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on April 18, 2013
*Updates Included!*

First off, all that i was looking for in a heart monitor was the ability to see my heart rate, see if i'm in the zone, and see how many calories i have burned. This watch does all of those functions flawlessly! My family has a history of heart related problems so when i workout, i need to make sure that i am not putting too much stress on my heart while still maintaining a high level of work. I use this primarily during cardio routines of P90X but i will use this more for running once it gets warm outside.

The watch is incredibly easy to use. When you first open the box, you go through a setup wizard on the watch asking you to input information such a weight, gender, and units preferences to better tailor the results to the individual. After that, you are literally all set to workout. While many people have had trouble getting the watch to pick up the signal from the strap, i have found that licking or wetting the strap works wonders!
Something else that i would like to point out is that the watch have the ability to **beep** when you're out of your zone (either not working hard enough or working way harder than you should be) that is priceless! I have found sometimes during my workouts that i'm pushing myself really hard and i end up getting my heart rate above 185 BPM which is not really the best thing to do. This **beep** is great for some workouts but terrible for others. Luckily, you can turn the **beep** off very easily. I prefer to turn the beep off if i'm going to do interval training like sprints or something where my BPM is not always in the zone.

Just a few quick things i would like to point out. I've read online that detaching the heart rate pod from the strap will make the battery last longer. I am not sure this actually does anything, but it gives me ease of mind thinking that i am actually making it last longer.

Easy to use
**Beep** while outside of the "zone" is a great feature that can be turned on/off

Overall, i can't think of a better watch to spend my money on. No, this doesn't give graphs on how you're doing over time but that is not what I was looking for. This is a great buy and i have used it for a good period of time and have had no issues at all with it.

After two months, this watch is still working perfectly! I have had no issues and i love that i have the ability to look at combined totals of my workouts! As of today, i have burned over 35,000 calories!!! This feature is something that keeps you motivated to keep working hard. Before this watch, i never was that into working out. Now when i run, instead of going a certain distance, i like to aim for a caloric goal (about 1,000) before i end my workout.

I still highly recommend this watch to anyone looking for a great heart monitor!

UPDATE #2: April 4th, 2013
I just started the Insanity workout series today and this watch comes in handy! I am able to see if I am over/underworking so that i can obtain my goals. Something i wanted to throw out there was cleaning this unit. I know that sweating all over something causes bacteria to grow and i also noticed after a while, salt (from my sweat) would build up on the chest strap.

I clean it like so;

~Wipe down with a Clorox Bleach Wipe
~Soak in some hot water for a few seconds
~Wipe down with a Clorox Bleach Wipe
~Place in the washing machine on A VERY GENTLE SETTINGS
~Allow to air-dry
~HRM Pod
~Wipe down with a Clorox Bleach Wipe
~Soak in some hot water for a few seconds
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on February 26, 2017
Polar FT4 Heart Rate Monitor Watch (Silver / Black)

Cheap But Reliable Fitness Tracker
This is one of the least expensive heart rate monitors that Polar offers. It comes in several colors. Silver/Black is $60. The green version, my personal favorite, is only $49. For what it can do, that is an outstanding price. That is why I purchased it. Well, that and because I don’t care about being fashionable. For example, I would never spend $285 on the trendy, new Apple Smart Watch. Even the Fitbit Blaze would set me back $149. For a fraction of the price, the Polar FT4 accomplishes everything I need in a fitness tracker. Let’s talk about the watch itself, which Polar refers to as the “FT4 Training Computer.” First of all, it gives me an accurate reading of my heart rate and calories burned. Second of all, it tells me when I am in the "fat burning zone." It will beep to tell me when I am slacking off. It beeps when I am working out too hard. Finally, it keeps track of the workout details of my last 10 workouts. I can check out the duration of a particular workout, the amount of calories I burned and how long I stayed in the fat burning zone. Now let’s get into the chest strap, which Polar refers to as the “WearLink Transmitter.” At first, it kind of felt like I was wearing a brassiere. Also, it was tricky getting the clasp on because I have short arms. Then I realized it was easier to put it on backwards (so I can work on the clasp while it’s on my chest) and then simply pull it around to the correct side. Once I got used to it, it was easy and didn’t get in the way of my workout. I have been using the Polar FT4 for two years. I use the FT4 about four times a week and I only just changed the batteries. It was not hard. Polar recommends that you send the FT4 Training Computer and WearLink Transmitter to an authorized Polar Service Center to have new batteries installed, but for me, that’s too much work. Besides, changing the batteries is a breeze. The watch requires a CR 1632 battery. The chest strap requires a CR 2025 battery. You can buy these batteries from your local Walgreens or 7-Eleven.

A Single Downside
Okay, there is one thing the Polar FT4 cannot do, which is count your steps. That is an easy fix though. Just pick yourself up an inexpensive but reliable pedometer with a a 3D tri-axis sensor. The one I picked up is the Ozeri 4x3motion Pocket Pedometer. It costs $15.95 and it is the most accurate pedometer I have ever used. It also records up to a week of workouts.

