Polar M430, to repeat the success of the M400, but with optical pulse sensor


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The complete analysis is already finished, so if you are interested in knowing all the details of the Polar M430 , I recommend you to read the complete review by clicking here.

Polar has just announced its first product for 2017. The new Polar M430 is a renewal of its successful Polar M400This is the market trend and before the end of the year there will be no GPS watch that does not have such a sensor, so we better get used to this fact (and if you are not willing to do so, you can always continue using the traditional pulse sensor).

But the optical sensor isn't the only new thing, there are also new software features, so I don't want to keep you too long, and we'll get straight to it.

A quick look at what's new in the Polar M430

Aesthetically the M430 is very continuous with respect to the model it replaces (the M400). In fact the screen remains the same in both size and resolution. The button layout also remains the same and the development of the menus is the same. Although it incorporates new dials for the watch and strap is somewhat different.

Polar M430

But it is clear that everything reminds us of the "old" M400.

You have to go to the "small" details to find the differences. Which are mainly these:

  • Optical heart rate sensorThe same sensor that equips the Polar M600. In the test of that clock The sensor is only used during activity, there is no heart rate recording for the rest of the day (as with other competitors) and no minimum HR calculation throughout the day.
  • New USB connectorThe microUSB connector of the Polar M400 was a real headache for Polar. First it came with a cap, then Polar removed it, the connector was modified... but many users were still reporting issues. Polar tackles the problem with this new proprietary connector. It was clear that it was something necessary if they wanted to avoid the problems of the past.
  • New sleep tracking functionYes, the Polar M400 already had sleep tracking. The M430 now incorporates what Polar calls Sleep Plus, trying to provide more information about the quality of sleep. We will have to determine in the test if it really means a step further.
  • Less weightDespite incorporating the new optical sensor, Polar has been able to reduce the weight of the device by 5.6 grams, leaving a total of 51 grams. This reduction comes from a lighter strap, both because it is now perforated and because of the material used. The size is the same, the only difference being 0.5mm thicker, which means that for all intents and purposes it is practically identical.
  • VibrationThe M400 had no vibration and only warned of any events through sound alerts. The M430 finally has a vibration warning. But on the way it has lost the sound warnings. I guess we can't ask for everything...
  • Battery lifeBattery: The battery is larger, but the range remains identical to the M400 - 8 hours with use of GPS and optical sensor.
  • New low power GPS modesThe default mode records the GPS position every second and gives the previously specified range (8 hours). It can be set to record location points every 30 or 60 seconds (keeping the heart rate logged every second), reaching a maximum of 30 hours of GPS use. Obviously this extended battery life is at the expense of a somewhat worse track, but for activities such as hiking or walking it is not important.
  • StopwatchMany of you ask me in the comments because you are looking for a watch with an independent chronometer, as the M430 already has it, without having to enter into an activity.
  • Distance and pace with the internal accelerometerThe new M430 also allows you to record pace and distance when not using GPS, such as when training on a treadmill or on an indoor track.
  • Real-time monitoring of the daily activity targetThe activity will allow you to see how your training session is affecting your goal for the day.

These are the main novelties you will find in the M430. Nothing revolutionary, everything evolves on the M400 to bring the product up to date with what the market is demanding right now: mainly the optical sensor.

And this is what stands out the most, since Polar has chosen to equip the most "advanced" version of the two it has in its catalog. This M430 has 6 LEDs (the same as the M600), instead of the more classic M200 sensor. And this is associated with the change of connector that caused so many problems for Polar in the first months of the M400 on the market.

Polar M430

Of course, all the other features of the M400 remain the same, such as customization of sports profiles, advanced training, training programs, blocking of heart rate zones, etc. All those functions that made the M400 so competitive are still present in the M430.


Polar M430, availability and price

The Polar M430 arrives on the market in May. It will initially be available in three colors: dark gray, white and orange. Undoubtedly the best color of all is orange, it seems that Polar have decided to create a specific version "Correr una Maratón" ;-). As for its initial price: 229€.

My opinion

I don't think this renewal will surprise anyone. The Polar M400 is a product that has been on the market for several years now and, at the pace that this segment is moving, it seems like an eternity. What was obvious is that along with the arrival of the M400 replacement, there would also come the incorporation of an optical pulse sensor, not only because it had already been received by a lower range model (the Polar M200), but because it is what the market is demanding.

A general trend that I am seeing in many users is the criticism towards these types of sensors. But I do not consider it a step backwards, quite the opposite. The problems they allege are pulse reading (wearing it well on the arm is much more important than people think), or the need to wear it on top of clothes in winter. But all these watches are still compatible with external sensors, so nothing prevents us from continuing to use them for certain activities, counting on the advantage of the optical sensor for when you are looking for more comfort.

As for the rest of the software features, they are welcome and an interesting update to the Polar approach, but there is nothing surprising. The truth is that I expected something more from Polar. Music playback integrated into the phone, algorithms with more advanced information, route navigation or even running dynamics metrics taking advantage of the possibilities offered by its new Polar H10 pulse sensor.

