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A heart rate monitor on your phone

Posted by Elizabeth Comeau  June 26, 2012 02:00 AM

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By Elizabeth Comeau
Boston.com Staff

Instant Heart Rate appReviewing: Instant heart rate
By: Azumio
Available on: iPhone, Android
Price: Free
Should you get it? Absolutely

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As an avid runner, mountain biker, and all-around fitness junkie, I have been hemming and hawing the past few years about just biting the bullet and buying a fancy heart rate monitor.

The reason I still haven’t? Cost. I don’t want to shell out a few hundred bucks for a good heart rate monitor that I (being the klutz I am) break, get wet, or forget to put on.

I needed something that is always with me already to work as a monitor – and the idea of wearing a giant heart rate monitor as a wristwatch was simply just not fashionable enough for me.

Enter the instant heart rate monitor app.

This app does exactly what you would think it should do: take your pulse. Using the camera on your phone. The app reads your pulse in about 10 seconds (as long as your finger is placed correctly over your camera lens light) and is surprisingly accurate (I borrowed a friend’s heart rate monitor to compare my app to a tried-and-true monitor and they came out the same).

To have the app read your pulse, place your finger over the camera lens and hold it still for 10 seconds (there’s a countdown to make sure you actually hold it there for long enough.) The lens detects your heart rate and then it pops up on the display and shows if you are in the “average” (60-90) range, or above or below that.

For example, as a gauge, I took my first pulse sitting on the couch “resting.” It read 46. The next morning, after a run, it read 145.

To me, you can’t beat free, so this app is pretty darn cool for the cost.

However, I do have one nit to pick.

The app doesn’t do the math for me to tell me what a normal, resting, heart rate range for someone my age, height, weight, and gender is. In order to get that, I have to do a math calculation myself. The app would be perfect if I could just enter some simple data to have it figure that out for me and store it.

You can share your heart rate on social networks via the app (but I do wonder just who among my Twitter and Facebook friends would care what my pulse was after a workout?). And the free version of the app stores your 5 most recent heart rate recordings.

You can also add notes, such as the phrase “resting heart rate”, to your entries so you remember what in the world you were doing to get your heart rate to 145 in the first place (keep it clean, people!).

Overall, a good app if you’re curious how hard you were actually working during your last sweat session, and a heck of a lot cheaper than a regular heart rate monitor.

About Apptitude Test blogger Kathryn Cartini

Born to challenge the "status quo," with three older brothers Kathryn's first story was probably a tattle, a skill she managed to turn into a career in broadcasting. Now as a communications specialist and CEO of Peacock Media, Kathryn continues #SharingStories that grow businesses and inspire others to follow their hearts in work and life, herself included. More »

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