REVIEW: Polar H6 Heart Rate Monitor
Polar is a leading brand in heart rate monitors and associated products and this H6 is another example of their product quality.
Featuring Bluetooth capabilities the HRM is compatible with most smartphones, with the oldest versions being the iPhone4 and Samsung Galaxy S3 using Android 4.3 or later – you can find a full list of compatible devices here.
The monitor works using the electrode section on the strap which detects your heart rate, sending the signal to the attached monitor module which duly broadcasts it to any paired device.
In the box is the HRM itself which is less than an inch thick and about 2inches wide. The monitor’s thin profile means it doesn’t stick out under your clothes and can be worn comfortably without feeling or appearing bulky, even when worn with just a jersey on warmer rides. The monitor unit attaches to the strap with two press studs that hold the monitor very well, with no movement or looseness present in any testing.
The strap is made from a mix of polyamide, polyurethane, elastane and polyester and attaches to your chest with a simple hook which rests flat against the skin. The metal hook profile is such that it doesn’t dig into your skin or irritate it in any way and it isn’t at risk of coming undone in any intensity of exercise. The strap is adjustable and will fit any chest, it should be worn underneath the chest muscles for most accurate readings.
Whilst the strap was comfortable when worn we found that after a lot of use, the metal clip used to fasten it started to erode a little, possible due to the salt it is exposed too when sweating during intense exercise. The strap should be cleaned regularly with mild soap and water which prolongs it’s life, but this could be an issue later on.
The Bluetooth functionality also makes it compatible with most exercise apps such as Strava, Map My Ride/Run and Endomondo. Polar also have their own ‘Beat’ app which can be connected with any Polar device to monitor and track exercise and it also works well with Zwift. Once connected once we found that the monitor effortlessly connected every time we wore it without us having to repair it, the technology being such that once the electrode strip detects a heartbeat it begins transmitting.
The monitor runs on CR2025 batteries which can be bought from any supermarket and last a long time – the H6 boasts a battery lifetime of 300hours which is plenty for even the most regular users. The flat batteries add to the flat profile of the monitor and they are easily replaced with a simple twist-off section on the back which has a silicone seal to protect the battery from moisture. The H6 is water resistant but not waterproof so shouldn’t be submerged however we used it in very wet weather and noticed no ill effects from it being soaked from the rain.
The performance of the monitor itself was excellent, providing a regular and consistent heart rate, for the most part, however sometimes the rate would drop out (such as dropping from 150bpm to 65bpm for a few seconds) before coming back. We also noticed that when doing intervals the monitor sometimes struggled to cope with drastic heart rate changes, the monitor taking a few seconds to catch up with the effort.
Comfortable strap Metal clip wears after time
Easy to use and sync with devices Sometimes the heart rate drops out or jumps
Compatible with all major fitness apps Struggles to cope with large changes in HR
Overall we give the Polar H6 Heart Rate Monitor 8/10.