The Omron HR-210 is a strapless heart monitor which is seldom found these days. For under $40 you get an entry level device that does a little bit more than just display your heart rate. Its always nice to see some manufacturers giving the beginner a little bit extra as it means you don’t outgrow your monitor within a very short space of time. If you are serious about your training then this might be a very good option to consider.
First of all let us look at the fact that it is a strapless device. Unlike most other HRMs this watch does not get a heart rate reading from a sensor strap worn around the chest. Instead you have to touch the watch with two fingers to get a reading. This can be quite a nuisance as it is not easily done during exercise. But the advantage is that it does come at a very cheap price which includes features not common on other monitors in this price range.
First of all there are zone alerts, which basically indicate to you what heart zone you are operating in. This helps as you do not have to memorise your zones and remember which one you were planning to target during exercise. However, due to there being no sensor strap the zone indicator takes as long as the heart rate sensor, which is about 6 seconds each time you want a reading.
The device also has a built in calorie counter which is not common for the most basic level monitors at this price. This of course is a very handy feature to keep track of energy used to trigger weight loss, but also for athletes that need to keep track of the amount of energy they need to replenish. Exercise and nutrition go hand in hand, so if you are serious about your fitness or weight loss then you really want to get some indication about how much energy you are burning.
It is quite on this site as it is the only HRM reviewed that is strapless, all others come with a chest strap that measures and transmits the heart rate. Generally speaking we would advise against such monitors as they are less accurate and not as convenient to use. If you want to make significant progress with your fitness levels then you should really consider one with a chest strap. The readings are so much more accurate and you will be able to track a lot more data.
However, there are people who just do not like wearing the chest strap and cannot get comfortable with one. For such users this may well be one of the best strapless heart rate monitors, but you do need to be aware of the limits and restrictions it will impose on your training.
Provided features are not common on devices at this price
Strapless so you have to touch the watch to get a reading
Users report inconsistent readings
Also take a look at this comparison table that was created to help people identify similar products from different manufacturers and then compare them based on the most commonly looked at features. It really makes it easy to compare products.