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Polar announces M400 footpod support, also smartphone notifications for V800/M400/A300

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Today at CES Polar has made two fairly solid and notable announcements.  Both of these updates continue to increase the competitiveness of the products included, but especially the M400 – which was already my top pick for a sub-$300 running watch (at $179).  Let’s just dive right into things.

Polar M400 Footpod Support:

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First up is something bound to make a lot of you happy.  Polar is announcing that the company is rolling out support for Bluetooth Smart footpods on the M400 running GPS watch.  This will assist in giving you pace and distance data indoors, such as on a treadmill.  Also, it’ll support cadence information via the footpod.

After that they will also be adding in support for wrist-based detection (no footpod required).  Of course, no company in the market today has managed to perfect that, as the pace and thus distance tends to be somewhat variable in my and many other user’s testing of other products.  Though, cadence via this method is generally quite good.  Either way, having the option to go footpod-less for those that don’t mind is certainly ideal.

The footpod support should be available via a firmware update sometime today mid-February, baring anything having gone wrong in between the time the small army of Polar folks in the US at CES told me this afternoon, and when Polar folks in Finland wake up Friday morning.  (Update: Apparently mis-communication is in the air, now it’s mid-Q1, so roughly February).

As you might remember, upon launch of the M400 it was promised that the footpod would be supported eventually.  Unfortunately over the past month things got a bit wishy-washy there with some changes in plans and timelines.  Thankfully after I made some comments in a post about the wishy-washy footpod state, many of you contacted Polar via social media expressing your desire for the footpod, and for it to show up sooner rather than later.

Based on your feedback, Polar has basically ported over the V800 footpod code into the M400 for footpod support. See, companies do listen!

Smartphone Notifications:

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Next up in the pile of presents from Polar today is the addition of smartphone notifications.  This update will allow you to display notifications from your smartphone on your Polar device.  These notifications will be based on the iOS and Android notification centers, so like other devices in the market they’ll show whatever you’ve configured notification wise already on your phone.

This means you can get text notifications, Twitter notifications, or updates from receiving intimate photos with Snapchat.  Whatever keeps you happy.

The notifications will display immediately (if enabled) on your Polar device.  You can scroll through multiple notifications, as well as access older ones.  Again, all notifications will just depend on what you setup on your phone through the standard notification control panels.

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In addition to notifications, Polar is also enabling the ability to answer or decline calls right from your watch.  When you answer a call it’ll go ahead and pick it up (best to have a separate Bluetooth headset paired to your phone).  When you decline it, it’ll reject that apparently unloved person like normal (no Snapchat photos from them next time!).  To accept the call you’ll just press the middle red button on the side of the watch, and to reject you’ll press the lower down button.

So which devices are getting updates, and when?  Here’s the rundown:

Polar V800/M400 on iOS (Apple): Approximately end of February
Polar V800/M400 on Android: Later in Spring 2015
Polar A300: This will follow implementation on the V800/M400, their priority is on the V800/M400

[Update note April 15, 2015: Bluetooth Smart notifications for the V800 (iOS only) were released today, as well as footpod support for the M400.]

[Update note June 8, 2015: Polar announced Bluetooth Smart notifications for the M400 via firmware update 1.5.  Note that this also applies only to iOS 8, with no firm date on Android support. Citing that the Android platform is more fragmented than iOS in terms of Bluetooth interoperability they assure us that they are working toward expanding notifications to that mobile platform also. ]

In addition to the above, they’re also investigating supporting the Polar Loop as well, but no decisions have been made there.  Given how many activity trackers these days have smartphone notifications, it would certainly make that product hold water a bit longer, though the display isn’t quite as ideal for it.  Again, they’re still sorting that option out – so no promises there.

Finally, at some point in Q2 they’ll be adding in music control (of your phone’s music) as well.  Good stuff!

Other Polar Items of Note:

Finally, while we’re at it, I’ve got a few updates on other outstanding Polar V800 features that were previously promised.  Items like the Polar Personal Trainer migration to Polar Flow, as well as Training Program support and Breadcrumb trail support.  But…there’s a few other leftover items that I’m getting some final dates on – so look for an update early next week when I’ll also talk through Polar’s new coaching platform.  Like a twofer.

But, I didn’t want to hold up this post to get you the footpod and smartphone details.  And at the same time, I didn’t want folks thinking I was ignoring those questions on V800 updates either.  Don’t worry, I’ve got your back!

Thanks for reading!

Welcome to CES 2015! Don’t forget to check out all my CES 2015 coverage, as well as my continual updates throughout the day on Twitter.  It’s gonna be a crazy busy week!

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184 Comments

  1. Florian

    Hi,
    here’s my wishlist for my V800. Maybe you can ask them about some of those features:

    PRIORITY 1: (Major)
    +) 3rd Party Powermeters (for me Stages) working
    … note: this seems to be coming with a stages firmware update that according to stages support is just waiting for BT SIG clearance…

    PRIORITY 2:
    +) Open Water swimming distance (moving to priority 1 list in Spring…)
    +) Phases have option to create a lap (like the new interval timer)
    +) Route planning or importing in flow
    +) Drag and Drop reordering of training views
    +) On-device lap summary view user-configurable
    +) Merge of planned vs. completed workouts in diary

    PRIORITY 3:
    +) Flow workout privacy setting “anyone with the link”
    +) Additional mouse-over info in diary view (dist, avgHR)
    +) Ability to go from auto-pause into manual pause
    +) Pause in Free Multisport without going into transition mode
    +) Cycling incline without speed sensor (unless strategically omitted)
    +) Running cadence without footpod (unless strategically omitted)

    PRIORITY 4: (minor)
    +) Datafield “Battery Level”
    +) Alarm Clock with Vibrate only (no beep)
    +) Multisport Sessions count towards totals of individual sports they are composed of

    • Joez

      for the running cadence without footpod.
      they just updated http://updates.polar.com
      “there’s more – at the same time we’re developing an intelligent way to measure distance, speed and cadence utilizing the accelerometer for both M400 and V800.”

