These Fitness Earbuds Measure Your Heart Rate As You Exercise

Alyssa Bereznak
National Correspondent, Technology

The average exercise band is pretty good for tracking how far and fast you’ve traveled, but very few have found a non-clunky way to monitor your heart rate in the process. LG’s Lifeband Touch, revealed this week at CES, pairs with special biometric earbuds to do just that. 

Here’s how it works:

Before you go running, you can tailor your exercise routine on a separate app that communicates with the Lifeband. So, say it’s your goal to run four miles along your favorite scenic beach every day. You enter that information into the app, and then, as you run, the band communicates your distance and location to the app via Bluetooth. All the while the earbuds use a special sensor to measure the blood flow in your ear, and can also monitor your oxygen intake — a useful stat if you’re training for a big run.

LG says the headphones aren’t quite ready to be plugged into devices yet, so I wasn’t able to test their sound. But they fit comfortably on the ear, keeping the speaker secure with little wrap-around wings. 

As for the design of the band itself? Aesthetically, it’s nothing special. Just that same discreet black bracelet that, thanks to the Nike FuelBand, is nearly ubiquitous for “smart” exercise accessories. It fits comfortably on the wrist, and comes in small, medium, and large. What’s different, however, is you’re able to swipe through your stats on an OLED touchscreen with your finger to see how many calories you’ve burned, miles you’ve walked, steps you’ve taken—the works.

At first try, the touch screen was nice and responsive, but I’d need more time with it to be convinced of LG’s claim that it also reliably turns on when you move your wrist to look at it. 

The band’s battery lasts for two to five days, depending how much of a gym rat you are, and the app that comes along works with both Android and iOS. It should be available this spring, but LG hasn’t decide how much it’ll cost us yet. 

It would’ve been nice to try out the headphones with the band so I could test the sound and accuracy. But I’m definitely going to keep my eye on this one.