Polar M460 Review : Is it the Right Device for you?

The famous Polar M460 has won over many cycling enthusiasts. This guide will cover its usefulness, specialty, and why I think it’s a good bike monitor. 

The Polar M460 is a nifty GPS cycling computer with advanced features. This device brings many super-cool and performance-oriented features, including Strava Live segments and enhanced smart training features.

I’m a Polar enthusiast, and in general, I have to admit that I’m a little bit of a fan of the Finnish electronic products since Nokia.

For close to two years, I have been using the M450, and in truth, it has been one of my favorite bike computers.

Having cycled for more than 1000 miles with the Polar M450, I was indeed happy with the performance of this device, and I couldn’t ask for more, having in mind what I paid for it.

But with the introduction of an upgrade, the M460, I thought, why not give it a try.

The Polar M460 was released in May 2017 and is a step up from the M450. It builds on the strengths of its predecessor to deliver the perfect GPS bike computer.

The M460 is a refreshed and extended version of the older M450.

Polar M460 Review: What’s New?

The new Polar M460 GPS cycling computer brings a few functional and aesthetic improvements.

But let’s be blunt. Strava Integration is what the Polar M460 is all about. The three striking differences between M450 and M460 are:

  • Strava integration
  • Smart notification capability
  • Advanced power metrics of Training peaks

Who is it for?

Like the M450, the Polar M460 is a decent choice for cyclists. Thus, the M460 is perfect for everyone from daily commuters to elite racers.

The M460 will track all the metrics you expect from a performance monitor.

Equally, this new model is suited to track your daily commute and monitor your training progression.

A significant highlight and probably a distinctive feature that separates the M460 from the rest of the other training monitors is the brilliant Polar Flow website and app.

Pros

  • Long battery life -[ up to 16 hours ]
  • Safety light for emergency
  • Bluetooth
  • Smartphone notifications
  • Allows you to compete against other highly priced model.
  • LIVE Strava Segments

Cons

  • Price may not suit everyone.

Main Features and Functions

Polar M460 Design

As mentioned earlier, the M460 is a nifty and compact GPS cycling computer.

A primary highlight of the M460 design is the nicely sized screen. I particularly love the excellent contrast that allows me to use the device in bright sunlight.

Below the screen, on the bottom right of the face, you can find a white optical sensor to trigger the screen light and the front-mounted LED.

The buttons' positioning on the M460 device is a major hardware change, which is a considerable setback.

And while the appearance and shape of the M460 did not change, Polar has altered the buttons to give them a firmer stance and provide a better tactile response.

IPX7

The performance of the M460 reaches a whole other level thanks to its IPX7 rating, and this feature extends to the micro USB port.

With such a rating, you can immerse the GPS in water for 30 minutes at a depth of one meter.

So, you will not have to worry about getting wet while cycling; the Polar M460 should be able to shrug off the rain and even sweat without an issue.

Ride Further, Longer

Geared for your most epic rides, whether solo or a group ride, the M460 will provide you with a whopping 16 hours of heart rate and advanced GPS power monitoring.

Polar M460 Specifications

Strava Segment Integration

Strava Live Segments is an excellent feature that allows you to sync your device to receive alerts about nearby segments.

Every time you ride one of the "segments," your time is recorded and ranked with other Strava members who have ridden it.

This feature lets you see your real-time performance data during a segment and check your results right after finishing.

The benefit of the Strava Integration, aside from having a little fun and competition among friends, is that it offers you all your real-time performance metrics.

However, to benefit from this feature, you must be a premium member of Strava.

Detailed Power Feedback

The M460 is a powerful beast with several standout "advanced" features that will reinforce this technical GPS bike computer for elite athletes.

Capture Every Beat-Heart Rate

Very important: Polar M460 can not monitor your HR on its own. You need to pair it with a heart rate monitoring sensor.

Heart Rate (HR) is an excellent exercise and training intensity measure.

Heart rate offers a practical and accurate way to monitor your fitness level and helps you to plan your exercise and training intensity.

Now, remember that your heart rate is regulated to match the demands of your body. So the harder you exercise, the higher your heart rate because of the increased rate of energy expenditure and oxygen uptake.

