Polar M430 GPS Running Watch Does Not Reach the Top

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The Polar M430 – The Pros & Cons of Polar’s Latest Device

Are you trying to decide if the Polar M430 GPS running watch is the right sports watch for you? Just recently released, it certainly has fitness enthusiasts talking up a storm. It has its’ ups and downs just like everything else but the M430 really is quite the little machine.

After reading this guide, you’ll be more than ready to make the decision for yourself – to buy or not to buy?

I’ll go over all of the key features of this great new device. I’ll uncover the best and worst aspects of Polar’s newest sports watch and help you understand the benefits of this model in comparison to others that are similar; such as the M400.

Read about: What is Garmin vívoactive HR and How Does it Work?

A Long Standing Reputation for Excellence

Let’s talk a bit about the Polar company briefly first, however. After all, a product is only as good as the company that designs and manufactures it, right?

Polar is more than just a player in the sports/workout computer industry. In fact, you might say they’re the MVP. Why?

Decades before devices like the M400-430, Fitbits, and other fitness/health trackers you’re familiar with arrived, Polar actually invented the very first portable heart rate monitors for training/tracking.

That was way back in 1975.

Obviously, technology (in general) has come a long way since the 70’s. Since then, Polar has come a long way as well. It is a brand you can trust.

The colors you can choose.

The colors you can choose.

Main Features of the M430

Here are some of the main features you should be acquainted with.

  • Optical HR Sensor – This device is the first equipped with a 6 LED light optical HR sensor; which Polar claims to be their most accurate sensor to date; an impressive feat. It provides excellent accuracy. It is completely wireless and does not require a companion chest strap.
  • Battery & Charging – 8 hours with full GPS and HR sensor on, 30 hours of use between charging with GPS power save mode and optical heart rate. 20 days if only used as a watch with daily activity monitoring. The charge port is waterproof.
  • GPS – Multiples modes of GPS tracking make it easy to save battery life while still keeping accurate track of your movement; or steps.
  • Stopwatch – A stopwatch may not seem like an important part of your workout- that is, until you go to time a set, swim, or run and realize you don’t have one.
  • Breathable Strap – Just what it sounds like, this sports watch has a stretchy, ventilated band. The main purpose of this band type is to increase the accuracy of the optical heart rate sensor.
  • Tracking Features – The Polar M430 keeps track of your daily exercise goals as well as your steps, overall distance, indoor movement, active time, calories burned, heart rate, sleep patterns and more.
  • Polar’s App – The Polar Flow smartphone app is already available and well-established for their other devices. It is incredibly easy and intuitive to use. One of the most popular features of the Flow app is the Smart Coach setting which scores you daily and lets you know how you’re doing on your fitness goals.
  • Push Notifications – The 430 notifies users of important events such as inactivity stamps, or meeting daily goals via push notification. For your convenience, it quietly vibrates to alert you of your notification.
  • Update Availability – There’s no longer any need to connect to a personal computer when it’s time to take care of your updates. Firmware updates are available for the Polar M430 via Bluetooth Smart
Polar M430 in white with the optical Heart Rate sensor

Polar M430 in white with the optical Heart Rate sensor

How Does the M430 Differ from the M400?

While the Polar M400 gets the job done, I feel like the additional features that the M430 is sporting really do make the difference between being a worthwhile purchase and being a splurge item you wait on buying.

The M430 is just better. In basically every way.

Take a look for yourself:

Polar M400 Polar M430
Very poor indoor movement tracking Uses accelerometer to track pace, distance, and cadence indoors
Overly loud notification dings Optional vibration mode for smartphone notifications
Requires a separate chest strap to monitor HR Monitors HR from the wrist with an optical HR sensor
Battery life of up to 10+ days Battery life from 8 hours to 20 days depending on GPS and HR sensor use
Not meant to be worn 24/7. Stiff, heavy band with no ventilation Designed to be worn comfortably 24 hours a day
Access Polar app on your smartphone Access “Smart Coach” on the watch or your smartphone


Polar M430 GPS Running Watch

Polar M430 GPS Running Watch.

