New Balance N4 Heart Rate Monitor

| June 8, 2010 | 51 Comments

“For the minimalist”
($70; www.nbwebexpress.com)

Easy to set-up and use, the pearl white New Balance HRM is small, sleek, and feminine which made it a favorite for Women’s Adventure testers, especially more casual athletes who appreciated the easy set-up and simple functionality of this unit.

This model offers all the basic HRM functions needed for training and basic fitness and automatically estimates your maximum heart-rate (209 – (0.7 x age) and sets three heart rate zones, light, medium, and heavy intensity and has optional alarms to help you stay on track. HR values are front-and-center in all display modes, which makes it easy to monitor visually as well, but also makes it harder to see split, or lap-times during more regimented workouts. Though this HRM ranked on the low-end in terms of data storage (only 9 workouts) it is an excellent value for first-timers or for testing the waters of heart rate monitors.

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Women's Adventure
Written by the dedicated, hard-working Women's Adventure staff and their very generous team of volunteer writers. Want to lend a hand at making this splendid magazine even more splendid? Contact us at digital.diva@womensadventuremagazine.com and let us know!

Category: Gear

Women's Adventure

About the Author ()

Written by the dedicated, hard-working Women's Adventure staff and their very generous team of volunteer writers. Want to lend a hand at making this splendid magazine even more splendid? Contact us at digital.diva@womensadventuremagazine.com and let us know!

Comments (51)

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  1. alan says:

    Written by someone from New Balance. This heart rate monitor is impossible to program and the watch and manual are both too small to read.

  2. Jeanene says:

    I bought this monitor a week ago. I don’t work for any company. I am a utter failure at reading any instruction manuals. My husband teased me about this purchase, “I guess you’ll be asking me how to operate the thing in a few days when you give up, right?” I still can’t tell you all the tricks that my Android phone can do and I’ve had it 18 months. I think I legitimately qualify as someone who has had problems and lack of interest to learn to program ANYTHING.

    Programming this thing was a breeze.

    I am “of a certain age” and have to wear glasses to read. I worried about picking a watch that I wouldn’t be able to see. I do need to put glasses on to see the small readouts, but the time or HR or whatever you set in central position is plenty big enough to see without my glasses,

    My only complaint is that the alarm for going into and out of the target heart rate zone is WAY TOO QUIET.

  3. Harmeet says:

    I agree. Very hard to program and the display is too small. I found it absolutely useless and would be returning it back to Target.

  4. Sheza says:

    I love this thing. It was easy to set and easy to use. I have gone through 2 other HRM and they were both returned for being over-complicated for what I needed. I found this and was a bit skeptical. Once I got it out of the package, It took me less than 10 minutes to set, and every day use is seconds to set up. I just love this one! I’ll never look back. So far, better than the polar and walmart HRM and I couldn’t be happier!

    • Shoshana says:

      Can you give me some tips on how to set this thing up? I don’t know how, but all I managed was my age. Now, I can’t even get to that setting! HALP!!!

  5. Sabrina says:

    So easy to set up, in TIME mode, just press & hold set ( top left button), then up and down on the buttons on the right side to enter your sex, then mode again to set your age, mode to change your weight, mode then height, ect ect ect. It’s all written in the manual, had you read it.

  6. Donna says:

    Very easy to set up. Not hard to read at all. I liked it until it started acting up on me on the 3rd day, started telling me my heart rate was 240…i think i would be dead… so i returned it because it kept telling me that. I got a new one, and it did the same thing fresh out of the box, oh and I work for a doctors office, my heart rate at an average rate for someone my age and weight. So I am going to return this one too and get another brand now. Not happy at all.

  7. Monica says:

    I cannot find a manual for this thing… can someone please tell me how to set up my strides, and gender, weight etc? No information online – lost the original papers : (

    Thanks ladies! – Monica

  8. RitaB says:

    Sabrina,
    Regardless of what the manual says, it’s tiny and confusing to understand. Being rude helps no one!

