While I'm not a professional marathon runner or bodybuilder or anything like that, I have been trying to get more active in my life lately. Especially since my job involves sitting behind a computer for most of the day, typing away, physical exercise has never been more important.
Even though I have one of the best Apple Watches, and it does a great job of tracking my workouts, it does so much more than that too. I mean, I get notifications and alerts, I use it for timers and alarms, track my sleep with watchOS 7, and even a phone call now and then. So as you can imagine, the battery on it can drain pretty quickly, especially when you factor in workout tracking with continuous heart rate monitoring.
That's why you should consider a separate external heart rate monitor, such as the Scosche Rhythm+2.0 Heart Rate Monitor Armband. This is the updated version of the original Rhythm+ that former iMore Managing Editor, Serenity Caldwell, tested out a few years ago, and it doesn't disappoint.
Scosche Rhythm+2.0 Heart Rate Monitor Armband
Bottom line: Scosche Rhythm+2.0 is comfortable to wear instead of a chest strap. It has highly accurate sensors to measure heart rate and has 24-hour battery life.
- Comfortable and flexible strap for upper forearm, triceps, or biceps
- Highly accurate green and yellow LED sensors
- Waterproof and sweatproof with IP68 rating
- 24-hour battery life
- Versatile connectivity with smartphones, sport watches, and fitness equipment
- Standalone app doesn't do much
- Only one active Bluetooth Smart connection at a time
- Must broadcast data to other apps
Scosche Rhythm+2.0 Heart Rate Monitor Armband: Price and availability
The Scosche Rhythm+2.0 Heart Rate Monitor Armband comes in three colors: Black, Blue, and Gray. You can find it online at Amazon, Target, and directly from Scosche for $80.
Scosche Rhythm+2.0 Heart Rate Monitor Armband: It's comfortable and highly accurate
The Scosche Rhythm+2.0 Heart Rate Monitor Armband is my first standalone heart rate monitor. As someone who has solely relied on the Apple Watch for fitness tracking for a few years now, I like having an alternative that is just as accurate, if not more so.
The Rhythm+2.0 is soft, stretchy, and flexible with the adjustable strap, so it's comfortable to wear.
The strap itself is soft and stretchy while also being adjustable in the middle, so you should have no problems getting it on your upper forearm or even your triceps or biceps. Precise measurements are 40 cm/15.75 inches maximum and 17 cm/6.7 inches minimum. To make things even more convenient, the strap uses a plastic hook that attaches to a small metal pole on the sensor pod itself, so it's super easy to remove the strap and throw it in the washer now and then — don't want to deal with that stinky sweat smell after all those intense workouts, after all.
As far as the heart rate monitor itself, it's encased in a lightweight plastic pod. When you wear it, you will barely notice that it's there, which is a lot better than a chest strap-style heart rate monitor. The Scosche Rhythm+2.0 Heart Rate Monitor Armband uses optical green and yellow LEDs that measure blood flow for a highly accurate reading regardless of skin tone. There is also a built-in accelerometer that further provides hyper-accurate measurements, which is useful for those who are running on varied terrain.
I found the Scosche Rhythm+2.0 Heart Rate Monitor Armband to be just as accurate as my Apple Watch, if not even more so.
During my testing, I found the Scosche Rhythm+2.0 Heart Rate Monitor Armband to be just as accurate as my Apple Watch Series 5 that I use every day. I did notice some discrepancies, but it was only off by one or two points usually. That's because the Apple Watch does not update as frequently as the Rhythm+2.0.
To turn the Scosche Rhythm+2.0 Heart Rate Monitor Armband on, you need to press the Multi-Function button in the center of the plastic sensor casing (it's hard to miss with the "S" logo). You can directly pair it with your best iPhone, and your heart rate data will be continuously logged in the Health app. You can even link the Rhythm+2.0 with popular third-party apps like Strava or use ANT+ or Bluetooth Smart connections to pair it with sports watches, bike computers, and connected fitness equipment, like Peloton and Garmin. So whether you're an amateur like me who wants to get a little more active or someone training for their next marathon, the Rhythm+2.0 can cover it all.
The most impressive thing about it is the 24-hour battery life.
I've been using the Scosche Rhythm+2.0 Heart Rate Monitor Armband for about a week now with my under-desk elliptical and daily walks. The most impressive thing about it is the long-lasting battery life that can last around 24-hours on a single full charge. In fact, I opened it up and started using it without even charging it up fully, as it already came holding a charge. After a few days with about two hours of workout time, it has around 50% battery left, which is impressive. Compared to the first-generation Rhythm+, you're getting 3x the battery life. The Rhythm+2.0 also shares the same charging cradle as the Rhythm24, which is also on our list of best external heart rate monitors for iPhone and Apple Watch. It shouldn't take more than two hours to get the Rhythm+2.0 fully charged again.
