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Polar Vantage M2 Review

A premium-looking watch with loads of features and health metrics for a great price
Polar Vantage M2
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Price:  $300 List | $270.00 at Amazon
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Great design, responsive interface, inexpensive
Cons:  Minimal navigation, shorter battery life, lack of tool widgets
Manufacturer:   Polar
By Matthew Richardson ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Apr 29, 2022
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
72
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 12
  • Features - 20% 6.0
  • Battery Life - 20% 7.0
  • Ease of Use - 20% 7.0
  • Accuracy - 20% 8.0
  • Design - 20% 8.0

Our Verdict

The Polar Vantage M2 impressed us with its feature set and design, especially given the price. It also has an elegant design and great color screen with more advanced health metrics than most cheaper models. The interface is smooth and responsive and pairs well with the integrated mobile app. This watch is for those looking for additional features over the bargain-basement options, and the design far exceeds the price tag. We wish there were tool style widgets and some more advanced navigation features, but if simplicity and design are your priority, we suggest giving this model a look.

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Pros Great design, responsive interface, inexpensiveGood battery life, comfortable, easy to use, great valueExcellent quality, accurate, simple design, very easy to use, great feature set, very long battery lifeLow profile design, great battery life, very accurate, low costSimple, inexpensive, lightweight
Cons Minimal navigation, shorter battery life, lack of tool widgetsLacks some toolset functions, scroll wheel has unintended clicksBacklight isn't bright, heart rate monitor accuracy is a little offMinimal activity profiles, no navigation features, plastic constructionLacks premium health stats, shorter battery life
Bottom Line A premium-looking watch with loads of features and health metrics for a great priceA fully-featured GPS watch at a great price makes this one of our top recommendations for all user typesA well-constructed and accurate watch with a minimalistic design, excellent battery life, and all the right featuresA fully functional and incredibly light GPS sports watch boasting great battery life at an incredible valueA basic GPS watch that will be perfect for those looking to track their activities without the advanced features of premium models or extended battery life
Rating Categories Polar Vantage M2 Coros Apex Pro Coros Apex Coros Pace 2 Garmin Forerunner 55
Features (20%)
6.0
7.0
6.0
5.0
5.0
Battery Life (20%)
7.0
7.0
6.0
7.0
5.0
Ease of Use (20%)
7.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
Accuracy (20%)
8.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
Design (20%)
8.0
8.0
9.0
6.0
6.0
Specs Polar Vantage M2 Coros Apex Pro Coros Apex Coros Pace 2 Garmin Forerunner 55
Watch Face Material Hard-coated PMMA laminated lens Sapphire glass Sapphire glass Corning glass Chemically strengthened glass
Bezel Stainless steel Titanium Alloy Stainless steel bezel Fiber reinforced polymer Stainless steel
Case Glass fibre reinforced polyamide Alumnium Alumnium Fiber reinforced polymer Glass fibre reinforced polyamide
Strap Material Silicone Silicon or nylon Silicon or nylon Silicon or nylon Silicone
Tools Required to Change Band? No No No No No
Model Tested N/A Standard Standard N/A N/A
Size Tested One size only 47mm 42mm One size only One size only
Measured Main Body Size (diameter) 46mm 47mm 42mm 43mm 42mm
Measured Thickness 14.5mm 13.4mm 13mm 11mm 12.5mm
Measured Screen Width 30mm 33mm 33mm 32mm 26.5mm
Measured Weight 1.55 oz 2.0 oz 1.7 oz 1.2 oz 1.31 oz
Measured Charging Time 78 min 80 min 70 min 80 min 111 min
Battery Type Rechargable lithium ion Rechargable lithium ion Rechargable lithium ion Rechargable lithium ion Rechargable lithium ion
Measured Battery Life With GPS On 38 hours 36 hours 24 hours 29 hours 19 hours
Manufacturer-Reported Battery Life GPS: 40 hours Smartwatch mode: 30 days;
GPS mode: 40 hours;
UltraMax mode: 100 hours
Smartwatch mode: 25 days;
Full GPS mode: 25 hours;
UltraMax GPS Mode: 80 hours
Smartwatch mode: 20 days;
GPS: 30 hours;
Ultramax mode: 60 hours
Smartwatch mode: 2 weeks;
GPS: 20 hours
Navigation Built In? No Yes Yes No No
Satellite Networks Used GPS, GLONASS GPS, QZSS, GLONASS, BEIDOU GPS, QZSS, GLONASS, BEIDOU GPS, QZSS, GLONASS, BEIDOU GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO
Maps? No Yes - basic Yes - basic No No
Back to Start Navigation? No Yes Yes No No
Water Resistance (max depth) 30m 100m 100m 50m 50m
Music Control? Yes No No No Yes
Music Storage? No No No No No
Daily Fitness Tracking? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Touchless Payment? No No No No No
Sleep Tracking? Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Blood Oxygen? No Yes No No No
Compass? No Yes Yes Yes No
Barometric Altimeter? No Yes Yes Yes No
Temperature Sensor? No Yes Yes Yes No
Main Software App Polar Flow Coros App Coros App Coros Garmin Connect, widgets for other features
Can Software Cross Over to Different Software Ecosystems? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Our Analysis and Test Results

If you're interested in more health tracking features than the lower-end GPS models, this could be a great step up for a small amount of money. Polar is known for their health tracking and great heart rate monitoring equipment, and they include these strong suits in this model. It's packed with a multitude of health features such as sleep scores, recovery tools, breathing exercises, and nutrition reminders.

The Vantage M2 features a sleek, basically edgeless, color display with a metal bezel and durable plastic body. Dedicated buttons and a smooth, responsive interface make this model easy to use. A well-designed integrated mobile app helps you visualize your data and upload it to third-party applications. This is a great step up for a basic entry-level option.

