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Polar M200 Review

Polar M200
  • Editor Rating
  • Rated 4 stars
£115 to £130
  • 80%

  • Polar M200
  • Reviewed by:
  • Published on:
  • Last modified: 21st June 2018
  • Heart Rate Monitor functions
    Editor: 85%
  • Heart Rate Accuracy
    Editor: 95%
  • Activity Tracking features
    Editor: 90%
  • Running functions
    Editor: 80%
  • Cycling functions
    Editor: 60%
  • Fitness monitoring features
    Editor: 85%
  • Ease of Use
    Editor: 85%
  • Battery Life
    Editor: 85%

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

Polar M200 GPS running watch with off the wrist heart rate

Release Date (UK) > December 2016

Product it replaced > None. This is a new product.

Suggested Retail Price (when new) > £129.50

Update > (April 2017) Polar have finally released the replacement to the Polar M400 – the Polar M430 is an advanced GPS running watch with wrist based heart rate. Aimed primarily at runners, but also suitable for any other exerciser thanks to Polar’s 100 different Sport Profiles supported by the M430.

If you want something a little more technical than this M200, consider the Polar M430

Who’s it For?

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

M200 running watch shown in different colours

Key features

Video Review

The very best way to get a hands on feel for the Polar M200 is to watch my 15 minute video review. As with all my video reviews I have attempted to walk the viewer through the video to showcase it’s main features and functions.

In this video you will also get a glimpse of the Polar M400 and the Garmin Forerunner 35 used to compare display intensity.

>>> Top of Review

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.

  • Polar M430 review – new April 2017 – replacing the brilliant M400. Features wrist based HR and built-in GPS etc
  • Polar M600 review – wearable tech for Android phone users
  • Polar M400 review – chest strap Heart Rate with Fitness Test, Recovery Analysis, Training Load, 5 x HR Zones & more
  • Polar V800 review – everything in the M400 with triathlon support, swim-metrics and more

Comparison Table – Polar M200, M400 & V800

A comparison table of M200 - M400 - V800

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.

A comparison table M200, A300 and A360

Best from the Competitors

The M200’s main features are it’s focus on running features, activity tracker, wrist based heart rate and built-in GPS. With this in mind the obvious direct alternative from the main competitors would be the Garmin Forerunner 35 and TomTom Spark 3.

Both features running specific features (laps, pace alerts etc), integrated GPS and wrist based heart rate.

Polar M200 rear view showing off the wrist LED heart rate sensors

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 ( 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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Pros & Cons


  • Integrated GPS
  • Customisable Training Views
  • Supports up to 15 different Sport Profiles eg. run, walk, gym etc
  • Optical wrist-based heart rate measurement
  • Waterproof (suitable for swimming)
  • Changeable wristbands
  • Feedback after training
  • 24/7 activity tracking
  • Running Program
  • Inactivity alert
  • Activity goal and activity benefit
  • Sleep duration and quality
  • Polar Flow web service and app
  • Up to 6 day battery life
  • Cons

  • Does not utilise Polar's Sports Zones (5 x HR zones) in watch
  • Display Intensity could have been better, as per Polar M400
  • I'd like to see an option for wrist gestures when in time of day mode
  • polar-m200-black-fitness-watch

    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.

    Polar M200 heart rate accuracy test

    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.

    Polar M200 - my HR - check heart rate ay any time

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    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

    Activity Tracking

    The Polar M200 joins many other Polar fitness watches by providing extensive activity tracking functionality. The M200 tracks your daily steps, distance and calories.

    This activity data is sent to the Polar Flow app (iOs and Android) which provides an hourly breakdown of activity intensity throughout the day and sleep quality and duration during the night.

    Your progress towards completing your daily activity goal is indicated around the OUTSIDE of the M200’s bezel. Dots around the outside of the bezel illuminate as you progress towards your daily activity target.

    In the photograph below the M200 shows 31% of my daily step target completed.

    Polar m200 showing daily activity progress - 31% towards goal

    Daily Activity Target

    When setting up the M200 the user selects from one of three activity levels eg.

    • Level 1) inactive, sedentary / office worker,
    • Level 2) moderately active with periods of standing/walking
    • Level 3) very active, manual worker, gardener etc. From this selection the Polar M200 sets a daily activity target.

    Polar Flow - Activity Level 1 description

    Polar Flow - Activity Level 2 description

    Polar Flow - Activity Level 3 description

    At anytime it is possible to view the tasks required to complete the daily target, eg. 1 hour walking, 2 hours standing or 20 minutes running.

    Throughout the day the activity indicator around the face of the watch fills in to indicate your progression towards the daily activity target.

    Inactivity Alerts

    As with other popular fitness trackers the M200 will provide an inactivity alert following periods of inactivity over 1 hour. Being inactive has a negative impact on your blood circulation, metabolism and energy expenditure. These subtle reminders are designed to get you up and moving.

    Note > they are TURNED OFF during the night.
    >>> Top of Review

    Running Program

    Using your Polar M200 Polar make training for a running event easy with their unique personal and adaptive training plan accessed from Polar Flow web-service.

    Currently the running program supports 4 different popular event distances > 5K, 10K, half marathon and marathon. Choose your event and Polar will provide a training plan with a personalised daily schedule specifically tailored for you and your fitness goals.

    Polar's Running Program training schedule

    Many people that run simply do the same thing day in day out. Every session is a 5K jog at the same pace or similar. This type of training will not lead to progression.In fact it’s not really training at all, it’s just keeping fit.

    The Polar Running Program will add different aspects of running to your training from speed endurance, intervals and strength training and much more.

