Polar FT7

8.5
8.5 score
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Polar FT7 Review Facts

A trusted heart rate monitor system can take you to the next level of training or achieving your fitness goals. The Polar FT7 has the ease of use with the technology needed to calculate an individual point where a training turns from fat burning to an improved fitness level. This water-resistant watch offers a calorie counter, guidance for a variety of exercises, stopwatch, target zones that you set for your individual goals and standard watch features such as time and date that make this a watch you can wear all day to get accurate daily totals. The stylish lightweight design of the monitor make it comfortable to wear, yet not to bulky to use no matter what activity is in your schedule for the day.

Polar started selling heart monitors in 1976 and has continued to evolve with the technology to create top-rated heart monitors that have multiple functions with consistent accuracy. Using the Polar FT7 while on a run, during a spinning class, strength training or a swim you can get the most accurate readings making your training time more effective and your fitness goal more achievable on an individual level.

Editor's Pros & Cons
Pros

Easy to use

Compatible with most gym equipment

User can change the batteries

Lightweight

Display size is easy to read without being bulky

Cons

Not Bluetooth compatible

No pedometer feature

Battery life

Key Features

Key Features

The system consists of the training computer which is the Polar FT7 wrist watch, H1 heart rate sensor with a chest strap, starters guide and 2 lithium metal batteries. This Polar FT7 unit has Energy Pointer, smart calories, Owncal, Training load and the ability for PC and MAC data transfer with polarpersonaltrainer.com via Polar Flowlin.

All of this technology packed into this small watch and monitor that is lightweight, easy to use and accurate not only make this a training must have it will become your motivational support. It stores training files, gives weekly summaries and records up to 99 records all while staying easy to use. The button-free operation feature provides stop free training while still reading the information you need and is safe to use. No balancing one-handed on a bike or in the middle of a strengthening class having to juggle weights to check your active status.
Basic Features

Basic Features

Having the Polar FT7 while doing a workout is like having a personal training with you during your workout, not only will it monitor you fitness it guides you. The Energy Pointer shows a mark as to what level you are achieving. Simple to read, below the mark you are burning fat and above the mark, you are improving fitness aerobically. Detecting your body’s current state from your heart rate and the heart rate variable may change your point value that day. For example, you did an intense training the previous day your body is in the recovery stage which the monitor can detect, your current days status point value for today will automatically be adjusted for the workout. The heart and wrist units are water resistant up to 30m however while under water the buttons are not to be pressed so the HeartTouch feature allows you to use the unit while doing laps with the button free use. The FT7 is a trainer and guide to help not to overtrain which could lead to fatigue and injury.
Advanced Features

Advanced Features

Setting the manual target zone feature allows you to decide the zone you want for the training. This can be set in bpm (beats per minute), HRR% (percent of heart rate reserve and maximum heart rate percentage). This lets you set your target and how you want to see it for each workout to help keep you on track. The graphical target zone indicator feature will display the zone you are currently in and where you set the target to be on a graph keeping you motivated through your activity. The Polar FT7 also monitors your average and maximum heart rate of training so you always have a base to refer to.

A valuable part of a training regime is an accurate calorie counter for a beginner just getting in shape for longevity of life or to slim downn an accurate calorie counter can be very helpful. The Polar OwnCal is one of the most preferred calorie counters on the market because it uses your own data such as your weight, age, height and gender along with the intensity of your physical activity calculates an accurate calorie burn. Other units and equipment use general data formulas of what an average height and weight person may burn, not leaving you with an accurate individual count. A high recommendation is to update any changes in weight to update your watch to keep the accuracy of your current fitness workouts.
Accessories

Accessories

Investing in the Polar FlowLink that will transfer data to a computer from your Polar FT7 gives you the ability to use the unit to its fullest potential. The FlowLink is an additional item to purchase but well worth it. It will act as your personal fitness diary, logs your workouts and you can customize your fitness schedule all seeing it visually. The website has free access and is easy to use even for not so tech-savvy users. The FlowLink gives you access to training programs that can create a training target that goes directly into your diary. This includes programs for cycling, running, outdoor sports and general fitness. This helps when you might not be sure what type of activity you would do the day after an intense or strengthening training. This feature includes Gymlink, which connects compatible gym equipment with the unit so you can read your workouts on the equipment loading it into your fitness log automatically.

