Polar M200 GPS Running Watch 2020 Latest Updated Review.
The Polar M200 is the natural running watch successor to the impressive M400, merging features from Polar’s A360 for added fitness tracking smarts.
Primarily a running watch, the M200 offers integrated GPS, along with optical heart rate monitoring, smartphone connectivity and 24/7 activity tracking, as well as the ability to follow structured training programs.
The key question is whether it’s the right watch for you at the price point, especially when it’s competing with other budget wearables such as the Fitbit Charge 2 and Garmin Vivosmart HR
What Can It Do?
Wear the Polar M200 24/7, and it will track your steps, overall activity, and sleep, while also estimating calories burned.
In the Polar Flow app, you can see more detail about your activity, such as how many total hours and minutes of the day you spend sitting, standing, walking or being lightly active, running or being highly active, and laying down.
Sleep tracking, for instance, is not very precise. On two occasions, the M200 results were as much as 25 minutes different from the Misfit readings.
Polar reports your total time in bed, but it doesn’t give you a clear readout on the exact times you went to bed and woke up.
Misfit does, making it much easier to know whether it’s accurate and to correct it. And with the M200, you can’t edit a sleep session.
- Light, secure and comfortable
- Plain, cheap-looking design
- Basic, dated screen
Aesthetically, the Polar M200 is quite simple, with a silicone strap encircling the watch’s face.
The strap feels durable and sits comfortably on your wrist when worn for prolonged periods. In fact, with the M200 weighing in at just 40g, it’s sometimes easy to forget you’re wearing it.
Polar M200 GPS watch specifications
- Thickness: 12mm
- Display size:26mm, 1,342px
- Heart rate monitor:Yes
- Activity tracker:Yes
- Connectivity:USB-A for data sync to Mac or PC, Bluetooth
- App:Polar Flow, FlowSync
- Good range of activities to track.
- Includes optical heart rate monitoring, GPS, and push notifications.
- No charging cable to lose.
- Thick, bulky, inelegant design.
- Dot-matrix display.
- Strap isn’t soft.
- Awkward charging system.
- Can’t set a customized activity goal.
App and Syncing
The Polar M200 works with both Mac and Windows computers when you plug it in directly via USB, as well as Android and iOS devices over Bluetooth. The wide support is a nice perk, although in my use, I had mildly frustrating experiences with all of them.
There’s a Web app in addition to a mobile app, and both have their places. The mobile app is better at giving you quick insight into your day, while the Web app is great for sticking to a training schedule (because it has a calendar) and diving deeper into the details of your workout.
Going for a Run
A few right button presses (long- and short-) and you have chosen your outdoor running profile. Alternatively you select your scheduled/pre-built workout and follow that.
You are reminded if the all-important GPS signal and HR signal are working.
It asks you to stand still if GPS has not been found but, as with most sports watches these days, some form of predictive-GPS positioning is used and the signal is found pretty quickly…seconds or a few tens of seconds. I think it says up to a minute in the manual but it’s definitely always been MUCH quicker than that.
If you are wearing the watch correctly it will find the HR signal within 5-10 seconds.
Some Other Points to Consider:
- There’s vibrational feedback as you start and you have the confidence that you know it is recording.
- You can pause the recording and you can toggle from one of your pre-selected screen for the sport profile.
- You can add manual laps (see later).
- The two sets of numbers are easily readable for most people. Next to each number is an icon to indicate what the number means. Polar users will already be familiar with this. But those new to Polar might take a while to decipher them.
- Although there are two sets of numbers (max) per screen, Polar probably could have squeezed more in there if they wanted to.
- The watch feels comfy and secure whilst running.
Polar has training programs for most of the popular distances (5K, 10K, half marathon, etc.) that can be loaded onto the M200. The app also lets you add custom workouts for more than 100 types of activities (running, biking, rowing and so on)
Notifications from other apps, texts and calls are included on the M200, but they seem like more of an afterthought
The notifications are most helpful during everyday use to alert you to phone calls, texts or notifications of when someone likes your pictures on Instagram, among other things. After the first time an app passes a notification, you can mute that app from the Polar Flow app
The M200 boasts fairly long battery life. Polar says the device will last through either six days of everyday use (defined as 1 hour of exercise per day with GPS and heart-rate monitoring) or 6 hours of continuous GPS use plus heart-rate monitoring.