MyZone MZ-3 review

Heart rate monitoring chest strap that looks to gamify bpm-based training

The MyZone MZ-3 is a heart rate monitoring chest strap that offers a whole lot more than simple bpm recording.

MyZone has been in the bpm business a long time, mainly dealing with gyms and health clubs. The company's first consumer device aims to add a level of competition to regular heart rate training.

We've had an MZ-3 strapped on for the last couple of months. Read on for our verdict…

MyZone MZ-3: Handicapping heart rate

The idea behind the MZ-3 is a simple one: you exercise with the strap on – whether that be running, rowing, swimming, cycling, a session in the gym or whatever other activity gets the ticker going – and earn points based on your bpm.

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However, rather than simply scoring highly based on a big heart rate reading, the MyZone platform studies your effort over time and handicaps your levels - of which there are five, all colour coded - depending on your statistics. For example, you'll get 1 MyZone Effort Point (MEP) for every minute in the lowest zone (grey), 3 MEPs for the mid-range yellow zone and 4 for the upper red and yellow zones. The zones evolve over time, in line with your performance.

We found that after a couple of weeks of usage, and around six running sessions, the zones levelled out to what we'd consider realistic for our abilities. A breezy 5km run saw predominantly yellow minutes, while a strenuous interval-training session saw us regularly hitting the red zone.

This system means that a casual 5k runner can take on an ultra-marathon champion for a set period - and earn points based on their own individual performance levels – making it a fair comparison. It's a system that has served MyZone well in gyms and health clubs, for spin classes and the like, and we're happy to report that it works well for individual use as well.

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This reviewer has a couple of chest straps in the cupboard, which get only occasional outings; mainly to test the accuracy of wrist based optical heart rate monitors. I'm a casual runner at best, I do the occasional half marathon but my exercise mainly consists of a couple of 5-10km runs a week. Heart rate training isn't high on my list of priorities.

However, the opportunity to earn points made the prospect of strapping on a belt a lot more attractive. Not just because it's another way of gamifiying a workout, and another way of measuring and quantifying an activity, but because the social elements of the app – which well come to later in more detail – add a real level of competitiveness.

MyZone MZ-3: Design and fit

The MZ-3 consists of a red elasticated strap and the module itself. Behind the module, which isn't big or intrusive enough to be a bother during workouts, is the conductive panel that measures your heart rate. We found it picked up the pace of our ticker almost instantaneously the moment it was strapped on.

The strap, which comes in three sizes, has an adjustable clasp on the side so you can get the perfect fit. You want it tight, but not so much that it's cutting off your circulation.

The MZ-3 is about as comfortable as a chest strap can be. What I mean is you'd rather not wear it if you didn't have to – hence the mad rush by the industry to make wrist based trackers more accurate.

However, it doesn't pinch, it doesn't cause stitches and you can, sometimes, almost forget you've got it on.

MyZone MZ-3: Training sessions

Like the Wahoo Tickr X, the MZ-3 has an internal memory - capable of storing 16 hours of data - so you don't always have to exercise while carrying your smartphone. However, should you want to workout with your mobile - you are treated to live stats on the app.

The MZ-3 is also ANT+ compatible, so you can pair it up with an array of fitness apps and devices such as the Apple Watch, Strava, Garmin running watches and MapMyRun. This means you can bring in extra info such as GPS routes, cadence and the like – and combine that with the bpm-based metrics that the MZ-3 records.

There's also a MyZone MZ-50 Watch that can be paired with the strap to provide live stats during workouts, although we've not yet tested this, so we can't comment on its accuracy.

In terms of accuracy, MyZone claims 99.4% compared to a medical grade EKG machine. We compared it to a few heart rate monitors, including a rival chest strap, and found it to be well and truly on the money.

MyZone MZ-3: App and features

The partner app gamifies things a step further by offering league tables, personal goals and challenges, and there's a huge social side to it too - with users able to see their contacts' recent workouts and points scored. You can send comments to your contacts and, of course, post details of your latest workouts to Facebook and Twitter.

Unlike Strava and mammoth fitness platforms, MyZone does limit you to personal connections (friends and friends of friends). At the moment there's no way of tapping into the global user base.

The Wahoo Tickr device and app is a lot more comprehensive and has a number of cool extra features such as music controls and audio feedback. MyZone's effort is definitely a work in progress in comparison and the app is a touch buggy as well.

