1,532 of 1,552 people found the following review helpful
on January 31, 2010
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 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.
564 of 627 people found the following review helpful
on April 12, 2010
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.
82 of 87 people found the following review helpful
on December 11, 2014
I love this product! Alot of people wants to know what's the difference between the ft4 and the ft7 the ft7 tells you how much of the workout was fat burning or fitness. This piece of information is crucial for someone who's serious about loosing weight. It also helps you figure out your workout that are actually better for your weight loss goals. The color is awesome I'm a girly girl so pink in lilac is cute.
237 of 265 people found the following review helpful
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.
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on May 9, 2012
I have used the Polar FT7 for going on two years now. I actually lost one after about a year of use and purchased a replacement. I have found the monitor to be extremely accurate and I like the various monitoring options available. The data history recall comes in handy from time to time. I have used the chest strap with compatible gym equipment as well. I measured the accuracy of the Polar monitor against other devices and it is dead on and often times best the other devices. The calorie monitoring functionality of the device seems accurate and I routinely use it for my daily calorie monitoring.
The chest strap is comfortable to wear and I don't notice it when working out. The strap also appears to stand up well when washing multiple times a week over the years. Washing "IS" a necessity to maintain accurate readings. I suggest rinsing the strap after every use and washing the strap 3 times a week. I strongly encourage you to wash the strap at a minimum of once a week if you use it multiple times a week. AIR DRY the strap! I have heard of people tossing it in the dryer.
I have only a few complaints. My biggest gripe is with the alarm feature. I can barely hear it when it is audible. I wish there was a way to crank the volume up. I also wish you could see other information when displaying heart rate or calories burned. This is not so big of an issue though since you can cycle through the screens quickly.
After reading several reviews and running into this issue myself I thought I would add this to my review. A lot of you may run into issues around the 8 to 12 month mark with the transmitter and strap. After continued use the transmitter will no longer make a good connection with the contacts in the chest strap. This will result in intermittent behavior and sometimes higher than normal readings. I first thought I had a dying battery in the transmitter so I changed it but that did not help. I washed the strap vigorously but that did no help either. What actually caused the behavior was oxidation on the contacts of the strap and transmitter. Another reviewer actually helped me out with this. If you take a soft solvent or cleaning solution and clean the metal contacts then it will function like new! Be sure to use a "soft" or diluted solvent and after wiping the contacts down dry them with a napkin or paper towel. It should take less than 10 seconds to clean the contacts.
If you have a really severe case of oxidation you can actually see the discoloration within the chest strap contacts. Once you clean the contacts they should look and perform like new.
I would definitely recommend this model. Have fun!
53 of 62 people found the following review helpful
on November 1, 2011
When I'm working out, I think my most effective exercise style has been interval training. Routine in a gym workout is ideal, but I can only do a workout for x amount of time before I'm bored of it.
The ultimate goal I have is keeping my heart rate up, so my first thought was to invest in a heart rate monitor. After looking at some reviews, I chose the polar FT7.
It's changed the motivation I have to work out and keep up my heart rate. Not only does this watch monitor your heart rate, it records it daily! (when you wear the monitor on your chest, of course). And WEEKLY REVIEWS of your time, maximum/minimum heart rate, calories, and how much of your workout was fitness vs. fatburn (which you can tabulate on your own if you calculate the calories you burn per minute, and the rate of calories burned at a given period of time but this watch DOES THE WORK FOR YOU!)
It's inspiring to see how much fitness I've done, and what ways work best for ME.
I wore the monitor when I was just sitting around, not working out, and burned 544 calories in about 6 hours vs. the 842 calories I burned in 2.5 hours running and working out, and it was awakening. Now, when I'm sitting around, I think about the work I could be doing.
When I'm at the gym, I'll run just that much longer to reach the 500 calories burned mark.
Its not about burning calories, but having this monitor makes me more conscious of the work I'm doing, and gives me that push I need to do more.
Being more conscious of my heart rate, and the effects thereafter, have changed my work out.
This is a great product; I recommend it to anyone trying to figure out the most effective and comfortable way to maximize their workout.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on December 30, 2014
I love this heart rate monitor! I recently started kickboxing and wanted to see how many calories I burned and this is the perfect gadget for that. It also has a light to illuminate the screen, perfect for those late night runs. I've been using it for a month now. The strap is surprisingly comfortable as well and doesn't bother me when I exercise. Definitely a good investment.
49 of 60 people found the following review helpful
on March 18, 2010
This is my first heart rate monitor. I have been using it for about a month and I am extremely happy with my purchase. It is user friendly and much more comfortable than I anticipated - I don't even realize I'm wearing the chest strap most of the time. I looked up my target heart rate online (there are a bunch of calculators to google)and aim to stay toward the high end of my target heart rate during my workouts. My heart rate shows up on the watch and on the cardio machine if I'm at the gym. It provides me with the calories I'm burning in a more accurate form than the estimated calories on the cardio machines. I can also monitor my heart rate/calories burned during strength training exercises. I find it easier to determine how much rest I truly need between sets by looking at my heart rate. The monitor helps me a lot during my spinning as well. It is much easier to tell if I could push myself more or if I needed to slow down and/or decrease my resistance a little. I feel like my workouts are more effective since I started monitoring my heart rate.
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!
27 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on March 1, 2013
I currently own a FT7 which is about a year old. I just wanted to pass along some advice: do not waste your time buying a Polar HRM watch as there will be a period for required service. My current watch is a FT 7. I have also owned a RS 200. For the FT7, I followed the general instructions on the care of a HRM watch which included the cleaning of the contacts of the transmitter and washing the chest strap. Unfortunately, I did not do this for the RS200 and was a product of Polar customer service before and after the warranty period: I was charged for servicing which included battery replacements of the watch and transmitter and received a new transmitter due to "oxidation" of the contacts. The RS200 eventually died within 3 years of use. This time around for the FT7, I sent the watch in for a delay of the HRM signal registering with the watch. This problem occurred right out the box when I bought the FT7 new from Amazon. This annoyance was too much to bear for the FT7, and I sent the watch back to Polar this week for this problem as well as a broken watch band within the warranty period. Today, I was informed by Polar customer service that I had the same problems that I had with the RS200: Your chest transmitter was "oxidize" and you need new batteries for the watch and transmitter. This was after a thorough process of cleaning the watch, transmitter, and chest strap for the last 11 months. FYI, I had replaced all the batteries two months ago with a local watch dealer who tested the batteries before putting into the transmitter and watch. The Polar representative told me that the current problems are not covered by the warranty and for Polar to service the watch would cost $38.85 + shipping and handling ($7.50). This amount is more than half of what I paid on Amazon. Overall, I agree with some of the other Amazon reviewers that this appears to be an additional revenue making tool for Polar. I will not be buying another Polar HRM watch.
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on August 10, 2013
I read the generally favorable reviews for this product on Amazon and I went ahead and purchased one.
I've had it now for about 6 months and I can honestly say it gives an accurate reading maybe 40% of the time.
The rest of the time the reading is SUPER fast, giving me a heart rate of 200bpm+ even at rest. I've read all the FAQs on their website and they say keep the strap clean and moist and that does not help.
It's very fickle. There is nothing more disheartening than being in the middle of a 2-hour bicycle ride and having the heart rate monitor start giving very wacky heart rates and throwing off your entire workout tracking.
I use it during elliptical workouts at the gym, strength training at the gym and when I go outdoors on my bicycle.
It will give me bad readings anywhere.
All of that being said, I find it pretty accurate when it IS working and I've received a few comments on how the watch itself looks very sharp.