Polar has made plenty of GPS exercise watches, an activity tracker, and even a GPS watch-slash-activity tracker, but this is the first time the company has made a wearable device that looks good and won't break the bank. At $US200, we could actually see the Polar M400 ending up on some wrists.
The M400 is, essentially, a GPS running watch. It doesn't just track and display your speed on runs though, it has some high-end smarts to it, with customised weekly training targets, race time estimators, improvement tracking, and even navigation back to your starting point. That all good stuff, but it's also a 24/7 activity tracker that monitors your steps, calories burned and the quality of your sleep.
We've seen Polar go for this kind of integration before, but only in the V800 multi-sport watch. The V800 is certainly an excellent wristable, but considering it starts at $US470, it pretty much prices itself out of reach of all but the most hardcore athletes.
The M400 isn't really for multisport training. It's basically just for running and for wearing in your everyday life. Luckily, unlike most GPS watches, it's actually pretty decent looking, so you might not mind having it on all the time. Polar claims it will get nine hours of battery life in GPS tracking mode (when you're on a run), and up to 24 days of straight up activity monitoring. That's pretty damned impressive if true. The watch will feature Bluetooth Smart, and so it will be able to pair with your phone to deliver more detailed analytics and download firmware updates on the fly.
At surface level (having not yet tried the device), the only real bummer here is that it doesn't have a heart rate monitor built in for constant pulse tracking, which would give it a much better estimate of your actual caloric burn. You can pair with with an external HRM chest-strap (such as Polar's H7 HRM), but that's something you'd only want to do during workouts. Still, though, a good-looking GPS watch and activity tracker for $US200? It's tough to complain.
The M400 will be available in coming weeks from ShopPolar.com. It will be $US200 alone or $US250 when bundled with the H7 HRM. We'll be putting it through its paces as soon as we can get our wrists on it, so stay tuned. [Polar]