My long-suffering Garmin HRM-Run died a couple of weeks ago, forcing me to rely on optical heart rate measurements from my Fēnix 5. There’s more about how that worked out in another post, for now I just want to share some info about my replacement chest strap of choice: the HRM H6 made by the good people of Shenzhen CooSpo Tech Co., Ltd.
This £29.99 device goes around your chest and accurately transmits your pulse to compatible training equipment via ANT+ or Bluetooth, which means it does everything that Garmin’s HRM-Dual does but for half the price. I’ve been using the original HRM-Run that came with my 920XT every week since 2015, so why not get another HRM-Run? Because the current model’s HR sensor is now part of the strap and can no longer be removed, and I don’t have a lot of faith in that arrangement. And because I still have the two spare chest straps that I bought at the start of this sorry episode, hoping that it was the visibly fraying material that was to blame for my increasingly erratic results, and not the removable HRM-Run sensor. Since I already tried one of those two straps earlier I thought there’s no point in unpacking the one that came with the H6, but to be honest it looks roughly identical. Here’s what’s in the box:
We can see that it’s a little bit more bulky than the older HRM-Run, and while I don’t have the HRM-Dual on hand for a comparison I expect it’s a little bulkier than that too. The H6 also sits slightly more proud on the chest strap than the Garmin, but in practice you notice none of these differences.
As usual with these things, the H6 is powered by a CR2032 battery which supposedly lasts a year, and lives under an easily opened door on the back of the unit. There’s a decent Panasonic cell in mine, and a small red o-ring gives credence to the manufacturer’s claim that the device is IP-67 rated and should stand up to reasonable levels of moisture.
While we’re on the subject, I must say that I prefer the coin-operated approach used here to the four microscopic cross-head screws that Garmin favours, especially if you change batteries more frequently.
The strap’s material is a tad softer than Garmin’s and some folks might find that more comfortable, but otherwise it’s identical and fastens the same way too. I normally run the entire strap briefly under a tap before putting it on, which lubricates the electrodes round the front and stops the back of the strap sliding down my torso, and again this worked as well here as it’s done with the Garmin these past 5 years.
The H6 pairs like any other ANT+ sensor and during a 90 minute ride today I experienced no spikes or drop-outs, just predictable, accurate HR data.
Bottom line: whether or not Optical HR works for you, this is a cheap, stable upgrade.