    Monica,
    To enter personal data:
    Press the “Mode” button on bottom left until it says “HRM”. Then hold in the “Light/Set” button on top left. “Set” will flash a couple of times. Keep holding button until “Set” turns to “Age”. Use the “Start/Stop” button on top right to go up and the “View” button on bottom right to go down. Press “Mode” to move to “Sex”. Again, use two right buttons to go up and down. Press “Mode” to determine level. (I set mine on 2 because it was in the middle lol), Keep pressing “Mode” and changing the item until you get back to “Age”, then press “Light/Set” again.

    It’s the same process for setting the time, except you hold in the “Light/Set” button on the “Time” function.

    I can figure out how to see my heart rate, but I have no idea how to determine the upper and lower heart rate limits nor how to view the calories burned from a workout. The “Data” function appears pretty useless at this point, but I’m still playing with it! I am disappointed in how difficult this HRM is to work.

    • Isha says:

      Thanks a million, RitaB! Your detailed instructions were a great help! I was getting frustated.

      • Bev says:

        Thank you so very much, Monica. I have it set!!! I went to the copy place to have the manual enlarged and still had to use a magnifying glass to read the settings on the watch.
        I don’t think I could have done it without your simple instructions. I’m going to put your help in my documents!
        Blessings, Bev

  9. Julie in CA says:

    RitaB – Thank you so much!!!! I am pretty darn computer savvy but just could not figure out how to set this thing. VERY helpful. Off to walk : )

  10. Patricia says:

    This is a reasonable knockoff of the impeccable Nike Imara HRM which is no longer made. I bust the wristbands on these watches in the exact same notch around every 18 mos., then it is pretty much sayonara. The plastic buttons and housing on this model is particularly disappointing, but it keeps up with your intervals during swimming and running nevertheless.

  11. Dorothy says:

    I just purchased New Balance N4 heart rate monitor. NO INSTRUCTIONS IN BOX!!! I figured out everything except which level to set. Anyone know the details on each level??

    Any info will be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Dorothy

  12. Marr Bulls says:

    @ RitaB: WOW! Your explanations far surpassed the manual or anything else I’ve found! Thank you SO much! Now all I need is somebody like you to explain to me how to figure out the calories burned portion of this little device!

    Cheers!

  13. Emmy Homer says:

    I can set all my data in my new balance heart monitor but can’t get it to record anything when I am doing cardio
    Please help.

  14. Shannon Booth says:

    @Emmy Homer. Make sure you are in HRM mode (your heart rate should be displayed on the watch). Press start/stop button on the right upper corner to begin your workout. When you are done with your workout press the start/stop button. After the workout you can review your workout in the Data mode. It should flash Run 1 and then it will scroll through your workout data. I have not figured out how to store more than 1 workout, but when you are in the data mode, if you hold down the light/set button for a few seconds it will erase your workout and then you are ready for your next workout. You have to erase your workout because if you don’t it will just get added to your prior workout.

    • Linda says:

      I also cannot figure out how to save the data from the workout. The manual instructions I believe are incomplete. Once the word save came up and that one time only the data was saved. I am unable to repeat the process to save the data. Also, every time when I press view it always reads 0 for calories burned. Has anyone successfully saved the data? How did you do it? My heart rate is accurate but I am not sure about the rest of the data.

  15. Mike says:

    I’ve had this monitor for awhile and everything was fine until one day it wasn’t picking up the heart rate. I changed the battery in the chest strap and still no luck. Everything else on the watch seems to work fine. Anyone have any ideas? Thanks.

    • Diana says:

      I am having the same problem. The chest strap is not the problem because when I go to the gym with the chest strap on the treadmill reads my Heart Rate. I think the problem is in the watch but they said I don’t need to change the battery in the watch….so I am stumped and I threw out the receipt…

  16. Drew says:

    @ mike I have the same issue my new balance duo sport is brand new I changed the battery and I can’t figure out the chest strap it works fine when I touch the finger sensor. I got my sportline heart rate monitor to work with the chest strap by watching a youtube video but I’m not finding info on the new balance one they should provide better instructions with their electronic products

  17. MichelleMcB says:

    Thanks for the directions RitaB. The manual was worthless but your directions were great. To calc your heart rate range, subtract your age from 220. for example, 220-46= 174. Multiply that # time 65% for your low range and 85% for your upper (60% to 80% for new exercisers). That will give you your target heart rate range. Good luck.