Polar M430

What makes Polar stand out is the training programs that you can do from the Polar Flow web application. These plans can be downloaded later to the watch and will guide you through the different steps automatically. Or you can plan your own workouts. But this is something that was present in Flow, not something new that arrives under the arm with the M430.

I am therefore not entirely convinced by its launch price, especially since it is the most outstanding feature of the M400 set. At 229 euros it is dangerously close to the sales price of the Garmin Forerunner 235.

Yes, it's an older model, but even though Polar doesn't have a bad image among consumers, it doesn't reach the one Americans can offer, and it's so close that I wouldn't be surprised if when it gets to market, Garmin lowers the sale price of its model to put pressure on the new Polar model.

But we all know that one thing is the recommended price, and quite another is the actual selling price (at least in Europe, where you can't set prices by the manufacturer). The only thing that remains to be seen is how the market responds to the new model and whether the M430 will be able to repeat the success of the M400.

Anyway, everything stands for the full analysis, so stay tuned, because of course you can find it here (where else?).

And with that... thanks for reading!

Eduardo Mateos

I've been surrounded by electronic devices of all kinds for more than 25 years. Using them, testing them, taking them apart and dissecting them. Long distance triathlete: I swim, run and cycle for a long time. Maybe too much.

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  1. Very interesting post, especially for me, after running the half marathon in Madrid, and see how the ismoothrun application on the apple watch gave me a distance of 22.1 km, makes me rethink running with a specific watch to record running data. I have a garmin forerunner 410, it's already antediluvian, so I'm hesitating about getting into the apple watch 2 (I have the first one that came out) with GPS, wait for the 3, which they say will come out in September, or go towards the forerunner 235. I'm attracted to the idea of not having to carry my phone, and I would get that with the apple watch 2, because neither for music (I always run with music) nor for GPS (I've already seen your analysis, and I'm a little worried about reliability), but neither the polar nor the garmin support music....Although the ismoothrun app is giving me distance too much, I think, is a very good option because you can configure the fields (6 plus time and heart rate), and then you dump to a lot of options (garmin, strava, etc etc). Another thing that pulls me back is that I always use the apple watch (except for sleeping and water), and then to run I would have to put two, that and the polar or garmin... I'm a mess... so I'll keep reading you, I'm sure you give me some light. Regards

  2. A little disappointed, actually.
    By the way, funny about M430, isn't it?
    Thank you for the information

  3. This watch looks good, plus it has some interesting features like estimated time of completion and advanced training, but I was wrong to buy the Forerunner 35 so soon...

    1. The rival of the FR35 is rather the Polar M200. This M430 is focused to rival the FR235 and whatever replaces it in the future.

  4. And, although it is light years away from this Polar, what do you think of the Smartband watch Madison Plus for sports, both outdoors and in the gym, even in the living room as a bike. Thank you and congratulations

    1. Such devices can be used for other things, but certainly not to control sporting activity

      1. Thank you very much. Perfect, as always, Eduardo. I had a feeling it was like that, but the security is hearing it from you.

  5. Would you recommend that someone wearing the M400 and a Mio Link switch to the M430?
    Or is it not worth it?

    1. The truth is that I wouldn't recommend it too much... keep in mind that you're going to have the same thing you have now, with very little difference, and having left 229 euros in the way. The only thing you gain is that instead of carrying two devices, you only carry one.

  6. I think the title of your article is very apt.
    Especially the word "repeat".
    In this case Polar has repeated the M400 and updated it.
    It's a shame, we were all expecting a new M400, on the Garmin 235 line.
    Personally, I was hoping:
    - Bigger and more colorful screen (I don't need color)
    - Longer battery life.
    - Vibration.
    - Swimming metrics.

    It's time to wait for another model!

  7. Well the truth ... except for the big problem of price (the m400 is worth just over 100 euros) is what I expected ... I have a m400 and the truth is that being "only" runner, I do not miss almost nothing. The only thing I've ever thought about was the vibration (better vibration than a beep that you can't hear) and the integrated pulse sensor...
    Honestly, if after its release it drops its price (as I hope) it will be the replacement of my already more than amortized M400 (a success for me)

    1. If you're looking for an optical pulse sensor, I'd wait for the M430. If you're more of a chest pulse sensor, you can save yourself that money, although you should keep in mind that possible upgrades will be for the M430 and not the M400.

      1. Thank you for your answer! I would actually use both methods, the cycling band and the sensor for walking, swimming and hiking. I guess the m430 can be associated with a separate heart band, right?

  8. I have just bought a garmin Vivoactive HR, I have just seen the polar M430, and I am thinking of changing it and taking this last one.

    PS: Your articles and analysis are great.

    1. The advantage that you can find in the M430 is the possibility to create workouts from the Polar website. If it is something that interests you, the change can be right.

      1. Thank you.
        I don't really do specific training, so I will continue with the Vivoactive HR which is actually going quite well.

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