So far, with Polar, we’ve focused more on the workout / running watches that were purpose-built for fitness tracking. Today, we’ve got something that is still purpose built, but also is a full-blown Android-powered smartwatch, the Polar M600.
Obviously, from my review of the Polar M200, I’ve become a fan of not having to wear a chest strap to measure my heart rate during a workout and having the GPS built into the watch, and the 60g, 15.2mm thick Polar M600 continues that trend. And, in all actuality, when it comes to the various fitness tracking, the Polar M600 performs just like the other Polar watches I’ve tested out, which is a good thing – it’s easy to use, and instantly familiar.
It’s when you jump out from the known that the Polar M600 differentiates itself. This is, as I mentioned, a full-on Android Wear watch, which means you’ll need an additional app on your phone for communicating with the watch. Along with Polar Flow, you’ll need the Android Wear OS app, which facilitates the connection between watch and phone, and allows for some additional setups.
As I’ve come to learn over time, smart watches really aren’t for me, so testing out the Polar M600 was a bit of a mixed bag. Sure, I did wear the watch to test it out, but I didn’t find myself really using the smarts of the watch. Sure, the built-in WiFi was great for updating the apps (you configure the WiFi via the Android Wear app), but I didn’t really use the smart notifications or things of that nature. During the day, it was really just an activity tracker for me, albeit one with a rather nice screen.
There were two scenarios where I did use it, however. The first being the gym, of course. Given that Polar built the watch (rather than forcing a generic smart watch into workout duty), you’ve got a dedicated button (right below the screen) that dumps you into the various Polar choices (workout, daily summary, heart rate, and sync), and you can use that same button (or taps on the screen) to make your choices.
I will admit, the touch-screen capability of the Polar M600 was a welcome interaction mode, as sometimes the various button presses (short versus long) on the M200 didn’t always register (due to me not holding it long enough), and if I wasn’t paying attention, I’d miss part of the workout. Here, it’s very intuitive and easy to get over to what you want tracked, with one exception.
That exception is the sleep tracking, which is the other big use I have for the Polar M600. The Polar watches have offered sleep tracking before, but the M600 has a lot more detailed look at things, similar to what I am used to from my Fitbit One. Interestingly enough, though, there’s no way (at least that I found) to tell the M600 you’re going to sleep. Even without that, it gave pretty similar results to what my Fitbit would record for sleep/wake data, so I’ll say it works.
With the $300 M600, you do have the capability to change straps, as with their other model. Nice that you can mix things up, or even give a chance for one to be washed and dried and still use the watch. An item of note here is how the Polar M600 charges. Unlike our prior reviews, this does rely on a proprietary (magnetic) cable to charge. Not the end of the world, but nowhere near as convenient as a built-in USB connector.
Oh, I should also note that if you were going to use multiple Polar watches during the day (say, the M200 for your workout and then the M600 for the rest of the day), the Polar Flow app handles that gracefully, and without any fuss. That all said, at the end of the day, the Polar M600 is just overkill for me. Perhaps smartwatch fans, or those in a more serious training regimen, could have a use for it, but for me, it didn’t click. Even though it was only 0.5mm thicker than the M200, it just looked and felt bulkier, which was another demerit for it. So, for me, I am a fan of what Polar is making, I just like their purpose-built, less-smart models (you can still get phone notifications on the M200, it’s worth noting). You may choose otherwise, of course, and if you do, let us know in the comments below or over in our Slack channel – we’d like to know your side of the story! polar.com
Brand & Model: Polar M600
Who’s it for? You want fitness tracking, and you want a full-on smartwatch to boot
Would I wear it? Nope, this one just really isn’t for me
What I’d change: A more standard connection for charging, like their other models have
The best thing about it: I really dug the more detailed sleep tracking – I wish that was built into the non-smartwatch models as well
- SMARTWATCH WITH GPS: Track your speed, distance and route with the integrated GPS and GLONASS
- THE WATERPROOF SMARTWATCH TO TRACK EVERY MOVE: Track your 24/7 activity, steps, distance, calories burned and sleep. Enjoy a 2-day battery life when connected to Android devices.
- GET ACCESS TO POLAR SMART COACHING: Train smarter with unique and exclusive Polar Smart Coaching features designed for sports, fitness and health.
- GET ASSISTANCE ON THE GO: See notifications and meetings, ask Google for help and respond to messages – all on your wrist.
- WRIST-BASED HEART RATE MONITORING: Polar M600 features the proprietary Polar wrist-based heart rate measurement technology, optimized for Polar M600. Simply tighten the band and you’re ready to train.*
- *In some sports we recommend a heart rate chest strap for optimal accuracy. Read more about wrist-based heart rate measurement
- MUSIC WHILE YOU TRAIN: Control music right from your watch. Go phoneless with Google Play Music** and 4GB of onboard storage for music playback.