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First Look: Polar’s new M460 GPS Bike Computer

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Today is shaping up to be a rather busy day for announcements!  Polar joined the Wednesday new products club with its new M460 bike GPS.  This bike computer builds on the M450 unit they announced almost two years ago. Both units are targeted at the mid-range market in terms of functionality, yet both actually have very reasonable prices ($159/$179).

The M460 aims to incrementally improve upon the M450 with some modest software enhancements, along with a new all-black look.  These updates include Strava Live Segment functionality and increased power meter support/metrics.

Polar dropped me off a loaner unit to toy with earlier in the week, which has enabled me to poke at some functions – but not quite everything.  That’s because pieces like Strava Live Segments won’t be enabled until April 19th. As such, this post is a very preliminary look at things.  While technically hands-on, I’ve only ridden a little with it.  I’ll dive into more detail next week once the Strava Live Segment piece lights up.  This is not an in-depth review, or a review in any way really.

With that, let’s talk about the differences.

What’s new:

As you may remember last week, Polar announced their M430 successor to the M400.  This was a modest hardware tweak to their existing and popular running watch.  It added an optical heart rate sensor to the back and a few new features.  It essentially kept them competitive in that market.  With the M460 bike computer however, they’ve taken a different path despite the similarities in target markets.

Specifically that the M460 contains no major additional/new hardware, but rather just three software enhancements.  Sure, it’s got a new exterior case that’s now black instead of white – but it’s the same guts.  They did make a minor tweak in the buttons however to make them feel a bit better.

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Instead, the focus was on delivering the following three and a half features:

– Strava Live Segments: Allows you to compete against segment leaders on the unit itself
– Power Meter Update: Added Training Peaks Normalized Power (NP), Intensity Factor (IF), and Training Stress Score (TSS), improved power meter support
– Smartphone notifications: You can now get smartphone notifications on the unit itself mid-ride
– GPS gradient: You can now see gradient (aka incline) using the unit without a speed sensor

And that’s it.

Now, there are some undercurrents to the power meter support that’s worthwhile digging into.  Specifically that the company is going to more broadly support 3rd party power meters from a left/right standpoint.  Right now they support their advanced metrics (like force direction) on the M450 but only for their power meter.  Going forward they’ll support it for other units such as the PowerTap P1, ROTOR 2INPower, and other power meters that support the data streams.

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The challenge Polar has here is that there is no standard for these extended data types. Sure there are basics like left/right power over Bluetooth Smart, but when it comes to directional force and such, each company is doing it entirely differently (like, really differently).  So it’s likely to be a long road.

For example, in trying it out last night (it’s still beta of course) with the ROTOR 2INPower, it kinda worked for the advanced metrics.  It showed one side, but not the other.  But did properly display left/right balance on other screens.  Polar responded this morning that they’re aware of the issue and are working to resolve it.

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Still, it’s going to continue to be a long road ahead.  Nearly every firmware release these days (head unit or power meter focused on BLE) still seems to break someone in the equation – with someone being the consumer.  Until we go a period of 12-18 months without a single incident, it’s going to be incredibly hard to recommend consumers put themselves in the position of only being able to use BLE for a power meter.  Even things that would work for months often stop one day, as many Polar power meter users can attest to.

I know both Polar and power meter companies have been working closely together in recent months to try and resolve these issues, but I still want to see long term proof of sustainability.

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Along the power meter line, we’ve got the addition of the TSS/NP/IF metrics from TrainingPeaks.  These are pretty common on other competitive units, so it’s good to see them here as well.

Finally, we’ve got the biggie – which is Strava Live Segments.  This falls in line with most other industry players in adding this feature.  We’ve seen Garmin, Wahoo, Lezyne, Mio, and probably a few others I’m forgetting all add this into their bike computers.

Like those others, you’ll need a Strava Premium account in order to get the functionality to work, though Polar/Strava will give you a free 60-day trial to see if you like it.  Once that’s all connected behind the scenes you’ll see your favorite Strava Segments within Polar Flow (the ones that are starred).  Since it’s not live yet on production, they shot me over a few screenshots to explain:

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The above will be sync’d to your M460.  You can also click on any given segment to get more information about it, all staying within Polar Flow.  You can see below the overall fastest men/women, as well as your best time.  Plus some general stats about the segment.

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That’s kinda cool, given that nobody else does that on their platforms.  Everyone else requires you to be totally on Strava and just works their magic behind the scenes.

While out riding it’ll show you nearby segments, such as these two segments that are .26KM and 1.77KM away.  All of these come from the list of starred segments.

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Once you approach a segment you’ll get a countdown distance to where it begins.  For example below you see 127m remaining till the segment starts.  Again, since I couldn’t enable this on my unit yet one of the Polar guys went out and did some segment hunting with a camera:

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Then once you are within the Segment you’ll see the status of the segment displayed, including your status against your PR, the KOM, or the QOM.

