The Polar FT40 is a mid level HRM that goes beyond the basic features of the entry level devices. With a price tag of $100 it is still quite affordable, but quite a step up from the $50 and $60 prices common with entry level ones. It is very suitable for athletes that have some experience or are certain that they want to take their training to the next level. This model is designed specifically for women, which is great as so many devices do not come in colors that would appeal to female runners.
However, you do need to consider that you get a whole lot more for your money. Firstly is the really cool function of what Polar call Fitness Test. What you do is wear the chest strap after exercising and while you are at rest in order to record your resting heart rate, or your OwnIndex. This is similar to a VO2max index which is a good measure of your aerobic fitness level. By saving multiple results you can easily track how your fitness is improving over time.
Training Load is another feature that really helps in planning your weekly exercises. It essentially advises you when to take rest days and at what intensity you should exercise on what days. This really helps keep you motivated and gives you clear guidance on how much to train; like a personal trainer in your watch. One think a lot of athletes can be guilty of is over training especially in the lead up to competitive events. With your HRM giving you advice on when to take rest days, you will have a better chance to succeed.
The final thing to mention is the Calorie counter. This is great for people who want to lose weight, but it is also important for athletes that need to keep track of how much energy they need to replenish after various training sessions. But it also gives you an indication of fat burn percentage. This data is invaluable no matter what your training goals are.
This particular model is the white version designed for women, but there is also one for men which is reviewed here. It is always good to have a situation where design is accounted for with all tastes and preferences and Polar really do a good job with this model.
Target zone displays fat burn or fitness improvement
Heart rate target zones with visual and audible alarms
Difficult battery replacement
Cannot change heart rate zones
Also take a look at this very handy comparison table that we have put together in order to make it easier to see the differences between all the different HRMs.