GPS Not Included: Polar Unite Smartwatch Records Fitness, Not Your Every Move

The Polar Unite is for those who want streamlined heart-rate and sleep metrics without paying for GPS tracking, altimeters, and tech they won’t use.

Polar makes plenty of fitness tracking smartwatches, but not everyone is looking for all that data. The Polar Unite watch offers a way to track your body’s response to exercise and the daily grind of life in the brand’s most affordable package.

If you exercise in one location or already know the distance of your local run loop, you can pair the watch with your phone and rely on its GPS and speed data. It can even let you connect to your phone’s notifications — if that’s your thing.

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GPS on Your Phone: Data You Don’t Need

Known for its fitness-tracking sports watches, the Polar Unite foregoes some of the tracking tech and leans into fitness tracking with options for customization.

If you live and exercise at sea level, an altimeter doesn’t do much for you. Similarly, if you have faith in your phone’s GPS for tracking the distance and speed of your runs and rides, then there’s no need to pay for one in your watch.

This is where the pared-down Polar Unite lands: a fitness tracking watch with all-day monitoring of your heart rate and movement. You can set your own personal daily goals and check the watch face for visual cues on your progress throughout the day.

Polar Unite fitness tracker watch

Polar Unite Smartwatch Features

  • Battery lasts up to 4 days in watch mode; up to 50 hours of continuous tracking
  • Pairs with a phone for GPS
  • Pairs with apps and gym equipment via Bluetooth
  • Step Counter tracks all your movements throughout the day
  • Two new watch faces: weekly summary and one with user’s name
  • Several watch face display options (analog/digital and a color update)

The Polar Unite tracks activities all day, whether you’re sitting nearly motionless at a desk or on your feet all day, even if you don’t think of it as exercise. This lets you gauge how active you’ve been before a planned workout.

The all-day tracking also lets you set your own daily goal and helps keep you apprised of your progress through a simple watch face. It’s a quick-look guide to making micro-decisions like taking the stairs.

If you want, the Unite watch can be looped into your phone’s push notifications so you can stay in touch with messages, calendar events, or simply which song is playing. Granted, those may be the distractions you want to avoid in a workout. However, it provides a way to give a wrist-bound consideration throughout your day without checking your phone.

Just because the watch doesn’t have built-in GPS, your phone does. You can get location, speed, and distance info from your phone by pairing them.

Track Your Progress

The Polar Unite watch will track heart rates through more than 100 activities. These tracking presets range from common gym workouts to windsurfing, and track subtle differences between running on a trail or a treadmill.

Polar Precision Prime is the brand’s sensor technology for tracking your heart rate through the wrist. It uses both optical heart rate measurements with other sensor technologies to declutter readings from odd movements or interruptions for more consistent readings.

The watch is also your gateway to Polar Flow, a broader online fitness tracking platform with training plans, performance tests, and long-term tracking. Polar Flow lets you look at your workouts and heart rate data in several ways to gauge your fitness, recovery, and progress toward any goals you set.

A personalized Energy Sources summary will evaluate what types of fuel your body burned while training. The percentages of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins used will be based on your vital info like age, gender, and heart rate. Polar explains this information can be helpful during long sessions when your body will begin to use protein for energy rather than its usual role in repair and growth.

Additionally, the watch lets you track your recovery. By tracking your rest and sleep, the watch can help inform your training decisions. You may want to adhere to a training plan, but feel either eager to workout on a rest day or rest on a workout day.

The watch can estimate if you’re overworking or detraining compared to your recent workload, and even has some simple recovery tests to see if your legs are as fresh as you think.

Is the Polar Unite for You?

In short, you’ll get a heart-rate tracker with an option to tap your phone’s GPS for location-based data. And you’ll get access to Polar Flow for tracking your workouts and adapting your goals based on performance tests and training workload.

(If you would prefer a built-in GPS and altitude sensors for outdoor navigation and ties to weather information, you may want to read about the Polar Grit X Pro.)

The Polar Unite is priced at $150, comparable to many fitness watches on the market. If it has you curious, read more about the watch’s options for customizations — from personalized training metrics to watch faces most to your liking — and all the activities it tracks.

Polar Unite Specs & Price

  • Body: Glass-fiber reinforced polymer case
  • Battery life: 50 hours of continuous tracking (GPS/HR)
  • Watch-only mode battery: Up to 4 days
  • Water resistance: 30 m
  • Weight: 32 g
  • Price: $150

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This post is sponsored by Polar. Read more about the Polar Unite online. 

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