Polar is well known for manufacturing different types of athletic accessories and wear, including fitness tracking devices. The Polar M200 is one of their running focused watches, and is the follow up to the M400. Normally model numbers go up, but the Polar series did things a bit differently. The M200 is a watch that could be considered pretty bare bones, but in a good way. It offers enough to be a very serviceable watch for beginners, and at a good price point too. This review will look at the negatives and positives of the watch.
The Polar M200 is a running focused watch
, with most of its features catering towards running. However, the watch can also be used to track most forms of land travel, like walking, hiking, or biking, thanks to the GPS tracker. When it comes to specific training however, the watch is pretty much only optimized for running workouts. The M200 can be used to swim
too, but again, it isn’t fully optimized for swimming training. The M200 can be considered solely a running watch for all intents and purposes, though it sees some use in other activities.
The Polar M200 pretty much has the standard suite of basic features that could be expected of a running watch. It has GPS tracking
, which allows for distance, pace, and lap displays. The Polar M200 also functions as a regular watch of course, displaying time and date. These features are pretty much expected of running watches, and pretty much encompass the basic features of the Polar M200.
The Polar M200 offers an optical heart rate sensor. These have been cropping up more and more on fitness watches, and they offer a way to record heart rate without the need for an extra strap
. This is pretty useful of course, but is not without its downsides. Optical heart rate sensors are generally more prone to error than straps, and can stray from the correct readings on occasion. For most users, the optical sensor will be sufficient, but those that require very precise readings should probably purchase an additional strap anyways. The heart rate reading also is the basis for the sleep tracking offered by the watch. The watch monitors heart rate while sleeping to determine time spent in different states of sleep. Again, data can vary here, but in general, this is a pretty cool feature to have. The information can be viewed in the app.
Another feature of the Polar M200 is the ability to import training plans from the Polar website. These plans include varying lengths, like marathons, or 5ks. The watch syncs the plan and sets up a calendar of runs, which is great for those seeking a more structured approach to their runs.
Additionally, the Polar M200 syncs with smartphones to display data in the Polar app. This is pretty common of smartwatches, and the process is generally similar to how it is with other watches as well. The Polar app allows for adding some activities to the watch, and a few other customization options, in addition to just displaying data. The data is transferred via bluetooth.
The Polar M200 offers "smart notifications", which are notifications from a synced smartphone. This is a bit surprising, considering this feature was previously usually only seen on higher end watches. The M200 doesn’t have the ability to respond however, just view. Overall, this is a handy feature, but there have been some complaints about clunkiness regarding it.
Accuracy really shouldn’t be an issue for most aspects of the Polar M200 except perhaps the heart rate measurement. The GPS tracking is accurate, and gives a correct readout of distance and pace, as well as the route taken, provided that signal is sufficient. Time and date are, of course, very accurate. The heart rate monitor is where accuracy becomes a bit shaky. As mentioned before, optical heart rate is prone to being off, as it is dependent on light and skin color. The heart rate readings generally shouldn’t be too off, but they definitely can vary. As such, the sleep timing readings can also vary, since they are based on heart rate. Accuracy overall is not an issue with the M200 however.
The Polar M200 can sync with smartphones, Android or Apple, via bluetooth. This allows the watch to transfer information to the Polar
app, or any other fitness related apps that might support the watch. Being connected via bluetooth also allows the watch to access notifications, as mentioned before, and display them as they appear. The Polar M200 does not have Wi-Fi connection, as some other watches do.
The main app that the Polar M200 utilizes is Polar’s own fitness app. Through the app various data screens regarding activities, trends, and personal records can be viewed. Some settings are also customizable through the app, though notably not all, as some must be accessed via web browser. The app, while clean and effective, is also pretty standard, and doesn’t really do too much that other running apps don’t.
When it comes to comfort the Polar M200 is pretty solid. The band is a textured silicone, that wraps around the face and is replaceable. The band itself is pretty comfortable, as silicone, is light and soft. Additionally silicone doesn’t feel as uncomfortable when exposed to other materials like water. The face of the watch is not that heavy either, and doesn’t feel overly burdening to the wrists. The Polar M200 is a pretty comfortable watch overall.
