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Polar M400 update adds smartphone notifications

An update to the Polar M400 will transform the GPS running watch and activity tracker into a full-fledged smartwatch.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The Polar M400 is one of our favorite devices here at CNET . The watch can track the steps you take, distance traveled, calories burned each day and your sleep at night. It also includes GPS, which allows it to measure pace and distance while running. And now a recent update has made the M400 even better.

Polar on Monday released an update to the sport watch that adds the ability to display notifications from your smartphone. The watch will now be capable of displaying incoming calls, messages and notifications from your apps directly on your wrist. A Polar spokesperson summarized it as saying you will get the same notifications on your Polar device that you get on your phone screen, however you are able to customize which notifications are pushed to your wrist and which aren't.


Smartphone notifications are currently only available for iPhone and iPad users running iOS 8 . The company plans to bring the same functionality to Android, but it has taken longer than expected because of the "fragmented" nature of Android's "Bluetooth interoperability."

Battery life on the M400 is rated at 9 hours with an active GPS signal and while using a heart-rate strap. When used only as a watch and activity tracker that battery life jumps to 24 days. In our review, we saw about 15 days of usage with a mix of light jogging (about 20 to 30 minutes, five days a week) and daily activity tracking. Polar warns that with smart notifications enabled the battery on both the M400 and an iPhone will run out faster, however no battery estimates are given.

The M400 can be updated through the Polar Flowsync program on your computer. You are also required to update to the latest version of the Flow app on iOS in order to set up notifications.