Today Polar has announced their latest cycling focused product, the M450 GPS based bike computer. In doing so, they’ve also quite likely just upended Garmin with a unit that quite frankly kicks ass (at least based on my limited testing of it). Why’s the unit such a big deal? Well, to start, it’s only $169USD/€159 (Price updated +$10USD). Yet, it has the majority of functions found in bike computers nearly $100 more in price.
Additionally, they’ve also announced that a free update will come to their existing Polar V650 bike computer, giving it mapping capabilities that allow you to actually see where you are and plan where you’re going. With that they enter the sparsely populated bike-computer-with-maps field, where there are few options.
Finally, they’ve announced a date for when Strava integration will occur with their online Polar Flow training log platform. With that, let’s dive into the details.
Overview of the M450:
The M450 is designed to be a mid-range GPS bike computer, similar in thinking to Polar’s very popular M400 running GPS watch. Yet, in many ways both of these products compete across numerous ranges. From a price-standpoint, they are priced at the low end – almost budget-pricing. Yet feature-wise they supersede mid-range offerings and arrive closer to high-end units.
Starting with the outside, the unit is slightly bigger (length) than the iconic Garmin Edge 500, yet comparable in width. Meanwhile, it’s thinner than the Edge 500 is – minus the mount.
As we look at the screen, the contrast is super-sharp, with virtually no reflection visible. I had no problems reading it in the sun, as well as the shade:
It also contains a backlight, in the event you’re riding in the darker part of the day. Similarly, it has a ‘safety light’ on the front – though like the V650 that’s semi-questionable in terms of value or if there’s much safety protection there at all. I suppose it’s probably more valuable for the daytime ride where you need to briefly transit a dark tunnel. The light will automatically turn on based on the ambient light sensor on the top of the M450:
When it comes to mounting, it uses the same twist-lock system as the Polar V650. This mount is NOT compatible with Garmin quarter-turn mounts unfortunately (trust me, I’ve tried). This is unfortunate since there’s a huge swath of 3rd party companies (Barfly/K-Edge/etc…) that make awesome 3rd party mounts, none of which will work:
You’ll notice however that the M450 does have a very slight upwards angle to it, only really seen when laid on a flat surface. This is actually sorta brilliant – as it slightly tilts the screen towards you. Most folks prefer a slight tilt to make visibility cleaner:
For charging, you’ll plug into the micro-USB port on the bottom, which is internally waterproofed to IPX7 standards.
The unit allows you to create multiple ride and bike profiles. The ride profiles are created on Polar Flow, such as ones for road cycling and mountain biking:
These are then transferred to the device via either USB or Bluetooth Sync (mobile phone on iOS or Android):
Once on the device, you’ll interact with it using a series of buttons on the bottom and lower sides. The left-side button is for turning it on, and then on the bottom left is a button that acts like the ‘Back’ key. On the right/right-bottom side you have your navigation buttons (up/down). And finally, on the top you have the selection button (red):
This all seems to work fairly well, at least in the summer sans-gloves. The buttons are a bit small, but given they ‘split the difference’ between the side/bottom of the device, it’s easy enough to differentiate. But I reserve the right to re-think my position after testing with some fluffier winter gloves.
The unit by default has a white removable back plate. But Polar will be making available a variety of back plates, including ones in yellow, pink, black, a teal color and others.
Finally, from an overview standpoint the unit includes many of the same features found on the M400 running watch. So this means you get heart-rate variability dependent metrics like Training Benefit, Orthostatic and Fitness Tests, as well as Training Load and Recovery Time. The majority of these do require the use of a heart rate strap however.
For the low-down on technical specs, here’s some of the key hardware items:
– Battery life: 12-17 hours
– GPS Chipset: U-blox UBX-G7020-CT GPS chip (PLK)
– Mount: Polar twist-lock mount (same as V650)
– Recording Time: 35 hours
– Waterproofing: IPX7
– GPS Recording Rate: 1-second
– Barometric altimeter included
– Black/white display with backlight
– Sensor Compatibility: Bluetooth Smart Power Meters (some), Bluetooth Smart Speed, Cadence, Heart Rate Sensors
Now, you’ll notice that Polar is lacking ANT+ compatibility, which is key for many power meter users – as most power meters on the market today are ANT+. This won’t come as a surprise to most readers here, given Polar’s lack of ANT+ compatibility on any products to date. At the press event, they explained this when asked by a journalist:
“There’s one very basic simple reason that we’re not using ANT+: That it’s owned by [Garmin]”.
Polar also argued that many newer power meters are coming with dual ANT+/Bluetooth Smart – which is true in theory. Stages for example, does so today. But the remainder are still in the ‘shipping barely/soon’ status – such as new dual caps from PowerTap and 4iiii. And that further ignores the huge numbers of units out in the market.
It was actually somewhat interesting at the press conference as to how much of a grilling Polar officials received over this topic from the 30+ journalists there [grilling would be a very polite way of putting it]. Many (privately and publically) argued that without ANT+ support Polar was ignoring vast segments of the market, which is definitely the case. It’s also somewhat interesting that the counter-argument from Polar was that consumers could use dual-chipset products. When in reality, so could Polar.
Plenty of competitors of Garmin use ANT+ without issue (and in cases like PowerTap and Mio – they also offer dual products too). And even in the case of Bluetooth Smart, Polar’s power meter support is anything but ideal. For example, it doesn’t work with the PowerTap power meters, and only last month started working with non-Polar Bluetooth Smart units.
I’m a huge fan of dual ANT+/Bluetooth Smart chipsets in products – be it on the sensor side or the head unit side. Consumer choice is ideal. To that end, I don’t think Polar realizes how much this is cutting into their potential market share of the M450 (or the V650). Despite 30-something of the most in-tuned sports tech journalists in the room trying to tell them that (and countless consumers).
Of course, the real question one could posit is which communications chipset are they using in the M450? It’s more than likely that Polar is actually using a chipset that could be dual ANT+/BLE, as that’s what most companies use today in their products. In which case, it would just be a simple firmware update. Perhaps they’ll listen to consumers more than journalists.
A Four Hour Ride:
Polar had organized an event at Alpe d’Huez from Monday till Wednesday, which encompassed a number of rides – including the biggie: The famed Alpe d’Huez road climb. Unfortunately, due to existing travel plans I was only able to attend for a short period, but was able to get that one all-important ride in.
As is the usual, I pay all my own travel costs to these press events, which in this case was just a quick train ride and then a rental car from Paris, plus a hotel for the night.
I’ve been to Alpe d’Huez a number of times before – for both winter (skiing) and summer adventures. For example, last year I did the Alpe d’Huez triathlon, which included the climb. And the year prior we watched the famous double-climb-day at the Tour de France. That said, I was looking forward to the ride itself (non-tech focused) as it was a different route, which I’ll cover in more detail in a more fun post tomorrow.
The ride was organized as a large group ride, with Polar providing the bikes, as well as the head units (M450 and V650). Some in the group upped the ante with two devices at once. Aww…how cute!
Meanwhile, I was armed with all the gear I could possibly imagine. Or at least, as much as I could fit on my borrowed bike and still maintain forward movement up the 14% climbs. Below, what I concocted:
For those curious, here’s the low-down on what I rode with:
Handlebars: Polar V650, Polar M450, Garmin Edge 1000, Garmin Edge 510
Bike Frame: Suunto Ambit3 Peak, 2xSony 1000V action cams
Wrists: Polar V800, Garmin Epix, Garmin Fenix3, Apple Watch
Back Pocket: GoPro Hero4 Silver and a crapton of batteries
Sensors: Polar Power Bluetooth Smart Meter Pedals, Polar H7, Wahoo RPMv2, Scosche Rhythm+
For those curious on why I didn’t just bring my own bike with more power meters, the reasoning is two-part. First, I was super-tight on time. I barely made my train back to Paris by 3 minutes. Breaking down a bike was something I was concerned about time-wise. Second, I wasn’t really testing power meters per se, so the focus was on everything else. There’s a massive amount of prep-time that goes into ensuring testing 12+ devices at once works perfectly, and even then sometimes an item will slip by. Adding four power meters to validate/calibrate/etc would have probably pushed me over the edge.
In any case, off onto the ride I went. Tomorrow I’ll cover all the ride aspects, but here’s a quick video I put together in the meantime that I put together from before the ride, during the ride twice, at the end of the ride, and then analyzing the data after the ride. It’s like a McDonalds Happy Meal all in one video:
When it comes to the overall flow of the unit, the user interface mirrors that of the Polar M400 running watch and V800 triathlon watch. So you’ll find the menu system nearly identical. This means things like sensor pairing and the like are all in the same spots, as are functions like transferred structured workouts from Polar Flow.
When you pair a sensor, you’ll also be able to assign it to a specific bike – thus creating bike profiles.
While the video covers many of the main features during use, I’ve put together a bit of a gallery of shots I took during the day showing many of the different screens:
Of course, it’s all about the data! For those that want to see my ride, I’ve uploaded it to Strava here. I would share a direct link to Polar Flow, but the M450 is tied to Polar’s private test site, for which I don’t have a way to share a public link.
Nonetheless, I’ve done one better – I’ve combined all of the GPS devices I was using into one cohesive bucket that you can zoom in and compare all the GPS tracks and elevation differences. This is using the MyGPSFiles site. If you click on the image below, it’ll take you to that site. The site also allows you to download the raw files, should you want to dive into the analytics a bit more in other tools.
First up, looking at the elevation graphs, I see all units tracked brilliantly. All of these units had barometric altimeters, and I had calibrated them all at the start of the ride against a sign-post in the village (1,794m = 5,886ft):
And by ‘calibrated them all’, I mean – calibrated them all except the M450, which I somehow forgot to do until about an hour into the ride at another sign-post when I calibrated it then…doh. Nonetheless, it tracked well anyway using the default calibration.
Next, looking at the GPS accuracy– overall, despite the occasionally challenging conditions, all units tracked very closely. The route itself is sometimes in wide open mountain valleys or winding through small villages, and yet other times it’s just up against massive cliff walls that rise/drop thousands of feet. Other times it’s through dense trees. Here’s four photos that best exemplify the route’s diversity:
Looking at the tracks themselves, the M450 did have a couple of brief forgetfulness moments though. Polar noted that they were still working on GPS accuracy, and given it’s a beta device and still a month or so out – it’s something they’re concentrating on. There were 3-4 cases where the M450 briefly appeared to miss an entire turn and just meander through a field (sorta like that famous Lance Armstrong field crossing in the TdF). Ironically, it did this in the lesser-challenging areas – like it just got distracted by a pretty flower or something.
Still, outside of these random divergences, things otherwise looked very good. Again, you can zoom in/out and around the track files and see how they align as you see fit, using this link:
Obviously, just one ride doesn’t make for a review, in-depth or otherwise. It’s just a data point. Albeit, a four-hour long data point in occasionally challenging conditions.
Polar V650 Mapping Update:
In addition to all of the new M450 news, Polar also let loose that come August, the V650 will gain mapping support. Maps will come from OpenStreet, and will be available for free for both existing and new V650 owners.
The unit will cache a 450KM by 450KM square of maps on the device itself. The way it’ll work is that you’ll use the device to zoom in on the area that you want, before selecting it.
Then you’ll connect the device via USB to your computer where it’ll go off and download the maps.
You can also specify which map layers to apply, including layers such as topographic or bike routes:
With this functionality comes the ability to navigate on a given route, pre-created on Polar Flow (Update: in August 2015 the Flow following functionality will not yet be present). Additionally, you can of course see where you are at any time and the route you took to get there. This becomes one of your data pages on the V650, just like other data pages you’ve already configured.
This is potentially huge news for V650 owners, especially at the price point its at today. There are still some outstanding questions that I’m awaiting clarification from Polar on though on a number of features related to this, such as exactly how deep the navigational capabilities are. I’ll update the post here with further information once I get those answers.
Update: Just for clarity, I asked about navigation. The V650 will not support putting an address in the unit (i.e. 123 Main Street). Down the road (after August), they plan to allow the user to be able to create a route on Polar flow, including importing in route files. Similarly, the unit will not load POI’s in August, but Polar is considering it for beyond that. Essentially, the main value of the map is to see your current route on it (where you’ve gone), as well as to be able to zoom and check things on the map.
Still, for a free update – I can’t see many (any?) complaining about it, even more so given that competitive units from Garmin and Mio with mapping functionality cost considerably more cash.
Strava, and other Polar Flow Updates:
In addition to announcing the M450, Polar also made a semi-expected announcement of Strava integration. Additionally, they clarified a few other Polar Flow items. That’s of course in addition to the V650 mapping announcement.
On the Strava side, Polar announced that in October they’ll introduce the ability to have your activities automatically sync to Strava from Polar Flow. This is similar to what Suunto, Garmin, Timex, and others have already implemented nearly a year ago. It essentially means you sync your device as normal, but behind the scenes Polar will send your activity file over to Strava.
While this has been rumored for some time, it’s nice to finally get a date on it. However, as many journalists in the room noted to Polar during the press event – having to wait another 4 months for said feature is sorta ridiculous. This isn’t segment support on devices or anything else fancy. It’s literally as simple as shooting Strava your .TCX files (that Polar Flow can already export).
From a web development effort perspective, this is basically old hat to Strava. They do this day in and day out with companies. In fact, Strava doesn’t really do anything in this integration, the 3rd party company (in this case, Polar) does all the work. And said work isn’t very complex either. We’re not talking months or even weeks of development time. We’re talking like one large pizza and a half-case of Mountain Dew dev-time here. Even accounting for quality assurance (QA) time, it’s mind-boggling that this will take another 4 months. Sigh. And that of course ignores other hugely popular platforms like Training Peaks and Sport Tracks, both of which operate in a similar fashion and have been eager to have Polar onboard.
In addition, they noted that by the fall timeframe they also hope to have importing of workouts from past Polar platforms into Polar Flow – a feature they’ve long since promised and keep missing on delivering.
While these updates are much appreciated, I (and many other readers) think that Polar doesn’t quite understand how important it is that they accelerate their web platform development efforts. There are countless features that have been long promised (for 18+ months) that aren’t there yet. With today’s technology integration, the software/web side of the platform is almost just as important as the device itself.
I’ve added the Polar M450 into the product comparison database. This means you can mix and match it against any other product I’ve reviewed. For the purposes of below, I’ve shown just the Polar M450, Polar V650, Garmin Edge 500.
|Function/Feature||Polar M450||Polar V650||Garmin Edge 500|
|Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated April 9th, 2021 @ 10:29 am New Window|
|Product Announcement Date||June 4th, 2015||January 26, 2014||SEP 1, 2009|
|Actual Availability/Shipping Date||July 2015||March 2015||Dec 2009|
|GPS Recording Functionality||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Data Transfer||USB/Bluetooth Smart||USB||USB|
|Battery Life (GPS)||12-17 Hours||10 Hours||18 hours|
|Recording Interval||1-second||1-second||1-Second or Smart|
|Ability to download custom apps to unit/device||No||No||No|
|Acts as daily activity monitor (steps, etc...)||No||No||No||Music||Polar M450||Polar V650||Garmin Edge 500|
|Can control phone music||No|
|Has music storage and playback||No||Connectivity||Polar M450||Polar V650||Garmin Edge 500|
|Bluetooth Smart to Phone Uploading||Yes||Not yet||No|
|Phone Notifications to unit (i.e. texts/calls/etc...)||No||TBA||No|
|Live Tracking (streaming location to website)||No||No||No|
|Emergency/SOS Message Notification (from watch to contacts)||No||No||No|
|Built-in cellular chip (no phone required)||No||No||No||Cycling||Polar M450||Polar V650||Garmin Edge 500|
|Designed for cycling||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Power Meter Capable||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Power Meter Configuration/Calibration Options||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Power Meter TSS/NP/IF||No||Yes||Yes|
|Speed/Cadence Sensor Capable||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Strava segments live on device||No||No||No||Running||Polar M450||Polar V650||Garmin Edge 500|
|Designed for running||No||No||No|
|VO2Max Estimation||(For Cycling, yes)||N/A||N/A|
|Recovery Advisor||(For Cycling, yes)||N/A||N/A||Swimming||Polar M450||Polar V650||Garmin Edge 500|
|Designed for swimming||No||No||No||Triathlon||Polar M450||Polar V650||Garmin Edge 500|
|Designed for triathlon||No||No||No||Workouts||Polar M450||Polar V650||Garmin Edge 500|
|Create/Follow custom workouts||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|On-unit interval Feature||Yes||No||Yes|
|Training Calendar Functionality||Sorta||No||No||Functions||Polar M450||Polar V650||Garmin Edge 500|
|Virtual Partner Feature||Sorta||No||Yes|
|Virtual Racer Feature||No||No||No|
|Records PR's - Personal Records (diff than history)||Yes||No||No|
|Tidal Tables (Tide Information)||No||No||No|
|Weather Display (live data)||No||No||No||Navigate||Polar M450||Polar V650||Garmin Edge 500|
|Follow GPS Track (Courses/Waypoints)||No||Planned||Yes|
|Routable/Visual Maps (like car GPS)||No||Yes||No|
|Back to start||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Impromptu Round Trip Route Creation||No||No||No|
|Download courses/routes from phone to unit||Yes||Planned||No||Sensors||Polar M450||Polar V650||Garmin Edge 500|
|Optical Heart Rate Sensor internally||No||N/A||No|
|Heart Rate Strap Compatible||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|ANT+ Heart Rate Strap Capable||No||No||Yes|
|ANT+ Speed/Cadence Capable||No||No||Yes|
|ANT+ Footpod Capable||No||No||No|
|ANT+ Power Meter Capable||No||No||Yes|
|ANT+ Lighting Control||No||No||No|
|ANT+ Bike Radar Integration||No||No||No|
|ANT+ Trainer Control (FE-C)||No||No||No|
|ANT+ Remote Control||No||No||No|
|ANT+ eBike Compatibility||No||No||No|
|ANT+ Gear Shifting (i.e. SRAM ETAP)||No|
|Shimano Di2 Shifting||No||No||No|
|Bluetooth Smart HR Strap Capable||Yes||Yes||No|
|Bluetooth Smart Speed/Cadence Capable||Yes||Yes||No|
|Bluetooth Smart Footpod Capable||No||No||No|
|Bluetooth Smart Power Meter Capable||Yes||Yes||No|
|Temp Recording (internal sensor)||No||Yes||Yes|
|Temp Recording (external sensor)||No||No||No||Software||Polar M450||Polar V650||Garmin Edge 500|
|PC Application||PC/Mac||Polar Flowsync||Garmin Express|
|Web Application||Polar Flow||Polar Flow||Garmin Connect|
|Phone App||iOS/Android||-||Garmin Connect Mobile (not direct to device though)|
|Ability to Export Settings||No||No||No||Purchase||Polar M450||Polar V650||Garmin Edge 500|
|Chain Reaction Cycles||Link||Link||Link|
|Wiggle||Link||Link||Link||DCRainmaker||Polar M450||Polar V650||Garmin Edge 500|
Remember again that you can mix and match any products you’d like within the product comparison tool.
