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4.3 out of 5 stars
Polar FT4 Heart Rate Monitor Watch (Bronze/Bronze)
Color Name: Bronze/BronzeSize Name: WomenChange
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1,072 of 1,128 people found the following review helpful
on March 19, 2010
Color Name: Bronze/BronzeSize Name: WomenVerified Purchase
I have spent months looking for a heart rate monitor that would fit me comfortably, but still be pretty. This is it! I've decided to finally get off my big butt and start doing something healthy - walking or biking every day - but I wanted to be able to keep track of the time AND make sure I was working at the right heart rate. As someone who is really out of shape, I find that I might feel like I am really working hard, but my heart rate ends up being at the very low end, so I needed something that I could use to be sure my workouts are actually worth it.

This watch is very accurate and stylish. I also like that it tracks my calories burned and my previous workouts so I can see if I am getting healthier. I was worried that it wouldn't fit my wrist because it is a women's watch and they tend to run small, but this fits my 7 3/4" wrist with a little room to spare. The chest strap also fits and is super comfy! I am almost 300lbs (at the time of purchase) and the M/XXL strap that comes with this fit me just fine - again with room to spare. I don't even feel it once I get it on and start moving.

So, for you bigger girls out there who are looking for a rate monitor that will fit, be accurate and comfortable AND is pretty - get this one!
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633 of 737 people found the following review helpful
Color Name: Bronze/BronzeSize Name: Women
Hey folks, I just wanted to add a bit of information based on some comments I've read on other Polar devices: The FT4, based on my tests, IS water-resistant and should work great to help you track your stats as you swim laps. I'll update this once I've used it for a few more lap swims, but both the heart monitor you wear on your chest and the watch itself are sealed and won't immediately flood and ruin if you take it into the pool. Only thing is, you probably don't want to be pressing the buttons on the watch while you're under water, which may mean you have to stop and dry off if you want to take a break in the middle of your lap swim.

Update: I have now used my FT4 several times to track my lap swimming. It works great! Don't press the buttons while you're actually underwater, but I have had no trouble at all with the 'pause' or 'continue' functions at the end of the lap, even with wet fingers. Oh, and - you don't have to wet the chest band before you put it on if you're going to swim in it ;)

I have the same beef as others about the FT4 - you can't see all your workout stats at once while you work out - you have to press the bottom right-hand button to change the display to heart rate vs. calories vs. workout time or what have you, and you can't see your time while you're working out (you can once you're finished and you click STOP to end the workout session...at this point you also get your upper and average heart rates and your time in the zone. You can also hit 'Pause' to see your workout time.) Basically, this little gizmo does what it's designed to do. It does make a unique double-beep when you're in your heart rate zone, which I find helpful.

A couple other details: the FT4 has a user-serviceable battery (some other Polar models don't, which means you have to pay $$ and ship the device to Polar to change the battery.) The chest band is fabric, as opposed to the stiff plastic of other Polar models, also. You can buy software to download the information off your Polar, but the software is $80 and you need an infrared reader for your computer. I haven't really explored this, as I use the [...] website to track my info and I just copy it straight off the Polar without downloading.

My one complaint is the difference in calorie burn between the FT4, my Garmin Forerunner and my GoWearFit...who knows how many I'm actually burning...but I do have a little bit of a formula I can use to convert from one to the next...

Overall, I'd say this device is well worth the money, especially if you're just doing casual exercise without the need for a GPS or an all-day calorie tracker. I'll probably buy another one should the one I bought break or wear out.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on April 25, 2012
Color Name: Bronze/BronzeSize Name: WomenVerified Purchase
My FT4 arrived today (thank you, Amazon Prime!) and I couldn't wait to try it out. I spent quite some time reading reviews of various heart rate monitors online and ended up deciding on the FT4 based upon the following: I wanted something small for a woman's wrist, I wanted a monitor with a fabric chest strap and not a plastic one, I wanted something deemed reliable and I didn't want a basic model but also didn't want something that would require an engineer to operate.

I was pleased to open up the Polar box and find that the FT4 is petite and fit perfectly on my wrist. It actually looks like a women's sized watch which was super important to me. I didn't want anything big and bulky to get in the way of any of my workouts. Then I pulled out the chest strap and transmitter and was happy to find that the chest strap was, in fact, a fabric one and the transmitter wasn't gigantic. Before I even pulled out the instruction manual I had my watch setup - it's that intuitive and that easy. You plug in your height, weight, age and gender after inputting the correct time and date. That's about it.

