Fitness trackers have been popular for a while now but it’s always interesting when a new one comes on the market, especially since they often have updated or improved features. Yesterday, French digital health company Withings started taking pre-sales for the newest addition to their range, which will ship on 5th December in time for Christmas. The Pulse HR is a health and fitness tracker that will monitor heart rate, has multisport features and will have connected GPS capabilities. The selling point of this device is that it has the classic fitness tracker design and they key features from the Steel and Steel HR watch range, namely the 20-day battery life.
A Mix of Modern and Classic
The Pulse HR will have the classic design of the Withings Pulse that launched and 2013 and many are already familiar with. It features reinforced black polycarbonate surface within a 316L stainless steel casing and a black silicone wristband that can be exchanged for a different colour, depending on your own personal taste and style.
The OLED display shows information such as time and date, heart rate, calories being burned and progress towards your individual daily goals. It also provides real-time workout information and smartphone notifications. All this can be accessed by simply pressing a button on the tracker or raising your wrist and it’s possible to scroll through all this information.
Eric Carreel, President of Withings said, “At Withings, we are dedicated to providing people with premium health and fitness tracking options that they can select from that best suit their personal lifestyles. With Pulse HR, we wanted to give people a new form factor from our Steel and Steel HR range that still offers the same wearability, quality design and best in class battery life. The band is the perfect fit for anyone who wants a device that offers important tracking features like heart rate monitoring at an affordable rate.”
The PPG Heart Rate Sensor
Many people enjoy being able to see how their heart is working using fitness trackers. The Pulse HR utilises a PPG (photoplethysmography) heart rate sensor which senses and measures the wearer’s pulse in 10-minute intervals. This provides a continuous measurement of the heart rate during workouts and users can see their individual breakdown of their workout session heart rate zones. This will allow them to track their progress and reach their fitness goals.
If you’re someone who likes to dabble in lots of different sports, the multisport tracking feature might interest you. You can track over 30 different activities, such as yoga, volleyball, rowing, boxing, skiing and ice hockey. The tracker display can select the user’s chosen activity and can also customise which activities are available to select. So, if you love yoga but boxing isn’t your thing, you can choose not to see that particular activity. After each session, users can view the heart rate and duration of workout on their Pulse HR and gain a deeper understanding of their progress by viewing their heart rate zones and calories spent. It’s also good to know that the Pulse HR is water resistant up to 50 metres so you can still wear it while swimming.
Pairing the Pulse HR with a smartphone will allow outdoor users to track their pace, distance, elevation and also to map their workouts during distance activities like hiking or cycling. The information such as pace and distance can be tracked live on the wearer’s smartphone and the workout route can be viewed with the Health Mate app.
But how is the battery performance?
We haven’t tried it, so we can only offer the information given in press releases, but it’s promised that the Pulse HR can have up to 20 days of battery life. It can be used day and night and will track sleep patterns and analysis, detecting the length and quality of sleep and offering an overall Sleep Score in the Health Mate app based on duration, depth and interruptions. There’s also a Smart Wake-up function. The Pulse HR will vibrate alarms at chosen time during a sleep cycle. Interestingly, there’s a feature in the app called Sleep Smarter Program which will offer eight weeks of recommendations to help improve sleep quality.
Like many gadgets and wearables, the Pulse HR can be paired with a smartphone. We’ve previously mentioned the Health Mate app and some of the things it can show based on what’s happening with the fitness tracker. However, it works both ways. The fitness tracker can also alert you to texts, calls, emails and event reminders as well as showing notifications from hundreds of other apps. It seems like a handy feature to have when you’re on the move and your phone is in your pocket or bag, but getting a social networking app during a workout might also be distracting from your fitness goals. For me, the jury is out on whether this is a wholly good idea and it’s only something I personally would use if I could filter the notifications. Without seeing or trying the device, I can’t say if that’s possible but I would hope it would be. The Health Mate app is available on both iOS and Android and will connect with over 100 third-party apps such as Apple Health, Google Fit and MyFitnessPal.
The Pulse HR is priced at £119.95 and can be pre-ordered right now for shipping on 5th December 2018. Starting from January 2019, the additional wristband colour options will become available.
What features would you like to see from fitness trackers of the future?