Coospo HW9 Review – Armband plus thoughts on H9Z chest strap
Lesser-known brands like Coospo offer cheaper sports tech alternatives to well-known mainstream brands like Garmin, Polar, Suunto, Apple and Co. but are its sensors and bike computers any good?
I didn’t seek to review Coospo’s products as there isn’t much interest from my audience in the smaller brands but competitors like Magene and Bryton have had some coverage here so it’s only fair to include Coospo too. So here is a review of the Coospo HW9 armband heart rate monitor plus some thoughts on the H9Z chest strap which has an interesting rechargeable battery.
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Coospo HW9 Review
I had low expectations for the Coospo HW9 when I set out on my review however it definitely exceeded my expectations.
It’s good-looking and comfy with an easy-on button plus it seemed to pair to everything I tried to pair it to – all bike computers, all watches and all smartphone apps.
3 out of 4 workouts had awesome accuracy but one run had some inaccuracies, which left me in two minds as to whether or not I can recommend it. Other reviews on Amazon commented on dropouts but I experienced none of those as I wore the armband on the same arm as the Apple Watch.
There’s a nice, LED on-indicator which can also be configured for heart rate zones although I could only adjust the HRmax on the app to modify the zones from the defaults.
It’s probably one of those products that are worth a punt if you want to save ten to twenty quid (dollars).
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- One of the cheapest available armband HR monitors
- At least as comfy as the competition
- Great battery life
- Compatible with virtually any app/watch/bike computer
- One set of poor results on off-road hill reps
- Longevity unproven
Coospo HW9 Accuracy Review over 5 Hours of Workouts
Here are four workouts spanning over five hours, consisting of three runs and one bike ride. During these sessions, the Coospo HW9 was recorded on an Apple Watch, alongside the Polar Verity Sense (using optical technology) and Garmin’s premium chest strap, the HRM-PRO Plus recording onto a Garmin Forerunner 965.
The initial three charts depict accurate heart rate tracks whereas the final run exhibits noticeable inaccuracies albeit ones which might be tolerable if infrequent. It’s worth noting that the discrepancies occurred while running hill reps on challenging off-road terrain.
Coospo HW9 has good Specs
While the HW9 boasts a waterproof design, it’s important to note that it isn’t suitable for swimming activities. Even if used during swimming, the device won’t transmit any data to your watch or app due to the signal’s inability to travel through water. Furthermore, the device doesn’t store workout data when it’s out of range from a recording device.
On a positive note, the HW9 offers an impressive 35-hour workout duration and is equipped with a custom USB charger for convenient charging.
Crucially, the HW9 supports unlimited ANT+ connectivity alongside two simultaneous Bluetooth 5.0 connections. This feature makes it suitable for a wide range of scenarios, including indoor Zwift cycling, where you might require multiple display and recording devices.
I haven’t tested its claimed ability to support HRV (Heart Rate Variability, image above).
Additionally, the device’s LED indicator features five different colours that correspond to various power states and to your HR zone whilst exercising.
The HW9 comes in at a slightly lower price point compared to the Polar Verity Sense, Coros HR monitor, Wahoo Tickr Fit, and Scosche Rhythm. Depending on ongoing deals, potential savings could range from around $10 to $35.
Now, the question arises: is it worth taking a risk on the longevity of the product? The Polar Verity Sense is a well-established product known for its accuracy over several years; it’s a safe bet. Then there is the Coros armband, also relatively new, though it comes from a widely trusted brand. As for the Wahoo and Scosche options, As much as I love their other products, I’ll move quickly on.
The competition offers features like workout caching and advanced stats. The HW9 offers basic functionality by focusing solely on heart rate sensing. It doesn’t boast advanced features or stats for activities like swimming or running. However, for most individuals, these extra features might not be necessary in any case. The Coospo LED indicators, while present, may not offer significant benefits for monitoring heart rate zones in real-world scenarios, especially considering that these zones can’t be customized correctly. Additionally, your watch or app likely already provides heart rate zone metrics.
The HW9 offers a budget-friendly alternative with its slightly lower price tag, though it lacks some of the advanced features of its competitors. Whether it’s worth the risk depends on your priorities and needs for heart rate monitoring during workouts.
HW9 Further Thoughts
There are challenges in evaluating products from smaller brands with low brand awareness. Testing and reviewing are time-consuming, and the lack of significant affiliate income makes it not worth undertaking to a great level of detail unless there is a newsworthy angle to the product. Which there isn’t here.
The price is probably fair but I don’t think it sufficiently differentiates Coospo from the competition at sale times. The company may have tried to make its product stand out by adding LEDs but I don’t really see their usefulness. Nor is the app anything to shout about.
The tech is based on 2x green LEDs. Despite what any brand will tell you this is NOT an optimal hardware configuration and is essentially several-years-old tech, probably repackaged as part of a more modern and energy-efficient component. 2x LEDs will be inherently hard to get accurate data from. That said, sticking it on your biceps is about the BEST thing you can do to guarantee accuracy, except perhaps in some gym strength workouts. As a rule, I would normally say that in 2023 you shouldn’t buy any optical HR device with 2x LEDs.
I am being a bit negative, I know. Actually, despite the unusual name, Coospo has left a positive impression on me and I will certainly watch out for its future products. Maybe they will be the next Coros-like success story in 5 years’ time.
On the positive side, I’m impressed enough to give it a few more goes as a comparison device when comparing the HR accuracy of some of the other exciting watches that are going to start arriving in two or three weeks’ time. If it proves accurate it might find a more permanent place on my arm for tests.
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Coospo H9Z Rechargeable Chest Strap Heart Rate Monitor – Thoughts
The H9Z chest strap is relatively conventional in many aspects. It features a basic material strap with standard connectors and a pod design that might appear angular and outdated.
Its functionalities closely resemble those of the previously reviewed armband: supporting 2xBLE and ANT+ connections and incorporating LEDs for various indications.
Two distinct characteristics set it apart: Firstly, the H9Z emits a beep as an indicator of being active. Secondly, it introduces a rechargeable feature with an impressive charge life of 50 hours.
Now, the question arises: Is having a rechargeable chest strap a practical choice?
Answering this query brings about some conflicting considerations. On one hand, the CR2032 batteries in other chest straps typically last well over a year, barring the Polar variant. However, in the case of Garmin, the replacement of the initial battery often leads to a quick decline in the performance of subsequent batteries, even when high-quality replacements are used. This contrasts with experiences like that of the Stages G3 power meter on my bike, which claims a CR2032 battery life of over 200 hours but in reality, lasts around 50-70 hours with the gyroscope enabled.
Q: Does it make sense to have a rechargeable chest strap?
A: I’m torn on answering that one. My CR2032 batteries in other chest straps (apart from Polar) last well over a year. Yet, in the case of Garmin, when the first battery is replaced its successors always seem to fail very quickly even when they are high-quality batteries that have been replaced properly. Then I look at my Stages G3 power meter on my bike which supposedly has a battery life of over 200 hours – it’s more like 50-70 hours with the gyroscope enabled and it’s a PITA to have to change batteries that frequently. With a chest strap I would have to charge it more frequently as I would use it for running as well as cycling so I just don’t fancy rummaging around say once a month trying to find the Coospo charger. The Garmin HRM PRO Plus essentially claims 365 hours of recording time on one CR2032 battery – that’s hard to beat for practicality (but easy to beat for price).
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