  18. Annie says:

    Can anyone help me with how to get the chest strap to work? I put it on and the watch didn’t register anything :/

    Thanks!

    • Paulette says:

      Hi Can anyone help me, I have a New Balance Duo Sport Heart Rate Monitor, I can’t get my heart rate monitor to work, I’ve entered all the required info, put on the chest strap and the watch, but it doesn’t record my heart rate? :(

  19. Mon says:

    @Annie, I had the same problem. I had to change out the battery in the strap. Now, however, I hear a high-ptiched squeal from the strap and it reads my heart rate as 240 and above. It said Wi-Fi could interfere, so maybe that’s it. Has anyone else figured out how to fix this problem. Thanks in advance for any replies of help.

    Mon

  20. Angela says:

    Just bought this heart rate monitor tonight. Spent an hour just trying to set the TIME to no avail. I followed the instructions but still can not get to even set the time! If setting the time is this complicated, I can only imagine how much difficulty it will be to use! This is being returned ASAP!!!!

  21. jenny says:

    Mine did the same thing Donna-just went haywire. Can’t return it as I have had it too long but will get a different brand-worst one I have had

  22. Binta says:

    I just bought this monitor and I have only used it a couple times. My only problem is that I CANNOT see any of the numbers unless I press the backlight. The screen is so dark that I can barely even see the numbers even a lighted room. Has anyone else had this problem? There’s nothing in the manual about it I can’t find a setting for it. I am wondering if mine is defective.

  23. Kelly says:

    To view the calories burned go to HRM mode by pressing “mode” button. Press “start/stop” button on upper right side. This will start the timer and start calculating the HR. While timer is on press “view” button on bottom right. Continue to press until watch displays “Kcal” at top. These are calories burned during workout. It will not work if timer is not on. Make sure to press “start/stop” button to stop timer when done and that will stop counting calories as well. To get back and forth simply continue pressing “view” button. When ready to reset for another workout press “light/set” and hold until screen clears. Hope this helps everyone!

  24. Stacey says:

    To get the strap to work, make sure that you wet the strap…there’s little rectangular pieces on the inside that you have to wet a bit with either saliva or sweat…….

  25. Diana says:

    I am so frustrated with the watch. I am tossing the watch and the instructions today. I have spent hours and hours trying to figure this out. It picks up my heart rate sometimes and then just goes blank with those dashed lines. The chest strap works. I go to the gym and i can see my heart rate on the treadmill monitor so I know it is not the strap. I just want to see my heart rate when I am working out…..Who can recommend a watch that simply displays the heart rate constantly? I don’t care about anything else.

  26. Taitia says:

    @Kelly, thank you SO much…I figured it out. Make sure you entered in all your personal information (see RitaB’s post above). Press “mode” until you get to the HRM screen. Your heart rate will display and you’ll see the timer count above that. Press top right “start/stop” to begin the timer when you start your workout. During your workout you can select the bottom right button “view” to see your high and low heart rate, calories burned thus far and the clock. Press “mode” again if you want to get back to HRM screen. When done your workout press the start/stop button again, hit the mode button to get to data screen. It will scroll through all the information from your workout by date. To clear, hit the top left “set” button and it will clear the data. From what I understand, if you do not clear out the data, it will hold 9 workouts and display them by date. Good luck!

  27. Katie says:

    The instruction manual reads like some sort of dadaist poem. I can’t even figure out how to set the time.

  28. Scarlet Douglas says:

    I love this HRM. Does anyone know if I can use it for swimming? I know the watch is water resistant (I’ve used it with no problems snorkelling), but I don’t want to ruin the chest strap if it’s not supposed to go in the pool. Lost the instruction manual- help!

