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Polar AXN500

rated 4.5 of 5 stars
photo: Polar AXN500 heart rate monitor

This is the fourth Polar HRM I've owned -- M52, s710, and s720i. In many areas the AXN500 has made improvements-stylish design, improved watch band and transmitter, nice outdoor features such as altimeter, barometer, and compass. However, Polar has made a serious error regarding interface -- they have moved from their Polar IR interface to a IrDA interface. Their reasoning is that IrDA is the industry standard; what they neglect is that the user is obligated to provide their own IrDA interface detector. That's right! Previous users who purchased Polar IR interfaces for their S-series watches are out of luck.

As a matter of fact, Polar DOESN'T EVEN SELL the IrDA interface that must be used with their watch. So if you don't have a computer with internal IrDA or an external IrDA interface manufactured by someone else, the Polar software package becomes useless. This, of course, makes no sense and detracts from one of the major features of the Polar HRM's. Where was Polar Marketing Director when this decision was made?

5 batteries and 3 straps ago, from Asia to the North America and it's still serving me like it did when I first got it - not to mention the original transmitter - whew!

I've used this in the tropics backpacking from beaches to 9K+ ft peaks, running, swimming, work, parties ... and the great thing is it helped me monitor, record and improve my fitness.

I wish Polar will come up with a second/third generation of AXNs and also replacements for the wrist strap "plates" (those 2 black plastic plates under the strap each secured by 2 screws).

Note: when attempting to replace the straps - the 4 screws that hold the wrist strap plates ALSO secures the whole back of the case, so be very careful.   learned the hard way when I decided to wash off the dirt between the strap and case and turned the AXN into a little aquarium. SOLUTION! pun intended ... totally dismantle the primary components of the watch and air dry.

Hopefully after 2 nights and a can of air rid of all the moisture from the washing.

Here's to more years with my AXN.

Price Paid: U$300+

Polar designed a great product with this HRM/Altimeter/Barometer/Compas etc. After having used it for two weeks I'd say the altimeter is very precise (Climbs between 400 and 900m above sealevel are all measured with a tolerance of (far) less than 5 meters.)

In contradiction to the report at I'd say Polar made the right decision regarding the interface! Why would anyone want to spend a lot of money for a proprietary Polar IR-Interface if you already have one which is compliant to the IrDA standard (which is built-in in every laptop)?

The AXN500 is a great product -- may be a bit too heavy for jogging -- it really starts to hit your wrist -- otherwise just perfect.

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Price Historic Range: $126.37-$329.95
Reviewers Paid: $300.00
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