Wearables

Polar M600: Android Wear running watch

The M600's GPS distance tracking is very reliable.
The M600's GPS distance tracking is very reliable. PHOTO: POLAR

The smartwatch comes with integrated GPS and a built-in heart-rate monitor

The Polar M600 represents the Finnish fitness company's first foray into Android Wear.

Polar has transformed its A360 fitness tracker into an Android Wear smartwatch with integrated GPS and a built-in heart-rate monitor (HRM). The M600 looks like a bigger and more squarish version of the A360. It is fairly thick at 13mm and nearly twice as heavy as the A360.

This GPS running smartwatch has a 1.3-inch (240 x 240 pixels) touchscreen display protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3. The display is responsive to touch and readable even under bright sunlight.

There is a button below the display and another button on the left side of the watch.

The front button lets you access a window, giving you the option of the Training and My Day functions. Training lets you choose the workout you want, while My Day displays the steps taken, calories burnt and distance walked. The side button functions as the back button when you press it once. Pressing and holding the side button brings you to the Android Wear settings.

The watch comes with a rubber wristband that has a secure clamp. The wristband is comfortable to wear. The M600 is also water-resistant down to a depth of 10m, so you can wear it while swimming.

  • TECH SPECS

  • PRICE: $569

    CONNECTIVITY: Bluetooth

    WEIGHT: 63g

    RATING

    FEATURES: 4/5

    DESIGN: 3/5

    PERFORMANCE: 4/5

    BATTERY LIFE: 3/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

Looks wise, it just shouts GPS running watch from miles away. Even though it has all the Android Wear capabilities, such as notifications, changing of watch faces and voice commands, it is not a smartwatch that can double up as a timepiece to wear to black-tie events or wedding dinners.

The M600 automatically tracks your daily activities, including steps taken, calories burnt and sleep patterns. But, like the A360, it does not track your heart rate all day, not even at regular intervals.

It will track your heart rate only during workouts, whereby it can tell you if you are in the right heart-rate zone.

I found it a little stingy with its step counting. It consistently tracked around 15 per cent fewer steps than my calibrated Fitbit Charge 2 and Apple Watch Series 2.

And while the sleep tracking was pretty accurate, it shows only the amount of restful and restless sleep.

The M600's GPS distance tracking is very accurate. It does take a while - around 30sec - before it gets a GPS lock. But distance tracking was spot on along my regular jogging route, differing by no more than 30m from the actual distance.

During runs, the timing, pace, distance travelled and heart rate are all displayed on a single panel. So you do not need to press any button to toggle through displays.

The built-in HRM recorded readings that closely matched my Apple Watch Series 2 and TomTom Spark Cardio running watch, differing by no more than five beats per min.

Battery life is average for a smartwatch. On a full charge, it lasted only two days while connected to a smartphone.

  • Verdict: The Polar M600 is a bit pricey, given its bland design. But you are getting a great Android Wear GPS running smartwatch with built-in heart-rate monitor as well as a fitness tracker.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 09, 2016, with the headline 'Polar M600: Android Wear running watch'. Print Edition | Subscribe