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First look at Polar’s new V800 GPS triathlon watch

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Today, Polar fully announced their new V800 GPS integrated triathlon watch.  The watch covers all three sports – swim, bike and run – and does so with newfound Bluetooth Smart connectivity for sensors and phones alike.  Further, it includes a built-in activity monitor for the remainder of your day when you’re not working out (like a FitBit/Fuelband, or Polar’s recent Loop device).

I’ve been using the V800 for a few weeks now, putting it through its paces in all sorts of weather from cold to…well…colder.  While the device is still months away from release, and many of the features are not yet enabled in my beta unit, I’m going to run through what the plans look like and the features that’ll be included.  I’ll be noting areas where things are ‘paper plans’ versus ‘already in the unit’.  Note that I’ve had a ton of discussions with Polar over the last few weeks about the device, covering a lot of ground – so I’m trying to include as much of that as possible in areas where the functionality isn’t yet enabled in my test device.

First though, just as a quick note, Polar sent over the V800 for me to poke at.  At the end of my poking, I’ll send it back to them – just like everything else from all companies I receive – and then I’ll go out and get my own device through normal retail channels.  Just the way I roll.  You can support the blog through various partners listed on the sidebar and at the bottom.

Let’s get on with it!

Oh…wait – one final thing:  This isn’t a review.  Yes, for real.  These are my standard In-Depth Reviews.  This post is just a first/early look at the unit, well before everything is done.  Come back later this spring for the full review.  Ok, let’s go!

In The Box & Size Comparison:

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Polar would like me to point out that the box isn’t final.  Nor are it’s contents.  Though, I will assume that the V800 box will ultimately actually include the V800.  Which, would be sorta important.  Mine also included a small note to me, sorta like a love letter, except without the lipstick kiss.

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Inside the box you’ll find a bunch of components, the three I’m going focus on are the three things you’ll likely find.  First is the watch itself:

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Then, we’ve got the USB charger.  The charging clip looks somewhat like the Timex Global Trainer and the Polar Loop charging clips shacked up and had offspring.

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Finally, there’s the Polar H7 Heart Rate Strap.  Note that whether or not you get this will depend on which bundle you buy (with or without the HR strap).  If you already have the Polar H7, then no need to buy the bundle with one.

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What is notable however, is that the H7 is unique in that it will transmit over two frequencies: Bluetooth Smart, and 5kHz. The second frequency is used if you want to receive heart rate (HR) data while underwater.  If not, then any Bluetooth Smart strap on the market will do.

With things unpacked, let’s take a quick look at how it looks size-wise against a range of current on-market triathlon and upper-end running devices:

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As you can see, it fits in pretty well.  It’s a bit smaller width-wise than the FR910XT, though about the same thickness.  It’s obviously much thicker than the FR220/FR620, but, it also does a heck of a lot more.

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Finally, for those coming from past Polar units, here’s how things shake up against the Polar RCX5 (the last full featured triathlon-focused unit Polar made), and the more recent Polar RC3 (first GPS-integrated running focused unit Polar made):

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Let’s head outside and take it for a run.

Running:

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If there’s one thing I’ve done, it’s a lot of running with the V800.  And you know what’s my favorite part?  Just how fast the satellites pickup.  Like most new units on the market, the V800 includes satellite pre-caching, which means that it caches up to 3 days of satellite location information for quick reception.

Below, is a short video showing me turning on the unit for the first time some three thousand miles away from the last place I turned it on:

Now, here’s another video, this time showing me turning it on a day after I last turned it on:

Blazingly quick.  Really sweet.

At this point, the watch will show that it’s connected to your Bluetooth Smart HR strap, and show your heart rate value on the ‘waiting’ screen.  You’ll also see the GPS percentage if it’s still looking for them.

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Once it’s done all that, you’ll go ahead and tap the side red button to begin the workout:

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Once you’ve tapped that button, the unit is recording and actively displaying pace/distance/heart rate, and any other metrics you’ve configured.  By default, it has a number of pre-configured screens.  Here’s a quick look at them:

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When it comes to laps, you have two options.  First is to manually press the lap button (lower right) to trigger a lap.  The second is to use automatic laps based on a preset distance (such as 1-Mile or 1-KM).  Or, you can do both together:

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The V800 does support having automatic laps at the same time as manual laps.  Think of them as two separate sound-tracks (and actually, they are audibly separate, as you’ll get notifications for both).

The screens are fully customizable, though, that wasn’t enabled yet on my device, so I just stuck with what was given to me.  The customization though will occur via the Polar Flow site, allowing you to add stats like Lap Time, Distance, or any number of other metrics to your screens.

From a running functionality, the unit includes a feature called ‘Race Pace’, which allows you to race against a known time/distance target.  This looks and sounds similar to Garmin’s Virtual Partner feature.  It does not however allow you to race against a past historical activity (such as last week’s activity).

Looking at more general instant pace, I found the unit quite smooth.  Below, a short video clip from a run:

The unit also includes ‘Tap gestures’, which allow you to tap the screen of the watch to retrieve information such as recovery status or take/set laps.  Further, you can also leverage Polar’s Heart Touch feature, which will enable you to customize the unit to perform a given event when you touch the watch to the HR strap (your chest).

When it comes time to pause or save your workout, you’ll do so by tapping the left ‘back’ button, which pauses it.  If you hold that down for three seconds, it’ll save the workout:

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Once saved, you’ll get a long screen of summary information that you can scroll through:

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If your phone is within range, it’ll upload that data automatically via Bluetooth Smart and the Polar Flow app, to the Polar Flow site (with WiFi/Cell service).  The mobile app is however capable of doing offline data analysis as well.

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Below, you can see an example of  a workout uploaded to the Polar Flow app from the V800:

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At present, the Polar Flow app isn’t quite enabled for connectivity to the V800, so I couldn’t upload any demonstration workouts myself to show you how it works.  However, you can see my Polar Loop review, which covers much of the Polar Flow app in far more detail.  Most of the app will remain the same for key aspects such as activity monitoring.

From an accuracy standpoint, thus far, things have been nearly spot on with the FR620 and FR220 I’ve had on some recent runs:

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The V800 includes some nice navigation and routing capabilities.  I’ll start with the most basic, and then build on that into the more advanced features.  First, it includes a ‘Back to start’ function.  This function gives you ‘as the crow flies’ directions back to the starting point of your activity:

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This is useful in city environments where you just want to get back, and don’t particularly care if it’s back the same way you got there.  The V800 can also go back to an alternate saved location point (such as your house, etc…).

This is different however from ‘Track Back’ style functionality, which tracks back on the exact same route you came.  That functionality tends to be used in trails/mountains where you must follow the same track back (due to rivers, etc…).

The V800 further includes ‘Route Guidance’ capabilities, which enable the unit to follow pre-planned routes, as well as previously recorded routes.   It can also follow shared routes from Polar Flow.  At launch in April, it’ll just follow exiting routes, or shared routes – down the road, they’ll allow you to create your own routes.   In this mode, the unit uses it’s magnetic compass to provide guidance breadcrumb style along the route.  You can see an example of how the user interface will look in this mode, below:

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It will be most interesting to see how others in the space react to these changes.  From a competition standpoint, Suunto has all of these functions in the Ambit 1/Ambit 2 (plus a whole lot more).  Meanwhile, Garmin decided against adding these functions in their higher end FR620 that were previously available in earlier generations of their units.

Cycling:

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It’s been many years since Polar has released a useful cycling product.  No, the RC3 doesn’t count (sorry, it’s a running watch, not a cycling-specific computer).  But that appears to have changed with the V800.  This will be Polar’s first new unit to support Bluetooth Smart accessories such as cadence sensors and power meters.  And in doing so, it’ll also be the first watch on the market to support Bluetooth Smart power meters.

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All of the features available to you in the running mode are also available to you in the cycling mode (minus the running footpod of course).  They key difference is that in cycling mode you’ll switch over to ‘speed’ versus ‘pace’, which means using MPH or KPH such as 20MPH or 15MPH.  Also, you’ll get data from the aforementioned sensors.

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Polar will be coming out with both a Bluetooth Smart speed-only sensor and a Bluetooth Smart cadence-only sensor.  At present, they don’t have a Bluetooth Smart speed/cadence combo sensor in the lineup.  But, they will allow you to pair to other Bluetooth Smart Speed/Cadence combo sensors from other companies (such as the Wahoo BlueSC).

In some ways, this is the same pattern we saw with the Bluetooth Smart stride sensor, where Polar simply changed the protocol stack on it, but left it in the same ugly casing.  Hopefully sometime between now and April someone in Finland realizes that people don’t want to buy two sensors both using zipties that were originally designed in 1998.  It’s time to move to quick-release rubber bands and combo sensors like the rest of the industry did a few years ago.

Ultimately though, it doesn’t matter too much, since you can just buy 3rd party units anyway.

Next, we’ve got power meter support.  Polar will support Bluetooth Smart power meters starting in June 2014, with an update that will be made available then.

That timing corresponds with Polar’s planned availability of their Polar/Look Keo power pedals being available in a Bluetooth Smart variant.  Though, you don’t need the Keo Power system in order to get power information.  Once the update is made available, Polar will support any Bluetooth Smart capable power.  Today, that’s the widely available Stages Power meter, as well as the just-started-shipping PowerTap G3’s with Bluetooth Smart caps.

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Now, I’ve argued that I’d like to see Polar bring that firmware update timeline closer to April.  Ultimately, I don’t see any overlap between potential customers of Stages power meter ($699), and Polar’s power meter ($2,500US).  I think it actually offers Polar much more if they move that timeline up and ‘secure’ the Bluetooth Smart watch/head unit market before a competitor comes out and does it for them.  But, that’s just my two cents.

Lastly, and most applicable to cyclists, is that the V800 includes a barometric altimeter.  This altimeter is automatically calibrated via GPS, though, it can be calibrated manually with a known elevation.  This is useful as it provides what is typically more accurate elevation data than GPS-based altimeters found in most running watches (such as the Polar RC3).

Swimming:

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[Update - March 2014: At this point the wording I'm seeing now from Polar seems to indicate that the V800 will not launch with swim tracking capabilities (i.e. distance/pace), but rather, only HR tracking - like past Polar products.  Instead, this will come later in the year.]

The Polar V800 will include the capability to track swimming both indoors (in a pool), as well as outdoors (openwater).  Additionally, like some past Polar units, it will include the capability to track your heart rate underwater while worn with a compatible Polar heart rate strap (the H7 is one such strap).

While indoors, the unit will track laps like all other indoor-swimming focused watches on the market, and use internal accelerometers to determine distance, pace (speed) and stroke related metrics.  This is based on knowing the length of the pool (you enter that), and then it will detect turns (either flip or open turn) at the end of each segment.  When in an outdoor pool, you’ll still want to use the indoor swim mode.  It will use the internal accelerometers to determine distance, pace (speed) and stroke related metrics.

When outdoors, the unit will use GPS to track your swim.  This will be in conjunction with accelerometer based information to provide for stroke information outdoors. [Update Feb 1st: Polar seems to be slightly changing their tune here a bit, saying that outdoor swimming metrics won't be available at launch, but potentially down the road.  Adding this note inline, though I had noted it in the 'update' section a week or two ago.]

Finally, the unit can connect to Polar’s H7 strap for underwater metrics.  The H7 is required (or, past T31 coded straps with 5kHz transmission) because it transmits a secondary signal that will penetrate underwater.  A standard Bluetooth Smart strap cannot penetrate through the water, and thus, will not work (for example, the Polar H6 won’t work, neither will any other HR strap from any other vendor).

Please note that as of this writing, the V800 beta build does not yet include swimming functionality, thus, I have been unable to try it either indoors or outdoors from a lap/openwater swim perspective.  I have however taken it swimming and into water repeatedly, where it has a waterproof rating of 30 meters (~90ft) deep.

Triathlon, Multisport, and other sports:

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The V800 includes a triathlon ‘multisport mode’.  This specific term is used when a watch can be seamlessly switched between the multiple legs of a triathlon (or other multiple sport event), without requiring you reset and/or restart the activity.  This means you can seamlessly transition from Swim to Bike to Run, and the unit will show the appropriate sport information and displays for each leg of the event.

The unit includes two variations.  The first is an automatic Swim/Bike/Run option, and the second is a ‘Free Multisport’ mode, allowing you customization of the sport segments.  After you’ve completed the segments, the unit will record the event in its entirety, with each of the segments containing separate information that’s visible to Polar Flow (the online Polar website for the V800).  You’ll also have transition times recorded as well.

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Further, like past Polar products, you can configure the unit to use numerous sport profiles from their online catalog.  These are pulled from the Flow web service, but are predefined by Polar and cannot be added or changed (such as the name or function).  These profiles can however be further customized with display fields of your choosing, and configuration such as how different metrics are displayed (i.e. pace vs speed, kilometers vs statute, HR%Max vs HR BPM, etc…).

The only downside to the multisport mode is that the V800 won’t have any quick-release kit or ability to quickly attach it/detach it to a bike.  It will support a standard Polar bike mount, but that requires you to get it setup on the bike, which isn’t something you’ll want to do during transition.

Activity Monitor/Tracker Feature:

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In addition to traditional sport tracking modes (like running and cycling), the V800 also includes the ability to monitor your activity throughout the day, including your sleep.  This puts it in the same category as devices like the FitBit, Nike Fuelband, Polar Loop and the just announced Garmin Vivofit.