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As mentioned, the MZ-3 does have memory to store workout metrics, but if you do exercise with a paired smartphone the Effort Stream section of the app lets you see live bpm readings, effort zones, and calorie burn. There's also a stopwatch and a timer module as well.

The MZ-3 has a 7-month battery life from a single charge and is waterproof down to 10m - so it's suitable to swimming too. Once it does run of out juice, charging is done via a proprietary Micro USB cable.

MyZone MZ-3
By MyZone
The MyZone MZ-3 is a great chest strap heart rate monitor that will appeal to both casual exercisers and serious athletes. The former because it makes bpm training a bit more fun and the latter because it’s comfortable and super accurate. The app needs a bit more work and the fact that the Wahoo Tickr X is a fair bit cheaper stops us scoring it higher but, overall, the MZ-3 is a great training aid with a unique angle that easily incentivises exercise and makes bpm metrics a bit easier to deal with.

  • Accurate bpm recording
  • Unique point-based scoring
  • Social incentives in the app
  • App needs more features
  • No media controls
  • More expensive than main rival

What do you think?

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  • Robbysmommyga·

    This wearable is crap and so is there customer no service.   Broke after 5 months.   Will definitely be spending my money else wear.  

  • gabrielyuen·

    Hi great review.  I just purchased the MyZone and love it. I just want to caution your comment regarding waterproof up to 10m.  Where did you find that information?  The myzone FAQ from their site states that it is water resistant and should not be submersed in water.  

    I was planning to swim with it.

    • dbwill·

      I'd like to use my MyZone while kayaking and paddleboarding (upwind/upcurrent really gets my rate up!) so I did a live chat with MyZone,. They told me they don't recommend swimming with it only because the flow of water between your skin and the belt sensors will mess with the readings. The monitor module is waterproof, and the belt is supposed to be washed so it can certainly handle some water. Biggest question we had was salt vs fresh water but decided that a fresh water dip after being dunked in salt water should minimize any long term corrosion possibilities.

      So I don't plan to swim with mine, but I am no longer worried about paddleboarding with it.

  • BigJack·

    The flexible, "plastic" portion of the strap which serves as the conduit to sense your heart rate causes severe skin irritation. I've used it for a month and my skin appears to have been permanently damaged. This is a class action suit in waiting.  They will have to think of something new and quickly.  

    The concept is cool for those serious about fitness. However, the app leaves a lot to be desired. Can't get the interval training programming to emit an audible notification to alert the user it's time for rest, or resume the next round. The social media portion is also very weak. 

    • XIRIe·

      Are there alternatives better than Garmin vivofit + G Chest Strap combo?

  • XIRIe·

    if the chest strap has ant, do all Garmin fitness trackers work, even Vivofit 2? 

  • Rondi·

    My clients and myself love the program and have not had any problems! Been very motivating and exciting for all of us!

  • Bete·

    dont buy Myzone if you use a Sony phone, the app doesn't work since their update early August 16. no chance of a refund despite it not working

  • Bete·

    I am sorry but this device does not work, support is appalling, I would advise against buying it

  • CAD·

    Been using Myzone for 3 months and it works great! Use mobile app in gym and out and works with no issues, the points with social gives a really good incentive to go to the gym just clocked 525 meps 60 min crosstrainer 40 run and 20 cool down on bike. Competition is great for pushing that bit more. Would highly recommend

  • Katsiemarie·

    Myzone seems to be a joke. My first one I got from our gym seemsed to be defective. Would miss out on big chunks of my workout, wouldn't sync to my phone inside the gym, etc. so my trainer helped me swap it out. Through our gym I paid 70. I would be quite upset if I paid 150. 1 month old and today it missed 10 minutes of my workout. the band is wimpy and rolls all the time. If it would stay flat it would be comfortable but once it rolls I want it off. It has to be in juuuuuust the right place on your chest to get a reading. I'm looking to replace it SOON. Downside is, my gym and trainer use the myzone. At this point I'm kinda over it and don't care. 

  • RHam·

    I've had my MyZone device for almost 5 years. I started with their first device then upgraded to the Bluetooth version as soon as it was released. It's great - downfall is that it doesn't interact with other apps. It would be nice if the account could interact with MyFitnessPal. 

    But, be prepared for your account to be shut down if you aren't associated with a gym any longer. Despite the fact you may own the device (like other products and associated accounts) if a gym deletes you as a member, your account gets shut down. No notification, nothing. 