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For the most part, this seems like a pretty simple implementation of Segments, pretty straightforward.  Still, I’ll be interested to give it a whirl myself next week and see if there are any nuances (good or bad) that differentiate it from the competitors.  In general, I think Wahoo’s implementation is the best, with Garmin not too far behind.  Each company makes their own slight tweaks in terms of how they do it.

Beyond these noted features, there isn’t anything else new on the platform.  It’s a pretty cut and dry situation.  The existing M450 will retail at $159USD/EUR, while the new M460 will come in at $179USD/EUR.  I think it’s fair to say that if you care about Strava, you’re likely willing to pay another 20 bucks.

Going forward:

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Now it’s pretty obvious this is a fairly minor and incremental update.  Most companies (ok, actually, all companies in the market) have given these same features to existing units without purchase of a new unit.  So it’s a bit surprising Polar isn’t doing the same.

For example, the Wahoo ELEMNT got Strava Live segments after release; so did most of the Garmin Edge series made within 2 years of the initial announcement eons ago.  As did Mio’s units (heck, they were even older than Garmin).

And in many ways the same is true of the power meter side.  All the other bike computers in the market already support these metrics (or similar ones), and all of them have mostly complete compatibility for advanced power data.  There’s some nuances between units, especially when it comes to how you match up certain data fields on the ANT+ side to that of the Bluetooth Smart side. But we’re roughly in the same ballpark.

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Which gets us to the same sticking point it was with the M450 two years ago: It lacks ANT+.  While the cycling power meter world is largely now dual ANT+/Bluetooth Smart, that doesn’t help the hundreds of thousands of ANT+ only power meters out there.  With power meters not being a cheap item, there’s little reason for folks to convert to Polar for these additions.  As I noted in the Polar M450 post at the time, the room of journalists were actually kinda angry at the lack of ANT+ support.  It was moderately surprising.

But they were right.  While the M450 got off to a rocky start with delays, the core reason it simply hasn’t done well in the larger bike computer market is due to lack of ANT+. Period.  If they were to add that in, it’d wipe Garmin and Wahoo on the floor…overnight.  A unit that’s $80-$120 cheaper that does almost everything they do (if not more in some cases)?  Seems like a no-brainer, no matter how proud one might be of protocol party politics.

The overall shift in the entire industry is towards dual protocol head units: Wahoo’s ELEMNT, Stage’s Dash, Lezyne’s units, and heck – even Garmin’s FR935 and Fenix5 as well.  It’s not because anyone sees one protocol as the winner, it’s because they recognize that consumer choice and flexibility is what’s going to win them sales.

In any event – if you’re looking at the Polar lineup and don’t have a power meter, without question it’s an awesome buy.  It always has been.  With the power meter front, it’s going to be much more tricky and I’d recommend waiting to see how things shake out.

With that – thanks for reading!

Update: You can pre-order the Polar M460 from Clever Training today, expected delivery later this month.  Plus, if you use DCR Coupon code DCR10BTF, you’ll save 10% and also get free US shipping.  Plus, it helps support the site.  Enjoy!

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99 Comments

  1. mack

    So I currently have a garmin head unit and a polar v800. If I were to replace my garmin with this, would polar flow place nicely with the two devices? I typically record using both devices (I like to have a back up) but I prefer to use the garmin to iew my data while I ride, moving around to read the watch is annoying. I assume that it would double the recovery status, and both would end up getting reported to strava, etc

    • It’ll play nicely between the V800 and M460. Meaning that both will end up on Polar Flow.

      But it won’t play nicely with the Garmin. Both would end up on Strava, which happens to me all the time on my rides. I just delete whichever one doesn’t make me look at fast/good.

    • David Chrisman

      Mack–I have A300 and V650. If I do a ride–I can record on both devices (I think the V650 somehow re-broadcasts HR to A300 because I get HR on both with the Polar H7 HRM). Both show up on Polar Flow (doubling things like recovery), I only get one on Strava (guessing Strava kills one of them because time stamp is close enough), and both on Training Peaks.

      If your purpose is having a backup copy though I think you will run into issues with Polar M460 because aside from HR–your backup wouldn’t be able to include speed/cadence/power since the sensors could only pair to one of the devices via BT. So if backup is key driver you’ll need to have a computer with ANT+ in the current environment.

      Having a backup isn’t a concern for me (I’m usually not on super long rides so my phone would be backup if I needed–hasn’t happened yet though) so I leave A300 at home and Polar does do a good job of syncing data from V650 with daily activity on A300 to get the whole picture.

  2. Alexis

    what are they hiding behind the polar logo? roughly 50% surface unused + no ant+. i dont know if there really is a price point for buying this…

    • phr3dly

      That was my first thought too. It’s like it’s wearing a giant turtleneck. I always thought I was a ‘function over form’ kinda guy until I saw this.

  3. okrunner

    So, I assume if you purchased this and purchased a Mio Velo your Ant + power meter would work with it. But, then your another $70 in.