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The V800’s goal in tracking your activity outside of sport is to be able to give you a holistic view of your daily output expenditure – 24×7.  From this, it can more accurately give you calorie recommendations, as well as recovery recommendations.  These are consolidated into the activity tracker dashboard view on the unit, which shows you a composite of your day – from workouts to walking around to sleep:

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Sleep is automatically calculated without the need for pushing any buttons when you fall asleep.  Note that sleep is actually measured separately from rest.  ‘Rest’ is defined as inactivity within a single day, whereas ‘Sleep’ can span a day (since you might fall asleep at 10PM and wakeup at 8AM).  Both are tracked using the internal accelerometers, similar to how the Polar Loop works.

The V800 will track steps and distance and report that to the Polar Flow phone app.  Which in turn, uploads it to the Polar Flow site.  At present, the watch doesn’t actually show you steps or distance, though it does show you calories for the day.  I’ve argued however that having an activity monitor that doesn’t show you the activity on the device…is sorta pointless.  Hopefully they’ll adopt my viewpoint between now and April.

The calories for the day include your baseline (staying alive) calorie requirements + workout calories burned + walking around activity + adjustments for altitude (yes, really).

Next, that information can be fed into their Training Load and Recovery calculations, which estimate how hard your effort was and how much time it might take to recover from it.  This includes adjustments from resting and activity monitor information as well.  This then shows up in two places.  The first is on the unit itself:

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And the second is within the app & associated site. While the activity monitor piece is actually active currently in my unit, my ability to get the data out is not yet active.  Thus I can see the bar going across the screen as I wander around, but I can’t actually tell you how many steps that is.  So, accuracy comparisons will have to wait for down the road in the full in-depth review.

Smart Coaching Features:

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The V800 includes a slew of new features aimed at bridging the gap between simply providing data, and providing coaching instruction.  Polar calls these “Smart Coaching” features, and there’s a bunch of them, some new, and some more vintage.

On the new side, we’ve got these three:

Training Load and Recovery: This is designed to provide a holistic picture of training load and recovery.  This is similar to other load/recovery systems that you see within other platforms such as Training Peaks and TSS (Training Stress Score).

 

Running Index (RI): This provides a ‘score’ for each of your runs, which accounts for both aerobic fitness and running economy based on heart rate and speed.  In addition, the RI value is compensated by barometric altimeter data as well.

 

Jump Test: This test requires the Polar Stride Sensor, but enables you to “assess leg muscular strength and power output”, along with “neuromuscular fatigue”

The above three, join the following other features on the V800:

Training Benefit: After each workout, this details out the effect of that workout, as seen on the unit in the summary information.

 

Smart Calories: This is uses Polar’s OwnCal system, which while outside will compensate for the impact of altitude (for example, training at 5,000ft)

 

Fitness Test: This is sorta like a VO2Max test, basically trying to determine how fit you are and then from there it can start to measure gains in fitness.

 

Orthostatic Test: In this test the unit uses your HR data with HRV (RR) to determine fatigue levels and recovery from workouts.

Looking at the earlier mentioned Training Load piece, Polar divides each workout up into one of five categories with a corresponding recommended recovery time:

Extreme: >49 hours
Very High: 25-48 hours
High: 13-24 Hours
Moderate: 7-12 hours
Light: 0-6 hours

The workout data is then combined with historical data to determine your recovery times.  The unit will use the previous 14 weeks of training history to help determine these recovery times.  In addition, it’ll account for other activity from that day.  For example, if you spent the first 4 hours of the day at the mall walking around like a madman doing last minute Christmas shopping, and then you ran 15 miles, it’ll compensate for the fatigue from both.

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Below, you can see the Running Index scores plotted over time for some apparently rather fast runner.

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From a ‘what’s cool standpoint’, I’d say the RI and Training Load pieces are the most relevant, and the biggest leaps forwards for Polar to be competitive with other platforms out there.  It’ll be interesting to see how much of the calculation side they reveal longer-term on the Training Load piece, as most other platforms detail a bit more of the science behind the numbers.  Further, it’ll be interesting to see how Polar’s platform compares with existing systems out there.

Polar Flow – Online Analysis Site:

Once you’ve completed your workout the unit will automatically upload it via your phone (or PC) to the Polar Flow site.  This is Polar’s new fitness-focused site going forward (away from PolarPersonalTrainer.com).  The site will enable everything from device customization online (and then push to the device) to workout creation and analysis.

In addition, Polar will make available tools to migrate data from Pro Trainer 5 – so those folks hanging out on the desktop software can make the leap.  As part of my final in-depth review I’ll take a look at how the features match up.

For those using either the Polar Beat or Polar Loop today, much of this won’t seem radically different.  What is different however are many smaller nuances of the display of the data to fit better with the features of the V800.

Below is an example of a cycling workout from the V800 uploaded to the Flow site.  You’ll notice that in addition to the common maps and summary information, you’ve also got social information up top – such as likes and comments (these are controlled through privacy settings).  So it’s somewhat Strava like.

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The site includes calendar and summary views of all your activities, so you can look at totals by different metrics over time (such as a weekly or monthly report).

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As you saw earlier, the site also  includes the new features related to Training Load and Running Index, and as well it will track the Fitness Test results, Orthostatic Tests, and Jump Tests.

Further, the site will enable you to compare completed activities against your past historical efforts (for example, the same course), as well as other people’s efforts (friends, coaches, me…).  Though, this feature will not be available at launch.

Today, the Polar Flow site does some fairly cool stuff when you upload workouts from Polar Beat, for example, this workout I did yesterday that shows portions of the route along the way:

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Here’s a running workout at the high level as well:

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All this carries through to the V800.  Further, as noted earlier Polar is adding in the ability to create workouts on Flow and then transfer them to the device.  These workouts can have multiple steps and targets, as seen below.

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Of note above is the ability to ‘Save a copy to my favorites’.  Within the V800, there’s a concept known as ‘Favorites’, which are easily accessed from the main dashboard.  These are frequently accessed workouts that you may do often, and don’t want to dig down into the watch a bit deeper to access:

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As you can see, the site looks years better than the PolarPersonalTrainer.com site does/did, and is coming along nicely since it was introduced this past fall in conjunction with the Polar Loop activity monitor.

Obviously, given it’s somewhat new there’s still some gaps compared to other competitive platforms, but everything I’m seeing points to Polar having the right resources focused on bridging these gaps.  One area that hasn’t yet been announced is whether or not the V800 will have a live tracking function (like the Garmin FR220/FR620), which would also likely be integrated into the Flow site and likely be made available across other devices/apps like the Polar Beat app.

The one area that remains outstanding however is open access to the data.  Polar had planned to have the Polar Flow site have an API in place by the end of the year, and I don’t believe that’s been implemented yet.  It will be critical for Polar that all workouts from the V800 (Swim/Bike/Run/Full Tri) are able to be exported to 3rd party services for other/further analysis.  This includes ensuring that those exported files includes all relevant data such as laps, sensor data and location data, at 1-second recording rates.

Coaching Platform:

In addition to an online site to track your workouts, Polar will also be introducing a new online site/service that coaches can log into and specify workouts for coached athletes.  This would allow a coach to prescribe a given custom workout to an athlete, and that workout would automatically appear within the scheduled workouts for the given athlete (from the athletes online dashboard).  Then, the workout would be available to transfer to the watch for the athlete to execute.

Once the workout is completed by the athlete and uploaded, the platform will allow a coach to view the athlete’s completed workout automatically and make comments on the workout via the site (which will be visible to both parties).

This is notable because the major player in the space today – Training Peaks – doesn’t actually have full device integration.  And on the device competition side, Garmin doesn’t have any sort of coaching platform.  While some may see this as a new venture for Polar, that’s actually not accurate.  In fact, Polar has long had various coaching platforms used primarily in the educational system (schools/universities/teams), with special coaching software and even school-focused variants of some of their popular heart rate monitors (which held slightly different model numbers).

At this point, Polar doesn’t have a ton of information about the program.  In fact, the sum total of information they were able to give me was approximately one PowerPoint slide, of which, the first line was the title of the program, and the last line was the embargo date.  So, there’s a lot to be unveiled here.

It’ll be interesting to see how this shakes out.  On one hand, it’s pretty cool sounding.  However, on the other, it’s going to be challenging for Polar to make ground in this area since coaches will be highly reluctant to go to something only good on a single platform (Polar) for a single device (V800).  Individually coached athletes typically are on a wide variety of devices across a wide variety of price ranges, and most individual athletes won’t simply go out and buy a new $400 watch + new accessories for it.

However, where Polar likely will have a better run of things will be for teams, such as entire track teams and other sporting teams.  In those areas where the organization provides the units and can ensure uniformity of devices, Polar will be able to deliver a very compelling offering that no other device maker can do today.

Product Comparison Charts:

I’ve added the V800 to the Product Comparison Tool, which means you can mix and match it against any other watch/unit that I’ve ever reviewed for feature comparisons.  While I’ve validated everything below with the Polar product team in Finland and in the US, do keep in mind that because it’s still early in the release cycle things could change (either good or bad changes). For the sake of simplicity, I’ve just selected the Polar V800, Polar RCX5, Garmin FR910XT and Suunto Ambit 2s in the chart below.  However, you can easily make your own change with any device you want here at this link.

Function/FeaturePolar V800Polar RCX5Garmin Forerunner 910XTSuunto Ambit2
Copyright www.DCRainmaker.com - Updated March 29th, 2014 @ 7:19 pmNew Window
General: Price$449$220.00$399.00$499
General: Product Announcement DateJan 6th, 2014Mar 21, 2011OCT 4, 2011APR 29, 2013
General: Actual Availability/Shipping DateApril/May 2014June 2011JAN-APR 2012May 2013
General: GPS Recording FunctionalityYesSeparate GPS PodYesYes
General: Data TransferBluetooth/USBirDA WirelessANT+ WirelessUSB
General: WaterproofingYes - 30mYes - 30mYes - 50mYes - 100m
General: Battery LifeUp to 50 hours (May Change)1 year (GPS separate)20 Hours50 hours
General: Recording Interval1sAdjustable1s or SmartVariable
General: Satellite Pre-Loading via ComputerYes - 3 DaysNoNoYes
General: Quick Satellite ReceptionAwesomeGood via GPS PodGreatGreat
General: AlertsVibrate/Sound/VisualSound/VisualVibrate/Sound/VisualSound/Visual
General: Backlight GreatnessGreatGoodGreatGreat
General: Ability to download custom apps to unit/deviceNoNoNoYes
General: Acts as daily activity monitor (steps, etc...)YesNoNoNo
Function/FeaturePolar V800Polar RCX5Garmin Forerunner 910XTSuunto Ambit2
Connectivity: Bluetooth Legacy (pre-4.0) to PhoneNoNoVia Wahoo Fitness AdapterNo
Connectivity: Bluetooth Smart (4.0+) to Phone UploadingYesNoVia Wahoo Fitness AdapterNo
Connectivity: Phone Notifications to unit (i.e. texts/calls/etc...)Not initiallyNoNoNo
Connectivity: Live Tracking (streaming location to website)NoNoNoNo
Connectivity: Emergency/SOS Message Notification (from watch to contacts)NoNoNoNo
Connectivity: Built-in cellular chip (no phone required)NoNoNoNo
Cycling: Designed for cyclingYesYesYesYes
Cycling: Power Meter CapableJune 2014NoYesYes
Cycling: Power Meter Configuration/Calibration OptionsTBAN/AYesYes
Cycling: Power Meter TSS/NP/IFTBAN/AYesNo
Cycling: Speed/Cadence Sensor CapableYesYesYesYes
Function/FeaturePolar V800Polar RCX5Garmin Forerunner 910XTSuunto Ambit2
Running: Designed for runningYesYesYesYes
Running: Footpod Capable (For treadmills)YesYesYesYes
Running: Running Dynamics (vertical oscillation, ground contact time, etc...)NoNoNoNo
Running: VO2Max EstimationYesYesNoYes
Running: Race PredictorSortaNoNoNo
Running: Recovery AdvisorYesYesNoYes
Running: Run/Walk ModeNoNoYesNo
Function/FeaturePolar V800Polar RCX5Garmin Forerunner 910XTSuunto Ambit2
Swimming: Designed for swimmingYesNoYesYes
Swimming: Openwater swimming modeNo, details 'Later 2014'N/AYesYes
Swimming: Lap/Indoor Distance TrackingNo, details 'Later 2014'N/AYesYes
Swimming: Record HR underwaterYesYesNoNo
Swimming: Openwater Metrics (Stroke/etc.)TBAN/AYesYes
Swimming: Indoor Metrics (Stroke/etc.)TBAN/AYesYes
Swimming: Indoor Drill ModeTBAN/ANoYes
Swimming: Indoor auto-pause featureTBAN/ANoNo
Swimming: Change pool sizeTBAN/AYesYes
Swimming: Indoor Min/Max Pool LengthsTBAN/A20m/22y to 100y/m5m/y to 1,200m/y
Swimming: Ability to customize data fieldsYesN/AYesYes
Swimming: Can change yards to metersTBAN/AYesYes
Swimming: Captures per length data - indoorsTBAN/AYesYes
Swimming: Indoor AlertsTBAN/AYesNo
Function/FeaturePolar V800Polar RCX5Garmin Forerunner 910XTSuunto Ambit2
Triathlon: Designed for triathlonYesYesYesYes
Triathlon: Multisport modeYesNoYesYes
Workouts: Create/Follow custom workoutsYesYesYesNo
Workouts: On-unit interval FeatureYesYesYesBarely
Workouts: Training Calendar FunctionalityNoNoNoNo
Functions: Auto Start/StopYesYesYesYes
Functions: Virtual Partner FeatureYesYesYesNo
Functions: Virtual Racer FeatureNoNoYesNo
Functions: Records PR\\\'s - Personal Records (diff than history)NoNoNoNo
Functions: Day to day watch abilityYesYesNoYes
Functions: Hunting/Fishing/Ocean DataNoNoNoNo
Functions: Tidal Tables (Tide Information)NoNoNoNo
Functions: Jumpmaster mode (Parachuting)NoNoNoNo
Functions: GeocachingNoNoNoNo
Functions: Weather Display (live data)NoNoNoNo
Function/FeaturePolar V800Polar RCX5Garmin Forerunner 910XTSuunto Ambit2
Navigate: Follow GPS Track (Courses/Waypoints)YesNoYesYes
Navigate: Markers/Waypoint DirectionYesNoNoYes
Navigate: Routable/Visual Maps (like car GPS)NoNoNoNo
Navigate: Back to startYesNoYesYes (added Aug 30, 2013)
Navigate: Impromptu Round Trip Route CreationNoNoNoNo
Navigate: Download courses/routes from phone to unitYes (from Flow Web service)NoNoNo
Sensors: Altimeter TypeBarometricNoneBarometricBarometric, GPS (FusedAlti)
Sensors: Compass TypeMagneticNoneGPSMagnetic
Sensors: Heart Rate Strap CompatibleYesYesYesYes
Sensors: ANT+ Heart Rate Strap CapableNoNoYesYes
Sensors: ANT+ Speed/Cadence CapableNoNoYesYes
Sensors: ANT+ Footpod CapableNoNoYesYes
Sensors: ANT+ Power Meter CapableNoNoYesYes
Sensors: ANT+ Weight Scale CapableNoNoYesNo
Sensors: ANT+ Fitness Equipment (Gym)NoNoYesNo
Sensors: ANT+ Remote ControlNoNoNoNo
Sensors: ANT+ eBike CompatibilityNoNoNoNo
Sensors: Bluetooth Smart HR Strap CapableYesNoNoNo
Sensors: Bluetooth Smart Speed/Cadence CapableYesNoNoNo
Sensors: Bluetooth Smart Footpod CapableYesNoNoNo
Sensors: Bluetooth Smart Power Meter CapableYesNoNoNo
Sensors: Temp Recording (internal sensor)NoNoNoYes
Sensors: Temp Recording (external sensor)NoNoNoNo
Sensors: Compatible with Firstbeat HR toolsTBANot FB, but other PolarYesYes
Function/FeaturePolar V800Polar RCX5Garmin Forerunner 910XTSuunto Ambit2
Software: PC ApplicationPolar FlowsyncPPT/WebsyncGTC/ANT AgentMoveslink Agent
Software: Web ApplicationPolar FlowPPT.comGarmin ConnectMovescount
Software: Phone AppPolar FlowPolar BeatsGarmin FitSuunto Movescount
Software: Ability to Export SettingsNoNoNoYes (online)
Purchase: Amazon LinkN/ALinkLinkLink
Purchase: Clever Training Link (Save 10% with DCR10AKG)LinkLinkLinkLink
DCRainmaker: Review LinkLinkLinkLinkLink

