The Suunto M4 heart rate monitor is a mid-level HRM which packs quite a few features that are not what you would find on an entry level device. This warrants the price of $140 compared to more basic models that retail for about $60, along with the fact that it has an incredible cool design. Suunto are definitely the standout designers in the whorl of sports watches.
The first feature to note is that the watch comes with 3 target zones and an alarm function that informs you when you move from one into the other. This is of great help as you do not have to constantly look at your watch to see if you are in the ideal zone. once you get used to heart rate training you will appreciate this function as you can just focus on your pace and will be warned when your pace increases or decreases too much.
The second thing to point out is the personal training feature that automatically suggests a 7 day training program and then gives you daily alerts with exercise and intensity instructions. This helps you to both stay on track of your workouts and to stay motivated, as you will get regular reminders. Motivation is often something that is in most need of building up, especially if you are relatively new to such fitness programs. By having these suggestions readily at hand it is like having a personal trainer remind you of what you should be doing.
While the Suunto M4 will display you very good data about your workouts, it is much better to keep track of your progress through the free Movescount.com software. This allows you to upload your training data and see how you have improved over time. Personally I like this, as it really keeps me motivated when I see that I am actually improving. Motivation is really something that can make ar break a training program.
The large and clear display is also is also something to point out. There are many HRMs that display the information in very small digits making it difficult to get a quick reading while you are exercising. You really do not want to take your eyes off the road or track for too long just to get an idea how you are performing. This simply is not a problem with this Suunto.
Buttons are large enough to easily navigate the different settings and menus even when you are in motion. This makes it easy for you to make some changes or pull up additional info without having to stop. You will need to get used to the menu structure though, and like with any gadget there is a little bit of a learning curve.
Automatic exercise program for 7 days
Daily exercise instructions
Cannot set own upper and lower heart rate zones
Not compatible with foot pod for tracking distance
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.