MyZone's new fitness tracker measures heart rate just about anywhere

MyZone HRM
(Image credit: MyZone)

MyZone, a company that has plans to become 'the Facebook of physical activity', has launched a new heart rate monitor that uses two sensor types to take accurate measurements from your chest, arm or wrist.

There are two main ways to track heart rate: photoplethysmography (PPG) and electrocardiogram (ECG). PPG sensors are inexpensive, and are used in typical watch-style fitness trackers to take a reading from your wrist.

They project a light onto your skin, then measure changes in the way it's absorbed, which are caused by blood volume.

Chest strap monitors measure heart rate via ECG, which involves the use of electrodes on the skin to record electrical impulses sent by your heart. They work best when you get a bit sweaty, as this creates less impedance.

Both types of sensor can give accurate results (with algorithms that account for signal noise caused by movement), but they have their pros and cons. That's where the MyZone MZ-Switch comes in, offering both sensor types so you can switch location at will without investing in several devices.

ECG sensors detect changes in heart rate more quickly, which means chest straps are a better choice for heart rate training. They're also the best choice for workouts that involve gripping, which can interfere with PPG readings from the wrist.

MyZone MZ-Switch

(Image credit: MyZone)

However, not everyone likes wearing a strap around their chest, particularly if they're new to exercise or only doing a light workout. For those instances, you can strap the MZ-Switch around your wrist instead – or higher up your arm to keep it out of the way. 

Location, location, location...

If you choose to wear the MyZone MZ-Switch on your wrist, you may be disappointed to find that there's no screen. Instead, you'll need to use the companion app on your phone to check your stats. However, the absence of a display means the MZ-Switch offers truly impressive battery life, lasting between three and six months on a single charge.

The device is available to order now direct from MyZone for $159.99 / £139.99 / AU$ $209.99 for delivery in April.

If you're in the market for a flexible heart rate monitor for swimming, it's also worth checking out the newly launched Polar Verity Sense. It only features a PPG sensor, not an ECG, but can be worn on your upper or lower arm on dry land, or clipped to your swimming goggles for sessions in the pool or open water.

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of TechRadar's sister site Advnture. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better)