A few weeks ago, I was sent the Polar M 400 to review. Full disclosure, I did receive this product for a trial period to review but all opinions are my own.
Currently, my collection of fitness technologies include:
- Garmin Forerunner 210 – GPS watch
- Polar FT7 – Heart rate monitor
- Jawbone UP 24 – Activity & sleep tracker
So what if there was one device that could perform all these functions… enter the Polar M400. This device has all the capabilities of these devices in one single watch. This means less money spent on products, less chargers to lose and not having to wear multiple devices at once. To say I was excited about this product would be an understatement!
When I received the package, I opened it up and found no instructions. I had no idea what to do with the watch. Luckily, trusty Google led me to an online manual and set-up instructions on Polar’s website. I assume that the zero instructions is because I am using a beta-model for testing purposes where if you purchased the product you would receive full instructions, but don’t quote me on that. If not… there’s always Google.
I’ve been wearing the watch for 3 weeks straight now and using it for multiple purposes so I think I can give a pretty fair review on my experience with it.
As an activity tracker, I love the functionality of the M400. I set mine so the front screen shows my progress towards my daily activity goal which I found motivating. I loved being able to see how many steps I had travelled right on the watch vs going to an app like my current activity tracker. I also noted a huge difference between my Polar M400 and Jawbone UP 24 – I mentioned previously in my review that the Jawbone UP overestimated my steps and I noticed on average about a 3000 step discrepancy. The Polar seemed to be much more accurate.
In addition to seeing your status on the watch, there is a Polar Flow app that the watch can connect to on your phone via Bluetooth. The Polar Flow app breaks down your activity into time spent sleeping, sitting, standing, walking and running. While hitting a target goal of steps is motivating, I also found it motivating to reduce my time sitting as research has shown how detrimental it can be to our health.
The tracker comes with an inactivity alert to let you know when you’ve been sitting for too long and it tracks how many times you are given that alert in a day.
Sleep is tracked and broken down into restful and restless sleep.
Unfortunately, I didn’t receive the heart rate monitor to trial with this product so I cannot comment on that functionality. However, as I mentioned, I already own a Polar Heart rate monitor and Polar is known for its heart rate monitors, so I have no doubt it would be great.
I didn’t get a chance to test out the GPS function a lot with the Garmin because I haven’t been running as much. However, from the experience I did have with it, it was amazing.
It locates satellites way faster than my Garmin. The display functionality is wonderful. You can set up to 4 lines on the screen and customize what you want to see. So total time, distance, average pace, current pace, etc. You can also set up multiple different sport profiles and customize the screen based on which activity you are completing.
It also includes an altitude feature which can be really great for hill training.
For me, I was very interested to see the interval timer because I use run/walk intervals for running. This was one area the monitor let me down. While you can set intervals, I didn’t like the display screen of the intervals because it only showed you your time on the interval but no other data, so I would have to be constantly switching between screens during a run. Also, the beep was very quiet so I think with headphones on I would barely be able to hear it.
A cool feature the watch includes is an estimated finish time predictor, this could really come in handy during races and save you doing some mental math. I wish I had the watch earlier so I could have tried out this feature during the New York City Marathon.
- All in one device
- Multiple personalized screen options
- Step tracker accurate
- Comfortable, even for sleep
- Excellent app and computer software
- User friendly
- Long lasting battery (up to 3 weeks for activity tracker use, less with GPS)
- Interval screen doesn’t show distance & low beeper volume
- Does not auto-sync with the app, must be done manually
- Aesthetics – while I don’t mind the styling for a GPS watch, as an activity tracker to be worn daily, I wasn’t sold. It’s too big and bulky and certainly not feminine looking
Would I purchase?
Yes and no. As a GPS watch I would absolutely purchase this. It has some great features and functionality that I think beat out my current Garmin. However, as an activity tracker I would not purchase simply due to the styling. I wouldn’t want to wear this watch daily as my activity tracker because it’s not attractive and too bulky.
Do you have multiple devices for fitness tracking? Would you purchase this watch as an all-in-one device?