One of my biggest topics I talk to others about is fitness trackers. I've tried many, which include: the Apple Watch, the Microsoft Band, the Fitbit Charge HR and now I have finally tried the Polar FT4. Of all of these the Polar FT4 is the winner by far for what I want and need while working out.
First, I'll briefly explain what I want and need in a fitness tracker. I really only need a fitness tracker during my resistance, LISS and HIIT workouts. I don't necessarily need it as an all day activity tracker, although at first this seemed useful to me I've found after awhile I didn't really care. During my resistance workouts is when I need an accurate heart rate and an accurate showing of how many calories I've burned. Same goes for HIIT and LISS, but resistance is a bigger deal for me to see if I'm pushing myself too hard or not hard enough (plus, resistance workouts are harder for most fitness trackers to get an accurate heart rate one - I'll expand on this later). That's basically it! I don't need anything super fancy. Just something that will show accurately my heart rate, calories burned and minutes in heart rate zone.
Now, for the good stuff! The FT4 is the most basic of the Polar watches. However, the FT4 still does a lot. According to Polar’s website these are the features:
Body Measurement: HRmax, Polar OwnCal - Smart calories, HR-based target zones with visual and audible alarm, average and maximum heart rate of training, automatic age-based target zone - bpm/%.
Training: Graphical target zone indicator and ZonePointer
Recording: Saves 10 training files with summaries
Watch: Backlight, date and weekday indicator, display text in English, German, Finnish, Swedish, French, Portuguese, Spanish and Italian, Dual time zone, Button lock, Low battery indicator, Time of day with alarm and snooze, user replaceable battery, water resistant up to 30 meters.
As I said, it’s basic but not too basic. It doesn’t take long to learn what each button does and the battery lasts a very long time so no need to charge. Each time you leave your heart rate zone, whether you are too high or too low, it will make a sound and it will make a sound each time your heart rate goes up or down until you are in the heart rate zone, which at that point will stop making sounds.
You could technically wear the watch all day including the chest strap. The chest strap, by the way, is soft and very comfortable - I hardly could tell it was on! However, I rarely ever use the watch as an actual watch. I mainly use it for my workout and then take it off.
The Polar FT4 compared to a wrist fitness tracker with no chest strap is unbeatable. All other fitness trackers I’ve had tracked my heart rate by the wrist and while these held up during cardio, as soon as I did resistance or weight training my heart rate was lost. The Polar FT4 does not lose my heart rate - ever! For me, no other fitness tracker (without a chest strap) is even worth it because I never got an accurate recording of my workout. With the Polar FT4 I always got accurate recordings of my heart rate and calories burned and that is a necessity when working out.
Overall, the Polar FT4, while it is the most basic of the Polar watches, is a great fitness tracker and is very accurate. The chest strap is very comfortable, the battery is long lasting, the watch comes in various colors and it is easy to use. The Polar FT4 wouldn’t be for you if you want a GPS tracker or an all-in-one fitness tracker (Polar FT4 does not track steps, stairs climbed, sleep, etc.) Although, there are other Polar watches that do all of those things. If you are new to fitness trackers or want something simple to accurately track your workout then the Polar FT4 is for you!