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Polar Vantage M vs M2 (2022): Should You Upgrade?

When the original Polar Vantage M was released in 2018, it served as a budget alternative to the flagship Vantage V device. Although both had serious athletes in mind, the V came with longer battery life and a few more hardware components. Still, the Vantage M held its own as a capable yet no-nonsense multisport watch.

After two years, the Vantage finally gets an upgrade with the release of the Polar Vantage M2. While the design update on the latest iteration is minimal, you’re getting a handful of new features under the hood. The question now is, are these changes enough? Read our review below to find out.

Polar Vantage M vs M2 Comparison Chart

ModelPolar Vantage M Polar Vantage M2
 
PriceCheck at AmazonCheck at Amazon
Dimensions46 x 46 x 12.5 mm46 x 46 x 12.5 mm
Weight45g with a wristband45.5g with a wristband
DisplayHard-coated PMMA laminated lensHard-coated PMMA laminated lens
Display Size1.2 in.1.2 in.
Battery LifeUp to 5 daysUp to 7 days
Water RatingUp to 30 metersUp to 30 meters
ConnectivityBluetooth, GPSBluetooth, GPS
Always-On DisplayYesYes
Customizable Watch FaceNoYes
24/7 Activity TrackingYesYes
Sleep MonitoringYesYes
Training LoadYesYes
Energy SourcesNoYes
Music ControlsNoYes
Release DateSeptember 2018March 2021

Design and Hardware

Polar’s Vantage M2 offers minimal upgrades over the Vantage M design-wise.

Polar Vantage M vs M2 Design
It’s hard to tell the difference between the Polar Vantage M (left) and Vantage M2 (right) except for the latter’s textured bezel.

Given the two-year wait for the second generation, you wouldn’t be wrong to expect big design changes on the Polar Vantage M2. However, placed next to the original Vantage M, it’s hard to tell the difference between them. Both sport the same 1.2-inch round color display protected with a laminated lens coating. You also get stainless steel bezels and five physical buttons for navigation.

Upon closer inspection, the Vantage M2 distinguishes itself from the original Vantage through sleek-looking textured bezels. The holes on its silicone strap are smaller, too, lending the M2 a refined yet still sporty aesthetic. Like its predecessor, these wristbands are quick-release, too. Polar includes wristband size options with the Vantage M and M2.

Inside, you’ll find the same sensors on both wearables. Polar’s Vantage M and M2 are both equipped with a gyroscope, accelerometer, and heart rate monitor. There are no SpO2 sensors here, nor is there support for an ECG app. If you need these health features, you can look into the Apple Watch or Fitbit Sense instead.

The Polar Vantage M comes in Black, White, and Black Copper case colors. With the Vantage M2, you can choose from Black-Gray, Gold-Champagne, and Brown-Copper. Both devices are water-resistant up to 30 meters.

Fitness and Sports Tracking

Polar’s Vantage M and M2 boast a strong and comprehensive suite of fitness features.

Polar Vantage M vs M2 Activity Tracking
Polar has designed robust smartwatches in the Vantage M and M2 โ€” perfect for a range of workouts.

The bread-and-butter of the Polar Vantage M and M2 is activity tracking. In both models, the feature works 24/7. This gives users access to standard metrics, including distance, altitude, and smart calories. Unlike other fitness trackers, the smart calories on Polar devices incorporate your vitals and the intensity of your activity.

Advanced training tools are also available. Like with your fitness metrics, these features provide an in-depth look into progress, training load reports, goals, and even workout summaries. Polar has also introduced FuelWise and Energy Sources to the Vantage M2. A staple in the Grit X device, FuelWise is a helpful reminder to take your carbs and drink before a training session. Meanwhile, Energy Sources give you insight into how your body uses fuel.

The Polar Vantage M and M2 support over 130 sports. As expected, there’s also a dedicated running program with smart coaching features. Since these are water-resistant wearables, you get swimming metrics, too. Detailed views of your performance can be accessed via the Polar Flow app and online tool.

Health Features

The Polar Vantage M and M2 have basic health features, including sleep tracking, guided breathing, and idle alerts.

Polar Vantage M vs M2 Health Features
Heart rate zones on the Vantage M (left) and cardio load report using the Vantage M2 (right).

Polar markets the Vantage M and Vantage M2 as multisport watches. If you’re expecting this to be your health companion, you’re better off looking elsewhere. As mentioned in their design and hardware, the devices don’t have your SpO2 and ECG sensors. You also miss out on staple features like menstrual cycle tracking.

However, the Polar Vantage M and M2’s accurate heart rate monitoring more than makes up for these absences. You get continuous heart rate measurements that take into account all your activities comprehensively. Sleep tracking is also a strong suit of both devices. With the Vantage M and M2, you can monitor sleep stages and sleep scores.

Aside from these two features, Polar adds guided deep breathing exercises called Serene. Inactivity Alerts are also present, useful for taking active breaks in your routines.

Smart Features and Battery Life

The second-gen Polar Vantage offers more smart features and longer battery life.

Polar Vantage M vs M2 Smart Features and Battery Life
Here’s a look at the Polar Vantage M2’s interface across different features, including the Nightly Recharge.

When it comes to smart features, both the Polar Vantage M and M2 only have the basics. Both have smart notifications, Bluetooth connectivity, vibration alerts, and alarms. However, the second generation adds a few more. On the M2, you get weather info and music controls. You can also customize your watch face by choosing from different color themes.

Now, you get the same 230 mAh Li-pol battery on these devices. According to Polar, however, the second-gen delivers up to 7 days of battery life on smartwatch mode. If you’re using GPS tracking, it goes down to about 40 hours. In contrast, the Vantage M’s battery life is 30 hours with GPS tracking and about 5 days on smartwatch mode.

Verdict

The Polar Vantage M2 is the better smartwatch. However, the Vantage M is still a great choice if you’re on a budget.

If you’re coming from the Polar Vantage M, the Vantage M2 may seem like a minimal upgrade. After all, the design is mostly unchanged. However, the M2 boasts a handful of new features under the hood that make it a more complete device. Some of these additions come from Polar’s flagship wearables, including the Grit X and Vantage V. Battery life has also been improved, giving the M2 more time to shine when in use.

For those on a budget, the Vantage M is significantly more affordable than the M2. This becomes even more apparent when the original goes on sale. Still, it’s a capable multi-sports smartwatch with strong fitness and activity tracking features. If you don’t mind missing out on music controls or a couple of advanced fitness metrics, the Vantage M doesn’t disappoint. And while it has a shorter battery life than the M2, it’s better than most smartwatches today.

FAQs

๐Ÿ“Œ Is the Polar Vantage M’s display touch screen?

No, it isn’t. To navigate the Vantage M, you need to use the five buttons โ€” two on the left, three on the right โ€” on the device.

๐Ÿ“Œ What’s the difference between the Polar Vantage M and Vantage M2?

The Polar Vantage M2 boasts a better battery life than the Vantage M. Polar’s Vantage M2 also has FuelWise and Energy Sources, fitness features missing on the original. Lastly, the Vantage M2 comes with weather info, customizable watch faces, and music controls.

๐Ÿ“Œ Can I change the UI laguage on the Polar Vantage M2?

Yes. Just like its predecessor, the Vantage M2 has support for 18 different languages.

๐Ÿ“Œ Does the Polar Vantage M have an altimeter?

No, it doesn’t. The Polar Vantage M does not have an altimeter. It also lacks a compass and location coordinates. If you need these features, you can get them on the Polar Vantage V2.

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Mari Bassig

Senior Editor, writer and researcher passionate about gadgets, social media, and music.