Fitness watches are super handy if you enjoy exercising. Most of them have plenty of functionality for all kinds of exercises, but here we’ll take a look at two of the top models out there, the Polar M400 and the Fitbit Surge. We’ll run through the pros and cons below so you can figure out which one is best for you.
The Polar M400 is not just a steps-based fitness watch, especially if you have it hooked up to a heart rate monitor. The M400 is an aggregate barometer of your activities that measures your performance based on your daily goal. So if you’re power lifting for example, you can still get precise measurements of your progress even though you’re standing in one spot that compare to your projected goal. It has preset modes that are programmed to recognize specific movements, such as crossfit mode or cycling mode.
With the M400, you’re pretty much limited to using their proprietary software. The main menu of the Polar app includes a summary of the total amount of time you slept, sat, walked, stood or ran for. The M400 charges with any standard micro USB cable, which is very convenient. Most competitors use a proprietary charger that if you lose can be difficult to replace.
The battery on the M400 is pretty good and should last around 12 days with daily use of features. It’s water resistant, so you can wear it in the shower or rain. The Polar M400 comes in black, white, pink and blue. At around $115, it’s about $65 cheaper than the Fitbit Surge.
- Measures much more than just your steps
- Comfortable strap doesn’t restrict wrist movement
- Preset workout settings are accurate and convenient
- Software includes a comprehensive summary of all activity
- The alarm is just a beep, not vibration
- It has no standard stopwatch
- Can’t really wear it with a long sleeve because the face to too bulky
The Fitbit Surge has some really great features, but does lack some key functions that should really have been included considering its price tag. Some of its nifty features include music playback controls, a highly accurate GPS and it can monitor your stats during a wide variety of activities, except for cycling. Unfortunately there is no biking setting, but you can still set it to running mode and benefit from some of the data you’ll receive. Unfortunately, there’s no home screen. If you accidentally brush against the touch screen with your other arm, you need to wait for it to automatically revert back to the clock screen. This means sometimes the display won’t show the clock. When that happens, there’s nothing you can do but wait. So it doesn’t exactly replace a normal watch for this reason.
The Surge has a vibrating alarm, a nice feature that the Polar M400 lacks. Sleep tracking on the Surge is nothing impressive, but shows enough data to give you an idea of how well you’re sleeping at night. The Fitbit app is fairly similar to the Polar app in terms of what data it displays.
The Surge only accepts phone call notifications and texts, nothing else. Emails and other data-based notifications will have to be checked on your phone. It’s water resistant up to 50 meters, but doesn’t include setting for swimming. Its battery life lasts for 5-7 days with normal use, significantly less than the M400. It comes in black and costs around $180.
- Waterproof up to 50m
- Has a touch screen
- Highly accurate GPS
- Includes a silent vibrating alarm
- Has a more attractive appearance than the Polar M400
- Displays limited notifications
- Doesn’t include a cycling setting
- Lacks a home screen
- Costs $50 more than the Polar M400
- Can’t be worn with a long sleeve shirt either
Compared head to head, it seems that the Polar M400 is a better deal for the money. Unless you just really want a touch screen or just prefer the look and feel of the Surge, it doesn’t make much sense to invest another $50 when the M400 is just as good. If money isn’t an issue, then either one of these watches should satisfy your needs, unless of course you are into biking. For cyclists, the Polar is the clear winner.