(Pocket-lint) - Some say that fit is the new rich and JML think that their Fitness Watch is just the job for helping you on your way and beating that post-Christmas bulge. But does it have what it takes? We take it out for a run to find out.

The Fitness Watch from JML packs many of the basic functions into the single watch. As you’d expect from a sports watch this includes time, alarm and stopwatch. The real bang however, comes from the exercise-specific modes.

When setting up the watch you get to chance to put in your weight, age and resting heart rate. These are useful tools that allow the watch to ultimately calculate the approximate calorific expenditure of any exercise session you are doing.

The watch has a built-in heart rate sensor which places this unit apart from other offerings on the market – rather than wearing a chest strap for constant monitoring, it is a case of measuring your heart rate on an ad hoc basis. This information is then used in the calculation mentioned above. The sensor is also used to input your resting heart rate, which alone gives an idea of the level of current fitness, i.e., the lower the better.

But it goes slightly further. If you don’t want to measure your heart rate during the activity, you can opt to assign a “value” to the type of exercise you are partaking in – and they are listed in the accompanying instructions. This can then calculate your calorific expenditure. Both of the exercise options are controlled in the exercise mode, and once you get stuck in, it is very simple to organise.

In practise, the heart rate sensor, whilst conveniently placed on the watch, is not as ideal as it might seem. It does take a while to get used to using the sensor, and using it during exercise can be tricky. If you are walking, then it is fine, but during a decent run, the measurement of your heart rate is not as accurate as with a chest strap equivalent.

The watch is water resistant up to 20 metres, and the lack of chest strap means that this is a convenient option for swimmers, who can simply get their heart rate at the end of a set without being encumbered. It also has a funky blue backlight to the screen making reading in the dark easy – should you be taking your exercise in a darkened room…

Also in the box is a handlebar mount so that you can easily attach your watch to a bike, and monitor your performance as you go along, which is a bonus as many other manufacturers will want to charge you for this convenience.


However, it should be considered that this option from JML comes in at £19.99, which is a stonking price for an exercise watch and comes in £10 cheaper than the basic Polar model. However, it should be considered that the Polar watch does come with a chest strap.

On balance, the JML Fitness Watch is good for those taking up exercise or looking for feedback on the calories burnt or the heart rate that is being maintained. However, those embarking on a more structured training programme might find themselves wanting the constant feedback of heart rate that other models offer.

Writing by Chris Hall.