With smartphones growing in popularity, more and more people are turning to their phones to run their training schedules. Not many will work with ANT+ devices though, so it's good to see products like this HXM chest strap using the almost universally supported Bluetooth platform. And it's a great bit of kit too: well made, comfortable and reliable.
The HXM comes in two parts: the chest strap and the transmitter, which comes with a USB charging cradle. Clip the two parts together and put the unit on and it automatically kicks into life, at which point you can connect it to your phone. The chest strap uses Zephyr's fabric sensors which are soft and much more comfortable than the usual rubberised pads, and the transmitter unit also contains accelerometers that can record running pace data after calibration, although it doesn't work for cadence, sadly. The internal Lithium Polymer battery is good for about 30 hours if you remember to unclip the transmitter from the chest strap after your workout: if you leave them clipped together it tends to drain the battery.
I've used the HXM with Endomondo's brilliant Android training app - review coming soon - and it really couldn't be simpler: open the app, press go and it'll connect to the HRM and start recording heart data straight away. Other platforms also support the HXM - there's applications available for Windows Mobile and the Nokia N900 with Symbian apps in development – though I haven't tried any of them so can't comment on their ease of use. Okay, the chest strap is more expensive than a normal one, but you're saving a packet from not having to buy yourself a computer: there's some great smartphone apps out there for free, so you're up on the deal.
If you want to use your smartphone for training – especially if you're running Android – then this HRM strap is an excellent addition, allowing you to seamlessly record heart rate data along with GPS-based speed and distance tracking via an app such as Endomondo. It's well made and easy to use, and comfortable too. Recommended.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Zephyr HXM bluetooth HRM chest strap
Size tested: n/a
Did you enjoy using the product? Very much
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
About the tester
Age: 37 Height: 190cm Weight: 96kg
I usually ride: whatever I\\\'m testing... My best bike is: Genesis Equilibrium with Ultegra 6700
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track
Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.