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on January 7, 2013
I have had this monitor now for about 3 months. I've so far gotten about 380 hours of use out of it (not all during conventional exercise) and still have not needed to change the battery. However, I am careful to always remember to disconnect the transmitter from the chest strap since while it is connected it will continue to try to send the signal to the watch rather or not there is a signal to send.

On to programming. The set up for entering your stats was simple and fast. Instructions (if needed) were easy to understand and follow even for the most tech challenged. You are asked to enter various personal preferences ( language, metric or standard measurements and time and date) along with your gender, height, weight and birthday as well as given an option to enter in a max heart rate. This will cause the watch to flash and give a warning beep every 20 or so seconds once reached (You can turn off the beeps if you like).

When connecting the unit to you, it is advisable to wet both the silver cloth on the inside of the strap as well at the 2 metal snaps on the outside where the transmitter connects. This allows for max conductivity. Failure to do so will often (but not always) result in a message on the watch reading check transmitter. This will also sometimes occur even when properly wet, simply adjust the strap, as it is likely not placed correctly and try again. Keeping it well maintained also helps. This means rinsing well after every use. I find that it is easiest to clean in the shower since that is where I go right after my workout. I rinse the strap every time, and hand wash it will bar soap every other use (careful to not let soap residue collect in the metal snaps.) and allow to air dry.

I have also found the burned calories count to be the most accurate estimate. I use a treadmill for most of my runs that has a calorie display which does not take into account age, gender, height, weight or heart rate and I use the app RunKeeper which gives a calorie count without HR input but includes the rest of the stats. For example, after a 15 minute run at 5 mph, the treadmill estimated 65 calories burned, RunKeeper 122 calories burned and the heart rate monitor 129 calories burned. (RunKeeper and the monitor tend to be fairly close, but the longer the workout, the wider the gap becomes.) After checking out several algorithms online to estimate calories burned it seems the monitor is almost perfect.

The monitor will also show you at the end of your workout how much time you spent working out in your "fat burn" zone and your "fitness" zone, which is established durning each workout. It is an interesting stat to see, but the HR threshold between the 2 zones changes every workout and isn't very accurate unless you follow the specific instructions on how to find your threshold for the day. Which I find to be too time consuming and VERY tedious for the little gain it provides for me. (takes about 15 minutes)

The heart rate display seems to be incredibly accurate. It shows a "heart" on the upper middle of the display that flashes in real time with each heartbeat and is sensitive enough to even pick up when I experience premature ventricular contractions. Heart rate displayed is updated by finding any time variance between 2 heartbeats meaning it is beat-by-beat up to date. However if you are experiencing an arrhythmia, the number displayed will not change until a reliable pattern is found again, though the "heart" will still flash accurately with the arrhythmia. I am unsure what the full heart rate range is for the monitor but I have seen it as low as 44 bpm and as high as 227 bpm.

The watch also saves the most resent 100 workouts in it's history which you can go back to review. It shows the date and time the workout started along with the duration, calories burned, time in "fat burn" and "fitness" zones, average HR, and max HR.

And lastly I find the chest strap to be extremely comfortable since I don't really notice it. The strap sits in the exact location as my sports bra's lower band so I feel no difference.

All in all I am extremely happy with the purchase of this monitor. I researched many monitors and read dozens of reviews on several different brands and models (including more pricey ones that I could not afford). This monitor had everything I was looking for, including many "high end" options at a very good price.
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on September 18, 2012
I have lost 35 pounds so far, and I know part of that can be attributed to the success and assistance of my Polar FT7 heart rate monitor! It's incredibly comfortable (so comfortable, in fact, i often forget I've got my chest strap on until I'm getting in the shower! It appears to be accurate, and gives me a much better idea of how much harder I need to push to get a solid workout in. I also found it useful to watch as, over time, my heart rate got more efficient during the same level of exercise intensity.

I have not used the online companion, as I use a different website for tracking my diet and fitness information.

Another big factor in this purchase was that the battery can be changed by me, not by sending it back to Polar. The chest strap is easy to care for - I just wash it in my machine with my other fitness clothes (no fabric softner, cold water, no dryer). It's maintained its shape and looks brand new after several months of constant (3-6 times a week) wear.