    • Eli

      The Mio device only claims to forward ant+ speed and cadence.
      link to mioglobal.com
      4iiii claims they support ANT+ Speed / Cadence, Power Meter or Footpod
      link to 4iiii-innovations.myshopify.com

    • Sacke

      I have a Polar V800, and a Garmin Edge 500, but the Garmin has been unused at the bottom of a drawer for the last two years.

      I bought a one sided Rotor inPower for my previous bike, and the 4iiii HR strap that received ANT+ and transmitted it via Bluetooth to the V800.

      One thing that surprised me, was that compared to a loaner Garmin 510, the Viiiivo + Polar combination seemed to react faster to changes in power, than the ANT+ Garmin 510.

      In any case. There are solutions and the Viiiivo is indeed a good one.

  4. James Roth

    Firmware updates packaged as hardware. Good luck.

    • Adrian

      You are sure there have been no hardware changes? Apparently they’ve changed the GPS chipset to sirf on the M430 watch released some days ago. IIRC the M450 uses an ublox GPS chipset, that has its issues, so changing this to sirf too makes sense overall. Maybe someone has some solid facts on the used hardware?

    • Yeah, they were confirming the GPS chipset swapout last week (if it occurred on the bike side as it did on the running side). I’ll validate again if so.

  5. Adam

    None of these features that seem to be software related will be available on the M450 with a firmware update? Pretty frustrating for someone who purchased an M450 last summer.

    • Andrew Peel

      A firmware update is not a new product. If my M450 stops working I would buy the more expensive Wahoo Bolt. Seems like Polar are copying the Garmin strategy of not updating older devices which are technically capable of the new functionality? Smart phone notifications are standard on wearables these days.

    • Bertram

      At some point they all stop upgrading. Keeping existing customers satisfied is nice, but the ultimate goal isn’t an eternally happy customer, it is a repeat customer. Their business is selling stuff after all. .

      But even my Garmin 810 has Strava life segments retro actively fitted in… (though no notifications).

    • Bertram

      Odd – I thought I was replying to something else….. sorry for the non-sequitur.

    • Kroter

      My Garmin edge 510 was updated with new featured like live Strava Segments when Garmin Edge 520 was in the market. I think Garmin make this thing much better.

  6. Eli

    Isn’t section 3.5 of the spec the spec for directional force? link to bluetooth.com

    (Though not sure its that well defined….)

  7. James

    Polar m450 users! Welcome to the “being the redheaded stepchild with no good firmware updates” club.

    Sincerely,
    Polar v650 Users

    • Jonathon

      This is so, so true. I would laugh if I wasn’t such an angry member of the v650 users club

    • so to get thsi straight. Also the v650 will not get a update for strava live segments ?

      that would be really laughable and ebarassing from polar and for me a reason to change away from polar.

  8. But it's me!

    Any idea if these features will be added to the v650? I’m mostly interested in the phone notifications. It’s bad enough that Polar still has not joined the ANT+ train, but to see better features on the step down model is insulting.

    • Trey M

      I second this comment. The V650 has been frozen in time with no talk about added software features. Polar was a lot of talk and no game with the V650 in respect to software features, which allows me to have it as a paperweight as I find a device with a broader feature set.

    • Rich

      Last update was October last year, still missing functionality from the m450 and silence from Polar on it’s future Time for me to flip it on eBay and by a Wahoo I think.

  9. David Tucker

    I remember a decade ago when I first got into running, Polar was was the technology I really wanted. I saw them (rightly I think at the time) as the leaders in heart rate technology and they had some pretty cool watches. I ran with an RS300X with a foot pod for a few years but as GPS technology started to really become affordable, Polar really lagged behind. And Ant+ isn’t even new. I love the design of Polar’s gear but I can’t imagine ever buying one of their devices again. They just seem to be out of sync with sports technology.

    • James

      Completely disagree with you. Polar gear just works, their software is very stable, opposite to Garmin who rellease half-finished software. For GPS accuracy and heart reate accuracy – Polar wins easily. Garmin is all about heart rate spikes and missed beats due to poor connection. Polar just works.

    • Donerator

      Are we all speaking about Polar which released v800 in mid 2014 being worse than beta stage?

    • DV

      Many things were incomplete when the V800 was released, for sure.

      But, the GPS and HR have always been exceptional.

      I just received a Fenix 5, and both the GPS and the HR (via chest strap) were less than stellar.

      Lots of good things going for the Garmin, but Polar is very solid with regard to crucial basic training data. The web site has been consistently improved as well.

    • David Tucker

      I won’t disagree that Polar has always made great products. But I don’t like being tied so tightly to their accessories. And they really don’t have quite the same options that a company like Garmin has. When I bought my first GPS running watch, Polar did not have that as an option. They only had a separate GPS pod to wear.

      Once I started triathlon, Polar had integrated GPS watches (I still on my RC3 GPS) but did not have a solid multisport offering. The V800 did not have open water swim capabilities until July 2015. That was just way too late. I would never tell anyone not to buy any of their current devices…they all look great. But Polar seems very slow to adopt things that would only help their sales and they should be far more agile as a small company.

