Ask for refund or replacement. I did same.

      Originally posted by LarsTheBear View Post
      A lot of folks do seem to find these devices unsuitable for HIIT-type training, and I can see why. But I think people expect too much from the technology, to be honest.
      I expected that newer and pricier watches would be at least fine as my FR35.

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      • #4
        I've done a few runs wearing both: (1) VA3 and (2) VA (original) paired to Wahoo Tickr chest strap.
        I did screen shots from my phone and tried to post here in another thread, but apparently it did not go through.

        Anyway, I "think" I see a few things:
        1. what LarstheBear says I agree -- I think the sw for the VA3 is pretty conservative. It takes a while to catch up. I've only seen a couple sharp drops in HR and it seems to like to stay steady. this is good/bad. if it does drop, it took a while to catch back up to the chest strap rate.
        2. the VA3 does not like to go very high, I'm pretty sure when my HR was in the 160+ range (my zone 4-5), the VA3 was still showing low to mid 150's. i wasn't in that range long, so maybe it would have eventually caught up
        3. the chest strap is also not perfect, especially at the beginning. I think my chest strap takes a good 5-10 mins to settle in and then it's near perfect.
        4. although the VA3 does not like to give high HR (see # 2), I notice it is about 5-6 bpm higher than the chest strap.
        It really is hard to see a theme after only 3 runs with both, but that's what I can tell so far.
        By the way, don't forget to change your heart rate zones and make sure they don't go back to original settings. I had to reset mine for higher bpm zones.

        VA3.PNG
        Attached Files

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        • #5
          I have the same issue in cardio mode. During workout (duration: 40 min) I get 70-90bpm. The other watch with chest strap showed 150-170bmp That is right you can't compare chest strap with optical sensor, but my friend who have F5 do not face this problem (same elevate optical sensor) and in cardio mode it is amazingly accurate. I do not care if mistake will be 5-8bpm, but when it shows 80bmp during pushups or jumping jacks it messes all the data. Before this watch I had fitbit charge 2 and it was way more accurate.

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          • #6

            Rimmy that's what I am talking about. The cardio setting has terrible accuracy. I have had a replacement watch as the first one had Bluetooth issues.
            There is no excuse for the accuracy received for such a pricey watch. I bought the watch predominantly for golf but also exercise 6 times a week. Immediately bought a heart strap after the laughable accuracy for indoor activities.

            Like I say my £14 mi band 2 had similar accuracy to the HR STRAP but didn't have the features required for golf etc.

            Don't like the fenix watches as they are more bulkey. I think it's a software issue with these watches. Each update seeks to go backwards. 2.7 was the best update i had when the watch felt most stable
            Last edited by Jonk; 02-12-2018, 09:34 AM.

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            • #7
              The HR sensor accuracy seems to be a bit variable with these devices. Some people have few problems, and others have a nightmare. I would guess that if you read 80 or so bpm when you expect 160 or so, the sensor is probably reading only every second beat. I have a friend who has a Huawei fitness tracker, and it behaves the same way. Possibly variables like watch fit, skin type, and climate have a part to play here. I find that I need to have the strap much tighter when I'm training than I do when I'm sitting at my desk.

              It seems to me that accurate HR measurement is an absolute basic minimum for a fitness tracker. If my VA3 couldn't do even that much, I would certainly be looking for a refund. As it is, I think I've been lucky, because the HR is pretty good for most purposes.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by LarsTheBear View Post
                The HR sensor accuracy seems to be a bit variable with these devices. Some people have few problems, and others have a nightmare. I would guess that if you read 80 or so bpm when you expect 160 or so, the sensor is probably reading only every second beat. I have a friend who has a Huawei fitness tracker, and it behaves the same way. Possibly variables like watch fit, skin type, and climate have a part to play here. I find that I need to have the strap much tighter when I'm training than I do when I'm sitting at my desk.

                It seems to me that accurate HR measurement is an absolute basic minimum for a fitness tracker. If my VA3 couldn't do even that much, I would certainly be looking for a refund. As it is, I think I've been lucky, because the HR is pretty good for most purposes.
                I've tried everything: heart rate reading in smart mode and every second, wear on different whrist, tighten/loosen strap, change possition to inside whrist. No change. Today I did cardio workout, half a time heart rate was 90-110bpm then suddenly spikes to 180bpm and lowers to 130-140bpm (which was correct). Month ago when I got this device the first cardio workout heart rate measure was amazingly accurate and then something happened.
                When device cost 50-100 dollars you can tolerate bugs, but vivoactive 3 is not so cheap, it is not basic tracker, it is device dedicated for active prople who wants a bit more than step counter. Wish I could return it and pay the difference for the F5, it is more mature product lots of bugs are wiped out, at least my friends are totally happy with F5.

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                • #9
                  I have been using an optical heart rate watch from adidas a few years and now use the vivoactive3. I get the same readings, both indoor and outdoor. No issues. (and I have previoulsy compared the oHR of adidas with the readings from a chest strap and also found this to be accurate). The adidas OHR was more sensitive to dry and cold skin during the first ten minutes of a run and could give some wrong readings. I have not noticed this yet with Garmin.
                  oHR monitors can have issues with some persons where they just won't work, maybe you are one of them.

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                  • #10
                    I use the watch to run and ride a bicycle, and except for very specific cases, the measurements have always been correct, compared with the band.
                    The worst performance is in series (running).
                    Even when I swim and I'm not in training mode the watch measures the pulsations (although I think it's wrong) but they are between 140 ~ 160, so "something" measures.
                    I think that of all the things in the watch the reading of beats is a point that in my case is fine.

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                    • #11
                      Before I bought my VA3, I bought a cheap, tatty Vivosmart on eBay, just to check that the HR technology worked for me. I don't think it works for everybody. For example, if the bones of your wrist are shaped such that the back of the device doesn't lay flat against your skin, I suspect it will always be flakey. Possibly dense hair on the wrists could also stop the watch laying flat.

                      If I bought one of these gadgets and it couldn't even measure HR properly, I would certainly be looking for my money back. Possibly a different watch, or a different manufacturer, would work better.

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                      • #12
                        If the watch is worn properly your wrist bones won't be a factor.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by TMK17 View Post
                          If the watch is worn properly your wrist bones won't be a factor.
                          Can you back up that assertion with evidence?

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                          • #14
                            Look at the manual. It shows that the watch should be worn an inch or two above the wrist bone so that there are plenty of capillaries beneath the sensor and the bone doesn't affect the HRM.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by LarsTheBear View Post

                              Can you back up that assertion with evidence?
                              Yes I can, but R_Tellis already said what I would have.

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