Polar M600

Back in 1977, Polar was the first company to offer a wireless heart rate monitor, and since then has become one of the most notable producers of running watches on the market. With their the Polar M600, the company has created yet another tenacious fitness tracker. Using an Android system, the M600 offers GPS, an accurate heart rate monitor, daily activity tracking (including steps taken, calories burned, and distance traveled), a dedicated fitness app, and a host of notification and smartwatch features, including a music player and email and text notifications. The M600 has found a great balance between being a workout watch and a smartwatch, often seeming more like an Android Wear than a fitness watch.

Central to unlocking this activity tracker’s capabilities is the Polar Flow app, which is also to be downloaded to your smartphone in order to sync up the data collected and to unlock the numerous features that help you get as much as possible from using the M600. This app--which includes the Polar Flow desktop client--even stores your information in the cloud so you can pull up your stats and data wherever you are.

Through the Polar Flow app, you can load up to 20 different sports profiles (out of the hundred plus available) to record a variety of metrics for each workout. While there are many common sports profiles that many fitness watches feature, including hiking, running, jogging, walking, spinning, strength training, and indoor cycling, the wearer can also track sports like football, hockey, and baseball, as well. And unlike some fitness watch profiles, the pre-set goals are far more realistic.

With an easy-to-use interface any Android user will be familiar with, a great dedicated fitness app, and an activity tracker with all of the features of a smartwatch, the Polar M600 provides runners and exercise enthusiasts looking for both accuracy and options in their fitness watch.

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Pros & Cons
  • Highly accurate activity tracking
  • Waterproof with IPX8 certification

  • Allows for a number of third-party activity tracking apps to be used

  • Has all the functionality of a smartwatch

    • Somewhat larger and bulkier than comparable activity trackers

    • Display smaller than its overall size would suggest

      Key Features
      The Polar M600 is an activity tracker that, when used in conjunction with the Polar Flow app, has the ability to track up to 100 sports and activities. And while runners will enjoy the many different dedicated running programs it offers--that are designed for 5k, 10k, half marathon, and full marathon training--the Polar Flow app opens up the range of activities the user can track. These activities can be personalized with the user’s own personalized profile. In addition, its highly accurate heart rate monitor (which is to be expected, given Polar’s history) is one of the best on the market. And of course, the Polar M600 functions like a smartwatch, as well. Simply put, the M600 is a dynamic fitness watch loaded with options.
      Basic Features
      The basic activity tracking features of the M600 includes distance, active time, calorie burned, steps taken, and automatic sleep tracking. There is also a built-in heart rate monitor that keeps a highly accurate record of your BPM. These metrics are directly synced to both your Polar Flow app and Google Fit. There is also an inactivity alert to keep you moving. However, keep in mind that the M600 has no auto-sport detection, so all sessions must be started manually.
      Advanced Features
      As Android Wear, the Polar M600 is open to being used in a number of ways, but for our purposes let’s focus in on the two most important ones: its GPS and the Polar Flow app. Its built-in GPS unit is highly accurate with only a few hiccups that stray a meter or two. Working both on the trail and in the city, users will find the M600’s accurate GPS tracking and mapping of great use, particularly during training. And although this fitness watch allows for third-party GPS software to map their run, the standard one that comes preloaded does a great job already. In addition, the user can also download suggested running routes from other users. Which brings us to the next great advanced features: the Polar Flow app.

