It was a heart rate monitor that was the first accessory to implement Bluetooth 4.0 back in 2012, when Wahoo introduced its Blue HR Bluetooth 4.0 Heart Rate Monitor. Today, the technology has been used in all manner of products including speakers and headphones, but it’s still being implemented in athletic accessories. Scosche’s Rhythm+ Heart Rate Monitor ($80) directly competes with Wahoo’s monitor, although it’s designed to be more convenient. Keeping track of heart rate is a key element to some workout routines, particularly when it comes to cardio.
Instead of a chest strap which must be worn under clothing, Rhythm+ is a watch-sized medallion on a neoprene band that fits around the upper forearm. Two bands are included, adjustable based on the size of your arm: one is just over 10” long, and the other measures in at 15”. The pendant itself is 1.5” by 1.7”, and just over half an inch at its tallest point. A single button is hidden underneath the soft touch-coated top. It functions as a power control, and also as a remote control for music playback with one-, two-, and three-click functions in Scosche’s app.
Underneath, Rhythm+ is black plastic with three optical sensors and two metal contacts. The contacts are used for charging with the included USB adapter. Scosche claims eight hours of battery life per charge. In comparison, Wahoo’s most recent heart rate monitor’s battery lasts for up to twelve months before having to be replaced by the user. Despite these exposed contacts, Rhythm+ is both sweat proof and waterproof, capable of being submerge up to one meter.
Scosche’s sensor uses three blinking lights—two green, one yellow—to measure heart rate. This information is communicated back to the paired iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch in real time. It can be accessed in Scosche’s Rhythm app*, or “most popular fitness apps,” such as MyFitnessPal. Our testing showed the sensor to accurately measure pulse, speed, and distance, although the design of the app itself leaves a lot to be desired. It’s not as intuitive as it could be, and it’s certainly overdue for an iOS 7-inspired makeover. Regardless, it does record and present the information.
We found Rhythm+ easy to use, comfortable, and most importantly, accurate. While some people are used to working out with a chest monitor, this accessory strikes us as more accessible to more users. The app needs a new coat of paint, but it’s certainly usable, and that’s the only notable fault with the whole thing. For amateur and professional athletes who rely on heart rate information in their workouts, Rhythm+ is a smart buy worthy of our strong general recommendation.
*Scosche now says its app is not intended for use with Rhythm+, but is in the App Store to support an older version of the accessory.
Company and Price
Compatiblilty: All iPads, iPhones, iPod touches (iOS 6.1+)