Polar today announced the M600 sports watch.
It’s positioned as a 247, top-end sports watch for generalist sporty people who perhaps; run, do gym and do classes.
It’s priced initially at: UK£265, US$330.
It’s an innovative move for the company by building Polar hardware around Google’s Android Wear platform – rather than developing their own on-board sports and app platform.
ESSENTIAL READING: Polar M600 Functions and Features.
On the face of it the M600 seems to have addressed VERY many concerns from pervious models:
- It’s got a great colour screen
- It’s waterproof enough for swimming
- Cumbersome charging methods of previous models, A360/V800/M400 have been improved
- It effectively now has a ‘Polar app store’ through Android Wear/Google Play
- Optical HR sensor improvement seems to have been taken very seriously
- Onboard music
- All the usual Polar screens and sport profiles are there , not ever likes them but they are functional and wide-ranging in what they cover. There’s also some of Polar’s clever metrics. A different bundle to Garmin but the basics are pretty much the same.
However new concerns are now raised
- This device targets men and women alike, with the latter being a rapidly growing part of the market. Is the device too big for the smaller wristed?
- To address the need of more serious runners we await testing to prove current running pace accuracy (GPS/GLONASS). Note: cadence and indoor speed should also be obtained from inbuilt accelerometer, again this needs testing.
- The iOS integration by Android Wear is currently quite functionally limited. v2 released later in 2016
- At US$330 it is pushing the limit of what the target market will bear, in my opinion. Only the Apple Watch is likely to be more expensive. Similarly-intended fitness/sports devices from the likes of Fitbit (Surge $204), Samsung (Gear Fit2 $190), Motorolla (Moto 360 Gen 2, $264), Sony (Smart Watch 3 $135), Garmin (vivoactive HR, $260) are cheaper. Sometimes significantly so.
- Battery life is good compared to the competitors on a like-for-like basis BUT still ‘only’ officially 2 days / 8 hours of training (with Android phone), 1 day / 8 hours of training (with iPhone)
So. It’s NOT a fully fledged running watch and you are paying a notable premium for:
- It’s looks – good! – fair enough, is it too big for you?
- Better battery than the direct competition – fair enough
- A ‘proper’ app ecosystem for the target market – super, eventually
- A hopefully good optical HR implementation – hopefully
And, in my opinion, the reality for most of the likely buyers will be that they value the looks and the APPs most of all. Whilst NOT unique selling points those 2 (4) areas do differentiate the product from most of the competition quite nicely.
Whilst it looks great to me. I’m not so sure the market is as easy a target as others might think.