Sometimes a bike computer just isn’t enough. If you want to monitor your general fitness and keep track of other physical activities, then you’ll probably need a smartphone-integrated sports watch like the Polar M600. This unit isn’t just an activity/fitness tracker, though: coupled to Android Play, the M600 can run all sorts of apps available on Google Play. All of this functionality and flexibility comes at a price, as you can expect only 8 hours of run time when training. You get up to 2 days of usage when just tracking background activity, which really means that you need to recharge the battery pretty much every day.
Let’s have a look at the cyclist-friendly features that are included on the M600. Most importantly, it monitors heart rate with optical sensing on the underside of the watch itself (so no need for a chest strap). It has GPS of course, so your movements (distance and altitude) are tracked. You can sync your activities through Polar Flow, and from there you can sync with Strava, TrainingPeaks, etc, and analyse what you’ve done on the Polar Flow website.
So the M600 will track your ride and with heart-rate data too, but it does have a couple of shortcomings. Firstly it isn’t ANT+ compatible, so won’t be able to receive data from a power meter. Secondly, stating the obvious, it is a watch; is this really what you want to use for keeping an eye on your numbers whilst riding?
Even though the Polar M600 is an Android Wear device, it is compatible with both Android and iOS smartphones (Android 4.3+, iOS 8.2+). It’s still worth checking exactly what integrations are supported with your specific device, by going to Google’s wearcheck page.
On balance, the Polar M600 looks set to be a competent multi-sports watch, competing well against other devices such as Apple Watch Sport and the Garmin Vivoactive HR. Despite being IPX8 rated (suitable for surface swimming) it’s not really suitable for triathletes; that’s still the domain of the Polar V800. If you want to track your background activity and rest, and can settle for basic sports tracking, then the M600 will probably be the one for you – if you can afford it!