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Published on March 25th, 2013 | by Greg


Polar FT40: Sleek Fitness Guidance

Ladies, if you’re looking to prepare for summer with some workouts this spring, we’ve got a suggestion: why not track your progress and keep a close eye on your heart rate at the same time. Sure, you could get a personal trainer- but for a fraction of the price, you could get a fitness computer. It may not offer up quite as much advice, but it will do a better job of monitoring your heart rate, and will help you out even on the way to the office or during those quick workouts during lunch.

We’ve got two other similar fitness computers with reviews coming up soon- one from Omron, and another called the MIO Alpha. And we’ve seen other watches and timepieces lately, including ones that are more business-oriented and even a smartwatch that integrates nicely with your smartphone. But the Polar FT40 is a fitness and cross-training watch that offers important statistics at a glance- and keeps time! Available in the smaller sized black or white models for women, men get a single, larger option (black).

The band is nice and comfortable, and though it’s a little bulky at first, you won’t notice it after a while. It also looks sleek, and is water resistant to 30 meters so that you don’t need to worry about swimming or showering with it on. Everything is easy to read on the large display. You’ll need to flip through the manual at first, since setup takes a bit of effort- the watch isn’t the only thing in the package!

You also receive a heart rate monitor and strap- you’re supposed to wet the sensors and then attach the strap across your chest. Pairing the transmitter to the watch is pretty simple, and we only had to do it once. Of course, wearing it is a bit of a hassle, but the results are more accurate than other methods. And, much like the watch, it fits snugly and is light enough to be barely noticeable after a few minutes.

Whether you’re walking, jogging, running, or doing other workouts, the fitness monitor can help track your activity. Since it uses heart rate (along with weight, height, gender, and age), it can accurately let you estimate your calories burned. There are a few other features as well, like EnergyPointer, that suggests whether an activity is burning fat or simply improving fitness, and easy-to-set target heart rate zones and limits. And while we didn’t test them out fully, there are lots of logging options, including the Polar FlowLink system on both Macs and PCs that can help keep your fitness diary and show your progress over time. For the price, there’s a broad feature set, including your basic alarms. No GPS or elevation options are available, but they’d boost the price quite a bit.

The FT40 is available now for around $100 or from Polar directly.

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About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.

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