    • Mike

      I think the only things I could add to that at the moment are:
      +) Enable BLE HR sensors in swim mode
      +) Allow 3rd party sensors that transmit R-R intervals to be used for the tests

      The things I’m really waiting for are more 3rd party sites (Strava!) to be supported and to be able to use a powermeter. Currently I’m one of those who has a powermeter connected but the reported power is always double what it should be.

    • stefan

      BLE HR for swimming

    • Ivan

      Yes, hope that someone at polar will hear /read this. BLE at pool swim is not impossible “upgrade”, at fact it is an option!

    • Guillaume

      BLE HR for swimming is not possible because bluetooth cannot pass through water.
      For that you have to use gymlink

  2. J

    Any updates from Polar on the V650?

  3. Cristian

    Hi!

    Thanks a lot for your coverage!

    You mentioned: Items like the Polar Personal Trainer migration to Polar Flow, as well as Training Program support and Breadcrumb trail support.. Can you please elaborate on the Training Program support? At least, is this an equivalent of the STAR program on FT80?

    Some details about it here:

    Thanks again!
    Cristian.

  4. Cristian

    Hi!

    Reagrding “as well as Training Program support and Breadcrumb trail support.”, I am very interested in the “Training Support”. Could you please elaborate on what exactly they understand by it? I am expecting a FT80 STAR program equivalent (or better!).

    Here is in detail: link to forum.polar.fi

    Thanks!
    Cristian.

  5. Florian

    Polar just put the announcement about footpod support for the M400 up.

    But another sentence caught my eye:
    “…at the same time we’re developing an intelligent way to measure distance, speed and cadence utilizing the accelerometer for both M400 and V800.”

    Do they mean the accelerometer inside the watch? Might this mean we finally get cadence without a footpod?
    I would like that very much!

  6. Lars Ejaas

    Is anything changed on the V800 regarding the footpod?
    On the first software versions it wasn’t possible to use it as a source for instant pace while still using GPS for distance recording?
    I am trying to decide if I should change from Garmin Forerunner 620 to Polar (I really do not understand why Garmin can’t/won’t fix such a SMALL feature that worked so well on Forerunner 610???).

    • Joez

      Since v1.170 (Sept 2014), you can choose from where you get the cadence.
      “We also added the option to use GPS for speed and distance and receive only cadence data from the Polar stride sensor.”

    • Lars Ejaas

      Thanks Joez, but I need the watch to use the footpod for cadence and instant pace calculations AND use the GPS for distance simultaneously – does that make sense?

      I had a Garmin Forerunner 610 where this worked really well – GPS isn’t working very well for short type interval work where pace is changing rapidly ;-)

    • stefan

      Same here.

      I don’t want the hassle with constant calibration (Shoes, Pace…) to get reliable distance. But on the other hand hate the pace fluctuations with GPS as source.

      I must say Garmin got it right there, although Polar has by far the better Package. If Polar just don’t want to copy Garmin they could innovate and combine both sensors, give it intelligence to give us even more accurate data… Just dreaming ;-)

  7. Neil

    Ray – getting a ‘page not found’ error on the link to your top picks…
    link to dcrainmaker.com

    Should be:
    link to dcrainmaker.com

    Looks like you’ve adding in a whole lot more than should be there….

  8. jj

    This is awesome news, Now how about getting the best distance, best speed from the M400 on the V800 also!!!

    anyways thanks for the heads up Ray

  9. Lew

    On the notifications it sounds like the watch displays the same notifications that are configured to display on the phone screen. Personally I’d rather have a separate list; there are a number of notifications that I do want on my phone lockscreen but don’t want to be bothered with on my watch.

  10. Lars

    Any news on the Power Meter? Timeline for the in-depth review?

    I’m so close to get the PowerMeter, but wants Ray’s view first :-)

    /Lars

  11. James Sim

    Damn it!!! I can’t afford to buy a footpod for my M400 due to having financial problem…

  12. Ed

    Awesome news on measuring cadence using the accelerometer in the watch!

    Just on a side note: Any news on bringing out an update to fix the syncing issues between the M400 and Polar Flow app on the iPhone? I have seen quite a few folks complaining that after update 1.3 they are experiencing issues with syncing.

    Apologies for hijacking this thread to ask the question. :-)

  13. Elcap

    Any updates of support for BLE HRMs and footpods? Think Viiiiva can transmit R-R interval and Adidas foot pod can give more accurate distance and speed info

  14. Phil

    When the footpod is implemented for the M400, what is the planned interaction when used outside? Will the watch pull everything from the sensor (overriding GPS); or will it be used purely for cadence (and use GPS for pace/distance)? From looking at the V800 review for how the speed sensor was used there, it looks like the former was release state, but I was unsure if the latter was implemented later.

    • Thomas

      I’d like to know as well. Is there a way in which a watch could intelligently combine the GPS and sensor to collect precise measurements? For instance, using the sensor in areas where GPS is faulty?

    • Toby

      On v800 you can use foot pod just for cadence or for pace & cadence. I assume it would work the same. I hope they do what you said where it’s a bit smarter, they calibrate the pod & fill in when gps is poor

  15. Stefan

    Can you please tell the Garmin folks to expand their text message notification for the Edge 1000 also to the Notification Center as a whole – that´s a great concept. And while I´m there: tell them to include the option for the messages or whatever to pop up automatically – instead of just notifying you that there is something and you have to tidiously click yourself to the actual message.

