Polar M400 short review by Ash Senyk
Verdict: Extremely good VALUE and ATTRACTIVE day watch.
Anyone following the development of GPS sports watches will notice that prices have tumbled in recent years. Polar have answered the call with the new M400 which includes GPS and incorporated ‘fitness tracking’ for general daily calorie burn. The watch is very well packaged in a high-quality large screen, stainless steel buttons and comes water resistant up to 30 meters. At the core of this watch it gets a moderate battery life of 8 hours.
Suitable for 5-10km, 1/2 marathon and full marathon runners! Ultra runners as well 🙂
Comes with Micro USB charger cable. Heart Rate version (H7 Heart Rate) features Bluetooth signal, suitable for combining with a smart phone app to also record your heart rate levels on your phone.
As a simple and easy to use GPS, it satisfies all the boxes. I ran an ultramarthon (7 hours) with this watch and if performed well over the distance. Further to this, the battery life was deep enough to last the distance with about 20% remaining at the end of the run. Without using the GPS (through lack of training) the watch lasts for about 3-4 weeks, long enough to warrant a recharge with a MicroUSB cable.
‘Finish Time estimator’
Several of my friends have been using the built in ‘Finish Time estimator’ function which calculates your finishing time for a set distance. Its fairly simple to setup this function by going into the Menu, Timers, then selecting the finish time estimator distance (5km, 10 km, miles or marathon etc). You can even put in 9 miles and it will give you a fairly close estimate ‘live’ while your running of the time taken to cover the distance.
‘Custom Screen options’
As a day watch it performs very well. Polar have bridged the gap between functional sports watch and fashion. You can choose a traditional Analog screen (like Big ben the clock), Large digits (for vision impaired people like me) or even put your name on the watch screen. I have enjoyed using different screens in the time I have been using the watch.
GPS watches have left a lot to be desired with pure quality. Some of the buttons on other models are relatively small, hard to press and plastic. In the Irish winter when your hands get frozen by the wind, it makes pressing buttons challenging. The m400 has lovely discreet but positive stainless steel buttons. They work just fine and rarely did I find myself pressing buttons by mistake. The wrist band and buckle are firm and strong as well and easily replaceable by ordering the parts from Polar. Something which other ‘all in one’ units wont let you do.
‘Bike / multisport’
When you select the GPS mode to start the watch for a typical run, you are given the option of what sport you can choose.’Running’ Cycling’ Other outdoor’ and ‘other indoor are the options. Of course Indoor use means that the GPS doesnt switch on – perfect for Heart Rate training indoors. * this is also a useful function if the watch is running low on battery and you want to conserve power without tracking your GPS movements.
In bike mode it simply displays ‘speed’ in KMS or MPH. Simple I know, but effective. The only drawback is that watch doesnt sync with Polar cadence/speed sensors. Something which isn’t that necessary for me as I prefer to keep Bike GPS and running GPS separate anyway.
I never thought the activity tracker would be so much fun. It works away in the background using the internal sensor to predict your activity. It simply works by movement and picks up when your in motion like walking, running or cycling. The Activity is a guide really to gauge movement on a daily basis. If your sitting still for too long it spits up a notice saying ‘Its time to start moving’. Something that would annoy me if your working in a desk job, but a cute reminder to getup and fetch a coffee.
Pros: Personal trainer software, interval training and attractive display.
Cons: <8 hours batter life on GPS.