Polar M430 – SPECULATION on specifications / specs

polar-m600-post-workout-summary

** M600 **

You all seemed to have found out the name of the new Polar from various sources. So now I will do one of my guestimation pieces – honestly I don’t know what the M430 will be in any detail. From what I can gather, detailed info will be coming out AFTER 6th April, so you might have to wait longer for more detailed clarification.

 

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EDIT: More up-to-date news (HERE). Press Release HERE.

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The name of the watch ie the M430 pretty much says this will be a replacement to the M400 – more of an upgrade perhaps. I still quite like the M400 and have mine sitting in front of me now. I have ALWAYS wondered how they made the watch quite so good-looking considering the screen resolution was not too great at all. It REALLY stood the test of time. But now it looks like its time is up. And rightly so. The market has moved on and the M400 has been relegated to an aging but competent entry-level watch at Eur/$/GBP100 or thereabouts.

The M400 had its flaws. To me that was mostly the dodgy charging port that developed after continuous usage for a few months. A further flaw NOW is that the market place for anything other than entry-level requires an optical HR sensor. The M400 has not got one!

Optical HR

Edit: It will have the top-end optical array

Polar have two to choose from. The oHR on the M600 is different to the one on the A360/M200. I’ve used the M200 quite a bit and the oHR and GPS have actually both been very good  in my experience. I only say that as Polar could QUITE easily use the M200’s sensor for the new watch. Both oHR sensors are tried and tested either way.

More than that we have to ask about 247 oHR. I’m not really sure of the demand here but devices keep seeming to crank out this feature. Maybe someone else wants it 😉 It could do some clever stuff with overnight HRV analyses but that would likely require the new Polar M600 optical sensor (if that indeed CAN be HRV accurate overnight at low levels – I don’t know).

MUSIC

Edit: it appears NOT to have music…could be wrong

But let’s hope Polar are playing LEAP FROG and not optical HR CATCH UP. Hopefully they will put music storage and BTLE Headphones playback on the new watch. For me that will be the trend for new RUNNING devices this year. (For bikes I’m sticking my head out and saying SIM cards will be the new about-to-trend feature … gulp … maybe 2018)

GPS

I expect a GOOD GPS-only device (no GLONASS). Even the M200 is GOOD in this respect and scored well in my standard GPS route tests. The V800 has a good general reputation in the regard of GPS accuracy. Garmin have a patchy reputation here.

GPS accuracy is one of the areas where Polar could differentiate itself from Garmin with an accurate first-release device.

TRAINING PLANS & ANALYSIS

Polar have been quietly beavering away this area making continuous improvements and now, in some ways, they have a market-leading PLAN-offering developed in-house. Garmin, of course, are now linking automatically into TP (935) to download workouts ie placing the reliance of the clever structured/automatic plan being sorted out by someone else. Polar do that themselves, Indeed the personalised plan was one of the key selling features marketed for the M200.

Analysis has improved recently too on FLOW.

H10 – Chest Strap

Edit: H10 compatibility is almost certain. But no running dynamics appear yet

It’s got an accelerometer. What more can I say.

Running Dynamics of some form is the ‘obvious’ addition.

For a GBP/Eur/$200+ watch that might have some attraction and might differentiate it from other watches at a similar price. But this would have required lots of work behind the scenes on FLOW and the FLOW app. So watch out for changes there being released BEFORE the watch itself. The new firmware for the H10 chest strap would come out with a new version of Polar BEAT probably (that is where the H10 firmware is updated).

Although running dynamics are NOT a shoe-in feature. We see that Garmin had to introduce the Running Dynamics pod simply because of the market’s movement away from chest straps towards HR on the wrist. HR on the wrist does NOT EQUAL anything other than cadence when it comes to delivering clever running metrics.

So if you want running dynamics you need another pod or a chest strap..

Then again, it’s WILL have oHR so why does it NEED anything from the H10 chest strap?

FORM

The M400’s form was pretty-enough. Why change it? Why overly change the V800 by the same token?

With the exception of the M200, I’d say Polar design the best looking GPS devices OVERALL Keep up the good work.

INTERFACE

Polar’s on-screen mini-icons and ‘general interface’ are consistent across devices. It’s just that the M600 had the ‘same’ sort of page layouts as the V800 but on a super colour screen.

The basic essence of the interface will NOT change for a new Polar watch BUT the M400 could certainly do with a wonderful M600-like, vibrant colour screen. BUT a juice-eating, colour screen is by no means necessary.

