Polar may be an unknown brand to most smartwatch users, but the Polar M600 is a watch that should be known as a real competitor in the smartwatch industry. This top-notch smartwatch and fitness tracker fusion is an outstanding example of the recent explosion of fitness tracker/smartwatch popularity as of late.
Many brands have tried to fuse these two ideals into one watch and have failed. Others simply have more than one than the other, not really satisfying either consumer type. However, Polar, while unknown in the smartwatch game, is a very established brand in fitness devices. It is one of the oldest when dealing with heart rate monitoring, as well.
The M600 by Polar is rethinking the fitness tracking and smartwatch fusion in today’s competitive market. By adopting a proper smartwatch platform and offering the fitness tracker functions and health apps the company is known for, combined with much more on the side, is giving this smartwatch an edge.
The result is one of the most considered sports devices we have seen and certainly one of the best Android Wear devices made to date.
Technical Specifications and Features:
- Display: LCD, Backlit Full Color Display; Rectangle
- Display Size: 1.3 inch with 240 x 240 pixel resolution
- Android Wear
- Chipset: MediaTek
- 512MB RAM with 4GB of Storage
- GPS Tracking
- Heart Rate Monitoring, with 6 LEDs on the back of the M600 case
- Supports OK Google Voice Controls, Notifications, GPS, Music, Calendar, etc…
- Battery: 500mAh
- Battery Life: Approximately 2 Days
- Polar Flow App: Fitness Stats, Activities, Report on Daily Activities, Heart Rate, Pace, Schedule Workouts, Plans, Distance, Setup Intervals, Time Targets, etc…
- 24/7 Activity Monitoring
The Polar M600 uses a 500mAh battery, which contributes to some of its thickness, but it is a great battery for the unit.
This 500mAh battery will give you around 2 days of use when it is connected to an Android device, which includes exercise time. You may be able to push more out of it with in casual wear model. It can be used with an iPhone, but reports are that it drops to around a day on a single charged when used with Apple products.
The Android Wear is best enhanced when it is paired with an Android phone.
The Polar M600 mates the body module with the rubber strap, and like the TomTom Spark, the body slots into the strap meaning the sections can easily be separated when you want to clean them. The design itself looks a lot like previous Polar watches, although it is pretty thick. If you have a thin forearm, you might find it a bit large, but it fits well enough on the average male’s arm. The design looks great both as a smartwatch and as a sports device.
The screen is square fitting as per Polar’s family design, and unlike other smartwatches such as the new Pebble 2, it actually makes it look good. Compared to other Android Wear devices, Polar’s watch-making experience is apparent. This is a much nicer Android Wear smartwatch than other models such as the Moto 360 Sport.
The strap is made of rubber and is easily adjustable and uses a conventional two-pronged buckle. Using two bands to stop the spare strap from catching onto things, the M600 is also extremely comfortable to wear and sweat through. Weighing 6 grams, it’s not too heavy, either.
There are two buttons for Sports Features: the left side for the standard Android Wear menu, and a button on the front which takes you straight to the sports side, opening the Polar application. This is very much a sports smartwatch and we like that Polar has not been distracted by its inclusion of Android Wear. It has owned the platform rather than allowed it to own them.
Charging is completed through the magnetic connection point on the rear, where it neatly attaches without requiring a clip.
While this smartwatch has many features and specifications, it does not have a compass or barometer, however, so even though you can use its GPS, the direction and elevation is based on the GPS.
The 240 x 240 resolution on the 1.3 inch display isn’t the sharpest or largest, but the screen fits the watch and is perfect for on-the-move.
The battery life could be better considering the bulk that the 500mAh battery adds to the watch. With a 2 day battery life for Android devices, this would be somewhat okay for a normal smartwatch, but for a fitness and health device, this means a lot more charging. Other sports watches can give you around 5 active days or more (without offering smart functions, but still).
While the M600 can track a ton of activities, it is not great for detection of swimming strokes, unlike the Apple Watch 2.
The M600 features an optical heart rate sensor onboard, which Polar is known for. It also features its own GPS when you are ready to get outside and leave your smartphone at home.
The beautiful design makes the Polar M600 extremely unique. It is not only an effective sports partner in terms of functionality, but the design promotes regular use for fitness and health. The rubber strap is married to the M600 smartwatch case body, and offers a great band for secure wear and seamless use in the water.
Waterproofing is one of the best parts of this smartwatch. With a proper IPX8 rating that supports swimming, the screen is further protected by its Gorilla Glass, which avoids scratching. The metal detailing that frames the display on the left and right hand sides offer a nice, premium look.
The main tradeoff of the M600 is that it doesn’t have great endurance battery-wise for sports and fitness use, but it offers a whole lot more in terms of functionality, meaning that it certainly does a lot more than tell you the time when you are out and about.
When the M600 is up and running, having Android Wear and the Polar Flow app running makes for excellent syncing, connection, and seamless cooperation. Once you are connected you can use the Android Wear application to control many of the functions, like deciding what notifications you wish to receive and design of the display screen, among much more.
The display supports an always-on function, dimming for normal wear, and brightening when you move the watch (great for when you’re jogging).
You can purchase the Polar M600 for $330. As a new release barely a few weeks on the market, it is unlikely that you will find it online any cheaper.