The Polar FT60 is a nearly ideal training companion for those who are serious about their workouts. Much more than a simple heart-rate monitor, it can transform your fitness goals into a training routine, keep tabs on your progress and give you the motivation to stay on track.
Star Training is an efficient personal training program. The Polar FT60 includes Star Training, which gives you the ability to choose your goals and have the monitor create a workout routine for you. Users can elect to improve fitness, maximize performance or lose weight. Based on your user profile including age, weight and more, the FT60 creates weekly plans with training time and calorie targets.
The FT60 saves weekly progress, and that history of up to 100 files can be uploaded to a computer or managed on PolarPersonalTrainer.com. The catch is it requires an optional uplink accessory, the Polar FlowLink (*Est. $50). Other available accessories include a GPS module (Est. $130) and S1 Foot Pod (*Est. $50) for tracking your speed and distance.
Reviews from both experts and users are generally solid. Some say if you don't need the FT60's training features, you can get a less expensive heart-rate monitor that's just as reliable like the Polar FT1 (*Est. $45) .
Despite its advanced features, the FT60 is missing a few small touches. You won't find an interval timer or stopwatch function. It also doesn't have Polar OwnCode, which encodes and decodes communications between the wrist unit and chest strap to cut down interference from other gear. However, owner reviews don't complain of any interference problems.
Easy interface. Most users praise the Polar FT60's ability to track results on the watch itself in addition to the website. The monitor asks you weekly for your weight and uses any change to plan the subsequent week's workout. One wearer says, "The watch is pretty easy to use to review your workout history." We also see no complaints of a complicated setup, which can't be said of the otherwise well-regarded Timex Ironman Race Trainer (*Est. $100).
Overall, owners say they enjoy the operation of the FT60 wrist unit, but report that the buttons are a little hard to push and the face scratches easily.
Finally, user-changeable batteries. The FT60 batteries are easily replaced, a welcome difference from some other Polar models that require the unit to be sent to a service center when the batteries die. However, some owners say the instructions are complicated and the battery compartment is poorly designed.
Beyond that, feedback is generally positive, with few complaints of failing parts like wristbands. The standard Polar warranty is two years, which is longer than what's offered by some competitors. Customer service reviews are sparse, but those we saw aren't entirely positive. One unhappy Amazon.com customer says, "I've never been able to get through on the phone (perpetual busy signal)."
Review Credibility: Very Good On Amazon.com, the FT60 gets more than 100 customer reviews and an overall score of 4 out of 5 stars for its ease of use and effective Star Training program. Comments are mostly brief and don't compare heart-rate monitor models.
Review: Polar FT60 Men's Heart Rate Monitor Watch, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of March 2013
2. The New York Times
Review Credibility: Very Good Belopotosky tests the Polar FT60 for The New York Times' Gadgetwise blog, finding it comfortable, sturdy and reliable. However, she says it takes some time to set up and there's no lap timer.
Review: Marathon Tech Review: Watches, Danielle Belopotosky, Aug. 18, 2009
3. Bicycling Magazine
Review Credibility: Good Carlson reviews the FT60 from personal experience, and likes its intuitive training functions such as weekly programs and progress tracking. Her review is informative but covers only one aspect of the monitor. Bicycling.com names the FT60 a Gear of the Day pick.
Review: FT60 Training Computer, Liz Reap Carlson, January 2009
Review Credibility: Fair Although she provides more of a shopping blurb than a review, Waehner recommends the FT60 as a best overall heart-rate monitor. Her write-up isn't complete or comparative, and doesn't explain her testing methods.
Review: Best Overall Heart Rate Monitors, Paige Waehner, Oct. 13, 2010
Review Credibility: Fair This site's founder likes the FT60's training capabilities and writes an almost exclusively positive review. "A Polar FT60 heart-rate watch is a phenomenal and well-rounded exercise watch that's equal to acquiring an individual coach to oversee your own training session," he says. He advises passing up the GPS accessory in favor of the foot pod that's more cost-effective.
Review: Polar FT60, Rusty Squire, Not dated