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Gear Review: Polar FT40

The folks over at Polar recently sent me a few watches to test out. First up: the FT40 ($160, including chest strap). Being a woman, I was immediately drawn to its great color and design; it's much cooler than my other heart rate monitors of the past. I have even gotten compliments on it outside of the gym (big brownie points there).

The heart rate monitor does all the normal stuff that an average heart rate monitor does, such as showing your heart rate, calories burned, time, stopwatch, etc., but there are a few goodies that this watch also provides. The EnergyPointer calculates the point where training is turning fat-burning into fitness improvement. It also has a fitness test feature, which is able to measures your aerobic fitness at rest in just five minutes. Both features are very useful for someone who is looking to improve their own fitness without hiring an actual personal trainer.

With this watch, you can also upload all your workout information using a Flowlink (sold separately), which transfers data between the watch and — a free site that allows you to track your workouts and progress and gives you access to helpful training tips and tools. My only complaint is that the software for the Flowlink is not Mac compatible as of yet. But all in all, I love this watch. It's easy to use and provides great information, making me focus on my workouts so I can fine-tune my training.

Join The Conversation
kima86 kima86 8 years
I haven't purchased a heart rate monitor, but I've looked at many of the Polar brands. Nice review...makes me definitely want one!
melissada melissada 8 years
Oh Good! Chris (or anyone else), hopefully you can answer this question for me, soon! I'm looking to get my husband a HRM for Christmas, but he's currently deployed and I have to get it to him fast. Question: Do only Polar brand HRMs work with the Life Fitness gym equipment- (does Garmin)? Do Polar HRMs work with other brands of gym equipment? If so, do all of Polar's HRMs work with the gym equipment, or only certain ones? Also, is there a HRM that will adjust the treadmill-speed or incline- to stay at his target heart rate? That would PERFECT. Thanks!!
triathlete triathlete 8 years
Being able to swim with this watch and I can change the batteries, it's the best of both worlds. Does anyone know where I can get it on sale? I really hate to pay full price for anything.
Chris-Polar-USA Chris-Polar-USA 8 years
Hello again, You can swim with all Polar wrist mounted training computers except for the RS800. The wrist unit and transmitters are always water resistant. Polar's entire new FT/FA product line has user changeable batteries(both in watch and transmitter). -Chris @ Polar USA
triathlete triathlete 8 years
I am just curious about swimming with this watch on. I have had a few watches that I have swam with, but none of them were Heart rate monitors. I have worn a heart rate monitor for a couple of half marathons, and a full marathon. But more recently I have been doing more cross training. I really don't want to ruin an expensive HRM. Also I know that most Polar HRM you have to send in to replace the battery, it is the same for the FT40?
sparklestar sparklestar 8 years
Thanks, I'll get in touch with them!
Chris-Polar-USA Chris-Polar-USA 8 years
Hi Sparlestar, The F6 does not use the new Flowlink. In regard to the Soniclink feature found in your F6, we have found it to be a very reliable way to sync your HRM. The trouble is, every computer/microphone combination reacts differently to sound. So a few up front adjustments to the sound and recording volume are required. If you are having trouble - feel free to e-mail, chat or call us through our contact page on If the tech. support folks here at Polar don't get you going I would be VERY surprised. Regarding your chest strap - we try to include a standard size that is very adjustable. But of course, one size can not fit everyone. We have smaller and larger elastic straps available. Feel free to drop us a line and we will send you a smaller size at no cost. Tell em' I sent ya! -Chris @ Polar USA
sparklestar sparklestar 8 years
Oh I just remembered a good thing about the Polar watches - you don't even need to wear the watch if you just want accurate feedback on your workout whilst you work out. A lot of "LifeFitness" and "TechnoGym" machines have a built-in Polar sensor so they'll give you heart rate and calorie feedback as you work out. I found this feature very handy, yey for cross-marketing!
sparklestar sparklestar 8 years
I have an F6 but don't use it for the following reasons: - it's not mac compatible (srsly, why?!) - flowlink doesn't work even when I do use a windows machine - the chest strap isn't made for somebody as small as me and even on the lowest setting it falls down my body when I am running which is quite embarrassing! I would be more than happy to continue using my polar heart rate monitor otherwise so if anybody has any suggestions for the above... I thought I had a breakthrough re: mac compatibility when I found a program called iSmartTrain but they seem to have supported every single model except for mine! ;p
Supermom Supermom 8 years
I really am in the market for a monitor. I just started trying to get back in shape...I just had my second child 7 weeks ago and really let myself go :-( Maybe the people over at Polar will give some to you Fit so you can do a give-a-way. Put me on the list for sure!
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
i'm a big fan of multi-tasking accessories and i like this one a lot. it doesn't hurt that it's green since that's my favorite color. i'm always trying to find things that will track my workouts and tell me what i need to do to work out more effectively - so thank you for sharing this review. i hope that it's mac compatible soon since that's what i have at home.
bootcampfx bootcampfx 8 years
Cool design! I owned a Polar and loved the light weight design. Since I'm a runner, I switched over to the Garmin Forerunner. I've used these things for years and love them. The Garmin is not as pretty as that Polar, but they give you alot of information. Heart rate, GPS gives you speed, altitude, interval training, and more. I only use about 10% of the functions on mine but that 10% is awesome.
bethinabox bethinabox 8 years
This is really cool! I wish I had $160 to spend on that. Ah, well, Christmas is coming up, as well as my birthday in a few months...
Chris-Polar-USA Chris-Polar-USA 8 years
Thank you for the great review! Just to respond to a few of the above comments - The FT40 along with all Polar heart rate monitors use a chest transmitter to measure heart rate. Reason being - this is the most accurate and consistent way to measure heart rate. Good news is the FT40 will come with the new Wearlink textile chest transmitter which is extremely comfortable. It’s like a “second skin” that most people never notice once they start exercising. The Polar FA20 can serve as an alternative for those who don’t want to use a chest strap, because it’s an activity computer – not a heart rate monitor. The FA20 will still measure calorie burn, steps, distance and total active time with 24/7 measurement using an internal movement sensor. Chris @ Polar USA
crystalemily crystalemily 8 years
You have to also have the chest strap.
ep24 ep24 8 years
looks great... i had the same question as treva :)
Renees3 Renees3 8 years
awesome review, I'm in the market for a new monitor! treva - i'm pretty sure you have the wear the chest strap. You get used to them. If you're buying a monitor, don't get one of the ones that you have to stop and put your fingers over the sensor. The chest strap kind are pretty comfortable and work with a lot of the cardio machines at the gym!
treva treva 8 years
Looks pretty neat! I have one question though, as I'm new to the whole heart rate monitor thing, do you have to wear one of those bands around your chest with this? Or does the watch calculate heart rate by itself?
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