I am in the market for a heart rate monitor to use for training. From the research I have done there seem to be a million of them and they are all very complex. (It feels like shopping for a cell phone plan.)
Things I am looking for... I really like the concept of having GPS technology on the thing but from the reviews I have read it sounds like this feature "isn't ready for prime time". Uploading information onto the computer is important. I am female (though not terribly small framed) so I don't want something too big and bulky. This sounds obvious, but I want it to be comfortable and not add too much stuff to my gear. Finally, while I am not looking for dirt cheap, I am hoping to not go over $300 or so for this.
Anyone have one they love? Alternatively, anyone have a place to buy such things with people that are really knowledgeable and make good recommendations?
I recommend the Garmin 305, but it may be a little bulky for you. The new Garmin is a little smaller, offers HR, GPS and has configurable fields for running or biking. They even have a new one you can swim with. Costco seems to have best prices but check online. I have had a Garmin for over four years, I strap it on my handlbars for biking, then tx to my wrist. Only gripe is battery life, need to charge between workouts. A big training help to track your HR during run/bike.
if you don't need the gps function, the leader of hrt monitors is probably polar they are the original hrt monitor brand, they have more than enough models to choose from all the way from $60 for a bare bones "hrt monitor" literlaly to something that is a few hundred for cycle computer functions and download capabilities. i just took a look at the site, they do have gps in their new watches that is insane!
but if you want gps, garmin is the end all be all when it comes to hrt monitors and watches with that function.
I think pacers runnign store in alexandria has a good selection of garmin and polar products and the staff seems to know what they are talking about.
if you are interested i have an older polar monitor that i have that just needs a new battery that i'm looking to get rid of, hrt/cycle computer functions/download capability this was out before gps was around for watches, meaning its a couple years old but hasn't been used in years. post up a way to contact you if you are interested.
You're asking for a tough combination. GPS and size are linked - GPS = large. If you don't need GPS, there are many serviceable brands. Polar as mentioned above and Nike come to mind. Heard Nike with NikePlus for distance measurement is a good combo.
Garmins are the ones with GPS. As far as tracking, the GPS is pretty much prime time (that is, as good as non-military specification will get you). Do your run, download it, then see it on a map - it's pretty accurate and freaky actually. 305, 405, or new one, 310XT. 305 is a bargain right now online.
305 big, reliable, bargain, multi-sport, not advertised as water proof (but usually is)
405 smaller, but quirkier (touch dial irritates many). not advertised as water proof (and not proven to be)
310 the new bling. biggish. waterproof. the new 20 hour battery is probably the biggest improvement for us long endurance folks.
I highly recommend Forerunner 305. I am small, and it's a little bulky, but not annoying. It has been incredibly useful in my training-- esp the interval workout which lets me choose sprint distance/time and rest distance/time, so I don't have to stare at a watch or guess distances, and the multi-sport feature is great for tris and bricks as it lets you switch easily between running/transition/biking (repeat). The data uploads are easy and gives you very thorough data. As stated above, it's big, but reliable, and less expensive than 405 and 310XT.
The guys at PR are good to talk to about these things, I think, but I bought my 305 online for much less than retail.