AT A GLANCE: QUICK RATINGS
Heart Rate Functions
Fitness / Sport Features
Ease of Use
Where To Get It
A Deep Dive Into Polar FT4
Thank you for looking at our review of the Polar FT4 Fitness Heart Rate Monitor, tested and reviewed by Tristan Haskins. Please note, the Polar FT4 is in the process of being obsoleted from the current Polar Fitness products range. It’s been around for many years and has proven to be a hugely successful fitness watch.
Times have changed and we’d now recommend either the Polar A300 or the Polar H7 heart rate sensor paired with your iPhone / Android smartphone running the Polar Beat APP. HOWEVER, it still remains an easy to use, self contained, highly accurate heart rate watch for those looking for a more traditional solution …
Who Is It For?
So you want to train within a specific heart rate zone – you want to keep a track of calories burnt and you want a unit you can wear throughout the day as a normal time of day watch ?
Then the FT4 heart rate monitor could well be what you need. It has the essential HR zone, to train at the most suitable intensity – PLUS, it gives accurate calories burnt information, based on age, sex, weight and HR.
Polar started selling heart rate monitors in 1976. CardioCritic have reviewed the majority of Polar heart rate monitor watches & fitness trackers – using them for the first time in 1996
Post session review provides time spent in zone, average HR and calories burnt. For those who want basic heart rate-based features to keep their fitness training simple. Just grab it with you, put on the comfortable textile transmitter, and Polar FT4 tells if you’re improving your fitness.
Main Features and Functions
Just like the FT1 before, the Polar FT4 does nothing it shouldn’t and everything it should. If all you need is a great looking HRM with heart rate zone control and calories burnt feedback, then this is what you’ve been looking for.
The FT4 has one big advantage over the FT1…. it comes with the Polar Wearlink HRM strap. The Wearlink is slightly more comfortable than the T31 coded, plus it has SELF CHANGE batteries. Just screw the back off, watch unit or chest transmitter, and pop in a new lithium coincell (about £2) and you’re good for another 18 months.
- Shows when you’re improving fitness based on your heart rate
- Displays calories burned
- Comes with comfortable textile transmitter and coded heart rate transmission to avoid cross-talk
- All self change batteries
From the new line up of Polar Fitness models we’d recommend either the Polar A300 with activity tracker, Heart Rate and smartphone connectivity, or, simply pair the Polar H7 HR sensor belt to your smartphone and make use of the Polar Beat APP.
- Polar A300
- Polar H7
Body Measurement Features
- Manual target zone – bpm / %
This feature enables you to define the target zone as you want and is suitable for your training. You can set the target zone for your training as beats per minute (bpm), as a percentage of your maximum heart rate, or as a percentage of your heart rate reserve (HRR%).
HRmax (user set)
- Polar OwnCode® (5kHz) – coded transmission
Coded heart rate transmission automatically locks in a code to transmit your heart rate to the training computer. The training computer picks up your heart rate from your transmitter only. Coding prevents interference from other training computers.
- Polar OwnCal® – Smart Calories
The most accurate calorie counter on the market calculates the number of calories burned. Calculation is based on your individual data: your weight, height, age, gender and the intensity of physical activity. Smart Calories are available in heart rate monitors and activity trackers.
HR-based target zones with visual and audible alarmHR-based target zones with visual and audible alarm
You can define your target zones for a training session based on heart rate to help define the right intensity. When you are out of the preset zones, the training computer will give a visual and audible alarm.
- Average and Maximum heart rate of training
- Automatic age-based target zone – bpm / %
To help you train safely and effectively, the training computer determines your heart rate target zone limits automatically according to your age-based maximum heart rate (220 minus age). The limits are determined either in beats per minute (bpm), as a percentage (%) of your maximum heart rate, or as a heart rate reserve (% HRR). See also Maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) and Manual target zone.
- Heart rate – bpm / %
Heart rate is the measurement of the work your heart does. Heart rate can be expressed as the number of beats per minute or as percentage of your maximum heart rate. Heart rate can also be expressed as a percentage of your heart rate reserve, meaning the difference between your resting heart rate and maximum heart rate (HRR = HRmax – HRrest). In Polar software or during strength training, heart rate can be displayed as a graphical trend.
- HeartTouch – button-free operation of wrist unit
When HeartTouch is on, different training information during training can be accessed without pressing buttons, for instance, when gloves make pressing buttons difficult, by bringing your training computer close to your transmitter.
- Graphical target zone indicator
This feature points out graphically on the display the zone you are in during a training session helping you to stay on the desired intensity zone.
- Totals - Totals includes your training data starting from the last reset enabling you to follow your long-term training.
- Training files (with summaries) – 10
- Date and weekday indicator
- Display text in English, German, Finnish, Swedish, French, Portuguese, Spanish, and Italian
- Dual time zone
- Button lock
- Low battery indicator
- Time of day (12/24h) with alarm and snooze
- User replaceable battery
- Water resistant – 30m
In the box
- Polar FT4
- Polar FT4 training computer
- Polar H1 heart rate sensor
- Quick Guide
Next Model UP
This range is pretty much all but obsolete. The next model up was the FT7 which includes all the features of the FT4 with the addition of a ENERGY CONTROL pointer.
This nifty feature tells you if you are FAT BURNING or IMPROVING FITNESS. If you are working at approximately 50-65% of your MaxHR it will show FAT BURNING… once you push beyond that the FT7 will tell you that you are IMPROVING FITNESS.
The other difference is that you can send your training data to Polar’s webservice. The Polar FT7 can communicate with the PolarPersonalTrainer.com service via a Polar FlowLink device (USB data transfer module available as an optional extra)
Next Model DOWN
The next model down is the Polar FT1. The FT1 does NOT have a self change battery in the watch, neither does it come with the slightly more comfortable Polar Wearlink strap. However… if you don’t want calories and can live with this unit for the next 2 years… the FT1 is GREAT VALUE
Nothing. It does precisely what it was designed to do to meet the requirement of the customer it was designed for at a great price.
Looking for something different? Find out if the Polar M600 is worth the buy here!