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4.3 out of 5 stars208
4.3 out of 5 stars
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201 of 204 people found the following review helpful
on 25 August 2013
I needed a heart rate monitor in order to provide heart rate data during my
sessions on the Concept 2 indoor rower. As all this was completely new to me
I spent quite a while trying to decide which Polar unit to choose.

I decided upon Polar as they seemed both fairly cost effective, had a wide
range of offerings for all budgets and later I discovered that the Concept 2
rower is compatible with Polar devices which was lucky!

I was going to select a more expensive Polar unit, but eventually decided
that as I'm new to all this that spending extra money on additional features
I will probably not use was not necessary. So, I opted for the base FT1

For those that are new to this and perhaps might benefit from a lay mans
description of how this all works, then what you get is a chest belt heart
rate transmitter and a wrist watch receiver. The chest belt transmits your
heart rate to the watch which displays it and provides various other
additional functionality.

The chest belt needs to be wetted on the part that is in contact with your
chest. This is
to allow the electrical signals from your heart to be conducted through to
chest belt unit. Don't worry, you don't feel anything as the belt detects
the signals passively and so no shocks or tingles are felt and once on it
just feels like a belt and nothing else.

Be advised that for best results the chest belt unit should be worn just
under the breasts/pectorals, so you need to be comfortable with wearing it
in this location.

The belt unit is sealed and waterproof as is the wrist watch receiver, so
can be worn in the shower or swimming pool, but you
must not press the watch's button when in water. The
watch has just one button on the lower side of the watch face which controls
all the functions and as such is pretty simple. This is another reason why
the lower end Polar products are perfect for those like me who just want to
see their heart rate. There are other functions such as a one workout memory
that shows you the duration of your session, average heart rate and maximum
heart rate. When you start your workout, simply press the button on the
watch once and press it again at the end of the workout. Pressing the button
twice in quick succession will then show you the stats as mentioned above
for that workout. So, it's pretty simple stuff which when you're like me and
needing just the essential information, it's just what you need.

The wrist watch receiver also displays the time of day and so can be used as
a regular watch should you desire. it's rugged enough and feels solid. The
strap should fit any size from the smallest girl to the largest man as the
strap doesn't use the standard hole arrangement found on wrist watch straps.
Instead it cleverly uses the close-cut ridged inner surface of the strap to
allow infinite and fine grain fitting adjustment to be made.

The wrist watch receiver unit - or heart rate computer as it's sometimes
called has a nice big display for the heart rate and can even be setup so
that the watch beeps your rate audibly. You can also set a lower and upper
heart rate that once you go out of bounds of an audible alarm sounds.
Although the volume of these audible indicators isn't particularly loud, I
found that on a recent session on the rowing machine that I could hear the
watch beeping to tell me I had exceeded my upper heart rate zone I'd defined
without any difficulty over the considerable noise of the rowing machine.

If you're interested in calories or fat burned stats then you'll need to
spend more and go for one of the more sophisticated Polar units like the
FT4. Note, some gym equipment offer calorie/fat burning data as well as
picking up your heart rate from a Polar unit, so you may not even need a
more expensive unit like the FT4. However, one useful feature of the FT4 is
multiple workout stats memory. In other words, the FT1 can only store your
last workout stats and you lose them when you next do a workout. The FT4
stores several, so you can keep track of your progress more easily if this
is important to you and your gym equipment doesn't have such on-board

A quick note to those wanting gym equipment to show heart rate. If you're a
gym user and simply want to have the equipment you use show the heart rate
and nothing else and don't want to wrist watch receiver then you can save
money and purchase the chest belt alone from Polar. It's useful to know
that the chest belt provided in the FT1 package (the T31) is also sold
separately in both coded and uncoded versions. The uncoded version is
slightly cheaper, but being an uncoded signal may mean that other people's
heart rate signals from their Polar units may interfere with yours if in
close proximity. The coded T31 chest belt is only marginally more expensive
and therefore worth the money. The coded T31 was included in my FT1
package - but check to ensure this is so if purchasing yours.

Polar offer the T31 and the H1 chest belts. The key difference as far as I
know is that the more expensive H1 has a user replaceable battery and the
T31 is a sealed unit. The T31 has a battery life of approximately 2500 hours
and when the battery dies you can actually send it off to a Polar service
centre (In Warwick for UK users I believe) and for less than half the price
of a replacement T31 so I understand, they'll replace the battery and send
the unit back to you, so no need to throw away and buy again new unlike what
another reviewer stated.

Either the T31 or H1 chest belt transmitters will work for gym equipment
designed to be compatible with Polar heart rate products - so check your
gym's equipment first.

I hadn't realized this before purchasing my FT1 and strictly speaking I
don't really need the watch. The Concept 2 indoor rower I use requires a
transmitter cable that they provide at a charge that you plug one end into
the rowers monitor and the other end beneath your seat. This allows your
heart rate to be shown on the rowers monitor and actually stored as part of
your workout data if you have the appropriate accessory memory card for the

Transmitter range is probably less than 6 feet, but this is fine because the
wrist watch receiver isn't going to be farther away than that (unless you
have VERY long arms!).

Take care to carefully dry the chest belt after use so that the unit doesn't
remain active and try looking to pick up heart rate signals. Leaving the
unit damp or wet after use will only reduce battery life.

The chest belt comes in two pieces. The main T31 transmitter unit that fits
across the front of your chest and a stretchy adjustable band that you
attach to the transmitter that goes around your back.

As far as performance goes, well, I've had no reliability issues and all
seems to work fine.