  10. tfk

    what do you think the apprx per unit cost would be for adding ANT+ compat…chip, firmware mods and licencing? $10?? and which is the largest component? I’d imagine largest fixed cost would be the mods and the largest ongoing cost the licencing

    • Eli

      Ant+ is owned by Garmin while Polar have a very large influence in the BLE realm. There is more to it then just technical aspects

    • Oh, it’s all about non-technical aspects. 100%. But it’s also killing their bike computer lineup.

      As for the chipsets, I haven’t seen a teardown of what’s in the M450, as that would tell us the chipset. If for example they went with Nordic, it’s just a licensing fee to unlock the dual ANT+/BLE side of things. There are three modes: ANT+ only, BLE only, dual ANT+. Almost everyone just pays the licensing fee for dual, and it can even be done after the fact.

      The license fee that a company pays to Dynastream for ANT+ usage is about a dime per deice. Yes, 10 cents, and that was about a year ago last I checked.

    • This goes down more as price than costs. And eventually it’s what will kill them. The later they realize, the harder to get up.

      They can get away with low-mid range running watches online BLE compatible. Not having your bike computers with ANT+ will only turn customers away. And the same with triathlon watches.

    • James

      Well, the industry is leaning towards Bluetooth Smart. Ant+ is a technology that will slowly subside.

    • That’s probably true longer term. But for the next few years (2-4 likely) in the cycling realm, ANT+ is still king. There are still hundreds of thousands of ANT+ only power meters.

      This update was ostensibly 33% focused on power meters, yet it only impacts a fraction of the addressable market for this product (a fraction of a fraction really).

      Simply going dual like everyone else resolves that issue and makes it a non-discussion point. I can guarantee you the moment they do that they’ll see sales sky rocket. Every journalist I talk too at events literally says “It’s a non-starter” when it comes to lack of ANT+ support. Even as recently as just a few weeks ago.

      Regardless of whether or not that’s true to most consumers becomes irrelevant. When international press take that message back to folks, you have to pay attention as a manufacturer. They can still lead the BLE sports movement in the same way Garmin leads the ANT+ movement. Nobody takes that away from them (either of them).

    • tfk

      I suspect you are far more influential than ANY of those journalists you mention.

      Interesting. There is a ‘new’ PM coming out soonish as dual band moving from the ANT+ only version of the existing model.

    • RobHug

      BLE had better sort out not being able to pair with more than one device – for instance my PM can’t pair with a watch and a bike computer via BLE but it can with Ant+

      That’s a deal breaker for me.

    • Su-Chong Lim

      @RobHug: Me too.

      A good practical example is the situation during a Tri race; during the whole race I wear my FR910XT to record the 3 portions of the race plus the connecting transitions. But during the bike segment, rather than wearing a quick release adaptor and putting the 910XT on the bike, I use my Edge 500 (which I have just replaced with a 520) because the display is larger, more useful, and generally is more user friendly. But the 910XT is still recording the race — I just don’t look at it during the race. I also record the bike segment on the 520, and probably will upload it to Garmin Connect as a duplicate, but also to see more detailed bike metrics that the 910XT doesn’t record.

      But the point is, you can’t do this in BLE.

      I used to like Polar — this is before Garmin got omnipotent, or omnivorous or whatever. In fact when I switched to my first Garmin the interface drove me crazy. I think Polar intuitively understands the thinking and training needs of the runner better. But they are miscalculating big-time by not building standard protocol ANT+ (and not some special Polar-ish ANT version) into their gear.

    • To be fair, the BLE spec actually did support multi-master sensor support in 4.1 (almost three years ago). It’s just that nobody implemented it.

      Then it was made new again in 5.0 back around December…which…nobody has implemented yet (understandable given chipsets are somewhat barely here).

      Either way, companies have had the opportunity to make this work and haven’t.

    • RobHug

      Is that right? Wow. So a major failing of their protocols has a fix ready and waiting and they won’t implement it.

      I really have no words.

      A good friend of mine bought a V800 and their bike computer – can’t remember which – and he was apoplectic when he realized he couldn’t pair his sensors to both devices, especially as he was racing a half ironman shortly after purchasing.

      I’m firmly in the Garmin camp almost entirely because of this one failing.

  11. WSD

    Do you know if they are planning to offer a firmware update for existing M450 users so we can use Strava Live?
    (Garmin did it for 500 users after the 510 come out, so surely the precedent is there)

    Thanks Wsd
    Happy M450 user – never had once issue/problem with it in 14 months of daily use

  12. John

    As a V650 user, I echo some comments above. I love the V650 but I’ve asked for these exact upgrades since the time I bought it. How can they not provide the same firmware upgrades to owners of more expensive units?! It truly is insulting and appears as just a money grab strategy to sell a bunch of new hardware. It does nothing to promote brand loyalty though, nor confidence in the brand in general. If a roomful of such knowledgeable expert journalists was never able to convince Polar of the gravity of the ant+ deficiency, what hope is there to convince them of the inevitable apocalyptic consequences of this strategy?

