Enlarge (credit: Polar)
It has been nearly three years since Polar first released the M400 running watch, and now the company is updating it. Polar announced the $229 M430 today, a new version of the previous runner’s watch with slight improvements to the device’s design and software that may be unnoticeable at first but should make a big difference during workouts.
The general design of the M430 is very similar to the M400—it’s a bulky, rounded-square module with five physical buttons and a soft-touch silicone strap. The external features of the module haven’t changed much, but Polar made the strap thinner, lighter, and more perforated to allow for better ventilation. It looks quite similar to Nike’s Apple Watch Series 2 straps, with three rows of small holes covering the band. Those types of bands make it easier for the skin on your wrist to breathe and easier for sweat to escape. The module itself is 12mm thick and weighs 51 grams, and Polar claims its design combined with the improved strap will decrease pendular motion that occurs while running (those are the small movements that the M430 is subjected to every time you swing your arm during a run). If worn properly, fitness trackers don’t seem to move at all while on your wrist, but they are adjusted and jostled slightly with every bit of arm movement.
The M430’s accelerometer has also been improved to provide pace and distance metrics for indoor running on treadmills in addition to outdoor trail running. Most fitness trackers, and running devices in particular, only provide accurate pace and distance calculations when you’re running outside, whether they have built-in GPS or not. Now all kinds of runners can use the M430 to its fullest extent no matter where they’re running or what their training plan suggests.
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