A Few Thoughts:
One of the things I think people enjoy about what I write here, is that I give a bit of a behind the scenes look at companies, events and products. As part of that, I thought it was worthwhile to share (another) small tidbit from the press event. During the event, a journalist asked a question about why a consumer that’s gone to Garmin, should buy the Polar M450 instead of another Garmin:
Journalist: “What are you doing to win Garmin users back?”
Polar sorta danced around the question giving a bit of a non-descript answer saying they felt that the M450 was:
Polar: “Offering the best and simplest product in the market” followed by variants of ‘You’ll see when you ride’
But when pressed for specifics on those ‘best’ claims by that journalist, they couldn’t provide specific features/functions. This then spawned another question along the same lines, which again, they didn’t have an answer for. Like a pack of hungry wolves, others pressed further – in fact, for nearly 30 minutes of open-mic questioning numerous Polar employees and PR people couldn’t give a concrete reason to buy the M450 over a Garmin Edge series device.
I found this mildly surprising – as Polar seemed unable to answer the most fundamental marketing question. Yet what was more interesting to me is that the answer was so obvious. So much so that I’ll help them with it (feel free to use this as you see fit):
Correct answer: It’s likely the best freakin’ value for the money by a long shot.
Like their Polar M400 – it’s not the absolute ‘best overall’ unit (in running as was the case then), but it’s the one that hits 90% of the market at a ~40% lower price than the nearest competitor. They took a play out of their own book from last year when they launched the M400, yet seemed unable to remember what the play was called with the M450.
With that in mind, it should likely be obvious that I’m really impressed with the unit. I’d agree with them that it’s sorta a ‘You’ll see it when you ride it’, it’s more impressive how crisp, sharp, and fast the unit is in actual use. So even if their marketing message is muddled, the actual engineering on the unit itself is very concrete.
Just like last year with Polar’s M400 running watch launch, this will completely gut out much of Garmin’s low and mid-range sales. Right now, in this size and price range Garmin only has the 6-year old Edge 500 and far less impressive Edge 200. Neither have smartphone connectivity, and neither have been updated anytime recently (for reasons that defy any logic). Only the larger and more expensive Edge 510 has the newer functions.
For power meter users however, Garmin and PowerTap’s offerings will remain the top choice, both due to ANT+ compatibility as well as data field metrics. Additionally, for those doing more complex automated workouts the M450 will likely fall short of competitive offerings (though Polar has the basics down). Additionally, for those that need more detailed mapping options than Polar will offer with the V650, Garmin will also be the go-to option there with their Edge 810/1000 series.
Still, for the vast majority of the market the M450 will be exactly what folks have been asking other companies to deliver – at a price point that far exceeds expectations: A straight forward GPS bike computer that’s accurate and well connected to the smart phone. Of course, there remains work to be done on the unit and the platform, so until they’ve finalized both those pieces – I’ll hold final judgment until my in-depth review.
Thanks for reading!
Update! The M450 is now available for pre-order through Clever Training, which helps support the site here. In doing so as a DCR reader you’ll save 10% using coupon code DCR10BTF, plus free US shipping. While I don’t have a final production unit yet to start the in-depth review on, once we get closer I’ll update here. That said, as noted in my post above – I’m pretty darn impressed for where it is/was in its pre-release state.
Looks like the M450 is like my V800, but with less integration (notifications, a bigger screen and a bike mount. Having the V800, is there any reason to buy the M450?
The 650 upgrades look like a fantastic solution for local tooling around riding with map support without having to take the plunge into the Garmin 810/1000.
If you already have the V800, likely not to many reasons that I can think of. The majority of the focus is having a dedicated bike computer, versus a watch.
Great! Would this also work during a triathlon when you’re transitioning out of swimming and onto the bike or does this need to be set up and paired before every ride?
It would be considered a saved sensor, so it should work in that arrangement. Definitely will be something I’ll validate.
I have an ongoing support issue about the missing feature of retransmit Power data.
I did my first triathlon race past weekend and planned to record the race with the V800 and se heart rate and Power on the V650 during cycling.
I’m tested before the race to get heart rate on both V800 and V650 (ie enabling retransmit heart sensor in swiming and bicycle part of the triatlon mode). This worked if I started the V800 in just before swim start and then started the V650. What I missed to test was the power data.
During the race I decided to start the V650 in T1 (it was cold, I had to get more cloth before the cycle part), but didn’t get any heart rate och power on the V650.
Maybe you Ray can help me with this issue, you have better connections with Polar!
The re-transmit feature of V800 if for Polar Beat/Club/Team Solutions.
The v800 was originally supposed to support BT 4.1 which does allow re-transmit but the last comment from Ray was Polar found it more difficult than they thought. So it seems that’s been abandoned for the time being.
All you can do is pair the HR, power sensor via Bluetooth to V650 and use Gymlink for the Run/Swim.
What I’d love as a product instead of M450 would be a remote screen for V800 – something a bit like Wahoo RFLKT.
It would just and only do 2 things:
1) display what’s on my V800’s screen
2) retransmit button presses
So no problems with pairing sensors, supporting training load, sport profiles, training targets, merging workouts from multiple devices etc.
Would love such a gadget!
Yes, that’s what we actually need for tri use. But as it’s not happening, this is my solution, for all tri and bike sessions.
Polar V800 – records entire tri, speed/distance from GPS
4iiii Viiiiva – HR only to V800 and 510
4iiii Precision – power and cadence to V800 and 510
Garmin 510 – large display on bike, speed/distance from wheel
Garmin speed sensor on wheel hub – speed/distance to 510
Dual sensors are great, I get exactly what I want. A cheap solution – No. This is also a great setup for bike trainer use with TrainerRoad, ANT+ to computer and BLE for V800, easy to add a BLE speed sensor if needed. A Wahoo Tickr would work equally well for HR and is about half the price of the Viiiiva. I’m very happy with the V800 btw, and wouldn’t mind buying all of the above functionality from Polar. They don’t want to sell it though, which is a shame.
Great first look Ray! Is it possible for the M450 and the V800 to share the same BLE HRM signal (and other sensor data) in some way? Is it re-broadcast from one unit to the other perhaps?
It supports the same rebroadcasting of the HRM signal as like the other Polar products. That said, I haven’t/didn’t test the rebroadcasting to see if there were any specific quirks there.
Great! Would this also work during a triathlon when you’re transitioning out of swimming and onto the bike or does this need to be set up and paired before every ride?
So does that mean rebroadcasting is now fully working; last I read it was only working with the ‘Polar beat’ app. This would be very interesting having just picked up an Ambit 3 sport for £144 ($220).
This response received to some questions I asked Polar the other day on Facebook. It seems now my post has been deleted. 🙁 Makes me upset that they would delete such a post. If you made a comment in error correct it in the thread and let it go.
I don’t remember word for word what I asked, but it was something like.
Polar can I used the H7 HR monitor on both my v800 and v650 at the same time? I have a tri coming up and want to use the v800 on my wrist, but have the v650 so I can see the data as I am in the bike portion of the race.
“Nicholas – The Bluetooth technology allows for a one-to-one pairing. In your circumstance, you do have the option of pairing the H7 to the V650 (on the Bluetooth frequency), while the V800 receives simultaneously from the H7 the 5 khz coded transmission. While participating in the triathlon, I would recommend pairing the speed and cadence sensors to the V650 as well, and allow the V800 to provide speed via the integrated GPS. As for updates for the V650, there are many (some quite exciting!) that will be coming that will enhance its functionality. If you have additional questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Polar at 800-227-1314 – Mike”
@Nicholas in theory you can do it but it will require you to start devices in particular order – so v650 pairs to h7 via BTLE, and then V800 won’t be able to pair via BTLE so it’ll fall back to GymLink.
If you have a lot of spare time in T1 and/or don’t care much if it really pairs or not, go for it. Otherwise forget it. It’s a hack, not a repeatable method.
Ray I asked Polar once about it after fruitless trial&error to enable it, and they said it was only able to “rebroadcast” to Polar’s group training equipment. I.e. nothing like we all think it should work.
But if you unpair the h7 from the V800 you solved that issue right? You then should be able to start your devices in any order or am I missing something here?
As Grzeg said if you unpair v800 then it will use GymLink, then no issues with v650.
I am the happy owner of both the V800 and V650 – and did an Ironman last Sunday. My H7 worked perfect the hole race on V800 and on V650 through the biking. This is how I did: Started V650 and waited for it to catch the H7, then put on V800, the triathlon-profile, swim – and then you get your pulse om both devices. Don’t turn off V650(!), just leave T1, do your swim, rush in to T1 and on the bike you can see your pulse on both devices. In T2 you turn off V650 and your V800 will work as usual on the run. It worked perfectly! Under training I once experienced some timedelay from entering the bike until V650 has caught the H7.
First as always. Polar did not even manage to announce it yet 😉
Few questions about the V650 feature set : how come recovery is not coming to the V650? Since V650 is more of a pro device I don’t really understand why it’s not available.
Hope they add custom workouts & training targets to v650 soon, as this is also a thing that should be available on more pro level devices.
And last : you note that following GPS routes/waypoints is available on V650, but it’s actually not or am I missing something? At least not in my (up to date) unit that I just bought last week.
I’ve sent over a bunch of V650 clarifications/questions on some of the previously promised/planned features, I’m awaiting those answers.
I did update the table/database just now for some of those V650 routing functions that were supposed to be there but never made it, to now show as ‘Planned’. Once I hear back from Polar (today I presume), I’ll update further.
Also : any news on the out front mount they pulled from their stores? V650 is so huge I’d like it to be in front of my stem, not on it. 🙂
There has been some issues with the quality of the out front mount. During a road descent a frined of mine’s V650 fell off the mount due to poor quality screw. The same thing happened to the store owner where I bought the V650. I also own the out front mount but I haven’t had this problem.
I think it’s stunning that Polar should have such issues on such a simple piece of kit. Perhaps they should just outsource it to a competent company like K-EDGE and have done with it.
Excellent post Ray!. you mention the crisp screen and readability several times, and so it looks from the pictures. Did you notice any difference with the V650? Do you think they use different technology?
To echo what everyone is saying… No Ant+, no sale
I got an M400 for my non-cycling workouts (XC skiing, running, blah blah) and for those things it works great paired with a Wahoo Tickr. It just works, and quite nicely. But if Polar is expecting me to dump my two power meters just so I can get one of their head units they are living in an alternate reality.
And it’s not as if I’m in love with Garmin head units… my Edge 500 and then my 810 have been buggy and generally a real PITA.
Polar, get your head out of your @45e and adopt a dual chipset. If Garmin finds a way to screw you all with Ant+, you’ll still have BT
There are a few of us mortals that do not train with watts and a few more that start from scratch, so ant+ predominance can eventually disappear if other system provides advantages or is marketed more aggressively. That is a constant in the evolution of rival technological options. Since the life cycle of these products is so fast, changing the standards is not such a big deal. The problem as is see it is not the pre-existing ANT+ equipment and user base but the fact that BTLE has a serious disadvantage while it won’t allow multiple concomitant pairing or some degree of re-broadcasting/mirroring of signals. That is a true bottleneck and when Polar and others understand that and do something about it (other than announcing and not delivering, like with the v650/v800 tandem), proprietary ant+ will be really challenged because there wouldn’t be any reason to hold to it.
That’s all a vicious circle. Just like Windows dominance – companies develop for Windows because it’s got the greatest market share, people buy Windows because there’s no apps for other platforms.
A good thing would be ant+-btle bridge. (guess 4iiii makes one) Then anybody who wants different protocols would pay for the ant+ license in the bridge. Embedding it in all devices would mean we’d all pay for it unnecessarily.
I love what Raspberry PI did. The unit can’t playback MPEG2 even though it’s chipset supports it. Just RPI makers wanted to keep the price low and not pay external license fees. If you need it, you can buy MPEG2 license unlock for a few dollars.
The majority of companies in this space use the Nordic chipset, which is dual to begin with. Companies in turn buy one of three software levels: A) ANT+ only, B) BLE only, C) Dual
It’s a simple firmware update to ‘enable’ the dual level.
Besides switching the s/w to dual mode there is a licensing fee that Garmin must be collecting for ANT+.
Don’t anticipate Garmin will give Polar a good price to Polar for it….
and I can expect it to be really painful for Polar to issue a check out to their arc-enemies 😉
I’m not party to the exact licensing fees, but I’d point out that ‘everyone’ else does or did it.
No Ant+ support is probably a deal breaker for me as well for the reasons already mentioned. But I am getting so fed up with Garmin product support that I really want to jump ship to something else.
Polar always had rock solid products but they lost me when they were late to the game with integrated GPS units. Might be worth another look.
What would happen if Polar enables the ANT+ with a software update (assume that the hardware is present)?
First they may be waiting for Garmin to announce a new small 500 at a specific price point.
If they soon after (but before Garmin starts shipping) announce a ANT+ update, what do you think the reaction of the V650 owners will be? Unless they can do the same trick with the V650 i don’t think it will make Polar more popular,
From the “ANT is owned by Garmin” comment, is it your take that Polar doesn’t want to pay a licensing fee or is it that they don’t want to play in Garmin’s ecosystem and think they move the market away from ANT, thereby hurting Garmin?
Also, what about Laurent’s point. Wouldn’t Garmin be smart to refuse to license ANT or make it cost prohibitive? As the many comments here indicate, without ANT it is a non starter for a large market segment.
– Open, no secrets (download it at http://www.bluetooth.org)
– Royalty free (all patents automatically cross licensed in the patent pool)
– Supported by 25 000 companies
– Shipped more than 4 billion of chips
– Some >15 circuit manufacturers to choose between
– Great ecosystem covering phones and tablets in a uniform way
– Has a very interesting road map with loads of new and important features coming for sports and wearables
– As the Smart watch world i s developing Polar is well aligned with smart phone, smart home, smart cars, smart city etc
“From the “ANT is owned by Garmin” comment, is it your take that Polar doesn’t want to pay a licensing fee or is it that they don’t want to play in Garmin’s ecosystem and think they move the market away from ANT, thereby hurting Garmin?”
Not sure exactly. Though from a pure business dollar standpoint, it’s trivial to argue that dual would be more profitable than BLE-only (the comments here alone prove that).
As for licensing, it’s a bit outside the areas I follow, but my understanding is that on the Nordic chipset (which most use these days), it’s free, just like BLE.
You can may certification fees if you want to be listed on the directory (which ensures things actually work together).
“Wouldn’t Garmin be smart to refuse to license ANT or make it cost prohibitive? As the many comments here indicate, without ANT it is a non starter for a large market segment.”
Not really, ANT+ has stated numerous times (publicly) that Polar is more than welcome. It’s no different than PowerTap, which Garmin competes with in every product category (head units, power meters, sensors…except trainers/bike racks).
Congrats, Polar/Suunto. Like Nokia (wrt. Apple/Google), both are well on their way to irrelevance. Android Wear / Apple Watch + mobiles will gobble up the BTLE connected space, and the rest of the market expects ANT+ support from their devices.
Maybe one day Polar/Suunto will step down from their ivory towers and at least make an effort to understand their potential customers.
Except there is no “BTLE connected space” / “rest of the market” – consumers don’t care about the underlying tech acronyms / alphabet soup, they care about whether it works. Period.
For some that means “compatible with my existing sensors”, but for others who are starting new, they care a lot less, if at all (dual). And with the drop in power meter prices that market in power newbs is expanding VERY fast. You’re just not seeing that feedback here, because those people don’t read DCR yet.
Here’s a test. Go to the next triathlon in your city and count the number of power meters on bikes vs. those without.
The watch + phone scenario is a nonstarter for cyclists. Wrist placement is at best terrible for ergonomics, at worst will get you killed. Swiping through pages of data on a watch while riding? Good luck. Navigation? Bring your magnifying glass. Battery life? Weatherization?
And now bike head units are quickly dropping below phone prices. Why buy a $600 iPhone and mount when you can (soon) drop $99 bucks on a bike computer.
As vicious as the circle might be, there’s no getting around the issues: a lot of us have investment in Ant+ kit (Power Meters), and a lot of us like to pair our sensors with multiple devices (in my case I often pair with TrainerRoad, Zwift and my Edge 810 for indoor sessions).
A Ant+ to BT bridge is yet another gadget to mess about with before we start riding, or to go wrong mid ride. No thanks.
I wonder why many people do criticise polar for not supporting ANT+ while not criticising Garmin for not supporting BLE. When they all use the same chips it would be as easy for Garmin to connect to BT devices other then phones. But they don’t.