As per the instructions, I wet the electrodes on the chest strap before putting it on. I was pleasantly surprised at how comfortable it felt underneath my sports bra (ladies, I hope you're putting it above your "ladies") and that the transmitter didn't get in the way. While working out, the band didn't rise up or bother me in the least. Nor did the watch itself - I barely noticed that I had it on.

The watch was easy to understand during my workout too. It automatically set my heart rate zone for me based upon the information that I put in (you can manually change this if you would like to) and was set to show me my BPM (you can also change the display to show what % of your heart rate you're at versus the beats per minute). I loved knowing where I was at without even looking at the watch based upon the beeps.

At the end of my workout I was pleased to see an easy to read display of my calories burned, my average heart rate, my max heart rate, etc. It was nice to be able to look and see what I had done and how long I had done it for.

I truly wish I would've purchased myself the FT4 when I started my current exercise regime, as I'm sure it would've been pretty useful. Now that I have it, I know exactly where my heart rate needs to be to achieve my goals. Thanks, Polar!
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183 of 235 people found the following review helpful
on December 9, 2010
Color Name: Bronze/BronzeSize Name: WomenVerified Purchase
I've lost about 15 lbs since I bought this. It's kind of fun to experiment and see how many calories various exercises burn. I love seeing how quickly my fitness level increases. That keeps me motivated!

The only problem that I've had involved the chest strap being too loose. It still felt tight enough, so I went through Polar's trouble shooting guide to try to figure out why the transmitter was only working intermittently. Nothing they suggested worked and I was about to give up, but one day I decided to make it an inch or two tighter and it has worked perfectly since then. Polar should consider mentioning that in the trouble shooting list.

***UPDATE***

The NEXT day after posting the above, it returned to its sporadic functionality. It is tight enough to cut me in half. I have stored and cleaned all parts according to Polar's recommendations. I spend more time trying to get this thing to work than I do working out. I wish I could give it 00 stars since that is my current heart rate reading. I understand this is an older entry-level product designed to be barely sufficient in order to encourage upgrading to the more expensive models ($90 isn't enough to get something that WORKS?!). However, as soon as I'm able to replace this piece of garbage, I will NOT buy another Polar product. This is ridiculous. I am furious and also, according to my monitor, in cardiac arrest.
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47 of 60 people found the following review helpful
on January 13, 2011
Verified Purchase
I got this heart rate monitor because of the great reviews, and because I liked the size. I have very small wrists/hands and didn't want anything overly bulky to wear to the gym. I also like the color.

I was hesitant at first to get a heart rate monitor with the chest strap, because I thought it was going to be uncomfortable and annoying during my workout. I can't even tell it's on! In fact, there have been a couple days when I come home from the gym and just relax, and come to find out that I still have the strap on a couple hours later. Whoops! The strap is a nice flexible material that also breathes well, so it's not like you get a whole bunch of sweat underneath it. The transmitter comes off so you can easily clean the strap.

I've tested it quite a few times during workouts to see how accurate it is, and I would say it's very accurate! I use this mostly during my spin classes, so my heart rate is all over the place throughout the workout. I've counted my own heart rate several times during a workout, and most of the time my count is spot on with the watch. Can't get much more accurate than that!

I still don't know how accurate the calorie counter is, but I'm not sure that anyone would ever really be able to tell. The numbers do seem a bit high, but I haven't got the slightest idea of how many calories I'm actually burning so I don't know if maybe it's just because I'm working really hard. I do see a significant difference between the calorie numbers when I'm not working as hard as I have during other workouts, so at least it's accurate in that regard.

I think my favorite feature of the watch is that you can go back and look at previous workouts and see where you stand. It stores up to five (I think?) days, and I keep a log sheet on my computer as well. It's nice that you don't have to hurry and write it down before it goes away like you do on the machines in the gym.

Overall, very accurate heart rate monitor with a very comfortable chest strap and very easy set up. You can't really ask for much more, can you? :p
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87 of 113 people found the following review helpful
on January 11, 2011
Verified Purchase
I bought this for my wife's birthday a month before her birthday. That's important because two weeks after she got it it stopped working. Jomashop who supplied it through Amazon said that they can only replace it if the issue is reported within 5 days of purchase, otherwise they do a repair. 5 days! That's ridiculous.

