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Pedometer Shopping

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Sunday I lost my pedometer while mowing the lawn. It was a bit of a puzzle, as a white pedometer should have shown up easily any of the places I could have lost it; but I did not find it.

Short term, this is not a worry. I opened my desk drawer and got out the other pedometer I bought at the same time. I learned that lesson the first time I had a pedometer break. Now I buy them two at a time, before the last one I'm wearing breaks or is lost.

So, no problem. Go to Amazon, order two more of the same thing. Minor problem: I've been very happy with the Omron HJ-150, and now I'm trying the Omron HJ-151 because I bought it on spec last time around. Neither of these models is available any more. The replacement models are HJ-320 and HJ-321.

Well, I'm a bit picky. I want a pedometer that accurately counts steps. I've come to like Omron's 7 day memory function. I don't care whether the pedometer estimates distance or calories burned, because those numbers are inaccurate anyway. The HJ-151 also counts "moderate" steps, which other pedometers might call "aerobic" steps. I've never cared that much about tracking both, and when I broke out the HJ-150 I just lost I consciously decided not to look at aerobic steps. The issue was, my right foot was hurt and I didn't want to give myself an incentive to abuse it.

History does not repeat, but it rhymes. Now, my left foot is hurt. An incentive to abuse it would not be a good idea, but I'm more resistant to the stupid incentives than I was a year ago. I can live with the moderate step counter. (So far, it appears to track steps and minutes on my intentional walks, which have mostly been at an unimpressive 17 minutes per mile or a little slower with the hurt foot.)

Anyway, back to the shopping. The HJ-320 and HJ-321 both appear to do the same thing, and the cost is similar. They're billed as "tri-axis" with the claim that I can carry the pedometer in a pocket instead of clipped to my waist, and the claim that it will count steps accurately regardless of how the pedometer is oriented. Their size and shape shows a Fitbit influence, and one of the reviews describes the HJ-320 as a lower cost Fitbit alternative without uploading capacity. Fair enough, I don't care about uploading the data to a computer.

I'm willing to take the claims of how the electronics work on faith. I believe Omron makes a good product. But many of the reviews complain about a weak clip making it easy to lose the pedometer. Sigh. I care about that. One of the strengths of the HJ-150 and HJ-151 is a sturdy clip that I can pretty much ignore. It. Just. Works.

I'd give up 80% of the technical advances in electronics in exchange for not downgrading that low-tech clip. Unfortunately, the market of people paying for pedometers seems to be dominated by people who value different attributes than I do. 10K steps per day is important to me. Counting moderate/aerobic/brisk steps separately is a novelty I could live without. Estimated mileage and estimated calories burned are features I'd rather not have generating two more button presses to cycle through the modes, but it appears that every Omron pedometer comes with those now. They appear to be "must-have" checklist items in the pedometer market.

So, what to do? A couple of the reviews recommend the HJ-112 for a sturdier clip than the HJ-321. The HJ-112 is billed as a two-axis, and claims I can carry it in a pocket. The pictures seem to indicate that the clip is on a holder that the HJ-112 fits into. Some of the reviews of the HJ-321 complained that it fell out of its holder too easily, making it easier to lose. If they were priced comparably, I'd just buy the HJ-112; but we're looking at around $23 for the HJ-112 versus around $16 for the HJ-321.

I don't trust carrying a pedometer in my pocket. I carry lots of stuff in my pockets, and I suspect the battering would shorten its life. This actually happened with a couple of SecureID fobs, till I learned to keep them in my laptop case instead of on my keychain. I could maybe keep the pedometer in a pocket of my gym shorts in the summer, but running tights don't have pockets. And I spend quite a bit of time around the house without pockets. Much of the time, I will *need* that clip, even if pockets prove secure.

So I sit here and dither. I'd gladly pay $16 for an HJ-150 or HJ-151. I'd order two of them at that price. I'd probably order two of the HJ-112 for $16, but that's not the price. I'm reluctant to order two of the HJ-321 without first seeing that clip and holder for myself. And the kicker is, I haven't seen anything else I want on Amazon to get the order up to $25 for free shipping.

I'll likely dither for a while, then make a decision and place an order tomorrow. And hopefully a year or two from now, when I lose the pedometer I'm wearing now, I'll find out how good a decision that was.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Good ol' feature creep! So frustrating.

    1753 days ago
  • TERRY789
    I actually found my Omron at the local Walgreens (pharmacy store). I have heard they can also be purchased at some grocery store pharmacy dept. I have had mine for a while. I clip it on my belt, throw it in my pocket or but it in my bra(sorry guys you do not have that option). No matter where I have it I get good data. Hope you find one that works for you.
    1753 days ago
    All those decisions but done after plenty of research. Good luck choosing.
    Happy 4th of July!
    1753 days ago
    I too love the old Omron - and the 7 day memory is great. (And I also own 2, one for backup when this one dies.)

    So I can't really help with the new model!
    1753 days ago
    I have a Omron HJ 112, but I have had it for maybe 4 years, so it is outdated, I am sure, obsolete, but it still works great, only thing is setting it up when the battery dies, a hassle for me, but the best pedometer I ever had, accurate, it does 7 day tracking as well as aerobic calories and miles, which I do like, also a great fastener, otherwise I would have lost it ages ago, you can clip it most anywhere, I just got a fitbit today, and do not have it set up yet, but it automatically set it self up as far as steps time etc, which is great. but I wore both of them on my walk, and my new fitbit claimed more steps than my pedometer, and I think my pedometer is accurate to my steps. so we will see, I am kind of excited to see the sleep mode, I have not figured out how to do that yet, but lots of time tomorrow, I just reread your blog, and if I remember right, my HJ 112 cost over 40 dollars when I got it, maybe the price goes down with time.

    but good luck making up your mind
    1754 days ago
    Don't worry about carrying it in your pocket. My Omrons toss around in my work pocket with pens and keys, or in my purse with all sorts of stuff. I've even sent one through the washing machine and after it dried out I reset it and it worked fine! The moderate minutes function is frustrating if you DO care, because any little pause resets the clock, so you can walk all day long and only show a few moderate minutes if you stop and start or pause a lot. Shopping=no steps. Good luck with your search.
    1754 days ago
    I share your concerns. The new pedometer shipped to me "automatically" for the Walk This Way program this year is an HJ-113. I have not even set it up yet, as my old one still works and the extra stuff on it looks like just extra stuff I don't need. On the plus side, though, the clip it snaps into? Looks pretty sturdy, similar to the one attached to my current one.

    Good luck with your shopping!
    1754 days ago
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