Outdoor Gear Review: Polar M400

polar m400

As any health nut will tell you, exercise is one of the most important aspects of a good quality life. Many exercise enthusiasts, avid athletes and casual walkers alike like to know how their activities are affecting their bodies. There is great fascination found in the physical aspects of a person’s own body and the reactions that are happening inside. In fact, the demand for information of one’s vitals, workout statistics and exercise effectiveness has been so large in recent years that many companies have marketed state of the art products to track people’s bodies and give data on their movement. One such company is Polar, and their product is the amazing Polar M400.

What Is the Polar M400?

This device is a GPS Smart Sports Watch and is sold by Polar fitness. While the watch exhibits many features and is able to display several statistics at once, the main component it is marketed for is the GPS tracker. The Global Positioning System is made up of about 30 satellites orbiting Earth, and the watch is hooked up to an electronic tracker that receives signals from two satellites and measures the distance between the two. GPS ensures that the watch is tracking your position and movement wherever you are, so even though it may not seem as exciting a feature as measuring your sleep quality, the factor of GPS tracking is what holds the functioning wristwatch together.

In addition to the ever-important and useful GPS tracker, the Polar M400 is made up of multiple other features that can help you better understand your fitness and overall health. Boasting thorough technology that tracks steps taken, distance traveled and calories burned, this watch is a virtual representation of your every movement. It even has a function that monitors your sleep quality. In accordance with the aforementioned GPS, it is able to figure out based on movement patterns what time you fell asleep, how restless your sleep was, and if you got up at any time. This is, without exaggeration, the watch of the future.

What Are The Specifications of the Polar M400?

The Polar M400 has a width of only 11.5 mm and an overall weight of just 56.6 grams. The small size and lightness of the watch attracts many people who want as little impedance as possible on their wrists. The display screen measures 33 mm, and on the edges of the screen you will find five buttons, serving the functions of up, down, select, back and light. The screen itself is 128×128 pixels, and there is impressive resolution. On the back of the watch is a micro-USB port for charging, which you can use with most computer and smartphone adapters.

One of the unique features of the watch is the capacity to be water resistant. Rain, showers and swimming pools will not deter the effectiveness of this quality device. In fact, it is water resistant up to 30 meters underwater, so as long as deep sea diving is not on your daily itinerary, you can wear your watch wherever you go. You can also hook up your smartphone heart monitor app via Bluetooth to track your heart rate as well, making the watch even more useful. The battery life is another unique feature, as the watch can go 8 hours tracking GPS and heart rate, but a whopping 24 days when only tracking steps taken and distance traveled. For best results, charge once a week or once every few days if you are tracking heart rate during most workouts.

What Is the Price?

The watch will range from about $160 to $320 depending on how it is purchased. If you only buy the watch, you will be looking at the lower end of the price range. Start adding in H7 heart monitor pairing and a heart rate strap, and you can expect to pay $100 more than you would have, although the benefits that come with the monitor and strap are tremendous. As is the case with almost every product on the market today, Amazon is a prime marketplace, and free shipping is often included in the purchase. This does not mean, however, that Amazon is your only option.

Buying the watch from Polar directly will rack up a price of just under $200. The added expertise of the sales force there may be more appealing to you if you want to get all of your questions answered before buying. The Polar website displays many offers for different fitness devices, and once you have selected the product you desire, online payment with a credit card is your next step. This is just as easy as ordering from Amazon, but there is always available help from the support staff at Polar to attend to any inquiries you might have.

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How Does It Compare on the Market?

This is hardly the only fitness tracking watch on the market. The three main contenders to match the performance of the Polar M400 smartwatch are Fitbit Versa, TomTom Spark 3 and Garmin Vivosport, and they all have impressive features.

Fitbit Versa

The Fitbit Versa will bring in a price of just under $200 whether it be bought from Amazon or from Fitbit’s own website. It has many similar features to the M400, as will be the case with the other fitness watches as well. The Versa displays distance tracking and step monitoring as well and is even water resistant up to 50 meters. Because of these features, it ranks high among ease of use, but it could be more efficient with uploading music from a phone or computer, and unlike the M400, the Versa does not come with an onboard GPS.

