Wellue Strap-free Heart Rate Monitor for Sports
- Comfortable and versatile wearing options
- Accurate heart rate monitoring
- ECG analysis
- Long battery life
- Customizable target heart rate alerts
- Patch adhesion issues during intense workouts
- Proprietary charging cable
- Cannot export data as CSV or Excel
For fitness enthusiasts, finding a heart rate monitor that is both comfortable and effective can be a challenging task. In this review, I will take a closer look at the Wellue Strap-free Heart Rate Monitor for Sports, examining its features and performance to determine if it could be the answer to your fitness tracking needs.
The device has some unique characteristics which separate it from other such devices. With an emphasis on comfort and innovative technology, this gadget aims to redefine the way users monitor heart rate during exercise.
Join me as I explore the ins and outs of the Strap-free Heart Rate Monitor for Sports. Also, you can check out the $77 device on the Wellue website (use code GW10 for 10% discount).
Wellue Strap-free Heart Rate Monitor for Sports review: Design, hardware
Look & feel
The Strap-free Heart Rate Monitor for Sports boasts a sleek and compact design, with dimensions of 3.94″ x 0.91″ x 0.33″ and a lightweight main unit which houses the smarts weighing just 0.63 oz (18g). While the core unit is longer than those found in conventional heart rate chest straps, its slim profile and flexibility in the center provide a comfortable and unobtrusive fit during workouts.
The Strap-free Heart Rate Monitor for Sports is packaged with a standard chest strap, a set of disposable ECG electrodes, a charging cord, and a user manual. While these components are pretty standard for heart rate monitors, the ECG electrodes are an unusual addition. You might be wondering what they are for and how they improve the user experience.
As its name indicates, one unique feature of the Strap-free Heart Rate Monitor is its versatile wearing options, catering to individual comfort preferences. Users can choose between the provided chest strap, akin to standard heart rate monitors, or opt to attach the measuring unit to the disposable ECG electrodes. The electrode patches offer a more comfortable fit, making it feel like you’re wearing nothing at all. They attach to your chest easily, and are just as easy to remove post-workout.
There isn’t much more to learn about design. There are no buttons to press, and the Strap-free Heart Rate Monitor is always on standby once charged. You can tell by via the intuitive LED indicators that convey the device’s status.
A steady green LED light indicates active monitoring, while a blinking green light reflects your heartbeat. Slow blinking green signals standby mode or completed charging. Orange lights denote charging (steady) or low battery (slow blinking), and a blinking orange light synchronized with your heartbeat warns of low battery. These LED indicators provide a convenient way to understand the monitor’s status quickly.
Under the Hood
The heart rate monitor is both Bluetooth and ANT+ compatible, allowing for smooth connection to a wide range of exercise equipment and smartwatches. With built-in memory, the Strap-free Heart Rate Monitor for Sports supports unlimited data storage and synchronisation, making it easy to review and share your historical heart rate data.
The device uses electrical impulses produced by heart activity to provide continuous heart rate monitoring for up to 24 hours. This makes it more accurate than wrist-based monitors that rely on Photoplethysmography (PPG), a technology with acknowledged limitations during high-intensity activity. The gadget can record up to 10 sessions or 30 hours in total, with up to 24 hours per session. When full, it overwrites older data on the built-in memory with new records.
The monitor connects to the ViHealth app via Bluetooth, allowing for real-time heart rate, in addition to ECG monitoring. The latter is something that you do not typically get with heart rate chest straps. But more about that later.
As far as battery life, this is another highlight of the device. The Strap-free Heart Rate Monitor for Sports is equipped with a built-in rechargeable lithium battery that lasts up to 48 hours with typical use and takes around 2-3 hours to charge. Two days on a full charge is really excellent – and jives with my experience of using the device.
You will not be reaching for the charging cable very often. When you do, you’ll need to align the pins on the cable with the pins on the core unit. I would have prefered to have a standard cable instead of the proprietary one. It means you need to be careful not to lose it, otherwise you will need to purchase another one from Wellue.
Wellue Strap-free Heart Rate Monitor for Sports review: Technical specs
83.94” x 0.91” x 0.33”
0.63 oz/18g (main unit)
Heart rate range
30 BPM~250 BPM (BPM: beat per minute)
Up to 10 sessions/30 hours in total;
Up to 24 hours for each session;
Overwritten by new data when it’s full.
Heart rate, ECG
Bluetooth 5.0, compatible with 4.0, ANT+
48 hours (charging time 2-3 hours), proprietary charger
IP22 – splash proof (cannot be used while swimming)
Price (typical RRP)
Wellue Strap-free Heart Rate Monitor for Sports review: Features
Setup and pairing
Setup and initial pairing is pretty standard. Place the core unit on the charger and connect to the ViHealth app. The software will walk you through the necessary steps. This is fairly seamless and consists of you holding and touching the electrodes on both ends of the monitor in order to start pairing. That process activates the monitor and needs to be done only once. The device won’t function until this is completed.
As mentioned, there are no on/off buttons. The heart rate monitor automatically switches to work mode when being worn. Snap it into place and it will start to record your heart rate, and store the data in its internal memory. So if you are planning to use it for a run or bike ride, make sure to attach it immediately before you commence the workout. Any earlier and it will capture info on your heart rate pre-exercise.
Strap or patches?
