Unlike most HRMs the Polar Wearlink appealed to us as it connects to Android phones and is compatible with multiple apps including Endomondo, RunKeeper, Sports Track, Runtastic and many more. The beauty of this is you can easily track you heart rate and calories burned and sync your stats online showing you historical performance data. This may not sound like a big deal but the majority of traditional HRM watches have no ability to sync online or even to your computer, and the ones that do cost a lot of money, for example the Polar RS400 costs approximately £150+, compared to £65 of the Wearlink. You are also restricted to using the Polar software with the RS400.
The initial set up was extremely easy and the device connected to Endomondo and Sports Tracker fine, picking up my heart rate in a reasonable time. In the case of Sports Tracker the app showed current heart rate, average heart rate, maximum heart rate and calories burned, you can also show a graph of your heart rate during the current exercise. All in all the Wearlink was coming across as the perfect HRM.
Unfortunately things started to get worse from here, with 2 problems, the first is relatively minor and that's the fact the screen times out on an android phone, so you have to unlock your phone again before you can see your heart rate. This is avoidable with other apps and changing the screen time out, but it is still a bit annoying.
The other far more important issue is that after a few minutes my heart rate would apparently spike to 190-254 bpm then shoot back down again, sometimes it would spike up and just stay there permanently, other times it would drop down to 30 or 40. This normally happens after about 7 – 10 minutes of using it, and happens EVERY SINGLE TIME. It is extremely annoying as the only way to fix it is to remove the bluetooth transmitter, wait for 30 seconds for it to switch off, then reconnect it and wait another 30 or so seconds for it to pick up your heart rate. I also have to keep a close eye on my heart rate so I can stop the tracker to avoid inaccurate readings. If you don’t disconnect it then it will either freeze at the spiked reading, or randomly spike throughout the rest of the session. Images are below showing the spikes.
Unfortunately because of this major flaw I could never recommend purchasing the Polar WearLink Bluetooth HRM as the results are highly inaccurate and it is extremely annoying. I am also not the only one experiencing problems with the Wearlink, with many people posting on Polars own forum regarding various problems.
At the moment the only other Bluetooth HRM available is the Zephyr HxM which appears to have less people complaining about it in Google results and some positive reviews, however as we have not tested it we can not guarantee it is a better purchase than the Polar.