Polar 2017 Strategy Looks Good? – A370, M460, M430, H10…V660? V810?

Polar-A370-review-A360-comparisonToday’s announcement of the A370 sports & fitness band does not come as a surprise.

Indeed two events mark a coincidence but 3 mark a trend. The A370 is the 3rd such event, being preceded by the M430 running watch and the M460 cycling watch/head unit (review here).

You could even add the Polar H10 heart rate monitor (review here) into the mix to further confirm the trend.

Q: So what is the trend?

It looks like Polar’s trend (aka Polar’s strategy) is to invigorate existing devices with a few, fresh features.

It looks like Polar have cleverly tracked changed in the NEEDS/WANTS of the market. Then selected the key changes to incorporate into their products to keep them relevant to the market.

Polar H10 H7So we’ve seen these highlights and lots of detailed improvements in each:

  • H10 – more accurate and caching
  • M200 – entry-level running with entry-level optical sensor
  • M430 – top-end optical HR sensor
  • M460 – STRAVA segments and power improvements
  • A370 – connected-GPS, 247 HR and sleep improvements.

Polar M460 Cycling Detailed ReviewRegular readers of this blog will now groan and say ‘Ok…here we go again’. I’m not going to disappoint ;-)

These releases then give us a bit more confidence in predicting what Polar have in store for us next.

polar-m600-post-workout-summaryHere we go 🙂

  • Polar V660 – This is the larger, navigational cycling device. It would be reasonable to assume that this is freshened up with the exact same STRAVA segments as were received in to the M460 (plus extra ‘bits’)
  • Polar V810 – The top-end tri-watch will get a colour screen such as can be clicked on to the right…NICE…and optical HR (plus extra ‘bits’…don’t get too excited 🙁 )

Judging by the prodigious rate of release of new products from Polar so far this year it is not UNreasonable to assume that we shall see these devices in the next 4/5 months.

Polar M200 ReviewThe disappointment will come from those looking for major improvements to the higher-end devices (V650, V810). It looks like only relatively modest hardware and software improvements will be introduced. Remember that companies like Suunto and Polar are small compared to Garmin. The resources that Garmin can throw at their R&D are large. Indeed if Polar can come up with 7 new products in a 12 month period then, actually, that’s pretty amazing. the new ones that I’ve been using are pretty-much working and largely bug-free…ahem GARMIN, take note.

Polar M430 GPS OHR optical smart running watchI had this secret hope that in the lead up to Christmas 2017 we will have a ‘TA DA’ moment where Polar pull the ANT+ rabbit of compatibility out of the magicians hat of Christmas presents (could be a mixed metaphor there but you know what I mean – and that must be the best sentence in sports tech this month…c’mon people!!).

But that isn’t going to happen. If you look at the back of the M460 there is not ANT+ logo…just a Bluetooth one. Sure there are ANT+-capable bits inside but Mr FCC and other legal bods have not been asked to approve that. That’s a show-stopper when it comes to tech conspiracy theories.

 

 

 

17 thoughts on “Polar 2017 Strategy Looks Good? – A370, M460, M430, H10…V660? V810?

  1. I’m a big Polar fan, and desperately holding out for the V810(?). The A370 might make a nice wearable for general activity, and I may even get it for that purpose, but I’m still holding out for the new flagship! Would honestly buy the V800, but then I would regret it the minute the new one is announced…

    • the new SLEEP stuff on the A370 will likely be rolled out to the V800 soon. Polar are good at updating the features. the v800 is WELL featured.
      because of that there is no guarantee there will be a new v800…no-one knows. polar are very tight-lipped. garmin, on the other hand, leak info everywhere and it comes to me 2nd or 3rd hand.
      my ‘vision’ of the v810, above, is just a slightly refreshed bit of hardware (there would also be caching for the H10 HRM but that is not reqd as polar do underwater LIVE HR anyway – market leading)

      • I agree there are no guarantees, but given the age of the V800 I would be stunned if we didn’t see an announcement this year. My M400 can get me till then. And I also agree the V800 is very well featured, I just know if I buy it now and see an announcement from Polar in Sept. I will kick myself!

        Honestly I don’t even know what else I would want it to do…except maybe the optical HR. Color screen might be nice. I think my biggest issue is just wanting the newest! I have a coupon for the Polar store that I’m holding onto for the V810/H10.

