I grew weary of reading product descriptions as I shopped for sports watches. Then a runner friend held up his wrist to show off his new waterproof Polar M600, an Android Wear™ smartwatch that, he insisted, "perfectly suits my active lifestyle. I didn't even mind putting the $569 tab on my credit card."
"Are you crazy?" I asked.
He shrugged. "It's less than a month’s rent and in many ways, it does more for me than my apartment." Then he sat me down, explaining everything his Polar M600 does.
By the time he finished, I shopped for a Polar M600 the next day, keeping the receipt, in case I was dissatisfied before the store's return date.
Who was I kidding? Return it? I don't think so. I wouldn't part with it if I got tossed out of my place and was forced to move into my parent’s guest room.
The Technical Edge
Having worked years to perfect the latest iteration of the intuitive Polar M600, it became clear from the moment I strapped the device on my own wrist that engineers listened to sports watch owner's complaints and needs, offering features runners seek, but don't always find, despite advertising claims.
From Bluetooth connectivity to the state-of-the-art Android Wear operating system compatible with smartphones Android 4.3 and higher (also iOS 8.2 and higher or iPhone 5).
I found the MediaTek processor to be especially intuitive and in terms of data storage, my Polar M600 stores 4GB worth, and I've plenty of room to maneuver and stow files thanks to 512MB of RAM.
I marvel at the fact that there are so many sensors in this little device: microphone, gyroscope, vibration motor, accelerometer, heart rate - even an ambient light sensor capable of delivering crystal clear, high-res information on the watch face.
The 55mAh battery lasts longer than some of my relationships: synced with my Android phone, I can train eight hours a day, for two days straight, before the battery needs a recharge. It's water-resistant up to 10 meters and the silicone band is so tough, I'm pretty confident that a tank couldn't destroy it.
Convenience, Features and Benefits
Ever bought a sports wrist device that forced you to search for control buttons? I have. It's frustrating. The Polar M600 has two buttons; one's for power and the other gives me quick access to training controls. No buttons needed to activate the heart rate feature: I tighten the band and voila! The device takes over.
I can create and customise profiles suited to my personal activity preferences, so whether I'm in cycling training mode or I'm conditioning for a distance run, my unique profiles are programmed to deliver the guidance and data I require to perform at optimal levels.
The 24/7 activity tracker is awesome; my M600 does an amazing job of calculating, calibrating and collecting information to get me to my goals.
- Even my mum forgot to awaken me when I lived at home, but the M600 not only wakes me up but tells me how long and how well I slept.
- There's a non-paid coach inside every device. It's called Smart Coaching and offers me advice and guidance in keeping with fitness levels the device collects and analyses.
- As part of my cross-training routine, I swim regularly and don't have to stow my Polar in my locker. I'm not a diver but it's nice to know that I can take the occasional plunge to 10 meters without worrying about my watch.
- The GPS system goes the extra mile. Literally. In addition to showing me the way back if I get lost on the trail, it also reports on my speed and distance travelled.
- I pre-programmed my age, gender, height, weight and maximum heart rate into my M600, so all I need to do to ascertain whether or not I'm training efficiently, is look at my wrist device.
- The Polar M600 is one expensive accessory for those who need the help but haven't the funds. I joked to my friends that I was ready to try crowdfunding, until my year-end bonus enabled me to buy this watch.
- Not every smartphone offers the compatibility that's required to support the Polar M600 properly.
- I'm not fashion conscious, but if I were, I would have expected more in the style department given the tidy price tag associated with this device. One of my friends called the look "bland." Ouch.
- Because the Polar M600 is engineered specifically for the Android interface, be advised that there's limited support when it comes to the Polar Flow iOS application.
- For runners accustomed to lithe, slim sports watches, there will be a period of adjustment. Given everything that's packed into this device, it's a bit on the bulky, clunky side. Good thing I don't care.
If you love this iconic brand and won't have to cut back on premium dog food to afford it, and don't mind being encumbered by a thicker-than-usual watchcase, the Polar M600 could be the device you’ve been waiting for all of your running life.
Reviewers from myriad websites seem to have had problems coming up with anything bad to say about this product, and you can count me among them!
What is the most amount of money you are willing to spend to get a sports watch capable of managing your activities?
The Polar M600 is available in Charcoal Black and Powder White for S$569. Changeable wristbands in Polar Red will also be available later this year.