There are a few companies that really dominate the GPS watch industry. Polar is one of them. The M400 GPS Sport Watch and Activity Tracker is one of Polar’s most sophisticated designs. Despite this, the M400 does come with a hefty price tag.
We primarily tested the M400 running outdoors, where it did a fantastic job. Although it took a few minutes to connect to its GPS satellite, it never lost the signal during a run. That makes it one of the most reliable GPS watches that you can buy for under $300.
The Polar M400 GPS Running Watch has a lot of great features that we appreciated during our tests. Some of our favorite include its:
- 24-hour activity tracking
- Sleep length and quality sensors
- Micro USB charger
- Access to Power Flow website
- Activity goals
- Fitness tests
You’ll get more out of the watch by pairing it with the Polar H7, a heart rate monitor that you wear around your wrist. If the M400 can read your heart rate, then it can do a better job tracking your activities and calories. It will also give you more accurate feedback so you can keep pushing yourself in a healthy way.
What’s Unique About Polar M400
The M400 is obviously a great GPS watch for runners, cyclists, and other athletes. It’s the software, though, that really makes it unique.
With the Polar M400, you get a lot more than raw data that helps you track your fitness. You also get motivating messages that encourage you to keep pushing. This is something that distance athletes really need. Yes, running is physically difficult, but it’s also an extremely mental sport. When you’re five miles away from your starting point, and you’re not sure whether you have the strength to make it back, you need something giving you that extra push.
Some people will scoff because they don’t think a small computer could really give them encouragement. That’s not our experience. We found that the motivational messages really did keep us going. It doesn’t seem to matter where the messages come from. As long as you introduce them to your mind, you can get some benefit from them.
We also want to mention that the watch has a built-in feature that will vibrate after you’ve sat still for too long. If you’ve been sitting on the couch for an hour, it will buzz. Having that simple reminder is often enough for us to decide that it’s time to turn the TV off and do something more productive.
Polar M400 Price
The last time we looked at the Polar M400, it was retailing for about $250, which seems like a fair price considering how much it offers. We also found that it was possible to get the watch for less than that. We even discovered a seller that had the GPS watch for a little less than $200, which makes it a real steal.
If you find the M400 for $200 or less, you should snatch it up as quickly as possible. It’s a great watch for even casual exercises. At that price, you really can’t pass it up.
As much as we like this GPS watch and activity tracker, there are a few things that Polar could improve about it. Most importantly, it can take several minutes for the watch to connect to a smartphone. During our research, it took four minutes at the longest. Some people will find that frustrating.
We also had some difficulty connecting the M400 to RunKeeper, a popular website that a lot of runners use. It seems likely that Polar underestimated the importance of this and similar online services. We suspect that the designers believe owners would prefer using the native software. Although it is good software, runners usually use more than one type of tool. With no easy way to export data to RunKeeper, owning this watch may want you to reconsider whether it makes sense to use RunKeeper.
Over the last few years, Polar has released some very sophisticated devices that it manages to sell at affordable prices. This helps make watches like the M400 useful for runners at all levels of experience. Even if you’re not a serious runner who puts in more than 20 miles a week, you can still benefit from wearing this watch. Considering all that you have to gain, the price is worth it. We can’t imagine reaching our long-term goals with a GPS watch like this.
Update: The follow up model M435 is now available on Amazon too!
1 used from $229.95
- GPS WATCH: Built-in GPS technology keeps track of your pace, distance and altitude
- FITNESS TRACKER: Tracks your workouts, steps, distance, calories burned, sleep quality, and activity 24/13
- WATERPROOF FITNESS TRAINER: Use the fitness tracking watch to keep an eye on your running cadence to improve your running efficiency and avoid injuries in all weather conditions
- ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY: Compatible with H7 Heart Rate sensor to train at the right intensity with target heart rate zones
1 used from $300.39
- Optical heart rate monitor - continuous, accurate heart rate without a chest strap via a 6 LED optical sensor
- Integrated GPS - running watch tracks speed, distance, pace and routes.Display resolution: 128 x 128
- 24/7 activity tracking - Track your daily activity, including steps, calories and sleep with the guidance to help you reach your activity goal
- Vibration alerts - be alerted with vibrating notifications of incoming calls, messages or during training and periods of inactivity
Over the last few years, Polar has released some very sophisticated devices that it manages to sell at affordable prices. This helps make watches like the M400 useful for runners at all levels of experience.