Polar A300 – First Impressions
The Polar A300 looks like just another one of Polar’s sports watches – but it’s actually far more basic. It’s an activity tracker at heart, like the Polar Loop, with neither GPS nor heart-rate monitoring. The latter function is supported via Polar’s excellent H7 heart-rate monitor chest strap, but you’ll have to pay extra for that. The A300 is waterproof, though, so you can wear it in the shower or in the
pool, and combined with H7 chest strap you can even
track the intensity of your swimming sessions.
The A300 is going to be available from February in Finland and the US, with more countries added later. But I’m not convinced people will be champing at the bit to own one.
To look at, the A300 strongly resembles Polar’s V800 and M400 sports watches, with the same stainless steel buttons beside the display, and bright rubber strap. This time the straps are interchangeable and will cost around £20 for other colours. That means the watch module, with its monochrome LCD screen, is removable and usefully has the charging port in the body so you can simply plug it into a spare USB port on your computer or into a mains adapter.
SEE ALSO: Best Fitness Trackers Round-up
A standard accelerometer will deliver standard activity-tracking data such as steps and distance, as well as automatic sleep tracking and number of calories burned based on daily activity and training. As with the Garmin Vivosmart and Jawbone UP24, a vibration motor signals periods of inactivity to remind you to get moving during the day.
Data is synced to the Polar Flow web and smartphone apps for iOS and Android via Bluetooth Smart and also opens up support for Polar’s interesting smart coaching features. These are largely focused around training in heart-rate zones, and plans can be downloaded to the A300. Again, though, this really requires spending extra on a compatible heart-rate monitor.
The Polar A300 looks like a sports watch but actually has more basic functions. When you consider the price, that’s disappointing. To get the very most out of the setup, the heart-rate monitor chest strap is essential, requiring you to pay closer to £150 – still less than something like the Fitbit Surge smartwatch (£199), but it does mean you have to wear two devices. It’s also not that much cheaper than Polar’s own sports watches with GPS built in.
Polar might have pedigree in this field, but it’s going to have to do a lot more to convince people to spend their money on the A300.