After months of trialing this watch, I have finally got around to doing a review of my Polar FT60 heart rate monitor. After my Polar F4 stopped working, I started looking around for a new heart rate monitor. Since my previous Polar Heart Rate Monitor had performed great for over 3 years, I decided to stick with the Polar brand. At first I had trouble deciding between the Polar FT4, FT7, F’T40 & FT60. I ended up purchasing the FT60 and I am very pleased that I did. There are a few features that set this watch above the other watches in the Polar range, including VO2 max fitness texting, STAR training programs for you to follow depending on your fitness goals and the option of adding a GPS sensor.
Firstly I will start off with the main workout display. While you are exercising (and after you finish) the monitor will display the time, your calories burnt, exercise time, heart rate zone and weekly target zones. It also gives you the option of being able to pause your workout should you need to. Another cool feature is the OwnZone option. When training with OwnZone, your workout will be adjusted to how you are currently feeling. If you are in good shape and relaxed the OwnZone feature will adjust your training zones higher automatically. If the Polar heart rate monitor detects you in a stressed state (or oncoming illness) the training zones will be adjusted down accordingly.
One of the selling features for me was the STAR training program which gives you the option to choose a training program depending on your goals. It gives you your training time and calorie target for the week which varies depending on the program which you choose. It automatically adjusts each week by increasing or decreasing weekly training targets depending on how you are doing. If you hit your training time and calorie burn target for the week, you will be awarded with star(s) or a trophy.There are three different training programs to choose from.
- Maximize fitness: if your goal is to maximize your current fitness level, you have been training regularly for at least 3 months and you are able to train 6 days per week.
- Improve fitness: If your goal is to improve your current fitness level and you are able to train regularly.
- Lose weight: if you want to lose weight and you are able to train at least 6 days per week.
Another great feature of the Polar FT60 is the fitness test option. The fitness test is used to test your VO2 max (your maximal aerobic capacity) and to monitor your progress. The fitness test is performed every 4-6 weeks to see if your cardiovascular fitness is improving. This will allow you to see your current progress and make changes accordingly. The Polar Fitness Test takes into account your resting heart rate, heart rate variability, gender, age, height and weight.
During the test, your VO2max will be calculated by taking a resting measurement of your resting heart rate that lasts about 3-5 minutes. During this time the Polar heart rate watch measures 255 heartbeats. At the completion of the test a value is displayed on your watch that predicts VO2max in the form of an index/value. The OwnIndex chart lists seven levels of fitness:
- Very low
- Very good
Also found under applications is a weight diary. If you are following the FT60 weight loss training program, an envelope is displayed once a week to remind you to update your weight. You also have the option to manually track your weight weekly, fortnightly or monthly. There is also an option to view your weigh ins in graph format.
Under the data setting you will find your last 100 training files with summaries (fat burn, intensity, calories burnt and percentage of fat calories burnt), your overall total sessions, calories and workout hours and your weekly history. There is an option to add a GPS sensor (which you have to purchase separately) for those of you who are wanting to track your distance.
As much as I love my polar watch, there are two downsides to this product. The first is that if you want to upload and view your data on polarpersonaltrainer.com, you need to purchase the Polar Flowlink device separately. I have never needed to purchase this, but if you think it is something that you would need, then be aware that it will need to be purchased separately. The cost of the flowlink is around $50. The second thing is the chest strap. I find that sometimes during my workouts the chest strap moves around, therefore cuts out and doesn’t record my calorie burn and heart rate for a minute or two. To combat this I find that you have to wash your chest strap with soapy water after each workout, and make sure that the strap is fitting tightly enough around your chest (even if this means purchasing a smaller chest strap). It’s annoying, but not a deal breaker.
Note: I recently tried it out while swimming laps, and I find it reads excellent in the pool with no problems.
Overall I would highly recommend this product, especially if you are someone who likes to have a specific training program. The Polar FT60 retails for around $160-$200. If you don’t need as many gadgets and/or want something a bit cheaper, I would recommend the FT4, FT7 or FT40. If you want to compare the prices and functionalities of these watches, I put together a comparison chart that you can view here or by clicking the link below. I would recommend checking out Amazon, Heart Rate Monitors USA and eBay as they usually have polar’s for a great price. If you decide to purchase one off eBay, make sure it is from a reputable seller. If you are someone who is looking for a heart rate monitor for strength training, I highly recommend checking out the Polar FT80. I will end this review by posting a quick video about the polar FT60 at the end of this post.
Polar FT60/FT40/FT7/FT4 Comparison Chart