Polar FT1, FT2, FT4 & FT7 Heart Rate Monitors – Review

 

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:

 

 

 

 

 

FT1

  • 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

FT2

  • All of the features of the FT1, plus
  • Heart rate zones are calculated based off of the user’s age, and set automatically

FT4

  • 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.

FT7

  • 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.
So, would I buy or recommend these watches?
If your goal is simple heart rate monitoring, it doesn’t get much simpler than this. The watches work well, and seem to be bulletproof. If you want more advanced features while still sticking with a heart rate monitor only watch, I recommend the Polar FT40, FT60, or FT80 watches, or the Garmin FR60 or FR70 watches. If you are into running or triathlon at all, forget about it and get a GPS watch.
If you would like some additional information, here is a video of the FT1:

If you would like some additional information, here is a video of the FT2:

If you would like some additional information, here is a video of the FT4:

If you would like some additional information, here is a video of the FT7:

Happy training!!

 

  33 Responses to “Polar FT1, FT2, FT4 & FT7 Heart Rate Monitors – Review”

  1. [...] New Micro Four Thirds lenses to be announced next week (Thanks to sources for the latest rumors)Polar FT1, FT2, FT4 & FT7 Heart Rate Monitors – Review jQuery.noConflict(); function openKswppwWindow() { if(typeof hide_popup == 'function') { [...]

  2. Can you use these in the pool?

  3. Your Comment

  4. Can the FT1 rate monitor be used with an iPhone 4?

  5. This is brilliant and just what I was looking for. A comparison of differences between the models! Thanks

  6. Hi,

    Is the FT2 compatible with Blackberry?
    I specifically want to use it with Endomondo Sports Tracker.
    If not, which one would be best to use?

    Thank you

  7. Is the FT1 chest transmitter compatible with the FT4 watch? Thanks :)

    • Katie,

      The FT1 uses the Polar T31 heart rate monitor strap, and the FT4 uses the H1 heart rate monitor strap. The Polar website shows that the FT4 is compatible with the T31, which is used in the FT1, so the answer is yes.

      John

  8. Hey

    I think you got it wrong the FT7 does not have all the features that FT4 has

    “HR-based target zones with visual and audible alarm” and I do not see that on FT7

    http://www.polarusa.com/us-en/products/compare?product1=23349

  9. What about the FT40, is there a difference from the FT4?

    • Here are the main features of the FT40:

      Body measurement features
      Average and maximum heart rate of training
      Heart rate – bpm / %
      HR-based target zones with visual and audible alarm
      HRmax (user set)
      Manual target zone – bpm (upper limit)
      Polar EnergyPointer
      Polar Fitness Test
      Polar OwnCal® – calorie expenditure with fat percentage
      Polar OwnCode® (5kHz) – coded transmission
      Data transfer
      Compatible with Mac (Intel-based) via Polar FlowLink
      Compatible with PC via Polar FlowLink
      Compatible with polarpersonaltrainer.com via Polar FlowLink
      Polarpersonaltrainer.com features
      Recording features
      Training files (with summaries) – 50
      Totals
      Weekly history
      Training features
      HeartTouch – button-free operation of wrist unit
      Graphical target zone indicator
      ZonePointer
      ZoneLock
      Watch features
      Backlight
      Date and weekday indicator
      Display text in English, German, Spanish, and Italian
      Dual time zone
      Button Lock
      Low battery indicator
      Time of day (12/24h) with alarm and snooze
      User replaceable battery
      Water resistant – 30m

      Here are the features of the FT4:

      Body measurement features
      Automatic age-based target zone – bpm / %
      Average and maximum heart rate of training
      Heart rate – bpm / %
      HR-based target zones with visual and audible alarm
      HRmax (user set)
      Manual target zone – bpm / %
      Polar OwnCal® – calorie expenditure
      Polar OwnCode® (5kHz) – coded transmission
      Recording features
      Training files (with summaries) – 10
      Totals
      Training features
      HeartTouch – button-free operation of wrist unit
      Graphical target zone indicator
      Watch features
      Backlight
      Date and weekday indicator
      Display text in English, German, Finnish, Swedish, French, Portuguese, Spanish, and Italian
      Dual time zone
      Button Lock
      Low battery indicator
      Time of day (12/24h) with alarm and snooze
      User replaceable battery
      Water resistant – 30m

      One of the key features is that the FT40 has more memory, and allows you to download your workouts to your computer. The FT4 does not.

      I hope this helps.

      John

  10. Does ft7 automatically input target heart zone after you input age weight etc? Hey thanks for taking the time to answer every ones questions.

    • Jason,

      Yes, you enter your maximum heart rate after your other settings. To do this, go to:

      Training Settings

      Select Settings > Training settings
      • Training sounds: Select Off or On.
      • Heart rate view : Set the FT7 to display your heart rate as Beats per minute (BPM) or as Percent of
      maximum (% OF MAX).
      BPM: The measurement of the work your heart does, expressed as the number of beats per minute.
      % OF MAX: The measurement of the work your heart does, expressed as % of your heart rate reserve.

      • HeartTouch: Select On or Off. By bringing the training computer near the transmitter connector during
      training the time of day displayed. The backlight also lits up, providing that you have pressed the LIGHT
      button during the training session.

      Heart rate upper limit helps you to train within your personal target heart rate zone (e.g. advised by a
      doctor). Set upper heart rate limit On and adjust the limit with UP/DOWN and press OK.

      I hope this helps.

      John

  11. Do you know if the heart rate strap is compatible with Nike+ GPS sportswatch?

    • Jessica,

      Mike,

      Yes, if you have a Nike+ sports watch, it will work with the 5 kHz transmission on this heart rate monitor strap. You can buy a strap directly from Nike store here, or purchase one through Polar found here. The heart rate monitor is the Polar Wearlink+ transmitter Nike+.

      John

  12. Hi, I’m looking into getting a FT4, and was just wondering if the watch needs to be worn during workout or can I just have it near me? I’m mainly wanting something that shows me how many calories I’m burning in my workouts. Is there anything else that you would recommend? Thanks!

    • Renee,

      You don’t need to wear the watch, but it should be within arms length of your body, in a bag or on a bike handlebar. If you need something that transmits from farther away, the Bluetooth and Bluetooth SMART heart rate straps that work with smartphones have a longer transmit range – typically 10 to 30 feet.

      John

  13. Does the FT80 sensor work with the FT4 belt and whatch/monitor?

  14. Is the monitor you get with the ft1 compatible with the ft7 watch?

  15. Does this chest monitor work with nike + sports watch

    • Mike,

      Yes, if you have a Nike+ sports watch, it will work with the 5 kHz transmission on this heart rate monitor strap. You can buy a strap directly from Nike store here, or purchase one through Polar found here. The heart rate monitor is the Polar Wearlink+ transmitter Nike+.

      John

  16. Thinking of buying the ft7 but would like it to sync to a work out app for Android. DO you know which ones syncs? I currently have the fitbit one and would like it to be compatable
    thanks
    R

  17. Can you link the FT7 to an android phone?

  18. Does the FT4 or rather the heart rate monitor H1 work with the Samsung S5? I’m trying to use it with the MapMyFitness app, but I can’t seem to pick up the heart rate monitor. Does the heart rate monitor have to be Bluetooth compatible.

  19. Does the chest band have to be on for the monitor to work or will you still get a reading from just the watch? I’m assuming the chest band will provide a more accurate reading but just wondering if the watch itself provides a reading at all without the chest strap?

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