    For a change Garmin can learn something from Polar :)

    • I get the feeling there’s something funky going on legal-wise (related to concerns in safety) there that’s preventing them from doing it on the cycling units. I could be wrong, but when I poked a bit there I got some sorta-odd answers last time.

  16. Hank

    Hi Ray,

    Great News! It seems V800/M400 begins to have a similar position that ambit3 or 920xt already have. Here is a quick question for Ray or any other people in Polar. In addition to the smart notification feature, will V800/M400 have a music player control too? Most other competitors have not only smart notification but also music player control via Bluetooth connection. I am wondering if Polar has a plan to add this feature too.

    Thanks,

  17. Paul Stansel

    Ray the link that is supposed to go to the Winter 2014 best of list is broken.

  18. Jan

    Interval training based on pace would be cool. The solution with pace zones on flow is not ideal, especially with the actual bug.

  19. Jeff

    Ray. Thanks. Great news indeed. So glad to have switched from the 910xt to the v800. A totally diferente experience. And the v800 is getting closer to the 920xt. Just a question to the Polar team. Since the late update it is possible to configure the pace/speed zone. However we cannot do it freely, since we have a 2mn/km limit between each zone. 2mn/km is huge. Would it be possible in the next update to configure the pace/speed zones freely without any limit? For exemple 3″ to 3″30, 3″30 to 4″, etc.

    • stefan

      Hi Jeff, switch to km/h. Then you’re able to set zones (18/16/14/12/10). Which are quite in the range you’re looking for. After saving you can switch back, voila :-)

    • Steven Shaw

      I have also come fom garmin, 910xt and 620. I wanted a watch for running and saily activity tracking. I guess the 920xt does that, but it looks hideous. The v800 is a classy looking watch in my opinion. With these added features it might almost do what the 920xt does.

      I wonder if Polar will ever bring out a combined speed cadence sensor with replaceable battery?

    • Toby

      They said it was mistake that 2 got put in in the next upgrade of flow it would be fixed, hopefully in couple of weeks

  20. tympman

    Wow, this seems to kick up the attractiveness of the M400 for me. I picked up a Fenix after Thanksgiving for $150, to use mostly for running. I like the fact it has the ability to record indoors on a treadmill and has the potential for iOS alerts (but I use Android).

    I like the activity tracking of the M400, and the latest news makes it even more attractive.

    Anyone have both? Obviously they have different niches, but I dont use most of the ABC functions of the Fenix anyway.

    My questions:
    1. Which platform do you prefer – Garmin vs. Polar Flow?
    2. Which watch has the higher “just works” factor?

    Thanks in advance!

    • Hugo

      I bought a M400 so I could have a spare one (at the time my Fenix2 broke) and I’ve mixed feelings. The watch it’s nice and light, but nothing to fancy about. It has a lot of features for the price but, there’s always a but, I find that the GPS reception isn’t as good as other watches. In very cloudy days or with fog, it lost GPS a signal very easily. Crossing small tunnels also doesn’t help in these conditions.
      Another problem I’ve is with the HRM, sometimes it doesn’t recognise it and for a couple of times I couldn’t measure it.
      Between Polar Flow or Garmin Connect, I like both. The Polar gives you more emphasis in the HR and has a cleaner and simpler UI. On the other hand, the Garmin gives you more functionality, more customisable. I like the workout functionality for the Garmin that the Polar also has, but much inferior.

  21. Moises

    Hi Ray,

    Regarding the support of bluetooth footpods. Is this strictly the Polar footpod or any Bluetooth footpod?

    • Any compatible Bluetooth Smart footpod. Most work, but there are a few finicky ones. Check out my V800 review and just use the page search in your browser for the model/brand footpod you want to see if it’s currently supporting and working for folks. It’ll match that support.

  22. Maelstrom

    Hi Ray,

    Nothing about Charlie on your blog ?

    Je suis Charlie.

  23. Uldis

    Any chance that Polar may add cycling cadence sensor support for M400?

  24. Paul

    Any sign of Windows phone support?

  25. Tomas Escalada

    Any news on outdoor swimming. Here in the south i am doing lots of open water and distances are way of

  26. Wayne Wilson

    Wow, great news! Partially based on your glowing review, I ordered the M400 a couple days ago. I wanted a watch that was not dependent on my phone (since I don’t always want to lug it around), but would also sync to it. Afterwards I started getting buyers remorse thinking I should have waited for the apple watch since it would let me control my music, get notifications, etc. This update will give me what I need in that area. I am psyched again.

  27. wilderaz

    Price aside and understanding that you’ve had only a very brief hands-on, what’s your feeling on the Vivoactive versus the soon to be upgraded M400?

    • Ignoring price (and keep in mind it’s $80 more), there’s no contest, the Vivoactive is a better unit in almost every way.

      However, I haven’t used the Vivoactive in rain/water (nor is the display software final). So the jury is still out.

  28. Josh r

    I was about to order m400 based on your review but am now considering holding off for vivosmart. It’s seems like it’s missing some of the m400 features but you seem pretty sure most will be added back with connect iq to meet or exceed the m400.

    Vivoactive does have vibration and a pivot point on the band which I really like so it would feel smaller as everyday watch.

  29. Brian

    I fourth the request for BLE in the “Pool Swimming” sports profile so I can wear my Sosche Rhythm+ (on the same wrist) and get lap counts.

  30. Toby

    +1 for Bluetooth in the pool too.

    Ray do you think they’ll ever to the Bluetooth 4.1 re-broadcast? I know before you said it was harder than they expected.