Polar has done a step in that direction. They have given up their old W.I.N.D system. They only support it for legacy products.
Christian – firstly, now that BTLE compatible sensors, head-units and apps are coming out, some people are criticising Garmin for not supporting it. Secondly you have to remember the order in which the ecosystem was populated – as many folk here have said, they already have a number of ANT+ sensors and meters and, for better or worse, ANT/ANT+ was the de facto standard in and incumbent in the cycling (and other) arenas. Polar is introducing a new chipset and devices (one which probably can support ANT+ at the metal level) and so has less baggage and immediate opportunity to ensure support for both. There are also things that ANT+ networks can do that BTLE networks currently can’t (I couldn’t use BTLE for all my needs, and i’m hardly a hard-core user).
I don’t think anyone doubts that dual-protocol devices are the way forward for now, pity this device isn’t one. FWIW i’d probably buy one if it had ANT+ support, I highly doubt i’m alone in that regard.
I can confirm the M450 uses a Nordic Semiconductor IC for bluetooth smart
However it uses the one which only supports the Bluetooth® Smart protocol stack.
a second one with ANT and ANT/Bluetooth Smart support is not mounted, this IC is a little (<0.30 cent) more expensive (due ANT license?) but as IC's are hardware compatible there should no reason in adding support in the firmware (if Polar has resources free).
For the V650 things look different, this unit is based on a (budget) smartphone SoC which has no support for ANT (at least non of the smartphone makers on the world has added ANT to their devices if this is possible in firmware)
So the result is: Yes Polar could add ANT+ to the M450 relative easy and NO on the V650 this will not happen.
No ANT+……useless to me. Sorry Polar but that’s extremely short sighted. Looked like a ‘must have’ product too.
Same here. No ANT+, no buy. My bike for example is a Giant Defy and it has a built in speed/cadence sensor (Ridesense), which is transmitting ANT+ and I don’t plan to sacrifice that.
Giant has mentioned that Ridesense with BTLE would be available half 2015 however not official confirmed by Taiwan (only an indication).
Just took a look on the Giant pages and the new ridesense is ANT + BLE
I don,t understand if SUUNTO supports ant+ in ambit2 why polar Can,t support it?
To be fair, Suunto doesn’t support it in the Ambit3.
ambit 2 is an old product.
Ambit 3 is the new watch from SUUNTO and does not support ANT+.
Except that Suunto stopped supporting it on their newer Ambit3 ….
Thats why I bought an Ambit2 about 2 months ago. I am not junking an SRM.
What is it about running/biking GPS/computers that is keeping the screens so small compared to the overall form factors? Will the day come where we see screen size maximized such as it is on smart phones?
On the comparison table it has Bluetooth phone uploading capabilities for V650 “later 2014”, but it is not possible to have this now. This what disappoints me most. Polar, we are already living post-PC era!
I’d guess there is many more people than only me who don’t care about ANT+ at all. I started with phone only as cycling computer. Therefore I first bought Bluetooth Smart HR-monitor, and later Bluetooth speed/cadence sensor I’ve used with my phone. Now just recently I got V650.
Unless ANT+ can somehow get into majority of the phones, Bluetooth will dominate the market, maybe not sooner but later. This is because I bet that majority of people will start small, and use phone only. Some of those will later upgrade to specific device, and here the sensor compatibility requirement is opposite than those who now request ANT+ support from Polar.
Totally agree. I did the same as you so I don’t care about ANT+.
The unfortunate reality is that many of the flagship smartphone over the past several years have been built with chipsets which could support ANT+ if the manufacturers wanted to do it. This includes vendors like Apple which chose to ignore the ANT+ capabilities in their hardware and instead push BTLE to market, and ones like Samsung which have enabled ANT+ and BT4 for 3 generations now. There is even a root level software app called “ANT+ Enabler” to make it work on several models from other manufacturers. With regards to the V450, it would make a great computer for my wife if it supported ANT+ as I already have extra ANT+ speed/cadence and HR sensors around the house.
I do like the look of Polar devices, but having been on Garmin since I started my cycing/triathlon journey I see no reason to purchase a device that won’t “talk” to my:
Change that and as others have noted it might actually be an option for me and others.
I agree, I wouldn’t mind getting away from Garmin a bit. I don’t even have a power meter (yet) but I don’t want to change my HRM and speed/cadence sensors on three bikes, just to leave Garmin.
I feel Polar is offering a very good alternative, but they are asking for too much to make the leap.
For new users though, I do think there’s more future in BLE than ANT+.
I hear ya, but something to consider is if you do eventually get a power meter you can consider the Stages or Viiii power meter that is ANT+/BTLE compatible and you can also upgrade to a Scosche HRM that is also ANT+/BTLE compatible. I happily use a Garmin edge 800 (ANT+) as well as a Suunto Ambit3 (BTLE) with no issues thanks to the dual output of my sensors.
Thanks for the great review, as usual.
it’s mind-exploding how slow Polar is getting updates out… There shold be enough available people in finland, after Nokia was sold out.
Anyways, did they indicate, if there will be possibility to create your own route and transfer it on your v650/v800?
Any word on v800 open water swimming profile and cadence from wrist unit? (let me quess Q4/2015).
thanks for your great work.
Great to see that they prioritized a facelift of Flow rather than integrating to Strava. From reading this and my own experiences as a V800/loop user, it seems that they don’t understand their customer base or segmentation.
Nice coverage as always, Ray!
Thanks for the quick-first-look & specs of the m450!
The Lance “cut across country”
Especially the last Q/A part where you answered the important questions yourself!
This unit is what Garmin users are/were expecting from Garmin (for the 510). You can read all that stuff on the garmin forum. Seems that the Polar Guys did 🙂
1) minimum functionality 2) sharp display 3) price!
If the breadcrumb-courses work flawlessly (with gpx import) the m450 will be my next cycling computer! it will support courses right (marked YES)??
There’s no routing option in the M450 – purely ‘Back to start’ style as the crow flies capabilities. In general, thank of the M450 as the M400 in a different form factor.
But barometric altimeter is a huge difference, isn’t it?
This just answered a question I had, thanks for reading my mind. 😉
Hi Ray, some word by Polar about V800 software/firmware updates?
After 1000 postponed and 1000 “sorry, we are working very hard”, now their silence is deafening …and ridiculous.
Which specific update? They have been delivering updates (albeit not all the ones yet promised).
Outdoor swimming would be good before winter comes…
Did you mean summer;)?
I think this is very important upgrade tor summer triathlons ( for v800)
Not one in particular, i wanted to know was expressed a few words about it, if we reed the official Polar Updates website (and your useful timelines), they have scheduled or postponed in the last 6 months many updates with new target end of June (2015)…and in theory now it’s time to release:
– Swimming metrics (openwater)
– Ability to create programs/templates for target
– Ability to define route on flow
– Ability to manually add training session
– Smartphone notifications Android
– Music control for phone
– Internal accelerometter detection (treadmill!!!!)
Does it support bridges sensors from the 4iiii Viiiiva?
I’m really not phased by the lack of ANT+, BTLE is enough or my uses.
But the mapping update for the V650 is a huge bonus. I love the V650, but this will make it just perfect.
No, wait, that would also require a decent out-front mount, which seems to be evading Polar at the moment 🙁
Very excited to see some competition to Garmin on a cycling GPS that will navigate. I use my 810 all the time to plot a course, then ride it – a great way to explore.
But the Garmin itself is a real pain… Pretty much everything about it is an “almost”. From the (frankly weird) way that the ‘modern’ interface website only uses half of the browser screen space for the map, to the annoying way you have to turn off Garmin segments repeatedly.
To echo many sentiments here… I would buy a Polar cycle computer… if they had ANT+ support (despite already owning a Garmin 810). Given how clearly the companies are being told this stuff, it is so odd that they continue to ignore what the customers are asking for!
Do you know of any other cycle GPS-with-maps on the way?
There’s the Mio units, which are good for more of the routing/mapping options – but lack many of the features you’d want as a more competitive cyclist (i.e. laps).
As the M450 has training load and recovery time but not the M400 is this a feature that will be available on M400 down the road?
Ah this is so incredibly frustrating. Like a number of us, I patiently waited for the V650, to find it can’t do recover, training targets, race pace, etc.
The what happens. Polar announces a supposedly lower level computer with all these features! Really Polar? Come on!
Nice looking little unit. But as a V650 owner it really annoys me. And hurry up and get the darn out in front mount back to market already.
Fantastic and details review as ever Ray. Really keen to hear the answers you get re the missing V650 features.
link to dl.dropboxusercontent.com
link to dl.dropboxusercontent.com
link to dl.dropboxusercontent.com
Please note: there is a way to do this, without the watch mount, meaning only with the garmin mount.
But please note also: this is garmin extended mount, it’s a tiny bit “longer” then the ordinary mount. Not really hard to find or anything, but that difference enabled me to actually use the watch mount at the first place (v800).
Polar said (on Facebook) to expect an update to the V650 – my guess is that this will be when the M450 is released. I very much doubt that there will be features that will be exclusive to the M450.
Give M450 a WiFi sync support and out-front mount and it would be perfect… is this too much to ask?- apparently… lets see what will Garmin say to this :)… 500 gen 2.
I wish that instead of giving a ‘facelift’ to the Flow website they actually added some new features (like the Strava linking or that I could add my running shoes to track how many miles are in them) and made syncing via a laptop and the usb more smooth. For the last couple of weeks almost every time I wanted to sync my activities: 1. it took ages (we are talking 5 minutes at least) 2. told me the sync was unsuccessful (but then my activities still appeared, so go figure) 3. the website took quite a bit to load.
Also, would be amazing if it stopped being in beta.
Not sure that this is about syncing per se, but I do find that Polar Flow is pretty flaky in recognising the presence of the V650 on MacOSX
To be fair on Polar though: It’s not as Garmin are introducing BTLE support on their devices either. The Edge1000 hit the market last year without it, and could probably support BTLE sensors for all the same reasons as the Polar units could support ANT+
Industry, get your heads out of your a**
Completely agree – it should go both ways.
That said, there’s only a single Bluetooth Smart only power meter on the market (Polar’s), everything else is dual or ANT+.
With both suunto and polar switching to blte in their recent products, I point my fingers at Garmin.
that doesn’t make sense. so two companies switched to blte only and 95% of the market is ANT+ and you blame the ANT+ company?!
Well, it’s currently ANT+ that is turning into a closed protocoll, so for the betterment of humanity we should support the open protocolls 😉
Yup…..real closed………like in literally hundreds of devices and companies supporting it, and constant updating of new device profiles…………
ANT+ vs BTLE, The new PS/XBOX or iOS/Android 😀
Can we expect training load and recovery time update for M400?
Not bothered by the Ant+ with a dual HRM and nothing else – either of these look good to avoid giving money to Garmin. Personally I’m interested in the mapping or even breadcrumb trail to follow – in your Product Comparison you say ‘yes’ to FOLLOW GPS TRACK (COURSES/WAYPOINTS) on the 450, but no mention in the hands-on. Is this correct?
So for now – polar (v800, v650, m450…) will not work with powertap bluetooth/ant+ power meter (p1. c1)?
I think Ray said powertap works with v800?
link to dcrainmaker.com
I haven’t double-checked the PowerTap with the V800 specifically, but I know it doesn’t currently work with the V650.
It would be great if you could find out whether the Powertap’s P1 (and C1) are compatible with the V800. If so, which data fields will work? If not, when will the P1s work with the V800?
Also strongly agree with an earlier comment re unbelievably slow:
– Flow up-dates (create your own route, more options for power data fields [e.g. 1s, 3s, 5s, 10s])
– V800 updates (e.g.: running cadence w/o sensor, open-water swimming profile)
All of these were meant to happen many months ago but are still not there. Could you please find out for us?
I discussed specifically about the PowerTap G3 BLE cap and V800 integration with Polar folks last week. They told me that it’s now fully supported on their side. Anyway, an update is required on the PT BLE cap for the powermeter to stop sending calibration request to the V800 when the first one is done. So basically now you can pair PT G3 with the V800 and add it to any bike profile, before the ride you can calibrate the hub, and then the data will be accurate. Anyway, the V800 will time to time ask for a recalibration, and you can ignore these messages. Perhaps PT will update the cap’s firmware, but Polar guy was not sure they will do it for the PT G3. Anyway, he told me they will do it for the new pedals and crankset powermeter they will release soon.
I’d be curious to get a 3rd party’s thoughts on who is to blame there. For example, Suunto works with the BLE PowerTap cap no problem (and in fact, has since the beginning). As does the Wahoo app and others. Were they just shimming a fix, or?
(I just don’t know enough at the dev level to be able to specifically call companies out on that, other than to point out that in most cases, adding a shim is usually the best practice to ensure compatibility if/when you’re not a market leader in a given product category.)
Thank you, Nakan.
Ray, are you sure about Orthostatic and “as well as Training Load and Recovery Time”. There are no support in m400 for this, only in v800.
They are supported, Polar made a reasonably big deal about it. Official listing of supported software features from the press release:
• Back to Start feature shows you the way back home
• Orthostatic Test and Fitness Test map out your condition and enable tailored feedback and guidance
• Training Load and Recovery Time shown in Polar Flow web service
And what about GPS chipset: SiRF or u-blox?
The GPS chipset is the U-blox UBX-G7020-CT GPS chip (PLK)
It’s about time we have some legit competition to Garmin for cycling computers. I have always been unimpressed with Garmin displays and still occasionally get a random freeze which seems to be the norm with my Garmin Edge 810.
I agree, so many times after bike races have I pressed Save only to have the screen freeze and the activity not save on my 810…
no ANT+ means it is not legit competition to Garmin
How well does the Bluetooth work? Ready to ditch Garmin. I got a 510 so I could sync my workouts wirelessly. Almost never works. (And, overall functionality is clunky comapred to my old 705.)
I’ll join the chorus in saying.. what a shame it doesn’t have dual ANT/BT support. I suppose you could always use one of the 4iii HR straps that acts as an ANT/BT bridge, but really, you shouldn’t have to do something like that in this day an age
Otherwise, looks like a winner, and I love the idea of the front safety light.
Great news for a V650 owner. Mapping capabilities. I’m probably the most lost guy when I’m riding alone!
Thanks for the news Ray!
“GoPro Hero4 Silver and a crapton of batteries”
Was that a metric or imperial crapton?
I totally agree with DC. The main point of this new unit is PRICE. Most of us reading this site are not it’s prime customer. We are mostly somewhat serious cyclists, that either have a power meter or are thinking about getting one in the near future. If you are dropping $500 -$3000 on a power meter, you are not interested in a low end head unit. But there is a huge market out there of casual/recreational riders that don’t have and never plan to have a power meter (unless they drop below $100.) These riders probably outnumber us “serious’ riders 10-1. So for your average rider with his $1000 bike, who is looking for something a little nicer than your basic $80 Cateye but not willing to drop $$$$ on a Garmin, this makes total sense. Plus, if that person eventually decides to jump in to the power meter market, it will most likely be one of the new cheaper units coming on line that are dual Ant+/BTLE. Personally it makes a lot more sense than the Polar V650 which is trying to compete in the mid to higher end market without Ant+ compatibility.
Matching the capabilities of an existing Garmin product and undercutting the price will just get a deep price change from Garmin in response. Garmin has been making the Edge 500 series product for over five years and will have recovered their R&D expenditures a long time ago.
Brian I agree with some of what you’re saying but I believe their is also a sizeable market for people without power-meters, but with existing ANT+ sensors, for whom price is a key driver. In that context, having a cheap and capable head-unit is largely irrelevant if you have to also factor in replacing your existing HRM, speed and cadence sensors – especially as the number of affordable and competent dual-BTLE/ANT+ units is unlikely to decrease in the near term.
Completely agree with the comment on the v650.
No ANT+ support = No sale. If you want someone to switch to your product, you have to be compatible with all the accessories. I wonder why the politics between ANT+ and BLE is so crazy?
I agree that Ant+ support would be nice and if Polar’s only reason for not including it in the M450 is to keep the price low (as in it would have raised the price by more than $10) than I am OK with that decision. If however their decision is strictly to avoid supporting anything Garmin, with the thought that they can out muscle Garmin and force everyone to adopt their ecosystem, they are spinning their wheels.
As to the argument of needing Ant+ in order to get someone to switch to the M450, I disagree. This is a low end GPS Cycle Computer. If someone has say an old Garmin 500 and is looking to upgrade, they would not be interested in this even if it did have Ant+, they are more likely looking to move up to something like an 510 or 810. This is most likely aimed at someone buying their first bike computer (and therefore not having any Ant+ sensors to worry about) or looking to upgrade from a simple Cateye or similar sub $100 computer (once again, no Ant+ sensors to worry about)
Ultimately in the end, I feel the no Ant+ decision was driven partly by $ and partly by politics. I commend Polar for fighting the $ argument but if they want to compete on the upper end, they will have to support Ant+ or die a slow death.
I love the competition. Garmin sure made enough and can always drop prices to be competitive. They have been at the top and charge for it. Sure they will step up and change things. That what so awesome in the tech world just like with the changes in power meters. We as the consumer will get better unit for less money as the competition steps it. up. But before Garmin could sit on the crown and we did not have choice. Look at cell phones how that change .
Thank you again for all the work and information. People have no idea how much time you put into this. It is highly appreciated.
I hope polar does well. I’m sure them not having ant+ has something to do with not wanting to pay licensing fees to Garmin. But let’s be serious, the only company holding on to Ant+ is garmin really. Most have switched to BLE. Sure power meters are the last to come around that corner but they’re slowly coming. 2 years it’ll be hard to find product that has Ant+. I love the price also. Unlike the Garmin who overprices everything, I love what Polar is doing.