Again, remember you can easily make your own change with any device you want here at this link.

My Initial Thoughts:

IMG_8746

In general, I’m very impressed with what Polar has stated they plan to do with the watch.  I think it represents a significant jump forward for them as a company, and to a large degree, an acknowledgement of how far they’ve fallen behind in recent years.  But, the V800 joins the Polar Loop (and prior to that, Polar Beat) as recent products that really nailed the markets they are looking for.  For example, I think it’s brilliant that they’ve included an activity monitor into the unit – helping bridge the gap between a typical watch and the FitBit’s of the world.  It’s also sweet that they’ll likely become the first wrist unit to support Bluetooth Smart power meters.  Further, bringing in-house a coaching platform will also be a very interesting move to watch.

On the battery life side, they’ve made an interesting play at both the Garmin Fenix and Suunto Ambit, going with a low-frequency update mode to get 50hrs of GPS-on time for extended workouts.  Typically, the unit will get 13hrs of GPS time in 1-second recording mode.  I’ve argued to them that splitting the difference in a ‘Ironman’ style mode like Suunto added would be appealing for many folks who need just a few more hours to finish their iron-distance events (up to 17 hours).

Now, as I alluded to – everything is great on paper.  But, the unit I have today has pretty much just the core running functionality active/ready.  Thus, all the ‘good stuff’ that you want out of the unit won’t come for some number of weeks or months, in later beta cycles (all before final release of course).  Thus, I can’t know for certain how it’ll turn out.  Though, Polar tends to have a very solid track record of doing what they say – and doing it in a generally bug-free manner (much better than most others).

Of course, there are some minor nits that I have with the unit that aren’t beta-related.  But I think that Polar will listen to the feedback I’ve given them (both publicly here, but in more depth privately), and I suspect we’ll see those things resolved by release.  They seem eager to listen to my suggestions and have conversations about them, so that’s great to hear.

Overall though, I’m looking forward to seeing the final product come together.  The technical platform they have (with Bluetooth and the accelerometer), means that the sky is the limit for how they want to implement new features and functionality in software updates, so they’re well positioned for the foreseeable future.

This is my attempt at reducing redundant questions based on common and/or expected questions.  I’ll continue to add to this over time as I see repeats.  Thanks!

When will it be available?

Polar is stating April 2014 for availability, with the blue color variant coming a bit later.

Update 3/29/2014: Polar is saying units will start shipping in late April, with arrivals in early May.

How much is it?

$399/€399 without the HR strap, and $449/€449 with the HR strap.

I’m looking at places online to purchase it, and XYZ store says they’ll have it in March!?!

They’re lying to get your order.  Yes, really.

When will your in-depth review be posted?

It’ll be posted once Polar delivers final hardware and/or software to me.  This is primarily to protect you against making purchasing decisions based on a beta product that could have bugs introduced later after my review (though, that’s always a possibility).  Thus, about 1-2 weeks after the final hardware/software is released to me.  At this point, my understanding is the hardware is final, however of course, the software is far from final.

Can it be used for swim/bike/run and does it have multisport mode?

Yes, it can be used for all three sports and yes it has a multi-sport mode.  However, at this point in beta, the swimming is not yet active nor is sensor support beyond the HR sensor (i.e. cycling or running stride), thus I haven’t been able to test those features.

How well does it work swimming, what metrics does it show?

At this point in the beta unit, swimming is not yet enabled.  Polar has not yet clarified exactly which metrics they’ll show in swimming (either for indoor or outdoor swimming).

What file format does it export in?

The unit will provide standard Polar .HRM+.GPX files for running and cycling (last past Polar products).  Swimming file formatting is TBA.

Does it connect to Bluetooth Smart devices?

Yes. Upon release in April 2014 it’ll connect to the following Bluetooth Smart device types:

- Bluetooth Smart Heart Rate Strap
- Bluetooth Smart Cycling Speed & Cadence Combo Sensor
- Bluetooth Smart Cycling Speed-Only Sensor
- Bluetooth Smart Cycling Cadence-Only Sensor
- Bluetooth Smart Running Footpod (Stride) Sensor

In June 2014, Polar will add support for:

- Bluetooth Smart Cycling Power Meter Sensor

Does it work with non-Bluetooth Smart, Bluetooth devices (i.e. Bluetooth legacy devices)?

No, it does not, only Bluetooth Smart.

Does it work with ANT+ devices?

No, it does not. It connects to Bluetooth Smart devices.  It will NOT connect to any ANT+ power meters.

Does it support existing Polar W.I.N.D. sensors?

No, it does not.  It does support the existing H7 however, with the 5kHz transmission for underwater reception of HR data.  However, that strap is not using W.I.N.D..

Does it support power meters?

Polar has stated they will enable Bluetooth Smart power meter support starting in June 2014.  This will be in conjunction with an update to the transmission technology for their Polar/Look Keo power system (today, that system uses POLAR W.I.N.D.).  They have confirmed that they will support the standard Bluetooth Smart power meter spec, which is currently used by Stages Power for their dual ANT+/Bluetooth Smart product, and in the last few weeks, by PowerTap for Bluetooth Smart-only PowerTap hub caps.

Can you please tell me some random sexy technical things that didn’t fit?

Sure.  The unit is aluminum with a stainless steel shell with aluminum buttons.  The glass fiber edge is a reinforced thermoplastic case.  The black and white display uses Gorilla glass, and the display is 128×128 and can display 4 metrics in a single view.  The unit contains up to 99 hours of storage with concurrent GPS and HR data.  The GPS chipset is made by SiRFstar.  The V800 weighs 79g, and is 12.7mm thick.  It contains a 350 mAh Li-pol battery.  The barometric altimeter is capable of measuring altitude, descent/ascent, and incline.  It contains 13 languages, including Japanese and Simplified Chinese.  The airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow cannot be measured however.

C’mon, you must have something else geeky cool that didn’t fit?

It’s true, I do. For the real geeks in the crowd, the V800 will include Bluetooth Smart sensor relay/broadcasting.  This means that if you attach a HR strap to the V800, it will actually rebroadcast that transmission as another BLE HR strap.  This is useful for group-based sessions, and for folks who may have secondary apps/devices that want to connect to the same HR strap.

Can I use it as a day to day watch?

Yup, it’ll last at least 28 days in that mode while doing continuous activity monitoring (GPS off).  You can change the watch face a bunch of different ways, as well as specify a single alarm and configure the ‘starting’ day of the week.

Does it do ‘smart watch’ style notifications (calls/text messages/etc…)?

In talking with Polar, they definitely see the potential for this (hardware is designed with it in mind), but at this point they haven’t decided if (or when) this would be added to the V800.  But, they noted that should it be added, it’d be a simple firmware update.  Whether that’s for free or paid would be TBD.

What is the battery life with GPS on?

The unit has two options.  First is battery life of 13 hours with 1-second recording, regardless of the sport.  The second mode, is a reduced recording rate with up to 50 hours of GPS-on time.  This is similar to what we’ve seen with the Garmin Fenix and Suunto Ambit.  I don’t generally recommend the 50-hour recording timeframe unless you’re doing activities that are slower-paced, like hiking.

Does it have Live Tracking capability like the Garmin FR220/620 and Garmin Edge 510/810?

Polar has stated “that’s a possibility” but have not confirmed if and/or when it might be included in the product.

Do you think Garmin, Suunto or Timex will deliver new triathlon watches this season?

Historically speaking, Garmin is on target for a new triathlon watch this season (a successor to the FR910XT).  However, when exactly, and what features remain undisclosed.  Suunto has been doing spring releases (April) for their Ambit products the last two years, but again, whether they continue that tradition remains unknown.  Finally, Timex has been pretty quiet.  So while we certainly could see a new unit from them, I wouldn’t bank on it.  There or course be other players in the market as well, either new to the scene entirely (i.e. Bia), or from other companies with past products in the space (i.e. Magellan). Time will tell…

Do you recommend waiting till April?

There’s a lot of factors there, notably the fact that what will or won’t be included for other watches hasn’t been released.  I tend however to be of the camp to buy what’s available now, and start training, rather than waiting.  Which doesn’t mean to go out and buy a FR910XT instead of the V800, but rather, to make decisions based on your events and training schedule.  What if Polar slips to June?  Or if Garmin announces in April, but isn’t available to June (like usual)?  How do those impact your season and races?  Finally, note that like any other high-demand product, initial capacity orders will fill up quickly.  Thus, if you wait till April to order (4 months from now), I highly doubt you’ll get your unit anywhere near April.

Will Polar release a new cycling computer this year?

I don’t know.  But, they’ve long stated they plan to release a Bluetooth Smart enabled cycling computer.  It would seem logical that would happen.  Traditionally speaking, most cycling companies don’t make announcements in early January.  There’s no reason to.  Nobody is buying cycling gear then, and it allows them to hold back details for competitive reasons until Feb/March when people start pondering going outside again.

Update: Yes, they announced the Polar V650 – read about it here.

Why haven’t you answered my question below yet?

In general, it’s likely because either I, or Polar, don’t know the answer (or they wish to not yet disclose it).  Or, because I hadn’t yet slept in days and decided to sleep for an hour or two.

Wait, when did you say your in-depth review will be released?  Why haven’t you released your review yet?

My review will be released once they have final software/hardware (currently targeted for April 2014). I will update this very line item once I have final hardware/software.

With that, thanks for reading!

Found this post useful? Or just want a good deal? Here’s how:

Hopefully you found this post useful. At the end of the day, I’m an athlete just like you looking for the most detail possible on a new purchase – so my review is written from the standpoint of how I used the device. The posts generally take a lot of hours to put together, so it’s a fair bit of work (and labor of love). As you probably noticed by looking below, I also take time to answer all the questions posted in the comments – and there’s quite a bit of detail in there as well.

I’ve partnered with Clever Training to offer all DC Rainmaker readers exclusive benefits on all products purchased. You can read more about the benefits of this partnership here. You can pickup the Polar V800 or accessories through Clever Training using the link below. By doing so, you not only support the site (and all the work I do here) – but you also get to enjoy the significant partnership benefits that are just for DC Rainmaker readers. And, since this item is more than $75, you get free US shipping as well.

 

Polar V800 Black Edition with or without HR strap (select drop-down to change)
Polar V800 Blue/Red Edition with or without HR strap (note June for blue/red)

Additionally, you can also use Amazon to purchase the V800 or accessories (though, no discount). Or, anything else you pickup on Amazon helps support the site as well (socks, laundry detergent, cowbells). If you’re outside the US, I’ve got links to all of the major individual country Amazon stores on the sidebar towards the top.

