With all the talk of the new Apple smartwatch, the new iPhone 6 and it’s plus sized version, of course there’s plenty of wearable makers announcing their compatible products or updates to existing ones. But what if you want to use a fitness wearable and happen to only have a smartphone that’s a few years old? That’s where some of the already available, backwards compatible wearables come in to play, like the Zephyr HxM.
The HxM is a heart rate monitor (at heart), but it does track some other metrics like activity level, workout regions – based on your heart rate, it can recommend how hard to push for certain goals – as well as stress levels. This is all output into a simple application, with data wirelessly transmitted over Bluetooth 4.
If all of these features seem a little underwhelming, it’s perhaps because the HxM has been out for over a year now, so any new hardware with these sorts of functions have been playing catchup with the HxM, not the other way around.
It also features a machine washable strap and is water resistant for up to a metre, so you could get caught in a shower and it not matter.
One of the best aspects of the Zephyr HxM today however, is that it’s compatible with a lot of older hardware, yet offers many of the benefits of a modern wearable. If you’re rocking a 7th generation ipod, iPhone 4s, or third gen iPad, you’re in luck as it supports all of them. It does however also support modern standards up to 4th gen iPads and 5th gen iPhones. There is android compatibility too, but it’s not quite as nuanced.
At the time of writing, you can pick up a Zephyr HxM heart rate monitor for just $55 (£34).
Of course being one of the earliest heart rate wearables, the HxM’s features are a little lacklustre compared to its contemporary competition. Its wonky Android compatibility is a shame too, as it’s by far the more popular operating system for smartphones these days.
While there are certainly more modern, more fully featured and in some cases more cost effective alternatives to the HxM, its compatibility with older hardware is a god send for those that haven’t quite upgraded yet and want something to be getting on with. If you want the full features of a modern wearable, you’ll need to upgrade that smartphone first, but if you’re happy with some simple metric tracking, the HxM will do the job nicely.