I’m curious which BTLE temperature sensor and geocaching system you’re using? If you think Ant+ will be gone in 2 years, BTLE will have to produce all the different sensors currently available on Ant+ including boat, plane, car, fitness and various other sensors which are currently available. It’ll also need to add broadcast/multicast support without making the device you just bought obsolete, and I’ll be amazed if that happens.
The ONLY reason people think BTLE is a good move is because they recognise the word Bluetooth from their phone. Ant+ is a better solution all around from what I can see at the moment. Also, Garmin have been pretty consistent with Ant+ while Polar have required a complete sensor collection change on every generation thus far. I’ve had 3 generations of HR band, and two generations of bike sensors from Polar, none of which work with the v650 or v800.
“I’ve had 3 generations of HR band, and two generations of bike sensors from Polar, none of which work with the v650 or v800.”
Not sure about bands per se, but there are only two BT HRM, the H6 and H7.
Yes, there are only two BTLE, but for those of us who had previous watches (going back over a decade) we went through various generations before that while Garmin stuck with their Ant+. As I said, I’ve had various generations, none of which were BTLE and none of which work with the current Polar products therefore all of them would need replacing if I bought a Polar now.
Explain to me why everyother major company (Suunto, Polar, TomTom, smaller fitness companies like Adidas and Timex) have gone to BLE. Literally Garmin is the last one if not last one using ANT+ for devices…..I am pretty sure they can easily make a Tempe that broadcast BLE if needed. Dont get me wrong I love the Tempe but it literally only works with Garmin products. Garmin is in alot of way like Apple, a closed proprietary company that only does things their way. A couple years ago most sensors just did Ant+, now most of them are dual (ant and BLE) pretty soon its just going to be BLE. The phones and smartwatches all connect to BLE sensors. Literally the only time I hear someone complain about ant+ is talking about power meters which the majority of people cannot afford anyways.
I always find it funny when people talk about closed versus open. In reality, BLE is no more ‘open’ than ANT+. And the inverse is true as well.
Real humans from these companies sit on the various committees of these ‘standards’. For example, in the case of Polar, they used to chair the Bluetooth Sport SIG. But, ultimately, for any given profile you’ll see many companies involved – for example, Wahoo provides input into the process just as much as any other company.
The same goes for ANT+, it’s up to a member company to propose a profile. For example, SRAM with the wireless shifting profile for ANT+. Other companies can then join the effort if they’d like. Dynastream merely acts as a moderator for discussions, and helps guide where there are technical considerations that might be worthy thinking of for future expansion. The BT Sig operates in the exact same manner.
But to say that Garmin (or Polar) somehow controls (or rather, overrides) which profiles are created is completely silly, and shows a lack of understanding on how these organizations actually work at a policy level.
Now, all that said – for sensors such as heart rate – it’s really just a wash between BLE and ANT+. Where there’s more challenging waters is things like the power meter spec, which is a mess on BLE (hence why virtually nothing works with anything out of the box). Similarly, the whole multi-device pairing thing is also non-functional, despite the hardware supporting it now for nearly two years, no company has actually implemented it.
Of course, on the flip side, ANT+ isn’t supported on iOS (though is supported on many Android devices these days, including almost anything Samsung in the last few years). So if you take the reality that roughly 60-70% of the sports tech marketshare is iOS, that’s a huge gap for companies.
Still, there’s no reason why any company (Garmin, Polar, or otherwise) can’t do dual. We see great success with companies such as Wahoo and others doing just that.
Thanks for the excellent review. According to the Polar website the price in USD is 169.00 and the comparison table doesn’t mention if the M450 has AUTO START/STOP. I asume it does.
Thanks, got the updated price and updated post. They had originally said it was parity.
Is that price with or without heart rate?
Since the Polar website says the price starts at $169.90, I have answered my own queston and that price would not include heart rate.
According to Polar’s website:-
Autostop/start: When Autostop/start is on, your training computer automatically starts and stops the recording as you start or stop moving during training.
Polar is being very shortsighted and missing out on a chance to own the bike computer market by not including ANT+. A very big percentage of Garmin Edge owners are very unsatisfied with the device which is full of bugs and has very terrible customer support. They’d switch to a well supported, non-buggy bike computer in an instant if it worked with their ANT+ devices. Very odd choice by polar.
One thing I’ve been curious on is, will work I do with the m450/v650 “sync back” to my V800 which tracks ALL my other activities and steps? This is important for recovery time, and your status level. I’ve never been able to get a concrete answer (reviews focus on just “one device” rather than the collective ecosystem which is what I think polar is going for).
I get a m450 to compliment my V800 for better usability when on bike rides. So after syncing the m450, it’ll send that data back to the v800 (after syncing) that I did that activity, it shows in the diary, it shows in the status calculation and shows in the activity calculation.
That way I have one place, one source, one platform. Yet I get the usability of the m450 on the bike which is way better to look at how fast you are going when your barreling down a mountain at 30 mph…!
I don’t have any real information at all, but I speculate it can sync the data back. Clearly the M450 is based on same platform than V800 and M400, so I think there are reasonable changes the sync works in two ways. On the other hand, V650 is based on different platform (touch based user interface with color screen) and it can be seen painfully how it cannot support same functions that are already present in V800.
Before buying V650, I hoped it shares same code than V800, so differences would have been much more limited. Now this is painfully visible with M450, as it supports most of the things I would want from my V650. Although, the promised map support eases the pain quite a bit.
I asked the same questions and haven’t gotten a response to if or when this will happen. I just received my v650 and so far they do not sync with the v800 to show recover time or show up in the v800 diary.
I think this is critical to really use these devices properly. Otherwise what is the point to recovery time or tracking all this data? That is ultimately what Apple will inevitably target as more dev goes into the Apple Watch.
I wonder if Ray can poke Polar on this!
The v650 doesn’t have training load/recovery time functions yet, that’s why it’s not showing up on the v800 or flow, i’ve been training with a h7 strap connected to both the v800 and the v650 because of that.
How have you been able to get it to work? Starting the v650 first and then allowing the v800 to us the 5hz transmissions?
Iphone has bte, but not ant+… that’s important, more in USA…
Ant+ is the present, but in Europe (Polar = Finland) bte it’s the future.
Android is bte: samsung, sony, and iphone too
Regards from blog zitasport
My samsung s5 has ant+ built in………..
Yes, and S4, the only two smartphones of samsung
If you go to thisant.com and use the directory for Samsung you will see that just about every Samsung smartphone has ant+
About every Samsung, are you kidding? I have a S3 mini, a Galaxy Express II and a S4 mini and none of those has ANT+. But wait, they all 3 have BLE.
Duh………for every Samsung that you can buy now. Obviously some legacy devices from years ago do not. And you should check your S4 mini, because in fact it does have ant+……………assuming you are running Android 4.4.2 or greater..
Sorry but Android is not only Samsung. There a lot of other brands (big and little ones) in market that only support BLE: Motorola, Xiaomi, Huawei, BQ, etc
My wife has a brand new Xiami (by the way an excellent and non expensive mobile) working perfectly with HRM and SC sensors BLE on Strava.
“Sorry but Android is not only Samsung”
No indeed.. of the other visible supporters Sony springs to mind. Long battery life, BTLE, ANT+ and waterproof in a quite a few models is a nice combination on a bike….
I know it increases the cost but I use a 4iiii Viiiiva to bridge ANT+ connections to my Polar V800. This works a treat with my Powertap and Power2Max power meters. This does provide a migration path for those with Ant+ power meters who want to use Polar products.
Will polar M450 and V650 Support Third party Bluetooth smart Power meters like Stages and 4iiii???? At the moment I know that V650 does not support third party power meters but Is that even in the pipeline. If yes then when can we see it coming?
And how come M450 comes with training load, recovery time, Fitness test(Vo2max) and Orthostatic Test when its elder brother has none of the features? Is this been done to create a market for M450 as giving the same features on V650 might harm the sales of their own products like m450?
@MP The V800 supports Stages PM so not sure why the V650 would not work.
Well it does connect to Stages but does not shows the power meter reading according to few people.
@MP I think that issue was addressed with the last firmware update.
I was sold on this thing to replace my flaky edge 500 until I saw bluetooth only. REALLY POLAR?
I had a V800 and it got the speed, cadence and power from my ANT+ powertap through my Viiiiva bridge, so I assume that would also be a good option for people looking at the M450. Ultimately I returned the V800 because I wanted something with swim metrics, and while the V800 has pool swim metric you can not export the data. Polar flow only allows you to export in a TCX format which will not include stroke, laps, etc. To export that data you need to be able to export in FIT format. I contacted Polar about the issue and they stated that they have no plans in implement an export feature in the FIT format like Suunto or Garmin.
However, the integration with Strava is promising in that if they integrate it in a way that allow the stroke and lap data to go over to Strava then I can get that data out to other third party sites. I will be looking forward to hearing from you on that update when it come out on what data actually is carried over.
I dont think I would change device for one that does not display phone alerts… I want to know whether the boss or wife calls while on the bike ! My next upgrade will be when there is a killer offering there.
You will be waiting for a long time. It won’t be done for liability reasons.
Odd, other companies do it on their cycling computers (Garmin, Mio, etc…). Oh, and Polar let me know that yesterday that as far as smartphone alerts go on the M450: “Not for the moment but in the future that kind of firmware upgrade is possible.”
I just purchased a power meter and Garmin 510 a few weeks ago. I’m new to Garmin head units. Mine doesn’t have email or phone alerts to my knowledge. Does the 510 have it? Which Garmin unit has it? Before I bought the Garmin I looked at the Cateye head unit. All it does is to let you know that there’s a text or phone call. It doesn’t let you know who is calling (most likely someone in my contact list). Likewise for text messaging. What good does it do if the head unit only lets you know that something is received. My comment made earlier is referring to the ability to show the text, email, or the caller. What head unit shows such info? If I carry my smartphone in my Camelback I could hear an audio alert. I don’t need a head unit to alert me. What I want is more info from the head unit so I could decide if I should stop and take the call. Thanks.
Cycling only: Garmin Edge 1000 (Phone/text only), Mio 505 (and I think some of their others)
Multisport: Garmin FR920XT, Fenix3, Fenix2, Fenix1, Epix, Polar V800
Plus other devices like the Garmin Vivoactive too.
Thanks Ray. I just read your review of the 1000. Too bad the same functionality is not found on the other Garmin units.
Well. Don’t expect too much from Polar. Rainmaker, did they by any chance get any questions about notifications for their M400 watch? I think it was announced in January, still haven’t seen it. As you point out, it’s strange to see them talking about software releases that far into the future, without actually prove what they’ve already promised.
Jonathan, basically any new Garmin devices seem to be supporting text messages and phone caller notification messages. The 810 and 510 are older products from before Garmin started including these. And Garmin rarely adds this kind of feature to older products after the fact. Their attempt to entice you to buy a new model.
In case you’re curious on the specific limitation there, it’s lack of Bluetooth 4.0 chipset on the Edge 510/810. For reasons that I crucified Garmin for at the time (go back and read my reviews on those, still in there), they stuck in crusty old non-BT4 chipsets, which means that smart notifications from the OS layer weren’t possible.
I don’t understand why text/email/phone notifications have to be done over BT4. The Garmin 510 can receive weather alerts from my smartphone via BT 2.1. Why can’t it receive text/email/phone notifications via BT 2.1?
I’d love to upgrade my 510 to get the notifications. How long do I have to wait? I have no interest in the 1000….it’s way to big and I don’t need the routing features.
The reason is has to be done over BT4 is that both Android/iOS have created provisions (an entire stack) for doing them over Bluetooth Smart. So things like privacy controls, app integration, etc… (Starting point for developers: link to developer.apple.com)
If a company (Garmin or otherwise) tries to do them outside of that stack they have to re-invent the wheel and maintain it themselves (as well as figure out app integration to 3rd parties). More like re-inventing a hundred wheels. In the case of weather updates and such, that’s Garmin just doing that over a custom channel from app to device.
Thus why you won’t ever see notifications on the Edge 510/810.
A strange that you say that, as the pebble watch originally had notifications using BT2 which then moved (more successfully) over to BTLE.
I suspect though that they actually had to invent the original wheel for notifications that Apple then took up and ported to BTLE.
If I remember correctly though, it was pretty jury-rigged, and was heavily dependent on ties into each individual application that was being notified – which is very different than iOS/Android notification centers that exist today.
Compre un V650 y pense que podia grabarle los entrenamientos mediante la pagina polar flow sabras para cuando estara esa aplicacion y si algun dia polar la va a poner gracias
I not only want ANT+ (like everyone else) but also NP/TSS/IF power metrics, then I’d buy one to replace my Edge 500 🙂
I don’t know about the ‘best value’…. I think Lezyne is going to take that one, especially since they have the sense to use Ant +. I am astounded at both Lezyne and Polar for being so dense as to no use the Garmin mounting system. With several bikes in my garage having aftermarket Garmin mounts, it IS an issue that will keep users in the Garmin ecosystem. Even as much as I loathe Garmin at times (really, they can’t add Ant + data transmission to the 800 via firmware?).
Curious to know what firmware is in your fenix 3… latest release, older, or special?
Just the current public release – 3.30.
I just returned my fenix 3 and now using a Suunto, but was toying the idea of a V800 to get vibration alerts. Also wouldn’t mind the m450 to upgrade my old Garmin….but the lack of direct Strava integration was a deal killer. So I was excited to read about the Strava integration…until I saw October!!??
That really is nuts.
Just gonna post this in case Polar reads…no ANT+ support, what were they thinking?
Sure it’s at a great price…but it won’t talk to any of my sensors…
now it is only theory. Experience: look at V650, look at features which Polar promise year ago. Look at Polar V650 now in real time – most features missing – not sync with Flow app, not setting training views via Flow web service, not Fitness test, not Training Load, not Recovery Status
Am a little puzzled here – you are putting this up against a six year old product which Garmin themselves refer to as a “previous model” and although it is a little cheaper not entirely clear it is better. No wonder Polar themselves are struggling to explain it.
Most consumers compare bike computers against the Edge 500 – it’s the size that most prefer. While the Edge 510 is there, Garmin themselves has been clear from the start that it’s not an Edge 500 replacement. Meanwhile, the Edge 510 is priced at $329, so twice the cost of the M450. And a fair bit more than the Edge 500 that Garmin has yet to replace.
I stop reading at no Ant+
I have a PM, cadence, speed, and HR sensors that are ANT+ so I don’t understand why I will want to spend 5x times more just to use their bike computer…
such a huge fail
Just like Garmin loses me when it says no to BTLE. Why do I want to lock myself in to an overpriced product that will not be able to communicate with future devices.
It looks like the m450 is being marketed to a more fitness based level of riding not a pro or competitive rider who would already own a power meter.
Almost all new power meters being released are dual anyway.
I will take the Hardware Polar makes in a second compared to Garmin. Polar just needs to catch up a little bit on the software development side. Tried the other way and found out that having every little feature was nice but when the device itself kept falling apart it didn’t matter.
Hence why a dual design (for either Garmin or Polar) is such a more consumer friendly and pro-consumer choice.
Agreed but as long as Garmin owns the ANT+ standard I don’t think it will happen. What you are seeing is that sensor makers are increasingly including BTLE transmission – Stages, PowerTap. If either Quarq or SRM adopt it then I think you will see Polar begin to get some real traction.
Fwiw, in talking with Quarq about it recently, they basically said they have no plans at all to do BLE anytime soon – noting they simply don’t see demand (now, perhaps something like the M450 will change that).
I don’t know about SRM’s plans, though they’ve never hinted at doing BLE transmission.
HomerJSimpson – as Ray mentioned earlier, Garmin doesn’t really ‘own’ the standard in any meaningful sense – the profiles are free and open to view, propose and contribute to.
I imagine any licensing fees would be small in relation to the potential benefit to Polar, for a number of business and legal reasons, so can’t see that being a problem per se.
That said, there may be other commercial considerations that come into play aside from licensing – i’m primarily thinking patent or litigation clauses but i’ve not checked the T&Cs for the commercial side of ANT+ as I only do dev for my own interests, so might not be an issue.
It’s all a bit of trade-off… Technically, ANT+ is a arguably a far superior solution for sensor applications (network topology, power, simplest protocol, smaller overheads), whilst BTLE is becoming ubiquitous in smart phones and accessories – so is a non-brainer as a target market.
Generally speaking, BTLE is getting much closer to ANT+ in power consumption when not scanning too much – but it’s still not quite there yet and start scanning a lot and BTLE suffers noticeably in comparison. AFAIK there are some advances in BTLE in the pipe-line that address some of this, but I haven’t seen much detail let alone any implementations – so probably not anything that could be seen as a short-term benefit, if at all.
In any sane world, the way forward in the short term should be dual-BTLE and ANT+ devices, as many vendors are doing, as this gives existing ANT+ users an unforced replacement path for devices (should they wish) whilst still providing new customers an excellent choice. Alas, as Polar have shown over the years, things can look anything but sane from the consumers perspective.
Just to add regarding power – BTLE should theoretically be more power efficient, it’s just that i’ve not seen this in The Real World. I’m not sure of the reason for this, perhaps it’s partly due to dual-mode device powering or over aggressive scanning or something entirely different – be interesting to hear if the Polar chap from the Bluetooth SIG has any ideas (or even it’s this is still true).
It is a typical behavior of European companies to limit themselves in their potential market, just because it would mean to give money to their competitor. Do they have reason to hate it? Yes. But while it would help Garmin (license fees) it would help Polar ever so much more. As was pointed out, Garmin, with their heavily overpriced offering in the bike computer field, leave the doors wide open for competitors to take market share in that market and the companies like Polar have the opportunity but then decide to ignore a large part of that market. Stupid!
You probably have a lot of knowledge about Eu companies?
