facebook instagram pinterest search twitter youtube whatsapp linkedin thumbup

Designing for Joy With Polar M200 GPS Running Watch

While running is growing in popularity, not everyone knows how to get started or understands how different elements of running can help them meet their fitness goals. The Polar M200 was inspired by the idea that price shouldn’t be the barrier for someone to find the joy of running with a Polar product. We want you to love running as much as we do, so we created a wearable to get you started and help you fall in love.

Polar M200 designed for the user running


We begin our design process with the user in mind; we always first consider how a person will use the watch. Because we were designing the M200 for a specific type of runner, user experience was at the forefront, followed by aesthetics.

“From the design perspective, the start of the project is always my favorite because it’s when we dig in and analyze all the information we’ve collected,” says Heli Haapakoski, Senior Industrial Designer at Polar. “It’s an ongoing process because we’ll begin to make progress, notice that an option doesn’t work, and then go back to the start and create something new and better. It can be stressful, but it’s also so rewarding.”

With Polar M200, our goal was to make a running watch that was welcoming to the occasional runner or someone looking to try running for the first time. This translated into key design features like having just two buttons for navigation and keeping the core screen options simple. If someone wants to dig in further to see their training history and activity progress they can, but if they’re just looking to hit the road, it’s a simple two-click process.

Wrist-based heart rate and GPS were also major design elements from the beginning because heart rate and GPS are such integral parts of a successful running program and product. We chose a wrist-based heart rate because it is easy to use, and offers a quick transition for runners who are looking to put on their gear and go.


We set out to design a watch that was obtainable for everyone, especially for the novice runner.

Sanna Meriö, Segment Manager at Polar

“We set out to design a watch that was obtainable for everyone, especially for the novice runner who may not yet need some of the more advanced features we offer. We wanted people to have a competitive option price-wise, and we put a lot of effort into accomplishing that with intelligent use of hardware and mechanics,” says Sanna Meriö, Segment Manager at Polar.

With non-negotiable features like the wrist-based heart rate and GPS, we focused on prioritizing the various watch elements and determined how to make it work within the design. Users love the color touch screens on our watches, but in the case of the M200, showing the right metrics and offering key running features was far more important and took priority in order to keep the watch affordable. Even with the various challenges, the design aesthetic was always considered along the way, and we were able to introduce some attractive new features for runners.


“The first thing people notice is the round watch face, thinking it’s a totally new direction for Polar, but we’ve actually made many round designs in the past,” says Heli Haapakoski. “The world’s first activity tracker, the AW200, was round and there were several others during 2003–2005. During the M200 design process, we looked to the past as well as the future.”

Polar M200 GPS Running Watch design sketches

One reason behind the round design is that we wanted to create associations with analog watches, which is why we developed elements like Daily Activity displayed as progressing clockwise around the screen. Even the menu features play out in a clockwise circle, mimicking the passing of time the same way minutes would tick on a watch.

The color itself gives positive energy to the user.

Heli Haapakoski, Senior Industrial Designer at Polar

“We monitor color trends, materials, and graphics to constantly look for new and interesting options for our users,” says Heli Haapakoski. “Since our core users are sports-based, we want to highlight that in different ways. As far as color is concerned, that means we want options that are sporty and fresh – so much so that the color itself gives positive energy to the user – which is why we developed the red, yellow, blue, white, and black wristband options.”


Find the joy of running with Polar M200.

Polar M200 GPS Running watch in a nutshell

  • Designed for runners
  • Integrated GPS, wrist-based heart rate and 24/7 activity tracking
  • Waterproof
  • 6 hours of training with GPS and optical heart rate, fully charged
  • Works with Polar Flow, the free fitness and training app and web service
  • Comes with Polar Smart Coaching features, such as the Running Program

Who is the Polar M200 gps running watch aimed for?

Polar M200 is designed especially for those looking for an affordable and easy-to-use running watch. Polar M200 provides key metrics such as pace and distance via its integrated GPS and boasts Polar’s optical heart rate measurement technology and a unique algorithm developed and optimized by Polar to meet our high heart rate standards.

That’s another way of saying that the Polar M200 is an easy introduction to running with heart rate but it also packs enough punch for the more advanced runners.

Joy comes in many colors


White like a chilly morning run in November, bright red for that extra boost of visual energy… Joy comes in many colors.

You can get the Polar M200 with a small/medium and medium/large changeable wristband, available in red and black. Additional changeable wristband colors are sold separately. They include:

  • White
  • Fresh Blue
  • Mellow Yellow
  • Bright Red
  • Charcoal Black

Go deep with Polar Flow

Polar M200 goes beyond providing training data and daily tracking and allows you to view your training, activity, and sleep details in Polar Flow, the free fitness, activity, and training platform available as an app and as a web service.

On Flow for web, you can join events and groups, watch your own or others’ training sessions via the Relive feature and search for and comment on others’ training sessions. Flow for mobile offers you a glimpse into your daily activity and provides suggestions to encourage you to meet your fitness goals.

Polar M200 and Polar Smart Coaching – The match made in Polar

One of the most exciting new features for runners is the Polar Running Program, the personalized and adaptive training plan available for free in Polar Flow. Simply choose a running event (5K, 10K, half-marathon, or marathon), and the Running Program creates a customized training plan tailored to your current fitness level. The running plan offers easy-to-follow instructions and helps you focus on what’s important for improvement. Upload your training plan to the Polar M200 and you can follow targets and receive guidance before and during your run.

Other Smart Coaching features especially useful for runners include Training Benefit and Running Index, both available in Polar Flow. They offer motivating feedback and ways to monitor running performance and progress.

How can you get the new Polar M200 gps running watch?

Polar M200 comes in Charcoal Black and Bright Red. Buy it now in the official Polar webstore.

If you liked this post, don’t forget to share so that others can find it, too.

Please note that the information provided in the Polar Blog articles cannot replace individual advice from health professionals. Please consult your physician before starting a new fitness program.

Don't want to miss a thing? Sign up for our newsletter to stay in the know.