Polar Fitness Tracker Reviews 2018
updated October 5, 2018
When it comes to wearable heart rate monitors, Polar Fitness are the real deal. They’ve been producing portable fitness monitors since 1977, which is more than twice as long as any of their competitors. In this article, we delve into the Polar Fitness line-up. We’ll review their most popular fitness monitors and discover why you should invest in the Polar advantage.
About Polar Fitness
If you thought that FitBit were the innovators when it comes to wearable heart rate monitors, it’s about time you reviewed your history. Decades before FitBit came into existence, a Finnish professor by the name of Seppo Saynajakangas had invented the world’s first battery operated fingertip heart rate monitor. The device was created as a training aid for the Finnish national cross country ski team. Seppo then went on to found Polar Electro.
That was way back in 1977. Their first wearable heart rate monitor came out a year later. In 1984, Polar introduced the first wearable heart monitor that could connect with a computer for analysis. Decades before FitBit and Garmin started putting out activity trackers and GPS monitor based fitness devices, Polar were innovating and perfecting the production of wearable fitness technology.
The Polar Fitness 2018 line-up features an impressive range of products to meet the needs of every person interested in monitoring their health and activity. Scroll down to see our review of the most popular Polar products.
Polar Heart Rate Fitness Monitor Reviews
The Polar FT7 is an activity and sleep tracker which is water proof down to 30 meters. That means that you can swim with this device on your wrist. However, it does not provide you with any swimming metrics. The battery life, according to the manual, is 12 days. In reality, most users are finding that the device lasts for between 7-10 days before it needs recharging. Charging is done via a micro USB. Bluetooth is built-in for syncing with the Polar Flow app.
The Polar FT7 has interchangeable bands. This allows you to change up the look of the device with different colors. This is a slightly large wrist based monitor. It has an extremely soft band and provides a very comfortable fit. However, for some reason the band tends to collect a lot of lint and dust. The band has a secure locking mechanism, so you never have to worry about it slipping off your wrist. The full color touch screen display works well. However, the touch screen display will not work under water. The display is low resolution, but is easily visible. The touch screen is very responsive, unlike many competitor products. There is a cool wrist turnover feature on the FT7. This allows you to flick your wrist to check the time and to allow the activity tracker to kick into action. There is one physical button on the side of the device, which is how you manually turn on the display.
The optical heart rate sensor is on the underside of the device. This comes into play for workouts, but will monitor your heart rate 24/7. It does, however, also work for swimming. The optical sensor is not 100% accurate (none are), but it is better than most out there when it comes to such activities as weight lifting and crossfit. It is not as accurate as what you would get if you were wearing a chest heart rate monitor. The cool thing, though, is that the FT7 can be paired with the H1 chest strap heart rate monitor to get really accurate heart rate readings. This is a smart option when you’re doing dynamic workouts that involve plyometrics. It should be noted that the Polar FT7 will not relay your heart rate to the Polar Flow app while you are swimming if you are using the H7 chest heart rate monitor. It will only do so if you use the built-in optical heart rate sensors. An extra advantage of using the H1 heart rate monitor with the FT7 is that it allows you to do a special fitness test to help you to determine what your VO2 Max is.The Polar FT7 includes a unique Energy Pointer feature which tells you if the main effect of your training is fitness improvement or fat burning. Smart Calorie features use your personal data to produce accurate calories burned.
As with all of the products in the Polar line-up, the FT7 is easy to use. You simply swipe up or down to get to the ‘My Day’ screen or the ‘Training’ screen. The My Day app gives you an analysis of your progress toward your daily movement goals. Polar bases your goal not just on your steps, but on your other movement activities as well. Swiping up on the device will bring you to your recent activities. Scrolling down brings you to the training screen. Here you select the type of workout that you want to engage in. You get plenty of options here, and you can customise them on the Polar Flow App.
The Polar FT7 includes move reminders, a daily alarm, a do not disturb mode and it will relay your phone notifications. The Polar FT7 is one of the best activity trackers currently on the market. It’s not the cheapest device you’ll come across, but it will give you a solid, in depth, reliable performance every time.
The Polar M400 is a GPS sports watch and activity tracker. It is Polar’s attempt to combine GPS watches and activity trackers into a single device. The Polar M400 pairs with a Bluetooth Heart rate monitor. It provides around 8 hours of battery life when used in GPS mode. When used in activity mode, you will get about 24 days of battery life, which is pretty impressive.
You can sync the Polar M400 to the Polar Flow application via Bluetooth or USB. You can use any USB which is a real advantage. Many devices require a proprietary USB that, if you lose, leaves you unable to recharge. You won’t have that problem here.
The M400 has move reminder and and alarm function. Unfortunately, it does not feature a silent alarm. The M400 will display the time, date and the percentage of your daily goal you have achieved. On the ‘Today’s Activity’ screen, you can delve into detail about your day. The diary screen gives you a log of all of your workouts. You also have screens for settings, fitness tests, and timers.
Throughout the day, the M400 will track your steps, distance, calories and sleep. It automatically logs your sleep without requiring any manual input, which is a nice feature. During activities, the Polar M400 will monitor your distance, your duration, your route, your average maximum pace, calories, speed, training benefit, heart rate zones, altitude and provide you with laps data. This is a very impressive amount of data collection. On the Polar Flow app, you are able to analyze this data in minute detail.
The M400 has an attractive design, which is both rugged and extremely comfortable. The on-device software is straightforward and easy to navigate. It simply consists of a main menu and sub-menus. The screen is easily viewable in sunlight.
