Daniel Neilson reviews a lightweight and easy-to-use GPS watch

This review is part of our smartwatches gear guide, and was first published in the January 2019 issue of The Great Outdoors.

Quality and comfort

This is impressively light at 49g. However, it feels a bit ‘plasticky’. That’s that’s not to say it won’t be durable, but the metal casings in the (much) more expensive watches on test feel as though they’ll last longer. At 12mm high, it does feel a tad bulky on the wrist. The strap is breathable and comfortable.

Ease of use

The Polar M430 relies on the five buttons on the watch for navigation – plenty compared with others, but remains intuitive. It then syncs it with Polar’s Flow app accessed on a phone (I used an iPhone). The info is automatically transferred to the Flow app, and it collates heart rate, activity time, calories, distance and elevation. It transposes the activity on a map in the app and can be linked to Strava, among other apps. The app is intuitive, and in my experience so far seems to sync effortlessly. The watch face is basic, with only numerical information displayed on a low resolution black and white screen, and with a backlight if needed. It it very easy to read when moving.

Customisation options

This is designed as a GPS running watch with a heart rate monitor. It also collects extensive health tracking data. The screen options are widely customisable too.

Accuracy

Accuracy is one of the M430’s selling points, as I can attest. It also picks a GPS signal up really quickly. GPS readings can be switched between high accuracy (every second), medium (every 30 sec) and power save (every minute).

Conclusion

This is a watch designed for runners. The mapping is not topographic, nor does it display your location via map coordinates. But if you want a GPS watch that simply and accurately records distance and elevation, at this price, it’s worthwhile looking into.

polar.com

Overview

  • Quality and comfort: 3 out of 5
  • Ease of use: 5 out of 5
  • Customisation options: 3 out of 5
  • Accuracy: 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 3 out of 5

Pros: lightweight, easy to use, accurate GPS

Cons: no in-watch mapping, not very stylish, no map coordinate options

  • Price: £174.50
  • Battery life: Up to 20 days without GPS and heart rate (8 hours in GPS + heart monitor mode)
  • Apps: Polar Flow
  • Mapping: In-phone app, can be connected to Strava
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