One of the most important steps when trying to buy a heart rate monitor (or any other product for that matter) is to compare various models. To help you sort through all the information available, I am starting this series of articles where two different heart rate monitor face off in a vs battle.
In each of these articles, I will compare two heart rate monitors that have similar feature set and are in the same price range. Comparing a Ferari with a Honda would not be fair after all! Now without wasting any more time, I present you the battle between pitting the Suunto M5 vs the Polar FT80!
Both the Polar FT80 and Suunto M5 are targeted at people who are serious about training but are needing a little bit of help to plan and adjust the intensity of their training session. Both monitors will start you out with a fitness test based on which it will create a training plan suited to you.
While the Polar FT80 produces a general training program, the Suunto M5 will let you tailor your training program depending on what your goal is: improving fitness, weight loss or just a general training program.
While the training program provided by the Polar FT80 is a bit more generic, where it shines is with its integrated weight training features. Most heart rate monitors are good at guiding you during aerobic activities, but the FT80 is one of the few that are really helpful when trying to build muscle mass by doing weight training.
Both Polar and Suunto have created online communities to help their user track and share their working sessions. The FT80 comes with the Polar Flowlink allowing you to upload your data to polarpersonaltrainer.com right out of the box while to connect the M5 to movescount.com, you have to buy the movestick mini add-on. An alternative to that is to buy the Suunto M5 running pack which comes with the movestick mini and the footpod mini.
On the subject of add-ons, both the Polar FT80 and Suunto M5 can extend their feature set by connecting to foot PODs or GPS units.Both of these watches offer the standard feature set common in most heart rate monitor.
This includes, heart rate zones and alarms, real time calories burned counter, a timer and alarms. One thing that I fail to understand is why Suunto did not include their training effect data with the M5. This measure is available with most of their products and is a great help in determining how intense your current training session actually is.
In conclusion, while both the Polar FT80 and Suunto M5 are great products, I have to give a small edge to the FT80 in this heads up battle. This is mostly due to its integrated weight training feature, the fact that you can connect it to polarpersonaltrainer.com right out of the box and that it offers more data points than the Suunto M5.
Even though I would have no problems recommending the M5, the FT80 just offers more bang for your bucks.If you want more information about either the Polar FT80 or the Suunto M5, please read the individual reviews I have posted on this site.If you have any experience using either of these products, please post a comment!