Runtastic Heart Rate is a heart rate monitor that uses your Android device camera. It comes from the makers of well-known sports and running app, Runtastic. Although it sounds like a strange idea (and we can't recommend it medically), it seems to work!
Use your heart rate to measure exertion
The main function of Runtastic Heart Rate is to measure your heart rate, whether it's for medical or exercise reasons. This app will allow you to do this whenever - and wherever - you are.
If you want to use your heartrate measurement to improve your sporting ability, Runtastic Heart Rate allows you to add notes to each measurement: you can specify if the measurement was taken when you were resting, for example, or while you were doing exercise.
You can also view a history of your measurements, and add filters or notifications (PRO only).
How does it work?
To measure your heart rate, you need to place your index fingertip in front of your Android's camera. After a few seconds, Runtastic Heart Rate will show you a graph and measurement of your heartbeat in beats per minute.
The makers of the app offer some advice to help you get the most accurate reading - make sure you take the measurement in good light, press the camera slightly, make sure your fingers are warm and use the flash when possible.
It works - more or less!
We'd need a more serious medical set-up to be able to tell you how accurate Runtastic Heart Rate's readings were, but we noticed that the measurement did change according to our exertion. The readings also seemed legit, from our own knowledge of our heart rate.
No replacement for medical care!
We shouldn't need to say it, but Runtastic Heart Rate isn't a medical device. It's intended as a rough guide for sports people, There are more accurate devices out there for the same purpose, but for a mobile app it's nicely designed and has some useful features that we liked.