Product Reviews

On this page we will review or update information about some running gear and gadgets we work with. Opinions will always be our own but the links to products will be affiliate links. This means you get to support your favorite app development startup while treating yourself to a brand new pair of shoes, a heart rate monitor, or - why not - doing the holiday shopping. And it means we get to spend the money on making Track Runner even better. Deal? Alright, let's dive right in!


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988844_796624000399007_1985635255113016342_nSide-by-side: Jarv Run BT v. MIO Link

Note: This is not a review of these heart rate monitors as such but rather a look at how they perform side-by-side. You can find a thorough review of the MIO Link here and of the Jarv here.

Last night, I had the pleasure of joining Katie, the force behind Run.com's Greater Boston Running Company - Newton, on her Tuesday evening group run. Needless to say it was freezing (-2 C/28 F) so we decided on a hilly 4-miler to get our hearts pumping. Perfect for a heart rate monitor side-by-side and so I set off with the MIO Link on my wrist and the Jarv Run BT strapped to my chest (and 2 Nokia Lumia 630 in my pocket for those interested).

Let me give you a little more information on both monitors before we dive into the side-by-side. Both MIO Global and Jarv were kind enough to provide us with samples of their monitors for testing and to verify compatibility with Track Runner v. 4.0. Jarv recently released the first chest strap heart rate monitor geared directly at us Windows Phone users: Jarv Run BT Windows Phone Edition. The Jarv Run BT has an attractive price point at around $36 USD but for those of you who do not like the feeling of chest straps, the MIO Link or MIO Alpha (though more pricey starting at $92 USD and $ 174 USD respectively) are real alternatives. Kudos have to go to the MIO Global team for being the first monitor to pretty much nail measuring heart rate almost continuously on the wrist during running. It's no easy feat and impressive for a Kickstarter project.

Yesterday, I used the MIO Link rather than the Alpha (I've noticed I am using the Link much more than the Alpha as it's lighter and thinner and because I don't personally consult the Alpha during a run all that much) but both are verified to function with Track Runner v. 4.0 (WP 8.1 + Cyan required).

Setting up both heart rate monitors with Track Runner was a breeze. Since I am switching monitors a lot when running/testing I just had to make sure to have the monitor marked as default heart rate monitor so the app wouldn’t search for a different device.

So, let’s look at some screen shots to highlight how the monitors behaved (small caveat: I accidentally started the phone connected to the Jarv about half a minute into my run, hence the slight differences in data).

Jarv Run BTMIO Link
wp_ss_20141119_0001    wp_ss_20141119_0001   
As you can see, the MIO Link shows most of my first
definitely at odds with what it felt like as I sped up
enough on the wrist. After adjusting the wrist band
matched right up with the Jarv. Both CardioMaps
the Link has a slight lag in picking up/transferring
Jarv picked up a couple of very small changes in hr
Beacon St) but nothing major.
kilometer as recovery/light heart rate zone. This was
the hill. It turned out I wasn’t wearing the Link snuggly
you can see how it jumped right to speed hr zone. This
look surprisingly similar. In testing, we had a feeling
data and if you have a very close look you see how the
zone that the Link didn’t map out (see f.i. after k2 on
wp_ss_20141119_0002wp_ss_20141119_0002
Looking at the data summary (and keeping in mind
registered the heart rate peak at roughly the same
course, the faulty beginning for the Link massively
detailed comparison split-by-split further down.
the false start of the Jarv phone) both monitors
time. Accuracy is within 1 bpm so not too bad. Of
influenced the average heart rate. You can see a more
wp_ss_20141119_0003wp_ss_20141119_0003
As for the hr graph (in gray): it does seem as if the
Jarv measured lower dips in heart rate likely due
(for more information on how MIO actually does it
Jarv picked up changes in hr more immediately. The
to the small latency of measuring heart rate on the wrist
have a look here).
wp_ss_20141119_0005wp_ss_20141119_0004
Finally, the split-by-split comparison of my average
phone (Jarv) and monitor strapping issue (Link) the
heart rate. Ignoring the botched start both in terms of
data seems not too far off.
In the end of the day it really does come down to personal preference whether you choose to go with the Jarv or Link. I would recommend either and trust their accuracy. I would say the Jarv’s price makes it attractive to pick up even when you’re just starting out. The Jarv tested accurate as compared to other chest straps and its strap is very soft and comfortable. You barely notice it’s there. It is also much lighter than for example the Polar H7.

I tend to use the Link a lot because I bundle up for a cold November run and then realize I forgot to put on the chest strap. Wearing the heart rate monitor on the wrist is very convenient and it feels much like a watch. The Link is quite light, has a secure strap that has never opened for me during a run and is very easy to adjust. You do have to wear it quite tightly, almost to the point of slight discomfort though if you don’t want a glitch like my start to happen. After the run, it looks something like this although it wears off soon enough:
 
WP_20141119_11_25_48_Pro
I hope you found this product review informative and am crossing my fingers that Santa will fill your stocking with at least one of those great heart rate monitors. Below, you can find direct links to Amazon for all versions of the Jarv and both Mio products.
Any questions? Go for it in the comments below! Want me to review a certain product? Let me know!

9 comments:

  1. is the sensor core required for good functioning in combination with a BT heart rate monitor? The JARV seems not compatible with the Lumia 820 I own. It is also not sensor core compatible. Maybe there is a relation?

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  2. Thank you for your question. To use a Bluetooth LE heart rate monitor your phone needs the Cyan firmware update. Cyan was rolled out to phones together with WP 8.1 release so if you are still waiting for your carrier to push this update that's the likely cause of your hr monitor issues. You don't need a SensorCore enabled phone for BTLE heart rate monitor support; many of our test devices (including a Nokia Lumia 820) work with heart rate monitors like the Jarv even though they do not have SensorCore.

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  3. I have one problem, apps works fine till I had to restart my phone now there is no sound, probably its system issue I have no idea did you experience something like this? its Lumia 925 phone

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  4. I love Track Runner and use it constantly on my Nokia 635. But two days ago, the TR tile went half-dark on my phone and wouldn't respond when I pressed it. Nor would it respond when I tried to activate it through my app menu. Is there a fix for this? Do have to reinstall it and if I do, will I lose my months of "diary" data? Any guidance would be much appreciated!

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  5. Track Runner was the only thing that kept me clinging to my Windows phone. I've made the switch back to Android, and am hard pressed to find a running app that comes anywhere near yours.
    Are there any inexpensive devices (watch, media player etc) that support Track Runner? Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. Hi, Thank you for your question. First of all - you won't have to go without Track Runner from now on! :) Here is a link (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.theappcauldron.trackrunner&hl=en) to our brand new Track Runner for Android beta. We'd love to have you on board and help us cross the finish line.

      Regarding integration with smart watches etc. We're always open to ideas with what to integrate though we do want to get Track Runner for phone just right before. I hope this helps and we are looking forward to your feedback when you check out our Android app!

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  6. Hi, I really enjoyed using Track Runner (the best app for running I've ever seen). However, I was forced to update my Windows phone from 8.1 to 10. After that Track Runner did not recognize my Polar H7. Do you know any possible solution for this? (First I connected my device to my Lumia 735 through bluetooth, then the Track Runner could not find the Polar H7). I would be very glad if I could use this app to monitor my HR again.

    Thank you for your help in advance!

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  7. Make sure to also read this blog with some interesting info about phone tracking applications

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  8. Thanks for sharing. I would also like to mention XNSPY app in my comment as this is indeed a great thing worth having.

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