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Hands on with the Polar M600: The ultimate fitness-centric smartwatch is just a little too big

Florence Ion | Aug. 4, 2016
Looking to measure your gains? This could be the perfect smartwatch for doing so if you don't mind its bulky, bro-y design.

I’m not a gym rat, nor do I get pumped up to ride my bike for hours on end. It takes a lot to convince me to leave the house and sweat. Still, there’s something particularly convincing about the new Polar M600 Android Wear smartwatch that makes me think I could start a disciplined work out routine of my own. I just wish it it didn’t look like it was designed specifically for the athletic man. 

The Polar M600 is the first truly fitness-centric smartwatch to come to the Android camp. It offers fitness and sleep tracking that trumps most other fitness bands and sportier Android Wear watches. This is not a smartwatch designed for a sedentary couch potato who merely wants to track his steps. Rather, it’s for the devoted athlete who is serious about physically training for the next big showdown, or anyone who might be looking to transition to a heavily active lifestyle.

I had the opportunity a few weeks ago to wear the M600 and sample its fitness tracking app. I really like what Polar is attempting to do for Android Wear, though I’m also a bit put off by the bulky, masculine aesthetic of the M600. Android Wear has come a long way since the first G Watch hit the scene, and the design of the M600 almost feels like a step back.

Function over form

polar m600 1
Florence Ion

This giant smartwatch is too big for most wrists.

The Polar M600 is a gigantic smartwatch covered in smooth, black silicone. It reminds me of a toy watch I would have worn in the 90’s, though it also resembles a bloated version of the discontinued Sony Smartwatch 3. It’s big, and it sticks out about a quarter of an inch off the wrist. Smaller hands will have trouble bending backwards while wearing this thing, and I can’t imagine trying to transition from plank to downward dog with this behemoth strapped on.

polar m600 3
Florence Ion

The bottom side of the M600 features six LEDs for heart-rate monitoring.

I tried on the M600 for about half an hour and while its material is very comfortable, its bulky aesthetic is not particularly attractive. Polar’s justification for the M600’s size is that it’s chock full of features you don’t get with a typical Android Wear watch, and for the most part that’s true. The M600 is not only equipped with both GPS and GLONASS, but it’s also waterproof, and it can withstand dynamic pressure so that divers can take it underwater.

 

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