  31. Kasey

    I’m curious though, both this post and Polar’s update page exclude the M400 when it comes to the notifications. Is this merely a marketing push to attract more people to the V800 even if the M400 is getting the same functions, or are they really only updating the V800 with this functionality?

  32. Chris Oldroyd

    Are you sure about notifications coming to the M400? Only mentions V800 on Polar press release.

    link to updates.polar.com

  33. Niek

    I am also wondering if smartphone notifications will be available for the M400. In the update from Polar, only the V800 is mentiontioned when it comes to smartphone notifications. The title of this article however suggests that smartphone notifications will be available for the M400 and the A300.

    Ray can you clear things up about this?

  34. Chris

    Engadget are also saying notifications will come to the M400 but after the V800:-

    link to engadget.com

  35. Chris

    Looks like good news for M400 users, Polar has updated its announcement and now specifically mentions the M400.

    The Smart Notifications enable you to receive alerts and notifications from your phone (only iOS for now) to your V800 and M400. How exciting is that! We’re planning on bringing out the Smart Notifications in two phases. During the first phase, which is planned to take place during the winter months, we’ll introduce alerts from incoming calls, received messages and also notifications from other applications, such as facebook, location apps or even games. More features including music control and Android support will be released during Q2.

  36. Darwin

    Can you ask Polar why they announced a new bike computer a year ago and its sill nowhere in sight?

  37. Kasey

    Ray, any word on cycling sensors for the M400? I just got mine a few weeks ago but now feel tempted by the Vivoactive mostly due to sensor support. Now that all the gucci smartwatch features are coming to the M400; that seems to be the biggest difference maker. Would the Garmin be the better fit, though, I do intend to get a computer soon? I was actually holding out for the V650 if it boasts features that are conparable to the edge series.

  38. Mattias Betsén

    Any rumors of a smaller Polar Bluetooth stride sensor?

    • Grzeg1

      Back in September you wrote about Polar’s plans to allow BT sensors like Adidas Speed_cell work with V800. Do you know what happened to those? On V800 review page it says only cadence works with speed_cell :( It’s small and nice, I’d like to get one but no point if it’s not going to work.

    • Stephen

      Have the Adidas BT smart speed cell, and it works with the polar beat app on my iPad 3. (Just tried it the once, iPad in the gym was a bit large) . Have a M400 so will check it out as soon as possible

    • Jamieson

      Hi Stephen,

      Im looking at buying the Adidas Speed Cell to go with my M400, did you ever manage to get it to work properly ?

      Ive read elsewhere that Cadance works, but the side length doesn’t calibrate..

      Any thoughts would be much appreciated. Thanks

    • Correct, cadence and pace works, stride lenght does not.
      Automatic calibration also doe not work. I’ve calibrated mine manually against a known distance.

    • Ok, some more info for you.
      Last time I ran I lapped a known distance (400m). My analysis in Polar Flow showed 0.43 km. I calibrated the footpod in my watch with a calibration factor of 0.93. This morning I ran again and the pace still shows in grey, meaning that the footpod is not calibrated. I lapped the same 400m again and it still shows as 0.43 km. So it looks like the calibration does not have any effect on the distance covered. Will try look into that again to see if that can be fixed. Maybe other users have tried it was well?

    • Jamieson

      Thanks for the feedback Andre,

      You would think that if the Speed_Cell is correctly reporting cadence, then the M400 should be able to calibrate the stride length. It looks like a bug or choice to only offer stride length with the Polar Footpad… I hope they consider fixing this issue…

      Does anybody know if it works correctly on the V800 ?

  39. Luiz Mendes

    I have not gone thru all the comments but I would like to know if the connection of the new Bluetooth products – M400 and HR – in competitions where a lot of people uses Bluetooth products , works okay. I myself had a problem using a HR sensor BEETS BLU for Iphone where it lost the connection and no HR was measured at all.

    • It really depends on the 3rd party products. There’s a much wider variation on the Bluetooth Smart products than the ANT+ products in terms of quality. Some of them are great, and some of them really suck. This is true of both quality as well as following the Bluetooth Smart protocol spec.

  40. Steve

    Having Polar add more notification support from a phone sounds interesting, but also likely to create more issues regarding compatibility. Polar and also Garmin both get very poor reviews when using their Android apps with GPS watches for syncing activity data. Seems like every time they push an update something breaks.

  41. Brent

    Will Polar be changing Flow to add the features missing from polarpersonaltrainer?

    To me this is a huge issue, as it stands right now I have to come up with my own training plan. Rather than a plan that Polar can suggest to me.

    Thanks Ray, I love your blog

  42. Grzeg1

    @Ray are the news on Polar still coming?

  43. Pierre Renard

    Ray,

    Also I like the v800 there are for me 2 flaws:

    Most of training plans are based on 3 parameters for cycling:

    Power Zone.
    Cardio.
    Cadence.

    a) The compatibility of Stage Power Cyling meters. Which is using a BLE protocole not yet available. But has to be.
    b) There is no provision of cadence display.

    And according to me this where the product a serious limitation.

    Seting a seccion on the agenda.

    You cannot reshedule a secion.
    You cannot modify it.

    Finally, I am both using the folowing apps:

    a) Strava for social purpose to connect with Club fellow which are not using Polar. Having to up-load manually an activity is frustrating.
    b) I am using training peaks. same story.

    I have choosed V800 because digit are bigger than Garmin and for oled folks like me easier to read without my reading spectacles…..

  44. cyrille

    Please add also a feature to disable the daily activity training.

  45. barnabas

    If i have a rcx5 and m400, i use my m400 for runs,will training load show on the website?

