Last September, I reviewed the Polar M600 Android Wear smartwatch and labeled it the best smartwatch for sports-focused people. With the release of Android Wear 2.0 for the M600 and new competing watches from Apple, LG, and Huawei, it is clear to me that the Polar M600 is the best for those who want their GPS sports watch combined with their daily wear smartwatch.
In most cases, we have to choose either a GPS sports watch or a smartwatch to have optimal experiences for each primary function. Let's look at some of the newest devices that try to combine the two functions.
- Apple Watch Series 2: The latest Apple Watch does very well with both functions and is one I could live with as both my GPS sports watch and smartwatch. However, it's limited to iPhone users and also has a closed platform so access to your workout data is limited.
- Samsung Gear S3 Frontier: The Samsung Gear S3 is more capable than the Apple Watch Series 2 and offers more than the Polar M600. However, battery life is not as good as the M600, which is important if you want to wear the watch all day as a smartwatch and then go on a run after work. The Gear S3 needs a charge to do so, while the M600 does not.
- LG Watch Sport: The LG Watch Sport is the smartwatch that Google promoted with the release of Android Wear 2.0. It is a well built smartwatch, but it is quite large and has terrible battery life. I've tried going back to it a few times, but can't put up with a watch that can't get through a day of use with no life left to workout.
- Huawei Watch 2: The Huawei Watch 2 is targeted to the athlete and is a decent smartwatch that could serve both functions. However, the display is too small for me to use accurately, and if you use the Huawei Workout app then your data is locked just like we see with Apple's Workout app. The battery life is decent and it does have NFC for Android Pay support.
As you can see, there is competition to the Polar M600 when it comes to smartwatches that can serve as GPS sports watches. While most are close and even offer a better smartwatch experience in most cases, the long battery, GPS accuracy, heart rate performance, open nature of the Polar Flow service, and sleep tracking make the Polar M600 a better GPS sportswatch that also performs well as a smartwatch.
The details of the data captured by the Polar Flow app on the M600 is exhaustive and it's tough to find another smartwatch with such a comprehensive collection of your data. Polar Flow has a selection of running programs that you can sync to the M600 to achieve your event goals. The programs can be customized to how often you train, how long you wish to train during each session, and how intense you want to train. For those looking to complete a 5K, 10K, half marathon, or full marathon, the Polar Running Program is a valuable added benefit to using the Polar M600.
With the recent release of Android Wear 2.0, updates to the Polar M600 include:
- Android and iOS users can access the Google Play store via the watch, download apps, and operate them directly on the Polar M600.
- Polar M600 now offers new indoor swimming metrics such as distance and pace, as well as strokes per minute and strokes per pool length. Polar M600's latest metrics will even determine whether a swimmer is swimming freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, or butterfly.
- With Android Wear 2.0, Polar M600 has Google Assistant built-in. Users can customize watch faces with complications, receive calendar notifications, read and reply to texts, scroll through social media feeds and access even more apps via Google Play.
- Newly designed watch face and additional languages including Vietnamese, Turkish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, and Danish.
- Polar M600 battery life improved to 36 hours as a smartwatch with up to eight hours of GPS tracking, which is enough to cover even my full marathon pace.
Google Assistant works well on the Polar M600 with a press and hold of the left hardware button. Music plays back well and it is easy to download and install apps right from the watch. The only real limitation with the Polar M600, compared to 2017 smartwatches, is that NFC is not present so you cannot use Android Pay on the M600.
The Polar M600 is available in Charcoal Black and Powder White for $329.95. Interchangeable wristband accessories are available in red, white, and black for $29.95 each.