Polar M400 vs. Garmin VivoActive 4

VivoActive 4
 PolarM400Buy NowGarminVivoActive 4Buy Now

Basic Info

Suggested Price$200$349

Activity & Fitness

Cycling (Bicycling)


Duration8 hours to 30 days8 days


Windows Phonen/a




Resolutionn/a260 x 260


Audio SpeakerAlerts only


Barometer or Altimeter
Ultraviolet Sensor
Water Resistance3 ATM5 ATM




Operating Systemn/aWear OS

Comparing VivoActive 4 and M400

The Garmin VivoActive 4 and the Polar M400 are two smartwatches aimed at satisfying the needs of fitness enthusiasts. With technology constantly evolving, choosing the right watch has become critical as it can have a significant impact on the user’s experience and the results they achieve. This article will help in exploring and comparing the features of both these smartwatches, to assist in making an informed decision.

Garmin and Polar are renowned for their line of fitness-focused devices, with each brand holding a strong reputation in the industry. Garmin, primarily known for its expertise in GPS technology, has a long history of producing innovative sports watches. On the other hand, Polar, founded in Finland, has been a pioneer in wearable sports technology since the 1980s. Thus, both brands are well-established, offering a range of reliable fitness wearables.

Throughout this article, we will delve into the design and build, features and functionality, user interface and experience, price and value, and frequently asked questions about the Garmin VivoActive 4 and the Polar M400.

Design and Build

Garmin VivoActive 4

The VivoActive 4 boasts a sleek design featuring a stainless steel bezel and a chemically strengthened glass screen. It has a 1.3-inch sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP) display with a resolution of 260 x 260 pixels. The watch is quite lightweight with a listed weight of 50.5 grams.

Polar M400

The Polar M400 is a lightweight fitness tracker with a silicone wristband and stainless steel buckle, featuring a monochromatic display without touch functionality. The exact screen size and resolution are not specified by the manufacturer, but it is known to be smaller in comparison to the VivoActive 4. The M400 weighs 56.6 grams, making it slightly heavier than its competitor.

Comparison of design and build quality

Comparing the two devices, the Garmin VivoActive 4 has a more appealing and modern design, with a color touchscreen display and a larger screen size. On the other hand, the Polar M400 has a more basic and practical design. The difference in weight is minimal, making the choice between both watches a matter of personal preference regarding design aesthetics and specific use-cases.

Features and Functionality

Garmin VivoActive 4

  • Operating System: Wear OS
  • Sensors: GPS, Accelerometer, Barometer, Heart rate monitor, Pulse Ox
  • Battery Life: 8 days (smartwatch mode) or up to 18 hours (GPS mode)
  • Fitness Tracking: Steps, calories, sleep, distance, cycling, swimming, and more
  • Additional Features: Music, notifications, apps, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth

Polar M400

  • Operating System: Proprietary
  • Sensors: GPS, Accelerometer, Heart rate monitor (optional accessory)
  • Battery Life: 8 hours (GPS mode) to 30 days (watch mode)
  • Fitness Tracking: Steps, calories, sleep, distance, cycling, running, and more
  • Additional Features: Notifications, Bluetooth

Comparison of features and performance

The Garmin VivoActive 4 clearly offers superior features and functionalities compared to the Polar M400. The VivoActive 4 has a more advanced operating system, additional sensors, longer battery life in smartwatch mode, and a greater variety of fitness tracking options. The M400 offers a simpler experience, focusing on basic fitness tracking with fewer supplementary features.

User Interface and User Experience

Garmin VivoActive 4

  • Display: Color touchscreen MIP display
  • Navigation: Touchscreen and physical buttons
  • Apps and Customization: Additional apps available, customizable watch faces and widgets
  • Compatibility: Android and iOS

Polar M400

  • Display: Monochromatic, non-touchscreen display
  • Navigation: Physical buttons only
  • Apps and Customization: Limited customization options, no third-party apps
  • Compatibility: Android, iOS, Windows, and Mac

Comparison of user interface and user experience

The VivoActive 4 offers a better user interface with its color touchscreen display, easy navigation, customizable options, and compatibility with additional apps. The Polar M400 is more basic in its design and capabilities. Its interface is easy to navigate, but with limited customization and no third-party app support. However, the M400 has broader compatibility, as it supports Windows and Mac computers, in addition to Android and iOS devices.

Price and Value

Garmin VivoActive 4

With a listed price of $349, the Garmin VivoActive 4 offers a wealth of advanced features and an elegant design, making it worth the investment for individuals seeking a comprehensive fitness tracking experience.

Polar M400

With an affordable price tag of $200, the Polar M400 remains a solid choice for fitness enthusiasts who are looking for a more budget-friendly option with essential tracking capabilities.

Comparison of price and value

The Garmin VivoActive 4 offers better value for its price, given its advanced features, design, and customization options. However, the Polar M400 is a more cost-effective solution for users who simply require the essentials in fitness tracking.


Overall, the Garmin VivoActive 4 stands out as the superior option between the two fitness watches in terms of design, features, and user experience. However, the Polar M400 provides a budget-friendly alternative with essential tracking capabilities. Ultimately, the best choice depends on the user’s preferences, budget, and specific fitness tracking needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which device has better battery life?

The Garmin VivoActive 4 has a longer battery life in smartwatch mode at 8 days, compared to the Polar M400 which can last up to 30 days in watch mode but with limited functionality. In GPS mode, the VivoActive 4 has a battery life of 18 hours, while the M400 lasts for 8 hours.

Is either device compatible with Windows and/or Mac computers?

The Polar M400 is compatible with both Windows and Mac computers, whereas the Garmin VivoActive 4 is only compatible with Android and iOS devices.

Which smartwatch offers a better user interface and experience?

The Garmin VivoActive 4 offers a superior user interface and experience with its color touchscreen display, customizable options, and support for additional apps. The Polar M400 provides a more basic user experience with a monochromatic, non-touchscreen display and limited customization options.

Do both devices offer music control?

Only the Garmin VivoActive 4 has a built-in music control feature. The Polar M400 does not offer music control.

Are both devices water-resistant?

Yes, both the Garmin VivoActive 4 and Polar M400 are water-resistant. The VivoActive 4 has a 5 ATM rating, while the M400 has a 3 ATM rating. However, only the VivoActive 4 supports swim tracking.

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