The Timex Ironman Road trainer is one of the more feature rich entry level heart rate monitors. At a price under $80 it is about twice the price as many of the very basic models, but it does come with some features that are useful even to a beginner. Especially if you are a bit of a gadget fan you might be better off with this model than some of the real entry level ones.
The first thing to point out is that you have the ability to set different heart rate zones that suit your current fitness level. The watch then sounds an alarm when you heart rate moves between different zones. This really helps as you do not need to constantly look at the watch to make sure that you are training at a certain intensity level. Less distraction means you can focus more on your pace.
Secondly, you have the ability to view your heart rate as beats per minute or percentage of maximum on the Timex Ironman Road Trainer. This is very helpful when you want to optimize your workouts to certain levels. It is often a lot easier to look at intensity in terms of percentages than absolute numbers. Armed with this function you can really get a great training plan in place
When you are finished with training you can also view the average and peak heart rate. Gathering this data of time will give you a very good indication how your fitness level is improving. More advanced HRMs will come with functions that display this data over time, but for a beginner this is more than enough data. You don’t want to overwhelm yourself when you are only getting started with heart rate training.
Also of note is that you can also use splits to record individual laps. This is a great feature for anyone doing circuit training where there is a lot of repetition of different exercises. You can check how you perform over the entire training session and gain a better understanding when you are performing at the optimum level.
Finally, there is the calorie counter. This is a great feature if you are trying to lose weight or if you want to make sure you replenish energy levels after training for fitness improvement. The calorie counter will tell you how much energy you have burned during a workout session. It is of course not an exact science, but should give you a reasonable indication that will help you with your dietary needs.
Very easy to use and set up
Some reviewers on Amazon state issues with reliability of heart rate transmission
Heart rate Sensor not suitable for swimming
Also take a look at this very handy comparison table which shows all the different models reviewed on this site with main feature differences. It makes it really easy to compare different models and see which price best suits you.