Thanks for reading! And as always, feel free to post comments or questions in the comments section below, I’ll be happy to try and answer them as quickly as possible.

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548 Comments

  1. Steve Knapp

    Is anyone looking at adding support for indoor endless pool swimming? Would be nice to get interval time and stroke count. Either in a tri watch such as this or something like the Garmin Swim.

    Really like the integration of activity monitor w/ workouts and BMR. Nice.

    Reply
    • Alex replied

      On Polar hompage it is stated:
      Adjustable recording rate – 1s, 2s, 5s, 15s, or 60s
      Guess this is very important to mention.

      Reply
      • Rainmaker replied

        That page is incorrect. Or at least, that’s what I was told this morning when I asked. They explained that the unit has plenty of internal storage space and thus there was no reason to have reduced recording rates. It has no impact on battery to remain at 1s.

    • cpuiulet replied

      I currently own the Garmin FR 620. I love the light weight (42 g). Love the running mode, but really hate that Garmin watered it down by not including a real bike mode like they did in the FR 610. They could have also increased the screen real estate by decreasing the dark band around the face of the watch. Maybe just leave the menu icons for navigation. I like what Polar did with the V800, but there are a few things that will hold me back from buying it if they don’t correct in the final version.. it must be Garmin Connect compatible, have lap pace, and weight under 60g. / .

      Reply
    • Aaron replied

      I like what Polar did with the V800… it must be Garmin Connect compatible

      I think you should email that to both Garmin and Polar… who knows, maybe a collaboration?

      And next… iPhone apps on my Windows 8 surface.

      One can dream… =D

      Reply
  2. MT

    Another watch that does manual and auto lapping. Garmin, are you listening? GARMIN..?!!

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Just out of curiosity, what’s the exact use case you use dual-lapping for?

      Reply
    • mixuli replied

      Hello Ray, of course I can’t reply on behalf of MT, but this is also same issue for me with Garmin.

      I’m using dual lapping e.g. when I’m running tempo runs. I get auto laps for each km’s and then manual laps to record parts of training (warm up, training, cool down).

      Reply
    • mixuli replied

      Hello Ray, of course I can’t reply on behalf of MT, but this is also same issue for me with Garmin.

      I’m using dual lapping e.g. when I’m running tempo runs. I use auto laps for each km’s and then manual laps to record parts of training (warm up, training, cool down).

      Reply
    • JW replied

      I use dual-lapping in my runs allmost all the time because i like the auto-lap (every km), but sometimes i want to “re-start” a lap. For example after waiting for a trafic-light, or to do record some shorter strides in that run.

      Reply
  3. Daniel

    The first Polar watch which is really really fitting my needs. I will keep an eye on the final review in April/May :-)

    Reply
    • Rupert Halloway replied

      I’ve compared it to the Garmin Swim (because it’s what I currently have.) But as a tri watch, i’m loving the look of the Polar!

      Reply
  4. Will

    Ha just found out about the V800 and 10 minutes later I get a DCRainmaker RSS alert with the “review”…awesome!
    Do you know if RC3 users will be able to use Polar Flow as well or are we stuck with polarpersonaltrainer.com?

    Reply
    • Tom replied

      I don’t think the RC3 has any kind of bluetooth technology in it so I’d imagine not.

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      I should have some further clarification on how the whole PPT.com to Flow migration will work (for legacy devices, and previously uploaded activities). They’re just working through a bunch of clarification questions I sent over. I’ll post an update to the comments as well as the FAQ section as soon as they send over the details.

      Reply
  5. Keith

    Thanks for the initial thoughts on this interesting new product and for the others appearing at CES. I have tried for ages (since the Loop was announced) to get Polar to answer one simple but important question: only sessions recorded with the Beat app have transferred from Polar Personal Trainer to the Flow website so far, will the remainder of my PPT history ever appear on Flow (and will Flow ever allow manual entry) or will it forever be stuck in PPT? For someone with thousands of km of history it is a big issue and I’d love to have an answer.

    Reply
  6. Aben

    FR620 Killer. I hope the Garmin guys get their act together and add back features to the FR620

    Will the V800 be able to update firmware in the field? (my major gripe with my beloved RCX5)
    My other gripe was lack of vibration but it seems fixed. You don’t mention in the review but in the tables
    Can the V800 measure running cadence w/o a footpod (should be as it does have accelerameter)?
    Will there be android support?

    The jury is still out if the FR620 running dynamics have any value but this watch is a killer

    Reply
    • ekutter replied

      It’s certainly a compelling set of features but no Ant+ and 80% heavier put it in a different category. I’d love to have the BP altitude and the navigation features but not for the added weight. Really depends on exactly what you use it for. They don’t seem to be in direct competition.

      Reply
    • Aben replied

      @ekutter

      If polar was sticking to it’s proprietary W.I.N.D I could agree but BTLE is open (I guess if you have many ANT+ gear then of course an issue)

      Dont think weight is major issue (FR610 weighed like this)

      Reply
  7. Julien

    Do you know it the old accessory (W.I.N.D – speed sensor, cadency, ..) will be compatible?

    Reply
  8. Jeff Yoder

    In re: to your FAQ about waiting until April to purchase a device, why do manufacturers wait until the Spring Season to release and some into the early Summer before availability knowing that the fitness season, at least here in the Northern Hemisphere, starts late Winter/early Spring. I would think they run the risk of missing sales for the new products because people don’t want to switch training/data collection systems in mid-season. Just seems like if one of them wants to grab the market for the ‘whole first year’, they would release the product in December/January. I suppose they are banking on repeat customers who don’t want to switch systems??

    JY

    Reply
  9. Richard

    I use my rs800cx on my 24 hour ultra marathons. Is there a setting I could use for that?

    In fact is it worth changing over from the rs800cx? I did (temporarily) with the RX5 and was very disappointed.

    Reply
  10. Steve M

    Ray – excellent review as always.

    One question – the undisputed king of this space is the Garmin 910XT, as you know, but it has one shortcoming which drives me crazy. When you are racing, and have the watch in multisport mode, the data uploads to Garmin Connect as not one event but five: swim, T1, bike, T2, run.

    Do you know if the Polar does better in this regard?

    Alternately, do you know if Garmin have plans to fix this longstanding issue?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Within the screenshot above in the multisport you can see the five sports all in one ‘activity’

      Reply
    • Sarah replied

      Dear Garmin people looking at this post and the comments,
      On behalf of everyone who uses Garmin Connect, please plagiarize Polar Flow. It is better looking and more functional than GC. Please please please please please.
      Thanks

      Reply
  11. Chmouel

    This looks very very sweet and may get me to skip the planned buy of the Garmin 620 as long and only if they have an API able to export or at least a export as tcx/fit option on their UI.

    Reply
  12. Marco

    Hey, 2 questions:

    Will Polar Flow be compatible with RC3 GPS?

    Will the V800 be compatible with non Bluetooth sensors? I’ve just got a new s3+ footpod and I’ve got an H2 HR.

    Reply
  13. Florian

    Cool First Look Review

    Further, you can also leverage Polar’s Heart Rate feature, which will enable you to customize the unit to perform a given event when you touch the watch to the HR strap (your chest).
    If I’m not mistaken it’s called Heart Touch

    Reply
  14. Alessandro

    Someone knows what kind of heartbeat recording can do?

    Reply
  15. Chris

    Excellent preview! Thanks! What about their horrible file system? Have they finally opened up? I have always loved Polar (especially their reliability & durability) but have not liked their .HRM & .GPX export approach. It just really makes things difficult with third party sites such as Trainingpeaks & Strava.

    Reply
  16. Matt

    As a trail/mountain runner it’s good to see that it includes both routing capability and barometric altitude. Really looking forward to the final review now…

    Reply
  17. Staffan

    Any information regarding export to 3rd party software and sites? This needs to be quick and easy, not requiring extra manual operations like manual export from the Polar site or similar. In the past, this has been Garmins strength and a weak point for Polar. Any news from Polar?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      It’ll export for running/cycling identical to existing Polar units (thus, HRM+GPX). Swimming is TBA on export formatting. Of course, having two files is still a weak point compared to all other units on the market, simply because many developers won’t bother to implement it.

      Reply
  18. morey000

    Wow- this watch has real potential. As a recent purchaser of an Ambit2S I’ve really enjoyed getting to know the training features (EPOC, PTE and especially Recovery Time). I didn’t think I would use those much, even though I religiously loaded my Powertap data into Golden Cheetah and tracked all my TSS, ATL, etc metrics. To have a watch that puts all my activity together into a total training stress/fatigue calculation AND have it share all this with a smartphone app- seems like the holy grail of the endurance athlete. Granted- I’d need to buy a new HR monitor and power meter- so this might get expensive, but it could all be worth it. The fact that it comes in a 12.7mm thick (thin!) package and has the battery life for an IM or a 50mi ultra- and, can be worn as a watch (take that 910xt!)… and solves the swimming HR issue- Polar, you’ve got potential!

    I’m not an early adopter- so I’ll wait to see if the product firmware is stable and the online and smartphone tools are well integrated- but Polar is heading in the right direction.

    Reply
  19. Panos

    “The airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow cannot be measured however.” hahahah

    Thankfully others have been able to do it –> link to style.org

    Nice preview as always.

    Reply
  20. Anton

    Finally a watch that seems to have a bit more premium feel to it and not all plastic. The BIG question though is how Polar will win me (and others) over as far as my old data goes. I take it the V800 will not export fit/tcx, so in order to make the switch from Garmin they really have to come up with a way for me tor easily transfer my data over to the Polar Flow site.

    Over all, way to go Polar! I absolutely love the tougher competition in this segment.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      It’ll export HRM/GPX, at least for the legacy activities (run/bike), however, swimming is TBA.

      Reply
    • morey000 replied

      If you’re looking for a tri-sport fully featured watch that has a premium look and feel to it- the Suunto Ambit2 (especially the Sapphire version) check’s that box. It’s reason #1 that I chose it over the very capable 910xt. Reason #2 is that it’s also a ‘watch’. i.e. one you can just wear every day.

      Reply
  21. Marek

    Do you know if Polar will release soon RCX5 succesor or new firmware for RC3GPS with possibility to configure data fields?

    Reply
  22. Peter

    Hello,

    Could you compare the V800 to the RS800CX?
    In my eyes the RS800CX is still a lot better then RC5X and RC3GPS and would like to see how the two compare. I really love the new possibilities with polar Flow.. and im starting to dislike protrainer 5 and personaltrainer.com more and more, it feels like a 10 years into the past everytime i sync my data..

    Thank you!.

    Reply
    • Alessandro replied

      Definitely agreed! in addiction, RS800 have the R-R recording mode.

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      What specifically are you looking for from the RS800CX that isn’t in the V800?

      As for RR recording, the V800 has that.

      Reply
    • Peter replied

      Thanks for the response!

      Well for instance with the RC5X and the RS800CX you had the lack of altitude recording, the limited phases (4 vs 12), Cadance based workouts and the RC5X didn’t support pre-defined exercises outside of the Plan.

      I know there’s still a lot not known about the V800, but i really wish this is going to be my replacement for the RS800CX. And am curious if there any features that i’m going to miss on the V800 or that this is truly an upgrade of it, since the RC5X wasn’t the upgrade a lot of people were looking for.

      Thanks again!

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      The V800 does record/display barometric altimeter data, so that covers that piece. The V800 also allows you to create pre-defined workouts however and whenever you’d like, so very flexible there. I’ll check and see if you can create cadence based (for run or bike?) workouts. Though, I suspect they probably haven’t even coded that piece yet…

      Reply
    • Peter replied

      well both really, but my use at this time would be for the bike.

      Thanks for the response!

      Reply
    • Alessandro replied

      @Rainmaker, are you sure about R-R interval? on polar website model compare, isn’t indicated

      Reply
      • Rainmaker replied

        Yes, I’m sure. I’ve had some pretty extensive threads on that very topic. Further, the documentation I have states it and highlights the capability. In fact, there’s actually two ways it does HRV/RR. First is within given activities like in the past. And the second, is a separate mode that is 100% focused on doing a short ‘look’ at your HRV/RR detail, sorta like a ‘rest test’ of sorts.

  23. Bob Villanueva

    So is PolarPersonaltrainer.com going away? What are the plans for all the data stored there? Migration, deleting, or a cut off date to switch?

    Reply
  24. Pierre

    One question in general.
    Do you think someone will come up with Bluetooth Smart to Ant+ like the 4iiii’s Viiiiva but the other way around?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Probably not to be honest. But, I’d expect to see someone ‘refine’ a ANT+ to BLE mini-bridge (like Viiiiva) for the purposes of bridging ANT+ PM’s straight to the V800 in a fully BLE PM compliant manner. After all, CES hasn’t even officially started yet…

      Reply
  25. Aben

    will it be able to update firmware in the field (major point allowing polar to improve over time)
    Does it measure cadence sans footpod
    will there be android support/

    Reply
  26. Trill

    Thank you for this great first look!

    According to the specifications of the V800, it weighs almost twice as much as the Forerunner 620.
    So I was wondering – how was the feeling when wearing the V800 while running compared to the 620?
    The dimensions as shown in the pictures don’t seem bulky, the stated weight however does.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      It feels a bit heavy, but not too bad. I didn’t notice it after about 10 seconds. It’s sorta like the Suunto Ambit2, similar. I notice it more however wearing it just around, like sitting at my desk typing on my laptop.

      Reply
  27. Pete Rissler

    Android support?

