5.0 out of 5 stars
By Pamela - Reviewed in the United States on August 18, 2016
SO Much Better than Fitbit and Garmin
I purchased no less than five other activity trackers before I found this one: the Garmin Vivofit 2, the Garmin Vivosmart HR, Fitbit Charge HR, Fitbit Blaze, and the Mio Fuse. The Polar A300 was perfect for my lifestyle; I workout 6 days per week for at least an hour per day. My workouts include at least 3-5 days of heavy weight training, Hiit, bootcamp or circuit style workouts, yoga, and spin class. The Polar A300 provides an comprehensive tracking system. I'm no longer tracking my workouts with one app, then going to another to see my steps, sleep and daily activity. The Polar does it all! The Polar A300 is a very functional fitness tracker. It has all of the features of the Garmin and the Fitbit, but it simply works better. If your sole activity for exercise is running, then any of these will probably work for you. If you do any other type of exercise, the Polar is the way to go. During setup of the Polar, you can choose between three activity levels for your profile. Based on the level you choose, a daily goal is set for you. Unlike the Fitbit and Garmin, the activity goal can be reached in three ways (intense or moderate exercise, or steps). For example, on days I do a cardio based workout, I typically reach my activity goal by the end of the workout. On my rest day, I may have 12,000+ steps yet I still have not reached my activity goal. On a strength training day, I accomplish a large percentage of my activity goal, but I might need to take a walk around the block to meet the goal. With the Garmin and Fitbit, I would often begin my day with an intense 500+ calorie burn workout and still end the day without reaching my goal because I didn't get the purposed number of steps. The Polar A300 has a number of advantages over other fitness trackers. Here are some that stood out to me: * It's waterproof;although Garmin devices are also waterproof, Fitbit is not. * Battery life: I am going 2-3 WEEKS between charges even though I use the Polar connected to a heart rate monitor for at least an hour per day. The other activity trackers that I tried required charging every 3-5 days. * Heart Rate Monitoring: Wrist based heart rate monitoring is simply not as accurate or dependable as a chest strap. With both the Fitbit Charge HR and the Fitbit Blaze, a good sweat would prevent the device from detecting my heart rate. The heart rate on the Garmin Vivosmart HR was always lagging or just plain wrong (way off). Neither of these will pair with a chest strap. At first I thought it would be useful to know my resting heart rate; a head-up when I'm over training or getting sick, but with the way the Garmin averages the resting heart-rate, it doesn't work for this purpose. I also found that I am very aware of an increase in my resting heart rate and I don't need a device to show this. There was no real benefit to 24 hour heart rate monitoring. The Polar A300 does not do 24 hour heart rate monitoring or even wrist-based heart rate monitoring. It connects to the Polar H7 chest strap. Even better, I've been able to pair the Polar with my Scoshe Rythym + arm band Scosche RHYTHM+ Heart Rate Monitor with Armband, Black since I'm not crazy about wearing a chest strap. I can choose the type of activity that I am doing and set the watch to record. I can also pause the workout on the watch, view the current heart rate, heart rate zone, time, and calories burned. (Note that you do not get smart notifications if the watch is in workout mode, a feature I love). The Polar A300 does not calculate a resting heart rate, but it does do something better: the Polar OwnIndex Fitness Test (similar to a V02 max test) to measure cardiovascular fitness. To take this test, you simply put on the chest strap and lay still for a minute or two. The first time I took this test, my score was a 42 (which was great for a 36 year old female!). The app instructed my to take the test again in 6 weeks to see if I've improved. I'm looking forward to the next test; I like having a goal to work towards (beating my previous score). * Smart Notifications: the Polar A300 does vibrate when your phone is getting a notification, text, or call. You have the option to answer or decline a call, but you cannot respond to a text (none of the trackers I tried offered that option). You only get a line or two, so you can't always see the full message. The Fitbit Blaze was slightly better for receiving text messages because you could read the whole message. * Time to Move! One of the great features of the A300 is the "Time to Move!" notifications. Even after I reach my activity goal for the day, the watch will vibrate if I've been sitting for more than an hour. I found it so ironic that the Fitbits did not have this capability. * Display: The time and date are always displayed on the Polar A300; it does not require some elaborate wrist movement to may the display turn on (and yet the battery life is still so much better than the other activity trackers!). * Durability: This is a functional watch; it does not have a touch screen. I purposely chose the A300 over the A360 because I'm pretty rough on watches. I don't want to worry about scratching a delicate screen. I wanted something that worked well, not that just looked pretty and that's what I got. The Polar A300 has a comfortable band and seems to hold up to most anything. I read some reviews that the band was too long for some women, as it is unisex, but I have not found that to be the case. I have very small wrists and the strap does come all the way around my wrist, but it's held in place with the ring around the band. I chose the A300 over the M400 because I am not a runner and I don't need GPS. More than that, I read that the M400 does not have a vibration feature. I haven't tried the M400, so I can't say for sure, but this was important to me. Overall, this is a great device; it's perfect for my lifestyle. I highly recommend to anyone who wants a fitness tracker that can monitor workouts, daily activity, and sleep.
