Physical Health · Product Review

Polar M200 Review

So last week as I posted on my instagram @happyandfitproject my Fitbit Charge HR strap broke. As the band is non replaceable on this model and it was over two years old, I decided an upgrade was in order (not to mention the fact I have been secretly looking).

Key features I was looking for:

  • Integrated GPS
  • Under $200-250
  • Ability to track heart rate through training sessions

Confession: I knew I would save money by buying it online, but I am very much a person who likes to touch and try on the different products, not to mention the instant gratification of taking a product home. Once I make my mind up on something, I want it and I want it now, THERE IS NO WAITING! Not to mention the 5-10 business days it normally takes to receive items, the pain of finding a car park and the lines at the post office (can you tell I really don’t like online shopping)!

So I started researching different models (another key confession must be made at this point I am a serial over thinker!). I think I read about 30 different reviews on watches and comparisons between different models. The Polar M200 was coming up a winner, yes it was a budget watch, but it was consistently reviewed as being a good running watch, easy to use and having all the functions that I required. As per suggestions from the Instagram fitfam, I did explore other options such as the Polar M400 and the new Polar M430, Garmin Forerunner 25 and the Fitbit Surge but these were all above my ideal price point.

So the day came for me to purchase the watch, and to my luck Amart had a sale on not only the Polar M200, but the Polar M400 and Garmin Forerunner 35. So I was really torn between the model I wanted to purchase. I did like the flashy lights and extra features of the M400 and Forerunner 35, but I wasn’t entirely sure about spending that kind of cash (with upcoming holidays, needing new runners, and trying to save for the wedding).  So Cop Nerd convinced me to try them all on and make my decision. This was a good idea; the M400 and Surge were both gigantic on my wrist with Forerunner 35 fitting the best.

In the end the battle of the wallet won and I opted for the M200 and I am incredibly happy with my decision (read further to find out why).

The Specs of the different models I was considering:

Polar M200

Polar M400

Garmin Forerunner 35

Fitbit Surge

GPS

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Heart Rate

Wrist

Band

Wrist

Wrist

Duration of Heart Rate

Training

Training

All day

All day

Activity Guide

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Calories

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Multifitness Program Training

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Sleep Duration and Quality

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Inactivity Alert

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Steps and Distance

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Weight

40g

56g

37.3

32

Water Resistance

Waterproof

WR30

5ATM

5ATM

Bluetooth

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Smart Notifications

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Vibration Alerts

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

Audio Alerts

No

Yes

Yes

?

Music Controls

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

The Comparison……
For a 24 hour period I wore both my new Polar M200 and my old Fitbit Charge HR to see how they compare….How does the Polar M200 compare to the others in day to day use?

Syncing and ease of use: both are slow at times and I did manually have to connect the M200 at some points. But otherwise both apps are easy to use.

Steps:  The M200 displays an activity goal, rather than a step goal on the watch face, with you actually having to connect to the phone to see the actual steps. This activity goal can be adjusted according to your goal/lifestyle, and I have to admit I do not mind this concept. As you can see it is pretty obvious both the Fitbit and Polar have different algorithms for calculating active minutes and distance.

Sleep: The Polar app (on the left below) doesn’t give you the pretty graph like that of Fitbit (on the right), however the results are pretty similar and I do actually prefer the display of Polar. The Polar app does give you a clock display, which shows how your overall day was broken up, and I think that is pretty sweet. 

Exercise Tracking: The Polar M200 has the option of adding up to 20 different workouts to select from when tracking. These include Running Indoors, Outdoors, Yoga, Pilates, Circuit Training, Strength Training, Golf, Skiing, Walking (pretty much anything including Les Mills Classes).

The Fitbit Charge HR only has the option of Hike, Walk, Run or Workout (note this might be different from the newer models).

The Run: For this I compared both the Polar M200, with the Firbit Charge HR and Garmin Forerunner 220 with Heart rate strap (Cop Nerd’s) on a 5km run.

Garmin Forerunner 220

Polar M200

Fitbit Charge HR

Lap

Time

Heart Rate

Time

Heart Rate

Time

Heart Rate

1

5:27

5:25

157

5:24

2

5:41

5:40

174

5:38

3

5:58

5:52

176

5:55

4

5:50

5:50

179

5:47

5

5:40

5:38

186

5:36

Average

5:44

175

5:42

174

5:40

171

The integrated GPS is definitely a feature I am glad I went with. The Polar M200, displayed my pace at that exact moment, rather than just giving me an average, like the Fitbit app does. I am actually really surprised by results of the average heart rate between the wrist based Polar and the Heart Rate Strap with Garmin. I am definitely glad that I went for the wrist based heart rate, as the strap would annoy me no end after a period of time.

Overall: Being a “running” based watch, the Polar M200, gives you a lot more detail in regards to run statistics with lots of pretty graphs for pace and heart rate, things that I love, so I would say that I am definitely a fan. I also love how the Polar M200 breaks down heart rate to an average for each individual km as well as an overall average, rather than trying to have to work it out of a graph! However, the watch also functions well as a daily activity tracker. For a watch that has been described as “budget” I think the Polar M200 definitely packs a lot of punches.

DISCLAIMER: This is not a paid post, I am not sponsored by any product and the views expressed in the post are entirely my own.

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