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Our Score: 3.5 out of 5
Review by Dan Foley
DETAILS & FEATURES
Polar’s Smart Coaching – The OwnZone mode guides you to train at the right intensity and Smart Calories lets you know exactly how many calories you've burned.
Heart Rate monitoring - Automatic age-based target zone; Average and maximum heart rate for each lap and session; HR target zones with alarm
Training features - HeartTouch feature means you can see different training information by moving the watch close to your transmitter so you don't have to use buttons. Up to 99 laps can be recorded. Configure training computer to display what information you need during training.
Polar ProTrainer 5 - Software for analysing, planning and keeping a training diary
polarpersonaltrainer.com - online tool that analyses your training load to show your cumulative training and advising if rest days are necessary. Also includes training programmes.
Fitness Test - A five minute test that tells you what you need to do to improve your fitness and how you are progressing.
Running Index - Automatically calculated after every run, your Running Index is based on your heart rate and from the speed data collected from your stride sensor to see how efficient your running is.
IrDA USB Adapter - allows you to transfer data from your watch to Polar ProTrainer 5 using infrared sensor provided.
S1 footpod - Device to measure speed, pace and distance.
User Review by Dan foley
The Polar RS400 provides you with the all the accurate, quality heart rate data you would expect from Polar with added distance and speed information as well as training tools and data analysis features.
If you're new to running then the RS400 will probably be a bit daunting and provide you with too much information for what you need to improve as a runner. Similarly, if you are at the other end of the scale and have been running for years and are looking for the ultimate training tool, then there might be a few things missing that might make you consider the latest RCX3.
Starting with the basic, the watch itself is chunky and tough, which means it's easy to use on the run but isn't the sexiest watch you'll ever wear. It's easy to plug in and go with the heart rate monitor, although the footpod, which measures steps, speed and distance, is a bit fiddly and becomes an extra chore when you just want to get out and run.
Set up is also a bit more difficult than it should be. Despite being a techy guy, I found the instruction manual less than helpful when it came to downloading data through the infra red USB device and had to search the internet to find suitable instructions, which was annoying.
The lack of a GPS device with the RS400 also means that getting the footpod accurately set up for my own stride length was not that easy. Unless you live near a running track then you'll need to know a stretch of land that is exactly 1km or use a treadmill, which is another inconvenience. To get the most out of this device, there's a bit of leg work to be put in.
Once you're set up though, you'll be able to use some fantastic features. You can use the Fitness test to work out your maximum heart rate and VO2 max, which you can then use to make sure you're training in the desired zone.
The stand out feature for me was the OwnOptimizer tool which, in essence, uses your training data and history to tell you if you are not training hard enough to improve or if you're over-training and need to take a rest day.
On the run, the screen is easy to read and the buttons work fine if you're measuring laps. A particularly good feature is that you can perform actions usually achieved by pressing a button by simply moving the watch close to the HR device.
There are a range of pre-set training sessions to use and you can add your own custom training sessions including heart rate zones, where the device makes sure you maintain your desired heart rate with audible alerts, to interval training and more. I didn't experience any problems with reception when using the device, although I did find I had to wave the watch around near the footpod at the start of a session.
So overall, I'd say this is a great training device that's only really let down by the lack of GPS and the frustration of getting it set up in the first place and having to attach the footpod every time you go for a run. In terms of data, what you can do with it and what the RS400 can do for you in terms of training, it gets top marks.
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