      • I’d get the A370 to wear the times when I’m not training with my V800. The problem is that there is no easy way to switch from device to device daily without losing chunks of data. That has been my experience trying to pair a Polar Loop 2 and the V800. Basic stuff that should be thought about.

  2. “ahem GARMIN, take note.”….darn right…as nice as Garmin hardware looks, the software makes me want to pull out my thinning hair!! 🙂 Polar is so much better at actually presenting your data in ways that make sense.

  3. I had the m600 for a hot minute. If the battery life wasn’t god awful (compared to dedicated sport watches) it would have been my watch. I loved EVERYTHING about the watch (other than the battery). The display, ease of use, the massive amount of of sport options and simple customization for those things. I even love the Polar flow app, clock-like interface and all. It reminds me of my fitbit surge experience… Just much better

    If the v8xx/v900 refreshes the prior watch, on board music storage, 24/7 activity tracking with RHR, and potential stryd support… I will drop Garmin like a sack of moldy potatoes.

    Just please Polar, looks matter, go with something more in line with a form people can wear all day, even if it has a square face.

    • to me it is the quality of what is on the watchface that makes it ‘wearable’. I couldn’t wear the fenix 5 as the resolution is rubbish (Spartan not great even tho better than fenix 5). that’s why like the m600..others thought it was a bit too big.
      I don’t reckon you’ll get music on the v810…all the rest maybe.

      • See the res on the fenix 5 with the backlight up to max works wells for my tastes. Could’ve it been better? Oh god yes, And i’m all for the square face for the watch too, I just want the watch to look more like a watch and not a “sport watch.”

        It’s the same issue running shoe companies have. Great and comfortable shoe….Slime Green/Yellow/Lightning Blue makes not a fashionable shoe (I’m looking at you DynaFlyte!) For some reason, decent aesthetic looks have to be sacrificed in favor of the sport tech it comes with.

  4. This is what I’m talking about…Polar puts up actual pages which outlines who both the continuous heart rate and sleep plus works

    https://www.polar.com/blog/continuous-wrist-based-heart-rate/

    https://www.polar.com/blog/sleep-tracking-with-polar-sleep-plus/

    I think there are a dozen threads on the Garmin forums with people trying to figure out how their devices calculate “resting heart rate”…. Polar flat out explains what they are doing when you see the data in Flow.

  5. The combo of the improved sleep tracking and 24/7 HR would make it possible for Polar to implement a smart alarm on the device that a few sleeping apps on smart phones use;

    “an alarm that wakes you within a 30 minute window (15 minutes each side of your set wake up time) when you are said to be in a particular cycle of sleep to ensure you feel refreshed rather than groggy.”

    Though I doubt they will…it will probably be on the A380 :/ When the A360 came out, I asked Polar on several occasions if they had plans to allow the a360 to attach to a smart phone GPS, which I would get the response of “we are looking into it”.

    I totally agree with other comments on the software side; Polar flow, especially the desktop view, is great and simple to use.

    • the alaram is of course a great idea (as you describe it). it depends on the real accuracy of determination of your sleep stage….we shall see how good polar are at that.

    • tricky to answer
      I seem to remember the a360 had two iterations of bracelets. the one I haven now is the one that doesn’t come off. so yo umay be good with a current replacement??? unless you’ve tried that

  6. After 2 months with M600 I’m not so optimistic about Polar’s ‘quality’. My M600 GPS work is faaaaaar away from what I can call as stable and accurate. Through last two months, FLOW gets three (!!!) major breaks/errors in action. A Huge, growing problem with the setup of the new account with android wear is ignored by Polar (as well as by Google to be clear). I can count even smaller, but irritating things like the impossibility to charge watch to 100%, like daily goal counter problems, like serious screen dysfunction, like huge gap between original FLOW’s data and same session, imported on Strava, like differ between time/distance on exported GPX/TCX files for same session.
    And, after sending my M600 to Polar – I got information that watch is okay, and if there is something it’s all about software. 🙂 Yeah, because smart/sport watch is all about hardware and software is NOT a case. 🙂

    There is no official future features roadmap for M600 as well so… yes, I could be nostalgic on Polar brand but for how long?

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