  • Chels269·

    hi... I am debating on whether or not to do this system or a Fitbit HR to my question is does it track steps as well as sleep pattern like a Fitbit?

  • DJHolloway·

    I tried very hard to get the Myzone heart rate monitor to work. It finally worked for 10 minutes and then later for 1 minute before it died completely.  I worked with an appalling disorganized customer service department for about a month and returned it for a replacement.  After promising an expedited customer service replacement with a new one, they just sat on it for 10 days.  I finally got my money back.  If you value your time and want to avoid major hassles and disappointment, I suggest you look elsewhere for a heart rate monitor.

  • asheridan116·

    NO Customer Service. Stopped working, emailed them with no response, and their online support just goes off in the middle of conversation. Very frustrating, when it worked it was great, but there is no customer service, no number to call, and in that case its a waste of money.

    • Dory·

      I have had my belt for two months. I use it daily. I only have problems when it needs charged. For the first week I had questions daily, I used the tech support chat feature, had no problems getting help or clear answer. Very helpful and timely.

      My only complaint is that it does not work with My Fitness Pal

  • Ambro6·

    Poor quality.  Ny belt lasted only 6 months.  I contacted myzone and was told too bad buy a new one.  Do yourself a favor and avoid this product.

  • Samantha123·

    Horrible Costumer service, Dirty and smelly belt, dangerous tool for those who don't know proper information about cardiovascular activities and risks.

    I used this tool with work for a challenge to collect the highest number of MEPs in 4 days. Well, it was my first time using it so I did not have enough info to start with , so I asked for assistance from the Gym and challenge organizer.

    It did not synchronize with my Samsung phone for some reason but did on my Iphone 5!

    So I was told that whenever you are in the gym (who sells these belts), your MEPS gets downloaded. So, I trusted them since they are the experts.

    Used it for 2 days on whole day and off during sleep while going to the gym every night. SO it was working well. The last 2 days I raised the effort and decided to do crazy workout to win the challenge and kept wearing it for 2 entier days sleeping for 4 hours only and starting the workout from %am on the last day.

    Went back to the gym at 5 Pm and kept on working out until 12 am. nothing was downloaded even though I was in the gym that has all the MYZONEspots data collectors.

    Left the gym at 12:00 and turned my phone on at 12: a5 am. after sometime, all my 40+ hours workout was finally downloaded but not counted in the challenge.

    Contacted the chat team who one of them said it is because I did not take off the belt before 12:am of the last day of the challenge. So that is considered the next day and will not be counted, Asked them for support to add these MEPs to the challenge since this info was not explained, but they claimed they cant!

    The other chat person, explained further that if you start a workout using your phone, only your phone downloads your MEPs even if you go to the gym later.

    Well, a day after the chatt, I got 3 weiered downloads that happened in the last day of the challenge. Which means they are in the middle of that huge 40+ hours workout. So either the belt is faulty, or they do not know what they are talking about, since my belt downloaded a workout while the phone I started the workout on was off, and I did not remove the belt. So how on earth is failed to download the workout during the challenge last day but downloaded a 3 small very weird ones?!!!!!

    Of course, when I contacted them again, they claimed that these 3 weird workout happened after the last day of the challenge which is a TOTAL LIE because I gave my belt back after I removed it on that last day since it was not mine but provided by the challenge organizer!!!

    Contacted them again asking to justify this thing since it cost me loosing a challenge that I collected the highest number of MEPS during and worked my heart out. and of course no response, apology or anything!!!!!

    Soooo, they do not provide enough information on how the belt work and downloads, nore how challenge MEPs get downloaded and what people should do to have their MEPs counted in a challenge. and they do not support in fixing this issue that I proved to be there.

    Moreover, I believe this is a very dangerous tool, since not everybody knows that you should not get your heart rate rais that much and if it does that does not indicate that you are healthy. These MEPs collecting pushes people to raise their heart rate to a dangerous limit for the sake of competition or having the highest number or red color in the gym.

    The belt gets dirty and smelly which is another hygiene issue

    Lastly, I o not think it is very healthy to keep a device that counts your heart rate and sends data via wifi close to your heart for such long time. 30 minutes or more depending on your goal.

    At the end, as a personal trainer and physiotherapist I will never buy or recommend such tool to anyone AT ALL. it is faulty, dangerous and has the worst costumer service people EVER.

    What a waste of time trying to reason with MYZONE team!!!