Overall, I think this is an excellent heart rate monitor for those who run, cycle, do Zumba, cardio videos, or fitness class such as spinning. The bells and whistles of GPS models or fancier versions just seem excessive. For the Amazon price, you really can't beat the product you're getting!
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on April 1, 2014
Good: The monitor's display is very easy to read; even when swimming, face is easy to read. Bad: Sometimes an incorrect (too high) max HR is displayed. There is much on Polar's blogs about this, but it means that your average for that training session also is not correct. Works for swimming, but the chest band must be extremely tight, uncomfortably so (for normal non-water use, the band does not have to be so tight). Documentation is misleading. I was led to believe that the monitor would display "summary" data (HR, time in zone, calories, avg heart rate, max heart rate), but that if I also purchased Polar's FlowLink I could upload "detailed" data, which I interpreted to mean that I could see either a graph or table of HR data within each training session (e.g., HR vs time). Only the same summary data are uploaded to Polar's training website. Thus, if you need detailed training data this monitor is not for you.
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on January 17, 2014
Consumer Reports rated this model a Recommended, but they also rated the Omron HR-100C Recommended which sells for a fraction on the price. If you look at the user reviews on the Consumer Reports website for the Polar FT7, there are multiple posts hammering Polar for poor quality. I had an upscale Polar a few years back, and it crapped out after less than a year of use. Well, okay, I decided to give the FT7F a try, because I like nice stuff just like the next person even if it costs more. To begin with, this model has a tiny chintzy wristband that barely goes around my wrist and I do not have fat wrists. A man with big wrists will not get this thing on at all. After 3 uses the wrist unit quit picking up the chest strap, and I think the unit is supposed to have a sound (beeps). I have the settings set for sound and no beeps. Polar has got huge quality problems and I am done buying their products. Save your money and buy the Omicron because if you think you are investing in high quality fitness gear that will last by purchasing Polar, you are going to be disappointed.
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on November 16, 2013
I never had a HR monitor before but now that I have it I seriously can't function without it anymore. Its AWESOME! This brand was recommended by my gym/trainer because of the quality and the chest strap which is supposed to make it more accurate. I think its accurate, very intuitive and again has made me obsessed with monitoring my calorie burn & HR during exercise.
I had never even considered aHR monitor and now I set HR & calorie goals during my workouts and know.that I am achieving them. So much better then relying on machines! Better than just ticking off minutes. I always pushed myself but now I know if I'm doing enough. Basically it helps me feel like I am putting forth my best effort every time....competing against myself!

I have had no problems with it in the 2 months I have used it. It beeps loud enough for me to hear when I have hit, fallen below or exceeded my target HR which is very helpful when I workout outside. At first I didn't think the the light/glow worked that well but I recently discovered (due to the time change) its best in the dark or at night but it only lasts for a few seconds but it is enough time to get the info I need. I also like being able to look back at my past workout times, calories burned and how length of time in ea fitness zone. This is recommended for anyone who wants to track HR, Calories and time while getting or staying in shape. Not recommend for runners, walkers or cyclists who need to track metrics like miles.

>>> Update 2/2015: Changing my rating from 5 to 3.5 stars
So first thing to note is that I started noticing after a few months (and the initial review) was that I was having problems with the chest strap not reading my HR which is annoying in the middle of a workout. Imagine, you are out for a run with a fitness goal then you hear that dreaded sound saying that the connection was lost :-\ BUMMER, because in my case it means I usually stop what I am doing to readjust, fidget etc trying to get it to work only to have the connection not come back or go away again a few minutes later at which point I resign myself to that fact that it will do what it wants and I will have to estimate a little, hmph. In summation it is kind of annoying but its tolerable. Maybe I am doing something wrong, idk.

Second, I am not sure if you can turn it off. Since I have had it I have never been able to. Who knows where the manual is but that being said, it is probably my fault but the battery died a few months ago and I just haven't gotten around to getting another one. Said battery lasted about 1.5 years. I guess we had a good run. *pun intended*
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on December 9, 2013
December 09, 2013
love, love, love. accurate from the calculations that I do. Other reviewers have been favorable as well. be sure to detach the battery from the chest strap for longer use (or so I read). My battery has not run out yet!
April 13, 2015
Still a great buy. accurate. Only changed one battery (in the watch) once. Got one at walgreens, so batteries are readily available.
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on April 7, 2014
I have been using this for a couple weeks now and it seems to work great. I wear it during my regular cardio/non-impact workout and subsequent floor workout. I also wear it during the sin classes I have started attending along with the cardio workout I do before that. The information is great - I just wish there was an easier way to get it into the associated website. The only options are manual entry (which I have not yet gotten around to) or buying another piece of hardware (about $35 on Amazon) to transfer the data electronically.

The only real "gripe" I have is the default approach they use for determining your target heart beat and corresponding ranges. I know I am not alone based on discussions at the spin classes. For those of us in better physical shape than most the default tables are not quite correct. The spin instruction has suggested ways to determine one's own target heart rate, and I have found some information on-line. It would have been nice if Polar had included in the product manual something about this and some references/links to related information.
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on March 17, 2014
I am a SAHM of two kids that put on weight before getting pregnant, then while pregnant and now I am almost 40 and needed something to motivate me. At first I thought I wanted a monitor that logged my steps, my sleep, my bowel movements (jk), etc. I realized I really just wanted something to tell me how hard I was working when I worked out. This does it! I appreciate that it keeps track of all your workouts so you can compare day one to your current day.

I am petite and the watch can feel a bit clunky at times but not enough to truly bother. I like that it differentiates your target rate to a fitness rate, so you can tell if you are getting all cardio or burning some fat.

Anyway, I think this is a great monitor to help motivate one that is just getting started and needs a kick in the pants!
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on March 13, 2014
Great for heart rate and individualized calorie burn info. Works with my spin bike and Precor AMT machines. Works under water for swimming, too. I just wish it had VO2 Max info, but I'll need a more expensive model for that.
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on January 22, 2016
Battery died after about a year. Great product for monitoring heart rate. Easy to read and check your logged days. Wouldn't really trust the calorie burn with my life, but it isn't much of a downside for me.
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