What is the Scosche Rhythm+ Heart Rate Monitor
The Scosche Rhythm+ heart rate monitor is an optical sensor that is worn around the forearm to detect your heart rate while doing a variety of endurance based activities. This includes anything from walking to adventure racing.
The Scosche Rythm+ heart rate monitor doesn’t provide a way to view your heart rate directly from the device. Instead we can pair it to almost any fitness watch or phone in order to capture heart rate data. It’s best to view the Scosche Rhythm+ as an intermediary device that collects the heart rate data from your body (forearm) and sends it over to whatever device you are using albeit a Garmin, Polar, iPhone, Sunto, and many others. When using your phone specifically the Scosche can also deliver it’s data to fitness apps like MapMyFitness.
Basically any device that has Bluetooth 4.0 or ANT+ can interface with the Scosche.
What are Bluetooth 4.0 and ANT+
I can write a other long article on that topic…but briefly they are two different methods establishing and maintaining connection in order to transfer data wirelessly (in this case heart rate data). Either option uses very little battery power.
- Many phones, headphones, and consumer electronics use Bluetooth 4.0
- ANT+ can be found on many dedicated sport watches, power and cadence sensors, gym fitness equipment, and medical devices.
Fortunately the Scosche Rhythm+ can connect to both.
The Scosche is easy to use but since it only has a single on/off button some my find the light indicators slightly confusing.
- The light on the top of the device will blink blue if it’s connected only to a bluethooth device.
- The light will blink red if it connected only to an ANT+ device
- The light will blink purple if it’s connected to both a Bluetooth and ANT+ device at the same time. (for example my Garmin 910XT and iPhone) That’s right it will connect to multiple device and send the heart rate data to both. A double connection isn’t nessessarily a bad thing, but the only way to prevent this from happening (if desired) is to either turn off the paired device itself to unpair the Scosche from one of the devices.
Unboxing Video of the Scosche Rhythm+ Heart Rate Monitor
I’ve created an unboxing video so that we can better understand the Scosche.
What is Optical Heart Rate Sensor Technology
Optical Heart Rate Sensors are relatively new in consumer devices and offers big advantages over the traditional chest strap-based heart rate monitor. Most optical sensor devices are worn around the wrist or forearm and use a bright light onto the skin to detect changes in blood flow. These blood flow changes are then used to in a mathmatical calculation by the device to provide us with a heart rate reading.
It’s not perfect in all situations however so please choose carefully based on the type of exercise. Here is more information about how optical heart rate sensors work and it’s advantages and disadvantages. One other note…because optical sensors detect through they skin they sometimes don’t work well on people with dark skin.
How I Use the Scosche Rhythm+ Heart Rate Monitor
I use the Scosche during most all of my training and have it paired to my Garmin 910XT. Basically I put on the Scosche, turn on my Garmin, and within a couple of seconds my Garmin alerts me that “HR Dectected” and displays my current heart rate on the screen.
I’ve also paired my Scosche to my iPhone whereby it sends data to the Apple Health App. This is raw data however and not as useful. The best way to use the Scosche with your phone is to use a phone app such as MapMyFitness.
I’ve found the Scosche to be really useful during any endurance based activity. So if I’m running, biking, spinning, walking, or hiking I’ll be wearing the Scosche.
I’ve also tried the Scosche while doing weight training, rowing, yoga, bootcamp, and teaching a group interval class. I find it to be less reliable under these circumstances. It’s better than nothing, but sometimes I’ll notice that my heart rate reading has dropped to around 50-60 BPM or will not register it all. Rest assured, I know my heart rate isn’t actually that low! A normal exercise reading from the Scosche will usually resume after a minute or two of recovery.
I think this happens because of the quickly increasing blood flow to the arms. The Scosche (and all optical sensors to my knowledge) just aren’t good at detecting these rapid blood flow changes usually caused by anaerobic exercises. A chest strap-based sensor would probably serve me better when doing anaerobic or lots of upper body exercising.
How Accurate Is it?
In short very accurate when doing any of the endurance based activities listed above. (running, biking, walking, hiking, spinning, etc.) I’m thinking it would also work well for adventure racing and soccer.
While the Scosche Rhythm+ is IP67 Waterproof to 1 meter I haven’t tried it while swimming and it’s not supposed to return heart rate data while swimming. The waterproof standard is more to ensure it operates through sweat and rain.
My Thoughts on the Scosche Rhythm+ Heart Rate Monitor
In short I really like it and it has alliviated my biggest problem with chest based heart rate sensors. That is, the Scosche does not register false heart rate data from my running shirt and bike jersey. I can finally get some good heart rate data while cycling and running!
In addition it’s easy to put on, feels more comfortable than a chest strap, and is easy to charge. The Scosche has it’s own charging base which plugs into any USB charging port. This means you can plug it into your phone AC adapter, computer, or external battery pack and get a full charge in a couple of hours.
It contains enough charge for 7-8 hours of continuous use. I found this number to be accurate. I initially thought this would be a problem and that I would want it to go longer however it’s rare these days that I do a 7+ hour workout. Plus, after 7 hours of nonstop exercise our bodies usually experience cardiac drift, so any heart rate data becomes less useful.
As long as I remember to charge it after a couple of workouts the Scosche has been a reliable device that I’m happy to own.
I do however have a couple of negatives to say about the Scosche.
Primary complaint is that it has no batter indicator on the device. The only indication is a “long blink” that starts to happen about 10-15 minutes before the battery is totally drained. By “long blink” I mean that the ordinaryly blinking top light blinks a little more slowly. You might not even notice it. Lesson: Always remember to recharge the Scosche Rhythm+ after a couple of workouts.
Also the on/off switch is on top of the device and is fairly easy to press. I requires being held down a couple of seconds before the device turns on. I’ve had it happen once that when packed in a bag with other items the Scosche accidentally turns on and the battery runs down. (I still went on my morning run, sans Scosche Rhythm+)
Pricing of the Scosche Rhythm+ Heart Rate Monitor
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Reliable monitor, easy to connect, and a good buy for endurance athletes.
- Optical sensors do not get interference from clothing
- Comfortable to wear
- Easy to charge
- Easy to connect
- Works with almost any fitness device or app
- No low battery indicator
- My come on accidentally when packed in suitcase
- May require minor adjustment or occational tightening during workouts to prevent slipping down forearm