Omron HJ-720IT Pedometer

I’ll admit it, I am a complete geek when it comes to gadgets. I am constantly looking for new devices to automate every aspect of my life. I have no idea why I find this so fascinating but I do. So when my wife suggested that perhaps we should start walking to get a little exercise; the first thing I did was to begin looking at pedometers.

In its simplest form a pedometer is attached to your waistband and will measure the number of steps that you take in the course of a day. Obviously though I was not interested in the simplest form of a device. No, I had to find the most tricked out pedometer on the planet.

I wanted something that would not only document the number of steps I took but would also provide other data that could be used to determine how efficient I was walking. I began my search for the ultimate pedometer and after exhaustive research I found the Omron HJ-720IT pedometer.

omronhj720itThe HJ-720IT will calculate the number of steps you take but also offers several other features. For example, you can calibrate the pedometer by entering your weight and length of stride and the device will calculate how many steps you have taken, the number of calories you have burned, and the distance you have travelled. It will also measure the pace of the walking you have done as well as the time you have taken. With these measurements it can determine if you have entered aerobic exercise range and will calculate the number of steps and the time you spent working out aerobically.

All of these data points are supposed to help you understand what type of exercise you are getting and how long the exercise is lasting. Of course having all of this information on your pedometer is great but who wants to have to go home each night and write down the data for tracking your progress?

The people at Omron understand what a pain that is so they designed the HJ-720IT with a mini-USB port that can be connected to a personal computer running Windows. The pedometer comes with health management software that will download the information from the device and enter the data in a proprietary Microsoft Access database.

The data is then presented to the user in graph format. Within the software you can set daily goals for each of the measurements. When the data is downloaded from the pedometer it is compared against the goals and will display which days you reached your goal and which days you were unsuccessful.

The software is fairly straight forward to use. You can create separate user accounts for each person having a pedometer. The software will recognize when the pedometer is attached to the computer and if you try to download the data in the wrong user account you are given a warning.

Initially the software would only support Windows XP but a recent release has also made the software available for Windows Vista as well. I’ve attempted to find out whether a new version will be made available for Windows 7 but no work yet from the manufacturer.

The display on the pedometer itself will display data for the last seven days but the pedometer itself will store data for up to 45 days after which you will get a few days of warning to down the data on the pedometer. If you ignore the warnings the pedometer will cease collecting data until it is downloaded.

Once data has been downloaded to the computer it is erased from the pedometer so I would definitely recommend backing up the database on the computer regularly to avoid losing anything.

The HJ-720IT pedometer runs on a single 2032 wafer battery. The battery life is roughly 6 months regardless of whether the pedometer is used or not. The device does give you some warning when the battery is low but not very much so when the display begins flashing, make sure you replace the battery soon.

Overall the device has worked flawlessly. It has given me an indication of exactly how sedentary I have actually become which is kind of depressing to think about. Having the data in graph form has been interesting and I can see what times of day I am most idle.

I do wish there was a Macintosh version of the software but that does not seem to be a high priority to Omron making it fairly useless for Mac users. The software will also interface with Omron’s blood pressure devices to allow you to track your blood pressure as well as your walking activities.

While I probably didn’t need a pedometer with a computer interface it has been fun to watch and see how my walking activities have changed since I’ve started using it. I would recommend the HJ-720IT but with the caveat that you need a Windows PC to make it useful. For now, I have to go, I’m still 7,231 steps away from my daily goal and the day is half over.


14 Comments

  1. Alex says:

    Jeff – I use my Omron pedometer with my HealthVault account (www.healthvault.com), which in turn gives me access to a couple neat applications. One is called RouteTracker, allowing me to walk with friends and family or compete to see who walks the most. The other is called Walk Me, which compares the amount of walking you’re doing with other people in our nearby zip code and a similar personal demographic.

    Both of those take the data from the Omron device through the healthvault connection centre so its really easy to set up.

  2. Dianne says:

    Any word yet on update for Windows 7?