    Reply
  28. Hanna

    Nice :) thanks for this quick first look.

    Reply
  29. ed

    Great first look at this watch – thanks Ray! I’ve still got the old Global Trainer (down to only 6 hours of battery life now) and it’s time to upgrade. Noticed my TGT only puts out bred crumbs every 2sec and it lasts “15 hours” while the Polar drops crumbs every 1sec. Would probably be so easy to have them modify it for up to 3sec and then get 20 hours…wouldn’t it?

    Reply
  30. Billeke

    Any idea whether current Keo power pedal systems would receive a firmware update or will there be any way to update them to be used with the V800?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      No firmware update, but a pedal pod swap-out. The details (read: cost) of that are still being determined.

      Reply
  31. miguel

    doest it record r-r heart rate? (hrv).. firstbeat etc?

    Reply
  32. James

    Great info!

    This completely 100% puts polar back on the map with endurance products..

    This is it!!

    Reply
  33. Patrick

    First – thank you for posting this preview! I’m just getting into tris (coming from swimming) so I’m excited to see what CES is going to bring. A couple things:

    I think there’s a couple errors/omission in the swim section:

    When when in an outdoor pool, you’ll still want to use the indoor swim mode. It will use the internal accelerometers to determine *something missing here?*

    When outdoors, the unit will use GPS to track your swim. This will be in conjunction with accelerometer based information to provide for stroke information outdoors.

    Finally, the unit can connect to Polar’s H7 [H7 works] strap for underwater metrics. The H7 is required (or, past T31 coded straps with 5kHz transmission) because it transmits a secondary signal that will penetrate underwater. A standard Bluetooth Smart strap cannot penetrate through the water, and thus, will not work (for example, the Polar H7 won’t work [H7 doesn't work? Should this be a different Polar strap?], neither will any other HR strap from any other vendor).

    Reply
  34. Mixuli

    Hi Ray, thanks for the interesting first review on this. I really like the new v800 especially the solid look with metal and gorilla glass.

    I noticed that one of the screenshots that v800 shows the cadance. do you need foot pod that?

    Reply
  35. Tanza

    Hi

    what are advantages and disadvantages having a bluetooth smart or ant+? Do you personally prefer Polar v800 or Garmin 910xt?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      It’s too early to say if I prefer the FR910XT or the V800. That will have to wait until Polar implements all the features.

      Reply
  36. KenZ

    Excellent review as always. This is the first watch that would ever make me consider switching all my gear over to BTLE. As is stands, my next watch will be the Ambit2, but that’s not to slight this Polar addition. Even though I feel Ant+ is superior in many ways, Polar is, IMO, smarter for going the BTLE route. Why? Because it makes the bridge to the smartphone crowd, and draws in more users.

    Great job Polar. I think you’re hitting all the sweet spots.

    Reply
  37. J.Griffin

    Wow me like the initial preview!! I really like the hardware specs. especially not being all plastic. From your roller pin image the V800 seems way more readable than the 620!! I don’t really need a full-on Tri watch, but I’ll use the cycle & having activity is a definite bonus. Web site looks promising, now if I can get my history converted over Polar might have a new loyal customer.

    Reply
  38. Goli

    Will there be ability to switch off GPS for indoor training, or to save batery power outdoors?

    Reply
  39. Hannu H

    From the feature list:
    “Polar Flow mobile app compatibility with iPhone 4S or later and Samsung Galaxy S4″

    Should be also for Win8!!

    Reply
  40. Brian M

    Ray, thanks for the preview. I thought Polar would be coming out soon with a watch like this. It looks like a watch many athletes have been waiting for and I bet Garmin could make an announcement in the first half of the year with their new tri watch which seems logical as the new 620/220 models out and available.

    Anyway, I wanted to know if the V800 supports alarms with vibration for use in sleeping and or 24/7 mode? Thanks!!

    Reply
    • Lars J replied

      Agree, thanks Ray for preview!!

      At Polar web site, one can compare watches, including V800. E.g. with link below, you can compare V800, RCX5, RS800CX.

      link to polar.com

      Answer to your questions seems to be yes.

      Reply
  41. Frankwin

    Great news. I am using my Polar RS800cx with great joy. It works always, awesome battery life of 1 year, fine training reports: R-R hartbeat, temperature, height, speed, running cadense, stride-length, training intensity, recocery test, fittnes test.

    I am glad that there wil be a watch that can match with the RS800cx.

    With de V800 Polar you can’t yuse the WIND footpod or bike speed and bike cadense pods.

    Thanks for this first look.

    Reply
    • Toby replied

      I doubt WIND will work, that was there own protocol, seems like they re-made the old accessories with new BTLE guts.

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      I’ve confirmed with Polar that previous WIND accessories will not be compatible.

      Reply
  42. Steve

    Great review. One question: You mention that V800 can be used for 24×7 activity tracking for more accurate recovery recommendations. Does that mean you have to wear a heart rate strap 24×7? Did you try that and is that practical?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      No, it does 24×7 activity tracking without the HR component, doing tracking of steps/sleep/distance. Just like a FitBit.

      Reply
  43. Brad Lee

    I am 57 and play soccer weekly. I am looking for a device which at least do the following: 1. Monitor my heart rate in real time and alert me with some sound when my heart is over stressed during a game. 2. Measure the distance covered in my game. 3. Everything else not necessary but is a bonus: calories burnt, sleep tracking, smart coaching, etc. (Point 1 is the most important to me because sometimes I am not aware in the heat of a game I may be pushing myself too much.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      The V800 will do both of those, however, you are up against some limitations when it comes to the precision available for GPS. Typically speaking, I wouldn’t put too much stock in any GPS unit when it comes to measuring the short and quick moves on a soccer field, from a distance standpoint.

      Reply
    • Jan replied

      Well, I’ve tried my 910XT a couple of times during a similar game (fieldhockey, it’s the Netherlands) and it seems to work pretty well. While I can’t verify the distance it seems plausible and it makes for credible bunch of spaghetti on the map. For an example, see link to connect.garmin.com. By the way, after Google took its picture they changed the field from soccer to fieldhockey, then Bing came along to take a picture of the new one.

      Reply
    • Brad Lee replied

      Thank you for your replies. I have used Jawbone’s Up and the Nike+ Sportswatch (using GPS and Nike+sensor) but my Up stopped working after 3 months and I find the Sportswatch (as with the V800) a bit bulky (and both have no heart sensor capability). Some referees deemed it hazardous as I might hit some with it during a game. Are there any other alternatives which is “band” based and can still monitor my heart and alert me in real time (essential feature). How about the Polar Loop, Nike Fuelband SE, FitBit Force, etc.?

      Reply
    • Toby replied

      Polar loop will connect to HR strap plus Ray said this:

      The real benefit here is for activities like cycling. In this case, most traditional activity trackers (FitBit, Nike Fuelband, etc…) all would basically be blissfully unaware of the effort you’re putting out. That means in the case of the ride below, I was able to get actual calorie information because it was using the HR data instead of just no-step data.

      Don’t know if it can alert you though.

      Reply
  44. giorgitd

    Awesome preview and (apparently) awesome device. I’ve been using a Polar S720i from a prehistoric age, but the dang thing works great. I use it for indoor training and fooling around with an equally ancient Polar power measurement system based on chain tension and chain speed (I kid you not). I also have a Garmin 305 (still ancient!) that is fine for outdoor run/bike stuff. But, I’m getting my swim stroke respectable so am planning to include triathlons (just duathlons now). Given the need for H2O performance and the ragged edge of age related troubles likely ahead (devices, not me – I hope!), I’m probably in the market this year for a new device. This one might be it! Looking forward to the in-depth review.

    Reply
  45. Michael

    Please don’t fortget to report all news about Keo Power – in particular availabiliy and price of update 1st generation of pedals to BTLE

    Reply
  46. Craig

    Hi Ray – thanks for the great review as always! For kayakers and canoeists the holy grail of measurement is GPS, Heart-Rate and paddling stroke rate based on boat movement. Do you think there is a possibility this watch will permit the simultaneous measurement of all 3 using the internal accelerometers to measure stroke rate in a similar fashion to swimming stroke rate? There is no unit on the market which currently does this. Thanks.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Technically, it’s very much possible. I wouldn’t expect to see it initially, but perhaps down the road in a firmware update (since the unit can be updated wirelessly).

      Reply
    • DENIS replied

      Can you try H7 strap plus Polar Beat app in a smartphone (waterproof case)? I see the rowing activity in the app and it uses smartphone GPS for distance.

      Reply
  47. Robert

    When using the route mode can you zoom in and out to change the scale to more easily see turns or the overall route?

    Thanks
    Robert

    Reply
    • hulster replied

      Something that would be really interesting to me as well. I like to get rid of Garmin.
      Further – is there already a bike mount? Pictures?

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      It’s not quite on the unit I have yet, so I’ll have to wait to see.

      As for a bike mount, Polar has a standard watch bike mount today. They aren’t planning any sort of quick-release mount.

      Reply
  48. mac compatible – to much to read thru if noted,

    Reply
  49. Jd

    Thank you for the great preview!

    Will the V800 or Polar Flow keep track of personal records like Garmin does?
    I’m still a pretty slow runner (10k at about 57:00), but I enjoy seeing the progress like that. I’ve just switched from my RCX5 to the FR620 and I really enjoy all the “extras”: PRs, estimated race times and so on.
    I also like the Idea of an activity tracker in my sportswatch.

    Whats your personal opinion on this: Stay with the FR620 or get the Polar in April?

    I don’t swim, but I ride my bike during the nicer seasons :)

    Cheers from Germany

    Jd

    Reply
  50. Meik

    Thanks for that “beta review”! A pity, that the V800 is that ugly …

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I saw a little mistake in the product comparison chart: The RCX5 doesn’t connect via IRDA, it’s any non standard wireless protocol. Correct?

    Thanks again Ray!

    Reply
  51. Stefan

    Thanks Ray, your reports are amazing. How do you find time for all this, I couldn’t do even a fraction.

    If you can, it would be great if you could give me some information about some details.

    Have you tested the barometer jet? It’s my no 1 feature, which I miss on the RCX5.
    I really would love to hear how accurate is meashuring ascent/descent?

    Is there a graph for pace (ascent/descent would be nice to) like the RS800 has?

    Is Polar with BT smart finally so open to accept 3. party HR Stripes like the mio.

    Did Polar tell you something about changing the Trainingplatform again. PT pro5, PPT and now PFlow. I liked the concept of PPT at first. But had to learn that they wouldn’t improve it for pros much. Instead they kept PT pro5, without improvements. Now something new, again. It’s a bit confusing and frustrating from a users point of view.

    As always, thank you
    Stefan

    Reply
  52. Andy

    How is the readability of the display?

    It looks a little bit small compared to the other watches.

    Reply
  53. Gunnar

    Using Bluetooth I would think they could also do phone notifications like Garmin just did with the fenix?

    If the v800 had that feature I would be sold and use it as my go to daily watch (especially since it records daily fitness data).

    Reply
  54. Stipek

    Excellent report, Ray! Just one question: How does switching from sport to sport work in a triathlon? Do I have to only push one button (like on Garmin watches) to get from swimming to cycling or do I have to do it like I do it now on my RCX5: profile “swimming”–>”Stop-button”–>select profile “transition”–>”Start-button”–>… ?

    Reply
  55. Ramon

    Thank you for the great preview!

    “For the real geeks in the crowd, the V800 will include Bluetooth Smart sensor relay/broadcasting. This means that if you attach a HR strap to the V800, it will actually rebroadcast that transmission as another BLE HR strap.”

    With this feature, it will be nice if we could control music (forward, repeat, etc) in Polar Beat app, using the watch, like Magellan Echo.

    Tank you again.

    Reply
  56. Jon V

    How sturdy is the watch band? How will it hold up in the Swim? Also, any word on if there will be a quick release/bike mount for the watch similar to the FR910xt?

    Reply
  57. Chris2cayi

    Another great review, thanks for all those details on a beta version.

    New owner of the 910XT, i knew that that the necessity to have a computer to upload the data to garmin connect would annoying and i was looking forward the new 9XX with the same capabilities of their last 620.

    But polar really raised the bar and as an owner of a Withings pulse for activity and sleep tracking, they’re just spot on on my need as a casual triathlete. Really looking forward to see the finalized product and read the in depth review.

    I am also looking forward Gamin’s answer as they will be the one that need to catch up, and this all good for us :)

    Reply
  58. big pete

    how would the polarv800 stack up against the adidas smart run. I purchased the adidas smart run 1 weeek ago and i primarily use it indoors to lift weights, trx and skipping. Which product would suit me more? the adidas smart run or thr polar v800. Lastly why didnt polar just do what adidas smart run did and integrate the heart rate sensor? isnt it annoying for people to strap on the chest strap?? Finally, a BIG THANK YOU for actually taking the time to review all these fascinating products. Great effort and keep it going mate! cheers

    Reply
    • Niclas replied

      Optical heart rate is not as good as based on ECG, if you care about accuracy.

      Reply
  59. Tim

    Fantastic review giving a real insight into the upcoming technology – thanks.

    I’ve just invested in a Garmin FR620 as (despite being a Triathlete) the FR910XT didn’t suit my needs due to the lack of BT and WiFi functionality. I had always planned to use the FR620 for this triathlon season and I’m looking forward to having the choice between this new Polar unit or an updated FR920 for 2015.

    For me, however, the future is BT and NOT ANT+, could this development from Polar (and primarily the integration with smartphones/apps) finally lead to Garmin moving to Bluetooth (thus ditching ANT+)??
    Let’s hope so!