  46. barnabas

    My m400 activity tracker calories, does that also include all the calories from my runs that i use my heart rate moniter with? Does it only meant calories for daily activity and i have
    to manually add my run calories for the total calories for the day?

  47. Josh

    Ray,
    Having returned my 920 while awaiting the arrival of my F3, I’m intrigued by the review of this watch. Rather, I’m just flat out lost now as to what would make the best day to day running watch, and I’m happy to re order a 920 if that is in fact the way to go:
    Garmin FR920
    Garmin Fenix 3
    Or this unit, the Polar M400.
    I run 5k’s, 10k’s, 13.1’s and 26.2’s. No cycling, no swimming, lots of treadmill running as well. I have a nice TAG watch as a daily watch so don’t care about wearing my sweaty workout watch as my only unit.

    • Brent

      Why don’t you look into watches that are designed specifically for running?
      I once had a Nike+ watch (Tom Tom) and really loved it. There must me an updated version of that type of product, no?

    • Josh

      Brent, very valid question. The simple answer is that the watches I name just have so many more features than the basic running watch like the forerunner 15 which I did have at one point. I really enjoy the Garman platform and most of all the vibrate feature at the mile markers and the metronome, plus running dynamics.

  48. Lex

    Hi Ray,

    First, thanks for responding to my earlier question.

    Now, I was wondering whether V800 can work with Garmin HRM- Run chest strap and utilize that data (specifically: Vertical Oscillation & Ground Contact Time)?

    Lastly, would you consider doing re-evaluation of V800 in light of all new added futures (through updates) and post a very quick comp of the watch to Garmin’s 620 and 920? One wonders here (having unhealthy bias here – I was lucky to snatch V800 for $300 from Amazon, probably due to their web pricing mistake the other day) what’s your ranking would be like now? Should I still send it back and get 920 or not?

    • I’m working to add in the pieces of the V800 that have been updated. When it comes to comparisons though, the V800 is really focused on competing with the 920XT series rather than the FR620. Comparing it to the FR620 it’s more of a case of deciding which features you want (i.e. do you care about more advanced structured workout functions, or activity tracker features).

      If you compare it to the FR920XT, well, it’s (the V800) pretty well beat there from a feature standpoint.

    • Trevor

      I think it’s fairly well accepted the 920 beats the v800. No doubt there.

      I do know you’ve used price in the leverage between the FR220 and m400 and how do you see it in this case.

      How competitive do you see the v800 at $300 vs the 920 at $449.

    • Yeah, it’s a bit interesting at $300US (I keep forgetting it’s there in some cases). That said, in my mind if I were looking at an alternative, I’d really just save even more cash and pickup the Ambit2S at $219US. While it doesn’t have Bluetooth Sync or Activity Tracking, it does have so much more – especially openwater swim mode (today) as well as tons on navigation that the V800 doesn’t have.

      Of course, as for the V800 at $300 vs the FR920XT at $450, it’s just tricky for me. I just wish the V800 was a bit more complete as a triathlete watch (i.e. OW swimming, and support for 3rd party sensors being more complete).

    • Trevor

      Thanks for adding your thoughts!

      I looked at the Ambit 2S too as well as the FR220/620. I’m mainly doing running, some mountain biking, and other gym activities, and I really wanted the Bluetooth sync.

      I’m also going to try to replace my fitbit One with the v800 and see how that goes. Ultimately, the 920/fenix 3 would have been perfect, but just a little out of what I was looking to invest.

      Of note, when I tried to order my watch, I attempted to go through your site to get to amazon.com, but it kept sending me to amazon.ca instead (which didn’t have the watch at such a good price).

      It’s probably a situation that’s few and far between, but might be worthwhile setting up a direct link that could be used in situations like that.

    • Lex

      Thanks Ray. Yeah, price really changes the equation, especially when one think gadget is an expense not an investment.
      Since it’s in the mail already, I think I’ll give it (v800) a try.
      I really liked your post about the Polar Factory trip (from Sept 3rd, 2014 – that I found the other day) and as a European, well, I thought, let’s support the good Finns. They have so cold and dark out there :) and the lockers and clothes dryers (I want that at my work)!

    • KilkennY

      Comparing the v800 with the fr 920 you should also note the look and feel.
      I have just tried the 920, and damn it fells like some cheap plastic. Even the buttons ore these light, grey thin plastic things that most reminds me of a kids toy.
      Now the V800 is a fine, and for many a beautiful watch, but the 920… Thats not and everyday what’s.
      That’s just my opinion. :-)

  49. Steven Shaw

    No way a V800 would work with a Garmin HRM. garmins use Ant+, Polar have bluetooth smart for communication with accessories.

  50. Craig Lubbe

    Hey Ray – I really enjoy your articles!
    I have a V800 and I’m really looking forward to some of these announcements becoming a reality.. looking forward to your update on the Polar timelines.

    “…look for an update early next week when I’ll also talk through Polar’s new coaching platform.”

    • Bo

      Yes, I agree.

      The functionality of the watch is good and I think it certainly looks much better than other GPS watches. However, a few things have taken a long time to get implemented:

      V800 (in order of importance)
      1. Better third party sensor support, particularly Powermeters
      2. Cadence enabled without footpod (apparently coming in Feb)
      3. Ability to see summary stats of session when watch is paused
      4. Additional data fields for training views per auto lap (e.g. average pace per auto lap)
      5. Muliple daily reminders (e.g. stretch in the office). The RS800CX used to have this.

