Last week Polar announced the release of the M600 and entered the small but growing category of sports watches with optical heart rate monitoring.
The M600 appears to be a mid-level entry, similar to the Garmin 235, but with some additional features.
The M600 has all the major features that most athletes are currently looking for including: IPX waterproofing, data transfer via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, smart notifications, Strava integration, and it measures daily activity. It also has some nice added features including music storage and playback, color touch display, and works with Android Wear to allow owners to download and use customized apps, a la Connect IQ. The M600 will continue to leverage the Polar Flow app (iOS & Android) and web platform supporting features such as Polarís Smart Coaching, and will support auto syncing with TrainingPeaks and Strava.
That said, triathletes may see a couple missing features or metrics, most notably: no power meter options, no swimming metrics, limited battery life (10hrs of training), and no foot pod sensor capability (instead it relies on an internal accelerometer). This watch is not a replacement for the V800, nor is it advertised as such.
The M600 will certainly put Garmin on notice, especially if Polarís optical heart rate is more accurate and consistent than Garminís OHR which I would best describe as average at best. More importantly, it may provide a glimpse of what customers can expect from Polarís eventual release of an updated V800.
The M600 is listed to retail at $329 and will be shipping in September. Slowtwitch expects to get its hands on a production unit in the coming weeks.