Looking for a great running watch? Look no further than Polar's M430.
Polar’s no stranger to fitness accessories — the 40-year-old company’s activity-tracking wearables range from the affordable (the Loop 2 fitness band) to the high-end (the V800). The newest addition to its lineup, the M430, sits somewhere in the middle, and focuses squarely on high-intensity athletics.
“There are plenty of products that track heart rate or GPS metrics, but […] a unique portfolio of capabilities distinguishes the M430 in the sports watch category,” Tom Fowler, President of Polar, said in a statement.
One thing’s for certain: The M430 certainly isn’t wanting for features. It’s fully waterproof and boasts a lightweight, “breathable” wristband that deflects sweat away from the skin. It tracks sleep, core running metrics like calories and distance, and recovery times, and pairs to a smartphone to deliver helpful phone, text, and app notifications. It packs an integrated GPS that charts out your runs on a top-down map in Polar’s companion app. And it offers a range of power modes that extend battery life to nearly 30 hours.
But the M430’s standout is its heart-rate sensor. That’s not surprising — Finland-based Polar developed the first wireless heart-rate monitor in the late ’70s, and hasn’t strayed from fitness training and monitoring equipment since.
Polar said the M430’s heart-rate monitor, which uses a proprietary optical design involving 6 LEDs, is fine-tuned with “industry-leading” algorithms “designed and tested” for reliability. “We’ve put 40 years of experience, research and development into creating the most accurate technology on the market,” Fowler said. “If you care about accuracy, and you should, the M430 really stands out.”
Those fitness and activity metrics sync to the Polar Flow app for smartphones, which uses them to generate interval guidance, identify your optimal heart rate, and build a personalized running program.
The M430 taps Polar’s intelligence software, Smart Coaching, for even greater personalization. An adaptive training feature plots out weekly goals, and live guidance lets you know when you’re reaching — or falling short of — benchmarks. You’ll get a reminder to “walk for 50 minutes or jog for 20 minutes” if you’re short of your daily fitness goal, for example.
Smart Coach goes further, though. A Running Index component shows you the efficiency of your running; Fitness Test lets you gauge fitness levels and see workout progress in real time; and Training Benefit, provides an after-workout debrief.
The M430 starts at $230, which puts it between the $120 Loop and $445 V800. It’s available for pre-order in dark grey, white, and orange at Polar.com, and will begin shipping in May.