Polar M200 Accuracy Tests
With the rapid emergence of wrist based heart rate technology I have nominated myself to the role of checking their accuracy. To date I have completed tests on the accuracy of the strapless HR acquired by the TomTom Spark 3, Garmin Vivoactive HR and Garmin Vivosmart HR. Each tests involves comparing the heart rate trace acquired directly from the wrist to that acquired using the traditional chest strap style sensor.
The objective of this test was to determine the accuracy of the heart rate acquired by the LED sensors on the back of the Polar M200 compared to the HR data acquired using a gold standard control. In this instance the control model is a Polar M450 paired to a Polar H7 Bluetooth chest strap style sensor.
Test Equipment Used
- Polar M200 wrist based HR (product on test)
- Polar H7 Heart Rate sensor as control (chest strap style – Bluetooth)
- Polar M450 GPS bike computer paired with the chest sensor above
Some More HR Accuracy Tests
- Test 1 > TomTom Spark 3 (wrist based) & Garmin Vivosmart HR+ (wrist based) versus chest sensor
- Test 2 > Garmin Vivoactive HR+ (wrist based HR) versus chest sensor & Suunto Spartan
- Test 3 > Polar M200 (wrist based) versus Polar M450 with Polar H7 chest strap
- Test 4 > TomTom Spark 3 (wrist based) and Vivoactive HR+ versus chest strap HR sensor
- Test 5 > TomTom Adventurer (wrist based) against Garmin Edge 820 with BlueLeza chest strap
- Test 6 > Garmin Forerunner 35 (wrist based) v Polar M450 with H7 chest strap
- Test 7 > Polar M430 (wrist based) v Suunto Spartan and Garmin Edge 820 with chest strap
- Test 8 > Polar OH1 (armband optical HR sensor) v chest strap (BlueLeza and Polar OH1)
I decided to perform the tests on my bike. The wrist based HR sensors suffer most when used on a bike due to the vibration through the handlebars. I consider this ride to be a WORSE CASE scenario as the road surface on the A149 is far from smooth. The full ride data can be found here for the M200 and here for the M450.
I have overlaid the heart rate graph from the M200 on top of the M450’s. Remember, the M200 is wrist based, the M450 HR data comes from a chest strap.
I have now used the M200 six times for everything from a 23 mile bike ride to a 5 mile run, gym session and turbo train workout. My conclusion from these tests is that the Polar M200’s wrist based HR system is BRILLIANT. Somewhere in the region of 98% accurate compared to a chest strap HR sensor. If you want the convenience of strapless heart rate monitoring and a GPS for accurate speed & distance then I highly recommend the Polar M200.
Supporting Data from Test 1
The images below show the data extracted from the M450 and M200 displayed on the Polar Flow website. As you can see the average HR of the two devices is 137bpm and 138bpm, in other words almost identical. The calorie burn is 931 kcal versus 939 kcalof the M200, again, almost identical. The Time in Zone data is also very similar.
Polar M450 – Chest Strap HR
Polar M200 – wrist based heart rate