  13. Steven Shaw

    As soon as I saw that I pretty much thought it was the same hardware as the m450. Isn’t it based on the v800? Perhaps with the altimeter taken out. Would be awesome to get strava segments on the v800.

    I don’t really see what the advantage of Bluetooth is, even though everyone seems to say it’s the future, ant+ just works. All the time. I use Bluetooth on the trainer to connect to my iPhone using trainerroad. Every time I have to faff around turning every other Bluetooth device off that I’ve previously paired a sensor with due to Bluetooth sensors not being able to pair to two devices concurrently. it’s the reason I gave up on the v650/v800 I own and settled on the fenix3/esge520. Try to record data on two devices with polar? Forget it unless you mess around with analogue heart signals etc and gave multiple speed/cadence sensors.

    It’s a shame polar are being so obibstinate regarding ant+, as acknowledged by everyone, it has to be killing sales. That and their stupid sensors that don’t have replaceable batteries. At least wahoo make decent alternatives.

    • Bertram

      Your phone is Bluetooth – and everyone is trying to leverage the power of your phone and your cellular coverage onto their devices. I would agree that ANT+ is a better system – for sporters that need only what ANT+ is designed to cover. (I hate it when I have to do a firmware update using Bluetooth, it usually takes several tries, and lots of time).
      But Bluetooth has the numbers – but on the potential customers side and on the development side of things. Where ANT+ mostly develops by adding protocol bits, Bluetooth actually comes with new versions, better power efficiency and new chip architecture. Some day it will pass ANT+, and ANT+ will fade in history….

    • My Samsung phone that I’ve had for about a month has ant+. It is quite nice!

      If Apple would pay the stupid $0.10 that Ray mentioned above, this would all be a moot point.

      While I use an Ibike Newton as my bike computer and power meter (and am happy with it 95% of the time), if I ever change to a dfpm, I could see just using my phone as a bike computer (instead of it chilling out in a ziplock in my back pocket).

  14. Kolli

    Nice Strava integration. When will Polar offer bike unit with temperature meadurement? Riding in cold condition in Norway, nice to know.

  15. Tim Grose

    Think about BLE only is that one unit “gobbles” the sensor connection. On the bike I like to use a cycle specifc handlebar mounted head unit and a watch as well so that the watch can “see” everything I do plus it acts as a backup should one or the other crash (not uncommon). No can do here. If was ANT+ you could. So I’m out as they say…

  16. John

    Ray, Are you saying that you are virtually certain that Polar will never provide live Strava segments on the V650 via a firmware upgrade?And that the Wahoo Elemnt provides the best live segment configuration in your opinion? If that’s the case, even as an otherwise satisfied V650 user, I would switch to the Elemnt given Wahoo’s reputation for more generous and more frequent firmware upgrades. thanks!

  17. Nicholas muir

    I can’t help wondering if it wouldn’t be a better marketing strategy for Polar to make these options available to existing M450 and V650 users as firmware updates AND release the new M460 to the market at the same time . New customers would no doubt opt for the M460 , and existing M450 and V650 users would be a LOT happier.
    How many V650 and M450 owners are going to buy the M460 , knowing they have just been denied those features via a firmware update ?

    I have an M450 and have been kind of hoping that Polar would offer the ‘breadcrumb trail’ navigation feature as a firmware update …that is not looking likely now :-/ The M460 without navigation kind of looks a bit odd to my way of thinking as well .

    Perhaps the whole situation can be explained to some extent by the fact that significant firmware updates can and often do create huge headaches for both Polar and it’s customers ?

  18. Mark

    +1 for a proper V650 update. Would love to hear your opinion on this Ray, pretty please with sugar on top!

  19. I have had my M450 unit for about a year now and have been hoping for a firmware update allowing Strava live segments. The M450 does everything I need except live segments.

    If the M460 is essentially the same hardware as the M450 then Polar surely can’t expect me to consider an upgrade based on a different colour and a few software updates – can they?

    If Polar were going to update the M450 with Strava live segments then surely there would have been a press release so I’m not expecting it to happen which is really disappointing unless anyone knows otherwise?

    If the M460 had improved hardware or Polar announced a compelling reason why the M450 can’t support firmware upgrades then at least consumers understand the product range and make an informed purchasing decision. At the moment it just feels like Polar are charging for a software upgrade that consumers have been waiting over a year for.

  20. Ritsm

    Hi.

    Besides the above, I am very interested to upload structured training plans (Today’s Plan) on the computer. With my current v800 and v650 this is not possible. Which is a shame.

    Tnx for your work.

    Ritsma

  21. GH0STP1X3L

    As usual, a great post Ray. Thanks for the info.

    Interesting to note that on the Polar website (US) the M460 is listed under the “Pro” products, along with the V800 and V650. Previously, the M450 was listed under the “Sport” products, along with the M600, M400, M200, and M430. Pricing for the M460 is listed as $229.95 and the V650 at $299.95.