Ray, great read and thorough review as always. Heck, I’d buy one. Most important for us serious aging cyclists is a large/visible readout and works seamlessly to give you the basic data. For a Garmin’s price you should have a near perfect device and it’s not. Hopefully this will be a catalyst for market growth. FWIW, I ride a Trek Emonda SL and the Bontrager Duotrap ANT+ sensor added BLE some time ago. Still think that Polar is shooting themselves in the foot but the market screamed at Apple for removing drives from its laptops. Paradigm shifts are good for the market in the long run but suck in the short term. Only time will tell.
I am assuming this device indicates grade percentage–perhaps I overlooked that.
Also, how did you hold your smartphone while you clearly had both hands on the bike? BTW. Impressive that you can climb 10% grade, talk and use one hand on a rent bike that appears to have standard gearing. Funny no one gave you kudos for that yet.
I was excited at the opportunity to dump my troublesome Garmin 510 (on my third) until I read no ANT+ which is a deal breaker for me. I’d pony up for BT speed/cadence and heart rate but not ready to invest in another power meter.
i’m still looking for a decent gps-computer for my bike. The review made me curious. However after reading that polar still uses the micro-usb for charging it’s a no go to me. My last polar device terminated after ample 10 months as a result of a totally wasted micro-usb connection
Their warranty is the best in the market, see all the positive reactions regarding exchanges of the V800.
So if the warranty is ok it doesn’t matter if the connector is of a poor quality? That’s turning things around. it’s like telling that a car without a good engine doesn’t matter as long as their is warranty. Strange
If the connector is good you won’t need warranty.
I just don’t want a device with such a poor connector
forgot to tell that one of the buttons broke in pieces some months before.
I’d say both are reasonably rare though, based on what I see. Sure, you can find examples of other people with both issues on the internet, but I can also say the same for any GPS watch or even non-GPS watch out there. Just search for (fill in the blank) broken button.
Micro-USB is heavily preferred for a bike computer, because there’s little requirement for waterproofing (despite the fact that in other Polar products Polar waterproofed the connector to 50m). The reason most companies use different connectors than micro-USB is primarily due to said waterproofing requirements.
Since you’re unlikely to heavily swim with your bike+bike computer, micro-USB is perfectly fine.
Nice to hear V650 finally gets map support.
Was going to buy Edge 1000 but since it’s ANT+ it’s a no go. So going to get a V650.
Any updates about the training load/recovery status on V650, will it be available as a update?
First, look at the history of Polar’s promised updates. Mapping may as well happen next year and work in the way you wouldn’t expect…
After all the delay, I’m pretty happy with V650. It’s easy to set up, pairs with non-Polar BLE SC sensors and most important, it’s reliable. After more than 45 rides, not a single loss of connection neither with the sensors nor with the satellites (even under very bad weather conditions). I know it lacks software development but I’m confident it’ll come.
You currently can’t see training load on the v650. That being said when you upload to flow your workout is calculated into training load on flow and after syncing other devices (I have a v800) it updated it to the v800.
As a noob triathlete owner of M400, is the following possible:
Start an outdoor session with M400 + H7 alone at the beginning of swimming
During cycling event, without interrupting the M400 session, see HR on M450 via broadcast from M400
+ also see Bike Speed and Cadence from Wahoo sensor to M450
And finally finish the running part with M400+H7 alone
You can’t do what you want as the M400 and M450 only have Bluetooth and that’s a 1:1 connection. There isn’t any broadcast of HR to other devices possible currently.
I think I’ll buy one of the polar computers in the coming months, replacing edge500/810 that I have, I really like the V800 which I have used for running since the start of the year. The only thing I’m not impressed with is polars sensors with non replaceable batteries and a speed sensor that attaches to the front wheel. I assume the wahoo speed/cadence sensor would work fine?
You can easily use the speed sensor on the rear wheel, works fine for me.
Wahoo BlueSC works all right and would be my choice because it is dual BTLE and ANT+, so you can eventually continue using the garmins if you wish.
Yup, I use the BlueSCv2 as well for most of my Polar related testing. Love that I can blend it with both the BLE devices and ANT+ devices.
Fwiw, I actually used a Wahoo RPMv2 during these rides however, paired to the V650…well…until the V650 decided to stop paying attention to it after an hour (other devices continued picking up the ANT+ signal).
I also use a Wahoo Blue SC with my V650. I prefer that to the two separate sensors Polar offers. Works perfectly.
Would you share what exact rear wheel sensor you use? And if it still works fine with latest 1.1.5 firmware of M450
I got a combo sensor (noname), that works perfectly with Strava and other apps on my phone, and it gets paired to M450, but doesn’t get any data.
This unit doesn’t appear to show temperature, which is a shame, as it would surely be simple to incorporate, given that there is a barometric altimeter.
Shame started reading and my worst fears about Polar and ant+ were confirmed. No point reading to the end sorry Ray. could be a great device to kick Garmins arse ruined by stupidity.
But it seems that Garmin is better in every aspect. Also why to buy something that is not complete?, is not a beta, is an alpha.
Not really sure how it’s an alpha. It’s beta quality, I only saw a few minor bugs, and it’s basically based on the M400/V800 codebase – hence why it’s in some ways more feature-packed than the V650. You don’t get by placing 30 journalists on alpha hardware…
Alpha means that some features are missing, beta means that all features are functional but with some bugs, hence is in alpha stage, not beta.
“Beta phase generally begins when the software is feature complete but likely to contain a number of known or unknown bugs” source link to en.wikipedia.org
The same for V800, M400, and all the current releases of Polar, Alpha and incomplete products.
By that definition, all software would always be Alpha as this implies no new functionality can be added. From my experience in the industry, Alpha vs Beta has more to do with stability than functionality. Once it is stable enough and feature rich enough to offer beyond the dev team, it would usually be referred to as Beta. The Zwift Island Beta is a perfect example as it was far from feature complete but stable enough to start letting end users play with it. I can’t think of any software that when first released as beta would meet your definition of beta.
No, by that definition you can start with a set of clear features, version one, and later add new features, version two. I own a V800, I buy this device because someone tell me that in the near (very near) future I will have the capability to follow a track (is on the capabilities that must be implemented on version one). Hence is an Alpha. The same for this cycling computers, If Polar says that the device have a set of features to be implemented on this device is because there are some features that are not yet implemented, hence by definition, an alpha product.
The problem is that the people misunderstand alpha and beta, but this is people’s problem. Stable enough is not in any sense a definition of the stage in software development. Stable means that starts doing his job, nothing more. Alpha and beta are related to the functionalities implemented (if all on beta stage, final testing) or planned (not all the functionalities implemented, and testing).
Not really though, Polar had specified secondary release schedules. Thus, it wasn’t part of V1 software release. Thus, you can’t call it beta/alpha once they’ve set a release. You can call it many other things – such lagging features competitively, or being delayed on their secondary release schedules – but as far as what they specified initially to be included in that specific release, they did hit that. Additional planned releases have no doubt been heavily delayed.
That’s very standard in software development methodology – as virtually every company on earth adopts software release goals.
Nearly all mass market consumer software apps have switched to agile / iterative releases in the last five years. Alpha / beta terminology is a bit obsolete when you’re releasing website updates every 7-10 days. Consumer perception has shifted to expect lots of little chunks instead of “big bang” releases going through an alpha/beta/ga cycle. Why?
Exhibit A: The #faceplant Endomondo did on their calendar rewrite a couple weeks ago.
Exhibit B: WKO4. Nuff said.
This attitude has now spread to tech hardware – because so much of the features are software I guess?. I’m constantly surprised how many people buy a gadget on “future potential” and expect companies to continue to iterate hardware AFTER release. It used to be that you bought the actual device sitting on the shelf, and expected it to do what it said on the tin.
Now we’re at a point where people complain when their watch doesn’t keep getting better after they bought it. Odd. I don’t expect my car to start self-driving after I’ve owned it five years. But that’s where we are, for better or worse.
The flip side is you get nice surprises like the M400 smart notification update just announced an hour ago.
TL;DR: Nothing is alpha or beta anymore, everything is a work in progress. 🙂
@Aaron there’s a difference between buying on “future potential” and buying because:
– feature is listed as complete and later you discover it’s not done at all (follow pre-planned routes in case of V800)
– a feature is listed as complete and later you discover it’s never been working (location-based laps in case of V800)
– a feature is officially listed as “being finished, to be released in 2 months” and later you discover they moved it by almost a year (openwater swimming in case of V800)
In Polar’s case it’s not about what you imagine the product should do. It’s what you’ve been told it does now or you’ve promised it will do in a month or two.
No true, Flow is in beta, see the website, hence there is a misunderstanding of the terminology by Polar that makes all this really confusing. Because is not a Beta, is an Alpha, i.e. migration of the data was available few months ago, not at the beginning of the “beta”.
Also in continuous development, Alpha an beta stages exists, or you think that the products are released without testing?.
As an example, few months ago in this initial release, they add to flow the capability to export the data. This functionality was described as a main functionality of the release, but is missing, hence is not a Beta as is stated on Flow (all functionalities are implemented and maybe we have some mistakes) is an Alpha.
The correct form to note this is with the use of releases, but this is not the way that Polar adopts, because in that case, all the specifications must be described (the current features) when you buy the device. Thin about what happens if you buy an PC and some features appears and other disappears without advice, simply because an update is done (and no choice).
As example, if you buy the initial V800 you own a menu that is capable to show the resume of the load during a week, on later updates this disappears; in an strictly sense this implies the modification of the user manuals (missing) and the work the users complains. This is the way that is Polar working now.
The feeling is that you own a device that is incomplete and is “under development”, in an Alpha stage with a set of features that will come in the future (no clear when), and with the feeling that some of the features that you own now can disappear.
In any sense this “Beta” fits with the computer science definition of what is an Beta stage of a product, and it will be better to use a continuous development terminology. In that sense the notation of release is a must, and of course is very dangerous to add in the continuous development cycle the customers, hence no beta or alpha stage on the products or services, as is now. Give to the clients a complete product in an specific release stage and don’t lie regarding future developments that “maybe come some day”.
I get the hate over Ant + missing, but am I right that the new gen of power tap crank based and pedal based power meters will work with polar? Seems like a nice package then, I can always buy a new cadence sensor,
I’ve had nothing but success with Garmin, but this is a nice price point, and I could care less which name is on it.
In theory, but in practice it’ll vary.
We won’t know until PowerTap starts shipping their devices as to what level of compatibility they’ll have. I expect we’ll have to do a few iterations back and forth on the BLE side between Polar and PowerTap (simply because it’s taken multiple iterations to date for any power meter out there and Polar devices).
Who is at fault…not sure. But I don’t think consumers care either – they just know it doesn’t work.
Hi Ray, earlier you made a comment about power meters on Bluetooth being a confused mess (paraphrasing) compared to Ant+, is this what you are referring to?
It’s a realy “Leap o faith” for me. I already preorder P1 (as owner of v800)
all because of ant+ alternative and posibility to have Tss/IF/NP at cycle comp.
Sorry, you note it won’t work with powertap, well that simplifies the choices somewhat.
Mike – Correct, that’s what I mean. Each and every time a BLE power meter is released, everyone has to play a guessing game as to whether it’ll work with X device (i.e. the Polar lineup or the Suunto lineup).
To date, it generally doesn’t work. Then we have to wait some undetermined amount of time for either company (watch or PM) to fix it. If you look at the V800 and the PowerTap, the first release that was supposed to enable it was last fall. It’s now 9 months later and still not working. Suunto meanwhile had it working immediately.
Was it Suunto that added a shim to fix PowerTap’s issues? Or was PowerTap perfectly right and Polar needs the fix? Not sure.
To put it into my perspective testing devices – I know, without a shadow of a doubt that an ANT+ power meter will work with an ANT+ head unit. Every single time. As in, I’ve NEVER had an issue with them not working – and I’ve tested every single ANT+ power meter both on the market, announced and coming soon, and unannounced. They all work instantly with whatever device I bring that day. Conversely, I know that a BLE power meter will almost never work out of the gate with another brands BLE head unit unless those two companies spend time together first.
It just shouldn’t be that way.
wow, I guess that simplifies a lot of decisions for folks looking at power meters, I hate vapourware and asterisks
Thanks for responding, great work as always
“Amen” to that!
Stuff should work immediately or at least work soon (1-2 weeks) after minor problems have been identified.
Thank you for making this crystal clear, Ray.
“It’s likely the best freakin’ value for the money by a long shot.”
Love that you are doing a better job on PR than Polar is…hopefully they pick up your quote before the next press conference!
Polar has already tweeted it.
I’m polar fan (v800, rs800sd, 625x, 720i).
My short term plan is: P1 powertap power pedals (ant+ and Bluetooth smart), joule gps+ (all because training peaks metrics: TSS, IN; NP, heart via mio link…), ant of cours pair v800 pedals with p1 via bluetooth.
I know this is M450 review page, but as discusion is moved wider, here is my solution.
m450 is a nice gadget but…I want more. v650 is to big, no training peaks metrics (yes TBA – but only TBA), you can not pair both V800 and V650 at the same sensor (speed, power…)
For many basic metrics, I just use my smartphone and the Polar Beat app. It is very cost effective.
The Garmin Edge 500 got left on the bench. Its glory days are over.
I don’t own a bike GPS unit yet, so don’t get all the details… but from reading this article I really don’t see where the M450 has an advantage over the Edge 500, apart from the fact it’s new (which doesn’t really mean anything) and promises of future enhancements (which may or may not come true). And I can get the Edge 500 on Amazon for less than 160€.
Plus from what I understand the whole BTLE ecosystem is a big mess, not only power meters, whereas ANT+ just works.
That’s exactly why Garmin has left the 500 alone, it still works, and is simple Ant+
While I’m waiting for the promised firmware update for my M400 enabling smart phone notifications, and the ability to transfer training history from PPT to flow, do you know if they intend to open up all Polar Flow features (training load specifically) to non V800 users. It seems nuts they’re going to facilitate syncing with Strava without beefing up the Flow offering first! Keep up the good work!
M400 smart phone notifications now available for iOS – Android to follow.
To be homest it is flow that is stopping me jump more into the Polar camp. I have a V800, and it is a terrific watch which I want to like and so much better looking (obviously this is my opinion) than offerings from garmin. My main issue is that if I did a run, and it felt quick, can I compre it to previous efforts? I can play a video of it but I really want to be able to name activities and compare them. I know I can use strava, and I do but some of the polar specific data doesn’t get there such as running index etc or even cadence (unless I’m missing something).
I don’t suppose anyone knows of a 3rd part website that would do this? Does running index even get exported in the .tcx file?
In the market for a Cycle computer and was considering the 650 but it just seems a bit half baked… Quite a few training functions missing when compared to the cheaper 450, it just makes no sense.
The maps functionally is also a bit pathetic, couldn’t they just stream turn directions on both computers similar to the new Wahoo functionality. Does the 650 even offer turn/off course notification, can’t seem to find any info on that. Presumably the unit is limited on memory, the ability to store maps/routes on a phone and copy across Bluetooth would be great. I expect speed might be an issue though.
Wouldn’t the O-Synce navi2coach be a worthy contender?
I feel like it’s a bit stale these days, lacking the mobile web connectivity piece.
Strava integration not available until October? That’s unacceptable. I bought an M400 watch, which I like a lot, because it was a solid hardware offering at a great price point. Unfortunately it’s the software that really lets it down. I just want my data in the platforms I already use – Strava, in this case.
In the old days I was a great fan of Polar equipment, especially of the S710i unit, which served me well for many years on the bike. Since 2009 I switched to Garmin, because of ANT+ and because Polar went into the wrong direction with their cycling computers (in my opinion). For long time they ignored GPS, now ANT+. No more Polar for me, I’ll keep using my Garmin Edge 500 and 800 for as long as they keep working!
Hi Ray – great review. Few questions:
How is data uploaded to Flow? Via BT4.0 through the phone?
What is the screen size and resolution?
How many sensors does it support? Power, s&c, and hr? All three together?
A) Bluetooth Smart sync via phone (Android/iOS)
B) USB via PC/Mac
Sensor types: Power, Speed/Cadence, HR – any combination thereof as you see fit.
Don’t hold your breath on them working out the kinks with the GPS. Us M400 users that have the same UBlox chipset have been moaning about the crappy GPS performance for a while now.
Is there a magnet-less BTLE Speed Sensor which can be (really – no Kickstarter) bought in Europe? I only know Wahoo magnet-less BTLE Cadence Sensor. Thanks.
You can have a look at VeloComputerTM Smart Sensor (sold via Amazon), i expect this sensor appearing in more (online) shops the next weeks.
Hi! Very informative article, thanks pal. Can I ask you? Could I download my tracks in this device? I mean M 450 Polar. Thanks.
If it possible, I wonder how I can get this device… I am from Ukraine… I will be waiting for you answer about tracks. Good luck.
Hi. Very informative article, thanks pal. Can I ask you? Could I download my tracks to this device? I mean Polar M 450. If it possible, I wonder how I can get it. I’ m from Ukraine. I’ll be waiting for your answer about tracks. Thanks. Good luck.
No, unfortunately not. There isn’t any track following from web to device.
Hello. Curious about Ray’s thoughts, but open to hearing other’s opinions as well. I am a recreational cyclist (approximately 60-80 miles a week when the weather is good), and I enjoy tracking my results, and my HR, but I’m not nearly as serious about it as some, and I’m not doing any serious events, other than organized group rides in the near future. I don’t run much, but I am thinking about doing it a little more here and there since I’ve lost a lot of weight the last year. Trying to decide between waiting for this, or getting one of the Tom Tom Cardio devices as I really like the idea of how accurate that seems to be for HR, and all that. Would you say the Tom Tom is sufficient for most things, or are the features this Polar will have, and the ease of use/cycling specific features going to be the best thing for me in all likelihood?
