Review: Testing out the Polar M430

Monday, December 4, 2017

When Polar sent one of their new Polar M430 watches to Ribble HQ, boasting all new technology including wrist based heart rate, connectivity software and app improvements we wanted to put it straight in to testing. Read Joe’s review…

Out with the old and in with the new:
Polar M430:

I’d never been one for a smart watch, I was always quite content with my old Casio. It told the time and it was waterproof, what else did I need?! Then smart watches seemed to be everywhere. Everyone in the office using them, connecting with their everyday apps, knowing their heartrate, what meeting was coming up. I was  intrigued to try one out properly before making the investment, so the opportunity to test the Polar M430 was perfect!

Polar M430 GPS Sports watch
Polar M430: Available in black or white


Easy to Use

The first thing that struck me about this watch is its simplicity and ease of use. You really don’t need to be a computer programmer to work the Polar M430. Sometimes complicated sports watches and computers can put some folk off – I’m not much of a big ‘tech’ guy and I found it incredibly easy to set up, inputting personal stats easily and it connected to the app on my phone straight away. Job done ready to go.

“It’s fast, practical and worked faultlessly”

The app is fantastic. It’s fast, practical and has worked faultlessly the whole time I’ve been using it. You can clearly see what the watch has been doing – tracking your every move and sleep in great detail with easy to read graphs and tables that explain the data simply.

I’ve found the inactivity alerts a particularly handy feature, prompting you to move with a quick vibrate alert, helping me to remember to get up from my desk and stretch my legs every so often. Which I definitely didn’t do enough of before.

Can the Polar M340 keep up?

As someone who tries to maintain a good base level of fitness, participates in numerous outdoor activities and adventure sports, I was interested to see if the Polar M430 would be versatile enough to keep up with whatever I could chuck at it.

Polar bill this watch as an ‘Advanced running watch with GPS and wrist-based heart-rate’. Personally I think they’re selling themselves a little short. The M430 is more a true multi-sport bit of kit, not just a running watch.

When using GPS mode, its various settings allow me to train effectively whether I’m out on the road bike, mountain biking in a forest, trail running, or up in the mountains skiing. It hasn’t let me down once!  It can track your route and provide feedback on valuable stats like cadence, pace, average speed, altitude, distance etc. I certainly didn’t expect this capability and versatility from a sub-£200 unit billed as a ‘fitness tracker/GPS running watch’. A pleasant surprise.

Polar M430 Sports watch
It’s just too good to give back!!
“A versatile, stylish watch”

The overall build quality is great too, its not too bulky or heavy so I find it comfy to wear whether I’m at work or mid-activity.

The screen is a good-size and whilst it may not be colour, the digits and icons are clear and easy to read. There’s also a backlight function too  which is handy for when you’re trying to find your way through the menus and settings easily day and night. Or just checking on your performance when out in the winter! You can also personalise the watch face which is nice if you prefer things laid out in a particular way.

Made from soft silicone, with little breathing holes in it, the strap is comfortable and breathable. So far, it’s shown no sign of wear or weakness and it’s been through it all – hot and cold conditions, underwater, in the surf and still its yet to skip a beat.

Design wise, its not the fanciest. It looks smart enough but it’s certainly no Apple watch. Mind, that’s not the market its going for. The Polar is purpose-led and it does what its supposed to do, very well.

The battery life is very good too. Which can often be a grumble when discussing this kind of product, but not in this case. Tracker mode can last a couple of weeks easy without the need to charge. But if you go heavy on the GPS you can expect around 8 hours of life, with the optical heart-rate running too, so more than enough for most events and training. It charges up super quick too so you’re back in the game in no time.

The round-up

I didn’t think I’d ever be much of a fan of smart watches let alone believe I’d be converted, but, admittedly I’ve grown quite reliant on the Polar M430. It fits in with my lifestyle brilliantly and keeps me motivated. Being able to analyse the stats gives me the urge to always improve on my last performance.

If you’ve been thinking about getting one or getting one for a loved one, do it. The way it provides key fitness data in such a clear and concise way is perfect for the hectic-ness of today. Who has time to read through stacks of data!! It’s a handy training aid and certainly makes you think of fitness as lifestyle and an area for continuous improvement. And all for under £200, I’d say that’s a pretty good investment. The Polar M430 is available here.


We’re always testing the products we sell. James Vickers recently took the Xplova X5 out for a run – see what he made of it here.

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