1,065 of 1,074 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not Too Basic and Not Too High Tech
Before settling on the Polar FT7 Heart Rate Monitor, I did a lot of research on the various types of HRM out there. I was looking for a HRM that wouldn't just give me my heart rate, but I also wanted a bit more features, but I didn't need a lot of features that the higher numbered FT models offered.
When I saw the FT7 model, I was surprised to see so little...
Published on January 30, 2010 by AthenaKTT
356 of 386 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good monitor, with one main flaw
I've had the ft7 for maybe two weeks now, using it many times, since it is my first heart rate monitor. Overall, i think it is a good deal. It feels and looks like a high-quality instrument - solid, if not "flashy". It fits my wrists just fine and seems to have plenty of adjustment for larger wrists (I have fairly small wrists for a guy, at a "healthy" weight of 157 at...
Published on April 12, 2010 by Topeka Larry
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1,065 of 1,074 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not Too Basic and Not Too High Tech,
When I saw the FT7 model, I was surprised to see so little reviews or mentions of this model. I'm not sure why, maybe this is a newer model or Polar just prefers directing people to the more expensive models because I kept seeing numerous reviews for the F6 or F7, FT40, and FT60 models.
After comparing various Polar HRMs, I settled for the FT7 because it had all the features that I was looking for in a HRM.
- Monitors heart rates. I found the monitoring to be accurate except underwater. (I'll go into detail about that a bit later.)
- Counts Calories. The Calorie counter seems to be quite accurate. I have used it for walking, spinning classes, swimming, and strength training sessions and the calorie counts are reasonable.
- Target heart rate graph. The graph is useful for seeing where you are and if you're within your minimum and maximum HR "fitness" ranges during a session.
- Very user friendly. Even though there aren't any instructions on setting up the watch, I didn't think they were needed. I didn't even bother looking at the manual until I was done configuring the watch, but I've never been one to read manuals. However, others may find the lack of a detailed manual a bit frustrating.
- Stores Training Files. Which include records of session durations, calories burned, average HR, Maximum HR, and the amount of time your workout HR was spent in the target range.
- Weekly Summaries. This basically sums up the total amount of time spent training, the total calories during each session, and how many sessions during the week.
- Settings are very easy to change especially if you have any weight changes and want to keep an accurate count of calories being burned.
- There is also a backlight, which is quite handy if you're somewhere with minimal lighting.
- I also found out that if you hold the "down arrow" button, you can change the time to a second time zone that you can set by going through the "quick menu" which is accessed by holding down the "backlight button (*)" which also leads to the "button lock" feature. If you hold down the "up arrow" button, you can change the "Watch face" to just display the time and date or the time and date and logo, which is smaller on the face, but it includes seconds and FT7 logo along the bottom.
- The women's watch is black with a gold stripe down the center of the band. I found the design to be all right. It is less flashy and colorful as the other models, which is one reason I like this watch. I can wear it with my work clothes and it does not stand out much.
- User changeable batteries. This was something I really wanted out of my HRM. I never liked sending something to the manufacturer for replacements even under warranty. I just don't like dealing with shipping, waiting, and extra fees.
- Water Resistant. I have used this HRM in the pool and the monitoring is relatively accurate when it actually reads the transmitter. I believe the Polar website notes that in some highly chlorinated pools or seawater the transmitter will not be picked up underwater. The pool in my gym is very chlorinated and there were times when the HRM will not pick up my heart rate. But if I just sit still in the water for a minute or so the watch will pick up the signal again. Though this can get annoying if you are trying to swim laps for endurance. The watch still gives me a fair calculation of calories I have burned during my swim sessions. Though the calorie count is most likely lower since I'm not sure how long the watch is not reading my heart rate during times when I am swimming several laps nonstop. I also tried using this in a saltwater treated pool and the moment I went underwater the transmitter does not work at all. So I'm guessing that this HRM will not work if you are swimming in the ocean.
- The Chest strap is very comfortable, and I usually don't feel it, but then again it might be because I'm used to having something strapped around my chest all day. And I have had no problems of it slipping. It is also recommended to wet the straps a little. I usually just wet my hands a bit and rub against the cloth area, and I'm good to go.
- User changeable batteries. The transmitter pops off easily from the strap, and like the watch, I can change my own batteries, but unfortunately the watch and transmitter use different types of batteries.
- Another perk is that most of the machines in my gym also pick up the transmitter readings, allowing me not have to keep glancing at my watch while I'm on the elliptical or cycling.