Performance Comparison


The Vantage M2 puts an emphasis on design and we think Polar did a...
The Vantage M2 puts an emphasis on design and we think Polar did a great job.
Credit: Matthew Richardson

Features


Clearly, health metrics were prioritized in this model, as it features sleep tracking with scores, nutrition intake, nightly recharge, and training load. There are, of course, also your basic GPS tracking functions and various sports modes. Syncing with your smartphone provides notifications and the ability to control your music.

Notable Features:

  • Heart rate monitor
  • Alarms
  • Several activity profiles
  • Pedometer and calories burned
  • Weather information
  • Removable watch straps
  • Fueling and nutrition widgets
  • Breathing exercise tool

The Polar website shows the full scope of all the features offered.

We wish Polar implemented the tool/widget design found on Garmin and Coros models. These widgets are extremely helpful for doing various tasks such as finding your phone or fast-starting various tools such as a stopwatch or timer. While we always prefer to have advanced navigation features on our watches, the simple back-to-start found on this model is better than nothing. There are no compass or altimeter functions available on this model.

Less customizable than others this watch still features widget...
Less customizable than others this watch still features widget glances but does not have tools like those found on the Coros or Garmin models.
Credit: Matthew Richardson

Battery Life


The battery life found on the Vantage M2 is slightly better than the cheapest models in our lineup. At a claimed GPS track time of 30 hours, we suspect this will be sufficient for most of our readers. There is a claimed 100 hours with battery-saving options, but ultimately your GPS and health metrics will suffer accuracy under these modes.

We found this watch to be a great everyday watch, but we would be hesitant to choose it for longer adventures or expeditions. We appreciate the battery options when starting a workout that clearly state the GPS sampling rate among the various other settings, unlike some other models that just list Good/Better/Best.

Weather widgets provide a helpful glance at what you can anticipate...
Weather widgets provide a helpful glance at what you can anticipate throughout the day.
Credit: Matthew Richardson

Ease of Use


While the Vantage M2 doesn't have the easiest interface we have tested, it's far from the worst. Dedicated buttons make navigation easy and precise. The menu system is easy to learn, and the dedicated mobile app is well designed and also easy to navigate. If you are coming from a different brand, it may take you a bit to learn since a lot of the button presses are a bit different.

During activity the watch functions well without any quirks — we experienced few to no accidental button presses, which is a complaint with other models. The menu system is smooth and has plenty of adjustable features to tailor the watch to your liking. We wish there were an implemented tool section to access various tools and settings quickly. This system is found on the Coros and Garmin models, and it greatly increases usability.

Power save settings are easily accessible when starting a workout -...
Power save settings are easily accessible when starting a workout - similar to the Garmin models.
Credit: Matthew Richardson

Accuracy


When taken on our three-mile GPS test loop on a remote road in Colorado, the M2 scored similarly to the competition with only +/- 0.01 miles variance. All of the watches we tested scored great, and we are happy to see this trend taking form in the GPS watch world. This model has the least amount of compatible satellites, but that shouldn't be an issue unless you are in steep technical terrain. We experienced no issues connecting to satellites, and the connection was quick.

Polar is known for its heart rate technology and this model did not...
Polar is known for its heart rate technology and this model did not disappoint being one of the best we tested.
Credit: Matthew Richardson


Polar is known for its heart rate monitors, and the M2 lived up to that. This model was one of the most comfortable, which likely enhanced the accuracy, never being more than 1 - 5 bpm off from our heart rate chest monitor. If you are looking for the best accuracy possible, we would recommend getting a compatible heart rate strap from Polar. If heart rate monitoring is your priority, this is the perfect model.

Our 3-mile remote dirt road testing zoomed in on a corner looking at...
Our 3-mile remote dirt road testing zoomed in on a corner looking at how the various watches track.
Credit: Matthew Richardson

Design


A sleek design and smooth bezel make this watch a bit less rugged and more sporty than some of the higher-end adventure-specific watches we tested. The color screen is bright and easily readable in various conditions. The outer metal bezel ring gives a premium look, while the rest of the body is made of durable plastic. Metal buttons feel nice but are a bit mushy compared to the competition.

The removable watch band is comfortable and has a softer, almost fabric-like coating which feels nice on the skin. The closure design, while attractive, is a bit finicky and requires more precision when taking the watch on and off. On our tester's wrist, the clasp sat centered under the wrist instead of off to the side. This wasn't very pleasant when typing on the computer or resting the wrist flat. While we experienced no durability issues, the clasp and pin are much skinnier than other models and could be a source of failure; luckily, they are replaceable. We think this is a great design if you want a premium-looking watch for a fraction of the price.

The metal clasp is nice looking but is more difficult to take on and...
The metal clasp is nice looking but is more difficult to take on and off than other models without the two-step design.
Credit: Matthew Richardson

Value


We are impressed with the value of this watch. We would recommend it to those looking for high-end health metrics and tracking with a great design. The screen and interface are better than some of the other tested watches that sell for much more. That said, if you are in the market for a more adventure-focused watch, we recommend paying a bit extra to get some helpful navigation features and an ABC (Altimeter, Barometer, and Compass). If these features aren't needed, the M2 is a great choice.

Conclusion


A great design packed with features makes the Polar Vantage M2 one of our favorite entry-level watches — especially if you prioritize design and health-related functions. We are impressed with the value to performance ratio and would not hesitate to recommend this watch to our friends and family looking for basic GPS tracking in a sleek package.

Our main tester heads out of the canyon with the Vantage M2 tracking...
Our main tester heads out of the canyon with the Vantage M2 tracking his cycling metrics.
Credit: Matthew Richardson

Matthew Richardson
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