I'm posting this coz I couldn't find any reviews when I was trying to choose one myself. I hope this helps!
So I deliberated for ages...the polar? the garmin? the suunto? And then which model?
They all have great features... but I think the Suunto M-series are the better looking watches and yes, I am that shallow.
It's my first HRM and I found it very easy to use...
- large face, easy to read
- nice looking
- pause function, apparently the session ends if you don't restart after pausing for one hour
- can enter your year of birth and weight (I guess it works out your calories based on this information)
- 4 weeks of cumulative information
- can view details of your last previous workout
- tells you if you are in zone 1, 2 or 3 and beeps when you move between them. Also shows you when you are below zone 1 and above zone 3
- gives you stats on calories burned, time and time spent in each zone
- shows you calories on the fly (apparently some HRMs only show you after the workout)
- strap and watch are very comfortable
- reasonably priced
- very motivating!
- No back light
- can't program "zones"
- doesn't take your height into consideration when estimating calories
- does not connect with the other suunto products, ie footpod, bikecomputer and usb data collector (to plug into your computer). Even if it did, they are very expensive.
- no fitness test or workout program
- only gives you details of one previous workout. Thought it does provide you with a summary of workouts in total. (Not sure how this works yet) I personally would love to scroll through each individual workout. Perhaps no HRMs provide that function. I don't know.
- doesn't show all information at once, you have to scroll through. It shows you two pieces of information on each screen though, ie heart rate plus calories burned (I can't remember the other couplings coz I mostly kept it on that setting). Scrolling through doesn't bother me at all. I think that's what you get for having the heart rate so large on the screen, which I really like.
Honestly, as much as I like it I am wondering whether to exchange it for the M4 which is only $30 more and it will give me a backlight and some of the other features...
My only issue is that I don't think you get the beeps and zone information with the M4. Whether I decide to upgrade or not, I'll be happy with this one... just wondering whether I'll be happier with the other one.
Oh, and if you're trying to decide between Suunto HRMs, the manuals are available on their website so you can read through them to find out what features they have or don't have - it might help you make a decision.
Oct 26 Update:
So, I've been using this watch for over a month now and I've concluded the following:
1. It REALLY bugs me that it doesn't have a back light. In this day and age you'd think it would be standard. SUUNTO, Listen up!
2. It is VERY attractive. I like the way it looks so much that I wear it everyday. (This is doubly why the lack of light bothers me because it doesn't function like a real watch). I receive many compliments about it.
3. Soooo many times I have accidentally deleted the workout I'm currently on after hitting the pause button. The Question it asks you is: "Stop?" And you have to select "yes" or "no". Not so hard, but if you get stopped by someone asking you the time, you might accidentally press "yes" thinking, yes I want to pause. Doh! I wish it had no question and just gave you the "Continue" or "Stop" options. That could just be me... but I've stuffed that up at least 3 times and deleted my workout info unintenionally. Also, it's meant to pause for up to an hour. I hit pause for about half and hour, restarted it then hit pause again thinking the hour would start again but it stopped after probably around half an hour without my asking it to and with no warning. That was frustrating. Because it doesn't save details of more than your last workout, if you're on the go, like I was you might again accidentally delete your hard work with no recompense. (If it saved all your previous workouts, that wouldn't be a problem).
I think this watch could be really fantastic if it just had a couple of those additional features. I recommend it to those of you who know how to press buttons properly. I notice it's $50 cheaper since I purchased it.