At a Glance: Quick Ratings
Heart Rate Functions
Fitness / Sport Features
Ease of Use
Where To Get It
A Deep Dive Into Polar M450
I have had the pleasure of using and testing the Polar M450 for over 1 month and can confirm without any hesitation that it’s the best bike computer Polar have ever produced. It’s a serious competitor for the Garmin Edge 25. The Polar M450 GPS bike computer has been reviewed by Tristan Haskins aka Cardio Critic (was HeartRateMonitor UK)
Who Is It For?
If you are looking for a bike computer with built-in GPS and optional heart rate, cadence and even power support then look no further than the Polar M450. It’s not a navigators GPS device but a top spec performance monitoring bike computer.
The M450 is suitable for all levels of cyclists from daily commuters, recreational and family riders to performance monitoring athletes and competition riders.
There’s very little this mid-sized GPS bike computer can’t do it even has built-in fitness tests and customisable display views so you can see what’s relevant to you. If you didn’t already know, Polar started selling heart rate monitors in 1976. CardioCritic have tested the majority of Polar heart rate monitors & bike computers – using them for the first time in 1996
- Very ease to use and set up
- Long battery life - up to 16 hours with GPS and HR
- Buttons, not touch screen. Personally, I prefer this
- Emergency safety light
- Bluetooth support of Heart Rate, Cadence, Power and Speed sensors
- Packed with Fitness testing options
- Bluetooth data upload to Polar Flow app (Android & iPhone)
- Fully customisable training pages (contrary to 220 magazine review !)
- Out Front bike mount available (optional)
- Can be used for over 80 sports using Polar Sport Profiles ... run with it in pocket etc
- This is one of the very best GPS bike computers on the market
- It is hard to find anything to criticise ... a worthy alternative to a Gamrin Edge
Main Features and Functions
|(with mount||19,4 mm)|
|Display size||3.5cm x 3.5cm|
|Splash proof (IPX7)|
- High precision barometer
- Sensitive and accurate GPS
- 64Mb flash memory
- 35 hours of recording time with HR, GPS and power sensors on
- Rechargeable 385mAh battery
- Battery duration up to 16 hours of training with heart rate and GPS on
- Easy wireless sync via Polar Flow app with Bluetooth Smart
- Micro-USB connectivity for charging and data sync with PC or Mac via Polar FlowSync
- Splash proof (IPX7)
- Polar Flow web service compatibility with Mac OS X 10.6 or later and PC Windows XP, 7, 8.
- GPS satellite pre-loading
- Updatable software
- UI languages English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Danish, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, German, Italian, Finnish, Polish, Russian, Chinese, Japanese
Bluetooth Heart Rate, Speed, Cadence & Power
Pair M450 with a Bluetooth Smart heart rate sensor and it guides you in how to train effectively. You’ll also get instant feedback after each session.The M450 supports Polar’s other Bluetooth sensors including; pedal cadence, bike speed (great for indoor training, turbo trainers/rollers) and Power pedals. As well as Polar’s own Bluetooth sensors, the M450 will also support third party HR sensors like the Wahoo Tickr/BlueHR and the list of supported Power meters is forever growing
Shows you the time necessary for recovery before the next ride.
Shows you how your training affects your body and helps you compare the load of different rides. Monitor your load continuously to recognise your personal limits and adjust training intensity and duration accordingly.
Lets you know exactly how many calories you’ve burned based on your weight, height, age, gender, your individual maximum heart rate (HRmax) and how hard you’re training.
Delivers motivating feedback immediately after the ride describing the effect of the training session.
An easy and reliable way to determine your current condition. Repeat the test regularly to learn what to expect from your heart rate and what can affect it, then adjust your training to allow your body to recover when needed
A five-minute test that measures aerobic fitness from your resting heart rate, heart rate variability and your background information. Complete the test regularly to see the progress you’re making.
It even has a very convenient, get you home safely, emergency front LED light (as well as Back Home GPS navigation functions)
Fitness Tests to monitor progress
Follow your progress with Fitness and Orthostatic Tests and get all your statistics in the Flow web service. The M450 features two of Polar’s Fitness tests, they’re quite similar and I normally do BOTH once a month to update the predicted VO2 Max and MaxHR data in the unit.
The orthostatic test is a reliable method of determining your current fitness level / condition. If you can repeat the test regularly you will get to learn what to expect from varying your heart rate and what can affect it. Subsequently adjusting your training plans to give yourself time to recover properly. This test takes the form of a 10 minute test. 5 minutes lying down and 5 minutes standing up. Want to know more? Pop over to Polar’s website here.
As well as the orthostatic test, the M450 also features a Fitness Test. A short test lasting less than 5 minutes. It measures your current level of aerobic fitness from your resting heart rate, heart rate variability and also takes in to consideration your background information. If you can complete this short test regularly you will see how your fitness levels are improving – HOPEFULLY !
Next Model UP
The next model up would be the FULL SIZE Polar V650 with it’s touch-screen COLOUR display. The biggest difference between the two is the V650 supports MAPPING. It’s not got auto-routing capabilities like the Garmin Edge 810/1000, however, it does support FREE OpenStreetMap mapping support. You simply select a 450km square area and it downloads the WHOLE MAP…. FREE … with super high resolution down to street names
220 Triathlon Magazine “Best on Test”
220 Triathlon Magazine gave the Polar M450 the prestigious “Best on Test” following a review of 10 mid-sized GPS bike computers. Awarding the M450 an excellent 90% score overall. Included in the test was the Edge 1000, Wahoo Elemnt, Lezyne Super GPS, Sigma Sport Rox 5.0, all bettered by the M450. If Rob Banino had known how to configure / customise the display it would have surely got an even higher score …..
What 220 Triathlon said…
The M450 is the little brother of the V650 computer we tested in August. “Little” in the sense that it has fewer features (no colour screen or route mapping) and smaller dimensions – 49 74mm compared to the V650’s 63 x 105mm. It’s also lighter (63g rather than 132g) so it stays put whereas the V650 slides around when you hit a bump [NOT if you use the OUT FRONT mount, Tristan]. The M450 is a GPS unit but you can pair it to a heart rate strap (optional) as well as cadence, speed and power sensors (sold separately). It took 18 seconds to fit the mount to the stem and 3.27 mins to configure the computer. The only gripe is that all the readings it displays in use are the same size. So until you’re fully accustomed to the M450, it’s not immediately clear what data you’re looking at unless you check the symbols next to the numbers … [this last bit is INCORRECT. The M450 features fully configurable training views with 1,2,3 or 4 lines per page, similar to Edge units]
Verdict => 90% Quick and simple to set up but no clear hierarchy to display info [oh yes there is… Tristan]
Configuring the M450 for 1,2,3 or 4 lines per display
This is what the 220 tester didn’t know how to do. It’s very easy with Polar Flow to set the Training Views for your different sports. You can have 8 x pages per sport and each page may be 1,2,3 or 4 lines. You can mix any metric with any other, speed, distance, altitude, power, cadence etc. It’s your choice. Currently Polar Sports profiles include a generic Cycling, MTB, Indoor Cycling and Road Riding. This means you can have different display options for the various styles of riding.
Take the Garmin Edge 400 & Polar M400…
For those familiar with Garmin and Polar products we’d say it’s the combination of all the good features from the older Garmin Edge 400 and current Polar M400 wrist worn GPS HRM. The M450 has been purposefully designed to support all riding styles and goals. It’s small, customisable and packed with sensible, usable features. M450 logs your routes and trails using an integrated GPS and built-in precision barometer.