Kinetik Energy Fitness Tracker review full review
Most activity trackers monitor your steps and estimate calories burned and distance travelled. Some even take your heart rate on demand so you can check at various intervals how you’re doing. The Kinetik Energy EFT1 is different. It’s a dedicated heart rate monitor with a few extras.
It uses Bluetooth to connect to an iPhone (from 4S onwards) or a 5th-gen iPod touch. You’ll need that device to hand when exercising in order to monitor and record your heart rate.
The Fitness Tracker isn’t aimed at athletes, although there’s no reason why they can’t use it. Instead, its primary aim is to help anyone that wants to get fitter, burn fat and lose weight.
The tracker is worn on the arm just above the elbow, and uses an optical sensor to detect your heart rate. It works best when there’s little or no body hair in the way, so the hirsute may want to opt for a different tracker.
An elasticated band fits arms up to 30cm, but for £6.99 you can buy a larger band for arms with up to a 40cm circumference.
Charging is via microUSB and the device is IPX4 splash-proof, so you can’t immerse it in water. Running in the rain should be ok though.
To use the band, you’ll need to install the free Kinetic Energy app. This allows to see the real-time data from the EFT1, which includes heart rate and 3D movement.
There are audio and visual alerts for when you’re in the fat-burning zone, which help you to maintain the best pace. Unfortunately the audio alerts are long sirens which quickly become annoying enough that you’ll disable them, and the visual alert all but useless as you won’t be able to see your phone’s screen when out running. (If you’re at the gym with the phone in front of you, it’s too small for our liking, but still useful.)
Using the movement sensor, the band can estimate your speed and distance, and there’s also a timer. You can tap the record button to record a session and afterwards see a graph of your heart rate and how long you were in the fat-burning zone. If you’re using an iPhone, the app can also use its GPS to record your route and display it on a map.
The actual heart rate readout comprises both a number and an ECG-style graph which isn’t necessary but makes you feel like you’re getting serious about exercise.
We found that the monitor worked best when jogging or walking with smooth arm movements. For gym workouts with big arm movements, readings were less accurate, but not enough to be useless. When cycling, the lack of arm movements mean heart-rate monitoring is accurate, but speed and distance isn't - you can use other apps in the background, or a basic bike computer for those stats, though.
Kinetik Energy Fitness Tracker: bottom line
At £70, the EFT1 isn’t the cheapest Bluetooth heart rate monitor, but if you can’t or won’t wear a chest strap-style monitor, it will do the job. We’d like to see those annoying alert tones changed, too.
Kinetik Energy Fitness Tracker review: Specs
- Bluetooth heart-rate monitor
- Operating temp: 10-40 degrees C
- Readable heart rate: 40 - 220 +- 10% of bpm
- Auto power off
- 120mAh Li-po battery
- Recharge via microUSB
- 54 x 54 x 14mm
- Supplied with 30cm arm band