Jul 24 AT 7:29 PM Taylor Wimberly 27 Comments

Are you having trouble achieving your fitness goals? I’ve found that smartphone apps can help me improve my diet and exercise routines, but I’m always looking for that extra boost to keep me motivated and maximize my training time. Over the last couple of years I have tested a dozen different apps to track my running, but recently I decided to try out a Bluetooth heart rate monitor.

After scanning the web and reading a ton of reviews, I went ahead and purchased the Zephyr HxM. Over the last couple of weeks I logged 60 miles with the Zephyr and now I’m ready to share my thoughts.

The Good

Compatible with many Android apps: The Zephyr HxM works with many Android fitness apps including Runtastic, Endomondo, SportsTracker, My Tracks, Sporty Pal, and more. Track walking, running, biking or any activity you might do.

Easy setup and instant on: It paired to my Android phone with no problems and I have yet to experience any connection problems when exercising. The Zephy HxM automatically turns on when you snap it onto the chest strap.

Continuous real-time feedback: The best part of working out with the Zephyr HxM is the real-time feedback provided by 3rd-party apps. Most apps provide a voice coach that can alert you when you change heart rate zones or report your heart rate on a set interval.

Charging cradle contains lights to show when device is fully charged.

Rechargeable battery: Zephyr includes a USB charging cradle in the box. The built in battery lasts up to 26 hours of use. It can be charged to 90% in 1 hour, and 100% in 3 hours.

Lightweight design: Zephyr’s patented Smart Fabric Technology provides a comfortable fit. The elastic chest strap is adjustable, so it should fit most body types (up to 40 inches).

Machine washable: The chest strap will get sweaty and smelly, so it’s a good thing you can wash it. Replacement straps can be ordered online for around $19.

The Zephyr HxM snaps easily snaps into the chest strap.

12 month warranty: Zephyr will replace, repair, or refund this product if it does not work properly under normal use and care conditions.

Better reviews than the Polar WearLink+: When it comes to Android fitness apps, the two most supported heart rate monitors are Zephyr and Polar. My research showed that the Polar WearLink+ received a lot of poor reviews from smartphone owners who complained about connection problems with the device.

The Not-so-good

No official apps: There are plenty of 3rd-part apps that work with the Zephyr HxM, but it would be nice to see Zephyr produce some of their own Android apps.

USB wall charger not included: My package included a USB charging cradle, but it did not come with a USB wall charger. Thankfully I had a couple extra around the house, but this should be included for the price you are paying.

Price: The Zephyr HxM sells for around $75 on Amazon, which makes it one of the more expensive Bluetooth heart rate monitors. Watches that monitor your heart rate can be purchased for half that price, but they won’t connect to your smartphone.

Final Words

The Zephyr HxM and USB charging cradle.

The Zephyr HxM exceeded my expectations and I found that heart rate training is a great way to improve your performance, and track your fitness. I’ve trained for years using fitness apps, but I found that adding a heart rate monitor was a great motivational aid and it helped me achieve my fitness goals.

Your results with vary with the Android app that you choose, but I’ve been using Runtastic Pro and I found it was the perfect companion for the Zephyr HxM. The app can help you monitor your resting heart rate and maximum heart rate, and then automatically setup your heart rate zones.

Heart rate zones.

I found that running in different heart rate zones was great for high intensity interval training (HIIT). I’ve tried this type of training before, but it was sometimes difficult to keep up with the periods of ultra-intense exercise and rest. When I’m running with the Zephyr HxM, I just listen to my heart and it tells me when I need to crank up my pace and when I need to rest.

Since I started training a month ago, I’ve already lost 10 lbs and lowered my body fat percentage a couple of points. That was the result of a lot of things including a reduced calorie diet and weight training, but the Zephyr HxM played a big role in motivating me to keep running.

If you have been trying to get in shape and had difficulty staying motivated, I would definitely recommend the Zephyr HxM.

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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