Polar Vantage M2 Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Great design, responsive interface, inexpensive
Cons: Minimal navigation, shorter battery life, lack of tool widgets
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Polar Vantage M2
|Price||$299.71 at Amazon|
Compare at 2 sellers
|$399 List||$300 List|
$300.00 at REI
|$199.00 at Amazon|
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|$199.99 at Amazon|
Compare at 2 sellers
|Pros||Great design, responsive interface, inexpensive||Good battery life, comfortable, easy to use, great value||Excellent quality, accurate, simple design, very easy to use, great feature set, very long battery life||Low profile design, great battery life, very accurate, low cost||Simple, inexpensive, lightweight|
|Cons||Minimal navigation, shorter battery life, lack of tool widgets||Lacks some toolset functions, scroll wheel has unintended clicks||Backlight isn't bright, heart rate monitor accuracy is a little off||Minimal activity profiles, no navigation features, plastic construction||Lacks premium health stats, shorter battery life|
|Bottom Line||A premium-looking watch with loads of features and health metrics for a great price||A fully-featured GPS watch at a great price makes this one of our top recommendations for all user types||A well-constructed and accurate watch with a minimalistic design, excellent battery life, and all the right features||A fully functional and incredibly light GPS sports watch boasting great battery life at an incredible value||A 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|
|Battery Life (20%)|
|Ease of Use (20%)|
|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|
|Size Tested||One size only||47mm||42mm||One size only||One size only|
|Measured Main Body Size (diameter)||46mm||47mm||42mm||43mm||42mm|
|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|
|Daily Fitness Tracking?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|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.
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.
- Heart rate monitor
- 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
— Matthew Richardson
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