We had the opportunity to get our hands on a ZoomHRV 2.0 by LifeTrak, retailing at $139. This impressive fitness wearable is capable of continuous activity and heart rate monitoring even under water. It is unequivocally designed for the multi-sport athlete obsessed with data about their health and fitness.
When asked about the underlying technology behind Zoom, LifeTrak says, “…[it] is both a unique and proprietary sensor, developed by LifeTrak’s parent Salutron Inc.” While the Zoom’s optical sensor utilizes the principles of photoplethysmography (referred to as PPG technology), it is significantly different than other PPG-based sensors found in various existing wearables.
The most noticeable difference is the use of four separate optical sensors vs. the typical single sensor approach. This gives Zoom an advantage of a broader ‘sensor area’ when interfacing with the skin and the underlying capillaries, allowing for more in-depth signal analysis for both heart rate and heart rate variability. As well, the Zoom uses a single LED as a light emitter vs. multiple LEDs often used, which supports an extended battery life of five days during normal usage of one hour of active workout per day with heart rate readings every 10 minutes over the entire day.
LifeTrak has not published data on the accuracy of the system, however, we know that PPG is widely used across the industry with acceptable accuracy for its use case. It does seem that the implementation of this sensor set has been perfected by LifeTrak, allowing it to be used on different parts of the body and under water, which are use cases that many cannot promise.
Unboxing and setup
The product comes with the sensor module or pod, silicone wrist band, and charging platform with a micro-USB cable. The pod came charged out of the box and installing the pod inside the silicone wrist band was straightforward. I was able to pair the wearable after only two attempts to a Nexus 6p running the latest Android OS. Thereafter, syncing was a breeze.
The silicone wristband is comfortable and sturdy. Having owned and lost the pod associated with a Misfit wearable, I can attest to the quality of ZoomHRV silicone band and its ability to hold the pod securely in place, even during strenuous activity.
The mobile app gives you a window into the data collected by the device in between syncs. The dashboard serves as the center-point for displaying much of the data collected throughout the day/night or during workouts.
LifeTrac chose to integrate its heart rate variability technology through its VScore and VScan features. VScore is representative of your baseline heart rate variability, which is recorded while you sleep or are resting, and VScan provides an on-demand snapshot of that variability compared to your baseline. It would be nice to know how these derivations and scores are made, however, for most consumers this provides a unique and easy to understand metric. The app also allows you to view historical data over several time periods, to set fitness goals, and to check the battery status (although this is also available on the wearable itself). Overall, the mobile app is well-designed and intuitive.
- Battery life is as advertised: quite impressive given the sensor set included
- Mobile application is robust and user friendly
- Syncs data to the cloud for backup and portability
- Can be worn on the wrist, upper arm, ankle, etc. and in the water: perfect for the multi-sport athlete
- Some users may find the feature set too extensive. It packs a surprising amount into a small package, yet some of the features seem extraneous.
- The device is reliant on aBluetooth enabled mobile device – you communicate through the wearable through a series of single button clicks that can be confusing (although this is likely why the battery life is so impressive)
All in all, this device packs an impressive battery life and feature set for the multi-sport athlete. For those obsessed with measuring their physiology before, after, and during their workouts, this may just be the wearable for you.
Product page: ZoomHRV…