Polar M430: An In-Depth Review

m430 review

At a Glance: Quick Ratings

Heart Rate Functions


Fitness / Sport Features


Ease of Use


Battery Life


A Deep Dive Into Polar M430

What Polar have done with the Polar M430 is take the brilliant M400 and add wrist based (strapless) heart rate sensors to the back of the watch.

The Polar M430 GPS running watch has been reviewed by Tristan Haskins for CardioCritic

  • Who Is It For?

  • Video Review

  • Pros

  • Cons

For any serious runners looking to improve the Polar M430 is the ideal training watch.

If you previously owned a Polar M400 then this is the obvious progression now featuring wrist based heart rate. Although the M430 is aimed strongly at the running market, there is no reason why other exercisers cannot benefit from it’s performance tracking features.

The M430 is packed with performance monitoring features such as Training Benefit, Recovery Analysis, Intervals with vibrate alerts and much more.

In short, if you are serious about your running and have been considering alternative products like the Forerunner 235, then this M430 makes a competent alternative. One of the main features supported by the M430 is Polar’s own RUNNING PROGRAM.

It’s a brilliant feature that plans your training for a 5K, 10K, Half Marathon or Full Marathon. If you have any plans of running any of these races then this function alone is a good reason to buy a Polar M430.

Please scroll down for more details on the Polar Running Programme.

Video Review

This is quite a long video compared to some of my others, however, it needs to be.

The Polar M430 is a brilliant GPS sports watch and I wanted to produce a video review that provides the viewer with an in-depth insight into this watch. As with all my video reviews it’s pretty much unscripted so please forgive the occasional “errmmm” and “uummms”.

Don’t forget to visit my YouTube Channel and subscribe for updates on the latest reviews.

Watch below for the Polar M430 Video Review:


The Polar M400 was recognised as one of the best GPS running watches for many years. It has everything a running watch needs including a clear bright display, auto-lapping, 5 x HR zones, long battery life, built-in GPS etc.

More recently the Polar M400 became less popular because it requires a traditional chest strap style heart rate sensor.

People often opting for the Garmin Forerunner 235 or less functional Polar M200 instead.

Enter the new Polar M430 – a firm contender as the Best Running Watch of 2021.

Polar have been leading innovation in heart rate monitors since 1976.

CardioCritic has reviewed dozens of Polar Fitness trackers and heart rate monitors.

More Polar M430 Resources

  • Heart Rate Accuracy Testing
  • Polar M430 In-depth Video Review

A History in Heart Rate Monitoring

It should be remembered that Polar started monitoring heart rate way back in 1976. No other company has the years of experience that Polar has.

No other company has access to some of the world’s best athletes relying on Polar to monitor their training.

If you want the best in WRIST BASED heart rate monitoring then the M430 can promise that.

Main Features and Functions

Heart Rate Accuracy

The Polar M430 can be used with a Polar H7 or Polar H10 Bluetooth heart rate sensor (chest strap style) if preferred.

The reason for this is simple:

There is NO brand of wrist based heart rate monitor that consistently acquires heart rate within 99.9% to 100% accuracy. If you insist on this level of accuracy you should pair the M430 with a chest belt HR sensor.

CardioCritic’s tests with wrist based heart rate monitoring including the Polar M200, Polar M600 and Polar A360 draw similar conclusions.

These sensors provide approximately 95% accuracy for about 95% of the time. However, they perform better for some sports than others.

For off road mountain biking with heavy wrist vibration they are more erratic and less accurate … for smooth road running, treadmill training and gym use they are generally more accurate. They also work best for STEADY level training e.g even pace running or road riding.

Rapid intensity changes from moderate to high HR in a short period of time, as experienced performing HiiT sessions or Fartlek training, may be less accurately recorded.

Personally, I prefer the convenience of NO CHEST STRAP for a vast majority of my training. However, when performing intervals of high intensity or mountain biking I may opt for the chest sensor for assured accuracy. With the M430 you have the option of both.

