Star 9 fitness activity health tracker hands on: a basic heart rate monitor and workout tracker

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  • Editors' rating
    3.8 Poor

Pros

  • Well written app
  • Easy to pair
  • Activation button on device

Cons

  • Limited configuration options
  • Variable step tracking quality
  • Limited tracking details on app

The Star 9 heath tracker comes in a generic, unbranded box which indicates that this heart rate monitor is rebadged and sold under several other brand names such as Diggro.

The box gives no clues until the magnetic front cover is lifted to reveal the contents. This shows that the device and app is branded 'VeryFit' -- and not Star 9 as shown on the website. The app shows the device as an ID107 HR and the user guide is for the Smart HRM Bracelet which makes the overall branding very confusing.

Star 9 fitness activity health tracker hands on a basic heart rate monitor and workout tracker ZDNet
Eileen Brown

My first error was to try and charge the device from a fast charging power pack external battery.

Nothing happened until I plugged the USB directly into a USB wall hub charger, which enabled me to charge the wristband to 100 percent.

Fitting the bracelet is a challenge. The bracelet strap has lots of holes for adjustment -- however, you need to push the lugs through the holes from front to back.

The bracelet is for larger wrists, so fitting it onto a small wrist took some manipulating and fiddling to get the strap fixed tightly enough.

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The bracelet has a button on the side of the band to switch on the screen and scroll through the functions; time, heart rate, steps, distance, calories, alarm, and find phone modes.

A long press of this button enters history mode, when sports activity functions such as heart rate and calories burned can be displayed.

In this mode there is also a stopwatch function to time your activities.

The VeryFit app, downloaded from the iOS and Google play app stores, has a much better look and feel than the Mgcool band 3 I reviewed in December.

It seems to be well written with an intuitive UI. However, configuration options are limited.

Star 9 fitness activity health tracker hands on a basic heart rate monitor and workout tracker ZDNet
Eileen Brown

Height, weight, gender, and birthday can be configured in the personal information settings.

Step and sleep targets can be configured, and there is an option to connect the band to Google Fit.

You can also connect it to deliver alerts from Facebook, and other social channels.

Although there is an option to configure maximum heart rate, there are no options to tweak heart rate zones for your personal goals -- nor can you configure your step length.

This makes step tracking a variable activity.

Steps recorded whilst on my normal running route ranged from 3,800 to over 11,000 steps.

No matter how fast I ran, I could not record any elevated heart zones.

Trying to discover my current heart rate meant tapping the device and waiting a few seconds to see the heart rate displayed.

The app was not much better, showing only my average heart rate over the last 24 hours, and not showing individual bursts of activity and elevated heart rate.

The app fairly accurately showed when I had deep sleep, and shallow sleep -- but I felt it did not give me any insight into my sleep patterns, or my activity patterns.

It did buzz regularly to remind me to get up and move about when I had been sitting in one place for too long.

After wearing it for a few days, I stopped looking at the band for tracking information completely.

I did not feel that the app was engaging enough for me to track the features I wanted to track.

I did not get enough detail from the app, nor tracking bracelet, so I went back to my other fitness band.

The Star 9 is under $23. For a cheap band, and heart rate tracker, it delivers the basics, but is not engaging enough to keep your interest.

If you want highly configurable fitness goals and reliable step tracking, then spend more money for a more accurate device and give this one a miss.

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