GPS Watches More Accurate Than Pedometers - New Study By HRWC

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GPS watches were found to be significantly more accurate than activity trackers and pedometers in measuring distance in two recent studies says the Heart Rate Watch Company.

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Polar Loop Activity Tracker Went With Heart Rate Rather Than Distance

The University of Texas at Austin test showed pedometers, if worn properly within 5% accuracy, but over 5 kilometers this means they are 820 feet off on average.

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A GPS watch was significantly more accurate than pedometers in recent studies conducted separately by the University of Texas at Austin and the Heart Rate Watch Company.

"The University of Texas at Austin test showed pedometers, if worn properly within 5% accuracy, but over 5 kilometers this means they are 820 feet off on average," says Rusty Squire, President of the Heart Rate Watch Company.

Squire's company has been testing Garmin GPS watch units, Suunto and Polar during 2013 and 2014. "We have a wheel measured 5 kilometer course, which is 16,404 feet and less accurate GPS watches might be 200 feet off over this distance, whereas many are only 60 to 80 feet off," says Squire. He adds, "That is only between 3/10ths of one percent and 1.2% off in accuracy."

"This is precisely what we have been saying for years and why we don't carry pedometers," says Squire. He adds, "Basic accelerometer technology is flawed because, unless your stride length is perfectly calibrated, there are always going to be significant inaccuracies."

The Solution - GPS

"Nobody has come out with an activity tracker that uses GPS for distance," says Squire. He adds, "When GPS finally arrives it will be much more accurate than any of the wearable fitness bands that use accelerometers."

"There are relatively inexpensive GPS watches for pace and distance like the Garmin Forerunner 10 that are very accurate and we know this because we test them against wheel measuring devices," says Squire. He adds, "These watches at $129 are equivalent, or lower, in price than many of the wearable fitness bracelets and a bit more than pedometers, but you get what you pay for."

Activity bands have the same inherent problem of accelerometers for distance but at least some of them, like the Polar Loop and Garmin Vivofit, measure heart rate accurately," says Squire

Old Technology

"Accelerometers were invented in 1950 by Abe Dranetz, so this is 64 year old technology which raises a big question in why so many companies keep using it when better alternatives are available," says Squire.

Talk To The Experts

"We are constantly testing products for distance accuracy so if you want to talk to some real experts than simply call us at 866-586-7129," says Squire. He adds, "We think you will appreciate talking to folks that actually test and use the products they sell."

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Rusty Squire, President

Tarie Beck, CFO
Heart Rate Watch Company
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