When the watch was working it was great. When it stops working it's obviously worthless. And if a company can't stand behind the products they sell for more than 5 days you really have to wonder why they're selling them in the first place.
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153 of 201 people found the following review helpful
Color Name: Bronze/BronzeSize Name: WomenVerified Purchase
So my trainer suggested I get a heart rate monitor watch, but for one, they were still pretty expensive at the time and truthfully, not all that attractive. I didn't want some huge thing on my wrist, nor did I necessarily want to advertise to the world what I was doing! I just wanted something small enough to blend in yet hopefully cute enough to do the job. Then lo and behold, this watch was introduced, and what a great deal! One thing is, I actually thought for some reason that the strap was kind of a metal...it doesn't make sense that it wouldn't be rubber or plastic, but the photos--at least to me--make it appear like metal. On to the review!

I actually bought this watch in March but only started using it last week. It does all the basic functions. I don't know about you guys, but my primary goal was to see if what I was doing at the gym was negating all the crap I consume during the day at work (although, I eat fairly healthy. It's the desk that kills you). I find it slightly interesting to see how my heart rate fluctuated when I wasn't working out. It literally jumped back and forth between sitting at the computer to walking briskly up the hill to my car, then it shot up 15 beats while sitting in rush-hour LA traffic (ha-ha).

You get used to the strap very quickly (although it would be nice to not have one at all...I don't like struggling with it in the locker room before a workout but whatever.) It's not like it bulges out underneath your clothing, which is great.

Anyway it's not going to compile your grocery list or babysit your children, but it's a handy little device that does just what it needs to do. Oh and setup is a breeze too...you don't even need the guide, really.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on April 26, 2012
Color Name: Bronze/BronzeSize Name: WomenVerified Purchase
When I first got it everything was fine. Replacing the battery on the strap is a nuisance. The battery in the strap doesn't last long and takes 2 people to get it out. Using a coin just doesn't work. Wished it wasn't so hard. Need to replace entire thing because after putting in another new battery it isn't reading the heart rate at all.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on February 15, 2012
Color Name: Bronze/BronzeSize Name: WomenVerified Purchase
I purchased this after diligently working out for more than a year at least three days a week. I was leaving the gym tired and sweaty but it seemed things had plateaued. I decided on this watch because of the reviews, price, and the consumer-replaceable battery.
It arrived in the mail, I set it up in less than five minutes, and set out to the gym. I found out I was way over-doing it. Keeping my heart rate within optimum range was interesting - I had to actually slow down and reduce the levels on my normal machines. I was shocked to discover that keeping my HR in the zone burned more calories per hour (about 360 per 45 minutes), made me sweat more, and increased my stamina.
I haven't had any problems with the watch - so far, and have taken care of it per the instructions. I bought a small mesh garment bag that I throw it in after workouts (and after wiping it off) and it seems to air dry just fine. I was a little concerned about it being so wet post-workouts, but it hasn't seemed to affect it (yet).
I am training for a 10k and look forward to using this outside once the weather breaks.

*UPDATE* I have now been using this for about 6 months and I am still just as happy as day #1. I have had zero problems with it and on occasion when I forget to take it to the gym I really seem to miss it. I am a numbers cruncher and I love knowing exactly how my workout is going. I used this during my first 10k two weeks ago and it really helped me pace my energy level by keeping my heart rate in or near the optimum zone through out the run.
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54 of 71 people found the following review helpful
I have purchased and successfully employed three Polar heart rate monitors prior to acquiring the hapless FT4. My earlier purchases worked well, but all required me to periodically send them off to a service center to have their batteries replaced. I thought that the FT4 would avoid the friction of service center interaction by allowing me to change the batteries myself. The FT4 does provide a way for me to change them, but, unfortunately, it also does not work after 40-45 of exercise. It worked for the first few months, but then began failing during my workouts. I replaced both the receiver and transmitter batteries without affect. I conclude that FT stands for Failed Technology.

Do not buy the FT4.

Be wary of all other Polar Technology too, because their products used to work, but now fail. The change has all the symptoms of a decision by someone who thought that cutting corners on materials, production or quality assurance was a good way to reduce costs and increase profits. Look elsewhere for a good heart rate monitor.
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