By using and recording your heart rate, the M460 will show you more accurately than other non-HR monitoring fitness devices your general fitness.

In addition, beyond the heart rate, M460 will calculate your HRmax, which refers to the highest number of heartbeats per minute that your body delivers during physical exertion.

And based on both the HR and HRmax metrics, the M460 will guide you on how to train effectively and improve your general fitness.

Orthostatic Tests

M460 orthostatic and fitness test is an easy and reliable way to determine your baseline and find critical balance. It is vital to develop a training and recovery approach for the season.

The Orthostatic test will analyze how you recover from intensive, frequent training and allow you to optimize your training.

This test will prevent you from overstretching yourself; it is handy for long-term follow-ups based on regular tests.

You can use Polar's Fitness Test to determine your current fitness level and measure your progress over time.

I like most that the orthostatic test considers factors beyond training-induced fatigue but includes other aspects such as sleep, latent illness, stress, environmental changes, etc.

Cadence

The wireless cadence with Bluetooth will measure your entire cycling session's real-time and average cadence.

Additionally, the cadence sensors on this device are instrumental in measuring your pedaling rate as revolutions per minute. It is pretty handy, especially if you are looking to compare the effectiveness of your ride against previous rides.

Most importantly, cadence will help to improve your cycling technique and allow you to identify your optimal cadence.

Smartphone Notifications

POLAR M460 GPS Bike Computer Without HR

On the software side, I love the smartphone notification feature that allows me to get all my notifications on the display unit.

Another awesome software update is the data export feature that allows me to manually export my training data from my training computer to third-party apps and services.

And given that the unit is compatible with a variety of platforms ranging from Windows 7 and later, Mac OS X 10.6, Polar Web flow, Polar Mobile flow, and others, the M460 is super convenient to use.

Like all the Polar’s old units, the M460 does not come with ANT + Connectivity but rather Smart Bluetooth.

While almost all third-party manufacturers of accessories and power meters use ANT+ Protocol, the good news is that nearly all new power meter models now support Smart Bluetooth.

However, it’s prudent that you check the compatibility of your power meters before purchasing the Polar M460.

Battery

According to the manufacturer, the Polar m460 will provide you with a runtime of 16 hours when using all functionality.

If this is to go by, I would say that the battery time on this unit is pretty incredible and better than a majority of its competitors.

Competing Alternatives

Speaking of competitors, the Polar M460 is not without competitors;

A step up to the Polar M460 is the Garmin Edge 520. This Garmin GPS bike computer is an excellent device, and it’s hard to find a fault in it, if not almost impossible.

However, the 5X button on the Polar M460 makes navigation and function simple, even when you are on gloves.

The price is another distinct feature I like about the Polar M460 over the Garmin. The Polar M460 is a budget-friendly option that is within reach of many.

On the lower side, a rung lower than the Polar M460 is its predecessor, the Polar M450. The M450 is ideal, especially for anyone not interested in Strava segments.

Power Meter Features

The software update on the M460 comes with additional power meter features such as Training Peaks Normalized Power (NP), Intensity Factor (IF), and Training Stress Score (TSS).

These are pretty advanced metrics that could be very handy, especially if you are a competitive cyclist, as they allow you to get a lot of data directly on your screen.

For the ultimate convenience, Polar is trying to support an increasing number of power meters made by 3rd party manufacturers, which is excellent for us. For instance, the M460 supports Stages, Wahoo Kickr, Rotor 2INpower, and Keo Power.

Unlike the M450, which did not support a power meter, the M460 has a massive array of advanced power monitoring metrics, including Training Stress score, intensity factor, and Training Peaks’ normalized power (NP).

What is Normalized Power?

What’s the best way of measuring how hard a ride is? Should it be a matter of looking at the distance and time, or should you analyze your average power?

Lucky for you, if you have a power meter, the average power will give you a rough idea of your ride. However, the best way of understanding how hard your ride was through normalized power.

Normalized power is a power averaging method measured in watts, and it helps compensate for changes in ride conditions for a more accurate depiction of your power expenditure.

