A Smartwatch specially designed for runners? Here it comes, the advanced GPS running watch Polar M430.
It is considered an updated version of the popular Polar M400 with the biggest difference is Wrist-based heart rate monitor. What else to expect? Well, check out my review of M430 pros and cons compared with Polar M400 and other GPS smartwatch such as Garmin vivoactive HR and Fitbit Surge.
Polar M430 Release Date
Polar officially announced the release of Polar M430 on their fanpage on May 10th, 2017 – three years after the launching of the forerunner Polar M400 (2014).
Wrist-based heart rate monitor is a fad now and Polar knows that if they don’t upgrade M400, they will lose the battle to Garmin and Fitbit. Last year, these rivals respectively brought out Garmin vivoactive HR (Feb 2016) and Fitbit Surge (Jun 2016) which were both GPS smart watch equipped with optical heart rate sensor.
Polar M430 Price
This stand-out running smart watch is priced at $229.95, a little bit higher than Fitbit Surge ($214), Garmin vivoactive HR ($199.99) and Polar M400 ($179.95). Should you spend more money to own a Polar M430? You will find the answer below. You can order it in Polar’s website or Amazon.
Review Polar M430 Design
At first glance, Polar M430 looks a lot like M400. It retains bold, rounded-square module design with flexi silicone strap. The difference is that it is perforated for less sweaty and better ventilation.
It doesn’t have a black version, but comes in 3 colors: grey, white and orange. It’s a bit lighter than its predecessor, 51g instead of 56.6g.
The design brings you a feeling of sporty, other than luxury or high-tech.
Review Polar M430 Features
Review Polar M430 Features – Pros
6-LED Heart Rate Sensors
Do you know that Polar was originally a company specialized in heart rate monitor? They produced heart rate monitor straps that are now still popular among runners. With this running smartwatch they integrated wrist-based heart rate sensor to make it more convenient. The fact that it has up to 6 LEDS while Garmin vivoactive HR has 3 LEDS and Fitbit Surge has 2 LEDS assures us stability and more accurate data. And if swimming is also your favorite sports, you would be pleased to know that it does measure pulse while doing swimming. Just a few smartwatch out there enable you to do this.
In case you still concern about accuracy, you may connect Polar M430 with other heart rate straps. It’s compatible with Polar H10 and H7 heart rate monitor straps.
This is what makes Polar M430 out muscle other competitors. You can wear Garmin vivoactive HR or Fitbit Surge for running. These smartwatch can track your heart rate and calories, but wouldn’t give you useful coaching. Such smart workout instruction is usually found in expensive watch only.
Running index analysis which was already available in Polar M400 is really helpful for runners. The device can even estimate your finish time by interpreting your speed and heart rate data.
Besides, Polar M430 offers many useful features for running such as 5-minute test to check your fitness level. By comparing your test results you will see if your fitness is improving, higher v02max indicates a better performance. This fitness test is a new feature that couldn’t be found in Polar M400. Another thing that Polar M430 was added is Stopwatch.
Long Battery Life
30 hours in low-power GPS mode for a sub $250 smartwatch?! This definitely makes you happy for not having to charge it often. Polar M430 has longer battery life than almost other GPS smartwatch. Garmin vivoactive HR can work in GPS mode only for 13 hours and 10 hours is the battery life of Fitbit Surge.
If you use GPS and wrist-based heart rate measurement together, you may need to charge the device after 8 hours. For purely activity tracking, it can last up to 20 days (answered by Polar on their fanpage).
Nevertheless, long battery life obviously a plus of Polar M430.
You sweat a lot when running? No big deal, taking it for swimming is even safe. Polar M430 is waterproof to 30m despite that it has a micro USB port. Garmin vivoactive HR is waterproof too but the same can’t be said for Fitbit Surge. Fitbit still advises its users not to take the Surge for showering or swimming.
The running smartwatch Polar M430 uses different GPS technology from Polar M400. It is integrated GPS with SiRF Instant FixSattellite prediction technology, instead of AssistNow. You can view map on Polar Flow app.
Other features added compared with Polar M400
Besides some differences I mentioned above, Polar M430 was upgraded some features to become more perfect. Instead of audio alerts, now the device vibrates when there’s new notification. Memory is also a bit larger, 8MB flash memory instead of 4MB.
Review Polar M430 Features – Cons
Although Polar M430 was upgraded this feature to Sleep plus but it’s not really something we expect. While other fitness trackers can give you details of REM, light and deep sleep, Polar M430 just shows you your total sleep and actual sleep. This data is not much helpful.
Monochrome display is a trade-off for long battery life. Yet 128×128 pixel high resolution display is not so bad.
Polar M430 Conclusion
Honestly, I can’t see much disadvantage of Polar M430. You may find the design is not attractive but beauty is hard to define.
By providing accurate heart rate data, running index analysis, GPS and long battery life, it’s crowned the best smartwatch for runners.