Polar M460 – Speculation On Features

Polar have just teased the M460 cycling computer (here). It has already been listed and removed from some online shops, albeit with no details that I saw. What I saw was not really worth looking at as there is no juicy info available – other than the inclusion of STRAVA LIVE SEGMENTS!

Information for the just-officially announced M430 running watch came VERY soon after the teaser. So we can expect more information on the M460 cycling device next week eg around 13th April.

BACKGROUND

From a personal point of view I was starting to get worried about Polar. The H10 signalled that things will be happening with the running/tri watches but I had this nagging doubt that Polar were not going to follow through on the cycling front. It NOW appears that my doubts were NOT warranted. The Polar M460 cycling computer will clearly signal Polar’s commitment to cycling.

The M400 and M450 were/are both entry level devices a couple of years ago. BUT they were/are COMPETENT entry-level devices ie MUCH MORE than just a lap counter and speedometer. The world has clearly moved on in terms of technology since their release and it appears that Polar are refreshing their models this year. The M430 running watch is clearly a refreshed M400 ie broadly similar but with optical HR. For running watches, optical HR is the new must-have feature at the entry level in 2016/7 (onboard music too but the M600 has that!)

Polar seem to have done their homework. Instead, look at the ‘top-end’ XPLOVA X5 cycling computer. It’s nice enough but does not integrate LIVE with STRAVA but rather just pumps/links data into STRAVA – XPLOVA did NOT do their market research fully. Pretty much everyone can do basic pushing of data to STRAVA now in some form. Conversely, look at Garmin or LEZYNE (eg Micro C). They have a range of cycling watches/head units but they have cottoned on that LIVE STRAVA SEGMENTS are what a lot of people want.

So STRAVA live segments appear to be what will be in the new Polar M460 cycling ‘head unit’

I reviewed the M450 a while back (here is the Polar M450 review). The M460 will be an updated and refreshed version of a competent entry-level cycling computer.

Polar M460 – Speculation

I KNOW that there WILL be a new Polar cycling device. But that is the extent of my knowledge.

All this is speculation:

I strongly suspect that the same REFRESH/UPDATE strategy applied to the M400, so we will see the following with the M460:

  1. Very similar shape and form
  2. Screen might be better but only marginally so. Perhaps the same resolution. The interface look and feel will be very similar.
  3. I would doubt that there is ANT+ power support. But, like the M450, there will be Bluetooth Power Meter support and several power meters now support both Bluetooth AND ANT+ protocols.
  4. There will be better smartphone integration perhaps also with routing of some limited form or other. As well as basic text notifications we will also see the STRAVA LIVE SEGMENTS. That’s the one with the annoying popup that keeps telling you that your best mate is always faster over EVERY bit of the route on the way home from work!! 😉
  5. Battery life is likely to be improved further beyond 12 hours.
  6. Probably too the UBlox UBX-G7020ct GPS chip, which I believe was on the M450, will be upgraded. GPS accuracy WILL be forefront in Polar’s mind. Although it is less of an issue with cycling as it is for running.
  7. Barometric altimeter? : YES
  8. Bluetooth SMART sensors: YES
  9. Structured bike workouts have been in FLOW a while. What we MIGHT see are BIKE TRAINING PROGRAMS to match those for running. I’m not sure about this as really it makes more sense with users who have access to power meter data.
  10. Often Polar products are compared to Garmin products by seeing if Polar products have GARMIN-FEATURES. Funnily enough, they don’t, always. This tends to ignore the features that Polar and Suunto have that Garmin do not. for example Polar ZONE LOCK and multiple lapping methods are lacking in Garmin So Polar can do autolap AND manual laps AND let you see both sets in FLOW.

The elephant-in-the-room: Polar will still not support ANT+. I really think that for Polar and Suunto this has been a MASSIVE mistake. It is THE SINGLE thing that has stopped MANY people switching from Garmin and keeps the fight instead focussed against smartphones being used as bike devices. Sure it costs money to be ANT+ compatible but it costs money to sell less too! Obviously MANY people have been telling them this, not just me. Still if I, and others, keep writing paragraphs like this, some day someone WILL listen.

FYI: Polar’s next model up at the moment is the V650 – effectively a larger-screened bike nav.

SUMMARY: A bit more accurate; a bit more smartly connect; and a bit more STRAVAry

 

 

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