      Polar Flow is the main app to be used in conjunction with this activity tracker, featuring 100+ different sports profiles and with the M600 being able to have 20 loaded on the watch at a time. Features like the Polar Flow’s Running Program, Running Index, and Training Benefit all seek to help the runner get the most out of both their run and their use of the watch, and in this regard, the Polar Flow exceeds many similar apps that are to be used with other activity trackers.
      And because this is Android Wear, the runner isn’t tethered to this one app, as there are a number of other apps that can be used to upload data to and use. But the Polar Flow is already an incredibly detailed, intuitive, and useful app that many may find they don’t have to stray far from using it exclusively to get the most out of their workout.
      In terms of accuracy, the Polar M600 beats out a lot of competing activity trackers. Highly accurate in recording steps taken, calories burned, and distance. When used with the Polar Flow app, a more detailed readout of your performance becomes available that includes speed, details of heart rate and pace based on where you were in your routine, and your heart rate. Besides this, the built-in GPS is also highly accurate, which makes the M600 a fitness watch that delivers on all fronts what a runner is looking for in an activity tracker.
      Connecting to devices, such as your smartphone, via Bluetooth and WiFi, the Polar M600 has the standard connectivity of many smartwatches and fitness trackers. In addition, with Android Wear on-board, the user is able to use Google Voice, receive messages and alerts, and have access to all Android Wear apps.
      While the Polar M600 is enabled with Android Wear, which makes it compatible with the giant library of apps available for it, the main app is the Polar Flow. This app offers over a hundred sports profiles, of which up to 20 can be stored on the M600 at a time. These profiles can also be adjusted to the runner’s specific workout goals and routines. The data collected during a workout is then automatically synced to the app, which then provides the user with a more detailed metrics of their run or workout.
      Although bulkier than some wearables, the Polar M600 still provides a good deal of comfort. Its silicone band is durable and fastens tight, which keeps from slippage, while the main component--while large--is not distracting on the wrist.
      With its noticeably large main component, the M600 certainly looks like a serious piece of equipment. But it retains a sleekness thanks to its button-light exterior: with only two analog buttons, this touchscreen fitness tracker retains a minimalist look despite its substantial size.
      With Gorilla Glass 3 protecting its face, a durable silicone band, and waterproof with IPX8 certification, the M600 is built to last. Add this with its long-lasting battery (which enables for the watch to run for up to 2 days without a charge) and users will find that this is a strong, resistant-to-wear activity tracker.
      A touchscreen fitness watch, the M600’s face is covered by durable, scratch-resistant Corning Gorilla Glass 3. Its 240x240 pixel full-color screen may be slightly smaller than some would prefer in an activity tracker of this size, but even with its restrained size, the menus are still easily navigable.
      The band of the M600 is silicone, which is durable and comfortable to wear, and features a standard notch system for securing the watch to your wrist. If the user doesn’t like the plain black default band, replacement bands are available in various colors.
      Weighing in at 63 grams and noticeably larger than many other fitness watches on the market, the M600 is a one-size-fits-all watch whose large band is designed with this in mind. And while it may be large, it also has a long-lasting battery, which may account for some of the extra weight.
      Ease of Use
      While the M600 may not be particularly stylish, in terms of weight and size, it’s an easy-to-use activity tracker. The functions of the M600 are started by the analog buttons on the outside of the main unit. The button on the left side of the watch opens the basic functions of the watch: steps taken, weather readout, time, and stopwatch. In addition, this will take you to Google Fit and other third-party apps installed, much like any standard Android smartwatch would. But by pressing the front button, the Polar Flow app is enabled, which allows the user to select the sports profiles they wish to engage with for their workout that day.

      The user simply swipes up, down, left, and right to scroll through various training options, to read through collected data, and your daily activity. You select a sports profile that you’d like to enable by tapping the screen, tap again to start it, and you’re off to the races. One important note: the M600 will not automatically detect your exercise, as some fitness trackers do, so you have to specifically enable the sports profile or training mode for it to record your progress.
      Power Sources
      The good news: the M600 powers via a USB connection, which means you can charge it through your laptop or through a USB adapter to your wall. The bad news? The plug that connects in the phone for charging is a specific pig-nose plug, which means you cannot transfer data directly from the watch to your computer.
      The Polar M600 is a great blend of both a fitness tracker and a smartwatch, and since it runs on the Android Wear interface it’s also a highly versatile watch. Which factors into its price: although not wildly expensive, as some high-end sports watches can be, the M600 is a little pricier than some comparable watches. However, its Android capabilities also open it up to being much more than just an activity tracker.
      The M600 allows for the user to switch out wristbands, and towards this there are a number of wristbands available in different colors. And while the heart rate monitor on the watch is highly accurate, for extreme accuracy a separate heart rate sensor is also available. In addition, a front bike mount for the main unit is also available.
      Key Features
      - Very accurate measurements of pace, distance, speed, and heart rate
      - Fast, built-in GPS unit that tracks your run with accuracy
      - Full-color touch screen with easy-to-navigate menu
      - Polar Flow app provides the user with an in-depth analysis of their workout and over 100 sports profiles to choose from
      - Versatile thanks to Android Wear; lets third-party apps run and functions like a smartwatch
      Bottom Line
      For runners and exercise enthusiasts alike looking for a best of both worlds--a highly accurate activity tracker and a smartwatch rolled into one--the Polar M600 delivers on both counts. With its accurate heart rate monitor and recording of various metrics, the powerful Polar Flow app that provides the user with a powerful tool to track their progress over time, and an excellent built-in GPS that provides both accuracy and fine-tuned measurements of speed and distance, the Polar M600 works great as an activity tracker. But with its Android Wear interface, ability to sync up and work in conjunction with a number of third-party apps, and in general functioning like a smartwatch (including storing music, receiving notifications, and with a built-in microphone to use Google Voice), the Polar M600 delivers on that end, as well. Although not a budget activity tracker and larger than some other comparable lines on the market, its long-lasting battery life and durability more than makes up for it. In the market for an activity tracker? Or a smartwatch? The answer the Polar M600 provides is, why not both?
      Where to Buy
      Backcountry Link
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      Holabird Sports Link
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      Road Runner Sports Link
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      By Mike Gray
      Last updated:
      Where to buy
      Best offer on: Jul. 24. 2021

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