Polar M200 Review – Designed for runners?

Polar M200 PRODUCT REVIEW

AT A GLANCE: QUICK RATINGS

Heart Rate Functions

85%

Fitness / Sport Features

85%

Ease of Use

85%

Battery Life

85%

Where To Get It

A Deep Dive Into Polar M200

The Polar M200 is a GPS running watch with wrist based heart rate. Designed for runners of all levels from recreational joggers to competitive club runners.

With it’s integrated 24/7 activity tracker, GPS, off the wrist heart rate and supported by the brilliant Polar Flow app and website.

The Polar M200 GPS sports watch has been reviewed by Tristan Haskins aka CardioCritic

  • Who Is It For?

  • Video Review

  • Pros

  • Cons

This is what I’ve been waiting for … Polar’s answer to the Garmin Forerunner 35. A swim-proof GPS running watch for the masses with wrist based heart rate, 24/7 activity tracking and smartphone notifications.

If you like to run / exercise outdoors, want freedom from a chest strap and something to motivate you throughout the day to keep active then the Polar M200 could be precisely what you’ve been looking for.

The M200 has been designed with runners in mind with auto-lap, Polar’s Running Program and Running Index.

If you are concerned about the accuracy of the strapless heart rate sensor, don’t be, refer to my M200 HR accuracy tests for further confirmation.

However, it’s not just for runners, the M200 supports Polar Sport Profiles allowing you to decide the sport profiles included in your watch like cycling, gym, weight training, cardio, football etc.

Polar have been a leading in heart rate monitors since 1976 – we have more reviews of Polar heart rate monitors here

Key Features

  • Designed specifically with RUNNERS in mind (all levels from park jogger to club runner)
  • Customisable Sport Profiles – run, walk, gym, sail etc.
  • Features built-in GPS
  • Polar’s wrist-based heart rate sensors (accuracy tests)
  • 24/7 activity tracking, steps, distance & calories burnt
  • Inactivity alerts giving you a subtle reminder to move
  • Swim-proof, the M200 is rated water resistant for surface swimming
  • Data upload to Polar Flow via Bluetooth connection to smartphone app and/or USB cable to Mac/Windows PC
  • Includes Polar’s Smart Coaching features including Training Benefit
  • Dedicated Running Program & Running Index
  • Battery life up to 6 days (with 24/7 activity tracking + 1h/day of training with GPS and HR)
  • Polar M200 Video Presentations
  • Two Sizes – Small/Medium : 13.5cm to 17cm & Medium/Large : 15cm to 21cm
  • Polar M200 Video Review
  • Technical Specification
  • Review Conclusion

Heart Rate Accuracy

The inclusion of wrist based LED heart rate sensors has been the most significant innovation in the last few years.

What must be stressed is that one brands sensor is NOT the same as another.

Mio’s, Garmin Elevate and Polar’s are 3 of the very best.

To prove the point I took the Polar M200 on a 23 mile bike ride acquiring heart rate from the wrist. As a control I used a Polar M450 bike computer with the Polar H7  chest strap sensor. The graph below shows the heart rate traces acquired from the Polar M200 (wrist based) in BLUE and the HR data from the Polar M450 (chest strap) in RED.

My conclusion from several tests is the Polar M200’s wrist based HR system is BRILLIANT. Somewhere in the region of 98% accurate compared to a chest strap HR sensor.

My HR – at any time

If you wish to check your heart rate at any time during the day, just put the M200 in MY HR mode. When in My HR mode the LED sensors on the back of the M200 acquire heart rate directly from the wrist. This heart rate is DISPLAY only and it is NOT recorded.

Wearable Tech Running Fans

If you’re in to wearable technology then Android users may want to consider the Polar M600, powered by Android Wear or for users of iPhone the Apple Watch 2 Nike+. Both these watches feature built-in GPS, are swim proof, have wrist based heart rate and can store music on their internal memory for playback via Bluetooth headphones.