Thanks Ray, and this is good news. Will definitely get M450 once its out, it’s exactly what I have been looking for. To me the BLE/ANT+ discussion is irrelevant, since I don’t own any gadgets at all yet except my old Suunto Quest. I have no plans to take part in triathlons even tho I swim every now and then, so I think I could manage my exercises using M400 and M450. Both seem now the best budget options, well done Polar! In the past we didn’t have these really in-depth and precise gadgets to help with our training and still athletes could do well.
Ever since Sir Bradley Wiggins broke the hour record I have been following the daily air-pressure off the weather sites.
Is there any chance that Polar or Garmin would include a sensor to record air-pressure?
Thank you for the review, enjoyed the video and seeing Polar Flow – the data so clearly layed out, very impressive.
Regarding VAM metric on V650 (but I guess it’s relevant for M450 as well)-
Anyone has experience with actually using it? Specifically-
1. Is it good for pacing?
For example, on Strava you can see VAM score for each cyclist on a given climb segment, so this can serve as a goal when trying to outperform someone.
Until now I used the average speed on a segment as a goal. Does VAM have any advantages over speed pacing in this regard?
According to Polar it’s REAL-TIME VAM, so is it kind of meaningless without a Lap VAM avg?
Or am I wrong?
nice site for those who want to sync with Strava: link to flow2strava.com
I’m looking into purchasing my first cycling computer. I’m only doing about 80-90 miles a week and looking for something to track basic stats distance, time and heart rate. Would you still recommend the M450 for someone like me even though those other “bells and whistles” it has to offer aren’t things I will utilize (at least not for now)? If those are the only stats I’m tracking, do you think the M400 would suffice given that you can create different workout profiles? I would appreciate any feedback from you or anyone else who owns the M400. Thank you.
I think it’s a very solid option. Another one you might want to also check out is the newly announced (Yesterday) Garmin Edge 20 & Edge 25. I see the Polar M450 as a FAR better (functionality-wise) option, but the Edge 20/25 might be more appropriate if you want something super-tiny.
Hello! I’m just wondering why you say this device has more functionality than the Edge 25? I understand power, but the polar lacks tracking and phone notifications. What am I missing?! Thanks!
Will this unit work with Stages and Wahoo HRM ?
Just as a quick heads up…
The M450 is now available for pre-order through Clever Training, which helps support the site here. In doing so as a DCR reader you’ll save 10% using coupon code DCR10BTF, plus free US shipping. While I don’t have a final production unit yet to start the in-depth review on, once we get closer I’ll update here. That said, as noted in my post above – I’m pretty darn impressed for where it is/was in its pre-release state.
Does coupon have expiration?
I just or-ordered the m450 through Clever Training. What a great deal with the DCRainmaker discount! Of course, I now see the Garmin 520 is released hot on the heals of the m450….but I’m sticking with the Polar since it really is a heck of a deal and it will match nicely with my v800.
Question: is there a hardware limitation with the m450 for mapping? If not, do you think Polar might think about mapping capabilities with the m450 to compete with the Garmin edge 520 since the m450 is of similar size?
Awesome, thanks for the support via CT!
Definitely a hardware limitation on the M450 for mapping. Just sorta the wrong display for it.
Does V650 support third party power meters like Stages, 4iiii and other Bluetooth smart power meters?
By the way when are you planning to review the V650?
Sorta. It’s a mess.
It supports today Stages and the KICKR, but not the PowerTap G3 hubs, 4iiii Precision, PowerTap P1 Pedals, or anything else.
I don’t yet have a specific release date for the V650 review – but it is on my bike for all my rides.
Hey Ray – just to confirm the above, V650 IS now working with Stages? Polar have advised only KEO pedals so far…
Would like a confirmation also that V650 works with Stages.
Also do you have any info what kind of timeline we are talking about for supporting the rest of 3rd party power meters, especially 4iii (and watteam powerbeat)?
We’ve got nothing from Polar on that as of yet unfortunately. A lot of people have been asking on their facebook.
Thanks Ray for the review! I did a question. You mentioned that Bluetooth smart to phone was available for later 2014 and tne bluetooth sync was later 2014 as well. Should this read later this year?
Also the quick satellite search is TBA for the V650 but Great for the M450. Is this backwards?
Have you succeeded in uploading a training ride from the M450 to Polar Flow, through Bluetooth,
i.e. to the Polar Flow app?
-either I am encountering some kind of bug here, or is it meant to be via USB only?
(I succeeded with that connection)
The unit and the app does connect, but “synchronizing” fails…
-maybe it doesnt support the feature yet?
(-sry for posting this as a reply #10)
It should be both. I haven’t re-tested it yet though on the phone app.
I would be happy to know if you succeed in uploading to app…
I talked to Polar this morning, and it turns out that the Beta-unit I have been supplied with doesnt yet support wireless upload of data to the App.
Should of course be working in the final edition of the unit,,,
Ray, thanks for another great “hands-on” look. Hard to believe this is not your full-time job.
Long time Polar customer but feeling ever more isolated. Finally decided to swap-out the Polar Look Keo Power pedals for Bluetooth, but even that may not open up suitable options, even though my “wants” are few: on-unit interval functions; power smoothing; L/R power; data export capabilities to WKO.
Garmin says even the Edge 520 will not communicate with Bluetooth sensors. V650 does not have interval functions. M450 seems the most promising but who knows when. And not clear if it will have power smoothing. (as an aside, wondered why you don’t distinguish the 2 – i.e. display rate/power smoothing vs. recording rate – in your product comparison charts).
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated and thanks again!
Ended up getting the V650. It’s fantastic; superb for data analysis. Syncs automatically to Polar Flow (which is also very cool) from which you can export a .tcx .csv and/or .gpx file, if desired. The V650 DOES have on-unit interval functions including average power for the lap etc. It also has power smoothing – i.e. it records every second, for superb data analysis, but for the display it will average the power over various time intervals to smooth out fluctuations – presets are 3, 10, and 30 second rolling averages but you can also manually set the rolling average to be anything from 0 to 60 seconds.
I currently have the most simple non-gps bike computer with speedsensor. I am looking for a computer with GPS and cadence and HRM capability. Also Strava uploads and navigation is a must.
Can I, without worry, buy this device? Can I trust that the Strava and navigation updates will be implemented soon? Or should I pay more and get the Garmin Edge 810?
Found your sit
I have bought my m400 couple months ago and am very happy with the unit. I am now searching for a pure bike gps computer, most importantly having the abilities to import custom tracks and follow them (turn by turn navigation, or at least breadcrump trail). I would also like to use my h7 heart rate monitor, are there any options to use polar devices (m450, v650,..) or other provider that would work with mine monitor or do I need to buy something from Garmin with the whole bundle?
thanks for your replies and reccomendations
It depends on whether or not you want to do it now or you are OK with waiting for some software updates. Turn by turn navigation is just not envisaged in these devices, but the ability to follow custom routes on the v650 has been promised for some time. Right now you can follow favorite routes on the v650 as bread crumb tracks. These favorites would be any of the routes that you have made previously, or other routes that you import and convert to favorites with a little tricking. But – (a big BUT), you have to begin from the start of the route, i.e., if you try to follow them at any point along the track they will direct you towards the beginning, no matter if you are halfway on the track already. An update to the v650 is scheduled in August that will allow to download openstreet maps and to follow these routes while displaying your position in a map (but no real turn-by-turn navigation, i.e, instructions to go from point A to point B of the map). It is expected that further updates (not the one in August) to the PolarFlow site will also facilitate a more rational approach to create custom tracks to this device, but don’t hold your breath for its release on time nor for its actual performance. As for the M450, apparently no navigation abilities are envisaged except back to start or maybe following breadcrumb tracks, similarly to what you can already do in the v800.
Hello, I read through your review. I am just a normal guy who is looking to get fit and maybe ride with groups and the such. I am not looking into competing, my far off goal may be to complete a Century. I currently own the M400 and like it very much. However, it will not support any cycling sensors besides the HRM.
I started out running, but suffered a knee fragment so have to wait until it heals. In the meantime, I took up cycling to keep up exercising, and really took a liking to it. So, I am out on the road 5-6 times per week. I am now thinking ahead and am looking into a trainer (Cycleops Fluid2) for the winter months and just to incorporate interval training into my routine.
Would you recommend this computer for someone like me? I would like to sync up cadence and maybe speed sensors plus of course my H7 HRM for being able to use interval workout videos etc. The Sufferfest. Any suggestions?
I read your blog almost every week, you are my first hand informer officially. Congrats for your blog and thanks, you have the most incredible and detailed review in all Internet.
I practise thriatlon for 4 years now, and, this year, and after read a lot, I adquire a garmin 920, and I am so happy.
But, my cateye (so simple, 8 functions, no gps) is almost die, and I thinking to buy a GPS for the bike.
I don’t wanna expend a lot of money, because the 920 it’s so perfect, but, I wanna ride without the watch sometimes, and I put on the handlebar with a decatlon mount, and, it’s…. Just fine.
I thought to adquire an edge 25… But maybe it’s too small. This polar is really pretty, but my experience with an old ft4, and other older (I can’t remember the model) was not good…. And, if I bought ant+ devices, and I want to use during a triatlon, from polar are not compatible with the garmin, right?
So, my question is: which one do you recommend??
I like to see the notifications on the screen (I have 2 children and I like to be communicated all the time), not too big, and, the most important…. Cheap. I know, it’s almost impossible to have all, but, you know all the models.
Thanks a lot
I waiting for your response / advices to make my decisions.
Not answers for me???
The Polar M450 uses Bluetooh so the accessories will not communicate with your Garmin which uses Ant+. One the other hand the Polar M450 is hands down the best bang for your buck and the H7 is my favorite HRM….So I would go for the M450….I hope this was helpful!
You can find some dual sensors (ANT+ and Bluetooth) like some wahoo HR sensors. Then you will be able to use the same sensor at the same time on the 920 and the M450. So if you just want to use the comupter with HR it can be a nice solution. If you plan to use with a powermeter, it will become more complicated !
Now I only have to search the appropriate one…. In your experience…. With one will be better….???
Hello and thanks for the awesome reviews! If I purchase the Powertap Bluetooth smart powercap will the Polar M450 work with my Powertap hub?
In theory, yes. In practice – it didn’t the last time I tried it. For reasons only Polar can explain these days.
I’ve tried with my M450 demo unit yesterday. I were able to pair the M450 and the PowerTap G3 with the Bluetooth Smart cap together. Then I was able to “calibrate”. During the ride, the power data were looking OK depsite I had no other powermeter to compare. The only annoying thing is that the M450 asks time to time to “re-calibrate” the sensor, even if it’s not required.
Basically, it’s exactly the same as with the V800. When I discussed with the Polar guys, they told me everything was OK except the calibration part of the PT firmware, and then it wrongly ask for recalibrate. But as Ray told me after: it makes no sense then that some Suunto devices works well without this issue. Anyway, it’s OK for me to use this setup like this!
Any reason this unit wouldn’t hold up to mountain biking?
No issues at all there. In fact, the night I had to leave the media group actually went mountain biking down Alpe d’Huez (off-road).
Thanks for The very complete review! I have a a question, can this device sync to endomondo? Thanks! And I agree for the price it seems to be the best value !
Not directly and probably not in the short term but you can sync PolarFlow and endomondo indirectly through tapiriik.com. Once Polar allows automatic sync to strava (hopefully this fall) it might be easier.
Any insight to possible release date? The only thing I see is from Clever Training that indicates “Late August.”
Polar support just says “August”. I am also eagerly waiting having just received back my Keo Power pedals converted to Bluetooth, but now with no head unit or app to support them. Can’t get any of the apps to properly pair with them and/or calibrate them and the only compatible head units appear to be the V650 and V800, neither of which suit my needs.
Just chatted for Polar customer service. Now they are saying available “early September.”
Ended up getting the V650. It’s fantastic; superb for data analysis. Syncs automatically to Polar Flow (which is also very cool) from which you can export a .tcx .csv and/or .gpx file, if desired. The V650 DOES have on-unit interval functions including average power for the lap etc. It also has power smoothing – i.e. it records every second, for superb data analysis, but for the display it will average the power over various time intervals to smooth out fluctuations – presets are 3, 10, and 30 second rolling averages but you can also manually set the rolling average to be anything from 0 to 60 seconds.
I’ve been waiting for a computer like this! And thanks for the helpful reviews. I’m mainly a recreational rider, 30-40 miles road biking on weekends, and I like to use GPS and HRM (currently through Polar H7 strap paired with my phone apps, MapMyRide and Polar Beat). Sometimes I add on my old Polar F7, so I can see current HR, (and in case my phone glitches, which it does fairly frequently lately, I can get a workout summary). Basic question: is there a mount included in the purchase of the M450? I’d like to see HR, speed, distance and time on the screen. Is this doable? Thanks!
Hello, I am just in the research phase right now and went on a group ride with my LBS today. They are a Trek dealer and after the ride I started looking into some bikes. I am more of a beginner so I am not in the market for a super expensive bike. I am looking into the Emonda ALR5. From what I have seen this can be fit with an integrated DuoTrapS cadence, speed, distance sensor. It says that it is Bluetooth/ANT+ compatible. Would the M450 work with it?
Yup, as long as it’s dual Bluetooth Smart/ANT+, or at least Bluetooth Smart, you’ll be good to go.
I’m wondering if anyone knows it the 650 or 450 can be run with a velocomputer speed sensor and wahoo cadence sensor? Or if there are any Bluetooth comparable headsets that can?
I’m aware of the Garmin options but just getting into bike tech Bluetooth or dual seems a better long term bet.
do the different color back plates come with the 450, or do those have to be ordered separately?
Great article, thank you for the info. It’s a great looking device as I’m venturing into bike computers. I hope this isn’t a stupid question, but if I’m using strava phone app with a mio watch, what does this add for me?
Did some research for my first bike computer so ANT+/BlueTooth is not an issue. Already preorder M450 for their price/feature. Hopefully, I’ll have mine soon.
Still don’t know when it will arrive. Cancel M450 and order V650 instead which was arrived in 2 days.
In a bundle with heart rate, speed and cadence sensors the M450 will be at 300€ compared to 450€ (same bundle) for the Garmin Edge 520. In your 520 walkthrough it seems like the mapping isn’t superior and rather okay. Are the 150€ worth the mapping or would you recommend the M450?
Hi Karsten: just one note on bundle. If you go with Polar bundle–keep in mind the speed/cadence sensors do not have rechargeable/replaceable batteries. So once they die (probably in 2 years) that’s it and you’ll have to purchase a new speed/cadence sensor. May be best to skip bundle if you decide to go with M450 (I just ordered V650 and am planning on pairing with the Wahoo Speed/Cadence and Scosche Rhythm+). I had been waiting for M450 but the price came down on V650 so there was only 75 USD difference between the two so went for it. Should get it in next day or two–fingers crossed it works well.
The Polar sensors can have the battery replaced but you have to cut them open and glue them back together. I did this with the WIND sensors with my RCX5. For my V650 (and M450 and Garmin should I so choose) I went with the Wahoo Blue SC v2 with ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart. Works a treat and has a battery I can change myself when the time comes.
maybe a scratch on Scosche Rhythm+ though for HRM–looks like you may not get the greatest recovery data based on DCM’s review of Polar v800.
Thanks for confirming on Wahoo Blue–good to know that will work!
The only thing I have found with the Wahoo sensor is that it has to be re-paired with the V650 every time there is a firmware update done on the V650. The V650 (and Flow for that matter) will only remember Polar accessories. I assume M450 will be the same.
Thanks Michael! Will remember that. First ride went well.
The mapping update for V650 is out now 🙂
link to updates.polar.com
Hello, how come the M450 can be purchased now from Amazon, and not from Clever Training? In fact, I had looked at the Clever Training site and it said expected September. Now when I look at the site, it says expected October! What’s the deal?
I wanted to take advantage of the 10% off, plus support your site. I did the same when I purchased the M400 from Clever Training.
Hmm, I’ll find out. I wasn’t aware that anyone was shipping quite yet (perhaps I missed the memo though). In looking at Amazon, it’s actually a 3rd party site saying they have in stock, though oddly not for delivery until 10 days from now.
As for CT, they continually adjust new order dates based on updates from companies.
Just trying to tie two reviews together (V800 and M450/V650)–so if I’m interested in getting accurate recovery and VO2Max information in Polar Flow–I’ll need a HRM like Polar H7, right? Also–any idea if I can get Orthostatic information on V650 or is that unique to M450? Would think so
You will need a H6 or a H7 for those tests. The V650 doesn’t do fitness test or orthostatic test. Nor does it provide any training load information. Not yet at least. I have seen where it is said those things are coming, but when is anyone’s guess. M450 will do those out of the box.
Buying as a bundle is cheaper than buying separately.
Okay, I have a question for you Ray and would appreciate your honest answer. I am growing tired of Polar’s empty promises and lack of keeping up with other companies as far as their updates. I am still waiting for text/phone notifications for the M400! The M450 was expected in the summer and here it is mid Sept and now it is looking like October!
My question is: Should I just fork out the extra money and get the Garmin 520? It is readily available now and has a ***t load of features including automatic upload to Strava which I just loaded on my phone.
Yeah, I do agree on failing to deliver on many of the software promises over the last 12-18 months. I guess I’m just surprised since hiring (more) software people in Finland shouldn’t be terribly difficult given all the continued layoffs at Nokia/Former Nokia.
I’ll be discussing a bit more with them this week about it.
It would be great if you could get some timelines (the firmer, the better) from Polar about items that were announced long ago but have not yet been delivered:
1. Measuring running cadence without a footpod (i.e. with the internal accelerometer)
2. Total Power fields (e.g. for V800) with different smoothing rates (e.g. 1 sec, 3 sec, 5 sec, 10 sec, 30 sec).
3. The ability to create your own routes on Flow (by clicking, not following a previous route)and then to download onto devices and to use them for navigation.