Update > July 31st. I have now finished some further tests comparing the accuracy of the M430’s off the wrist heart rate with traditional chest strap using Suunto Spartan (running) and Edge 820 (riding).

The results of these Polar M430 accuracy testing can be found here.

Built-in GPS & Heart Rate

The Polar M430, their latest running watch, features industry-leading heart rate algorithms. Some companies pop any old sensors in their product just so they can tick the [Heart Rate] box … not Polar.

The M430 has been designed and tested for reliability and accuracy. How many other GPS running watches include a proprietary optical heart rate solution with 6-LEDs?

At the end of your run it’s possible to relive your training session in great detail on the Polar Flow app and website. Please refer to paragraph above regarding heart rate accuracy …

Auto-laps or Manual over-ride

The M430 can be set up for auto-lapping e.g every 1 x mile or every 1 x km. Alternatively, you can use the manual lap option OR both auto-lap and manual lap.

A summary review of each lap is available in the M430 at the end of the session. A more detailed lap review is available in the Polar Flow app / website as shown below.

Note > if you forgot to set auto-lap it is possible to add lap markers by distance, e.g. 1 mile (running) or 5 mile (cycling) using the “Split into Laps” feature.

More Features

Dedicated Running Functions

Planning for your next PB

Previewing your Running Program

Running Programme Video

Customisable Training Views

Phased Targets – Interval Training

Image Gallery

Activity To Go

Polar M430 WHITE showing time TO GO to reach activity goal (walking, jogging & standing)

Exercise Mode – Training Views

Polar M430 BLACK/GREY in training mode. Remember, the training pages of the M430 can be customised to show precisely what you want to see from 1 line to 4 lines and various heart rate graphs etc

Custom Watch Faces

There are several watch faces to choose from, however, my personal favourite is the DEFAULT digital one rather than these two analogue ones shown here

6 x Optical LED Sensors

The 6 x optical LED sensors ensure accurate heart rate monitoring throughout the exercise session

Top Alternatives

Next Model UP

The next model up from the M430 is the Polar V800 reviewed here. The V800 does NOT feature wrist based heart rate relying on a Polar H7 or H10 heart rate sensor.

The other major difference between the two is the addition of MULTISPORT support in the V800.

Next Model DOWN

For those who run looking for something slightly less technical than this model Polar have their M200. The Polar M200 is 24/7 activity tracker with wrist based (strapless) heart rate and built-in GPS.

For a majority of runners and recreational exercisers the Polar M200 could be the better (and cheaper) option. 

Best from the Competitors

The Polar M430 will be a best seller for several years to come (as was the M400). If you are in the market for a technical GPS running watch then the M430 could be your perfect training partner.

One of Polar’s strong points over their competition is the post exercise analysis from their Polar Flow website and app.

With everything from training load to recovery analysis it’s one of the best FREE apps out there. However, there are some other very good GPS running watches notable from Garmin.

The closest alternatives to the M430 are the Garmin Forerunner 35 and the Garmin Forerunner 235.

  • Forerunner 35 in-depth review – a less technical GPS running watch also featuring wrist based heart rate & built-on GPS
  • Forerunner 235 detailed review – another technical watch aimed at runners – wrist based HR and built-in GPS

Review Summary

There is no doubting that the Polar M430 will become one of the most popular GPS running watches of 2021 and beyond. The Polar M200 (reviewed here) was a little disappointing with regard to DISPLAY size and clarity .. fortunately the M430 uses the same big CLEAR, BRIGHT display technology used by the M400 (reviewed here).

Wrist based heart rate, built-in GPS, intervals, fitness testing, running programme, auto-laps and much more make it a HIGHLY recommended running watch.

It is without any hesitation that CardioCritic awards the Polar M430 a stunning 5/5 Star Review rating.

>Click Here To Check The Latest Price<

Looking for something a bit different? Check out our reviews on the polar a370 here!

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Andrew Wyatt

Andrew Wyatt

Andrew Wyatt has been a tech geek for as long as he can remember. Whether it's laptops, cameras, or projects, he's obsessed with it all. When he's not researching the latest tech products, he likes to go on long hikes with his dogs.

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