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Wearable Tech

Polar's new Android Wear fitness smartwatch is chunky but capable (hands-on)

The Polar M600 has GPS, interval training, a built-in heart-rate sensor and phone notifications.

Polar, best known for its line of heart-rate chest straps and running watches, feels that taking fitness seriously is what other smartwatches have been missing. Its new Polar M600 will be available towards the end of September for $330 or £300 (which converts to around AU$435).

The M600 is designed for athletes. That's evident from its bulky design. This isn't like the svelte Huawei Watch or Moto 360 -- you wouldn't wear it to a formal event. Equipped with both GPS and its Russian equivalent Glonass, however, the watch can measure pace, distance, speed and other metrics when running and cycling. It's also swim-proof and can withstand the elements better than other smartwatches.

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Sarah Tew/CNET

Polar did something a little different, too, with the optical heart-rate sensor. Most companies use one or two flashing LEDs to light your capillaries and measure the blood as it flows past. Polar opted for six LEDs, which it has said will help with accuracy. Heart rate is only measured continuously during workouts, but you can read it on demand whenever you want.

As for battery life, Polar has said the M600 will last up to 48 hours on Android and 24 hours on an iPhone, which is pretty standard for most Android Wear watches. Meanwhile, with an activity GPS signal, the watch will run up to 8 hours 30 minutes.

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Sarah Tew/CNET

The M600, as with other Android Wear watches, works with both iPhones and Android phones. It can display notifications and personalized Google cards for quick information on local weather and traffic.

Polar also added some extra goodies. A single press on the center key will open Polar's built-in workout app. Here you can track an activity, start an interval workout and view information on past runs. The watch also syncs with the Polar Flow app on Android and iOS to view more detailed information.

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Sarah Tew/CNET

Key specs

  • Android Wear 2.0 software
  • 1.3-inch, 240x240-pixel resolution display, protected by Gorilla Glass 3
  • Dual-core processor
  • 4GB of storage for apps and music
  • 500 mAh battery
  • GPS and Glonass
  • Optical heart-rate sensor
  • Swim-proof

I only had a brief demo with the watch and haven't had a chance to workout with it yet. We will have a full review of the Polar M600 in the coming weeks.

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