      Flow software (in order of importance)
      1. Automatic but user controllable data sharing with further platforms (e.g. Strava, TrainingPeaks)
      2. Have recovery calculations based on aerobic and anerobic thresholds rather than HR zones OR change current training zones so that only Zone 1 is below the aerobic threshold. At present it’s zones 1 and 2. I have adjusted my zones to reflect my training needs but now all recovery calculations are far too short, rendering the recovery funcationality pretty much useless.
      3. Sharing workouts by sending a link to others (new privacy setting)
      4. Create a breadcrumb trail to follow
      5. Easier way to create individual training targets. This can be quite repetitive.
      6. Suggested training plans
      7. Comparing/merging planned vs completed workouts
      8. Drag and drop reordering of training views

      Having said all that, I really like my V800 and am happy with how Polar has progressin things. I’ll be even happier once the bits above are implemented.

      Upload old PPT etc files
      Ability to follow breadcrumb trail via

  51. Stefan A

    i´m missing the training load ability on my m400. You only see it in the “relive” section of a training.

    Would be awesome if you could ask that to polar if they plan to add this

  52. bannman12

    Is the M400 capable of having a vibrating alert with a, say, firmware update? I don’t know if the electronics in the watch would even support that but thought I would ask.

  53. Kale

    Hi Ray,

    I just wanted to take a moment and thank you for your hard work in keeping this site so up to date. I have been doing research on your site for the past 2 weeks, and you helped me decide to purchase the M400 (coming form an FT40). I am even MORE excited to hear about the new updates with footpod and smartphone notifications (iOS user). I really wanted to hold out for the Vivoactive, but I am training now and need something now….also the price of the Vivoactive (after you add in the HRM) pushed that one out of my budget I had set.

    So, just wanted to say ‘thank you’ for a very well designed and vendor agnostic website. I truly appreciate your willingness to speak the truth and not be ‘bought out’ by any one brand.

    Keep up the good work!

    Kale

  54. emms

    How many sensors can you connect with m400 at a time?

  55. I’m looking forward to the footpod as I use the treadmill often, which is excluded today from the results and overviews… I purchased the M400 based on this review and the news a footpod becomes available…

    Great work you do here DC_Rainmaker…
    A lot of people appreciate it…

  56. Michel Wynants

    I hope they sort out all the syncing problems! Polar has put products on the market that don’t work appropriate! I synced via my phone and syncing failed. I lost GPS and heartrate data, but still got distance, Kcal, trainingload and average speed. All the other data are in my watch but don’t appear in my training diary. Even not after syncing with a USB-cable and my PC. I hope I get a positive answer from Polar. SInce I train between 10 and 20 hours a week and my coach wants to see my improvement, I think this way of working is not done!

    • Bo

      +1.

      Suddenly there is no Map view, no HR or speed data, just start time, duration and calories. That’s it. The V800 watch is great but my concern is Flow…

    • KilkennY

      Is this only on mobile?
      I delete my app and installed it again. It worked just fine.

    • Bo

      It’s on both platforms: Mobile and the Flow website. I’ll delete the mobile app and see whether the new version (2.3) will solve the issue. Thank you!

  57. julienfr38

    Any news for the v800 update ?

  58. AndiT

    Any news on the footpod support for the M400?

  59. Just as an additional random update, I asked about power meter support within the V800 and V650, on a few topics:

    1) V800 3rd party PM support: They’ll be adding in validated support for KICKR and PowerTap at the end of the month with the planned V800 service update. For Stages, they’re saying it’s currently on Stages to fix, but that Polar has done “their half” of things to address incompatibilities. I’ll shoot an e-mail over to Stages here in a second to get their side of the story.
    2) V650 Power Meter Support: This is currently still planned for April.

    Cheers.

    • KilkennY

      Hi Ray and thx. This is great news.
      Do you know if this update includes the smartphone notifications and the internal stride-sencor?

      Kind regards
      Kenni

    • Florian

      Great information!
      It is beyond me, why polar doesn’t communicate this (on their update page or their forum) without you having to ask for us (thanks for that though).
      Please get back to us with that stages answer if you can!

    • Ok, got the clarification back from Stages. The short version of a really long e-mail is that there’s some communication confusion there. Partially because at roughly the exact same time Polar division heads were answering my e-mail, the Stages and Polar developers were coming to an agreement.

      Basically Stages had some outstanding concerns with the standard, and how Polar was looking to implement it. They’ve now resolved those outstanding concerns/questions and Stages will release an update “soon” (no exact timeframe) that will be compatible with Polar’s planned update.

    • Toby

      I assume there isn’t really a standard for Bluetooth power meters then if there is all this debate about how to make things work.

      Ray if KICKR is supported that make the Kurt Kinetic work too as that was made by Whaoo?

    • Technically there is, but, to quote two different companies that make BLE power-type devices “It sucks”. It became a bit of design by committee, and in some cases, includes a lot of random stuff that just makes no sense for a power meter protocol spec. Thus, why some companies have weird implementations. Trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.

      It’s getting better, but mostly because companies are having to work 1:1 with each other to fix things. That kinda defeats the purpose of a standard.

      In theory, the Kurt Kinetic would match the KICKR, but it’s also possible there are slight quirks there that might change. It’s an easy one for me to test though since it only takes about 3-5 minutes to grab the trainer and validate, so once the update comes out I’ll poke at it.

    • Steve S

      RM – I suspect I can predict the answer – but what is likelihood that M400 could support the BTLE version of the PowwrCal strap for power metrics? Works great already for HR, but having that approx power data AND HR data feeding into the M400 would be great. I suspect that it would first arrive to the V800 – but curious if the watch is even capable of parsing both HR and power data streams over BT from the single strap source? Right now only the powertap app (yeesh) and Wahoo fitness app (hooray) can handle both data streams at once (at least I think that’s true). Thanks, SS

    • Yeah, I’d say approximately no chance of power meter support coming to the M400 (which is what would be required to get power data from PowerCal).

