Polar Unite Review: More surprised us than just the affordable sports watch's sensors

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You can use and set up the Polar smartwatch without a smartphone. That said, this will prevent you from getting firmware updates, adding new exercises, and receiving the additional planning and analysis help that Polar provides via its associated apps and web portal flow.polar.com.

If you connect the watch to an Android smartphone or iPhone via the Polar Flow app, you will need a user account. The smartphone app can manage several Polar smartwatches at once and can switch between them, but it can only connect to and forward smartphone notifications to one at a time.

Alternatively, the Unite can be connected to a Windows or Apple computer using the supplied USB clip and the FlowSync app – this is the only way to reset the watch back to the factory settings.

There are no different display themes for the watch. The only thing that can be changed is the color of the watch and whether it is displayed in an analog or digital format. A downward vertical swipe pulls down a quick access panel that contains settings like turning on the lock screen, which will make the display not turn on with movement. An upward vertical swipe lists the smartphone notifications. You can react to them to some extent, but answering them is not possible. Polar Unite alerts you to incoming phone calls and lets you either reject or deny the call. When you accept the call, the call is done using the smartphone, not the watch.  

Horizontal swipes rotate the display through five screens that contain information about sleep, heart rate, exercise history, activity, and FitSpark, a training program from Polar. 

You can return to the main watch screen using the stainless-steel button on the watch. The button can also open a menu with additional functions such as a timer, stopwatch, and a breathing program. In exercise mode, the button also starts and ends the workout. Polar does not offer weather information, music playback, or a “Find smartphone” function on the Unite.

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