CardioCritic has used the Polar OH1 for 8 x training/testing sessions. It’s been perfect for everything but one bike ride. The graphs below illustrate the heart rate acquired during an intense indoor spinning bike interval session. This is indicative of a vast majority of my tests of the Polar OH1. All but one of the sessions produced near-identical heart rate curves comparing the OH1 (optically acquired heart rate) to the Blueleza (ECG style chest strap sensor).
During the testing process, the Polar OH1 was used in a variety of different training styles to cover the majority of customers’ general uses. The Polar OH1 was tested in the following environments. Each time the heart rate data acquired from the Polar OH1 was compared to that acquired from either a Polar H10 or BlueLeza Chest Strap style sensor.
- Indoor Yoga session – perfect HR graphs
- Indoor Spinning Bike – steady pace – perfect HR graphs
- Indoor Running – steady pace – perfect HR graphs
- Indoor Turbo Trainer (see Graphs 1 & 2 below) – Intervals, high-intensity training (HiiT style)
- Outdoor Cycling (see graph 3) – peak during the last climb missed
- Outdoor Cycling – local 20-mile loop – perfect HR graphs
- 2 x Outdoor Running – mostly steady with some moderate sprints – perfect HR graphs
Graph 1 – Heart Rate from Polar OH1 Optical Sensor
This is the heart rate graph extracted from the internal memory of the Polar OH1
Max HR was recorded at 169 BPM
Graph 2 – same session from Chest Strap
This is the same session’s heart rate data acquired from a Blueleza chest strap heart rate sensor paired with a Garmin Edge 820.
Max HR recorded as 171 BPM
BlueLeza Chest Strap versus Polar OH1 Optical Heart Rate
Polar’s own blog site suggests the OH1 is not their most suitable product for professional athletes involved in high-intensity interval training. For those sessions, the Polar H10 is the recommended heart rate sensor
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Example of Heart Rate Error
I witnessed an erratic heart rate from only one of the 8 initial training/testing sessions. That particular ride features an intense hill sprint effort where my heart rate quickly increased to 168 bpm. The riding style was aggressive and the road far from smooth. The OH1 failed to detect this short spike of effort as can be seen from the last set of heart rate graphs below. The control model, in this case, was the Blueleza chest strap heart rate sensor paired with a Garmin Edge 820. For all other sessions, there has been NO NOTICEABLE deviation from the heart rate acquired via CHEST STRAP. We could have not bothered to mention this single minor failure, but it highlights how even a 5 Star product can have its little wobbles now and then.
Graph 3 (Outdoor Cycling)
Polar’s own blog site suggests the OH1 is not their very best product for professional athletes involved in high-intensity interval training. For those sessions, the Polar H10 is the recommended heart rate sensor
More Heart Rate Accuracy Tests
Whenever possible we test these new technologies against the recognized gold standard models. Here are some more heart rate accuracy tests undertaken by CardioCritic
- Test 1 > TomTom Spark 3 (wrist based) & Garmin Vivosmart HR+ (wrist based) versus chest sensor
- Test 2 > Garmin Vivoactive HR+ (wrist-based HR) versus chest sensor & Suunto Spartan
- Test 3 > Polar M200 (wrist-based) versus Polar M450 with Polar H7 chest strap
- Test 4 > Garmin Vivoactive HR (wrist-based) versus chest strap sensor and Garmin Edge
- Test 5 > TomTom Adventurer (wrist-based) against Garmin Edge 820 with BlueLeza chest strap
- Test 6 > Garmin Forerunner 35 (wrist-based) v Polar M450 with H7 chest strap
- Test 7 > Polar M430 (wrist-based) v Suunto Spartan and Garmin Edge 820 with chest strap