Quantified - Heart Rate


Anyone here into self-quantification? Specifically heart rate?

I was interested in buying the Basis watch but was wondering whether it’s good value for money since it is 200 dollars and I would prefer something that works with my Samsung S3… any ideas/suggestions?


Why, yes, I’m interested in QS.

I wear a Basis band; why doesn’t it work with your S3? It uses Bluetooth Classic (rather than BLE), which is supported on most smartphones.

Unfortunately, I find their HR data to be lacking. It fails to get HR when I’m active at all (running, cycling, etc). It does well at recognizing that these activities have occurred, and does very well with categorizing sleep periods. It seems ok at capturing resting HR. It also only seems to provide 1 minute granularity in the data streams.

For much more resolution in HR and activity data, I’ve been using a Zephyr HxM strap to capture RR intervals (the duration between every heart beat) and an open source iOS app to upload to Fluxtream. It’s up to you to derive insights, though.



Not sure yet how well they’re working out since they just came out, but all three of the Gear 2 watches read heart rate. May be worth considering as two of them are priced the same as the Basis at $200.


For the gear 2 smart watches, you need to be cant be moving or talking for it to read your heart rate or it will give you an error. I’m not to sure on how accurate they are either. They may not be accurate enough for medical uses but I believe they are close enough for the general user.


The Gear watches only work with samsung phones as well.


I was really excited about QS and waited for the Basis to be released for a couple years. I snagged one in the initial preorder, so I’ve had it from the beginning (~1.5 yrs I think). AFAIK it still has the more sensors than any other wearable device out there. I agree with @technophobe on the occasional HR irregularities during activity, but it seems to have gotten better for me over the course of several firmware updates. I chalked it up to kinks with their LED through the skin method of getting HR, but I forgave it since this was one of the first devices I came across that could take continuous HR measurements without a chest strap.

For me their biggest weakness is the mobile app on iOS. I’ve heard the Android app is better and I believe that since it was initially released several months earlier and by a different dev team. Originally (and for a long time) the iOS app couldn’t even view data, only sync to their website. It’s gradually grown better with updates, but still doesn’t approach the data view available since day-1 on the Basis website. However, since I mostly use it mobile, my data viewing experience has been limited.

In the past month or so Intel completely bought Basis. This could be good for much needed dev work on interface and sensor accuracy; or it could be bad if Intel just treats this like a semi-neglected pet project then sells it again in a year or two.

Personally, I’m continuing to use the Basis, while pinning my hopes on the much rumored Apple watch. I know, I know, [insert fanboy comment]. However, Apple could easily solve my QS data viewing woes that are the Basis weak point. Also, if they utilize all of the sensor technologies that are the specializations of the employees they have been picking up in the past year, their device could be a game-changer.


You guys talking about simple BPM (beats per minute) or something more advanced? I have an irregular heartbeart. I actually wore a heart monitor and had a real cardiologist diagnose the fact that it is irregular but harmless. I would be curious to know if Soylent changes this from the standpoint that caffeine and other choices modify it. But what it really does change things for the worse? I doubt it would, but I am always interested in scientific observations.


So would you suggest I get the Basis band or the Zephyr HxM strap?


Despite the drawbacks in my previous post, if I was buying now I’d still go with the Basis for the same reason I did when I purchased mine. I’m mainly casually interested in the data throughout my normal day to day activities and the watch form factor is easy to slap on you wrist and walk out the door. As a bonus the Basis gives you not only HR and an accelerometer for step/activity counting, but also body temperature and GSR for perspiration level, all continuously collected.

A chest strap can be a bit more cumbersome and tends to be used only during workout sessions, though I guess you could wear it all day if you don’t mind the level of comfort and the look of an FBI informant wearing a wire. But if you don’t mind that and want increased accuracy and HR only, or only plan to use it during workouts, go for the chest strap.

If you’re leaning toward Basis I’d strongly advise you check into the current state of the Android app. Make sure it has the features and favorable user reviews that make you comfortable using it to review data on mobile. Otherwise you’ll end up only viewing the data on their website, possibly less frequently.


I just realized it may be worth noting that wearing my Basis is primarily responsible for my initial interest in Soylent. Even though my original intent was buying the Basis to get continuous HR data, Basis claims to have better better calories-burned estimations than other devices that only have accelerometers and HR, due to the additional GSR and body temp sensors.

The Basis informed me that my daily activity (primarily at a desk) was on average only burning a few hundred more calories than were contained in the burger combo meal I often ate for lunch (not to mention the other 2 daily meals). At that point I changed my diet and started looking for convenient ways to eat healthy. A few months of investigation later, I found Soylent.

So even though I started with an QS interest in HR, it was the combined sensor data and calorie calculations that ultimately gave me the greatest insight and lifestyle modification.


Mmm - I think I’ll opt for the Basis - it is more expensive but I would like 24-hour metrics. Although I would be interested in measuring my HR during physical activity, I am more interested in my HR during stress & sleep.


Sorry for the late reply. The Basis is probably a fine device for your interests. I’m specifically interested in the intrabeat durations and their variability as potential indicators of training load and disease (this is called HRV, heart rate variability). The Basis gives you averaged values at 1 minute intervals (at best).

However, by the company’s own admission their device is for “the other 23 hours” of the day when you’re not engaged in a fitness activity. So, the two devices can complement another. Additionally, it’s taken some moderate willpower to wear the HR strap continuously; it is not entirely comfortable over long periods of time.

The Basis band is also somewhat uncomfortable, too. You need it to be fairly snug to prevent light motion like typing from interfering with the sensor. I understand the “premium” strap is a bit more comfortable than the stock strap, though I haven’t worn one with it myself.

As an interesting aside, the Zephyr HxM also has an accelerometer, although I don’t know an off-the-shelf application that reads the proprietary (though documented) Bluetooth Smart service for it. I’ve modified the Fluxtream app to subscribe to that service. However, that is just the peak accelerometer values for 1 second windows, nothing like steps or anything.


@technophobe I would like to quantify this aspect (HRV) to identify when stress is more than usual. If I understood you well, the basis is not the ideal choice?



This seems interesting… -

Edit: Damn, it’s iphone only heh…


I don’t think you will be able to derive HRV using the data that Basis provides. They likely have the capacity to do it on the device but currently don’t provide anything like it.


No, that device likely supports the Bluetooth Smart Heart Rate Service (note the bit about compatibility towards the bottom of the features…they specifically mention Android 4.3+, but you’ll need a handset which also supports Bluetooth Smart (BLE)) so any app which also supports the Heart Rate Service (or, specifically, the Heart Rate Measurement characteristic) should be able to use this strap (or any others which do the same thing: Polar H7, Zephyr HxM, Wahoo Fitness BlueHR).

I know the Polar H7 and Zephyr HxM include the RR Intervals in their data (necessary for HRV calculation). I don’t know if the others do.


So I got Cardiosport and ithlete Software - my HRV measurements are as follows:
(morning session)


(evening session)


Seems good eh?