    • Jeff Summers says:

      Omron has not released a new version (at least not one I could find) that specifically spells out Windows 7. I was able to install the Vista version of the software. It runs 32-bit but does seem to function. Be sure to install it to Program Files (x86) rather than just Program Files. Windows 7 does not seem to provide enough rights to the Program Files directory to allow the Omron software to run correctly. Sorry I haven’t had a chance to figure out if that can be changed. When I got it to work with Program Files (x86) I was too busy dancing around the living room (which netted me 167 steps I might add) to investigate further.

  3. Gail P Comey says:

    A friend has recently installed software on 64-bit Windows 7 computer.

    • Jeff Summers says:

      I can confirm the software does run on Windows 7 both 32-bit and 64-bit. Unfortunately my Omron pedometer died just after installing the software. The data port stopped working not allowing the device to download. Shortly thereafter the pedometer stopped saving anything beyond the current day. I am going to need to replace the unit. Since it was past the warranty date, I’ll have to buy a new one. Once it arrives I’ll create a new blog entry with any changes I can note between the new one and the one I bought a couple of years ago.

  4. twokatmew says:

    I just tried to install v1.3 of Omron’s Health Mgt software on my Win 7 x64 box, and it wouldn’t install. It wants to install .Net Framework v1.1, but it bombs trying to do so. Any tips on getting Omron’s software to install and run on Win 7 x64?

    TIA!

  5. twokatmew says:

    OK, I solved my own problem…. The secret to installing Omron’s software on Win 7 is to skip the install of .Net Framework 1.1. Win 7 has the components built in, so .Net 1.1 isn’t required. Apparently Omron’s installer isn’t smart enough to know this. Anyway, it runs on Win 7 x64. Yippee!

  6. pedometer says:

    Ilove this one so much, i JUST GET IT FROM MY GIRL FREIND’S GIFT, AND USE IT EVERYDAY FOR MY 10000 STPE EVERYDAY

  7. Lisa says:

    Just thought I’d mention that Walkingspree provides MacOS software to upload the omron pedometer. They have a special right now for Mac users of promo code MACWALK to receive $30.00 off the iWalk plan.

  8. John MacAlister says:

    Thank you VERY much for this help….I tried installing the software on the virtual machine from Win7. It installed but would not download the data from the pedometer. Using your suggestions, I installed the software using Win7 and downloaded the data successfully. Thank you — I think the pedometer works very well and now I have the full functionality, THANKS to you, Jeff!

    John

  9. Luca says:

    Jeff,

    Thank you very much for your help.

    I guess I am in the same same situation John was: running win 7 -64 bit- on a virtual machine (VirtualBox VM), from Mac OS X 10.6.8. I can install the software, but it will not download the data.

    John,

    How did you solve the issue? I did install the software under Program Files(x86); I have also tried to create a folder under it called Omron. It did not work out: the software runs, but I can not upload data from the pedometer.

    Any suggestions greatly appreciated.

    Thanks in advance and happy walking to all,

    GL

  10. Ben says:

    Luca,

    Did you get you issue resolved with VitualBox VM? I have the same situation.

  11. Linda says:

    I bought my Omron HJ 7201T several years ago when they first came out. I finally had to put it in the drawer and not use it because it would never shut off. I was constantly replacing the battery. I would like to be able to use this pedometer. Any suggestions?

    • Jeff Summers says:

      I really wanted to like the Omron HJ720 pedometer but in the end the hassle of trying to keep it working was not worth the time and effort I was expending. I finally gave up on the device and moved to the FitBit. Initially I bought the FitBit Ultra but after a couple of years of constant daily usage it wore out and I replaced it with the FitBit One. It’s small and fits in my pocket and syncs to the Internet and to my iPhone with a bluetooth connection. The FitBit also updates other online exercise tracking sites so I don’t have to use a proprietary system like the Omron required. The final selling point for me was the ability of the FitBit to monitor my sleep patterns. I can finally see why I am so tired in the morning after a night of tossing and turning.

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