    Tim

    Reply
  60. J.Griffin

    One other observation, I’m not sure about the fix strap. Seems like it would be more comfortable if it had pivot lugs vs. fix/solid. Wondering how well it will fit the ladies & small wrists?

    And an integrated heart rate would def. been nice, but I’m guessing that wouldn’t work too well in the water. But not having to wear a strap when running, cycling, etc. would have been sweet.

    It’s going to be real interesting to see what all pans out w/ sports/fitness/smart wearable. I’ll have to see how long I can hold out.

    Reply
  61. Lars

    Hi,

    Will it be visible as a USB stick as the Garmin 620 when you connect it to a computer?

    I.e. Can I use it on my Linux computer? And then how can I in that case send trainings to the watch…

    Then another thing will you visit ces this week?

    Thanks for all great reviews !

    Lars

    Reply
  62. Kuba J

    Hello,

    Can you pair V800 / Polar Beat with BTLE sensors from other manufactures? I mainly asks about posibility to use Adidas Speed Cell BTLE with Polar Beat for now, and after April with V800, coz i can’t buy Polar Stride Sensor in EU.

    Thx for all reviews.

    Kuba

    Reply
    • Andreas replied

      Hi Kuba J,

      I had the same question because I saw that I’m not able to buy the Polar BTLE stride sensor in germany today.
      I bought a Adidas Speed Cell BTLE. It arrived yesterday and it works well with the Beat App, so my hope is that Polar is using the BTLE specs with their future watches, too.

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      It will pair to any BTLE sensor that conforms to the sensors outlined above, which, does include the Adidas sensor. I’ve got both sensors, and is definitely something I’ll be testing as part of the review.

      I’ve been using the Adidas sensor with the Polar Beat on the last few runs without any issues doing some testing, so I’d be really surprised if there was an issue with it with the V800.

      Reply
  63. Clyys

    Nice first review… I really waited for this one since I first heard about the V800.
    How about the online tool to upload data, will I be able to keep my PPT or will I have to change to the new Flow web interface? And if so, will I be able to migrate al my old data into the new platform?
    I still have some data from the old ProTrainer5 that I cannot migrate into the PPT online tool. Now I do not want to have another place where I will have to keep in order to view my old marathons. Would be nice to have it all in one place, and also easy to migrate the old data in one go, not file by file…
    Thanks for a great job with all the reviews, realt appreciated.

    Reply
    • Stefan replied

      Same here.

      I love the concept of phone upload, but separate files as backup is a must.

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      So for migration, there will be migration from PPT online, as well as ProTrainer offline – to Flow. Polar is still working out the exact details (I talked to them about it yesterday at length) on timing, but it’ll be there before the watch is (even if only by a few days).

      Most of the questions revolve around how and whether existing watches (like the RC3) that are currently uploading to PPT online will eventually start uploading to Flow directly.

      Reply
  64. panos

    At last, a watch for the tri crowd the running crowd the ultra crowd, the fitness crowd and everything inbetween.
    I have been waiting for a long time for this watch!!!
    The only thing missing is “virtual racer” feature.

    Reply
    • TheTrimaster replied

      Panos,
      there is a function of ideal time in the RCX5 which gives the possibility to race against a decided time.
      To rise it to a a fully “virtual racer” feature is more a question of priority in the update list. imho.

      Reply
  65. David

    Thank you for the great preview! With polar being the only company that uses the special HR transmission for readings underwater, I’m a little surprised to see that it’s only a 30m resistance. I do lots of surfing and occasionally dive below the water 3-6 feet. Do you think this 30m rating would hold up to those conditions? I sure hope so because Polar finally got it right! I can’t see any negative about this watch other than this for my use.

    Reply
    • miguel replied

      6 feet are 1.8meter.. don´t know if you get big impacts surfing but seems it could handle it

      Reply
    • TheTrimaster replied

      Hi David,
      this wiki page give a very good overview on your question : link to en.wikipedia.org
      I can only see that the difference to 50m water resistance is “White water rafting” …

      From a technical point of few I think there is an explenation. Those watches are (so far) charged by a cable as this is the fastes way, yet. Feethroughs are more and more expensive when it comes to tightness demands. I would say a very smart decision to save costs (lower end price) without compromise on quality.

      Reply
    • DENIS replied

      According to wikipedia you need 100 m Water resistance rating for surfing and swimming. It also says that at 30 m rating a watch will NOT be suitable for showering, swimming, surfing. Can someone confirm that this is accurate information? link to en.wikipedia.org

      Reply
      • Rainmaker replied

        No, that’s not accurate. Waterproofing is actually pretty straightforward. There’s really only two ways. Either you follow a specific standard (ie IP/IPX), or you list a depth rating.

        The problem comes from scuba divers (keep in mins I dive), which over time have tried to enforce the wonky ideas in the link about waterproofing. But it’s simply not true, and I’ve gone diving with any of these devices and demonstrated it. And companies like Polar and Garmin all so standardized tests for it.

        Perhaps if one were looking at cheap knockoff devices you could imply those assumptions, but not for major brands.

  66. GREG

    Thanks for a great pre-review!

    I have not found any info about vibration signaling, which in my opinion could be extremely helpful when racing with hundreds/thousands of other athletes whose devices also produce the same/similar starting/stopping signals.

    How likely that polar may add such vibro function to the final version of V800?

    Reply
    • Clyys replied

      Vibrate feature is built in, GENERAL: ALERTS: VIBRATE/SOUND/VISUAL

      Reply
  67. Alex

    Dcrainmaker please say me.
    Will V800 support bluetooth 4.1 or only 4.0?
    May be will update later?

    Reply
  68. Erik Wolla

    Great reading as always, Ray. You might want to correct a MINOR detail, the 910XT was introduced in 2011, not 2012. (ref. Product comparison table)

    Reply
  69. Tom P

    Was just reading on Engadget that Polar is also looking at adding smartwatch type notifications (ie SMS, CallerID) capabilities to the V800. This should be fairly straightforward since Bluetooth radio is there.

    THIS would be awesome. I currently have a Motoactiv which does all of this as well. Tho the Motoactiv is a bit bulky and battery life was terrible.

    I have to say, I’m incredibly excited to get one, as I’m in the market for a new sportswatch to replace my Motoactiv.

    Reply
    • Raymond B replied

      Also in the Engadget comments they hint at a Live Update functionality like the new Garmins can do:

      “Having spent some time with the wearable, we’re still intrigued by its potential. In addition to the tracking and aforementioned features, the V800 will work out your ideal rest period from your exercise history and may even push your location to the cloud for others to track — for example, when you want people to follow your progress during a marathon. There’s a considerable heft to the hardware, standing as proud from your wrist as the Galaxy Gear, for instance. Fortunately, the stainless steel case feels tremendously solid, and we’d expect to say the same for the Gorilla Glass that covers the face.”

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Correct, during my discussions Polar has stated it’s a possibility. When, or how it’ll be implemented, and if it’ll be free is a different question. Polar has noted that they see cases where they can allow folks to ‘unlock’ features on the V800 for a fee (or for free), like buying apps from the app store. They haven’t provided any concrete examples of potential ‘for fee’ type features.

      Reply
  70. Jan Ugerud

    Do you know if this watch is locked to polars own sportzones? This is one of the major problems with the rcx5. Polar defines zone x as x-x% of HRmax. (zone 2 is 60-70% of HRmax) Can we define our own zones (and different ones for each sport) with the v800?

    Reply
  71. Alex

    Whether it is possible to replace the battery in V800?

    Reply
  72. Ted

    Another great review Ray, thanks!! Looking forward to the final look in April!!

    Reply
  73. Zara

    It looks like something out of a new 007 film, the features are pretty spectacular too. The navi tools are pretty nice also, but I am still wondering why it would’nt have some simple things like an alarm clock,…otherwise, I like it!

    Reply
    • TheTrimaster replied

      Zara, it says there is a Time of day (12/24h) with alarm and snooze
      somewhere I also read that there is a vibration alarm but cannot find the link.

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Hi Zara-

      Because you’ve posted twice now, with different names but the same IP, both linking to that site with a comment that’s semi-nebulous, I’m considering it SPAM and zapping the site. Enjoy!

      Reply
  74. Luis

    Thanks for another great pre-review, Ray. Do you know whether the following two key features will be available on the V800:
    - average lap speed,
    - dynamic fall back to the foot pod (for speed) or accelerometers in case GPS is blocked (tunnels)?
    Both features are critical for serious runners and cyclists (i.e. interval training and sporting in urban environments) but, amazingly, Polar has never implemented them (as opposed to Garmin for quite some time) in ther top watches.
    Thanks, Luis.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      On both, my unit isn’t yet enabled to be able to validate those.

      On the second however, it’s something I’ve discussed with them in some e-mail chains, but no definitive decision yet on how it will work has been made. I’ve been arguing for the same way it works with Garmin (cause, as you pointed out…it’s logical).

      Reply
    • Luis replied

      Thanks for the feedback. I’ve used the RCX5 for 2+ years and lacking those features is frustrating at times, forcing taking my wife’s FR110 just I’d be stunned if Polar kept not addressing them with their promising V800!
      The lap avg speed is critical e.g. in races when you want to pace yourself differently throughout the race (i.e. increasing intervals); the dynamic-GPS-speed-with-foopod-fallback thing is critical to get min variability in overall metrics (distance, speed, and, especially, Running Index).

      BTW, I’m also amazed how neither Garmin nor Polar have implemented a sliding window concept to measure “instant” speed (with GPS) i.e. one being able to define integration period for speed measurements (say, last 1, 5, 10 s) – totally decoupled from the recording interval. Maybe vendors can hear you more?! Polar seems to totally ignore customers’ suggestions….

      Reply
    • L Wilson replied

      No average lap pace/speed is a deal breaker!
      Hopefully Polar adds this to the software.

      Reply
  75. Azim

    Will it possibly have functionalities such as the Polar FT 80 for strength training? Have had my FT80 for a while now and would like one watch that covers gym to cycling.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      It can calculate calories indoors just fine from the HR strap, but it doesn’t have a strength training workout program type mode (such as the Adidas unit has).

      Reply
    • Azim replied

      thanks for the feedback – i suppose its a trade off i need to consider.

      Reply
  76. Pawe

    Hey Ray,
    great review, thanks!
    One clarification: according to Polar, both V800 and RCX5 follow an identical 30m water resistance standard.
    Then why does your above product comaprison table say in section “Swimming: Designed for swimming” that RCX5 is not suitable for swimming? After all, the RCX5 is a multisport watch with explicit swimming features (hard- and software).

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      The RCX5 doesn’t track swimming metrics. That’s what that’s referring to. So while the RCX5 is waterproof, it doesn’t actually have any swimming functionality, beyond not dying in the water.

      Reply
    • Pawe replied

      Okay, metrics…
      Thanks for the feedback!

      Reply
  77. cj

    I don’t suppose you could leave a small post-it note around the Polar offices somewhere that an applicable app for windows phone users would be much appreciated, for when the V800 is finally available for retail.

    Reply
  78. J.Griffin

    Is it me, or does the white on black screens, appear to be more vibrate & more readable vs. black on white? Also seems like that would work better on bright sunny days.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      It depends. I’ve used watches with both display types (Magellan Switch is like that for example, so is Garmin Tactix), and generally find them pretty equal.

      Reply
  79. TheTrimaster

    Hello Ray,
    first a big thank you for this review. Maybe one of the most “hoped for” since a long time.
    I have two questions:
    - on the comparision sheet at Polar there is nothing mentioned about altimeter. Does it measure true altitude or not?
    - I understand R-R is measured … but it seems it is not extra presented on display.
    Can you comment on that.
    Thanks for your energy and time.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Yes, barometric altimeter is included. Not sure why they don’t list it there, as it’s in all the literature.

      As for RR, I don’t believe it’s in the display as a configurable field – likely because that might enumerate itself as a bit messy. What metric would you envision would be displayed?

      Reply
    • TheTrimaster replied

      Thanks Ray,
      I now got double confirmed that barometric altimeter is there … must be an update problem.

      RR in real-time display was a feature in the RS800 and gives a extra component in finetuning training independent from HR-level which can vary from day to day.

      Reply
    • panos replied

      Trimaster, i have the RX800CX and i have seen that RR real time data.

      My question is how do you use these data during training, what conclusion do you get by watching this metric ?
      I mean, ok i understand HR and i adjust my efford according to what type of run i am doing, but with RR real time data, what do you get from them ?

      Reply
  80. Berni

    Your preview is as always very helpful -great !

    I’ve just a short question: I bought shortly the tom tom multisports watch and want to know your real opinion
    which watch more suitable for the triathlon sports and which are more handier. Thanks in advance!

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      It’s too soon to tell, since the V800 doesn’t have all the features enabled yet. Ultimately, they are slightly different markets. The V800 goes after the FR910XT market (everything/all features), whereas the TomTom goes after a more budget friendly and simplistic feature market (less features).

      Reply
  81. Tobias

    Hey Ray,

    thanks for great review. Perhaps you have time for another question:

    Does it shows the actual lap pace like the FR610?

    Reply
  82. jonhoffm

    Thanks for the great and timely info Ray. Your “First Looks” are better than almost everyone else’s full reviews. It seems that Polar has built a product with a lot of promise here which, for the first time in a long while, looks to be ahead of the competition in terms of tech. Hopefully Polar will take advantage of that with a good final implementation. On a personal note, I sure wish that my Polar RI was 60.