    The schedule below clearly illustrates the different training styles prescribed by the running program.

    Polar Running Program daily training schedule

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    Customise your Sport Profiles

    The M200 can be personalised to suit you and your favourites sports. Polar have their own Sport Profiles (over 80 at last count).

    The M200 can support up to 15 sports in the watch at any one time. When training select the sport profile for that session  – anything from RUN, to bike, walk, gym, cardio, sail etc. Different sports have different significant metrics.

    See what you want with Training Views

    Different people want to see different parameters when training. What I want to see when running may be different to what Mo Farah wants to see. That’s why Polar have customisable sport profiles.

    Using the Polar Flow web service select the sports that are relevant to YOU. Then, if required, edit each profile to provide the metrics / parameters that interest you most for each sport.

    Customise your training views with Polar Flow

    Excluding the “World Record Comparison” and the “Cooper Test” training views the M200 can support 7 customised training views. The example above is using just 3.

    Training View Options

    Each Training View can be either 1 or 2 lines per page. The options for each metric come from the following main headings, Time, Environment, Body Measurement, Distance and Speed.

    The screen grabs below show the specific parameters available under each heading. NOTE > you can MIX and MATCH any combination per training page. eg. Speed/Pace & Time of Day or Distance & Altitude in the same training view.

    Polar M200 Speed and Pace display options Polar M200 distance display options Polar M200 body measurement training view options Environmental training view metrics available in the M200 Time parameters available in sport profile training views

    Training Mode view

    When in training mode and long press provides access to the SPORT PROFILES. It is now possible to scroll through all your chosen sport profiles eg. Running, Cycling, Windsurf, Gym, Indoor Bike etc.

    Training Pages

    Once the required sports profile has been selected you are presented with your TRAINING PAGES. As discussed earlier, the training pages are all TWO lines of data.

    The examples below show a training page with Heart Rate & Distance and Time of Day & Duration of exercise.

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    Polar Flow Website

    The Polar Flow web service provides an extra dimension to training analysis and daily activity review. The service is 100% free and everything is offered to all users – no premium subscriptions required.

    Daily Activity Summary – showing total steps, active time, time at various activity levels, calories burnt and INACTIVITY stamps (yes, I do sit a lot)

    Polar Flow showing an normal work day with 4 inactivity alerts

    Graphical Summaries – the Heart Rate, Speed and Elevation graphs can be ZOOMED if required. Detailed time/distance versus Heart Rate, Speed (or Pace) and Altitude. Also shows a breakdown of time spent in the 5 x Polar Sports zones (HR zones)

    Details of heart rate, speed / pace and altitude versus distance

    Exercise Data on Smartphone

    The Polar Flow app is available for iOs and Android devices. It’s easy to use, comprehensive and fully featured. Of all the supporting fitness apps, Polar Flow is my personal favourite. All the data from the Polar M200 is seamlessly uploaded to the Polar Flow app using the smartphone Bluetooth connection.

    Polar Flow gives daily, weekly and monthly activity summary,  Training Benefit feedback, exercise summaries, maps, heart rate graphs and time in zones feedback.

    Polar Flow exercise summary showing distance, average heart rate and calories  Polar Flow summary with average speed, max speed and ascent / descent data

    Route map from Polar M200 ride displayed on Polar Flow app  Daily activity summary showing periods of various activity levels from sitting, walking and running

    >>> Back to Top

    Running Index

    The Polar Running Program will hopefully make you a better, stronger and faster runner. But how do you know if you are progressing.

    The answer is Polar’s Running Index. Monitored regularly over time you will see how your running efficiency is improving. The Polar Running Index score is calculated automatically every time you run.

    It’s a calculation based on your heart rate and speed / distance data collected from the M200’s GPS sensor. A higher reading indicates that you can run faster with less effort.

    Polar Running Index progression

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    Polar Training Benefit

    At the end of the training session, the M200 provides feedback on everything from Average Heart Rate, Calories, Time, Distance, Average Speed etc. With the Polar Flow app you also get TRAINING BENEFIT.

    Training Benefit gives a summary of what was achieved from the latest training session. For people looking to achieve a specific objective from their training sessions, Training Benefit will hopefully reinforce that objective whether it was a FAT BURNING session, an AEROBIC ENDURANCE session of a SPEED ENDURANCE interval session.

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    Video Presentations

    Polar – Find the Joy of Running

    The Polar M200 is for people who love to run. Whether that’s a slow jog around your local park or a lead contender in a major marathon.

    It’s not got some of the technical features found in the M400 and V800 but for a huge majority of runners it does everything you need from waking you up in the morning to tracking your daily steps.

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    Wrist Based Heart Rate Accuracy

    Polar weren’t the first to produce watches with strapless heart rate monitors, far from it. However, unlike other companies they wanted to develop their own technology and not use a third party’s tech.

    The result is a very accurate wrist acquired heart rate system taking your pulse from the LED’s on the back of the watch. The Polar M600 and A360 use similar technology and we found these to be 95% accurate for about 95% of the time, if not better.

    Polar M200 LED heart rate sensors on back of watch

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    Built-in GPS

    Having an integrated GPS is nothing new. Garmin have been doing it for over a decade and Polar have since the Polar RC3 running watch.

    What the Polar M200 has is a VERY SMALL and discrete GPS and aerial system. The M200 is suitable for all wrist sizes, large and small. The M200’s built-in GPS keeps track of your pace, distance and altitude. After your run, you can see your route on Polar Flow

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    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.

    Polar M200 Size Chart

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    Technical Specification


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


    • 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)


    • 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

    >>> Back to Top

    Summaries and Conclusions of the M200 in-depth review

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