Three weeks ago I was sent the Polar m400, the newest activity tracker/GPS watch from Polar to review. To say that I instantly fell in love with it is putting it mildly. I have tried many other fitness trackers, heart rate monitors and GPS watches before but have found that all of them did one thing well, but was missing the other pieces of the puzzle that would make it my all-in-one go to device.
I’m a picky consumer.
I’m a runner, a triathlete, and a mom trying to maintain my weight and live the healthiest life possible.
My preferred device needs to track ALL of my activities at ALL times. It needs to be part GPS, heart rate monitor, activity tracker, sleep tracker, calorie counter etc. It also needs to be waterproof for swimming, cycling and life in general. Oh and it needs to look cute too.
So was Polar able to meet my shopping list of needs? Yes, yes, yes, and yes! It’s almost like they actually took the time to talk to the people who use activity trackers and GPS watches to find out what they REALLY want.
- Tracks pace, distance and altitude with the built-in GPS
- Timing features include an interval timer (distance or time based) and an end time estimator based on your speed pace
- Back-to-Start directs you to your starting point in the shortest distance possible, allowing urban runners to try new routes or people who travel to run without fear of getting lost
- Keeps tabs on your personal bests and notifies you when you have broken your record. This helps you challenge yourself and stay motivated to keep training and racing
- 24/7 Activity Tracking. Monitor’s everyday activities including counting steps, burned calories and give alerts when it’s time to get up and interrupt long periods of inactivity
- Customisable sport profiles for multiple sports on the wrist unit
- Seamless syncing between smartphone and Polar M400 via Bluetooth Smart
- Fully water-resistant, and its high-contrast and high-resolution display is ideal for outdoor use in any weather condition
- Running Index calculates how running performance is developing over time based on heart rate and speed
- Polar’s Smart Coaching features give guidance throughout your training and shows the effect of your workout at the end of each session
Here’s the promotional video:
So how did the watch live up to my wear testing?
Setting it up was a breeze… sort of. I followed the setup video on the Polar website, entered in my stats on the watch and I was out and running 20 min later. Admittedly it took me 5 min to clue in to the fact that the set up instructions were on Polar’s website. There’s no info in the box and my husband had a good laugh watching my confused face as I kept shaking and looking into the box for the instructions.
The Polar m400 connected to GPS very quickly compared to my Nike RunTrainer (which often doesn’t manage to connect at all). Being able to connect to GPS is a MUST for a GPS watch in my eyes. I don’t have much patience for the connecting part either. I stand and do some dynamic stretching (leg swings) while waiting for the connection and once it connects I want to take off on my run. Being a mom with a family to get back to after my run means that every minute spent waiting for my watch to connect is another minute lost from my run. Thankfully the Polar m400 connects fast so that I don’t lose any precious running time.
During a run it displays everything I needed and more. Current pace, average pace, distance, total time, heart rate etc. It was all there at a glance, and anything else I wanted to see was a button push away. I liked that accidentally pausing, stopping or deleting my workout was nearly impossible unlike other devices I’ve tried. Ending a run required me to PUSH and HOLD for 3 seconds which means I didn’t lose my workout to cyberspace. I was not sent Polar’s H7 Heart rate sensor so I could not test the heart rate functions.
The watch even does dual interval timers for long runs and has an autopause feature for when you get stuck at a crazy long light. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!!
After my run it congratulated me:
And provided me with a nice run summary:
As an activity tracker the Polar m400 ROCKS! I wore it around for a few days to track my movement while also wearing my Fit Bit One. The number of steps and calories burned that the two devices recorded was nearly identical. It even gave me a “gentle” reminder to get off my butt whenever I was inactive for too long.
I loved that it gave me options to help me calculate how much more activity I needed to reach my 100% goal:
It tracks sleep too and syncs via bluetooth to my iPhone to give me some amazing activity data:
The Polar Flow website gives additional diary data:
The folks at Polar tell me that VERY VERY soon the m400 will have a software update allowing it to connect to MyFitnessPal too!
UPDATE: Polar m400 NOW CONNECTS TO MYFITNESSPAL
- Affordable – without heart rate sensor retails for $209.99 CDN and with heart rate sensor retails for $259.99 CDN
- Easy to use.
- Clear display.
- Tracks everything! Steps, GPS, heart rate, sleep etc
- Software updates to add features.
- Syncs with Polar Flow website, iphone app and desktop software.
- Long lasting battery.
- Charges quickly.
- Connects to GPS quickly.
- The watch is too bulky to wear with a summer dress at work. It would be nice if the face popped out from the band and had a clip that could be clipped onto me somewhere else discretely like I do with my fit Bit.
- Sync has to be initiated by user – it doesn’t happen in the background like a Fit Bit.
All in all I LOVED the Polar m400 so much that I even wore it for the marathon this past Sunday. It’s very unfortunate that I have to send it back now that my review period is complete. This Polar m4oo model with heart rate sensor is definitely going on my Christmas Wish List!
Question: What features are you looking for in an activity tracker?