Style is probably one of the weaker aspects of the Polar M200. The watch definitely is not bad looking by any stretch, but the design does leave a bit to be desired. The band and the face are a bit dated looking, looking somewhat like older styled sports watches. While this is totally fine when using it for sporting activities, it makes it a bit more challenging to use as an everyday watch, for those who prefer a more discreet look. In general however, the watch is not bad looking, but it perhaps could have done a better job with its design.
Durability is definitely not an issue with the Polar M200. The face itself, which is removable from the band very easily, is quite durable. It is resistant to drops and abrasions, and should hold up pretty well against most day to day issues. Extreme collisions or drops will still cause issues of course, but that is the case for pretty much any watch. The face is also waterproof up to 30 meters, which means water definitely won’t be an issue, which makes sense as the M200 is also designed for pool use.
The face of the M200 is pretty nice, though also fairly standard. When it comes to size, the M200 is pretty much in line with the sizes of most average sports watches. It is bigger than traditional watches, but not on the overly large end either. The face is, of course, waterproof, and resistant to scratches and abrasions, so it is fairly durable. The face also has a light for use in areas that are less well lit, or during the night time.
The band of the Polar M200 is made of silicone, a frequently seen choice for sport watches in particular. Silicone is frequently used, because several of its properties are particularly useful for sports related activities. It is lightweight, meaning it doesn’t add too much to the overall weight of the watch. It also is not affected by water, allowing it to be used in underwater settings. This is important even for those who don’t plan to use it in water, as silicone won’t grow odorous when exposed to sweat or water as other materials might. Finally, silicone is fairly comfortable on the skin, and isn’t as harsh as some plastics can be. The band is pretty standard, and doesn’t offer much apart from these features but is solid overall. Notably, it is replaceable for those who want a different band for any reason.
The Polar M200 does not actually come in any other sizes than the standard one offered by Polar. Luckily, the watch isn’t overly large or small, and should fit most people. The band is replaceable, as mentioned before, so those who want a different sized band have the option of getting one. Overall, though size shouldn’t be an issue for most, different sizes are not really available for the Polar M200.
Ease of Use
Ease of use is a big plus in the Polar M200. The watch is generally designed for entry level users, or those seeking their first running watch, so this makes sense. Navigating through the menus is very straightforward, and starting activities is as well. Data is easy to view during and after run. Syncing the watch to the Polar app is also pretty easy, especially for those with experience syncing anything via bluetooth. Even changing the band is very easy for those who choose to purchase a different one. The Polar M200 is a pretty easy to use watch overall.
The battery of the Polar M200 is not terrible, though it definitely isn’t great either. Polar predicts that the watch will last about 6 hours with GPS enabled, or several days without it enabled. 6 hours seems to be an overestimate based on most users reports which generally fall around 5 hours. 5 hours is often enough for most running sessions, but might fall short for longer bike rides, or long trail hikes. The backlight can also drain the battery excessively, as can keeping the watch connected to a phone for a long period. Overall though, the M200 generally should last several days with daily training sessions before needing a charge.
Price is one area where the Polar M200 really shines, retailing at around $150 and possibly lower, which is fairly low for a watch that has all the features of the M200, in particular, the optical heart rate sensor. Higher end watches generally run $200 at the minimum. While the Polar M200 is not a high end watch, it is a solid one, and its price point is great for those seeking a solid, no-frills watch, or for beginners looking to get their first running watch.
Read also about beginners running shoes.
Apart from the standard suite of accessories that most watches have available, the Polar M200 doesn’t really have any specific accessories available, except for the replaceable bands. These bands are specific to the M200 because of the unique way the watch’s face fits into the band. The general accessories that work for most watches, like heart rate straps for example, are all mostly suitable for the M200 as well.
Built in optical heart rate
Distance tracking via GPS
User friendly design
Overall, the Polar M200 is a very solid, no-frills watch. It does the job of recording runs and running data, and can also execute running workouts well. The distance tracking is fairly accurate, and the heart rate measuring is as well, though it is definitely not without its quirks. Apart from running use, the M200 falters a bit. While it is still usable for things like biking or skating, it probably will be most effective for running purposes usually. The low price point makes the Polar M200 a pretty good value. Overall, the watch is a great buy for those seeking a cheaper running watch, or for those looking to get their first running watch.