Polar Unite is a bargain sports watch – with one major omission

Workout fans will love this watch – but there is a catch
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Update: Our Polar Unite review is now live – check out our definitive verdict.

Polar has announced a new budget fitness watch – the Polar Unite – which aims to offer insights for workout and functional fitness fans, but not runners.

At just it looks an absolute bargain, but there is a catch: the Polar Unite does not pack GPS, and is simply designed as a partner for those wanting to focus on the effectiveness and performance of gym and all-body workouts, with a focus on recovery.

So what do you get?

Well the Polar Unite fits right into the mold of the Polar Vantage M and Polar Ignite, with sporty straps, a thin and light build and plastic construction.

It weighs 32 grams, so it will be pretty unnoticeable on the wrist, and uses the 43mm case size of the Ignite. That's around the same weight as most fitness bands, such as the Fitbit Charge 4. It also packs in a bigger 174mAh battery than the Ignite, although lasts a day less in smartwatch mode.

Polar Unite is a bargain sports watch – with one major omission

It essentially takes many of the features of the Polar Ignite, so Fitspark makes up a big part of the Unite’s feature set.

Fitspark is Polar’s fitness coaching system, which adapts your schedule to your physiological wellbeing, recovery and needs, as well as offering on-watch guidance through workouts. You’ll find that on the Polar Unite, as well as the recovery metrics you need.

You’ll get data such as the time spend in heart rate zones, calories burned and the strain on your cardiovascular system, so you can recover properly.

Polar Unite is a bargain sports watch – with one major omission

While there’s no GPS built-in, the Unite will use your phone’s if you take it with you. This is called Connected GPS, and is very much a personal choice whether this suits your needs.

Many will take their phone for music/safety so it makes little difference. However, due to the placement of your phone about your person, we found that connected GPS data is less reliable than dedicated GPS from the wrist.

Polar claims four days in watch mode with continuous heart rate tracking, and up to 50 hours in training mode with connected GPS – although there's no way your smartphone will make it that long.

The Polar Unite tracks sleep with sleep stages, makes use of the Nightly Recharge feature found on Ignite and the Polar Grit X, which monitors your autonomic nervous system (ANS) recovery.

There’s also a fitness test, 24/7 heart rate monitoring (as you’d expect) and Serene – a breathing and guided mindfulness feature.

Polar Unite is a bargain sports watch – with one major omission

For the price, the Polar Unite looks like a solid fitness watch, but just as we couldn’t endorse the Suunto 3 Fitness for a lack of GPS, the omission of this feature perturbs us.

Yes there’s plenty of people out there that love to do functional fitness and other workouts that just don’t require GPS for runs and cycles. But this is a Polar watch, and GPS just seems a needless omission.

The Polar Unite is available now at in black, white, pink, and blue, with size small and M/L wristbands included. You can pick it up at the official Polar store.


How we test

James Stables


James is the co-founder of Wareable, and he has been a technology journalist for 15 years.

He started his career at Future Publishing, James became the features editor of T3 Magazine and T3.com and was a regular contributor to TechRadar – before leaving Future Publishing to found Wareable in 2014.

James has been at the helm of Wareable since 2014 and has become one of the leading experts in wearable technologies globally. He has reviewed, tested, and covered pretty much every wearable on the market, and is passionate about the evolving industry, and wearables helping people achieve healthier and happier lives.

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