Image source: Polar

Polar OH1 is for those that want accuracy but hate chest straps

Polar has just announced a new optical heart rate strap. And no, this one is not meant to go around your chest – its for your upper or lower arm.

Heart rate sensors typically come in one of two forms. The chest strap style and the wrist band style. There are pros and cons to each type. While, wrist based heart rate trackers may be all the rage these days, those serious about heart rate training are still better off with a heart rate chest strap.  But these are not the easiest to put on and are not comfortable or convenient.

Image source: Polar

Polar’s middle of the road solution is the OH1. Similar to Scosche Rhythm+, all you need to do is slip the armband on your upper or lower arm and you are set to go. Made of soft textile material, the OH1 is machine-washable and Polar says can easily be adjusted to fit any arm.

Image source: Polar

The 6-LED optical heart rate sensor ensures you get readings that are spot on. With 12 hours of battery life its sure to keep going for even the longest of training sessions.

The strap works as a standalone sensor and with Bluetooth-compatible Polar products. Its also compatible with Polar Beat and a wide variety other third-party fitness apps.

Essential reading: Best heart rate training chest straps

Apart from the form-factor, there are some differences between the OH1 and Polar’s best selling H10 chest strap.

Like other optical heart rate sensors, the OH1 shines LED lights to detect your heart rate. The H10, on the other hand, uses the electrical activity of your heart (ECG). This means, the H10 will probably produce more accurate measurements, particularly when it comes to hard interval training sessions. Also, if you’re into swimming or triathlon, you are better off with the H10 as it uses 5kHz frequency to transmit your heart rate in the water.

Essential reading: Heart rate zone training with wearables

The Polar OH1 has much better memory though. Up to 200 hours of training data can be saved on the devices itself, whereas the H10 can only store one training session so you need to sync each time. Finally, the H10 can run up to 6 months on a coin cell battery whereas you will need to recharge the OH1 from time to time.

If the accuracy is as good as Polar claims, this seems like a solid offering that comes at a reasonable price. If you’re in search for an alternative for a chest strap this may be your answer. Polar OH1 can be picked up from Amazon, with availability in other retail outlets to come soon.

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Marko Maslakovic

Marko founded Gadgets & Wearables in 2014, having worked for more than 15 years in the City of London’s financial district. Since then, he has led the company’s charge to become a leading information source on health and fitness gadgets and wearables.

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