The New Balance N7 heart rate monitor is a good but basic entry level HRM which would suite both men and women from its design. With a price tag of $50 it is a very affordable HRM for people who are looking to optimize their workouts. If you are a more advanced athlete, then the N7 could still be a good option, as it is quite small in comparison to other HRMs available.
Considering the small size, the New Balance N7 allows you to view two lines of monitoring data simultaneously.This means you can see your heart rate as well as the stop watch or calorie counter without the need to press buttons to switch between them. This can be very convenient as trying to fiddle with small buttons while you are exercising can be quite difficult and the last thing you want to do is accidentally change the settings.
Another very good feature of the N7 heart rate monitor is that the watch will either automatically set your ideal heart rate zone, or you can select it manually. The manual setup is particularly useful if you have a training plan that requires different levels of intensity on different days requiring different heart rate zones. This will give you a lot of flexibility and more importantly control over how you exercise. There are not many HRMs in this price range that give you this ability to take control.
The N7 will also sound an alarm to indicate that you are in the target zone, so you do not have to constantly check the rate on the watch to ensure that you are performing in your target zone. You can simply focus on your technique and/or pace to ensure you get the absolute most out of each session. It can be really annoying to constantly look at your watch to make sure you are not over or underperforming.
From a design point of view New Balance have done a pretty good job. With a lot of competitor devices you will find a very plain and unattractive design that is purely functional, when you opt for devices at the cheaper range. Buttons are large and once you have got used to the menus you will be able to change around settings even while you are running. The watch face is also large enough to be able to get the information you want with a quick glance.
Finally I should mention that the New Balance N7 has the ability to store the data for your last 30 workouts. This is quite a significant number and it allows you to monitor your progress over a decent amount of time. This data can also be used to enter into personal training calendars that are available online and help you plan your exercise.
Customizable heart rate zones
Affordable entry level HRM
Not very user friendly
Chest strap not usable in water
Also take a look at this very handy comparison table that we have put together in order to make it easier to see the differences between all the different HRMs.