If you hate wearing a heart-rate sensor on a chest strap while cycling, just let it go to your head now, with the Lazer Genesis Smart Helmet.
It is a cycling helmet, likely a world first, which continuously measures your heart rate without using a chest strap.
It uses electro-optical technology with an optical sensor on the front of the helmet which measures your heart rate. When it checks your pulse, it sends a raw signal to the processing unit at the back of the helmet.
The helmet looks little different from any cycling helmet. The design looks "fierce" and sleek. Nineteen vents provide ample ventilation while you cycle.
It features Lazer's Rollsys retention system, which uses a thumb wheel at the top of the helmet to adjust the size until it is a perfect fit.
It makes you wonder why other helmet vendors do not do the same, instead of forcing you to adjust several straps to find your fit.
Inside the box, you will also find a micro-USB charging cable, tiny adjustment pads and a handy helmet bag.
Setting up the helmet is easy, but it must first be charged.
A grey triangular rubber piece at the back of the helmet covers the micro-USB charging port. A thin status light below the rubber cover will pulse blue when the helmet is being charged. When the light becomes constant, charging is complete. A full charge lasts 15 hours, enough to complete a few legs of the Tour de France.
Replace the cover to ensure that water does not seep in. Under the status light is the power button. Press it and the status light will turn on and beep three times.
When you wear the helmet, ensure that the sensor is in direct contact with your forehead and that there is no hair, hairband or other accessory in the way.
Lazer does not have its own app, so I used Wahoo Fitness and Argus app on my Apple iPhone 5s to pair with the Genesis Smart Helmet. Both easily found the helmet via Bluetooth and paired almost instantly.
Once they are paired, you will be able to see your heart rate in real time.
Using the TomTom Multi-Sport Cardio GPS running watch, which has a built-in heart rate sensor, and a Wahoo Bluetooth Heart Rate Sensor chest strap for comparison, I found the heart-rate measurements to be about the same, differing by only two or three beats a minute.
The $399 price seems steep, but a promotional offer at $249 is now available at Axtro Sports online store (www.axtrosports.com). That is not too high a price to pay for being able to leave the chest strap at home.
The Lazer Genesis Smart Helmet may have come too late for fitness buffs who already have heart-rate sensor chest straps. However, it is a boon for cycling enthusiasts in search of a new helmet and a heart-rate monitor, minus that irritating chest strap.
Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.0
Value for money: 3
This article was first published on August 27, 2014.
Get a copy of Digital Life, The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.