Training with Polar M200
Since getting into triathlon, I've been running, biking, and swimming with the Polar RCX3. It's been good to me, but it was time to mix things up and I've been wanting to try out a non-chest strap based tracker. Polar kindly sent me the M200 to test and play with, and I have been pleasantly surprised with this rechargeable watch!
-Polar Flow app features
-Wrist-based heart rate (ORM)
-Manual and auto laps
-Vibra alerts (can turn off)
-Waterproof (suitable for swimming)
-4 MB Flash memory
-Rechargeable 180 mAh lithium polymer battery
The M200 by Polar is a clean, no-frills design with a circular face and one button on each side. (There is no touch screen on this model.) On the back of the watch, you'll find an optical heart-rate monitor, but it can gauge HR using the chest strap if you prefer. I appreciated the option, although I have found the ORM incredibly accurate.
A nifty design for this watch is the ability to swap out the faceplate into different bands. This means you can share it with a partner (yeah, right. Get your own!), change colors easily, and don’t have to whine to Polar when a band breaks. Quick fix.
Despite the large face, it’s a comfortable and lightweight watch that you'll easily forget is on your wrist. As I have done several times now. It's a good things it's waterproof (unless most Fitbit models).
The face-plate has a unique way of charging with a USB cable (found in the box) and charges easily in the wall, computer, tablet, etc.
The app, called Polar Flow (iOS and Android), syncs with the M200 via Bluetooth, as well as with Strava, MyFitnessPal, TrainingPeak,s and Google Fit.
This was my one frustrating moment with the M200. It took me a good hour and a half, and several failed attempts to have the watch sync with the app for the initial time. That could be due to my older Android, but it was irritating nonetheless. Since the initial sync, however, there have been no issues with connecting to the app in a timely manner.
The app gives you break downs of the day, week, and month with information such as steps, distance, active time, calories burned, as well as sleep patterns. You can also preset your training plan into the app so that you don't have to
The M200 carries the basic essentials for most runners, with one exception: It doesn't show cadence. There's built-in GPS, allowing you to take it out without a phone and sync later if you so choose.
When you do sync it with your phone, it'll show more info about your training than on the display.
GPS map, mile/km splits, calories, heart rate zone break down and map, altitude. I was impressed with the amount of stats it accurately gave up considering it runs about the same price as less functional fitness trackers.
The watch comes with a couple of pre-set activities, but you can add plenty more through the app. This is a handy feature for fitness instructors and groupX class junkies. It even has Les Mills classes specifically, a big win in my book. The waterproof (to 30 meters) has a program for swimming, but the M200 doesn't track your strokes. I think that's a shame, as that could have made this watch a lot more desirable for Garmin lovers, but I wasn't surprised since my Polar RCX3 was similar.
I think it's worth noting that as just a pedometer (not using the training features), this sucker lasted TWO WEEKS before I needed to charge it. I was blown away!
Compared to other ORM designs
The ORM for Polar is significantly more accurate than FitBit, and lasts longer when not using the training features. This may be because Fitbit doesn’t boast waterproof as Polar does, but as you sweat with the Charge HR for example, the heart rates starts getting pretty dodgy or will struggle to read all together. You will not find this to be the case with the M200.
For $150 bucks, you can't beat this guy. No, it's not for the super tech driven triathlete. If you want swim stats, look elsewhere. But for OCR, running, and gym rats, it does just the trick. Even if all you're looking for a nicer pedometer, I suggest grabbing this one over other brands. It may be $20-ish more, but waterproof and that battery life is worth the small price jump.