Leave the chest strap at home with Polar's OH1 heart-rate monitor

Many outdoor athletes track their heart rate during – and immediately after – an aerobic workout as a way of measuring their performance, with lower heart rates and faster recovery times indicating a higher levels of fitness. But in order to keep track of this metric, they usually have to wear either an uncomfortable device strapped to their chest or a wrist-based sensor, and those have been shown to be less accurate. Now, fitness-wearable manufacturer Polar has introduced a third option that promises to deliver all of the comfort and convenience of a wrist sensor, coupled with the accuracy of a chest strap, in one compact package.

The new Polar OH1 is an optical heart-rate sensor that has been designed to be worn on either the upper or lower arm. This makes it easier to pull on or off without having to raise the athlete’s shirt. The sensor itself is small and unobtrusive, and comes connected to a soft, textile-based armband that unlike most chest strap models doesn’t need to be moistened prior to use. The device was designed to be comfortable enough to wear on long runs and bike rides, or during other types of workouts.

Powered by a long-lasting internal battery, the OH1 is capable of operating for up to 12 hours between recharges. It also features enough internal memory to track and store up to 200 hours of workout data. The device is even waterproof down to 30 meters (98 feet), and includes updatable firmware that will allow Polar to add new features in the future.

Polar says that the OH1 is compatible with its own Polar Flow fitness-tracking software, and when paired with the Polar Beat app (iOS/Android) it can provide real-time heart rate data and training guidance. The device is also compatible with popular third-party apps such as Strava, and can pair with Polar fitness devices as well as other Bluetooth gadgets.

Polar has begun taking pre-orders for the new arm-based heart-rate monitor on its website and is expected to ship the new device around mid-September. It will be priced at $80.

Find out more at Polar.com.