There is a standalone app in the form of Scosche Rhythm Sync, but it doesn't do very much. In fact, if you want to see a live read of your current heart rate and what zone your stats are in, the app will tell you. But you aren't able to record any workouts from the Rhythm Sync app — you need to rely on third parties like Strava for that. The Rhythm Sync app also informs you of the current battery level, and if there are any firmware updates for the monitor, you can update it from the app.
Scosche Rhythm+2.0 Heart Rate Monitor Armband: No way to tell remaining battery life without the app
My biggest issue with the Scosche Rhythm+2.0 Heart Rate Monitor Armband is that you can't tell how much battery life remains on it without the Rhythm Sync app. I'm not sure if this is different with compatible fitness equipment since I don't own any, so I use the Rhythm+2.0 with the Strava app on my iPhone 12 Pro. But from my testing, the only way I can tell how much battery life I have left is by opening up the barebones Rhythm Sync app. It's just another step, and I honestly wish there was some way to indicate the remaining battery from the LED light on the plastic pod. Maybe in the next version.
You can't tell what the remaining battery life is without the Scosche Rhythm Sync app.
I also wish that the Rhythm+2.0 just integrated with the Apple Workouts app, which I primarily use. But it doesn't seem to be compatible, even though it sends your heart rate data directly to the Health app. I had to dig up the Strava app to start logging my elliptical workouts and walks with the Rhythm+2.0, which, again, is just another thing to do for someone who has primarily relied on the Apple Watch.
And while you can have an unlimited number of connections with the Scosche Rhythm+2.0 Heart Rate Monitor Armband, it can only be actively paired to one at a time. This means you can't have it actively paired to one device via Bluetooth Smart and another device simultaneously, such as an Apple TV set up with a sports watch.
Scosche Rhythm+2.0 Heart Rate Monitor Armband: Competition
The biggest competing product for the Scosche Rhythm+2.0 Heart Rate Monitor Armband is definitely the latest Apple Watch Series 6. As I've mentioned, the Rhythm+2.0 is just as accurate as the Apple Watch, if not more so. However, the Apple Watch can do so much more than monitor your heart rate — it can track all of your workouts, measure blood oxygen levels, ECG, and more. However, it also costs more, and the battery won't last as long as the Rhythm+2.0 considering that it does more than just heart rate.
Scosche also has the Rhythm24, which is another heart rate monitor armband. It uses optical yellow and green sensors like the Rhythm+2.0 to accurately measure heart rate across all skin tones. It also has 24-hour battery life and the same connection types as the Rhythm+2.0 (Bluetooth Smart or ANT+). However, the biggest difference is that it has battery indicator LEDs on the front, which solves one of the issues I have with the Rhythm+2.0. If you prefer that as well, then the Rhythm24 is a better option to consider.
Scosche Rhythm+2.0 Heart Rate Monitor Armband: Should you buy it?
You should buy this if ...
- You want a dedicated heart rate monitor that's comfortable to wear (not a chest strap)
- You do more rigorous workouts (strength training, etc.) that Apple Watch doesn't handle well enough
- You want an HR monitor with a lot of compatibility
You shouldn't buy this if...
- You don't want a separate heart rate monitor device
- You are satisfied with the HR monitoring of the Apple Watch
- You don't do any intense workouts
If you are someone who does more intense workouts or needs to train for a marathon, or even if you just want a better look at your heart rate while exercising, then the Scosche Rhythm+2.0 Heart Rate Monitor Armband is a good choice. Since it's an armband and not a chest strap, it is much easier and more comfortable to wear, especially since it is stretchy, adjustable, and flexible. It also has an IP68 rating, so it's water and sweatproof, making it a great choice for heavy workouts. And the 24-hour battery life means that you can use this for several workout sessions before having to worry about charging it back up, which is nice. And since it is a dedicated heart rate monitor, it updates your heart rate much more frequently than even an Apple Watch, making it slightly more accurate.
Considering that the Scosche Rhythm+2.0 Heart Rate Monitor Armband is only $80 normally, it's a pretty great value for those who want a dedicated heart rate monitor for their exercise routine. It is compatible with a wide variety of different apps, sports watches, connected fitness equipment, and bike computers, so it's easy to incorporate into your routine, no matter what it is.
However, if you must have battery indicator LEDs on the monitor itself, I would suggest taking a look at the Rhythm24 instead. Otherwise, you'll need to use the Rhythm Sync app to check that for the Rhythm+2.0, which is also $20 cheaper than the Rhythm24.
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