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LG Heart Rate Earphones: a fitness wearable with good sound and accurate data

Jon Phillips | June 3, 2014
Under the bright lights of CES 2014, Intel received a lot of press attention when it showed off a non-working prototype of a heart rate-monitoring earbud system. But now, some five months later, LG is selling a fully realized version of the exact same concept, and no one seems to care.

The app is packed to the brim with charts, graphs, buttons, tabs, toggles and every other software interface element imaginable. The UI design lacks consistency and flow, and no single feature is immediately self-evident. It's an inscrutable interface that could really benefit from some type of tutorial video — even if that video has to be 30 minutes long to explain all the features.

Alternately, LG could provide much clearer user manual instructions, or offer a second, much more simple app for people who just want barebones data. To that point, I hope the next generation of this product puts a basic LED data display on the Bluetooth transmitter. Relying on the mobile app or a separate wrist wearable seems like an unnecessary hassle.

But even the confusing app interface isn't a deal-breaker. The bottom line is that the Heart Rate Earphones deliver as promised. And the real-time data reports pushed me to increase the intensity of my workouts — which is what really matters in a world in which wearables are expected to work.

 

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