    Reply
  83. Frank Werkhoven

    Hi Rainmaker..
    As always, i read your reviews with much plesure.

    Can you tell how many steps i can programm to make a running trainer or cycling training.
    Now i use a rs800 for training and a polar rcx5 for ironmans (70.3 so)

    I use to protrainer5 to programm and the diary to keep up things, here i can make 12 steps, online with the rcx5 only five steps, way to many for my use..!
    Is it possible to make 12 steps of training with the v800?

    Thanx Frank from the Netherlands.

    Reply
  84. rosko

    Thanks for the preview. Well I better start saving for this as it ticks most boxes for me for ultra/trail running unless something better comes along.
    I have a few questions.

    As far as i can tell the navigation looks good. My 410 has a useful feature in course mode. You can setup waypoints along a route that trigger an alarm and/or short message. This can be useful when running as you don’t want to be always checking your watch. Can the Polar V800 do this?
    Also do you have any ideas of storage? is there a limit to the amount of track points you can save in a course? This has put me off the Ambit2 as is surprisingly limited to 500 points.

    Does it support GLONASS as well as GPS? GPS accuracy in some countries tends to be a great deal less accurate than advertised so i’m interested to see if this has improved.

    Obviously will have to wait for the review in terms of the H7 but what are your thoughts about Polars HRM straps with other POLAR units?

    Reply
  85. John Phillips

    Great preview! Is the watch band replaceable or is it a single molded piece? Also can you get cadence from the foot pod without it overriding distance from gps? Thanks again.

    Reply
  86. Gareth

    Will the Mio Link connect and work underwater with this?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Technically yes, it will connect. Typically speaking you’ll only get about 1″ of transmission underwater though on either ANT+ or Bluetooth Smart. So, they’d have to be right next to each other.

      Reply
    • Stefan replied

      which would be possible, wouldn’t it?

      Reply
  87. Dan Goodman

    I understand that the V800 doesn’t have a dedicated strength training mode, but is it still possible to tell it to measure HR and take it into account in its effort and recovery calculations without calssifying it as running/cycling/swimming?

    If there isn’t, I’m afraid the recovery advice the watch gives will be completely skewed for those of us who do some strength training in addition to aerobic training. I understand that the watch measures activity 24/7, but since that’s based on movement and not on HR, strength training will barely register.

    Can you please share your thoughts on this?

    Reply
  88. rosko

    I’m really hoping there is a velcro soft strap option for this watch. In winter chances are people on longer runs will wear the watch over a jacket or long sleeve layer & being able to remove the watch to remove a layer when running is important.

    Reply
  89. christian

    With the Bluetooth Relay am I correct in assuming that it will be able to relay my BLE HR and BLE Spd/Cad to my phone and then like normal from my phone to my rflkt? I’m guessing if it really is just relaying then that is definitely possible and I’ll be super happy since I love my rflkt.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      It’s for HR, not sure if it covers other sensor types. But yes, basically it’ll re-broadcast out the HR signal as just another BLE signal so that another device (i.e. phone) can pick it up.

      Reply
  90. Rejean

    Ray,you’re amazing,i enjoyed reading ALL your reviews…Can i use the Polar V800 with a iPad ? ( i don’t have a smartphone).Can i use any USB charger to charge it ?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Yes, you can use any USB charger to charge it.

      As for Polar Flow, assuming you have an iPad with Bluetooth Smart – such as an iPad Mini, or iPad 3rd generation or higher, you’ll be good.

      Reply
  91. Jan

    Thanks for your great preview. Can you tell me how the watch is using the data of GPS and an additional stride sensor? It would be great if the instant pace will be displayed from the stride sensor and the distance from the GPS, just like Garmin watches do. Or is it the same as with the Polar RC3 GPS, where pace and distance are displayed from the stride sensor. Thx for your reply.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      The Garmin watches actually display from GPS, unless you specify from footpod (and that option isn’t actually available on all models).

      In any case, as noted above, since the stride sensor support isn’t enabled yet, it’s too soon to tell. But it is something I’ve been talking with them about, in hopes that it’s like the Garmin units which failover to footpod upon loss of GPS, as well as allowing you to choose which source to use.

      Reply
    • Jan replied

      Thanks. The ability to choose the source would be nice, but is no must have for me as long as the watch offers enough profiles for my shoes.

      Reply
  92. I love your reviews, they are fundamental in my final choice. I do mountain ultramarathons (80, 100km). I currently use a Garmin 910XT, but on longer races, with 20-24 hours, it simply dies. I’m looking for another model. I’ve tested the Garmin Fenix and did not like them. I’m considering the Suunto Ambit2, or this new Polar V800. What do you recommend? Thanks.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      True, the FR910XT is only designed for 20 hours of usage.

      Looking at Fenix/Ambit2/V800, it’s too soon to tell on the V800 side, it’ll largely depend on how they implement the longer range/ultra option. I think in order for it to be received well, they’re going to need to have a few options – one for ultra 50ish hour range that does that others do. That’s good for hiking, but not really great for running, nor great for that middle range 20-30hr arena.

      I think if they follow in the track of Suunto with the middle-option they added, they could aim for a 20-30hr mode that gets you frequent enough (5-10s recording rates).

      Thus…hang tight for now.

      Reply
  93. Jesus Climent

    One question: does it jump into POD mode to measure distances when entering a tunnel and gets back to GPS? Or does it stay in POD like the Suunto ones after you exit the tunnel?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      It hasn’t been implemented yet. I’m optimistic they’ll choose the model (like a Garmin), which fails back to GPS after GPS signal is found. It’s something we’re talking about.

      Reply
  94. Mario Geyer

    Hello Ray, thank you for the great report! Do you know why Polar has waived an optical sensor for heart rate measurement, as it is with the adidas miCoach run smart watch? Thank you very much for your reply and many greetings!

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      I suspect that you’ll see the likes of Garmin/Polar/Suunto probably a bit later in the optical sensors game for a few reasons. One is that companies of their size that develop almost everything in-house, will want to develop optical in-house. Obviously, some or all of those three are looking at optical (Garmin has stated they’ve been looking at it for a while). Thus, unlike Adidas who essentially outsourced it to Mio, the big three will look to keep that IP internal, and thus not have to pay royalties.

      For everyone else in the industry, they tend to work with partners far more often and thus aren’t afraid of going with licensing deals in order to get to market faster.

      Finally, for optical, there are some challenges there for Polar in particular, because the optical technology today can’t do HRV/RR, and thus that’s one of Polar’s big tickets in their lineup. Without that, they’ll have to shift their marketing message (which, I don’t think is a bad thing, btw…).

      Reply
    • Peter replied

      “Finally, for optical, there are some challenges there for Polar in particular, because the optical technology today can’t do HRV/RR, and thus that’s one of Polar’s big tickets in their lineup. Without that, they’ll have to shift their marketing message (which, I don’t think is a bad thing, btw…).”

      I think the best solution would be to have both optical and HR strap possibilities, as optical would be my choice at a gym work out (Weights) where it’s overkill to use an HR strap and it would even improve the daily activity monitoring by having the possibility to check in on your heart rate now and then (particularly sleeping, as accelerometer really isn’t that reliable). HR strap would off course be my choice at all endurance sports.

      Just thinking out loud..

      Reply
  95. Brian

    Hi Ray,
    thanks for all your great work.
    I am currently getting by with a Polar RC3 GPS which is great in terms of accuracy and reliability (never lost the satellites once in 300 trainings) but somewhat primitive in terms of features, V800 would be a huge step forwards.
    To get my data into Strava or TrainingPeaks I currently upload the .GPX and .HRM files to PC (after already uploading them to polarpersonaltrainer.com) and then convert them to a .TCX file (using a third party application), which I then manually load into Strava. This sucks. I really can’t believe that Polar does not intend to improve things for the next generation. I understand their reluctance to adopt .FIT format, but what would it cost to adopt .TCX, or at least produce it as an option?
    Please bounce this off their team, if you get the chance. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      No doubt, I agree it’s annoying and it’s relevant to this day and age. While I’ve hammered on it many times, I think it’s more of a ‘keeping the same old’ thing rather than looking at an appropriate file format for their devices (and going to what everyone else has).

      Reply
    • J.Griffin replied

      Not having a fairly easy way port over my history from Garmin or SportTracks would pretty much be a deal break for me on the V800. Seems like with Polar taking a closed approach may do a lot more harm than good, I just don’t get it.

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      To be clear, Sport Tracks does support Polar devices just fine.

      Reply
    • J.Griffin replied

      Ahh great, I was not aware of that (hadn’t really looked either). That def allows for options!! I use ST based on your reviews etc.

      Reply
    • Steven Hall replied

      Strava support GPX does it not?

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      The problem is Polar separates out the sensor data into the HRM file, and the location data into the GPX file. Years ago it sorta made sense for backwards compatibility. But honestly, these days they need to just move on to any of the other (two) formats out there that everyone else is using. Given their entire platform is shifting, any backwards compatibility is out the window anyway. So it’s really about forward compatibility with 3rd party platforms, which is what they want.

      Again, just my two cents. But I’m not really an expert in this area. ;)

      Reply
  96. Having just purchased a Wahoo RFLKT+ for the BTLE and the ANT+ bridging I’m wondering if there would be any way that we could use the RFLKT to show data on the bike rather than having to look at my wrist?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      No, not at this point. That would require Wahoo to implement a BLE bridge into the RFLKT+, which, it doesn’t do at present. Right now, it bridges into the phone, and without the phone the device is effectively useless. So it’s a bit of a paradigm shift for them, and therefor I don’t see it likely.

      Reply
  97. Thanks for the preview – I definitely like the look of this watch. Just a couple of extra questions:

    1) How long does it take to recharge the battery via USB? Similarly, have you tried using it with a hub dynamo, so that you can preserve the battery a bit longer?

    2) I currently have an RS800cx, and my single biggest problem is the internal storage. If I just go out for a day of cycling, then transfer the data to my PC when I get home, that’s fine. However, if I go off on a cycle touring holiday for a week, I found that the watch had filled up by day 3, so I either have to carry a laptop around with me (bulky/heavy) or accept that I’ll have to wipe the earlier data before I get home. Being able to upload data to the web (via a phone/tablet) may avoid this problem, but that presumably still relies on you having internet access. So, do you know how much data the watch can store internally? As a related question, does Polar Flow still have a maximum number of events per day, like the PPT desktop software?

    Reply
  98. Christen Skjerven

    Hello Ray
    I wondered if you think Quark or other ANT power cranks would be possible to use with V800 someway. ?Maybe change inside powercrank or a bridge/connection too V800 someway. ? I have the Quark Red crank and would like to use it in especial triathlon competitions…..

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Not today, as in, this very second. However, I think by time the V800 launches, some 3rd parties will slide themselves in nicely at a cheap price point to basically repeat the power signal to the V800. There’s some quirks that prevent that today for 4iiii’s, namely, that the v800 has to understand multi-channeling, and there’s no guarantee it does. But honestly, that’s a trivially silly thing for 4iiii’s to change in a product offering. If you look at their pods, and that price point starting at $60, they can actually tweak the software in just the base/cheapest pod to do power-only repeating, have it last 1-2 years on a single coin cell battery, and simply tape it inside your bike bag and forget about it. For them, it’s actually a case of removing features (and thus further lowering the price point), more than adding features.

      We chatted about that potential use case at CES at length.

      Reply
  99. Dan Goodman

    On Polar’s official V800 training features page, it says the watch supports up to 20 sport profiles. Any idea what are the things that can be defined in a profile?

    Reply
  100. Stefan

    Hi Ray,

    I have two questions about the HR-straps. First, is the old coded strap still ok, since it uses 5k? And second, what about H6, it’s BTLE and most important a little smaller.

    Thanks and say hello to ice and snow. It’s strange here in Berlin, we have Winter without Winter ;-)
    Stefan

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Yup, the old coded strap is still…old. ;)

      And yes, the H6 works totally fine here, just not underwater since it doesn’t do the 5K.

      Reply
  101. Dan

    As I don’t do triathlons, the V800 provides way too many features for me. I’m hesitating to get the Forerunner 220, but I really like the navigation and altimeter features of the V800.

    Ray, do you know if Polar is planning to release based on the V800 any other GPS-HRM watch with a more narrow focus on running? That would mean something like a successor to the RC3?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      I’m sure they’re planning a successor eventually, but I don’t know if/when that will be. I wouldn’t really expect anything this spring anyway, since I’d expect they’d focus on getting the V800 out the door and then take any lessons learned into making a paired down product – perhaps timed for the fall (typical running focused releases).

      Reply
  102. Jon

    Great overview DC. The V800 looks very close to the holy grail.

    Reply
  103. So excited – looks like the V800 fixes all the issues I have with my RCX5. I’ll be very interested to see how seamless the data upload / sync – Polar WebSync is just so damn clunky compared to new (albeit different) players like Fitbit.

    Thanks so much for the early review! :)

    PS – As Meik pointed out, the comparison table says IRDA Wireless for the RCX5… the RCX5 uses Polar’s proprietary W.I.N.D, which is RF, not IrDA (unless IRDA means something else?).

    Reply
  104. françois ducroz

    hello thanks for this great overview just a question
    in the run mode is it possible to have the speed (in km/h) and not the rate without the pod sensor
    thank for your answer

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Yes, you can switch to metric (KM/H) either as pace (minutes/kilometer, i.e. 4:39), or speed (KPH) such as 25KPH. No sensor is required, that comes from GPS.

