Polar M200 review

Mid-range features on a low-end budget

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Our Verdict

With GPS, heart rate monitoring, tracking for various activities and sports and a waterproof build, the Polar M200 is a strong budget choice. The design could use work and GPS is sometimes slow, but otherwise this is a great running watch.

For

  • Accurate GPS
  • Good battery life
  • Heart rate monitor

Against

  • Dated screen
  • Cheap design
  • GPS can be slow to lock on

One for the more budget-conscious runner, the Polar M200 is aimed at the budget end of the market and can be picked up for $149.95/£129.50/AU$199.

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+.

Design

  • 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.

However, the combination of the basic strap design and the watch’s weight raises a few questions in terms of quality. The M200 doesn’t scream quality, especially compared to pricier options like the Garmin Forerunner 235, but sitting at the budget end of the market, does it need to?

It's arguably no worse looking than something like the Garmin Vivosmart HR, for example.

Following the theme of simplicity, two buttons on either side of the display offer all the functionality needed to operate the M200’s array of features. 

The left button is used to go back through the menu options, pause/stop a workout, sync with the smartphone app or operate the backlight.

A quick press of the right button is used to cycle through the menu screens, while a longer press allows you to select the option you want. Having multiple functions with only two buttons is a little fiddly at first, but after a week or so of regular use you soon get to grips with it.

The Polar M200’s charging port sits on the base of the watch. The port is well hidden but can be easily accessed by simply pushing the watch unit from the strap. The watch is then charged via a USB cable that comes included in the box.

It's perhaps a bit annoying having to remove the unit from the strap, especially as newer models like the Polar M430 are 'all-in-one' and easily charged.

The strap itself is fastened using a metal clasp which feels secure, and there are plenty of holes to fit varying wrist sizes.

Polar offer five different color straps – black, red, yellow, blue or white – and the ease of changing the strap makes it simple to mix and match depending on your mood, assuming you fancy paying for extra straps.

The screen on the Polar M200 is quite small, with a large proportion of the circular interface taken up by a bezel. The edges of the screen are designed to allow the user to easily track and monitor their activity level at a glance throughout the day – more on this later.

The display itself is basic, with no touchscreen, color or detailed graphics. Instead, the M200 sports an LED dot matrix display, which gives the watch a slightly outdated feel.

If you want a fancier screen you may want to consider something like the Polar M600, but you'll have to be prepared to pay more.

Polar have kept things simple but functional with the design of the M200. While the overall feeling of the watch isn’t of great quality, at a budget price point you don’t expect much more. 

However, what the M200 lacks in style, it more than makes up for with its array of features at the price point.