Polar have now officially announced the M430. It’s a smart running watch. It’s an evolution of the M400 – which was a great device in its day.
The 2 stand-out changes hardware changes are:
- It uses the TOP-END Polar optical HR sensor array. What does that mean? A: Awesomeness from the M600; and
- The sometimes-temperamental USB charger has been upgraded
You can zoom to the end of this post for the full press release. But if it is detailed specifications you want then you can look at (this post). What follows immediately below is my take on what you can infer from the pictures AND from the press release…it will be ‘pretty much’ right hopefully.
SUMMARY: It looks like it should be a good RUNNING watch. That will keep me happy.
The screen is a little disappointing-looking in terms of resolution compared to the colour screens of the M600 and A360. There is no colour shown and indeed there may well be no improvement in resolution over the M400 at all. On the flip-side this will give the battery life a bit longer than the competitors. We all say that we want battery life. I guess Polar have listened; you can’t ‘magic’ battery life out of thin air, you have to work for it electronically.
The lower-res screen than the M600 makes it less of an acceptable 247 watch. To be honest IF that is the case then I don’t really care!! It’s a running watch. For running with. The displays look clear enough to me to run with. It’s the same old Polar interface style, slightly upgraded on the headline “Monday/activity summary screen” in the slideshow, below – ie like the M600 but lower-res.
ESSENTIAL READING: M430 comparison to M400 and M600 (here)
So it seems to be angling to be a high performing running watch coming in May(ish) at Eur/GBP/$200-230++. Perfect. Nicely just stacked up below Garmin’s Forerunner 235 pricing but there are others at the same level and new ones arriving at the same pricing level. Hmmm.
I even recently found the lower-end, Polar M200’s GPS to be pretty good. Let’s hope there are some good component inside the M430. Certainly the press release specifically makes a point about Polar’s accuracy. It has some form of ULTRA-TRAC with an extended GPS mode to 30 hours. I’m surprised about that. Pleasantly surprised. and the Ultra Runners and hiker-types will be happy too.
I tested the M600’s optical heart rate array (visually the same as the M430’s) when first released and found it was pretty good. I’ve not updated my tests since, if there have been firmware improvements in the M430 (likely) in that time then we could be looking at something quite exciting here as Polar are amongst the select few who let you record optical heart rate whilst swimming even with their lower-spec optical heart rate model (eg Garmin do NOT do swimming oHR on any model).
On that point, it’s properly waterproof too (!).
Polar have some non-Garmin features (!) like allowing sets of both manual laps and autolaps as well as ZONE LOCK functionality. They also have vibration alerts on the M430 and no mention of audio alerts.
Polar’s metrics are generally very good and are broadly similar across all of their devices. The M430 is no exception to that. They have good planning software, good daily progress/recovery metrics, good general progress metrics and good in-exercise metrics.
The Polar M430 appears to nicely refresh the M400, making it a competitor in 2017.
—- Press Release ———-
Polar Introduces the Polar M430, a Running Watch Built for Accuracy and Actionable Data
Polar’s latest running watch features wrist-based heart rate, integrated GPS and personalized and adaptive training guidance for serious, goal-driven runners
KEMPELE, FINLAND – April 6, 2017 (6am EST) – Polar, the leader in wearable sports and fitness technology for 40 years, announces an exciting addition to their running portfolio, the Polar M430. Equipped with Polar’s proprietary wrist-based heart rate technology, integrated GPS, and personalized, adaptive training guidance, Polar M430 is the ideal tool for runners aiming to reach their personal best. The design is fully waterproof and features a lightweight, breathable wristband and vibration alerts to inform runners exactly when they’re hitting goals during training. Polar M430 will soon be available for pre-order at www.polar.com for $229/€229.
Learn more about the new Polar M430 here.
“There are plenty of products that track heart rate or GPS metrics, but Polar M430 is the best for three key reasons,” says Tom Fowler, President of Polar U.S.A. “First, we’ve put 40 years of experience, research and development into creating the most accurate technology in the market. The M430 is the purest expression of that capability. If you care about accuracy, and you should, the M430 really stands out. Second, we’ve leapt beyond simple delivery of ‘dumb data’ that has defined the sports watch category for years. Polar M430 tracks your biometrics and delivers a real-time view into how your body is reacting to exercise. Now, during a session you’ll know if you’re on target to accomplish the training goal of the day. Third, Polar M430 and Polar Flow tell you how the session benefitted your overall training, how it translates into expected race finish times, and how much time you’ll need to recover. This unique portfolio of capabilities distinguishes the M430 in the sports watch category.”
Polar’s industry-leading accuracy, paired with the company’s proprietary Smart Coaching and adaptive Polar Running Program, make Polar M430 the stand-out running watch in the category. An all-in-one device, Polar M430 provides wrist-based heart rate measurement during training, integrated GPS and core running metrics, and sleep tracking and recovery metrics. Reliable heart rate technology and hardware is not something Polar takes lightly, which is why their latest running watch features Polar’s industry-leading heart rate algorithms, designed and tested for reliability, as well as a proprietary optical heart rate solution with 6-LEDs optimized for Polar M430.
Providing trusted metrics is only a piece of the experience; what truly sets Polar M430 apart is Polar’s ability to take running data and make it actionable. Paired with Polar Flow, Polar M430 is transformed into a reliable running coach that can provide personalized feedback, an adaptive training plan, and live guidance for athletes during various stages of their training sessions. Polar’s Running Program considers training history, gauges current activity levels, accounts for a final goal date and then builds a personal running program in seconds. Runners can upload daily training plans to Polar M430 to follow, for example, interval guidance and heart rate zones during runs, and access Polar’s strength and core training videos in the Polar Flow app to incorporate in weekly training. Other advanced Smart Coaching features include Running Index, which uses data to show the efficiency of an athlete’s running; Fitness Test, which enables athletes to gauge their current fitness levels and see progress along the way; and Training Benefit, which provides feedback immediately after a training session to explain the benefits of a workout.
“I recently joined Polar’s team of endurance athletes, source and what immediately drew me to the brand was not only their consistent and reliable running data, but also their passion for making that data understandable to anyone,” said Molly Huddle, Olympic runner and American record holder. “As a pro, I have coaches guiding me through trainings, reviewing my data, and tracking how I’m performing daily as well as over time. But most runners, even many international class runners, don’t have that luxury. These athletes need the proper training guidance and the Polar M430 delivers just that. It becomes your coach, keeping you on track during a session and, post-workout, making training and recovery easy to understand.”
Polar M430 offers a selection of GPS power modes that extend battery life to nearly 30 hours. The running watch can also connect to Polar Balance for holistic weight management tracking and guidance. the5krunner
Polar M430 is $229/€229 and available for pre-order soon in dark grey, white and orange at www.polar.com. Polar M430 will begin shipping in May. Learn more about Polar, access running tips, or learn how to set up a personalized training plan.