But before that, you will need to decide how to wear it.
If you opt for the strap, make sure to wet the electrodes that are in contact with your skin. This is in order to ensure a good electrical signal with your heart. The only other thing you need to remember is to wear it the correct way around. The “R” that is engraved on the face of the core unit denotes the end that needs to face to the right. Adjust the length of the strap around your torso and you are good to go.
The other, more unique, option is to wear it with the hospital grade disposable ECG electrodes. You’ll find a bag of 14 patches inside the box. Unlike a chest strap, which positions the main unit horizontally across your chest, the electrodes position the unit vertically. The “R” mark should be facing up.
These are single use patches. When you run out you can purchase a box of 60 for $29 on the Wellue website. There are, apparently, cheaper third-party options for the replacement pads. Probably something worth looking into.
Because there is nothing around your midsection or across your chest, the alternative wearing mode is far less obtrusive. I found the patches to be really effective. Much more comfortable than the strap. However, if you are doing a very strenuous workout or sweat quite a bit, the chest strap may be a better option. The patches can get loose if you sweat a lot. So that’s another thing to keep in mind.
The smartphone app
Using the Strap-free Heart Rate Monitor for Sports with the ViHealth app is the most straightforward method. When worn, the app displays your heart rate and ECG in real-time on its Dashboard screen. The latter can be displayed in 5mm/mV or 10mm/mV. When applying this method, the heart rate information is saved on the core unit. ECG data, on the other hand, is only stored in the smartphone app for up to a maximum of 30 minutes.
The app presents your ECG curve in 1-minute segments. The functionality is quite comprehensive and you can even get an AI analysis that looks for any abnormalities. Generate a report and export the data as a PDF file to share with your doctor.
The well designed ECG analysis feature should really come as no surprise. Wellue has a range of devices that can monitor ECG. One of these is the Heart Health Monitor that I reviewed recently. It offers 24 hour monitoring of ECG and provides analysis of up to 14 different kinds of abnormal heart events.
One thing to note is that the app mentions a free trial period for the advanced AI ECG analysis. So after that it reverts to a paid model which you can opt for if you want to continue receiving these types of insights. But even without that, you still get the basic ECG data and charts.
The other way of using the device for heart rate tracking is standalone – without the smartphone app. This is the simplest option. Simply snap it into place, either on the strap or the patches and it will start recording. Remove it and it will stop. Open the smartphone app and it will sync all the unsynced sessions without you having to press any buttons.
The smartphone app keeps a history of all your recordings, and you can group this by week, month or year. Unfortunately the data pretty much ends with heart rate, so no heart rate variability (HRV), cadence, etc. Also, there doesn’t appear to be any way to export the heart rate data as a CSV or Excel file. Only as a PDF. However, the company told us the export functionality will come out soon via a software update.
But there are some settings you can play around with.
To help you achieve optimal exercise results, the device vibrates every 10 seconds when your heart rate exceeds the first target heart rate and every 2 seconds when it exceeds the second, safe heart rate target. All of this can be customised in the ViHealth smartphone app. This way, you can maintain a healthy and safe heart rhythm during your workouts.
Accuracy of data
I tested the device both independently and with a Garmin watch, which can connect via Bluetooth or ANT+. Initially, I inadvertedly accepted both connection options, causing confusion and patchy data on the Garmin. You don’t want to do that. After selecting only one connection method, the issue was resolved.
Here’s a screenshot of a recent 15km run, tracked with a Garmin Forerunner 955 paired to the Polar OH1 heart rate monitor. At the same time I used the Wellue heart rate monitor to make parallel recordings. As can be seen, the Wellue device clocked my average heart rate at 148bpm and maximum at 163bpm. This is almost exactly the same as the Garmin/Polar combination with averaged me at 147bpm and a maximum of 163bpm.
Heart rate measurements over other runs were sometimes exactly the same, sometimes there was tiny difference. So the Wellue monitor is just as precise as the high-end competition. Which is the most important thing when it comes to a heart rate monitor for tracking exercise.
The Wellue Strap-free Heart Rate Monitor for Sports is an impressive and versatile device for those seeking accurate and comfortable heart rate tracking. Its sleek design, lightweight form factor, and flexible wearing options cater to a variety of user preferences. The innovative electrode patches set it apart from traditional chest straps, offering a unique and unobtrusive alternative for those who prioritize comfort during workouts.
The device’s compatibility with Bluetooth and ANT+ ensures seamless connectivity with various exercise equipment and smartwatches, while its built-in memory and synchronization capabilities make it easy to review and share historical heart rate data. The ViHealth app adds value by providing ECG monitoring, with the option for advanced AI ECG analysis.
The Wellue heart rate monitor’s accuracy is on par with high-end competitors, making it a reliable choice. The device’s battery life of up to 48 hours with typical use further enhances its usability and appeal.
However, the proprietary charging cable may be a drawback for some, as losing or damaging it would require purchasing a replacement from Wellue. Additionally, those who sweat heavily during intense workouts might find the electrode patches less reliable than the chest strap option.
Overall, the Strap-free Heart Rate Monitor for Sports offers a unique and comfortable solution for heart rate tracking, at a competitive price of $77. Considering its additional features and functionality, it offers excellent value for money. For more information and to purchase the device, visit the Wellue website (use code GW10 for 10% discount).
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