The Polar FT80 heart rate monitor is one of the company’s mid-level HRMs falling into what Polar call the Improve Fitness category. It certainly is more expensive than an entry level device and currently will cost you $195. But for this price you do get an awful lot of features that will seriously help improve fitness levels.
One of the great features of this heart rate monitor is that you expand its functionality by getting either a foot pod or a GPS sensor. The foot pod will then allow the watch to track your speed and distance, which is especially helpful for runners. The GPS sensor will also allow you to track your speed and distance, but also the route you traveled.
Usually GPS enabled devices are very expensive, and many people don’t know whether they really need one. With the Polar FT80 heart rate monitor, you can start off without the GPS and then expand, avoiding the need to buy a complete replacement. This will keep down the costs and give you great flexibility to expand your equipment as you gain more confidence and knowledge about your heart rate training.
Another great feature is that you can upload your training data to polarpersonaltrainer.com. This allows you to get a better visual display of your past workouts and your fitness improvement. This is great for staying on track and staying motivated as you will see exactly how you progress over time. It is also vital information to make detailed training plans that target different intensities on different days.
The FT80 also comes with Polar’s OwnZone function which essentially is an indicator that tells you which preset heart rate zone you are currently in. This really helps in making sure that you vary the intensity throughout a workout session, resulting in increased fitness levels. It also means that you do not have to make this calculation yourself and with a quick glimpse you will know exactly what szone you are in.
At the end of a training session you can view your heart rate in a graphical display which immediately shows you how the intensity of your training varied over time. While the online software is far better a displaying data, it is a great way to get quick feedback on how you did. This will very much help you with your heart rate training plan.
From a design point of view this is a really nice looking watch. The display is large which makes it very easy to see all the data which is displayed in great detail and is customizable. As you can see int he images above, you even get a graphical display of your performance, so you can immediately see how well you did, without having to get to your computer first.
Compatible with foot pod to measure speed and distance
Quite a few people report that menus are quite difficult to navigate
Display can be difficult to read in bright conditions
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.