Polar M600 – First Impressions, First Run, First In a Generation of Fitness Devices

M600 StrydI’ve only had the M600 a little while. It looks good.

First up and most importantly:

YES IT DOES MANUAL LAPS

Glad that’s out of the way, it was a recent firmware addition. You press the button. It adds a manual lap. Simple.

Note: This is a first impression of the product and not in any way any kind of accuracy test even though it contains some notes on apparent accuracy. The first impression is based on a single 10k run at an easy pace with a HM segment thrown in for good measure. It’s also with a V800, 920XT and a STRYD HRM.

Polar M600First Impression:

The M600 is very much the shape and size of the V800. It looks just as nice – for me that’s a good thing. The visual differences are a much higher definition colour touchscreen and 2 buttons rather than 5. Oh yes, a oHRM too.

It’s a different experience to a sports watch or activity tracker. Essentially Polar have created a rather nice piece of hardware by the looks of it. They then loaded Google’s AndroidWear (AW) platform on to it and then added their relatively straightforward app to that platform.

It’s either going to be super easy to review it (excluding AndroidWear) or super hard (including AndroidWear). I’ll probably go for the former by trying to argue that Android Wear 2.0 will be out soon so I don’t want to write lots of outdated stuff. Either that or I could just say that ‘other work’ has pressing calls right now on my time.

Some of the differences to the norm you can see with the images to the right: simple AW screen shots. Try doing that on a Garmin 235. That’s going to place a lot less wear on my SLR’s shutter AND lots of in focus images with no fingerprints over the glass :-).

First Run:

All 3 devices seemed to autolap at very similar points on the run. The Garmin recorded 9.38km and the two Polar’s 9.42km. I’ll test that on the long test route some other time. The instant pace on the M600 didn’t seem quite right but I need to look at that some more. Lap pace seemed there or thereabouts.

However I was more interested in the oHRM. As you can see below it was very good at this level of intensity, even handling very well the quick recovery from the HM-paced part of the run. If it did that every time I’d be happy (it won’t !!). I’ll get cracking on some intervals next week maybe.

Polar m600-v800-hrAll 3 GPS tracks looked perfectly acceptable over this relatively easy route (in GPS terms). Maybe the Garmin was slightly better. Maybe the M600 matched the V800 nearly exactly most of the time…and then had the occasional wobbly. Maybe the M600 was even better in places than both the other two. All shall be revealed later after a proper test or three in more standard ‘test conditions’.

First In A Generation

It’s a highly connected experience with your Android phone with a great deal of immersed interaction. A Garmin bolts on to your Android Smartphone whereas an AndroidWear device seems much more of an integral part [with really small text 🙂 ]. This could well be the shape of things to come for the fitness end of the sports market and, as I hope we shall see, companies like Polar can build decent mass-market sports devices on this same platform.

 

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