In the Polar M430 test, we want to record first results and introduce the device in more detail. We already took the first pictures and impressions about Polar’s GPS running at the FIBO 2017 in Cologne in April. This enabled us to provide you with an initial overview of the successor to the successful M400 (our M400 review ), which will inherit the functions of the M400 and expand with new features.
The M430 is not a purely clock-oriented watch. It supports a number of sports profiles, including a swimming profile. Furthermore, the Polar M430 is waterproof, has a sporty and lightweight design, and provides the most popular Smart Coaching features that accompany the training. See also our numerous Polar test reports.
Functions such as the running index , the automatic and manual recording of the laps, the automatic pause, the stopwatch, the interval timer, the calculation of the target time or the detailed running programs round off the functional scope of the Polar M430 and contribute to performance-oriented running optimization.
In addition, the M430 now offers:
- Vibrations: replace acoustic alarms
- Alternative GPS modes: prolong battery life, but deteriorate the GPS accuracy
- Switch-on pulse sensor during swimming in the swim profile
- New WatchFaces
- Fitness test with optical pulse sensor possible
- New interface: replaces the vulnerable micro-USB port
- Improved sleep tracking algorithm: provides more information about sleep compared to current polar trackers
- LiPo battery with 240 mAh: Battery life for up to 8 hours of permanent training, including optical pulse measurement on the wrist
Polar M430 in test: exterior and processing
In general the M430 is well processed. This applies to the watch case with buttons as well as to the connection between the case and the silicone bracelet. The silicone bracelet makes a very pleasant and solid impression, because it is soft and cuddly. It has also become easier compared to the predecessor’s bracelet. Unfortunately, the bracelet can not be easily replaced.
The wearing feeling is also very good over several days. The classic watch closure also leaves a good impression:
As can also be seen in the following pictures, the pulse sensor protrudes somewhat from the housing. This does not disturb the daily wearing of the clock. This is not the case during training sessions.
Since the question often reaches us, in the following a picture of the M430 on a female wrist:
Display and operation
The Polar M430 has a total of 5 buttons, one for sportsmen rather undesirable touch display is not.
Pictures from the white version:
Operation via the buttons is good and reliable. For example, it is not necessary to press the buttons too hard to navigate through the menus. The buttons can also be quickly locked via the upper left buttons to prevent unwanted key actions.
The display is similar to the predecessor M400 and with its 128 × 128 pixels well readable. It is significantly better than that of the Polar M200 entry level (our M200 test ). Here is a picture from a brighter environment:
In dark environments (dark rooms, for example), the display is difficult to read and the good background lighting has to be activated. This is done without detours by pressing the upper left button once.
Heart rate variability via optical pulse measurement
One of the most interesting innovations of the Polar M430 certainly belongs to the pulse sensor equipped with 6 LEDs. According to the manufacturer, this is the most accurate pulse sensor from Polar. In the Polar M600 Android Wear Sport Smartwatch (our M600 review ) is a similar pulse sensor, which convinced us in the running test. For most other manufacturers, 2 to 3 LEDs are used, as is the case with the new Garmin Fenix 5 (our Fenix5 test ).
In the Polar M430, the manufacturer has further improved and optimized this pulse sensor and promises to allow the measurement of heart rate variability via the optical pulse measurement during workouts . A 24/7 pulse measurement, including quiet pulse measurement as with some other manufacturers, does not master the device at market launch. Only Polars new fitness strap A370 offers under the Polar products the 24/7 pulse measurement.
For those who need more precise measurements in different sports, the option is available to continue to couple an HR chest strap with the M430.
Polar M430 Test: Running, pulse accuracy, GPS
In our test we use the Polar M430 as an example for running. Due to the fact that the M430 is suitable for swimming according to the manufacturer, one does not have to worry about the weather outside. To swim further down. Among the sporting highlights are, besides the pulse meter, a GPS receiver or complete running programs, which can be followed for weeks and months. In addition, there are other features such as statements about the exercise load, the training effect or recreational status as well as the running index.
For the beginning we go a round jogging. Via a button (right center), which is specifically designed for the sport selection, you enter the sport mode and select your sport. There are dozens of sporting profiles available for polar events. These include walking, cycling, group training, walking, swimming, outdoor / indoor sports, or yoga, each of which calculates the calories more accurately.
If you start the running training, the Polar M430 automatically searches for a GPS and pulse signal. This process usually takes only a few seconds.
During the training you have the possibility to get detailed information about the training.
After training and synchronization, the data is available in the PolarFlow web service as well as in the app and can also be exported in CSV, TCX or GPX format:
During the M430 test, Garmin’s Fenix 5 was part of the Garmins Premium HR chest strap. This allows us to measure whether the M430 Pulse Sensor measures the pulse accurately. If the measured values are superimposed on one another, the following picture is obtained for the first run test:
The inaccuracy at the very beginning of the training is often typical for optical pulse sensors. At about the 5th minute but another minor inaccuracy, which we did not expect there. Further running units are completed, in order to check again whether the M430 has not moved. The following HR data show that at least very similar values were measured for regular running training:
- Polar M430
- Average: 157 S / min
- Max .: 176
- Garmin Fenix 5 with HR chest strap:
- Average: 158 S / min
- Max .: 176
This is how the M430 overall track for the above running unit looks like in the test:
Zoom in closer and compares the details of the GPS track with the track recorded by the Fenix 5, but sometimes differing routes:
The GPS receiver of the M430 is, however, considerably more accurate and often makes the run distance several meters better. Both devices record in a 1-second cycle with the best possible GPS / GLONASS options.
Polar M430 – swimming
We do not yet know which swimming metrics are supported, but one can already say that when the swim profile is activated, the pulse sensor is activated. We are aware of a few tracers with a pulse sensor, which support a swim profile with an active pulse sensor. It remains to be seen whether the pulse sensor provides even approximately plausible data during swimming. The results of our previous tests with devices of similar functionality are rather sobering. Even Swimmo (our Swimmo test ), specialized in swimming, usually delivered too low pulse values.
In the first M430 practice test we see that the pulse sensor is activated for float units in the float profile.
Activity Tracker – Daily activities and sleep
The M430 measures daily evaluations of activities, such as steps taken, distance or sleep behavior. However, a 24/7 pulse measurement is not activated, which is currently only reserved for Polars Fitness Armband A370.
In Flow, all statistics and trends can be tracked:
Polar’s sleep-tracking feature was more spartan and detailed on devices before the M430. This now changes with an improved sleep-tracking algorithm that provides more information and a better breakdown of sleep. Here again screenshots from Flow:
Trends are also evident:
In the test, the M430 sometimes drew real sleeping times, sometimes false. If they were wrong, then because the sleep time was not properly recognized. At the top of the screen, Monday and Tuesday are fairly close to reality, but on Wednesday the recording started too early (about 30 minutes).
Polar M430 – Other features
The fitness test is a five-minute exercise that measures the aerobic fitness by means of the pulse, pulse fluctuations and personal data. By regularly comparing his test results, he can help to identify and improve personal fitness progress.
Improvements also in PolarFlow
Polars App Flow has also been improved. In order to set up the M430, you can do without a cable and the initial setup via the PC / MAC. In Flow, the initial setup as well as intuitively all other possible M430 settings can be made. This also includes configurable data fields, which the M430 then takes over after a short synchronization.
Many of the flow improvements are already available in the latest version of the app and make it easier to configure existing Polar Tracker.