I hope this review has covered all the key things you might need to know.
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60 of 61 people found the following review helpful
on 6 March 2011
Excellent heart rate monitor if you want something simple, relatively inexpensive and easy to use. It comes with a belt which is coded, so it will only measure your own heart rate and not somebody elses if you're training together. By shortly keeping the watch close to the belt you can switch between showing your heart rate, duration of your training and the current time. It stores the average and maximum heart rate and duration of one training in its memory, so you will have to write it down if you want to keep a training log. It is waterproof.

Be aware that the battery of the belt cannot be replaced, so you will have to replace the entire belt if the battery runs down. The manual states avarage battery life is about 2500 hours though, so it probably won't run down very quickly.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on 21 January 2011
Bought the Polar FT1 some time ago and have been using the product regular for running and general fitness, no problems, the item does as it says.
The pluses.
You put the watch on attach the strap press start and off you go, on completion of the run or workout you press the button again, the information will tell you, ave hr max hr, the time taken- thats it you can store your workouts on the watch & the stopwatch is an added feature, there is also a handy backlight, IF your looking for an easy to use heart rate monitor you wont go wrong with the FT1, if you need more info relating to workout try one of the other models, 4 out of 5 nice product, on a budget i think its a great little peice of kit, nice one POLAR Polar FT1 Heart Rate Monitort!!
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68 of 72 people found the following review helpful
on 22 May 2012
I am an old man 62 and have just started to learn Butterfly. After two 25m lengths my heart rate shoots up. I wanted to monitor my HR (Heart Rate) just to be sure that I wasn't overloading my body too much and to check all was in order. Manually counting your pulse is of little use, as you are counting your rate that is changing back to normal.

This watch comes with a transmitter that you strap to your body; it is fairly inconspicuous; the contacts come just below my solar plexus. No one took a bit of notice that I had it on. Last Sunday I used it for the first time fearful that it wasn't going to work in the pool, and if it did, it was not going to be anywhere near accurate. Well I was pleasantly surprised that it worked like a treat. You are not allowed to press the watch's button when you are swimming but you don't need to. I started the watch's application before I started to swim and made sure I had good body contact with the transmitter (which took only a little time to get it sorted out) I then started to swim. My rest HR was 80 in the pool (60 sitting down)and after the two laps I managed to hit 137. It has really reassured me that I am within my bounds ( 220 - age) and it worked as expected. As soon as I stopped swimming, the watch showed me the exact HR for that moment. I could then work out my recovery.

After use, I rinsed the transmitter and the strap it comes with and dried them well immediately. The battery is enclosed and so can't be replaced easily (except by technicians which is probably not cost effective). If left wet it would discharge rapidly. It has a battery life of 2500 hours but my anticipated time of use is still several years for the little I would use it - may be 3 or 4 times a week. There are instructions on how to keep it in good order and how to operate it. For this price I am really delighted and I hope it lasts.

So it works in a chlorinated pool, is very easy to use, and doesn't looks out of place. I can find my instantaneous HR. I can use it to see what my recovery is after one or two minutes: indication of fitness. And contrary to first impressions, they seem to be very water proof, both the watch and the transmitter, and do work well under water. And after my swim it stores one set of data: the time in the pool, the avg and max HR experienced for the session (This is erased if you go through the process again). Obviously it could be used for other sports in wet conditions such as cycling and running. And as an extra perk gives me the time of day and day :-) and I don't need to take my normal watch, of great sentimental value, to the pool where it could be lost, stolen or damaged.

It is now almost December and it is still going strong and I still think it was a worthwhile investment. I think they now have versions where the batteries can be changed by the users which would be a better buy. A very good product.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on 12 May 2011
Consider the price of some heart rate monitors I wasn't expecting this to be nearly as good as it is. More than enough features for anyone wishing to use this as a fitness training tool, including heart rate zones (with or without audible alarm) time, max. heart rate, average heart rate and the usual date, time etc.

On a another note considerably smaller than expected, the watch itself is the same size as any standard digital watch and the chest strap is fully adjustable and remains in good contact even if you're a heavy-footed runner. All in all, why spend 3 times as much when this one will far exceed what most people will need!
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on 14 November 2010
An excellent entry model heart monitor, ideal for people new to exercising, and for anyone who wants to step up their exercise regime safely.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on 2 December 2010
Bought this for my wife who is re-starting her excercise regime. I set it up for her which only took ten minutes. It took her a few tries and several adjustments of the band to get a consistent heatbeat but seems to be working well now.
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39 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on 19 May 2011
Does a great job, instruction manual looks like it covers all the bases, however it is in many languages. It recommends for more detailed information you go the web site. Not always what you want.
Bought the bike mount to go with it, @£7+ its a lot of money for a piece of plastic held on with cable ties.
Once you have worked out how to navigate it, it is relatively easy to use. The big screen and clear numbers make it easy to read when you are on the move.
It can give odd readings at times if the chest band sensor is not quite in the right place. At one stage it recorded my heart going at 250bpm!! moved the sensor, moistened it again and the actual reading was 128.
Good product and the fact that it does not interfere with other readers ensures you don't get other peoples heart rates.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 16 May 2011
I have now used the heart rate monitor in a number of situations, including gym work and spin classes. I have found the monitor to be a great help in allowing me to work to my peak level in each routine. It is easy to use and to customise in terms of your upper and lower heart rate alerts. To me as someone who simply wants to lose weight and to keep fit, this has been a really great buy. If you are a serious competitor then you would probably want a higher specification of watch.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 26 May 2011
This is a great value monitor and it does the job. You don't need to spend more unless you have specific additional requirements. However, there are some minor niggles:
1. The watch strap is too stiff and too short, with an awkward buckle which is difficult to fit on.
2. The chest strap is small to medium, and not really long enough for men with chests 42" plus.
3. The automatic function change when the watch is held near the transmitter is a real nuisance if you tend to hold your arms near your chest when exercising.
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