Image source: Epson

Review: Epson Pulsense

Epson Pulsense PS100 & PS500

6.9

Design

6.0/10

Ease of use

8.0/10

Use of information

7.5/10

Motivation

6.0/10

Pros

  • Price
  • Well designed app
  • Good battery life

Cons

  • Design could be improved
  • No screen
  • No GPS

 

The Epson Pulsense is an activity tracker that not uses an accelerometer and an Epson-developed optical heart rate monitor to track your fitness.

Yes, Epson the printing company has come out with two fitness trackers:

  • Epson Pulsense PS-100 with Activity and In-Built Heart Rate Monitor;
  • Epson Pulsense PS-500 Activity Monitor with In-Built Heart Rate and Multifunctional Display.

The main difference between the two fitness trackers is that one has a display screen which allows you to view your results in detail – while the other one only has a set of flashing lights to inform you which heart rate zone you are currently in.

Both trackers have 24 hour heart rate and activity monitoring, use a free smartphone app/website, have a compact and water resistant design, a vibrate alarm, and a sleep phase wake-up alarm.

Epson’s optical heart rate sensor is compact and energy-efficient, accurately reading heart rate from the back of your wrist, measuring the small changes in reflected light as blood passes through vessels in your skin.

Design
Ease of use
Use of information
Motivation
OverviewView technical specs

Design

The device itsself is fairly light but still manages to feel well built. The watch itsself has a sturdy look. It does have a retro look to it. The soft silicon strap is comfortable. It is a little bit bulky, but only slightly more than a regular watch.

The trackers have a 36 hours of battery life while continuously monitoring heart rate means you can truly monitor 24 hours of accurate data. Unlike some heart rate monitors, you can continue to record data even while exercising. Pulsense will track heart rate while running at speeds of up to 15 kilometres per hour, measuring activity across five heart rate zones, simply displayed with LED lights.

In use the device works well – the current exercise zone is displayed with the very bright LED’s – a feature which can be dimmed – as well as the LCD screen.


Ease of use

review epson pulsense - Review: Epson Pulsense
Image source: Epson

Once paired the device is easily configurable via the mobile app. time, alarms and alerts took us less than 30 minutes to get set up. The amount of information that is collected is pretty impressive.

 

The device automatically enters workout mode when your heart rate is elevated for a certain amount of time. It will not be triggered from walking alone (usually). When it goes into workout mode, you can set to have the led light to be on continuously, blink, tapped (you tap the device and it will indicate your heart rate zone) and off. It will vibrate when you have achieved the zone you intend to be in (this can be adjusted in settings) and vibrates again when you are out (when your heart rate is too high or too low).

It is worth mentioning that the Pulsense measures the heart rate in 4 second intervals. One might argue that it as accurate as say, garmin heart rate monitor which allow for second to second recording but we think Epson made a good call with that.

There is a second (manual) way to enter workout mode is by using your phone. When you are connected via bluetooth, you can enter workout mode in the app where you can see your actual heart rate while working out. Once the device is connected via bluetooth to your device, you can use 3rd party apps, such as strava or runtastic to monitor your heart rate while you run. This allows for you to accurate map your run distance plus heart rate all in one.

The device automatically detect sleep when you lie on your bed and your heart rate starts decreasing. It is not as good at detecting those afternoon naps though. Other than showing you when you are in deep sleep and light sleep, the Pulsense is capable of giving you an overview of your heart rate (in a graph which shows trend).

Epson claims that this device will work with any recent iOS device or Android phone using Bluetooth 4. – however when examining the promotional material Epson mentions that they offer use for only iOS devices and a small number of Samsung Android phones.


Use of information

Pulsense continuously monitors the amount of time you spend in up to five heart rate zones, making it simple to assess the effectiveness of exercise and your progress towards your goals. It does this pretty well. However, while it is accurate for walking and running, it is not as good at monitoring HR during exercise that uses regular arm/wrist movement.

Calories burned fall into two key categories: calories burned at rest due to your metabolic rate, and calories burned during exercise. The Pulsense view displays both so you can understand how much your exercise contributes to calories burned. You can also record meals to understand the balance of calories burned and consumed. Pulsense calculates calories burned based upon body motion and heart rate. Your body burns more calories as you exercise. Your heart rate increases as your body demands more oxygen and fuel. This close relationship between heart rate and calories burned enables more detailed and accurate calorie calculations.

Good-quality sleep is highly important to your wellbeing. Pulsense tracks not only the length but also the quality of your sleep by automatically monitoring body movements and heart rate to track your sleep patterns. Use the sleep phase alarm to get you out of bed at the optimal time, and start your day the right way.

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Epson PULSENSE PS-100
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Pulsense also helps you reflect back on where and when your heart rate is elevated, or you are relaxed, to help you balance your daily life.

Pulsense will of course also record your daily steps and calculate the distance you’ve travelled using the accelerometer to measure your body movement. This function enables you to consciously track your general activity, so you can make small changes to become more active.

review epson pulsense - Review: Epson Pulsense
Image source: Epson

Motivation

Pulsense automatically sets targets based on the goals you want to achieve, helping you plan your weight loss and fitness programmes. You can easily track your progress and improvements towards your targets with the emailed weekly summary report.


Overview

The verdict

The real problem we have with this device is the retro feel. This is a good device however for those not concerned about the looks of the device, as it offers a simple and easy way to monitor exercise, weight, diet and general health. This device is of less interest to hard core athletes, Android or Windows Phone users or those seeking to integrate with other health websites or ecosystems. The device works well during training and the vibration warnings when the heart rate goes through various zones is effective and a good selling point.

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Epson PULSENSE PS-500
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