Smartwatch Polar M600 Test: GPS Sports Watch With iPhone Weakness
Smartwatches are very popular at the moment and it is for a reason because they are great multi-tools for smartphones. They are smartphone add-ons and keep you fit. The high-quality fitness tracker and smart watches by Polar are gaining more and more popularity lately. Especially athletes are more into this brand. We tested the M600 model according to the interface, training features and iOS compatibility and reveal if the purchase is worth it for iPhone users.
The first impression
At the first glance, the watch looks like high-quality. The M600 is equipped with a color touch display made of Gorilla glass and a flexible and soft wristband. Two buttons beneath and next to the display serve an easy operation while working out. The smartwatch comes with the operating system Android Wear 2.0 and is waterproof for up to ten meters according to IPx8 classification.
The design is simple and sporty. At first, you wouldn’t recognize the real size of the watch, but you will notice it once the watch is around your wrist. The size is probably the best for man’s arms and not so much for slim woman’s arms.
- Sales launch in U.S.: 01/17
- Clockwork: Digital
- Display: Digital
- Touchscreen: TFT Touch display
- Resolution: 240x240px
- Housing size: 4.5 x 3 inches
- Housing material: Gorilla Glass, Silicone
- Protection class: IPX8
- Weight: 8.8 oz
- Processor: MediaTek MT2601
- Storage: 4GB
- Operating system: Android Wear 2.0
- Battery Capacity: 500mAh
- Connection: Bluetooth® 4.2., Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
- Apple Compatibility: iPhone 5/iOS9+
- Sensors: Accelerometer, Ambient Light Sensor, Gyroscope, Vibration motor, and Microphone
- Heart rate: Yes
- Features: Notifications, Music storage, Swimming metrics, Multi-sports mode, and Google Fit
Operating the M600
There are different pre-installed apps on the smartwatch, which are accessible by swiping on the display. The display has a good size and the font is easy to read. If you press the button beneath the display, you will get into the Google Fit menu, where you find your goals and your heart rate. The button on the left side opens the menu, where you can choose the type of training.
It will take a while until you encounter all features of the smartwatch. As soon as you remember, where they are, it is fairly easy to operate the watch. The individual apps load instantly without problems. The display makes a very good impression, is clear and responds instantly.
Training with M600
The smartwatch by Polar shows the best strengths while working out. At the beginning of a workout, you have to open the Polar Flow app on the watch and click “Training“. Then you can choose from different sports disciplines like Walking, treadmill training or stepper. Challenges like pushups or squats are supposed to give an additional motivation.
If you want to get precise heart rate data while working out, the smartwatch has to sit tight around the wrist behind the wrist bone. The sensor constantly has to be in contact with the skin. However, you also shouldn’t wear it too tight. Integrated GPS and Glonass record the distance and speed. Six LEDs measure the pulse on your wrist. After the training, you can loosen the armband of the M600 again so that you can wear it as a normal watch.
The watch is obviously made to wear in everyday life as well. The 24/7 Activity tracking counts steps and calculates burned calories, as well as analyses the sleep. The results are automatically synchronized with the Polar Flow app that you can download from the App Store. In addition, you can use the M600 as a timer, stopwatch, alarm, and even as a flashlight.
Synchronization with iPhone
If you want to use the M600 without restrictions, you should have an Android smartphone and no iPhone. The pairing of the watch and iPhone via the Polar Flow app for iOS works without problems, but the synchronization afterwards was complicated and troublesome in our test. Either the watch didn’t connect or the connection broke up multiple times. This can be annoying because you have to pair the watch with the app again and the training results are gone.
The Polar Flow app allows only a few setting changes. In order to use it nearly unlimited, you need the Android Wear app as well. Once you install this app, it synchronizes the applications that send notifications to the smartwatch. However, you cannot respond to calls, messages or email as an iPhone user.
The battery life depends on the operating system of the smartphone that the smartwatch is paired with. While it lasts on Android phones without training for around 48 hours and 8 hours with training, the battery lasts on iPhones up to 24 hours and 8 hours. Another disadvantage of the M600 is the charging chord. It has a small round connector that is connected with a magnet on the smartwatch. The connection doesn’t hold reliably. If you touch the watch or cable in an unmindful moment, it loses the connection. This definitely needs improvement.
The Polar M600 is a high-quality smartwatch that athletes will love – but only if they are Android users. Around one-third of the functions are not usable with iPhones (e.g. listening to music and music streaming). Polar apparently knows this and indicates it with declaring Android devices as partners for the M600. However, they give no information, which features are available for iPhones. Therefore, you don’t really know what to expect until you have it in your hands.