When Cousin Kelvin entered our favourite after-work bistro with his hand extended, I was reminded of girlfriends who get engaged and shove their hands under my nose so I don't miss the rock on their left ring fingers. But Kelvin's a guy with a hot girlfriend, and I knew he hadn't proposed.
At first, I pretended not to notice—like I did when we were kids. Rolling his eyes, he pointed to his wrist where the Polar M600 sports watch he had been obsessing over of late was perched on his wrist. My eyes grew to be the size of saucers.
Don't get me wrong. I'm a big Polar fan and his new device impressed me to the max. But I've been dreaming of one, too. What was I to do since I'm planning my wedding and my budget is already tight?
Compromise, of course. I snagged a sporty red Polar M200 that outshines his staid black device and after wearing it for only a week, I'm convinced that it's as amazing as his! Kelvin can strut around like a peacock all he wants. I'll take my M200 every day of the week and twice on Sunday.
The Polar Brand Rules
There are plenty of manufacturers in the world producing wrist sports tracking devices, but I knew this brand stood head and shoulders above competitors. Known for producing legendary sports training computers and the world's first wireless heart rate monitor, the company began producing gear in 1977 that revolutionized heart rate measurement technology.
Today, university research laboratories around the world choose Polar over other manufacturers, particularly those departments focused on exercise science. With a pedigree like this one, I've always dreamed of wearing a Polar device on my wrist and when I saw the price on the M200, I realised that I could buy one at long last.
The M200 Ticks Off All the Boxes
Was the M200 designed just for me? I'm convinced it was because with my wedding on the horizon, I'm concerned about calories, activity and training more than ever.
My Polar device tracks every calorie I consume. Having programmed my weight, height, age and gender into the device's brain, it even tells me how much I need exercise to burn off those extra calories and shows me active choices that increase my health benefits.
While I try to stay motivated, life throws many hurdles in my path as I juggle my job, social obligations and wedding planning, so I'm often vulnerable to cheating.
But using the Polar Flow app or web service, the M200 even rewards me with motivating feedback after I exercise, so my perpetual urge to cheat has noticeably diminished.
Like a good friend, the Polar's 24/7 activity tracking feature stands guard so I always know what my body is up to while I'm resting, sitting, moving, jogging or undertaking strenuous sports. The evidence-based activity feature even helps me stay apprised of my bone health, mental well-being and other important data, including features that help me reduce my risk of getting certain diseases.
In other words, it's every bit as protective of me as is my fiancé.
- I adore the inactivity alert feature! If I sit or stand too long, I get an Inactivity Alert that forces to me to get up and move so I don't risk compromising my circulation and metabolism. And yes, it sleeps at night, too.
- My running program is so intuitive, I can choose an event and follow a specific training plan based on that specific marathon distance, be it a 5km, 10km, 21km or any other amount of ground I'm required to cover in order to finish.
- The wrist-based heart rate monitoring feature is extraordinary. No bells and whistles when I'm sprinting along at max speed: I get an accurate read in real time that includes the critical HRmax rate that drives my intensity.
- The display even offers fun features—I can compare my speed to world records. Right.
- I wear my M200 when I swim and the battery is rechargeable. It's Bluetooth smart so I get alerts, messages and social media gossip while I train. Trust me: gossip has saved me from quitting early when I’m bored or tired.
- If fashion rules your life, you may wish to keep shopping because, as one editor said, the Polar M200 is "inelegant." Translation: it's bulky and thick—and the strap, while sturdy, isn't soft, so it takes getting used to.
- Several wearers found the charging system to be awkward. I didn't, personally, but it's my obligation to let you know what other wearers have reported.
- If a dot-matrix screen and/or a round display turns you off--especially when compared to square, hip, fashion-forward watch faces—this could be a deal breaker for you.
- It's hard to imagine not being a fan of all Polar products, but if you prefer another brand for any sort of reason, why are you reading this review in the first place?
I'll begin by saying that while I'm a girly-girl and have my fashion moments, I don't care that the Polar M200 looks more industrial than sleek because I bought the brand, not the look. Further, my red device has a kind of kitschy feel, and I don't mind the fact that it's different from other activity trackers because I find it simple to use and operate.
I'm just as happy with my Polar M200 as Kelvin is with his more expensive model, and I paid $150 for mine, while he forked over $500+. I keep asking Kelvin why my Polar isn't as fabulous as his, but so far, he's not talking.
Maybe I can corner him at the wedding to learn why he refuses to acknowledge the obvious, because there’s a chance I'll be wearing my Polar M200 at my reception to get the conversation started!
In your opinion, does price equal excellence or do you believe that there are plenty of affordable sports accessories on the market that perform as well as pricey models?
The Polar M200 is available in Charcoal Black and Bright Red for S$219. Changeable wristbands are sold separately and available in White, Fresh Blue, Mellow Yellow as well as Charcoal Black and Bright Red. Polar M200 will be available to customers in USA, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan in October 2016 and globally in January 2017.