AT A GLANCE: QUICK RATINGS
Heart Rate Functions
Fitness / Sport Features
Ease of Use
Where To Get It
A Deep Dive Into Polar A300
We have now finished a long term test of this great new Polar activity tracking fitness monitor and have pleasure in adding our findings below. The Polar A300 heart rate monitor watch has been reviewed by Tristan Haskins aka CardioCritic
Who Is It For?
If you like the idea of monitoring your daily activity with the intention of improving your general fitness and well being then the A300 could be just what you are looking for. The A300 fits in the Polar range between the Loop (bracelet style activity tracker) and the M400 (similar to this A300 with addition of GPS for running / biking etc). Polar started selling heart rate monitors in 1976. CardioCritic have tested the majority of Polar heart rate monitors & fitness trackers – using them for the first time in 1996
The A300 can be paired with the Polar H7 if you’d like to add heart rate monitoring to the other fitness parameters being monitored. The A300 will tell you when it’s time to move, count your daily steps and tell you AT A GLANCE how far in to your daily activity goal you are. PS. Don’t forget to watch our video review of the A300
Burn Fat? or Improve Fitness?
If you don’t want / need to accurately monitor running / cycling speed or distance and just want to focus on keeping active to improve your fitness then the A300 is perfect for you. A key feature of the A300 is it’s clear definition between time spent BURING FAT and exercise time spent IMPROVING CARDIO fitness.
Main Features and Functions
Super Clear Display
It’s very nicely made with an EXCEPTIONALLY easy to read display that has clear and sharp contrast from all angles in all but the lowest light conditions. The back-light is perfect, illuminating the digits to a bright blue hue (see pics below) It’s very well constructed with an EXCEPTIONALLY easy to read display that has clear and sharp contrast from all angles and in all but the lowest light conditions. And, very importantly, it’s very easy to navigate and pair with a smartphone.
The subtle “Time to Move” vibration on your wrist is a great motivator and really did prompt me to get up and take a quick walk around the office or even a short sprint around the block. Achieving your daily activity goal will soon become part of your daily routine
- Clear definition of FAT BURN and FITNESS IMPROVING exercise intensity
- Fitness Test giving an estimated VO2 Max score
- Provides everyday feedback to guide you towards a more active lifestyle
- Tracks daily activity, calories, steps and distance covered
- Vibrating inactivity alerts help you keep moving throughout the day
- Syncs with free Polar Flow app and web service for additional workout planning, motivation and guidance
- H7 Bluetooth Smart heart rate sensor included for continuous, accurate heart rate
- Powerful, rechargeable battery lasts up to four weeks
- Easily charges with simple plug and play USB
- Automatically tracks your sleep time and quality,
- Get a better understanding of your sleep patterns and how they affect your activity levels
- Changeable wristband
- Six additional vibrantly colored wristbands are sold separately
- Fully waterproof for swimming
Want more Tech?
You will find a full breakdown of the Polar A300 Technical Specification here.
Fat Burn and Fitness Improving
This is a very handy feature of the A300. While exercising you are presented with very clear time in FAT BURN zone, and time in FITNESS IMPROVING zone. Using the same Polar EnergyPointer that the FT7 uses, the A300 features this easy-to-use pointer which tells you during exercising if the main effect of your training is fat burning or fitness improvement.
The images above are taken DURING EXERCISE. The A300 conveniently shows the exercise time spent in both FAT BURNING zone (currently the active intensity) and the FITNESS IMPROVING zone. The 127 bpm bar in the middle is the point where the A300 has decided I am moving from fat burn to fitness improving.
Daily Activity Tracker
Knowing how much, or how little activity you partake in during the day is important as it both motivates you to do more and rewards you when you have achieved your daily goal. The A300 has an ACTIVITY BAR (optionally under the time of day screen) that fills throughout the day as you move about your daily business. It is possible to scroll down to ACTIVITY to see precisely what level of activity you have achieved as the images below show. This data includes STEPS, DISTANCE (approx) and CALORIES BURNT
Polar Fitness Test
This is something Polar have had in their HRM’s for some time, as far back as the Polar M51/52 over a decade ago. It’s a sophisticated and reliable VO2 Max test that requires the participant to lie down for approximately 5 minutes. During this time the heart rate is sampled in detail – more than just beats per minute. Specific parts of the heart rate data are monitored and reviewed. At the end of the test the A300 presents you with a VO2 Max score as shown below. If you would like to know more about the Polar Fitness test please refer to their website.
Post Exercise Review on the Watch
At the end of your training session the A300 will clearly highlight the headline parameters of the session. In this end of training summary you are presented with duration, calories burnt, average heart rate, maximum heart rate and time in both fat burn and fitness improving HR zones.
Review on iPhone / Android – Polar Flow App
The Polar A300 will transmit your training data to your Smartphone at the press (and hold) of a button. Using Bluetooth 4 the data is sent wirelessly to your smartphone running the Polar Flow APP. This extra dimension of your training data is great at helping monitor improvements, motivating you and also to help ensure you don’t over-train. Any data uploaded to the Polar Flow app on your phone is then sent onwards to your Polar Flow account proper (for view via Mac or Windows PC).
Zooming in on the Heart Rate Graph
The same data viewed on PC / Mac via Polar Flow webservice
Next Model UP
There is no direct model up from the A300. Depending what you’re looking for it’s either the M200, M400 or Polar A360.
If you might like to abandon the heart rate monitor strap and have a watch that takes the heart rate from the wrist, then please consider the Polar A360 (stylish activity tracker)
Next Model DOWN
The next model down is the Polar Loop & Loop 2. The Loop range are Polar’s entry level activity trackers, more similar in style to a Fitbit or Garmin Vivofit fitness band.
Tricky one this as the A300 has been very well thought out product. It’s a really nice upgrade from a traditional bracelet style activity monitor like the FitBit, Jawbone, Polar Loop and Pulsense PS100. Is there anything we’d like Polar to have done differently? Not really, as with the M400, V800 and Loop it would be great to be able to set a DIFFERENT activity goal for the weekends…. something we’ll be asking Polar about. All it needs is the additional ability to add a different level for each day of the week. There must be MANY PEOPLE out there just like me that are at least TWICE as active at the weekend than on work days.
In other words…. it’s pretty perfect as it is. If you want a traditional styled wrist unit, as opposed to the bracelet style of the Loop and you do NOT need the internal GPS for running, cycling etc, then the A300 will tick all the right boxes.
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