The Polar FT series (FT1, FT2, FT4, FT7) of heart rate monitor watches falls into the fitness and cross-training category of sports watches. These watches are for athletes just coming into fitness training, or those that want just the basic heart rate features in a fitness watch. The watches are designed for gym, spinning, and general cardio workouts.
There are 4 watches in the basic FT line; the FT1, FT2, FT4 and FT 7. This review covers all four watches, since they have similar features. The FT1 is the entry model in the line, and the FT7 is the top end of the basic FT line. There are 3 other watches in the FT line; the FT40, FT60 and FT80. These have more advanced features, and are covered in another review. To start off, we are going to first cover the features that are common to the all of the watches, and towards the end of the review we will cover the differences between the three models.
Before I start the review, I want to make it clear that I am in no way connected to Polar. These watches were purchased by Fitness Electronics Reviews, and these watches see daily use as spinning and fitness watches from us and other FEB reviewers.
All products start by walking you through a setup process to enter date, time, weight, and age. You can also set your minimum and maximum heart rate. Going outside of this range will cause the watch to beep, if the BEEP setting is on. After this, you are ready to start training.
The watches are water resistant, and can be worn while swimming. To maintain water resistance, you can’t press the buttons while under water. The batteries used in both the watch and the heart rate monitor strap use a CR2025, which can be found at most larger grocery and drug stores.
Here are pics of the FT1 and FT2:
Here are pics of the FT4 and FT7:
- The FT1 has a single button that starts the training. Press the button to start, press again to stop. No other buttons are required.
- Bringing the watch close to the heart rate monitor strap cycles the display through heart rate/training duration/time/heart rate.
- The last training session is stored until you start a new training session. The watch records average and maximum heart rate, and displays a summary of your last workout.
- Heart rate zones are set manually by the user
- All of the features of the FT1, plus
- Heart rate zones are calculated based off of the user’s age, and set automatically
- THe Ft4 has all of the features of the FT1 and FT2, plus
- Polar OwnCal, which calculates the number of calories burned during training
- Polar OwnCode, which is the data transmission method that Polar uses to send data from the heart rate monitor transmitter to the watch. Other watch manufacturers use ANT and ANT+, so this Polar heart rate monitor strap is not compatible with other manufacturers HRM straps.
- The watch stores up to 10 training files with summaries.
- The watch also has a graphical heart rate target zone indicator on the watch display. This is shown in the picture above if you want to see what it looks like.
- All of these watches have Polar HeartTouch, which is great if you wear gloves. Just bring the watch close to the heart rate monitor strap and the display cycles through heart rate/training duration/time.
- Additional watch features are backlight, battery indicator, day and weekday indicator, and dual time zone.
- Buttons can be locked to eliminate accidental presses.
- The FT7 has all of the features of the Ft1, FT2, and FT4, plus
- Polar EnergyPointer, which tells you during a training session if the main effect of your training is fat burning or fitness improvement. Above the line (see image), and you are in fitness improvement mode. Below the line, and you are in fat burning mode.
- You can review your workout in detail on the watch, or transfer your data to polarpersonaltrainer.com, where you can store and graph your data using the optional Polar FlowLink hardware.