This is part of the detailed review for the Polar M450 Cycling Computer and covers the less interesting firmware, software, configuration/pairing and sharing
Firmware, Software & Apps
- Get a Polar Flow online account and register your M450
- Install FlowSync software locally
- Optionally install the Polar Flow app iOS/Android
The Flowsync software is pretty good at synchronising your device with the online FLOW web serve/analytical platform. If you want you can manage much of the settings on the web rather than fiddling with button and small menus on your device.
Pretty much everything is synchronised from your sports profiles (eg what screen you use in each sport) to your personal training zones to your current session’s worth of data.
If firmware is in need of updating it happens.
If you A-GPS (Assisted/Quick GPS fix) needs updating it happens.
All good. As reliable as Garmin or anyone else with a complex environment to support.
You can pair to the mobile Flow app on iOS/Android platforms. I’d generally recommend using the cable option of any manufacturer. There is no WIFI upload option.
You can also pair to Bluetooth SMART bike-related sensors, namely; chest strap, cadence/speed sensor (dual- or single-sensor) or a power meter (which can also provide cadence sometimes).
The Bluetooth SMART chest straps and speed/cadence sensors will almost certainly all work regardless of who makes them. so you can go for the Polar, the Wahoo RPM or any other one.
Bluetooth Power Meters are a bit more troublesome. You need to be sure of compatibility before investing your hard earned cash. Currently that will be power meters from these companies; 4iiii, Stages, PowerTap (selected), and Look/polar.
- With the exception of Polar/Look these are the mostly dual-band ones ie the ones that also support ANT+ eg PowerTap P1 Pedals.
- ANT+ power meters such as the Garmin Vector or Favero bePro can also be supported partially and indirectly via a 4iiii Viiiiva V100 heart rate monitor BRIDGE or via the Wahoo RFLKT+ BRIDGE (in an iOS environment). You will probably just get basic power/cadence rather than the more esoteric L|R balance and other power-based raw metrics. ANT+ indirect support ‘proved’ (here).
Troubleshooting Pairing. I’d say two things; when it says touch your device on the M450 to pair I would do EXACTLY what it says. I would also pair accessories when no other accessories are present and when nearby Bluetooth-enabled phones are turned off.
Polar have many 10s of pre-made sport profiles. They added 20 or so today 20October, for example. The point being; use the pre-made profiles and adapt them slightly for your needs rather than creating a new one.
There is also a degree of intelligence within the profile. For example when I used the outdoor cycling for a while all was fine. I then paired a power meter and was automatically prompted to add power-related pages which the M450 now knew to be relevant.
Within the Sport Profile you can configure these:
- Training Sounds:
- Heart Rate display type and HR Zone limits
- Power eg w/kg or %FTP
- Power rolling average 1s, 3s,5s,15s,30s,60s
- Power Zone limits
- GPS recording on/off (to save battery)
- Bike Settings: Wheel size, crank length, used-sensors [For more than one outdoor bike you would copy the sport profile]
- Speed/Speed Zone
- Autopause Speed/Activity detect speed
Then there are the usual physical setting for you such as age and weight as well as general settings that include: date and time settings; flight mode; pair and sync; and front light.
Polar is not good at sharing at present. Imminent changes are about to be rolled out. Polar WILL deliver these. For current status check (here).
Historically vendors have wanted to keep you inside their software environment; the rationale being, I suppose, that you would then be most likely to upgrade to their next new model rather than that of a competitor.
Historically that made sense. Polar has generally had a good software environment for many, many years. However specialist platforms like STRAVA offer functionality that Garmin, Polar, Suunto and others just couldn’t keep up with. Consequently you and me move our data to those platforms and if you want our business Mr Vendor you’d better let me get data out of your environment and into Strava (or other). Polar have belatedly bought into this.
One logical way forwards then for the manufacturers is to focus on hardware/firmware innovation and leave the software development to someone else.
Currently it is possible to export data manually from the Polar Flow service in TCX or CSV format. Often that means losing your lap data and losing HRV data.