We really like the fact that the daily goal on the M400 is not solely based on steps taken. So, if you do a workout that is not running intensive, such as crossfit or weight training, so long as you are wearing your chest strap monitor, you will still be working towards your goal.
On the downside, the M400 does not feature a standard stopwatch. It’s sleep analysis is also very basic in comparison to what else is on the market. The M400 will not automatically sync your data. The M400 will not work with any other mapping services. However, the device does work with My Fitness Pal.
The M400 is a device for athletes, coaches personal trainers and fitness enthusiasts. The ideal M400 user will want to wear a sports watch that looks like a sports watch all day long. She wants 24/7 activity tracking and she wants all of the data from her workout that she can possibly get.
The Polar FT4 is a flexible heart rate monitor from one of the world’s most reputed manufacturers of heart rate monitors. That gives you confidence that this is going to be a quality product. One of the first thing that you will notice about this monitor is how comfortable the flexible chest strap is. This is in sharp contrast the stiff straps that you get on lower quality straps. The strap can also be put through the washing machine.
The monitor has basic wrist watch functions that are easy to set up and and to toggle through such features as time, heart rate, workout duration, calories burned and HRM relative to target range. The display on this monitor is very easy to read. You have your choice of text sizes on the screen, including large, readable numbers. This makes the FT4 a god choice for the elderly and those who have limited eyesight.
The Polar FT4 is available in a range of colors, including pink, purple, black, orange, silver, black, bold and brown. The calorie count that is produced on this unit is extremely reliable. In addition, the flexibility of the chest strap makes it ideal for picking up your heart rate while you are bouncing in the midst of your cardio training. This is in sharp contrast to most other models on the market, which do a horrible job of capturing your heart rate during cardio.
If you are in search of a highly reliable simple heart rate monitor that doesn’t include a gps function, then the Polar FT4 is the model for you.
Compare Polar Watches
So, which is the best polar watch? That depends on what your main purpose for investing in the device is. If you are after a Polar fitness tracker that will give you complete and in depth workout and sports analysis, then you need the M400 watch. But, it you are more of a general exerciser who simply wants a stylish band that will track you daily activity and get you moving more, your band if choice will probably be the Polar Loop 2.
Polar Flow Mobile App Review
The home screen of the Polar Flow app shows you in a clock format how active you’ve been throughout the day. It will also show you the time you have been immobile. A color coded format will show you how active you have been. You daily goal is prominently displayed. As mentioned in the individual product reviews, a unique aspect of Polar’s daily goal system is that it is not based on steps, but calories burned.
Unfortunately the sleep analysis on the Polar Flow is not up to the standard that you would expect. In fact, it is virtually non-existent. The devices will accurately track your sleep, but the app does nothing with that data.
The training diary screen allows you to view all of your different workouts. You are provided with very detailed breakdowns of you stats for each activity. Your heart rate information is graphed to make it easy to see. For running you can track your route and take a look at what your heart rate was at various parts of the course.
With the web application, you get a little more control over your training information than you do on the mobile app. You can also connect to MyFitnessPal.
The Polar Flow is a solid application. It shows all of your activity information and provides detailed workout analysis. The only real negative is that it doesn’t have a lot of sleep analysis.
Alternatives to Polar Fitness Trackers
The Karseen U2 fitness tracker has a built-in 3D sensor that registers you steps when you swing your arms. This means that it will monitor your whole body not just your arm. This sleek, slimline wrist based fitness tracker provides you with a distance and step counter, time display, calorie counter, sedentary alerts, sleep quality monitor and call/SMS/SNS alerts.
This tracker connects to the VeryFitPro app, allowing for complete analysis of your training diagnostics. You also get sleep cycle analysis, showing deep, light and wake sleep plus a silent vibrating alarm.
The FitBit Charge 2 is a comfortably designed sports watch that provides accurate time and step tracking. The version 2 Charge does provide you with heart rate monitoring but this is not as accurate as the monitoring that you get with Polar. The Charge is a replacement for the FitBit Force that is available in two colors and three sizes. It measures steps and distance and also calculate flights of stairs climbed. It will also work with your phone’s GPS to map your specific route in the paired phone app.
The Fitbit Alta HR Fitness Tracker is a slimline wrist based tracker that will accurately record all of your all-day activities, including the steps, calories consumed and distance walked. The sleep monitor will monitor your deep sleep, light sleep and awake sleep every day, allowing you to adjust your routine for a better sleep. You can tap to see your stats, time & notifications on an OLED display, plus customize your clock face. Operating temperature of Fitbit Alta HR Fitness Tracker is 14 degree to 113 degree fahrenheit and maximum operating altitude is 30,000 feet. Multiple motion tracking records a variety of exercises, such as walking, running and riding to help you track your workouts.
Polar are the oldest and most experienced fitness tracking company in the world. Their extensive range of lifestyle, sports and pro training trackers offer a competitive alternative to such brands as Garmin and FitBit. If you are after a serious fitness watch that will give you detailed workout analysis, you should definitely check out the Polar FT7 Sports watch and Fitness Tracker. And, if sleep analysis is not important to you, you should definitely check out their range of lifestyle trackers. The Polar Flow app is one of the best in the business.
If you’re looking for some cool technology and fitness gadgets to provide your every training need, click the following link to find the best and latest in fitness technology.
For an in depth review of the Misfit range of fitness monitors, go here, the Misfit fitness monitors are another great fitness tracker on the market that are at least worth taking a look at. Don't forget to check our massive guide for the best fitness trackers available out there, too.