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Tested: Sigma Sport PC3 Heart Rate Monitor

sigma sport pc3 hrm

When my first heart rate monitor (HRM) broke, I also happened to be flat broke. Not wanting to give up heart rate training, I starting looking for the cheapest HRM out there. Amongst the $100-500 units from Polar and Suuntu, I found this little gem called the Sigma Sport PC3.

This was a very basic unit that did nothing more than display my current heart rate, but that was plenty for me, especially since this was my only option price-wise, at under $30. (It did offer a stopwatch and clock, but other than that, it was just current heart rate.)

Note: My PC3 is an older model from 2003 or 2004. There is a newer version available, but the functions are virtually identical.

Here’s what I thought of this HRM, based on three years of use:

Looks and Comfort

The PC3 is pretty plain when it comes to looks. It’s just a solid black sport watch.

It was fairly comfortable, though. I could wear it on my wrist while running or riding, but normally I’d leave it attached to the bike mount, so comfort wasn’t a top priority.

Ease of Use

Due to the lack of functions, this HRM was very easy to use. You just put on the chest strap and go. You only have to hit a button if you choose to use the stopwatch.

Also, the display only displayed two numbers at a time, so each was large and easy to read in the daylight.

The chest strap was very easy to position on my chest, and the strap adjusted for a precise fit.

Interference

Before the PC3, I used some sort of HRM from Vetta. That thing would always lose its signal if I was near power lines. With the PC3, I rarely had any interruptions due to overhead power lines.

Battery life

I used this HRM almost daily for two years before the first battery change (in the chest strap.) That’s pretty good. Plus, it takes the CR2032 battery, which is inexpensive and easy to find.

After replacing the battery, I used this HRM for another year. (And it still seemed fine at the end of the season.)

Durability

On my fourth season with this HRM, I grabbed it and put it on like any other day. But this time, there was no HR display!

Not sure what to do, I replaced the battery again. No luck this time. The watch still worked fine, but apparently the chest strap wasn’t transmitting anything.

I tried yet another change of batteries but never got it working again. Much like my BC1600 computer, I had another Sigma Sport product mysteriously quit working! Apparently Sigma Sport products work great for 2-3 years and then poof, something goes wrong.

Note: I’ve heard that the Sigma chest strap transmitters are prone to leaking, and sweat can get in and ruin it. That’s just hearsay, and I can’t see how the transmitter leaks, but that would explain the problem. Whatever the cause, the fact of the matter is, the transmitter crapped out and it wasn’t a dead battery.

Customer Service

In my experience, Sigma Sport is very responsive with customer service. They respond to email and even have a phone line where a real person answers.

(I never requested a replacement or repair since my products that broke were long out of warranty.)

My final verdict is…

The PC3 worked fine as a basic heart rate monitor. It gave me no problems during use, so it was good for the price.

I can’t say it’s perfect, due to my experiences with Sigma Sport products breaking mysteriously, but it’s a good enough value that I actually bought another Sigma Sport HRM when this one bit the dust.

Official website: www.SigmaSport.com

Buy online: www.Amazon.com

Product Review Details
Company: Sigma Sport
Product: Sigma Sport PC3 Heart Rate Monitor
Reviewed by: Coach Levi
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Date last updated: 2009-04-19
Obtained Product: Purchased at retailer.
CoachLevi.com Advertiser: No.

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coach levi
Hi, I'm Coach Levi. I'm a USA Cycling Certified Level 3 Coach as well as Level 1 Certified with Precision Nutrition. Want to feel better, ride faster, and look great? Let's work together!

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Coach Levi is my favorite child and favorite cycling coach. I'd choose him over Christoper McCarmikael even. Did I mention that Levi can coach you to a healthier lifestyle where you look and feel your best?
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