Two years after the release of the Polar M450 bike computer the Finnish company decided to update its entry level line with a new model. Actually, I’ve been using the M450 unit for more than a year now and I have to admit that it’s one of my favorite bike computers. You can check my review of the old unit in this article.
I cycled more than 1000 miles with the Polar M450 for that year and I’m very happy with the results and the performance of the unit. I could not ask for more having in mind what I paid for it. Back then I paid around $160 and it came with a heart-rate monitor included which is a very good bargain.
That’s why I decided that I can test and review the new model Polar M460 and see all the changes and updates as objectively as possible. In general, I have to admit that I’m a little bit of a fan of the Finnish electronic products since Nokia.
Polar provided me with a loaner unit to test and toy with and now I can easily conclude what are the most impressive changes in the M460 compared with the M450. So, without further ado let’s see which are the most important changes in the new unit.
Polar M460 Review – What’s New?
Let’s start with the most obvious thing which is updated in the new Polar M460 – the look. The device now looks much better in my opinion. Actually, it looks like that it’s just a new exterior case which is now black ( carbon black finish ) instead of white. But the black unit fits much better with the black handlebars of my hybrid bike and it looks like the obvious choice for Polar.
The second and unfortunately last hardware update is that the Polar M460 is suited with new buttons. It’s just a minor tweak but the buttons now feel much better. They are a little bit bigger than on the previous model and somehow using them feels a lot easier. Now the buttons are more clicky and they are more useful if you ride with cycling gloves. I was quite happy with the buttons in the old model too but now Polar did a very good job with the new iteration.
Ahh, Smartphone Notifications!
Most of the updates are on the software side. My favorite new feature of the Polar M460 is the smartphone notifications. You can now get all your smartphone notifications on the display of the unit as you ride your bike. I paired the device with my iPhone 6s which is normally staying in my pannier or my back pocket while I ride my bike.
I have to admit that the smartphone notifications worked just great. It’s working with Viber, Whatsapp and all third party apps that you have on your smartphone. The feature is also super handy if you have an app which notifies you if it will rain in the following 30 minutes or so. Also, you will never miss an important phone call when you are cycling anymore.
After cycling with the new unit for a few weeks using the smartphone notifications feature I have to say that I would miss this feature if I use again the old Polar M450. Having your smartphone in your panniers or in your back pocket is just the perfect way to ride your bike. It’s safer and feels the right way to ride your bike especially when you are on a long-distance trip.
Strava Live Segments
Strava Live Segments is a function which allows you to compete against segment leaders in Strava and you can see the information live on your Polar M460. I’m not a big fan of the Strava Live Segments but I guess this is a feature that many cyclists wanted for a long time. With the new device, you will be able to see live how you go in every segment you want. Almost all the new bike computers now are equipped with this feature so this a very logical step for Polar.
One of the downsides of the Strava Live Segments is that it requires a Strava Premium Account in order to get the functionality working. You can always try it with the 60-day free trial which is offered by Strava for all users and after that decide if you want to pay for the Premium.
While you are riding you will see the nearby segments and a countdown distance to the next segment. This way you can enter the segment with the maximum speed possible in order to win the first position.
In general, the implementation of the Strava Live Segments is quite good in comparison to the competition. It’s very easy to use and navigate through the screens too. But be careful with this feature because, in my opinion, it can be dangerous looking at your screen all the time when you are on the road. If Strava Live Segments is an important function for you then you will like a lot the Polar M460.
Power Meter Features
Some additional power meter features are also added to the new software in this new device – Training Peaks Normalized Power (NP), Intensity Factor (IF), and Training Stress Score (TSS). These are some advanced metrics which could be very useful for you if you are a competitive cyclist. If you are fully equipped with all the power meters you can get a lot of data directly on the screen of the M460 which is handy.
Polar is now trying to support more and more power meters made by 3rd party manufacturers which are great for us. There is added support for some of the most used power meters like Power Tap’s C1, G3, and P1, Stages, Wahoo Kickr, 4iii precision, Rotor 2INpower as well as Look’s Keo Power.
As with Polar’s old units, there is no ANT+ connectivity but this is OK having in mind that Polar decided to go with Smart Bluetooth. Many users now claim that Bluetooth offers the best connection for the power meters which is never interrupted. As we know Polar is one of the very small group of manufacturers who use this connection instead of ANT+.
For example, Garmin has its own ANT+ protocol which is used by almost all of the 3rd party manufacturers of accessories and power meters. The good news is that almost all new power meter models now support Smart Bluetooth too. But you should definitely check your power meters before buying the Polar M460.
Polar M460 Review – What is still good?
The battery of the Polar M460 is still one of the best in class with a duration of up to 16 hours using the GPS and heart rate monitor. This is more than enough for the average cyclist in my opinion. Polar M460 is very lightweight as well. With its 50g even the most weight sensitive cyclists won’t notice the additional weight.
With the new Polar M460, you can still upload your ride to Strava within seconds due to the integration between Polar Flow and Strava platforms. Polar Flow is so good that sometimes I don’t even check my rides in Strava. You will also have the front LED light which turns on automatically when it gets dark. The light is one of my favorite hardware functions because very often I forget to bring my headlight and the Polar M460 saves me in the last hour of daylight when you should be more visible than ever.
All the software features like Training Benefit, Orthostatic Test, Fitness Test, Training Load and Recovery Status are still present in the new device as well. I particularly like the Training Load which tells me exactly how my training affects my body and compares loads of different rides. The recovery status is also very useful if you want to know the necessary time for your body to recover after a big ride.
Polar M460 is the most logical successor of the beloved M450 by all means. The updates are not many but they made the product much better and useful for the average cyclist. In terms of hardware, there are only a few minor changes. But the newest features are added through the new software and they won’t be available for the old model.
If you are looking for a very good and affordable bike computer with heart rate monitor, barometer, Strava Live Segments, smartphone notifications and very nice battery life you should not look any further. Polar M460 is definitely my top recommendation for the money most of the competitors would offer your much much less for what you pay.