Overall, I really like this watch. For the price I paid, it was worth it and it gives me all the basic things I need to monitor my workout sessions.
If you want a simple watch that gives you fairly accurate heart rates, calorie burns, training records, and user changeable batteries the FT7 is a cheaper option to the FT40 and FT60 models.
356 of 386 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good monitor, with one main flaw,
This review is from: Polar FT7 Heart Rate Monitor Watch (Sports)I've had the ft7 for maybe two weeks now, using it many times, since it is my first heart rate monitor. Overall, i think it is a good deal. It feels and looks like a high-quality instrument - solid, if not "flashy". It fits my wrists just fine and seems to have plenty of adjustment for larger wrists (I have fairly small wrists for a guy, at a "healthy" weight of 157 at 5'8", at age 40). I believe the watch band is anti-microbial (and anyway, has a cool yet subtle almost snakeskin kind of look to it). The band's connection to the watch seems quite integrated and sturdy, with the vertical thickness of the band being the same as the watch where the two meet. The watch's main body, while plenty large, does not dwarf my wrist or anything.
I understand that it is a fairly recent development for Polar that the chest strap and the watch will both take regular batteries, rather than having to order replacements from Polar. Certainly that is more convenient. Also as I reviewed potentially replacing my ft7 (see reason below), I found that it is also a treat to have a fabric strap for the heart signal transmitter, as a lot of manufacturers use plastic or rubber (?). I find the fabric strap to be no discomfort at all.
The "heart touch" (i think that's the name) feature, is at least a cool novelty - bring your watch close to your heart strap and the watch will beep then flash to show the time, then go back to the previous display after a few seconds.
You can manually rotate through several displays as you are training. I would prefer a display that shows the heart rate and the training time at once, but that combination doesn't exist. The heart rate is a part of one of the combo displays, but oddly, it is paired with the time of day rather than the training time.
Also, the timing functions are rudimentary. As far as i can tell (and i've read the manual too), there isn't a timer or stopwatch function separate from the heart rate training - to use any kind of timer you must "start training" which then looks for a heart signal. If you continue without the strap, it will warn you there's no heart signal, but once you acknowledge that, that warning disappears and you'll see the timer again. There is no interval or lap timing or countdown function, which seems odd to me as a newbie, for a $110 watch, even if lesser timer/stopwatch functions might be usual for this heart rate monitor watch industry. The watch just keeps track of your training duration, but you can pause and continue your work as many times as you want.
The recording of your training sessions is exceptional - the manual said up to 99 training files will be saved. I know i've already got over 20 that are definitely in the watch.
It also automatically keeps track of how much time you spend in "fat burning" or "fitness" zones during your workout. The calculation for that is automatic based on the input you gave when you set up the watch. (age, height, weight, maximum heart rate).
I'll emphasize that this watch will allow you to change your maximum heart rate setting, which presumably will change the watch's calculations for your different training zones (I'm not sure how big the effect is, having just learned enough about my probable true maximum heart rate to change it today). I've read that for similarly trained people of the same age in the same athletic endeavors, max HR can differ by as much as 60 bpm (!), so this feature seems very important. I seem to have a much higher max HR than what the usual formulas calculate. (That, or the watch doesn't detect HR well, which I don't think is the case, as I've noticed this tendency for a long time on gym equipment with pulse detectors).
Besides being able to set your own maximum heart rate, the ft7 has a zone alarm, that will beep when your heart rate has exceeded the limit (which you can set). UNFORTUNATELY (and this is why despite liking the watch overall, i will be taking it back), the sound the watch makes is very very low in volume. If I'm biking against the wind - I'll hardly hear it if at all. If I'm running on a quiet trail, I'll probably hear it if i'm listening for it. If i'm running on the sidewalk along a main road, I'll probably not hear it above the vehicle noise. As is, kind of defeats the purpose of having an audible alarm if despite having it I'm always having to steady my hand while running, or let go of the handlebars while riding to see what my heart rate is. I can find no volume adjustment, looking through the watch settings or reading the manual.
I'd like to say I know more about whether this might simply be a problem with my particular watch, or a design defect. I started a forum question at Polar's site, but got little response. One other person said they had the same problem there, last i checked. The watch's alarm-clock function also has a very low volume when it goes off, so perhaps that is an indication that is the particular watch and not a design defect.
The problem has turned what was an acceptable impulse purchase into a situation where I've investigated models much more thoroughly, and I think I'll try a Timex, mostly because they do tend to have much better timer/interval/stopwatch functions, and I'd like to see if they're cheaper prices, on the average, are worth it.
