February 3, 2009

Few new HRMs from Garmin, Polar and Timex

This is just a quick post about some new HRMs that either already hit the market or will be released in upcoming weeks. There are some exciting new HRMs in the line-up of manufacturers that will make the 2009 season pretty interesting.

Garmin - leaving the GPS out

Let's start with the recently announced line of Garmin HRMs that are not sporting GPS capability. The FR60 that will come in mens and women version is HRM with ability to connect with ANT+ heart rate belt, foot pod, bike pod and cadence pod from Garmin. The watch will have standard set of features including ability to record up to 15 hours worth of workouts and capture 100 laps. Just like the Forerunner 405 this watch will connect wirelessly to your computer and transfer data to Garmin Connect site. According to the materials available on Garmin Blogs and Garmin site the watch will not support Training Center and programmed guided workouts. The watch should hit the market in Q2 of this year.

Polar - pushing the GPS to cycling

Polar just yesterday announced release of the CS600x cycling computer which is an enhancement of the flagship CS600 cycling computer. The CS600x integrates with the G3 GPS unit and captures the location information just like the RS800cx unit that was released late last year (and extensively reviewed on this site). The unit is sold in two packages - one with power and one without. It is very same packaging as with the CS600. None of the packages comes with the G3 sensor, but you can get the G3 sensor as an accessory. Other difference that I noticed from the comparison tool on Polar USA site is that the CS600x comes with the IR USB stick (just as the RS800cx). There are probably other differences, but they are not immediately apparent from the product description and feature list. Also I expect that Polar may make minor adjustments to the information on their website just as they did after the release of RS800cx.

Timex - focusing on the basics

Another addition to HRM line comes from Timex. The Timex Race Trainer Kit provides a good starting level HR monitor with ability to transfer data to ad from the computer wirelessly. What is interesting on this product is the fact that you are not only buying the watch, but also the access to the Timex Ironman online training site that is build on top of the Training Peaks engine. The watch integrates with the training site and according to the information available on Timex site there is ability to download workout data from the site to the watch and send the workout results to the site. Sounds like an interesting HRM for focused training. The training plans are designed by Dave Scott and Gale Bernhardt two large names in the triathlon world. You can find more details about this package on Timex site. Unfortunately I can not provide any more details on how well this package works as I have not used the watch or the Timex site yet.


Mel Harbour said...

Have you seen the comments on SlowTwitch about a potential new ForeRunner model being announced fairly soon that will be fully waterproof (amongst other things).

kxux said...

Mel, I believe the FR60 is the model that will work in the pool - well at least as far as taking the laps. I doubt they will go away from ANT+ and that means no HR in water. Certainly a step forward for Garmin to offer a watch that you can actually swim with.

Database Diva said...

I already have so many gadgets, but that Garmin HRM is still of interest. I run on a treadmill far more than I run outside, so I don't get much use from the 305. It's so hilly here that I can't recover sufficiently if I run outside more than once/week. I could use the HRM for the treadmill and rowing. I'd like to compare the intensity of my workouts.

Thanks for the information!

kxux said...

Hello Diva,

good to see that you are keeping with your training. If you are looking to compare intensity of your workouts and keep track of your the distance for runs outside or inside you can pretty much use any of the HRMs already on the market. There is a huge selection in the current line ups. I'll focus only on the key HRM players:

Polar - RS200sd would do the job just fine or if you wanted to do some more detailed analysis you can go with the RS400sd. Both give you HR recording, speed, distance. The RS400 adds detailed analysis of the data on your computer (not only the lap averages and max). Alternative would be the S625X, but that model may be little too big for ladies hand. But added value is that the S625x supports also bike sensors if you decided to do some cross training on the bike.

Suunto - the T3c would be a good fit here or if you wanted a watch that helps you manage the workload with clever training manager function you can upgrade to T4c. Along with the watch you can get the Suunto Foot Pod that will track your distance inside and outside as well as pace. The Suunto may be a good fit especially if you are looking for gauging your overall workout intensity the EPOC/TE that these monitors provide give you a good sense of what training effect the given workout had. And the training coach function in T4c would adjust your training plan based on the actual workout intensity and suggest workouts for next few days. It is not perfect, but seems to be fairly good to help people manage the workout intensity and prevent overtraining. Just keep in mind that the coach takes into account only the aerobic part of the workouts - it does not consider stress on the joints and ligaments in long runs and many long runs come as pretty low training effect.

Third one is Garmin 50 which is a basic watch with heart rate monitor and foot pod. Just like the ones above can give you a sense of your training intensity. There is not much I can tell you about this watch. I owned one for about two weeks, but found it too basic for my needs and returned it.

Timex - the one I wrote about in this article would do the job. Plus it comes with the TrainingPeaks software account which is a great plus. It does not seem to measure distance, but it will help you assess the intensity of your workouts. Again I do not know a lot about the watch, but I know quite a bit about the TrainingPeaks and that all by itself is a huge benefit.

So there you have it. Let me know if you have any questions.

tms said...

Looking over the CS600X manual, it would appear that they've also more than doubled the quantity of onboard memory. With everything but GPS enabled (including power), the CS600X can store 5:40 worth of data vs. the CS600s 2:40. With GPS enabled, the CS600X can store 3:20 worth of data.

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