5.0 out of 5 stars
By M. Phelps - Reviewed in the United States on December 27, 2017
Love This Product and App, Great Warranty Service
I loved this product until it was time to change the battery in the H7 Bluetooth Transmitter. The battery lasted 15 months, and although it appears that you should be able to change the battery yourself, the battery door absolutely will not open (tried butter knife, all sized coins, etc.). If you look on the Amazon Questions Answered of this transmitter, you will see that this is a common problem. It really needs to be re-designed. Currently waiting to hear back from Polar Customer Service to find out if I can ship it to them for battery replacement. Update - I was so pleased with Polar's warranty service, I am changing this back to a 5 star rating. In addition to fixing the battery door, they replaced the battery, and gave me a brand new chest strap for free. The repair process was quick, efficient, and Polar kept me informed of the status of my repair regularly.
3.0 out of 5 stars
By S. Holeman - Reviewed in the United States on February 23, 2016
Doesn't fit my usage. Can't set specific goals, no cumulative totals, plug in monthly.
I have basic needs for a HRM. I like to track my current heart rate, my calorie burn, and keep an ongoing tally for a month (or whenever I clear it). I also like low maintenance (i.e. no battery changes needed for long intervals). My Polar F7 fit this profile perfectly. However, the band finally broke so I decided to try a HRM+fitness tracker, because trackers are all the rage and why not? Unfortunately, this particular device may not have been my best choice but I've had Polar devices for so long I didn't think they would disappoint to this extent. What I love: * airplane mode. If you're just wearing as a fitness tracker and don't need to receive signals from your chest strap, this mode will save some battery and you shouldn't be visible to any beacons you pass buy in the mall (I haven't verified). * large display that allows easy navigation through use of the buttons. Lots of fitness trackers have to be managed through smartphone apps but you can manage a lot on this without an app. * changeable strap. since strap breakage led to the demise of my last watch, I'm glad to know I can easily change out the strap on this one. What I put up with: * can't see time and heart rate. On my previous watch, I could set it to show current time and current heart rate. There is no such config for this watch. You can see current time and total calorie burn or you can see current heart rate. * no seconds. I would like to time some of my stretches for at least 30seconds but there are no seconds displayed * plugging in. If I only use this when i exercise, i can go a month before it needs to be plugged in to charge and download. If I use this as an activity tracker, it starts to complain about not having enough memory after a few weeks. * disabling sounds. You have to disable each activity's sounds individually. There is no general mute mode. You cannot disable certain blips and beeps like for button presses or * soft buttons. On my old watch, you had to be pretty firm with the buttons to use them. I found it nice that bending my wrist to do push ups or whatever did not change any settings. Now I am accidentally pushing buttons (especially when my weight gloves are on) and then have to go push buttons again to get back to the display i wanted. The right softness for easy pressing but not accidental pressing seems a tricky problem so I'm not too mad about this. * bulk. This is significantly larger than my previous Polar HRM but is also more feature-rich so just have to deal with it. What I hate: * can't set your own step goals. Polar has pre-defined goals that they set for you based on your self-reported typical day of work. They do NOT let you see, or change, what that results in for the steps or calories needed to hit their prescribed goal. Super frustrating. So if you want to set a 10k step goal to keep up with other fitness tracking enthusiasts, you can see you step count but you can't set the goal or a notification of hitting it. * no cumulative totals. The only way you can see total accumulated calories or exercise time over the course of multiple activities is to plug into Polar's web service. My old device would keep and display totals until I cleared them. Not this device. It only shows each activity's stats. * Polar's control of the message. Even for finding simple answers, Polar has made sure to control search results so good luck finding user forums and discussions. Some simple answers I wanted were: how long does it take to fully charge on initial charge? What is the power draw while charging? It took a few hours for my initial charge and there is a few second lag between plugging it in and then it starting to draw so there must be a negotiation problem. I only see about 60mA charge, which seems much lower than I would have expected but I can't figure out if that means my device is bad or if this is typical because Polar is controlling too much of the messages out there about themselves. So my device takes quite a while to charge even though even the basic USB1.0 spec allows up to 1500mA.