While I really like the Polar M430, it isn’t without its drawbacks. Pretty much every device has those one or two features that just really drive you crazy. So here’s the scoop on the features that we like the least:

My Least Favorite Features

  • Shorter battery life than earlier models. It’s designed to be worn 24/7, but it needs to be charged every 30 hours max with GPS and HR sensor on. When used to its full potential it only lasts for 8-10 hours. There are models out there with longer battery life for those who truly want to monitor themselves constantly. As a fitness tracker that monitors daily activity, only the batteries will last for 20 days, tho. 
  • The band is not removable. While this isn’t necessarily a deal breaker, it is something to consider. The M430 is currently only available in 3 colors; white, gray, and orange. Not exactly stylish either. It also makes cleaning it a bit more of a pain.
  • No 24/7 heart rate tracking feature. You can only record your heart rate while in Sports mode. Not great for those who are interested in their heart rate variability, resting rate, etc…


Product video

Official product video from Polar:

In Conclusion

Polar’s latest wearable isn’t setting any new trends, but it is a quality sports watch/tracker nonetheless. If you’re looking for a good running watch with some fancy extras that will come in handy from time to time, the M430 is probably perfect for you.

It offers all of the features that you could possibly want while on your runs, hikes, or other outdoor excursions. And it is pretty reasonably priced, especially in comparison to similar models on the market.

Overall, I think that the Polar M430 is a good deal. It may not be the absolute leader in tech, but it isn’t the leader in price either. It’s a very reasonable alternative to more expensive models that offer vanity features such as switchable bands and complex apps.

Where can I buy the Polar M430 GPS Running Watch?

You can purchase it my favorite online store Amazon.

Always click the button to check recently updated price and additional info and reviews.

More info & Questions

I’ll answer any question in the commenting section below, so post your doubts or concerns there. Check out these comments from other Amazon.com users:

“Disappointing for a Long Time Polar User” by A. F. SLATER

“The device syncs easily with my Stryd footpod” by Josh W

“Good so far, but not great yet.” by Serafina

Interesting articleGarmin Fenix 3 GPS Watch for Athletes!

Technical Specifications

Here are the most important tech specs:

General Design:
Name Polar M430
Type Activity tracker and GPS watch
Weight 51 g
Dimension 12 mm thick
Size One size
Materials Silicon, Thermoplastic Polyurethane, Stainless Steel, Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, Glass fiber, Polycarbonate, Polymethyl methacrylate, Liquid crystal polymer
Interaction Buttons
Interface Backlit High-resolution display
Resolution 128 x 128 pixels
Battery Type 240 mAh Li-pol rechargeable battery
Battery Life GPS mode: Up to 8 hours, Power save mode: Up to 30 days
Memory 8 MB Flash memory
Colors Orange, White, Grey
Water-Resistant Yes
Water-Proof (depth) Yes, WR30 – 30 m
Vibration Yes
Sensors 6 LED Optical HR sensor, Accelerometer, Odometer
GPS Yes (with SiRFInstantFix satellite prediction technology)
Memory 60 hours
It Tracks:
Steps Taken Yes
Intensity minutes Yes
Distance Yes
Activity time Yes
Calories Burned Yes
Sleep Monitoring Yes
Heart Rate Yes
UV -
Floors climbed -
24/7 (All day) Yes
Other features:
Time Yes
Alarm Clock Yes
Guided Workouts Yes
Inactivity Alert Yes
Timer Yes
Stop watch Yes
VIRB Remote -
Smart Notification Yes
Music Control -
Find my device -
Wireless or USB Wireless and USB
Sync Method Bluetooth Smart and PC
Mobile App Polar Flow App
Maintenace & FAQ:
Manufacturer Polar
Manual (PDF) Product manual in PDF


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