The Bottom Line
If you are like me, a cheapskate on a budget, this is the fitness tracker for you. The Polar FT4 is $49. I paired it with a cheap pedometer, which cost $15.95. So my total investment was only $64.95. For me, that is a reasonable amount of money and it feels good knowing every penny of that is an investment toward my health. I use the Polar FT4 while I am on the treadmill. I even wear it while I am doing step aerobics. I even wear it when I’m lifting weights. Being able to measure my heart rate while exercising is a real game changer for me. Now I’m more focused on my workout and I have a better understanding of what I need to do to burn off more calories. I have already convinced my family and friends to get an FT4. Note: I am the only cheapskate in the family. But let me make one thing clear: I may be a proud cheapskate, but trust me, this is no cheap product.
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on August 13, 2016
I loved it initially; I could track my progress and I enjoyed its features: simple and easy to use.

It worked for about three months without any issue. Then it started to have error messages in the middle of workouts: check heart rate signal. It wasn't that often so I could deal with it, but then it couldn't find a heart rate at all after a while. I was even cleaning it after each use and changed the battery in both the watch and strap.

I sent it to the manufacturer since it was still under a year old. I explained I didn't need a battery and that I was receiving an error message every time I used the monitor. They provided me with an invoice for $40 which included $20 for a new strap and $20 for a battery replacement I didn't need. I called to understand being charged for items I didn’t need and that I thought it was under warranty for the first year.
They said the strap wasn't under warranty but I don't know how I was supposed to know this. So even though they say their product is covered under warranty for the first year, the main component that breaks isn't. They said the heart rate sensor transmitted failed so they replaced that at no cost. They said the strap was oxidized and damaged but not covered.

I told the customer service representative I would buy the new strap and I asked if I would be charged for shipping and the woman said no. I repeated to make sure it was clear I wouldn’t be charged for shipping and she said no. I then checked my credit card and found out I was charged $7.50 for shipping. When I called they wouldn’t stand by their statement of not being charged and would not refund me the shipping and handling and just apologized for the misunderstanding. They asked if I wanted someone to contact me after listening to the recorded conversation. I said yes. No one contacted me.

I received an email survey for customer satisfaction. I stated my story again and received a reply that I would be refunded the shipping and handling, which I appreciated.

The worst part is: shortly after receiving the product back I started receiving the error message again. Even after cleaning it after each use. So in the end I paid $20 for something that still doesn’t work.
So not only did I receive poor customer service but the product is practically worthless because it doesn’t perform its main function.
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on June 9, 2015
I love this HRM! It worked perfectly when it first arrived, but after time, it had trouble detecting and keeping my heart rate through one single workout. I was furious. It would only ever display 00. I had to stop using it completely. I finally realized that maybe it wasn't a problem with the watch and monitor, but with me.

I gave it a Google and realized I had NEVER cleaned the strap after using it. I'd been using it in my workouts for about 6 months (I workout 3-6 times per week -- hard, sweaty workouts) and realized I'd never washed it. I didn't even know the heart rate sensor could detach from the band. (Facepalm). So, I found cleaning instructions and I've been cleaning it ever since. It works like new! I have had zero problems out of it since I washed it! Here are my cleaning tips:

1) Detach the sensor from the band after EVERY use and rinse the band under cool running water. Dry it out with a towel and hang it up to try.
2) Every week or two, I detach the sensor from the band/strap and wash it in pillowcase to make sure it gets nice and clean. Never just let the strap wash freely in the washer. Always make sure it's in an enclosed sack.

Since I've kept it clean, I've had NO problems out of this product. I love it!
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on February 2, 2013
Let me start by saying this is a great HRM. I love this HRM. It does everything I need it to. Why only 3 stars??? I too read the reviews. Researched thoroughly the product and which would meet my needs vs cost etc. I chose this model because (I like the pink but we will leave that out) I wanted something to track calories. I was trying to lose weight and wanted to be able to track accurately what I was burning. The FT4 does this wonderfully, as I lost weight I adjusted my weight to continue to get an accurate idea for how much I was burning. I do not swim with mine so I cannot speak to it being waterproof, that was less of an issue for me. THE BATTERY. Now lets talk about the battery, which will lead me to the 3 stars. I read this one was replaceable. Super plus for me because the alternative was to 'ship it off to a service center'. Now unless Polar covers this shipping cost (which they do not) This seemed like a huge disadvantage. I live in a major metropolitan area and felt no reason to send it off for a simple battery. So I chose this model with the idea I would be able to replace it myself. If I had done this review even 1 month ago I would have given it 5 stars hands down, recommend it to anyone. The battery has died in the transmitter (not watch) and I need to replace it. I pulled out my instructions which CLEARLY state that you have a 2 year warranty unless you REPLACE THE BATTERY YOURSELF this is mostly because of the waterproof feature. Now if you don't really care about it being waterproof like me, no biggie. I simply can't get the back off of the transmitter. I used a coin (every US coin to be exact) and it won't budge. I had my boyfriend try. I had batteries plus try. Can't open it. I'm now paying $8 shipping, and 'possible cost up to $25 for the battery' to get the dang thing replaced. Plus I've been without my HRM for over a week now. And eventually you will become like me and can't imagine working out without it. I'm fairly certain I could buy the battery off Amazon for less than the $8 it's taking me to ship it. Be aware when you purchase this, there may come a time when you will deal with this. If you can handle that- this is the HRM for you.
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on March 16, 2017
Upon getting the watch, I had first thought the battery was either drained out, or it didn't come with batteries at all. If this is your first time dealing with a watch like this, it can come as whole new world to you. When opening the back, the battery was indeed dead. I was grateful to have bought some spares anyway. The watch and the band do NOT use the same type of battery.
Watch = CR1632 Battery
Band = 2025