    As Ray very diplomatically points out, “… all companies have given these same features to existing units without purchase of a new unit… it’s a bit surprising Polar isn’t doing the same”. I would say that this is a slap-in-the-face to Polar M450/V650 owners (myself included).

    I purchased a brand new V650 not long after it was released for $159 on sale. At that price it has been an OK unit. I would not have spent $299.95. Polar’s support and updates have been the major problem (for me). Polar’s inability to successfully update its products and services, and I mean all products and services, without disabling previously functioning features is notorious. Just look to Polar’s update page and view the dates of updates to their products for proof. Many sequential updates are 1-5 days apart because the initial released update disabled functionality. Add to this Polar’s inconsistent terminology, sometimes a product update is referred to as a “software update” and other times it’s called a “firmware update” (within the same product), demonstrates the lack of organization and/or a clear development process. For example, for just about 10 months now the V650 has stopped working correctly with the Wahoo KICKR. This was after the V650 and KICKR both worked well together for quite some time. I was informed that Polar was aware of the issue and that it was a high priority for them to correct (hate to see a low priority). Obviously, this issue has still not been corrected.

    Polar sent out an “exclusive survey” in the fall of 2016 to V650 owners. It asked for feature requests and insights to help Polar update the V650 and provide a great product. It appears now that this survey was just a feature request for new Polar products.

    • GH0STP1X3L

      Apparently, the $229.95 price is for the M460 bundled with a HR. The $179 price seems to be for the M460 by itself. However, it appears that the M460 is only available as the bundle (M460 with HR) on the Polar webstore. There is no option to select a different item to purchase (see screenshot).

    • Chris

      exactly.. I did the same survey for the m450… a pity..

  22. Heikki Kultala

    Lacking ANT is like a Computer lacking a floppy drive.

    Bluetooth is replacing ANT, ANT is ancient protocol.

    in couple of years, lack of bluetooth in current Garmin devices will be much bigger problem than the lack of ANT in Polar/Suunto devices.

    • Paul S.

      Right, because all of those existing ANT+ sensors are just going to disappear. Because no one will ever want to pair one sensor to more than one head unit at the same time.

      I have no Bluetooth sensors, and no head units (besides, I suppose, my iPhone) that can pair with one. I’m quite happy that way.

    • Eli

      I agree it’s like a floppy drive, only we are still in the time period where everything comes on floppies. 5 years from now I wouldn’t want to use the m460 as current devices will be much better

    • “in couple of years, lack of bluetooth in current Garmin devices will be much bigger problem than the lack of ANT in Polar/Suunto devices.”

      Two funny things here:

      A) I assume you know Garmin is moving forward with adding BLE sensor support (also having ANT+ too). The Fenix5 and FR935 have it.

      B) And two…I know of no successful business that says they don’t plan to make marketable products for “a couple of years”.

      I think some folks are misunderstanding this as an ANT+ vs BLE thing. It’s not. It’s a really simple: It’s about Polar actually wants to sell any significant quantity of these units*. It’s basic business.

      *The numbers I see here for sell-throughs show that Polar is selling as close to a zero-value number of units in comparison to Garmin and Wahoo as possible. This is notable even more so because I haven’t actually done even an Edge 520 or 820 review (just like I’ve never done an M450/460 in-depth review). All these products, including the V650 have simple ‘first look’ posts. In fact, the V650 got a secondary update post too.

    • Matthew

      Ray,

      So when do you see Garmin bringing the BLE sensor capability that they added to the Fenix 5 / FR935 to the Edge series? And which models do you think will get BLE sensor capability?

    • I’m assuming we’ll see it on any new Edge devices (whether the next new Edge device is next month or the end of the year, not sure).

      Going ‘backwards’ to other devices may be tricky, as it would likely depend a lot on specific chipsets in those devices to allow the various dual modes. It’s more than just dual ANT+/BLE sensor connectivity, but also ensuring connectivity to the phone at the same time. Most chipsets at the time the Edge 1000 and to a lesser extent 520 were in development phase weren’t capable of doing that. So instead companies would plop two chipsets in there side by side to remediate that.

      Whether or not Garmin did that, I don’t know. I’m not aware of any Garmin unit tear-downs to check.

  23. Kieran

    As a v650 owner, reading about this really annoys me. There is more functionality on the cheaper polar device (m450) than the v650, let alone the m469.