4. When will this work reliably? Users are still reporting lost data (e.g. no speed, no HR data) when syncing via the app. Syncing via the cable always works but even this often cannot recover a session that was ‘compromised’ by syncing via the app previously.
Would be great, if you could get some timeline out of them. It’s been far too long to get things sorted and patience is wearing thin…
Thank you, Ray!
Just got an email this morning from Polar saying the M450 has officially been released. So hopefully will see it shipping soon. I was literally a few days away from cancelling my order, but glad I didn’t. Hopefully the wait was worth it.
I talked to clever training on the phone yesterday. They told me the units are in the mail as we speak coming from Polar. They believe they will have them early next week and will start shipping pre-orders immediately.
Thanks for the update!
Yup, sorry, meant to reply back as well this morning.
They confirmed that:
M450 Base: Shipped on 9/23 to CT – will clear 95% of backorders, with remainder being shipped on 9/30 to CT covering all other backorders + a tiny bit of extra stock.
M450 Bundle with HR strap: Shipped on 9/23 to CT (covers all backorders + a fair bit of extra stock)
I’m assuming these will arrive no later than Mon/Tues and easily ship back out the same day.
Thanks for the support!
Apparently, the M450 is available to order from Polar. What does this mean for Clever Training? I pre-ordered with them.
I sent clever training a message yesterday asking them but have not hear back yet.
I just got an email from Clever Training stating that my order for the M450 has been shipped!
Thx for the great reviews as usual lRay …
Always a daily reader but a seldom commenter but I just realized that the test bike must be Look 675 … Do you liked that bike ? I have just bought this one as the SNCF lost/stolen my old bike with their “Bagage a domicile” service when travelling to Triathlon Alp d’ Huez this year …
Anyway … Thx again for everything you are doing to the sports community !!
Erik, Berlin Germany
It was a nice bike – no complaints! Though, I’m also a horrible bike computer as I tend to be pretty flexible on cycling.
Do you still feel the Polar M450 is the best bang for the buck out there?
I am still using my Garmin FR 305 for cycling but it is old and tired and am looking for something new.
Don’t need mapping, I use an old Samsung S2 for that running Ridewithgps.
Ordered a Garmin Edge 510 for $269.00 Canadian but the company I bought it from got back to me saying it was sold out 🙁
That leaves me considering the Polar M450 for $219.99 Cad unless I can pick something up on sale/clearance at the Toronto bike show in a couple weeks.
If it wasn’t the end of the season I probably would have already popped for the Polar.
I got my M450 yesterday and took it out on my daily ride this morning. I guess I will need help setting it up. I paired it with my H7, phone, and DuoTrapS. I have my first screen to show heart rate, heart rate zone, speed, and distance.
I noticed when I looked at it, the speed showed me doing 8.1mph. I thought maybe I was looking at it wrong, so when I got back home I synced it to my phone and it showed an average speed of 7.69 mph and distance of 7.91 taking me 1.00.40 minutes!
I was also running Strava on my phone and it showed my usual parameters of average speed 16.3, 16.4 miles and taking 1 hour to complete.
What am I doing wrong on the M450? How do I get it to show accurate data? The heart monitoring seems to be correct. HELP!
Okay, so when I don’t have the DuoTrapS paired, it shows the correct speed and distance. So now my question is why? Also, without the sensor, it doesn’t show cadence. When I ride outside, I guess this is fine, but when I am in a trainer, I would like to know my cadence. I guess on a trainer, speed is not necessary.
Can anyone offer up some assistance?
So, I turned GPS off on the M450 and paired the DuoTrapS. It is not showing the correct data! So it looks like it is the sensor itself that is the problem. Do you think that it could be the battery in the sensor that is bad. It is brand new but who knows how long the battery was sitting before I got it?
You can try changing the battery to see if it makes a difference, it’s only a few dollars to do that.
Other things to look at are the distance between the Duotrap and the magnets and make sure the distance is not too great. Make sure too that the magnets are installed correctly as an incorrect magnetic field may cause erroneous readings (this might happen if they are 90 degrees to what they should be.
Also ensure you have the correct calibration for the wheel size.
Failing all that I’d suspect a faulty sensor. If it’s under warranty you could return it for another.
Are your cadence values correct?
OMG! ROOKIE, ROOKIE mistake. I went on a group ride this morning with my local bike shop, where I bought my bike, the DuoTrapS and of course a bunch of other stuff. Anyway, he told me about the tire measurement, I didn’t know what they meant by that on the M450. He showed me how to roll the tire, mark it and measure then put that value in to the M450. Worked like a charm! Now I am set!!
Good to hear.
Hello, I have been riding with the M450 for a week now. I really like it, but hate the included mount. Is there currently a third party mount that works with this quarter turn system?
I believe both Barfly said they are coming out with mounts for them.
It looks like you got cut off. Besides Barfly, how else will be making a mount for the M450? K-Edge?
Sorry, Barfly and K-Edge.
I came across a post from Polar on FB recommending an out front mount that fits the M450/V650 from the company, RaceWare. They are 3d printed and located in the UK, anyone have hands on experience with these?
link to racewaredirect.co
today I unpacked and try to pair with my HR band Mio Fuse, M450 or Polar beat app of my iphone not pairing with it. I never had problem with my mio fuse when i use as a hr monitor with wahoo, cyclemeter, strava.
that was quite unexpected …. if it is not compatible and if i need to choose between my hrm or m450, i will return m450
Remember with Bluetooth Smart devices it can only connect to a single device at once, so triple-check that one of your existing apps isn’t open and connected to the Mio Fuse (just turn off Bluetooth on your phone to test).
So no chance of having IpBike running on my phone at same time with M450 using Bluetooth Smart?
Hi, I am fitted a Medtronic ICD model D234TRK, this works fine ( HR) with my Polar S725X ( Pro), however I have upgraded to a Garmin 500, but to. My dismay cannot obtain HR, it appears that the ANT HR sensor is not compatible with my pacemaker, will the Polar Bluetooth sensor with the Polar M450 be compatible and give me the HR reading ?? Many thanks, George
The Polar H7 falls into the same category of device as the Garmin transmitter – a radio tranmsitter. They both operate on 2.4 GHz, just different protocols. A Google search finds a document from Medtronic that details electromagnetic compatibility of Medtronic devices. It recommends to keep a 6 inch distance between any wireless communication devices and the implanted heart device. This includes Bluetooth devices. I’d say it wouldn’t be compatible, but I suggest you talk to your cardiologist and see what they suggest.
Great overview of the Polar. Just wondering if my existing Polar HRM straps will work with this device. Or do I need a new Bluetooth strap?? Thanks a lot!
You need a new Bluetooth one. Fortunately the bundle is good value.
Thanks for the great review. I ordered one myself after reading this, but ran into a problem I was hoping you might know the answer to — I emailed support as well.
Is there a way to measure distance and speed using a Wahoo Blue SC speed sensor instead of GPS? I was able to successfully pair my BlueSC with the M450, but the speed shown is obviously from the GPS (slow to update, doesn’t display if satellite isn’t locked in on).
I mostly mountain bike and the trails where I live are almost never straight so I’ve found that a GPS with only a 1 second sample rate is off by as much as 20% when compared to trail maps or a speed sensor.
Speed and distance will come from the speed sensor by default when one is paired and GPS will be used for tracking. I have a Wahoo Blue SC paired to both my M450 and V650 and have no issues with getting readings from the speed sensor. I did run into a situation on the weekend where the M450 loss connection to the sensor after it wasn’t sending a signal after taking a break and leaving the timer running, but going into the quick menu and searching for the sensors again found it.
I will assume you have it installed correctly on your frame. There is a Wahoo app from either Google Play or the App Store you can use to test that it is working correctly.
You also need to ensure that you haven’t got the sensor paired to your phone (or any other device) as Bluetooth Smart is a 1:1 pairing – if it is paired and talking to your phone, your M450 won’t see it.
The first sensor paired to the M450 will by default be associated with bike 1. Subsequent sensors will be allocated to bike 2, etc. You also need to have the wheel size entered correctly. You can either get it from a table or calibrate it yourself using the rollout method.
Before you start your session you need to activate the sensor by turning either the cranks or back wheel. When in pre-training mode you should see a bicycle symbol with OK next to it below the GPS indicator to tell you that it has found the sensor. If you don’t have that indicator, it will default to GPS. If the sensor goes to sleep and loses the pairing, it will default to GPS. You will also see — for cadence if this happens. You need to go into the quick menu and search for the sensor again if this happens.
I find the response of the speed sensor very quick, much quicker than GPS. The speed readings are also much smoother (the reading doesn’t jump around so much).
Thanks for confirming the speed sensor should be used for distance and speed instead of the GPS. I suspect the problem is that I’ve used the BlueSC with my phone, and even though I was able to successfully pair it with the M450, my phone was probably causing a conflict. Great tip about checking the bicycle symbol in pre-training mode and getting it to reconnect if the sensor goes to sleep.
I really appreciate the prompt response and all your work here! Thanks.
Michael–since you own both computers–which one do you like best?
You were correct. The bicycle symbol was not present, despite previously pairing the device. I disabled BT on my phone and the symbol showed up almost instantly and all the data was tracked as expected.
Haven’t actually used it on the trail yet, but so far I’m really like the M450. Being able to use the BT sensors I previously bought for my phone as well as being able to sync sessions via my phone are a big deal for me.
Good to have another happy Polar user.
Well my V650 hasn’t been used since I got my M450, so my preferred device is the M450. Smaller, lighter, clearer display (especially in bright sunlight), louder beeper, temperature display and recording, integrated with Flow, so you can set up training targets (though I haven’t tried). Automatic altitude calibration works very well, a lot better than the V650 (though I only tried it once on the V650).
Maps to me are a bit yeah, interesting, but it’s not like I don’t know where I am already. If I went exploring I might use the maps, but most of the time I take routes I know so it’s not like I really need them.
The V650 is not there as a training device as it’s a standalone thing – it can’t do training targets, for example, and the audio volume is not very loud. Now they’ve added some button functionality I could have done with over winter so it spent most of my riding time on the one view as I couldn’t change it.
At the moment, M450 for me.
Good to hear–wishing I would have been a little more patient!!! Is it too much to hope they will add some of these training features to V650 or are all their eggs in M450 basket now (Michael or DCR)?
Agree with you completely–other than maps I don’t know why anyone would be interested in V650 when it has so much less to offer than M450 in the training arena.
What I hear through Polar’s social media is that these features are coming to the V650. Why they weren’t there when it was released is strange, especially considering the tagline they used when promoting it initially: “The most advanced cycling computer with GPS” or something along those lines.
I have been using the M450 for a couple of months now and I am quite happy with my decision. The one thing I have noticed is that the total elevation gained my rides is significantly lower that what I am used to. I used to use my iPhone with either the Strava or Wahoo apps and now that I have switched to the M450 only there is a discrepancy. When I go on rides with my friends and I compare our info on Strava my elevation will sometimes we 100’s of feet different. On some of our bigger climbs I have seen almost 1,000 feet discrepancy. Is anyone else noticing this? Have you been able to figure it out? I know you can calibrate the elevation at the start of a ride, but do I have to do this EVERY time? Would love to hear anyone else’s thoughts. Thanks!
Your data should be fine! It is a known issue with the elevation gain calculation by Strava: Most likely the Strava gps calculated elevation gain is higher compared to a barometer calculation (like on your M450, and other devices with barometer etc..)…
See here with more links to the relevant Strava support sites:
link to strava.zendesk.com
“The smoothing applied to data that has been looked up is slightly higher than that applied to data from barometric altimeters.”
Thanks for the response!
I use the auto calibrate feature for altitude and find it to be good, certainly much better than the V650. Strava uses the barometric altitude data from the M450 (and the V650). Previously Strava would have used the Google Maps altitude data when you were using your iPhone, which would lead to the discrepancy you see. The barometric altitude data is more accurate as I have seen the occasional anomaly with Google Maps altitude data (putting me at sea level when I’ve ridden over a bridge across a river crossing for example).
I hope someone will know the answer:
Can Polar m450 read power data from a Tacx Bushido Smart Trainer?
(not talking about controlling it, just reading the broadcast).
In theory yes, but I don’t think I’ve tried it recently. I know I have tried it somewhere along the way.
I just wanted to let all M450 users that Barfly is selling a new mount.
After fitting a shorter stem to my road bike I found neither my V650 or M450 was going to fit on it if I lower my bars. The 4th generation Bar Fly mount uses an insert system and has an insert for Polar. I ordered the combo mount that fits a GoPro as well (only for Garmin, so I ordered the Polar adapter as well). Now I’m set if I change to Garmin at any time. Not a cheap mount, but it comes with a lifetime guarantee, so you only need to buy one once (unless you need extras for multiple bikes).
I ordered mine direct from their website.
Hi Michael–did you get Road Max or Road Mini?
I bought the Bar Fly 4 Road Max (SLi) GoPro Bundle plus the Polar adapter. The Road Mini does not list Polar as an option, so you would have to buy the adapter as well and then the M450 may not fit or you may not be able to operate the buttons. I bought the Road Max so it can work with both computers.
My Barfly mount arrived yesterday (18th). I haven’t installed it yet, but it seems quite solid and looks like a well made mount. The combo mount I ordered is the standard Road Max with an additional GoPro adapter separate (with longer mounting hardware) so I can use it or not as I see fit. The Polar adapter also has mounting hardware (bolts and nuts). Altogether I have three sets of nuts and bolts.
Barfly installed, but it is not possible to use the GoPro adapter with the Polar adapter as it is rotated 90 degrees to the Garmin adapter.
I use BarFly with Polar adapter and light mount. You need two pair of screw. One for Polar adapter and main mount the other for light and main mount.
Can’t sync the m450 (1.1.3) since yesterday… worked great so far but now I get this attached picture…
log out/log in
Is anyone else encountered this syncing issue?
does anyone know how to fix this syncing issue?
BT is on, M450 is updated and not on flight mode… God, why can’t it just work…
Can I get TCX/FIT/GPX files from Polar M450 to smartphone using Bluetooth?
(send by bluetooth from polar, or sync using android app )?
You can but I had issues with the Android app. When I used it, my ride start times would be out by an hour when uploaded to Strava. I stopped using the app and uninstalled it from my phone.
You can’t transfer the files from the M450 to the storage on the phone. It will only talk to the app.
I have been scouring the internet, and the M450 user manual trying to find out if the M450 tracks total distance from all rides.
An odometer function is what I mean. From what I have been able to find out, the V650 will diplay odometer info through it’s
History menu. But the M450 appears not to have a history menu. Can anyone confirm this?
A good bicycle computer ought to have an odometer.
Both computers will allow you to set up multiple bike profiles (the M450 is automatic depending on the order in which sensors are paired) but Polar Flow does not show any distinction in which bike was used, which is a bit useless.
You are correct, the M450 does not have an odometer to track total distance. The V650 does, but it is too easy to select the wrong bike profile and allocate kilometres to that profile (I know, I’ve done it). An on-device odometer is fine until you reset the unit and lose all that accumulated distance.
I uploaded all my ride data to Strava as Strava allows me to set up a number of bikes and allocate a ride to a particular bike for tracking of total distance. There is a lot of data missing from my mountain bike (covered before I started tracking things properly), but Strava is more functional for distance tracking than Polar Flow.
polarpersonaltrainer allowed multiple bikes to be set up, but my RCX5 would only allow for 3 bikes. Too bad if you have more.
Thanks for the info.
I just received an M450, and like it so much that the issue of an odometer has become secondary. I can always track mileage through the polar flow app. I also bought a Wahoo blue sc speed and cadence sensor which pairs up nicely with the M450. Apparently the Wahoo sensor tracks total mileage, but you need the odometer app which is iOS only to get that information. I use android.
I use the Wahoo Blue SC on both bikes. I find it gives better speed readings than GPS alone. I have both M450 and V650 computers.
Polar Flow doesn’t track milage for different bikes. You could get around it by using different sport profiles, but I do that to distinguish between commuting and other riding. I find Strava much better, especially with multiple bikes and multiple computers. Strava is better now as it recognises which device I’ve used to record a ride.
just heads up, IT HAS temperature readings, i think the Polar marketing didn’t get the job done, since specs on their site also doesn’t show that.
you just need to correct your profile thru polar flow so it shows you temperature reading on one of your profile screens.
I just had a conversation with the Polar Service about
the possibility of recording the temperature (like on garmin devices for example..).
They did not know, that the M450 shows the temperature… hmm..
I hope they will add a recording function of the temperature,
so that you can see the average temperature in Strava, etc…
Temperature is recorded by the M450 and you can see the graph in Polar Flow. The temperature recording doesn’t make it’s way into the TCX file when a training session is exported and also does not transfer across to Strava when the session is automatically synced or manually downloaded and uploaded.
My experience is that temperature readings can be off by a few degrees or more, depending on how much sunlight the M450 is exposed to.
I’d love to know how you can show temperature on the screen – I’ve tried everything, gone through all the profile settings, there doesn’t seem to be a way to do it. Can someone advise either way please?
I was going to say it’s one of the fields available under Environment, but I just checked my Sport Profiles and it seems to have disappeared as an option for display. Weird.
My M450 still records temperature (as of this morning’s ride).
Lots of them have gone – total ascent and descent for instance – all the useful ones. New purchase for me and its completely useless at this point. It must be an issue with Flow.
A poster on the Polar Forum has identified an html coding error is causing the problem – the missing fields are there, but set to not show, which is ridiculous. Simple 5 minute job to fix – how long will it take Polar?
Knowing Polar, probably a lot longer.
