The Polar M600 Wearable mixes the elements of an activity tracker and a fitness device with your beloved smartphone, placing it into the innovative category of All-Day Wearables. It’s a Polar sports watch and an Android-based smartwatch packed into the same device. Price-wise, it comes up above $300, but still under the price point of the higher-end Garmin Fenix 3 or Fenix 5. It is a good watch for the money, given its technical prowess.
While the M600 is built for the Android platform, it’s also compatible with any iPhone 5 or later running iOS 8.2 or higher as well as smartphones running Android 4.3 or higher. That makes the M600 a versatile performer whether you use the iOS or Android system.
From you first use, you will notice that going through its menu is exactly like using a smartwatch (when you want to check your notifications) but you can also quickly switch it to a GPS-equipped sports training device by the touch of a button. Sweet, right?
But, as we’re here to talk about its running and cycling-related benefits, we will focus on its features which will help you get relevant information you are looking for, accurately use the GPS, and so on. As a rule of thumb, the Polar M600 has been made for all health and fitness enthusiast folks who love to cross-train by running, cycling, hiking, etc. We’ve even used ours canoeing. The cool thing is that you don’t need to worry about buying multiple devices that serve different purposes anymore; everything you need (recovery status info, benefit, training load) is incorporated in this watch.
That is where the M600 excels most — it not only helps you during your workout, but after as well.
As we mentioned above, the Polar M600 tracks your running or cycling training and sends all the details to Polar Flow, its complimentary online training tool. With its GPS and GLONASS hardware, the device communicates directly with satellites to identify your location and provide info such as distance traveled and speed. This enables a reliable and fast signal even when you’re in crowded areas or way out in the middle of nature.
The watch also measures your heart rate with its optical heart rate sensor smartly placed on its back. For greatest accuracy, make sure that the device is snug (though not uncomfortably so) and sitting behind your wrist bone.
As soon as you completed your workout, the Polar M600 will sync all the data to the Power Flow app and any other third party apps you use. Moreover, all other activities (sleep, calories burned, daily steps) are automatically tracked if you choose to wear it for the rest of the day. All you need to do is sync it to you smartphone and carry on with your schedule.
This nice device is able of tracking plenty of data that will help you be aware of your training benefit, recovery status, and training load. If you’re into interval cycling sessions, the Polar Flow app lets you review all of the sessions via numerous avenues. For example, pace and heart rate can be overlayed onto a graphic if you like. You can even break up your sessions into smaller segments. In addition, you can visualize via a table how much time you spend in each heart zone – this offers great positive reinforcing of the benefits of your training. You can also use the re-live feature to re-play the entire thing – you’ll see your session’s location, the movements you made, heart rate zones, pace, and when you reached the maximum speed. Every load incurred during each activity is tracked and mixed with the load from previous activities, offering you an overall training load. Afterwards, this is represented on an easy-to-understand chart that pinpoints your level of training. The superstar of all the features is, undoubtedly, the recovery status.
Note that if you want a watch that you can also use swimming, the M600 works to a depth of 10 meters. If you want a device that really performs well in the water, you might want to consider the M800.
Usability and Wearability
The watch’s silicone band is pretty comfy, yet its rather rigid platform might produce some discomfort after wearing the device for a long period of time, so it’s worth experimenting a bit with its fit to ensure the greatest comfort over the longest period of time, since the compelling information the M600 provides throughout the day (and night) wins out when compared to other standard cycling devices.
While the info this watch is not as comprehensive as the one provided by cycling specific devices, the Polar M600 offers plenty of relevant data, if you don’t mind reviewing it rather than using it in real time. Still, having access to your training performance and bike data is awesome for those wanting to create personalized, automated, and highly targeted training programs.
On the not-so-nice side, we noticed that the watch doesn’t record power data or elevation and it does sport a rather small display, which makes it a bit tough to view while on you bike.
Overall, the Polar M600’s ability to track more than running and cycling data (cardio activity, strength training sessions, sleeping quantity & quality, and so on) with just a touch of a button makes it a lovely, all-in-one device for those of you who want to monitor all their health data throughout the day. Should you specifically require a device that is cycling specific, however, there are plenty of other options you can choose from in that arena.