    Owners of that latter device seem to be left in the wilderness of having bought a device that is not being updated while polar concentrate their efforts on new products rather than existing ones. Bad form

  24. Anthony Roydhouse

    Another great review, are you aware of any further Polar v650 software enhancements or have Polar now abandoned support for this unit for newer models? Many Thanks

  25. Informative review on the M450 and 451 enhanced model. I am in the position to add a further comment as I own and use a Polar w650 and my wife uses a Polar w450 which I purchased as a gift. Basically the 650 is significantly better built and the human to device interface much better. Nothing wrong with the 450 but my advice to anybody considering the purchase of either of the polar units is unless your budget is really tight then the relatively small incremental cost of the 650 is money well spent

  26. Raul Freitas

    Hi Ray, just to say that I am another fellow awaiting for your Rotor 2INpower review.
    Would especially appreciate to learn how it interacts with the Wahoo Bolt (sorry Polar, no love for you).
    Cheers

    • Yup, I finished up all data collection and photos before I left for the US. So, that’s on my radar for very short-term. You’ll see Quarq’s D-Zero review likely on Tuesday, and then ROTOR in the following days or at worst next week.

      That said, I don’t believe I collected any data on it with the BOLT. Most of my collection was with Edge units, Fenix5/Forerunner 935 units, Qollector, and the ROTOR app. Plus some brief stuff with the M460 of course as noted here. That said, I’ll dig through my data – perhaps I duplicated some data on the BOLT.

    • Sebastian Schönewolf

      Can you test the Quarq Dzero with the Polar V650?

    • David Chrisman

      Sebastian–hopefully Ray can confirm but if you search for V650 (Control + F on my keyboard) in comments section of dzero first ride post (link below) you’ll see at least one user has confirmed V650 is compatible.

      link to dcrainmaker.com

    • Erik

      Hi Sebastian,

      Quarq Dzero works with V650.

      Left/Right Balance doesn’t work (Polar and Quarq knows this, see forum Quarq).

      Many Greetings
      Erik

  27. Trimaster Bernhard

    you forgot
    – the much longer battery life time.
    – a much faster GPS logging (better chipset)

  28. Marc

    Suppose I don’t need gps recording for a ride and have the Bluetooth speed sensor enabled. Will this mean that i will be able to turn off the gps and significantly increase the battery life while having accurate speed? Will total distance still be calculated in this gps-off mode?

    • Eddy

      It´s a shame for Polar that they are not willing to support the “PRO” devices like V800 and V650 with features that are available in cheaper products. It´s a hit in the face of all V650 user. If they are clever buisness people, then I´m sure that their margin will be higher, because everybody buy the more expensive “high end” product because of the support they given in the future.

      I like Polar, but this is the wrong way!

    • Mike@PolarUSA

      Disabling the GPS and utilizing a Bluetooth Smart speed sensor would allow you to increase battery life while accurately record speed and distance.

    • Adam

      Mike, if you actually are from Polar, care to shed any light on why the company has been unable to provide firmware updates to the V650, why at least some of the new features on the new M460 can’t be provided to the M450 or V650 with a firmware update, and if there are any plans to do this in the future? Or have those 2 products just been abandoned?

    • Anthony Roydhouse

      Adam, I asked the very same question via their customer service and got the following answer. It’s not a categoric yes, hopefully Mike will clarify as there are a lot of very unhappy customers waiting on a positive response.

    • GH0STP1X3L

      10 months ago when I asked about when the previously working V650/Wahoo KICKR features would be restored, I received a response from Polar Support stating that it was a high priority item. They still have not been restored. During that email exchange I also inquired about v650 smart notifications. I was told they were working on it. In that 10 month timeframe there has only been one firmware update to both the V650 and M450. Polar has however:
      – Announced the “Pro” M460 to replace the “Sport” M450. Removed the M450 from their site.
      – Announced the “Sport” M430. Kept the M400 on their site.
      – Released 2 new “Sport” watches (M600, M200).
      – Released a new HR monitor, the H10.
      – Updated and/or added new features to the Polar Flow web service 13 times.
      – Released 1 firmware update to the A300.
      – Released 3 firmware updates for the A360.
      – Released 3 firmware updates for the M400.
      – Released 6 updates for both the iOS and Android Polar Beat apps.
      – Released 15 updates for both the iOS and Android Polar Flow apps.
      – Released 3 updates to the Polar Team Pro app.
      – Released 2 firmware updates for the Polar Loop/Loop 2/Loop Crystal.
      – Released 3 firmware updates for the V800.
      – Redesigned the Polar logo.

      It seems obvious that Polar is directing their resources to other products and services.

    • Adam

      I can’t decide what’s more frustrating, not getting updates Polar said may be coming, or Polar not acknowledging that it’s not something they’re working on (which by this point seems is obviously the case).

      I like the Polar products and software interface for the money but I’ve certainly learned to be sure I’m 100% satisfied with everything “as is” when purchasing since they obviously can’t be relied on to tweak and improve through firmware updates like Garmin or Wahoo.

    • John

      Adam, I agree with your post word for word. Extremely frustrated with the “silent treatment” on this issue. It’s not even as if we’re asking for a release date – only politely asking whether or not they’re working on it – because we need to make decisions. And while I’ve otherwise received excellent support from Polar’s telephone support staff, I’m now frustrated to the point of not trusting the written response that Anthony posted. It’s so unfortunate because they do have great products but have really dropped the ball here in a public relations sense.

