Review – Polar M450

Polar M450 Cycling Computer

Polar M450 Cycling Computer

Polar made a big mistake with the M450. They got the price wrong. Instead of £120 it should be more like £210*. Someone mixed the digits up, heads will roll 🙂

It’s designed for a cyclist who wants to train, race and who probably knows what a power meter is.

It supports GPS, HR, power and cadence.

Positives: It has inbuilt tests and functionality to determine recovery, VO2max and you get training load/recovery on Polar Flow. You can create and follow custom workouts. Battery life of over 12 hours is good.

I like the online platform POLAR FLOW as it is but which will soon be opened up to enable data to flow better from it to other platforms, such as STRAVA, that some people prefer to use. Polar Flow is also used to manage many of the screens and data that then appear on the watch – providing you remember to sync your changes this is a great way to manage the device.

Clear display of all the usual metrics and a handy front-facing LED light built into the device make it very usable.

It has some clever and pleasantly surprising features. For example when it detects a power meter it prompts you to let it add the power meter displays to the appropriate profile. Nice.

Negatives: It will not work directly with ANT+ sensors and, for once in a new 2015 device, it does NOT have smartphone notifications. You could make criticisms of the M450 by comparing to some of the more esoteric features a top-end Garmin watch at £300 – at over twice the price that would not be a fair comparison.

It is not designed to be a navigational bike computer.

Lacks TSS & IF – if you don’t know what they are, don’t worry! NP is shown in Polar Flow.

Comments: Are you any of these people?

Switcher: For cyclists thinking of switching from Garmin or others, I would say that whilst it does not support ANT+, I get around that by using a 4iiii Viiiiva HRM (speed+cadence+power) device to convert the signal. So you can buy the M450 REALLY cheaply without a HRM…then buy your own Viiiiva HRM to give you the HR data AND to convert your existing ANT+ sensors’ signals to Bluetooth.

Annoyed Triathlete: You could consider it as a dedicated bike computer in a duathlon/triathlon, rather than relying on your multisport watch and getting that off your wrist and onto your handlebars. So you could buy one of these to go with your V800 or 920XT(+Viiiiva)

First Time Cyclist: If you are new to cycling then just buy one. For your sensor purchases make sure that they are all dual band ie Bluetooth SMART and ANT+, that way you will be future-proofed.

Runner-cum-Triathlete: You don’t really need a swim watch so keep your existing run watch and buy this for your bike.

Navigator / Adventurer: It’s not for you. Get the V650.

I would say I’m more the annoyed triathlete who has finally come around to the view that a dedicated bike computer is a good idea. If I was racing around Oulton Park in their autumn duathlon then the M450 would be great – maybe I’d keep a Garmin 6×0/9×0 on my wrist. I’m undecided on the M450 in the sense that I THINK I might like a few more metrics on the screen and I THINK I would use the maps offered by the V650. Decisions. Decisions.

* Please note that the £210 comment at the start is jokey. The point standing is that it is very well priced.

Alternatives: The aging Garmin Edge 500 or the aging MIO Cyclo 105 bundle are at a similar price point. But the Polar stands out well above these two. Other, more recent, Garmin additions at the lower price points like the Edge 25 do not offer the same level of features and functions in my opinion. The Polar V650 is larger and more navigationally focussed; the v650 is priced around GBP150 without HRM and is also tempting but serving a different cycling need (work out what YOU need).

Detailed Review: (Here) is a detailed review of the M450.

Price:

Polar M450 £119.95 Link $169.95 Link

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