I guess you have to hope they are not dumbing down the M450. I just sold both my V650 and my M450, so whatever happens now, I’ll just be a semi-interested bystander.
Oddly enough I bought both a V650 and an M450 – there was a big price drop last week for a few days and I thought it worth a trial. The M450 would not pair with my phone at all, and I have an M400 that does fine. Along with the fields issue, the M450 is unusable and I have returned it. A shame because I liked the form factor and it was reasonably well built. The V650 map pages didn’t swipe, no matter what I did, the only way to move them was to use the manual button. The screen was unreadable in bright sunlight. The promoted ‘guides’ is a sleight of hand by Polar, because there is no (official) way to get a plotted route onto it to follow. You have to ride the route first, to create the route to follow. Bluetooth pairing is ‘just around the corner’ … I can’t help but think their focus is increasingly on jewel encrusted lifestyle watches.
Michael that is definitely a loss for this post–you’ve been extremely helpful. Moving to Garmin? Looking forward to DCR review on Wahoo’s new GPS unit
Thanks, Dave. Yes I’m moving to Garmin. There have been some changes in the way Polar products are sold and serviced (not that I need anything repaired) in Australia recently and the Edge 520 is $100 off at the moment.
Polar are a long way behind on their development, which was one factor in my decision. I first sold the V650 because I wasn’t really using it because of the lack of features (it wasn’t as good as I thought it was going to be. It’s still not and I got tired of waiting for it to become good). Then I decided to see if I could sell the M450 and make the switch. The M450 sold, so here I am with a Garmin on its way to me. The M450 is an awesome base level device, but the web analysis software behind it is lacking (and I had Strava sync issues too). The V650 was never there as a high level device with everything it doesn’t do.
I’ll still check in from time to time. There will likely be questions I’ll still be able to answer from my time with both products.
Sorry if this has been asked previously but do you know if Polar plan on making the V650 Compatible with Polar Flow mobile app via Bluetooth like the M450? I’m a little miffed that it doesn’t already as this is a more budget computer and would expect both to have it and it would make my life so much easier as I don’t have a computer as I have very little need for one (apart from to sync my V650) and have to add all my workouts at once every couple of weeks or so when i visit my parents.
The 1.3.4 upgrade released on 23 March includes ‘some backend preparations for the upcoming Flow app compatibility which is just around the corner, so stay tuned!’ How far away the corner may be is a moot point!
What are the dimensions of the M450? None of reviews mentions them nor the manual. From pictures I estimated something around 50×76 mm.
I ordered it yesterday with Wahoo Blue SC v2 in addition to my M400.
Do you think the Polar might reconsider and add following of a predefined route to this model?
You’re pretty close with your estimate – it’s a little smaller than that. I measure 73 by 48.
Cool! Thanks. Even better.
I recieved the M450. Something look wrong to me with its display. (my M400 doesn’t have anything like that) Some kind of uneven vertical contrast that depends on pixels around. It’s not that visible on the picture.
Is it normal or should I seek for a replacement unit?
I watched a dozen of videos and it looks like the issue with not solid black is a defect of my specimen. Have requested a replacement.
No, my device does not have the fading or the lines. You’re also missing a block of pixels at the top, ‘settings’ is cut off.
sorry, the truncated ‘settings’ is actually correct
I have received a replacement. But it was even worse. It had the same issue with the bright vertical lines plus the screen was misplaced 2-3 mm down. So I sent it back. Maybe all the recent instances have cheaper screens installed. Also the back light brightness level was very different on the second device. I am wondering why the quality is so inconsistent.
I ended up ordering Garmin Edge 520 and I am sending the first Polar device back as well and I hope Amazon will refund it.
Plus I think here in the Netherlands it will be handy to have a map in your device or being able to upload a track to follow. And I doubt that even the last feature will ever be added to M450.
It’s pity that I will continue using Polar Flow only for running. I liked it a lot. The recovery status feature that I like will have no sense for me anymore since the cycling activities will not be there.
And my Polar Bluetooth heart rate sensor. I won’t be able to use it so I had to order the one from Garmin that support Ant+.
Well, that is really bad luck..
But to be fair enough regarding the functions(!) of the Garmin 520 (that are really really nice), you have to consider the price here, therefore the devices are not comparable at all in my opinion:
Polar M450 Bundle (Amazon Germany 220EUR)
Garmin 520 Bundle (Amazon Germany 350EUR)
Have you considered V650 if you’d like to stay in Polar environment? It has recovery information now. I’ve had mine since September and it has worked really well.
Maybe V650 is a great device but it didn’t impress me that much to want buying it. It’s looks oldish, big and functions are still lagging behind. I would rather wear M400 as a second device to keep Polar Flow that I like up to date.
Well I’m sure you’ll like the 520 a lot–quite of few of my friends have it and love it. It’s a shame Wahoo’s Tickr doesn’t support recovery information over Bluetooth (at least it didn’t when I check last fall) or you could use Tickr and Blue SC for 520 and M400.
I have some problems with the Auto-Start/Stop – Pause function.
After I synchronize the m450 with polar flow I have to 1.turn off the function in the device, then 2.alter the speed limit for the function and then 3.turn the function on again?
Maybe a simple software bug?
Anyone having the same problem?
Another issue with the auto stop/pause function:
The time of your ride is not correct when you use the auto/stop function.
For example: If you have a pause in the middle of your ride the software does not stop the recording time. That means, your average speed, duration etc. is correct, as your pauses are excluded of tracking, BUT the time your ride happens is not.
Simple impact: If you re riding with a group of riders and everyone is uploading his activity to Strava afterwards, Strava does not recognize that you we riding with the others in a group.
That’s exactly why I don’t use it and I recomnend anyone else to not use it either. The pauses are not registered in the TCX file. Strava will recognise when you are not moving and calculate an average speed based on your moving time. Your average on Flow will be low, but on Strava it will be correct.
It also allows me to correctly account for my total riding time when I add the activity to my Fitbit account.
I wonder if Polar knows this is an issue and is working on it?
Using Auto Pause on the V650, the pauses are now handled correctly in Strava. It will come to Polar’s other cycling capable products in time.
It’s taken two months, but it looks like M450 has this feature now. Don’t know why it took so long, can’t imagine it’s a difficult task. My Edge 520 had two firmware updates in the first month I had it. This has had two since release. ?
Most of my rides are in the evening why in order to switch backlight on and keep it I have to start riding first? Does Polar think there is no better opportunity for switching on the light is riding in the dark when wearing gloves. You have to make at least 4 clicks using three different buttons.
They could have the same menu as for backlight
Settings/General Settings/Front Light Settings
Regarding notifications from iOS, would mapping software running on the phone that gives a notification to turn one direction or other be transmitted to the m450? Kind of an elementary version of turn-by-turn navigation is what I’m getting at but am probably not explaining too well due to late hour. (Awake only because neighbors are having a party—yippee.)
Curious more than anything.
The M450 (nor the V650 for that matter) does not support any types of notification at the moment, so it won’t do what you’re asking about. Even the V650s ability to follow a defined route does not give any instructions as to where to turn. The only notification I’ve seen is where I was going the wrong way and then it was just a pop-up on the screen asking if I wanted to reverse the direction. For proper turn-by-turn navigation you’d have to get a Garmin.
150,- EUR for the M450 Bundle with HR in Germany – it’s a nice price!
But I really doubt in buying it. Don’t know why – but the m450/v650 really looks out-dated.
what are the alternatives you re considering?
Considered Garmin Edge 520, but it’s terribly pricy. Would need new speed/cadence sensors, too. (Currently have BTLE; would need ANT+.)
Ordered the m450 from Amazon yesterday (no LBS carries Polar) & expect it tomorrow. Will begin putting it through its paces this weekend.
For me the same.
Was thinking about buying an Edge 520. But too expensive.
Now considering Edge 25 and Polar m450
Got the m450 in this afternoon. Unboxed, paired, and installed. Will be sending back tomorrow, though, as pairing with the BTLE sensors I have (Topeak Panobike & Scosche Rhythm) fails to recognize both speed & cadence. Major disappointment, too, for the sizing (and pricing!) is nice. Guess it’s back to Garmin. 🙁
Which Garmin do you use with Panobike speed&cadence? The specs do not talk about BTLE much.
Anyone figured out where are all the missing data fields on Polar website(e.g., cadence…)? Used to be more options…
They’re there but are turned off from being visible for some reason. Its discussed on the Polar forum and has been reported to Polar, but no joy in rectifying as yet.
Just curious, is anyone else having time issues with activities sent to strava since daylight savings kicked in for the US early last month?
All my afternoon/evening activities seem to be showing up as +1 hour on strava and in the tcx/gpx export from flow. Oddly my Saturday morning rides carry the correct time across.
I have contacted Polar tech support, but so far all I’ve gotten back as a response is to check the time zone on my computer and that they can’t reproduce the issue.
The only time I had time zone issues it was caused by the Android app, even though I always synced using USB through my computer. How are you syncing your data?
Have tried both usb to PC and android app. Both have had the same issue the past 4ish weeks for all evening rides. Last night’s ride came across with the correct time via the android app and the export from polar flow shows the correct time in the tcx, so I’m hopeful Polar found the issue and corrected it.
Heard back from Polar last week that they believe this is a bug in the Android app as Michael suggested above, but this is not the case for me at least. I sent in example activities this morning that I uploaded via the PC app and still show the wrong time in almost all my recent tcx/gpx export files.
I wasn’t thrilled with Garmin tech support in the past, but my experience with Polar support so far has been much more frustrating. They seem to be less responsive to issues and they really seem to me to be struggling to even figure out where this particular issue is occurring in their system.
How come Polar’s new DOWNGRADE is going unnoticed? No one cares that some basic data fields such as ascent and power are missing on the M450 (but were once available)? I truly can’t figure out Polar’s approach. Something that worked before is now unavailable for months as far as I can remember. Sure, they may have given a statement on FB, but acknowledgment is not a solution.
Can you provide more info?
Where is this documented?
It’s a feature that was on Flow website (total ascent, current power). Now it’s not. If you look at the manual, you’ll see these data fields are supposed to be available.
(Assume you’re talking about data fields that you configure on a watch)
Weird, I don’t see those two either. Gotta be a bug, because it makes no sense to take away current power.
Have you opened up a support case? That’s often the fastest way to get something resolved like this.
Also, I suspect the reason nobody has brought it up till now is that if you had those data fields configured, you were fine. It’s only if you removed them and/or wanted to add them to other pages that the problem shows up.
Thanks, I’ll open a support case
Can anyone confirm the M450 can work with the Wahoo RPM cadence only sensor and not use a speed sensor? I read an old comment somewhere that it pairs but thinks it is a speed+cadence sensor and therefore overrides the GPS speed and distance so it reports that as zero. Seems like something fixable with a firmware update but just wanted to confirm.
I use the RPM cadence sensor and it works perfectly with the M450. I also use the TICKR heart rate monitor and that also works great. Everyone once in a blue moon I have to re-pair the TICKR with the M450, but other than that I have had no issues.
Would you share what exact RPM cadence sendor model you use? And does it still work fine with 1.1.5 firmware of m450?
I’m having issues getting data from my BTLE Speed+Cad sensor. It gets paired, but no readings are transferred to m450
My Scosche BLESCAD Bluetooth Smart Cycling Speed Cadence Sensor is working correctly on 1.1.5. I think I had to repair after the firmware update?
Anybody updated M450 device software to 1.1.5 without any issues?
So far no issues but have only done 2 or 3 rides post upgrade. They do seem to finally have the daylight savings time issue worked out on both usb and android sync(with the latest android app version). Unsure if they’ve corrected the pause issue fully or not for exports to Strava. (Its listed as fixed in the firmware notes I saw though)
Is it now possible to navigate with the M450 like fe Garmin Edge, or is this only possible with the V650?
Not for the moment. You can upload a route and save it as favourite, but it won’t appear on the device. Perhaps in the future? I suppose M450 can support a basic route breadcrumbs.
So even in your favourites you can not navigate?
There is no provision for any form of navigation with the M450 – it can’t (at the moment) support a basic route breadcrumb.
No navigation at the moment.
I got a message from Polar saying that navigation is not planned and as it looks now it is only for the V650.
Bye bye Polar.
Does anybody know what activity file type the Polar m450 creates?
Just thought of one more thing… Does the device connect to a computer as a mass storage device?
No, it does not.
It allows you to create (via Polar Flow online), an .HRM, GPX or .TCX file export. The .TCX file is what you’ll send to most services.
Hello, just the other day, fore some reason, I am unable to sync my M450 through the app. I connects to my device and to the app, but after running it come back saying “sync failed.”
I can connect it to my computer and sync but then it does not connect an post to Strava. Does anyone else have this problem?
I thought I had it fixed by uninstalling the app and reinstalling it, only to see that it did it again this morning!
It’s a site-wide issue they’re currently having.
They posted a note on the Twitter’s about it: link to twitter.com
Thank you, although it still sucks, glad that they know about it, and are working on it. I just wish they would announce it on their site, or through the email of their known members’ accounts.
Any word yet as to when they will have this fixed?
I have no probs with syncing..
I was able to sync this morning.
I was able to sync with Flow, but it did not sync with Strava! Any word on that? Is there a way to refresh it so it syncs?
I just got off the phone with Polar customer service. He said that I am the only one that is having this issue. He will report it to software department and hope that it gets fixed within 24 hours. Meanwhile everyone that I went on the ride with activity is all up on Strava. Frustrating!
Are you syncing via bluetooth (mobile) or via usb (pc)?
Maybe dis- and reconnect the polar flow to strava connection (in polar flow and strava).
Meanwhile you can just manually export your ride in polar flow and import it manually to strava.
I have done it both ways. I usually do it via bluetooth connected to my phone. I just got back from a 44 mile ride and synced to to polar flow, but again it is not going over to Strava. All the people I went on the ride with are all an Strava and I can not get my ride there!
I do not know how to export and import to Strava, and pisses me off that I have to learn how to do it as it is supposed to do it AUTOMATICALLY!
I just disconnected and reconnected the accounts, still no sync! What’s wrong?
I still use link to flow2strava.com if the sync doesn’t occur in 24 hrs?
Can anybody explain how to calibrate my Stages power meter from the Polar m450? I’ve read the documentation which is obviously not updated since it strictly lists Keo Pedals but I assume the process is the same. I have paired the Stages power meter and the m450 but when I follow the instructions the m450 doesn’t ask me to recalibrate as described in the manual
I use a Stages with my M450 and it works great. Here’s how it works:
Use the instructions to pair a polar unit on the Stages FAQ page:
link to support.stagescycling.com
On the screen after you select an activity, where sensors start to connect, push and hold the ‘light’ button (left side of the unit) and menu will show up. using the bottom button on the right side, scroll to choose ‘calibrate power sensor’. Spin the cranks in reverse a few revolutions to turn the Stages power meter on, then align the cranks vertically. Press the red ‘Start’ button and the calibration will start. Once finished it will return to that menu, press the bottom left button on the unit to return the the activity startup menu.
You can’t calibrate the unit while a ride is recording. You can pause the ride (bottom button, left side, press once), then press and hold the light button (left side of the unit), and you’ll see the same menu as above. Then you can go through the same steps as I outlined there. Once back to the activity paused screen, press the red ‘Start’ button to go again.
I just want to check and confirmation does this V450 show in % of the slope when traveling up hill or climbing.
Would be grateful for calcification on this.
I have already logged a support call to Polar advising that the latest firmware has broken the % and ° incline field. They replied that they’re aware of the problem but no timeframe to fix?
Thanks for this seems they are having alot of problems lately with software. I am looking to replace my BRYTONSPORT 40 GPS ,as it is now broken(4 years of service) I am stuck to what to replace it with.
I have all the ANT+ speed cadence sensor’s on both my bikes (for indoor training as well)
Because I do alot of climbing here Portugal I need one that has the % of the climb while.
climbing as it is important for my training.
I am stuck what to get with Garmin been the most expensive £190 to £215 (uk prices).
POLAR V450 AND V650 looked good value ,but only works with bluetooth,would mean that I would have to replace all my sensor’s which is not really cost effective by any means.
Price wise looking between £100 To £160 ANT+ but must have a % climb on display.I did look at the Lezyne Super GPS Priced at £144.00 link here.
link to lezyne.com
But there is no mention of a BAROMETRIC Sensor on the device. Any suggestions would be grateful.
I am surprised that DC RAINMAKER HAS NOT REVIEWED IT ON THIS SITE!!! I would him to confirm if he has any intention of doing so would be helpful.
Hey.. u could use a ant/bluetooth bridge
link to dcrainmaker.com
that would solve problem with your ant devices…
You might want to see if you can increase your budget to accommodate a new Edge 520. It would have all the features you want and be compatible with all your ANT+ accessories. If not, you could always look for one second hand. The 510 would also have the features you want, even though it is a bit on the older side.
I had both Polar computers (V650 and then M450) and sold them to buy a Garmin Edge 520. When you buy something like this, it’s not just the unit you’re buying but the ecosystem as well. The Polar ecosystem is closed in that Polar do not provide a way for you to see the data directly on their devices. Workarounds do exist. Polar does not transfer data easily to third parties and their development is slow.
Garmin on the other hand is more open. You connect your Garmin to a computer and it comes up like another drive. A lot more third party sites talk to Garmin Connect and data transfers easily to sites like Strava and Training Peaks. Garmin Connect has some issues and I really only use it as an intermediary because the third party transfers are automatic.
I can’t comment on Lezyne’s ecosystem, but they save in the same format as Garmin, so it is readily compatible with Strava and Training Peaks, although transfer might be manual.
The Lezyne brochure for their GPS range says it has an altimeter. Since you also get temperature, it would be a barometric altimeter as the barometric sensor does both pressure and temperature. If you’re still unsure, just send them an email and ask.