    • GH0STP1X3L

      One thing that I think should be noted is that this is not Polar’s site or communication forum. With that in mind I would not expect a response form Polar here. I would suggest to continue to contact Polar through their official channels as I and others have reported doing (I communicate with Polar Support weekly). Ultimately, I agree with you both that Polar should address their customers’ questions/concerns, especially those of us that were early adopters of Polar cycling computers. I just don’t think it’s fair to Polar, or DC RAINMAKER, to expect it here. Hopefully Polar will release an official statement.

    • John

      Good point GHOSTP1X3L (great cyber moniker btw). However, I do feel that the comments were all relevant to the review of a product line and it’s ultimate support and appeal to potential customers. Nevertheless, point taken. My apologies to both DC Rainmaker and to Polar for any unfairness or inappropriate comments here.

    • I think it’s perfectly acceptable to vent thoughts/comments here on what a company is doing (as long as it’s done in a relatively constructive/fair/non-droll-like/whatever manner, which you did just fine).

      Be it on a Polar product, a Garmin product like this morning’s post, or whomever. It’s a channel that companies see and hopefully respond to. In fact, I highlighted both this very M450/460 issue – less the V650 though – and the F3HR shortcomings this afternoon in the keynote speech I gave. You can watch that video via the Garmin Connect post on the homepage right now, or on my Facebook page. I believe the comments in this area are about 10-15 minutes in (the slide with the picture of me next to a yellow sign).

    • Ritsma

      Hi,

      I have similar non-replies from Polar.

      Their own bulletin board has a pretty good list of requests (link to forum.polar.fi) which goes largely unanswered too. Very frustrating.

    • Kieran

      I received the following response from Polar via their Facebook page.

      Hi Kieran. We are committed to delivering the best possible experience to all our customers and take community feedback very seriously. We’re currently investigating the possibility of bringing the extended power features and Strava Live Segments support to Polar V650. We know these features are important to you and will keep you updated on any new developments here and in the Polar Blog.
      22 April at 06:44

  29. Einhard

    Hi, can you test, if it does connect and record plausible data with a tacx vortex trainer?

    thanks in andvance

    • Adrian

      This would be indeed interesting. I’ve tried to pair the M450 and the V800 to a Elite trainer which transmits via bluetooth with partial success. No power nor cadence data but speed data – sort of. You cannot set the rim diameter below 1000 mm, which is unsuitable for most trainers that contain internal sensors (and Kid bikes, btw). I’ve filed a bug with Polar for that months ago ..

    • Einhard

      Hi,

      similar issues with the tacx vortex on the v800. it records cadence/power but the speed reading are false. polar knows that for years.

    • Einhard

      Reply from Polar:
      link to twitter.com

  30. Chris

    I m really enjoying my m450 now since almost 2 years. Great product!! But was waiting for software updates.
    Now they re offering almost the same product (display e.g.)
    with some software updates for 229Euro on Amazon. That is roughly 100Euro
    more than the current bundle price for the m450 (134Euro). 100Euro for strava live segments?

    I see the strategy but is this a joke? I recommended the m450 to a lot of people. That’ll stop now…
    Hello Garmin :)

    • Chris

      I am even more surprised about this strategy when you compare the m460 prices with the current garmin 520 prices (amazon.de 259 Euro (bundle))…

    • I think something is showing up wrong for you.

      The Amazon.de price for the M450 is 134EUR with the HR strap as of this moment.
      link to amazon.de

      Interestingly, the Amazon.com price for the M450 w/o the HR strap is a mere $97USD.

      Do keep in mind that if Amazon proper runs out of stock, it defaults to showing retailer listings, which set whatever price they darn well please (even it’s wonky). Not much Polar can do there.

    • Chris

      Thank you + well noted!

      But still, the current price comparison between the Polar m460 and the Garmin 520 looks not too good for Polar, as long as there are still good offers for the Garmin 520 (and this is no surprise considered the time the dev is on the market).

      I see (of course as long as stock lasts) on amazon.de/com:

      259€/340$ for the Garmin 520 with HR v. 229€/229$ for the Polar M460 with HR.

      (If I am not wrong (?) – the gap between the m450 and the garmin 520 in the first place was significantly bigger – what made sense.)

  31. haans

    My Timex Trainer 2.0 Cycle has finally gave way since bought 3 years ago. The battery wouldn’t hold charge. I couldn’t find a battery replacement and thought of getting another bike computer. My requirements are simple, HR monitor, support for speed/cadence sensor. No PowerMeter required. I shortlisted to Polar M450 which is very value less than a hundred bucks in Amazon and it comes with the H7 Heart rate strap. On other hand I am looking at the Garmin Edge 25 which is small but acceptable. The price seems high after factoring HR, Cadence/Speed monitor.

    At the moment, I am keen for the Polar as with price attractive. What are your thoughts?

  32. Wrociu

    I am just wondering if the one who is not using power meters and strava live segments could buy M450 instead of M460? M450 is still available and much cheaper. Just thinking if there are any major differences except power meters and strava live segments.