Additional accessories can add to the versatility of the Polar FT7 getting you the most of your investment. Accessories such as a variety of color wrist bands available with a silver buckle closure to keep the unit secure and in place with a twist of style to wear anywhere and with any outfit. The standard chest band that ships is the size M to XXL to fit most users, a smaller chest band is available to assure a secure fit and accurate transmitting for those with a smaller frame. If biking or spinning is your activity there is a universal bike mount that the wrist unit goes on. This keeps the unit in a visual area and is safer for stability and control keeping both hands on the bike. When using the bike mount a tip is to use two fingers when pushing the buttons, one to push the button and the other to counter the force on the unit. Accessories will help make your investment in the Polar FT7 more usable, add variety and in some cases more fun to wear.
Maintenance

Maintenance

To keep your Polar FT7 system working to its optimal level, maintain the water resistance and its accuracy, it should have regular maintenance. There are easy steps that do not take much time but help to keep the monitor clean and functioning properly.

The wrist unit should be kept clean by wiping off any moisture after using it during a workout or an extremely warm day. It is safe to wash the unit with water and a mild soap solution under running water just remember not to push any buttons. After use or cleaning do not store in an open breathable material or area. Putting in a non-breathable material like a gym bag with damp clothes will create unwanted moisture in the unit. When under water or wet, it is important not to push the buttons on the wrist unit. The wristbands are made of pol which can be washed with the unit to preserve the band and any moisture buildup on the underside of the band. Keeping the unit out of extreme cold and extreme heat will keep the wrist unit working to your expectations.

The heart monitor unit should be cleaned and stored like your wrist unit to assure continual accuracy but also to help extend the battery life. Moisture and sweat that touch the electrodes and transmitter can keep the unit activated decreasing the life of the battery. Only dry the transmitter with a dry towel as hard handling of may damage the electrodes and store in a dry breathable area. Having the unit in a gym bag near a wet towel or sweaty clothes is not recommended. The batteries you are able to change like the wrist unit which is a great feature versus many other heart monitor units that you actually have to purchase a new transmitter when the battery dies.
Ease of Use

Ease of Use

The amount of support offered with the Polar FT7 is above users expectations. Most users are able to set up and start using without any directions but if you prefer to use a guide it is step by step with a tip section to help use all the available functions. There are multiple language settings and the Flowlink access to the website is designed with the end user in mind. Most comparable units do not have the level of ease or the support available.

The Polar FT7 has HeartTouch technology that eliminates what sometimes can interfere with your workout by having to stop and push buttons to see a workout status or change a setting. The HeartTouch feature is easy to use in the middle of a workout by moving the watch next to the transmitter to switch to different training information allowing you to continue to workout at the level you are while seeing your target zone or any other feature you would like. This feature not only is useful for hiking, running or outdoor sports that you use your arms for stability or balance but is a great feature for swimmers.

Setting your zone alarm for your heart rate limit gives the Audible alarm feature of the Polar FT7 the ability for continual workout without having to stop to see when you hit the zone limits. This audible feature alerts you when you are in your individual set zone or have exceeded your target limits. This keeps you on track and in a safe functioning level of activity that you set for yourself.
Power Source

Power Source

The battery for the Polar FT7 is user changeable so if the display starts to fade you can change it yourself, however, it is recommended to send the unit to the Polar Service. They will check the rubber seal and for the unit for water resistance every time the unit is opened. This also is part of the warranty coverage that if the unit battery is changed by a non-Polar Service any damage may not be covered.

Bottom Line

The features the Polar FT7 offers along with the trusted accuracy of the brand and ease of use make this heart monitor unit a top rated choice for the value. The water resistant units allow for a the wide variety of training from running, hiking to swimming while using the same unit without changing equipment. It can be worn all day as a watch at work to the gym as a tracker making it a versatile staple to your daily lifestyle.

Using a monitor for a little motivation or like a trainer to recommend a training routine to fit your individual needs sets this unit apart from others. The Polar Ft 7 with its button free operation paired with an accurate calorie counter and target zone tracking allow a beginner to get started while a competitor may use the FlowLink features for the training diary, suggested workout plans and the Energy Pointer to monitor the effectiveness of your workout. There are monitor units that are far more expensive however for the large variety of features paired with the trusted brand and ease of use sets the Polar FT7 apart from other heart monitor units. The time invested into training is just as important as the investment into knowing the effectiveness of your workouts, the Polar FT7 is the heart monitor system that can help do that without breaking the bank.