Polar M600 - Android Wear connected smartwatch, supports Strava application

Apple Watch Nike+ - iPhone connected smartwatch comes with Nike+ Run Club pre-installed

More Features

Activity Tracking

Running Program

Customise your Sport Profiles

Training Mode View

Training Pages

Polar Flow Website

Running Index

Polar Training Benefit

Wrist Based Heart Rate Accuracy

Built-in GPS

Size Chart

The Polar M200 watch module can be popped out and fitted in to a new case and strap. The Polar M200 watch strap and case is available in two sizes. Small/Medium and Medium/Large.

The small/medium is for wrists of circumference 135-170mm and medium/large is for wrists of circumference 150-210mm.

Technical Specification

Measurements

  • Weight -40g
  • Thickness – 12 mm
  • Display size  – visible area diameter 26 mm, 1342 pixels

Tech

  • Wrist-based heart rate
  • Integrated GPS with SiRFInstantFix™ satellite prediction technology
  • Activity sensor
  • Manual and auto laps
  • Vibration alerts
  • Water resistant (suitable for swimming)
  • 4 MB Flash memory
  • Rechargeable 180 mAh lithium polymer battery
  • Battery duration up to 6 days (with 24/7 activity tracking + 1h/day of training with GPS and optical heart rate, without smart notifications)

Connectivity

  • Standard USB-A for data sync with PC or Mac
  • Bluetooth Smart with mobile (and optional heart rate sensors and weight scales)
  • FlowSync compatible with computer running Mac OS X 10.6 or later and Windows XP, 7, 8, 10
  • Polar Flow mobile app compatibility
  • Updatable software
  • UI languages English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Finnish, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Turkish, Indonesian, Russian, Polish, Czech

Top Alternatives

Next Model UP

The M200 includes some of the best and most commonly used features of superior models like the M400 and the V800 including Running Index, Training Benefit and Running Program. However several useful technical features have been omitted for example, Fitness Test, Training Load, running cadence, pedal cadence support and Zone Lock (all found in M400 and V800).

If you want more wearable tech connectivity the next model up would be the M600 … however, it falls short in the RUNNING specific features.

The Polar M600 is for lovers of smartphone tech that want a reliable GPS running watch with wrist based heart rate. It is NOT a dedicated running watch like the M200.

Next Model DOWN

Models below the M200 would be the A360 or the A300. If your main focus is keeping fit and less to do with running Polar have the A300 reviewed here.

The A300 is an activity tracker with optional (chest strap) heart rate that very effectively helps to guide the user between a Fat Burning intensity and Fitness Improving intensity. It does NOT have a built in GPS.

However, it features the Polar Fitness Test an effective way of keeping track of fitness progression. The Polar A360 is more of a regular activity tracker with wrist based heart rate. Stylish and discrete more aimed at the Fitbit market.

REVIEW SUMMARY

The Polar M200 is a sensibly priced GPS sports watch with accurate wrist based heart rate.

Suppor of Polar’s SPORTS PROFILES gives the owner the ability to set up training screen for sports relevant to them. My test M200 had, Cycling, Running, Indoor Cycling, Walking, Windsurfing etc.

Each sport profile has it’s own customisable training view (4 views, 1 or 2 lines per view) giving the user access to the training metrics relevant to them. As well being a competent GPS sports watch the Polar M200 is a 24/7 activity tracker recording daily steps and calories burnt.

The markers around the outside of the bezel display the percentage of your daily activity target completed so far. The M200 is supported by one of the best smartphone apps (Polar Flow) and online webservices (flow.polar.com) giving clear, precise and user friendly feedback on your daily activity levels and exercise intensity.

Taking in to consideration overall functionality, features, ease of use, build quality and price I have awarded the Polar M200 a review rating of 4/5 stars.

Had it features (in the watch) Polar’s 5 x Sports Zones, a brighter display (like the M400) and the option for wrist gestures in time of day mode it would have been very close to 5/5 stars … don’t forget to watch my VIDEO REVIEW of the Polar M200 ..

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Last Updated on March 28, 2019

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