POLAR M460 GPS Bike Computer Without HR

Unlike the conventional power measurement based on a steady resistance, Normalized Power will allow you to measure the changing resistance to provide more accurate output data.

Let's Look at an Example

Let's suppose that you take two different rides for 1 hour. For the first ride, you take on a steady ride with little to no variation at an average of 200w.

For the second ride, you take your ride on a hilly course, where you will need to insert 10-15 short intervals for 15 seconds (putting 300-400w), followed by more effortless pedaling below 200 watts.

With all the higher highs and lower lows, you are likely to find the 2nd athlete averaging 200w, similar to the first athlete.

But does that mean that both had the same energy expenditure? Based on the power measurements, it would be correct to say that they both worked equally.

However, from the "feel" perspective, the variable ride, or the second rider, is left more exhausted and needs recovery.

Though the steady ride on the variable ride might be easy enough to be considered a recovery, the second ride is much stiffer physiologically, depending on the particulars of the variance.

As the above example illustrates, the average power is not sophisticated to cover all the above nuances.

On the other hand, Normalized Power will consider all the challenging and changing resistance to provide more accurate power output data.

Bluetooth Power Meter Support

When it comes to compatibility, the Polar M460 is synonymous with versatility because it supports a vast array of devices, including Bluetooth Power Meters from all leading brands such as 4iii, Powertap, Stages, etc.

For a more comprehensive list of all the supported devices, check this link from Polar.

Customizable Display

Versatility on the Polar M460 does not stop on compatibility, but it also extends to the display.

This device comes with some default training pages and data fields.

However, if you want to add more oomph to the display, this device will allow you to do that.

The Polar Flow website makes it possible or you to customize your training page. Customization includes deciding which training metric to have and the page's aesthetics.

On the downside, however, though the Polar will allow easy customization, it will not allow you to change the data fields LIVE on the unit when riding; it's not ideal, but it's not a deal-breaker.

Firmware, Software, Configuration/Pairing, and Sharing

Using the Polar Flow, an online platform on M460, you can now synchronize all your information using the app or desktop-based flow sync software.

Either way, Polar Flow will allow you to choose from many existing sports profiles.

Smart Coaching

The Smart Coaching feature is a great resource that will help to optimize your training.

This feature will monitor the effectiveness of what you are doing, monitor how hard you are training and even monitor your recovery process.

One of the major highlights of the intelligent coaching feature is the miles and minutes feature that will display the miles you have already covered and the time takes to cover those miles.

The interval pace is yet another fantastic element of Smart Coaching.

What is Still Good?

For starters, the battery on the Polar M460 is still one of the best in its class, with a duration of 16 hours using GPS and monitoring the heart rate.

Weighing at 50g, the M460 is a lightweight GPS and will not bother even the most weight, sensitive cyclists.

The integration between Polar low and Strava platforms allows you to easily upload your ride to Strava within seconds. Furthermore, since Polar Flow works like a charm, you will not even need to check your rides on Strava.

Finally, all the software features like Orthostatic Test, Fitness Test, Recovery Status, and Training load are still present in the M460.

I’ve grown fond of the Training Load as it tells me exactly how my training will affect my body and compares loads of different rides.

The Recovery status is yet another excellent software feature that gives an idea of how long my body will require to recover after a big ride.

Conclusion

There you go—my Polar M460 Review & what I honestly think. Sure, the M460 doesn’t provide as many upgrades as expected, but the good news is that it’s now a better and more helpful product for the average cyclist.

To sum things up, if you need a device that can deliver powerful features and compete with other high-priced models but with a solid budget, this M460 model is for you. In addition, their newly added Strava Live Segments feature takes this model to the next level. I can easily give it a 5 out of 5 stars from my testing as I found it super easy to use, and have already met all my expectations.

FAQ

Q) Do you need a speed sensor with Polar M460?

Q) How about multiple user profiles? Are they supported?

Q ) What’s the battery Life?

Q) Will I get a Mount as well?


You might also like

**As an Amazon associates, I earn from qualifying purchases**You may read the full disclosure Here in your Language.