The Polar F4 heart rate monitor is very popular among female exercisers. It has all the expected basic features: continuous heart rate (HR) monitoring, heart rate training zone with alarms, stop watch for timing exercise duration, average and maximum exercise heart rates. At first glance, these features per se are very commonplace. So what exactly makes the Polar F4 stand out amongst the crowd? Let's find out from the end users!
The Strengths of F4
From user reviews, the main pluses of the Polar F4 are found to be:
Sleek and modern design: It is stylish, light weight and not bulky. It can thus be worn as an ordinary time piece. In addition it has various color options to suit your preference.
Size and comfort: The size of the wrist band fits well on a woman's wrist. The wrist band has many holes and so it can be worn on both small or fairly large wrists. The chest strap is comfortable to wear and hardly noticeable once worn.
Versatile usage: The monitor has been used to monitor rate of heart beats in all kinds of sports and exercises: spinning classes, walking, jogging, playing tennis, working out on gym equipment etc.
Simple manual: It is easy to set up and there are no pages after pages of complicated instructions. Being tech savvy is not required.
Two button interface: It is easy to use with only two buttons. Many heart monitors use 4 or 5 buttons to operate, adding to the complexity. The Polar F6 has 5 buttons, for example.
Gym equipment compatibility: Many treadmills, elliptical machines can read the signal from the chest strap and show the heart rate directly on their display. As a result it is neither necessary to hold the handle bars on the gym equipment nor to wear the receiver wrist watch.
Very accurate heart rate measurement: Users have reported very accurate, almost faultless monitoring of their HR.
Very accurate calorie counter (OwnCal): The calorie reading from Polar F4 has been compared with that from Apex Body Bug (extremely accurate) and both show similar results. It is certainly much more reliable than estimates from most pedometers or gym equipment as its calculation is based on individual height, weight and gender.
Two line display: Two pieces of information can be read simultaneously. Various exercise information can be browsed on a single button press: calories, HR, target zone limits, exercise duration, fitness bullets and time of day.
Informative visual feedback: First, you can view fitness bullets on the display. Each fitness bullet represents 10 minutes of exercise in the target heart zone. You can easily see how long you have been exercising in the intended zone. Second, you can view heart rate limits on the display. A heart symbol (Zone Pointer) flashes between the two limits, showing where the current HR is within the range. If the heart symbol disappears, you are exercising either below or above the set range!
Heart rate display option: HR can be displayed as beats per minute (BPM) or as percentage of maximum HR (% MAX HR). When displayed as a percentage, it can save you from doing some tedious mental arithmetic to convert from BPM to % MAX HR.
Target setting: You can set a calorie goal for the exercise session. You can also set a time goal (via the use of fitness bullets) of exercising in your chosen target zone. You can watch how you goal progresses as you exercise. It will give you a feeling of accomplishment at the end of the session.
Workout summary: You get a short summary for the session. You can also review some weekly totals (e. g. total calories) so you know how much you have exercised this week.
Work out reminder: It gently reminds you via text display every full hour if you have not exercised for 3 days.
Reliability and durability: Many users have reported using it for months and years without any problems.
Now that we are done with the strengths, let's look at the weaknesses.
The Weaknesses of F4
The minuses commonly aired by the users are:
Lack of backlight: It is not possible to read the display when running in the dark or working out in a dimly-lit room, for example.
No pause: You can either start or stop an exercise session, but you cannot pause and then resume a session.
Lengthy setting: It can take a while to change time or adjust weight as the number can be adjusted only upwards in one direction. If you overshoot, you have to keep pressing until the number reaches the top of the range. The number will then loop around and start from zero again.
All heart rate monitors have pluses and minuses. It can however be seen that the Polar F4's strengths far outweigh its weaknesses. This article has hopefully shed some light on why the Polar F4 is so popular among female exercisers.
For more information on the Polar F4 heart rate monitor and other models, visit Heart Rate Monitor Watches .