    • Toby

      I agree with you, if everyone it working 1:1 then the standard must be open to interpretation wildly. I would have thought you’d start with something simple and build from there,…

      I have Stages and Kurt so I can test both as well :)

    • Paul Allen

      It’s a low/mid-range product, I think power-meter lovers are gonna ave a more expensive device anyhow.

  60. dominic epsom

    thats good news about the stages .. but you say there is no date at all from them?

    • They said they’d circle back to me on a date, but are still working through what that would be. I suspect their concern is that if they make a change to their BT side to appease Polar, then it’s likely to break apps that are already using the BT connection. Which, is a fair concern.

    • dominic epsom

      i got a reply from stages today:

      Our next firmware update should resolve the communication issue with polar and my understanding is that it “should be” available within the next couple of weeks.

      so i guess there is hope

  61. Does this already work? It was expected to happen “mid Q1”.
    I have a M400 which I really like, apart from the GPS. I live in a city with narrow streets, where the GPS is so inaccurate and slow that it is not usable for reading my pace.

    And, once it works, do I need to get the huge Polar Stride sensor or can I get any other Smart Bluetooth footpod, preferably with a smaller form factor?

    Thanks

    • It remains to be seen, but other Polar products have mostly supported 3rd party footpods.

      They announced earlier this week that they’d be slipping that date to April.

  62. Juanet

    I have a problem :-( I use GPS for distance on my V800. I did a 21.1 km this weekend – watch recorded 23 km + so all my data, ave speed etc are useless. HELP!! is there a setting I am missing?

    When is the software coming out for M400 to use the blue tooth foot pod?

  63. OK, thanks.
    The adidas speed cell might be a good fit.
    Since both the M400 and the speed cell are already in your testlab I suspect you might want to give it a try.

    Thanks again.

  64. Juanet

    I have a problem :-( I use GPS for distance on my V800. I did a 21.1 km this weekend – watch recorded 23 km + so all my data, ave speed etc are useless. HELP!! is there a setting I am missing?

    can someone please help me? should contact polar?

    • You should really look at the track file and figure out if there’s a specific area where the GPS went awry, or, if perhaps the course was measured wrong (more common than you’d think). Or, if it’s just a semi-normal case of doing a bunch of turns and wandering around people that increased it. See this: link to dcrainmaker.com

  65. I just got a message when I connected my m400 that there is an update which should give us:

    • Compatibility with Polar Bluetooth Smart stride sensor
    • Quicker GPS fix
    • Improved training views
    • Minor updates and bugfixes

    I am curious to know HOW the footpod will work. Will it work instead of the GPS or will it work together in some way? I guess we’ll have to keep following this site to find out ;-)

  66. After doing the M400 software update this morning my watch has serious problems, to the point that it became unusable.
    I get errors all the time:
    Something went wrong, press OK to reset m400.
    After a few minutes it will happen again. Also I got errors (beep and error screen):

    No GPS Signal

    Both messages I have never seen before, until after the update.

  67. AndiT

    I have a question about footpod support. What footpods would work with this? I’m thinking about getting the Polar bluetooth footpod, but it seems huge and I have a small foot. Any other recommendations?

    • Jasper

      I have the adidas one and it’s great size wise. One thing that you can’t do without having the Polar one is the jump test but I’m not sure the M400 even has that (might be a v800 only thing).

    • AndiT

      Thanks! I will check out the adidas one. I don’t think the M400 has the jump test. Are you satisfied with accuracy etc?

  68. AndyM

    Hi Ray. Great blog and thanks for keeping us up to date. I bought the M400 a couple of weeks ago as the only thing that was missing for me was the notifications (I was thinking about the Apple Watch) but after reading this article I thought – sorted. A couple of questions though:
    1. Do you have any idea when smart notifications will come out for the M400
    2. I use the Wahoo BlueHR sensor which works fine, but when I try to do the fitness test on the M400 it keeps saying no sensor found (am I doing something wrong). Have you encountered this before?
    Thanks again for a great blog.

    • Kat

      I wondered about your #1 question on when smart notifications would be available for the M400 (which I just got). The April 2015 Polar update blog says: “How about the Smart Notifications for the M400? We just need to do some final touches before we can bring the Smart Notifications also for the M400. Stay tuned!”

      So…hopefully very soon since it has now been a month!

  69. Pierre Renard

    I have had a comment from Stage in Europe about the firmware up-date. They said they are awaiting for validation. Since we are getting more and more into the season its getting really an issue to have our Power Meters Working. No point for us to have it working in september. Triathlon season will be gone……

    The other point will have to improve compatibility with Training Peaks and Best Bike Split. The ability to download GPX information. Really have to move on the top of the list.

    While Riding on a bike I do not see the point of having acess to my text message or e-mail, and music. To be honnest doing anything like that while riding is distracting your attention from the road and become a hazard.

    Here they are baning the use of earpiece while driving. Make sence to ban it while bike riding To many occasion to get knock off the bike.

    • While Riding on a bike I do not see the point of having acess to my text message or e-mail, and music. To be honnest doing anything like that while riding is distracting your attention from the road and become a hazard.

      I am with you on this one. Who wants to read text messages while outside running through nature?
      Besides that, you will need to bring your phone to make that work.

      Instead of adding frivolous functions like notifications, I’d rather see Polar work on the essentials that are still missing. Like showing the ‘stages’ of your staged workout as separate “laps” in Polar Flow, so that you can see how you’ve done in each stage. Or polish Polar Flow a bit more, which is still showing “beta” next to the logo.

    • The point isn’t for such messages while during an activity, as it is for the other 23hrs of the day that you’re not working out.