  29. Susie says:

    I found the monitor very difficult to program and save data, read the manual several times and it was not much help. I think I finally have it figured ou after using it for a couple of weeks.
    I have friends with different monitors, I don’t think they have found them to be any more user friendly.

  30. Alicia says:

    I still can’t figure this thing out :( Although Rita’s directions (and many others) DID help a lot with some of the stuff…I still can’t figure out how to change the time. I get to the screen, and I can change the DATE, but underndeath the date, the time is wrong…but I can’t figure out how to change that?

    Most importantly, people are saying add your personal info…My only options in mode are Time, Date, Alarm, and HRM….do I not need to put in my weight or age or anything? Also, how do I enter my different heart rate levels? I don’t see the option on there? I don’t want to return this because it’s the only one I can afford right now, help!!!

  31. Alicia says:

    Ahhh yeah I got it! Now I got the hang of it :) Had to go back and read through some posts, that one chick was rude but after I read her post I actually got it, lol. Thanks all!

  32. Randi says:

    I have the N4 and had no problems with the programming. The watch is picking up my heart rate fine but when I am not in my set zone (1, 2 or 3) the chime keeps going off (even though I have it turned off in the Time mode). Does anyone know how to turn the chime off for the intensity levels? It’s driving me nuts!!

  33. KatieD says:

    T turn the chime off:
    Click bottom left button, ‘Mode’, to switch to the HRM screen.
    Click the top left button, ‘Light/Set’, as if you are setting up your age, weight, height, etc.
    click the bottom left button, ‘Mode’, through your weight, age and height data and the last screen will ask you if you would like to turn the ALARM on or off.
    Push the bottom right button, ‘View’, to change the option to OFF.

    Good luck!

  34. Gary says:

    I have an N4 and I can’t get a heart rate to show on the watch and I’m wearing the band around my chest. Should it come up immediately or do I need to start my work out and then it’ll show?

    I’m getting frustrated… I even changed a new battery for another new one.

    Help!

  35. Diana Davis says:

    I like it, it synchs up with the spin bikes, treadmills and other cardio equipment at my YMCA. I’ve figured out how to get it to do everything but save more than one workout. I can get it to save “run 1″, but how do you get to “run 2″, or “run 3″? When I try a new cardio session, all it does is add on to “run 1″!

  36. jj says:

    From the descriptions you have given I’ve figured out how to program the watch. On my watch the buttons are mislabeled. Someone said to hit the view button at bottom right and that clued me in. As mine says stop, but in fact does not stop the run, hitting the start button again stops it. So hitting the stop button twice while running will toggle over to the kcal display for calories burned.

  37. Leah says:

    I don’t understand the reviewers that say that this is difficult to set up, or that the instructions are hard to understand. I had it out of the box, set up with my personal information, and trying it out in less than 10 min. Getting it out of that plastic thing was the hardest part…lol.

    This is my first HRM and I didn’t want to spend a lot of money in case it isn’t something I’d be able to figure out and use. The price for this was absolutely in the range of what I was willing to spend ($57.95 on Amazon). I’ll be using it at the gym 4-5 days a week.

  38. Hannah says:

    Thank you all so much for the instructions! I really appreciate it. I got this for my birthday and the box did not include a manual. I followed the above instructions (thank you Rita B) and it worked perfectly. So far i have been using for about a week. I have used for cardio classes and running and it has worked very well. So far I am pleased!

  39. Tiffany says:

    I just got this HRM and I can’t seem to get the chest strap to sync with the watch. Even after wetting the sensors, the heart on the watch still shows up empty. I checked the battery which seems to be fine. Is there something else I’m supposed to press to say “sync” or something that I’m missing?

    • Leah says:

      You wet it with saliva right? Not tap water? If so, I’d take it back and exchange it, sorry. There isn’t anything extra to do to make it sync. When I got mine, I wet it with saliva, put it on and switched the watch to HRM mode and it just worked. If you want to try changing the battery in the chest strap first (even though you said it seems fine), that would be an option too. Good luck!

  40. Donna says:

    Anybody know how to change the battery?

So what do you think?