Upon the first use, when wearing the band, you cannot tell you're wearing it. I even tried to make my shirt as tight as can be and still can't see it. You will typically forget it's there, but sometimes it makes me feel like I'm wearing a really tight bra. I got on an elliptical, which always tells me I'm burning only 100 calories for 30 minutes, despite the heavy sweat and rapid heartbeat (160s) it gets me to. With the watch, I'm burning a little over 300. It reads my heart rate well, and you can choose to have it on the screen of your heart rate, calories, the zone, or long you've worked out. I always put it on the heart rate just so I can make sure I'm safe and not overdoing it.

In the gym (which you can see in the picture), I got on one of Planet Fitness' major high-cardio machines. For an hour I'm always burning overly 700 calories, or so the machine says. When I got on it with the watch, I burned about 580 calories. So, I'm not sure which to believe, though the watch is a little believable. What I DID notice and was impressed with is the GymLink. I didn't have to hold on to the handles to read my HR at all. The numbers were off typically by one or two points, but they were always closely accurate. The same happened when i got on the treadmill.

The only times it could not pick up my HR was when I was doing floor workout. I think depending on how you bend, the band against your chest can loosen/detach from the skin. It will alert you to warn of no signal. I usually sit still to help it pick back up and the data is still the same (no automatic reset).

I'll keep an update.

***5-31-17 UPDATE****
The watch is still going good. I don't notice anything different in battery change. I will say the strap part is kind of deteriorating, but that's expected.

**7-1-17 UPDATE **
I decided to wear my watch for a full 8-hour shift today at work. I get up a lot throughout the entire shift and was curious to to see what calories I burned. It was 1266. I had no problem or malfunction with the watch. It was able to work that long. In fact, I accidentally had it running for 32 hours and never noticed.

**Updated 3-28-18**
Everything is still going great.
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on January 18, 2015
I've had my pink polar watch for exactly a year now and everything is still working fine (this is why I didn't waste my money on a Fitbit or jawbone). I used to use it to track my heart rate and calories while on the elliptical/treadmill (it transmits to the elliptical/treadmill screen) or when I went for a walk. Now I use it for spin class and HIIT classes. Works great and saves summary of your work out (duration, max heart rate, average heart rate, calories burnt, time in heart rate zone, and date).

Just bought the blue one for my boyfriend :) the blue one has a longer and wider wristband than the pink one so it's tailored for males.
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on August 31, 2015
I was sent a used watch with someone's data dating back to 2009. The strap was someone's dress belt, not a Polar strap ( see photo). By the time I got around to opening the box I had already thrown out the packaging it was mailed in and it was not worth my time to hunt up a new box and return it. But never again. Total rip off. Even the instructions were missing.
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on March 23, 2017
My watch arrived yesterday and I have to say it is very hard to see the display. I typically use readers at night when I'm relaxing but can not use them during the day at work so thru out the day when checking my heart rate I could not clearly see it. I found this frustrating. If you are older or need readers like me, not sure this is the best option for you. In addition, I found it interesting that you can not turn off the watch so the battery is constantly being used which in turn will run the battery down and this watch does not come with any additional batteries. Overall, it works nicely and the chest strap is comfortable and adjustable but the problem of the display ruins it for me.
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on February 27, 2017
I love this watch. I got it after having my second baby and lost all my baby weight plus the extra that I had wanted to lose from before. Fast forward to now and I had my 4th baby a year ago. The battery on my last watch had died and I didn't bother getting a new one. In January I decided I should get this watch again and work hard to lose the rest of my baby weight, I was still 10lbs away from it, which had neeeever taken so long after my other babies. I got the watch and in two months I have lost 6lbs. That may not seem like a lot but I've been working out for 9-10months and stopped losing weight 2 months into exercising. So these 6lbs were a huge thing for me! I am so excited to be losing weight again and to be hitting my burned calorie goal every day. I wish I hadn't wasted sooo much time trying to guess if I was doing enough exercise. I love this watch and while you will think I'm NUTS I want 2 more kids, so if this one goes out I will definitely be purchasing another. For the price point it's definitely worth it. I am so glad I got a second one!
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