Fitbit’s website guarantees a complete refund up to 45 days after the initial purchase. All you have to do is send it back in, and you will get your money back in no time.

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Ease of Use

Build Quality

Assembly Time

Warranty

TomTom Spark 3

A new TomTom Spark 3 smartwatch will go for anywhere between $160 and $200 depending on the seller. This watch is a top contender with the M400 as it is capable of tracking GPS location and heart rate, has a sleek, light design and can go three weeks without charging for just activity tracking. Sounds pretty familiar to the M400, right? The main differences lie in the display screen and menu. TomTom does not have the easiest menu to navigate, and additionally, music and Bluetooth are tricky to set up, with mixed results as to how clear sound will come through.

TomTom has a limited one-year warranty to replace or repair any products you’ve purchased. The only catch here is the keyword “limited.” TomTom has the final say in whether or not a product you have is deserving of a full refund.

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Ease of Use

Build Quality

Assembly Time

Warranty

Garmin Vivosport

Finally, the Garmin Vivosport is yet another option for a smart fitness watch. This watch will sell for a solid $170 on the Garmin website and on Amazon, and it is very similar to the M400 as well. Heart rate monitoring, built-in GPS, and activity tracking are all features the Vivosport proudly shows off. It is fully waterproof as well and is equipped with a one-week battery for fitness tracking. The very important GPS feature can be hazy, however, as the setup time for acquiring a GPS signal is quite a bit longer than the M400.

This watch also has a one-year limited warranty, and the company will repair or refund a purchase at their own discretion. It is a solid and common warranty, but because of the limiting factor.

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Ease of Use

Build Quality

Assembly Time

Warranty

Pros and Cons

After reviewing the contenders, it is a bit easier to distinguish the Polar M400 from its competition, and it is clear in seeing the benefits and the shortcomings in this product. Some of these shortcomings include the hookups required to monitor heart rate actively, and the high price itself. However, when considering all other aspects of the M400, it is no wonder the price is higher than the other watches on the market. This watch has a fully functioning GPS system, fantastic ability to sync Bluetooth with a phone or computer, compatibility with other health apps, activity tracking that includes registering sleep patterns and it is even waterproof. Two out of the three watches compared to this one are waterproof as well, and two out of three have built-in GPS, but the M400 is the only watch in this comparison that has both of these features.

Battery life is yet another area where this product trumps the others. A four-week activity tracking battery life is the longest of the watches in question by a difference of a week from the next closest brand. The M400 is also equipped with the best functioning music synching system of the four watches, for the others all exhibit slight issues with Bluetooth or music compatibility. The pros clearly outweigh the cons here for the Polar watch, and the device speaks for itself in terms of bang for your buck.

An overall rating of this device includes a 5/5 star ease of use, 4.5/5 star build quality because of the small drawback of needing extra gear to set up heart rate monitoring and a 4.5/5 star assembly time for this reason as well. The warranty is a two-year limited warranty, and a receipt of your purchase is necessary for any refunds you require. Because of the limited aspect, it does not score 5/5 for warranty, but it has a guarantee that stretches a year longer than its main competitors. A score of 4.5/5 for warranty is appropriate here.

Conclusion

Out of the four watches compared in this article, the Polar M400 reigns supreme. It is furnished with accurate GPS tracking, recording ability for steps taken and distance traveled, sleep monitoring capabilities, Bluetooth synching power, an extensive battery life, water-resistant material, and, if you wish to spend a bit more money and buy the heart band add-on, heart rate monitoring intelligence. Sure, the price is a bit high, especially when put up against fitness watches not mentioned in this article that sell for as little as $30, but there is a reason for these price differences, and it is the same reason why a MacBook costs $500 more than a 2GB laptop. With higher quality comes a higher cost, and generally, the performance is worth the price. If you are willing to spend $200 for a fitness band because you are serious about your exercise and wish to have access to a whole bundle of information and data regarding your movement and vitals, the Polar M400 is perfect for you. You will be getting one of the best and most advanced fitness watches on the market that will perform all the duties you look for in a sports device, and then some.


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