Polar recently unveiled their latest watch – the M400, which is mostly designed to bridge the gap between GPS watches and activity trackers. For starters, the Polar M400 GPS watch is the mostly competitively priced device in its segment yet is able to deliver a superb performance in several areas. The M400 is Polar’s second GPS watch and includes a slew of features including tracking ability for calories burned and sleep, distance travelled and steps taken and even sleep tracking.
This Polar GPS watch can be ordered in white, black, blue and pink color variants, and can also be mated with a compatible chest based heart rate monitor. Compatible heart rate monitors can be non-Polar devices as long as they support Bluetooth LE technology (Low Energy) dubbed Bluetooth Smart. Take note that Garmin heart rate sensors cannot be paired with this Polar GPS watch for the fact that they use ANT + Technology and not Bluetooth Smart.
What’s in the Box?
Highlights of the Polar M400 GPS Watch
Design of the Polar GPS Running Watch
Lightweight at just 56.6 grams and 11.5 mm thick, makes the M400 GPS watch much slimmer than other watches in its class. Its sits snuggly around your wrist with a rubber watch strap fastened by a robust security loop, and is extremely comfortable to wear even for longer periods. The rear of the Polar M400 GPS running watch is crafted of stainless steel and features a small rubber flap that shields a microUSB port, which is also a noteworthy feature of the M400 considering it doesn’t use a proprietary dock connector.
The package of the M400 Polar GPS watch includes a USB cable, which can be a smartphone adapter or computer for charging as well as transfer of data. Although the rubber flap protects the USB port from water seeping in, the USB port of the M400 Polar GPS running watch is internally waterproof as the watch itself, allowing you to take the plunge up to 30 meters, making it a great companion in the shower or while swimming.
Coming to the front of the M400 GPS watch, it is appointed with five buttons – three on the right and two on the left. The backlight can be activated by pressing the top left button, while the bottom left is the back and end button. Moving forward, scrolling can be done by pressing the top right button, while the middle is to select and start activities and the bottom right for scrolling down. That’s not all – some of the buttons of the Polar GPS watch also have secondary uses such as enabling a button lock by holding the top left button, syncing the watch by holding the bottom left button or scrolling through the many watch faces by pressing and holding down on the top right button.
The 128×128-pixel resolution black and white screen of the Polar M400 GPS watch is large, making it easy to see what’s going on when it’s charging, which is a feature other smaller fitness watches struggle with. Adding to this, the display of the M400 GPS fitness watch is a monochrome dot matrix style and is boasts an excellent backlight, making it easy to read even in some low visibility situations.
With regards to battery life, the Polar watch is simply outstanding with up to eight hours of use with the GPS turned on, making it good for two or three weeks worth of regular training regimes. And again to reiterate, one of the most powerful features of the Polar GPS watch is inarguably its simple charging capabilities thanks to the use of micro USB rather than charging and proprietary cradles that you often break or loose.
Key Features of the Polar M400 GPS Watch
With a recent firmware update, the Polar M400 GPS watch is able to display notifications such as text and call alerts. New to the M400 is it Running Estimate option, which like the name suggests estimates how long it’ll take you to complete a run at the current pace you’re running. Next new feature of the M400 is PR (Personal Records/Bests) support, which lets you know each time you break a new PR for a set time/distance benchmark.
Additionally, the M400 GPS watch also comes with a “Back to Start” feature that will help you compass back to your start point, which is great if you’re lost and helps retrace your path. The screen of the M400allows you to view several key metrics such as fat burn percentage of calories, calories burned, start time, duration, average pace, max altitude, max pace, descent, ascent, best lap time, auto lap times and average lap time.
The internal storage of the Polar M400 running watch can alone store up to an astounding 30 hours of past run data, and this vital information can then be uploaded to Polar’s website and mobile app either by connecting your smartphone over Bluetooth or using your computer. Just like most activity trackers, the M40 will alert you when you’ve been idle for longer than an hour, and there’s also a sleep tracking feature that is activated automatically once you go to bed.
Calories burned, activity time and steps can be viewed by simply opening up the Activity menu. The Polar M400 GPS watch is highly customizable in that it offers four different watch faces to choose from, one with an analog face, a face with date, time and a daily activity progress bar, one with your name instead of the progress bar and a face with time in large numbers. Other features worth mentioning include an alarm that can be set to wake you up in the morning.
M400 Software & Support
The M400 can be easily synced with your mobile device by holding down the left square button, but you will need to get the FlowSync software in order to sync it from your PC to the Polar Flow website. Although you will mostly use the app, the Polar Flow website does offer additional features such as Relive, which displays information from your runs such as pace, time and distance and street view images on locations on your running path.
Nevertheless, both the website and mobile app will indicate how many hours you spent sitting, resting, standing, jogging and walking, They will also show you the map of your daily runs, calories burned distance travelled and of course your steps taken among others. The Polar Flow app even congratulates you when you achieve your active goals for the day, and can also be synced with Apple’s Health app, giving you another option to view your data.
Pros of the Polar M400 GPS Watch
Cons of the M400 GPS Watch
The Polar GPS watch offers a powerful set of features, some that aren’t available even the best GPS watch in its segment. It charges with its USB port so there’s no worrying about proprietary charging cables or cradles. Among other metrics, it also provides information on your sleep patterns and daily activities, which can be viewed either on the mobile app or website. If you’re looking for a fitness watch that arrives with a plethora of features and one that won’t break the bank, the Polar M400 GPS running watch is definitely worth a second look.