If it’s also a touchscreen (doubtful) then I don’t mind as long as the touchscreen can be entirely bypassed by buttons ie like Suunto SPARTANs and NOT like Garmin’s 820 (bike).

SMART STUFF

Steps, smartphone connectivity, blah blah. Yes it will do all those.

And FLOW will otherwise remain consistent to what it is now (maybe running dynamics metrics added, as I implied already).

ANDROIDWEAR 2.0

Edit: No androidwear

This is an interesting one. If Polar go AndroidWear for this device then the music and navigation functionality is taken care of by kind Mr Google. That in itself must be a big draw of the operating system; as well as google also sorting out much of the android (and iOS) smartphone connectivity issues for polar as well.

But then the battery becomes an issue.

The M600 just about got away with that by offering an AndroidWear-leading battery life and hardware spec. Actually what am I talking about?? They didn’t ‘get away with it’ they dominated the androidwear sports watch offering.

I’m not so sure that the same battery life, under 10 hours, will translate to a connected running watch? ie its users MIGHT want a longer battery life to do all the other stuff.

Then again. Polar won’t be that interested in ULTRA marathoners. That’s a tiny tiny market. Even smaller than tri!

I just have a sneaky feeling that they will go NON-Android. Certainly non-AndroidWear will be the case for the replacement V800…so why not test out whatever they are doing on that front with the M430? That WOULD make sense.

Summary: People have been asking for an oHR-enabled M400. That’s what they’ll get. A few flaws fixed a few new bits added. Sorted.

What about the potentially upcoming Garmin Forerunner 245 and Suunto SPARTAN Trainer? Wee, for a start, both will be more expensive than the M430

Comments

 

If any of you have comments equally based on supposition as mine then please share below!  They will at least be equally valid and maybe even twice as intelligent (OK, 3 times 🙂 ).

 

15 thoughts on “Polar M430 – SPECULATION on specifications / specs

  1. Considering form factor: M400/V800 really don’t fit small wrists. Nothing can be done about it since the watch bands cannot be changed. Let’s hope Polar will take care of that… HR from the wrist works best with a good fit, after all – and all of Polar’s WHR devices are available with small bands.

    Personally, I think you’re right with your Android Wear guesstimation. They don’t want to have another device that’s only good for a mere 36 hours of battery time so they will use their own OS. Well… with notifications enabled, the A360 doesn’t last more than two or three days either.

    Which leads me to the display. I think they will use a monochrome display. All leaked photos only show black and white, even the one with an orange band. Those bright colour displays just suck too much power, so they could conserve battery with a black and white display. And keep costs down at the same time.

    I also wouldn’t be too optimistic about onboard music playback. I think the market for that is quite limited and well covered by TomTom, M600, Apple Watch and Android Wear Watches. The majority of music-loving runners I’m seeing just run with their phones and without a dedicated watch.

    • display: maybe. I see that suunto recently introduced a low colour mode to save juice.
      music: I agree. but the watch still needs to be differentiated in some way. LOTS of people run with music (not me!! but lots) its a bit like the bike argument for having a sim card in your head unit…saves carrying a phone…onboard music…saves carrying aphone

  2. I guess we already knew, but Polar confirmed on Twitter that they have no plans at the moment to support ANT+ – leaving a lot of us power-meter-toting triathletes stuck with Garmin or using some kind of bridge.

  3. Please, please, please Polar… fix that horrible mini-USB charging pod… then maybe i’ll get my son a replacement…. Apart from that, that M400 has been going on strong for almost three years now…

    Cant say the same for other brands….

  4. “The majority of music-loving runners I’m seeing just run with their phones and without a dedicated watch.”

    This makes no sense to me. The fact that a huge proportion of music-loving runners just run with their phone and no watch whatsoever suggests that the market for watches that play music is potentially huge. Many of these people probably figure that because they HAVE to have a phone for music, there’s no point in also having a watch. Music watches could change that. (And yes, there are a few options now, but TomTom is very clunky in its music implementation, and only the newest smart watches are really a viable option for GPS and music sans phone.)

    I’m curious to see where the dust settles when smart watches and sport watches finally collide. Smart watches need better battery life, but they don’t need the eye-popping endurance of some sport watches. (The sliver of the population that works out for 12+ hours at a time is miniscule.) I also think smart watches need more physical buttons. Beyond that, we’re really just talking about software differences.

  5. If they could get nav into this thing I’d recommend it to people but for now the M400 at 180 USD still looks more attractive than this at 230 USD. This will still be a great watch though!

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