That being said, otherwise I am overall fond of this watch, and likely would have stayed with it.
79 of 83 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect Device For Basic Heart Rate Based Training,
This review is from: Polar FT7 Heart Rate Monitor Watch (Sports)BACKGROUND: Since buying my Garmin Forerunner 305, I found that I hardly scratched the surface in terms of taking advantage of its features. I was also disappointed that it only calculates calories burned if you are running outside. I know that this allows for a more accurate algorithm, but I workout in the gym 90% of the time. So I opted for the Polar FT7 as a simplified device that would give calories burned for all workouts.
SETUP: There isn't a lot to do here. When turning the device on it walks you through basic setup of date, time, and personal information such as age, height, weight, and gender. I wanted to verify that the WearLink unit and watch were able to communicate prior to going for my first workout so I connected the WearLink unit to the chest strap, wet the sensors, and put it on. The wrist unit began receiving heart rate data within a couple of seconds. Satisfied that everything would work OK, I put the watch and chest strap into my gym bag.
USAGE: Since the wrist unit is a digital watch, you could use it as your primary watch since it doesn't have an off button. However, I don't think it is very visually appealing, and I do not plan to do this.
The chest strap seems to be designed for right handed people. I say this because it only attaches on one side, and it felt natural to me. This is different than my Forerunner which had attachments on both sides of the strap to accommodate both lefties and righties.
The buttons on the watch are fairly small and somewhat stiff. While I've gotten used to this, it almost gives it a bit of a cheap feel. This is merely a perception, but it is not one that I had with the Forerunner. That being said, using the FT7 is about as straightforward as you could ask for. After putting the wrist unit and chest strap on, simply push the middle button on the right to establish a connection between the two. When you are ready to begin training, push the button again to start recording your workout.
During your workout, the top and bottom buttons on the right navigate the display between heart rate, calories burned, elapsed time and clock time, and exercise zone (fitness or fat burn based on heart rate). When you are done, press the bottom left button. You can then scroll between resume and stop and select your choice. Once you have stopped, the FT7 displays your summary stats that you can scroll through, and it saves the file with the date and timestamp of your workout.
You can also review your workout history. While in the main time display, press either the up or down button on the right side. You will have a choice of "Settings" or "Data". Selecting "Data" gives you access to week by week information. You can look at weekly summaries as well as data for a specific day. The unit stores up to 99 data files so this should hold 4-6 months of data for most people.
If you need to change any of the information that you entered during setup, you simply choose "Settings", and navigate to the appropriate place.
I was curious how the calorie burn numbers would compare to those of the cardio machines at my gym. I was able to compare with a Precor Elliptical trainer, and I found that the numbers are fairly close. While they did not track identically, they usually came out within 20-30 total calories out of 600 in a 35 minute session. This gives me confidence that the numbers are reasonable, and that what it tells me for activities in other settings are close enough. I also noticed during my session on the Precor that the Elliptical picked up the heart rate from the WearLink unit. This should be the case for any cardio equipment that is labeled for use with Polar technology.
I found the FT7 very easy to use. If you can navigate menu driven software such as Windows Explorer or Windows Media Player you should have no trouble with this device.
CONCLUSION: If you want an easy to use heart rate monitor that tracks calories burned, this is a great place to start. It does what I expect it to do in a straightforward manner. If your needs are not beyond what I have described, there is no reason to spend more money on features that you will not use. If you have questions that I have not addressed, please feel free to ask in the comments section below.
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review from a busy dad,
This review is from: Polar FT7 Heart Rate Monitor Watch (Sports)This is my first HRM. I almost bought the Garmin 110 but decided I didn't need the GPS functions in addition to the watch. I already have a nice $5 NIKE app on my iPhone that will tell me distances and pace so if I really need to know that information. Anyhow, I have two tiny children, a busy career and a busy wife that also works full time. I am a swimmer and I lift weights on and off over the last 10 years. About a year ago I moved into a neighborhood that offers a lot of great road and trail running. I tend to run a lot for 3 months and then stop for 3 months. My goal is just to get some motivation to keep working out, so I bought one of these units.
The chest strap is made of a soft material that is comfortable to wear and easy to adjust. The watch was very easy to set up; no instructions were necessary. On my first run with it, my mind wanted to go faster but the watch was telling me right away that I was at my max heart rate given my personal stats (age, weight, height). So I eased up and went a bit slower than I would have ordinarily gone. What I noticed was that my energy level was strong all the way through the run whereas had I not worn this and went with my gut, I would have peaked out twice and been forced to walk for a little bit over my hilly 3 mile run. This gave me important feedback and I am not too cooked after a long day of work, bath time with kids, playing with kids, a 3 mile run and now doing more work and this review. I am eager to get back out and steadily increase my performance.
