Review: Polar FT7 Heart Rate Monitor

I recently bought a pair of the Polar FT7 heart rate monitors — one for my wife, and one for me. It’s not something I use on-bike, as my Garmin Edge 705 does just fine in that regard. For me, this was strictly for gym and outdoor running.

Overall, the functionality of the watch is just fine. It matches the data from my Garmin exactly, it can store plenty of data. There’s nothing overly remarkable about it — it’s a heart rate monitor with the ability to store data, set zones, etc.

Where I really take any sort of a strong issue is the user interface and design. While setup is easier than many other HRMs, I’m frustrated by the apparent lack of function for changing the date to MM-DD-YYYY from DD-MM-YYYY. On-screen menus and the physical controls are a little bit clunky if you haven’t read the instruction manual. There are sound cues for the user interface, but I didn’t realize that until I used them in a quiet room. Good luck if you’re pounding away on the treadmill at the gym or have the wind blowing in your ears.

Design-wise it isn’t horrible. My only real complaint here is the huge, clunky metal buttons (five of them) along the sides. Probably easier to hit during actually use than recessed plastic buttons, but the look totally takes me back to the red LED watch my dad had back in the 70s.

Pros: Cost-effective, feature set includes data downloading.

Cons: Poor design, minor quibbles on the user interface.

Verdict: a good mid-range heart rate monitor.

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