Price: $150 (plus $50 for compatible heart-rate monitor)
Mobile compatibility: iOS and Android
Data transfer: Bluetooth, USB
Features: tracks indoor and outdoor walking, running and cycling; daily activity tracking; ability to create and follow custom workouts and create custom sports profiles; vibration alerts
The Polar M400 is made from durable materials, like stainless steel and rigid plastic, that make it seem sturdy and ready for anything. But despite its brawn, the watch is comfortable to wear while working out, and the device's five buttons are easy to press, even when you're running. I like that this watch comes in solid black or white. Many of the watches I tested were brightly colored and too bold for my taste.
Navigating the M400 is easy, which is more than I can say for many of the GPS watches I've tested. You need to press only one button to start recording a workout — and that button is bright red, so you can't miss it. I did run into some trouble when I first tried to set up the watch on my computer. (The Polar software didn't immediately recognize my device.) But when I called Polar's customer service hotline, I was immediately connected with a company representative who helped me troubleshoot the problem, which was entirely a result of user error.
Value of information:
The M400 isn't designed to track swimming workouts, and it doesn't have a multisport mode, so you can't really use it as a replacement for a triathlon watch. However, you can use the watch to track both running and cycling workouts. Runners and cyclists can use the watch to track their time, distance, calories burned, pace, speed and heart rate (when the watch is paired with a heart-rate strap). The watch also tracks your daily step count and calories burned. All of this data is displayed in the Polar Flow mobile app and website, which is easy to navigate and features some ready-to-read charts and graphs. You can also customize the data that the watch collects and displays by creating new "sports profiles" online. This allows you to label all of your workouts properly, whether you're playing soccer or taking a dance class.
The M400 is one of the easiest GPS watches to navigate, which makes it a pleasure to use. And for people who are interested in connecting with other athletes to stay motivated or swap workout advice, the Polar Flow website seconds as a type of social network. You can use the site to find other fitness fanatics in your area and see how you measure up to the competition.