      Without such functionality, Polar like others, will get left behind from the Apple’s of the world. These watches can no longer be ‘just’ fitness devices. With other companies coming in and starting to take that pie, Polar needs to do all the smartwatch related items while being the absolute best fitness watch.

    • Paul Allen

      I’ve looked at the Apple Watch with interest, but it’s twice as expensive as it should be, so have had a Pebble for a few months, but the Misfit step tracker seemed to remove 10k steps the next day for me the one day I did well and walked 31K steps, which annoyed me. I loaded lots of apps onto it, but only use music controls, notifications and step tracker.

      I looked at the Fitbit Surge, but then picked up a Polar M400 cheaply, and as I already have a bluetooth footpod and HRM, it’s a good fit.

      Just put the Pebble on eBay, so desperately waiting for notifications update on M400. So, so handy.

    • AndyM

      I couldn’t agree more.

      I wear my Polar M400 all day and I think notifications is the functionality most lacking for it to be considered an alternative to the Apple Watch (and not just a watch for working out). I only want to wear one watch (not have to change them) during the day and that watch has to do smartwatch type stuff as well as my activity.

    • Yeah, I can understand other companies getting very nervous with the Apple watch ready to take the world by storm. Not sure if slapping extra functions on the M400 is going to be the right answer to that. I may not be representative but I would not wear a watch like the M400 or V800 all day. It is just too big and looks too much like a sportswatch.

      Anyway, I hope that adding smartwatch functions does not distract them from their original mission to deliver the absolute best fitness watch.

    • Gunnar

      Regarding notifications. Those that don’t want notifications, then just sont activate that feature on the watch.

      I for one also use my training watch (now a Vivoactive….but looking at Polar) during my commutes to work by bike. I find it incredibly handy to safely glance at my watch to judge whether I need to accept a call or respond to a text rather then fumble for my phone every time.

      No I would consider a tri watch these days without notifications.

  70. Big Hammer

    The KICKR seems to be working with the V800 now?

    • In theory. I haven’t tried it myself yet. You might want to poke over onto the V800 review, as I think there are a few cross-over folks there that have both.

    • Big Hammer

      I can confirm that the V800 now works with the KICKR and displays the same power data as my 810 head unit. Nice!

  71. Jesus Climent

    Do you know if the M400 with a footpod switches from GPS to footpod and back to GPS when the watch loses GPS signal and regains it later on? Say when you are inside a tunnel.

    I have been considering a small watch/GPS for running in treadmills so I dont have to carry my 920xt all the time and the m400 looks like a nice watch.

  72. Jeffrey

    I purchased the Pyle Smart Foot POD Stride Sensor which connected just fine. I’m having a problem where the cadence drops to 0 every 75 seconds. On Polar Flow after my run, when I look at the graph, both the cadence and pace go to “0” every minute and 15 seconds throughout the activity. Otherwise the pace is consistent. Is the footpod dropping the signal? Has anyone seen something similar or have any ideas of how to troubleshoot? I’m trying to figure out if there is a problem with the device or something else.
    Thanks,

  73. Kinda happy polar user

    Hi,

    Any solid time lines on the cadence measurement without the footpod? It was announced in January….

    Also the footpod will it work in combination with gps to record cadence and stride length?

    I’m in two minds whether to purchase a sensor or notas I think this could help my technique. .. so recommendations are welcome

    • Ricardo Martins

      In my mind the footpod will be only useful for very accurate distance and pace on a trademil…after the watch is able to measure it by the internal accelerometer thats all the footpod will be good for, because the internal accelerometer will be accurate at least for cadence for sure. And no use for the footpod outdoors if you own a V800 because its by far the best GPS accurate watch on the market.

      I emailed Polar a week ago and they said they are still working on this new update

    • Kinda happy polar user

      Thanks for that Ricardo stride length would be excluded from the internal accelerometer wouldn’t it ?
      not really sure how stride length would help me with my technique but still looks like nice info?

      Anyways I mailed polar as well today so I’ll be interested to hear what they have to say and will let you know as well as polar do have a few nice updates cooking for a good while now….
      Untill then ill try using the runzi app to see how it does alongside the M400.

    • Neil

      It’s now November and no sign of wrist-based sensing (and Strava integration has fallen behind again) so I guess we can assume no likelyhood of progress and be satisfied with what we have, or just buy the footpod.

    • Jeffrey

      Strava integration was announced this week! Hopefully the wrist-based detection of cadence will be coming soon.

  74. Ronny Lazarovitch

    Hi, about smart notifications on Polar M400 – How can you answer a phone call sent from your cell phone ? Does the M400 has a built in microphone to speak from ? Thanks

  75. Joe

    Hi. Thanks for the review. One question: If I train with the A300 (using the heart monitor), will I have access to the training load metric once I sync to the polar flow app?

  76. Adam Styles

    Wrist based cadence is finally here, I year after the announcement. I need a lie down!

  77. Thomas Hege

    January 2015
    Present Article: Polar announces M400 footpod support, also smartphone notifications for V800/M400/A300

    May 2016
    A300 Smart Notifications arrived @ last.

  78. Thomas H.

    Ray, greetings from greater Wash, DC. metro Couple questions I wanted to ask, if you have a chance, and you’re able.

    Could Polar add footpod profile to the A300 in terms of feasibility? I noticed Polar recently add the distance./pace metric for the A360 with onboard accelerometer, so does that, in the same manner, seem practicable for A300? I’d really like to know if this falls in the category of wishful thinking.

    enjoying great experience and received help on your site, many thanks for your hard work all throughout.

  79. Peri

    Does anyone know the name/model of the footpod compatible with the m400?
    Thank you