One important note that I did not see on any of the other reviews is that when you begin a training session, a timer starts on the watch. This creates a workout session that is saved to the data files. Although it doesn't have a GPS, stopwatch, lap / interval functions, it does tell you the total time of your workout, your max heart rate and your average heart rate. If you really need to know your pace and distance just download a cheap app on your phone and time it every once in awhile. I am a busy guy and I just want to run 30-60 minutes 3-4 times a week. I may do a 5k but I just want to stay fit and be able to play ball with my kids in 10 - 15 years when I am in my late 40's. I think one of my problems over the years is that my mind would push me into difficult workouts and I would be reluctant to keep the body breaking pace up over long periods of time. In one use I can see that this HRM tells me where my body really is and keeps me from overdoing it, so I can keep up a more realistic workout schedule over the long term.
42 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Happy Customer,
This review is from: Polar FT7 Heart Rate Monitor Watch (Sports)Great Product ! Have used it for a couple of weeks now and don't regret the purchase.. works just like it should.
Picks up your heart beat immediately once your 'strapped' in. Set up was easy with the manual in hand. Once you get the idea of how the menu works its a breeze ! Easy enough to be used by the 'technically challenged'.
Wearlink strap is comfortable and one forgets its really there once you begin your physcial activity.
Watch stores statistical data ( calories burned, avg./max heart rate per workout, length of workout, workout time in fat or fitness zone ) which is a great way to monitor progress. Stores data for weeks if one so wishes.
I use the watch to gather data and then trsf it to a spreadsheet for graphical representation. Great way to stay motivated !
Thus far I'm sold on the FT7 !
32 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Can't exercise without it!,
There is an optional tool to track training through the Polar website, but it requires an additional purchase to transmit data. I am tracking my exercise in a spreadsheet instead so that I can see trends of what works for my body and what doesn't, without spending the extra money. The watch provides me with the length of exercise, average heart rate, maximum heart rate,calories burned, time in the fitness zone and time in the fat burn zone. I'm tracking these, along with the time of day I exercised, type of exercise I did and what I ate before my workout. I'm also calculating average calories burned per minute.
I highly recommend this product!
35 of 42 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Does NOT measure lower limit HR,
This review is from: Polar FT7 Heart Rate Monitor Watch (Sports)The only reason I bought this was for tracking my lower heart rate limit, so that it would beep when I dipped below my target.
I had read some documentation from Polar that it had this capability, but I could not find that feature. I then went on to the Polar Ft7 forums,
where I found others had the same issue, and found that Polar admitted the error: the FT7 cannot alert when your HR dips below a target.
As far as I'm concerned, the whole point of an HR monitor is to let me know when I am slacking (ie, HR dipping below my target), without
having to constantly check it myself.
The packaging has a big warning sign when you open it that it can't be returned if you use it, so buyer beware.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love my new watch!,
This review is from: Polar FT7 Heart Rate Monitor Watch (Sports)There are already tons of reviews about the features and performance of this watch (one of the best out there, and not a bad price)! What I wanted talk about was the size of the watch. I actually bought two of these the men's black/silver for myself and the women's black/gold as a present for my sister. When I bought them, I couldnt find any reviews on the size difference (since I obviously preferred a color selection that was listed as men's). I'm a female with a very small wrist (5.5 inches), so I was praying that the men's watch wouldn't look too bulky on me. And it doesn't at all! Now that I've received them I can tell you that the only difference between the two is the width of the band/strap. The men's watch has a wider strap than the women's watch. They are about the same length with tons of notches so you can adjust for someone with a super small wrist like mine and for a person with a much larger wrist (a man).
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A million times better than Polar F4!!!,
Now for the cons... Two things I dislike: First, the chest strap. I find it horribly uncomfortable and will probably purchase the T31 strap to replace it. Second, the screen options. The FT4 has a screen that shows where your heart rate is on a scale between your minimum and maximum recommended heart rate AND shows how many calories you've burned thus far. The FT7 doesn't have a screen that combines these things. Though, that's not a big enough issue to dissuade me from using the FT7.
Overall, this HRM is a huge improvement over the F4 and I would buy it again. I loved it so much, I bought one for my husband too. I just wish the chest strap wasn't so terrible!
24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Functional!,
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