      Reply
  105. Christo

    I currently have a 910 and this looks like a great replacement for me, however data access seems to be a killer. At the moment I sync my data in Garmin Connect across to Training Peaks, Strava and Runkeeper (I like making sure I have plenty of copies floating about – and each of the sites have benefits over the other).

    No API = No Polar. Simple as that for me. I’ll just buy the next Garmin instead

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Polar has stated they plan some form of API, so I wouldn’t could those chickens dead yet. Let them hatch first.

      Reply
  106. Dave

    What online retailers will have the product at release? Suggested sources (fine if they provide referral %… you deserve something!)….

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      At this point Polar has asked all retailers/distributors to hold off any pre-sales.

      Reply
    • J.Griffin replied

      Does that mean Polar may not be hitting their April release date?

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Many times companies hold back listing until they’re uncertain on product features. They do this to prevent a situation where someone pre-orders a product expecting Features A/B/C, and then come release 3 months later, it instead has A/B/D.

      Speaking of which, I received a note of some changes to the V800 planned feature sets vs timelines that I’ll be posting a bit later today to this post. I’ll include a summary of the changes in a comment here. But, that’s pretty much exactly why they don’t have it listed for sale yet.

      Reply
  107. Stefan

    Hi Ray,

    could you please check if it still syncs trainingsplans after altering hr-zones. My rcx5 allows custom zones, but refuses than uploading planed trainings and ownzone calculation.

    Thanks
    Stefan

    Reply
  108. Antti

    It’s a great pre-review , Ray! Thank you.

    So the watch itself doesn’t have WiFi, right? Therefore only way to transfer the trainings to the cloud is over the mobile app (which requires BT4)? And the watch really doesn’t need a PC for anything?

    It sounds like my dreams are coming true: this is the first watch tha has all the functions I need.

    Reply
  109. YJA

    Hi DC rainmaker,
    I am new to the sports world, and I have read few of your reviews about GPS watched; unless I am mistaken, I did not find any mention about “Reserve HR”. According to this review
    link to lesnumeriques.com
    (sorry it is actually in french, but I can provide you with a translation if you wish) it is the most important feature to plan an effective HR based training. Moreover (I would say, the most strange thing) is that only Polar watch that used to provide such a fonctionnality was the (RS800) whereas almost all other manufacturers proposed that. What do you think?? Am I misunderstanding something?
    Reagrds
    Yacine

    Reply
    • Jan Ugerud replied

      Regarding HR-reserve:
      HR reserve is ONE of many ways to calculate your trainingzones. % of MAX HR is another. % of thresholds is another. % of threshold, sportspecific is in my opinion the most valuable. The actual calculations can be done in many ways. you just need the formula and the correct parameters. The parameters can be measured with any HR-watch. The formulas vary greatly and can be found online and in literature.

      An advanced training watch should let you set your own zones as you choose. Even more advanced would be to let you set different zones for each sport.
      Some watches sets your zones for you. Polar does this with their own formula based on MAX HR. (except the RS800). Even the advanced RCX5 wont let you set your own zones. Other watches may set your zones based on Reserve HR (Max HR – resting HR) and use some formula to find zones (for eksample the Karvonen formula).

      What the V800 needs is a way to set your own zones, preferably by sport. In addition it should incorporate some kind of automatic zones based on some easily measured parameter for beginners. (I think HR reserve might be the best option for automatic zones)

      Reply
  110. POLAR SUPPORT TEAM-

    If you’re browsing here… PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE incorporate 3rd party API support as you’ve indicated. You’ve earned my business if such support is in place. I love the watch, or the “proposed” watch as it hasn’t been released yet, but I don’t want to give up the way my data is tracked, managed, and shared. Open it up… add runkeeper, strava, or even Dropbox support and you’ve got me. Doesn’t mean I won’t use your site and app, but I interact with different groups in various places (i.e. the Tri Club on Runkeeper, the Cycling Team on Strava, etc.).

    Reply
  111. Joshua Williams

    Hey DC Rainmaker,

    Awesome, loving the look of this, and Thanks for all of the countless hours you put into product reviews and your blog. Aspiring Ironman such as myself love it!

    Do you feel that the Daily activity recording functions of this watch will render owning a Polar Loop pointless if you were own this as well? I understand that they are different target markets, so I wasn’t referring to sales of the product, and of course you still have the Beta version so it could certainly change with final features. I just was considering getting a Polar Loop to wear when I am not running or Biking, but if this watch does all of that as well would you say the Loop would than become neglected? Just wanting your opinion.

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      It has the potential to, but, that will depend on execution. Right now, not as much. But again, it’s early and months away from release. If they take the few suggestions I have around mirroring some of the Loop UI elements – then definitely.

      Reply
  112. Hey All-

    I just wanted to note a few changes I made this evening based on clarifications/changes from Polar. They are as follows:

    1) Price corrected to 399€/449€, $449/$499 (without/with HR strap). The initial press release materials had a price $50 lower for both packages.

    2) Openwater swimming: They will not at launch have an openwater swimming mode, and GPS will be disabled. It’s TBA if they implement a full openwater swimming mode (like the FR310XT/910XT/Ambit 2/2s/Bryton Cardio 60/etc…).

    3) Routes: At launch, the unit will not enable you to draw your own routes for transfer to the unit. Instead, you can transfer previous routes (yours or shared) from Flow.

    4) Sport Profiles: While the unit supports multiple sport profiles from an official online cataloge of them, they will not enable you to create new profiles or rename them. This is a bit of a contradiction to previous materials I was provided.

    5) Online comparison against historical activities of same route: This won’t be there for launch, but is now scheduled for later.

    6) For download of routes from phone to unit: Just to clarify, the routes have to be from the Polar Flow web service first, before the phone can transfer them. In other wors, you can’t just create them on the phone.

    7) Tap: In addition to using the tap functionality to take a lap, you can also used to check recovery status. Previously it stated you could check lap status.

    Thanks all!

    Reply
    • rosko replied

      3) Routes: At launch, the unit will not enable you to draw your own routes for transfer to the unit. Instead, you can transfer previous routes (yours or shared) from Flow.

      So i guess you will not be able to just load a gpx or similar route then from another website like gpsies. this has put me off waiting, shame as i fancied the look of it otherwise. Suunto may be a better option at least its available now & cheaper. With races coming up i can’t really wait around to see if polar implement the routes feature well or not & it could be another 12 months.

      Reply
    • brian furtak replied

      Very disappointing about the lack of open water swimming capabilities. The screen shot of multi-sport result give perception that the unit tracked the swim distance in open water. Purchase price probably not worth it to me, since I prefer to swim open water whenever possible, unless they change and include open water swim functionality.

      Reply
  113. Hi, I know that The Polar V800 is still new but from your opinion which do you prefer; FR620 or V800? Which watch that provide sort of a complete features?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      At this point, since all of the features on the V800 are slightly muddy, I’m really holding off any opinions. Ultimately though – the FR620 is a running watch, and the V800 is a triathlon watch. The V800 (in theory) has more features, but whether those features align to what you want is a different question. The table helps a bit there.

      Reply
    • J.Griffin replied

      From a price difference, we’re only talking a mere 50 bucks from the FR620. So if the V800 running function comes close to the FR620, almost seems like a no-brainier.

      These days I mostly run (some cycle), but the V800 has my attention. Just depends on how well the final product is delivered, and whether or not I need/want all the whistles & bells. Currently I’m leaning towards the FR220, mainly for its simplicity & cost savings.

      Reply
  114. Jonahue

    I was wondering if the V800 will work with second party bluetooth cadence sensors like the Adidas speed cell?

    Reply
  115. For those that are curious, a reader had asked for a status on the API piece on the Polar Flow post. Given it pertains to the V800 as well, I figured I’d post the full official statement/response from them on it:

    “Polar does indeed plan to allow users of our V800 and other future products to be able to export their training data to other services.

    As a first step, they will be able to export individual training files from the Polar Flow service to other training services. Although we do not have an exact timeline for this, we expect to be able to offer this within a few months of the launch of V800, at the latest.

    We are also in discussions with some third party services to have an automatic connection, so that training done with a Polar product and stored in the Polar Flow service would automatically appear in another training service. This requires a software layer between the two services – called an API – and we want to be sure we can create and support this properly to ensure it works perfectly. We expect to make more announcements on specific partners and services during this year.

    The final step will be to offer inbound data, so that people using other services will be able to combine this with any training data in the Polar Flow service. Again, this will require some software development work and we will offer this with selected partners at a later stage.

    We believe that offering our customers a choice of where and how to use their data will greatly enhance the experience they have with our products and services and we are working hard to ensure this happens as soon as possible. Polar Flow is an important part of the Polar ecosystem for our newest devices and all future products. It will also be opened up to selected existing products in due course. We will continue to develop and improve our Flow service to ensure we can deliver on our most important promise – that our customers can meet their training goals with us. “

    Reply
    • Lars J replied

      Thanks for the posting. Good to know this.

      However, I assume that you might extract data files from V800 without need to go via Polar Flow service. Quoting their V800 site, “Data transfer via custom USB cable or Bluetooth Smart via Polar Flow mobile app”. I interpret this as user can use USB cable to extract data files, i.e. .hrm and .gpx files, without using phone app or web service. Would you/someone be able to confirm this?

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      The V800 does not enumerate as a mass storage device, so no, you have to have the Flow Web Sync, which automatically spits the file up to Flow. There’s no way to directly access said files today (pre the stuff up above).

      Reply
    • Lars J replied

      About access to training data, files and API.

      I have been in contact with Polar Sweden and, on question about this, they answer (my translation):

      When it comes to analysis and transfer of files, it is correct that you have to go via Polar Flow App or web service. The purpose is not to lock users to our service but to offer a platform för follow-up, analysis and coaching as an add-on to the information you get from the pulse watch. Also to give possibility to export data to another service. It is possible that it, in a longer perspective, will be be offered that possibility you ask for, but not at this point in time.

      (I asked for ability to get .hrm and .gpx files without need to go through Polar Flow web site,)
      (I answered that Polar might offer an attractive service but that it should be up to the user to choose.)

      My reasoning was, and is, that I as user should be the owner of and be in control of my files rather than Polar and its web service. Is it me that is the owner of data or does Polar claim ownership?

      Besides, a number of times, I’ve also been on training camps without or with poor Internet / cell phone access. I want to be able to look at / analyse data without being locked to Polar, e.g. with SportTracks, FunBeat (.se).

      If, or when you have contact with Polar, you are most welcome to mention this. Perhaps API to data, but more importantly, ownership of and access to training files.

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Maybe just to boil it down (their official statement) for folks. They’ve committed to two things:

      1) Providing a way to export the files directly so you can put them in whatever services you’d like. This will be GPX + HRM, with the exact format for swimming TBA.
      2) Providing some API for other apps/services to connect to Flow (or Flow to connect to them). Whether this is an inbound or outbound connection is still a bit TBA. An example of a potential service would be Strava.

      Keep in mind that in a big company you’ll get many local employees who are taking a guess on things. Corporate communications are always slow.

      That said, the statement above was provided to be directly by the head over the division producing the product, in conjunction with their global PR lead. I’m reasonably confident it’s right. And if they change their mind, don’t worry, I’ll hold them accountable for it. I’m batting about 100% on holding companies accountable for poor API decisions and making them backtrack (see: Strava & Adidas as big players, but many smaller ones).

      Cheers.

      Reply
  116. Is it mac compatible?

    Reply
  117. Gary Newman

    You legend!!!! great review thanks. 99% sure this is what I’ll be getting come April.

    Reply
  118. Robin Johnson

    Just discovered your site, love the reviews! Polar states they “have confirmed that they will support the standard Bluetooth Smart power meter spec”; Does the Kinetic InRide BLE support that standard? If so how likely will you be able to see InRide data on the V800?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Technically inRide does, but to what extent that’ll work with the V800 remains to be seen. It’s something I’ll test. But keep in mind the V800 isn’t scheduled to get BLE PM support till June.

      Reply
  119. Stipek

    Ray, can you give us a little more info on
    1)how switching from one sport to another in a triathlon works? Just by pressing one single button or as complicated as with the RCX5?

    2)how the communication with the power sensors will work. (I know, it’s probably to early to say, but maybe someone from Polar told you?). Will there again be this 3″ delay before you can read anything on the display? Will the data finanlly be “smoothed” over a certain period of time or will it be like on the CS600X where you have Watt-readings of 193-115-137-145-… within 5″.
    Thank you in advance!

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Honestly, it’s simply too soon on both, since both aren’t yet in the product. Especially on the power wattage one, as I don’t think they’re even going to begin coding that until they get past April. Do keep in mind that the wattage for instant-power you noted is ‘the norm’ for all products on the market. What’s different is that most other products offer the ability to add a smoothed power (such as 3″, 10″, 30″).

      Reply
  120. Jasper

    Living in northern Sweden I’m curious about the tempratures it can withstand and still work propperly. I need to it work propperly down to atleast -20/-25 celsius. It can get quite a bit colder then that up here, but I’m unlikely to go and workout outside when it’s colder then that. When running in the winter I would wear it ontop of my clothes in order to easily read the display, so I doubt my body heat would help alot vs. those kind of temperatures.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Keep in mind that Polar is based in mid-northern Finland. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of anyone complain that one of their watches hasn’t performed in Finland/Sweden/Norway weather.

      Reply
  121. Tom Dineen

    I feel this might be the one I’m looking for: simplicity and all sports w/ BlueTooth enabled. thanks!

    Reply
  122. Thibaut

    Hello!
    Is it possible to have an example of exporting file .FIT or .GPX from Polar Flow about a running session as you did for the FR620?

    For those developers in the house, here’s a zip file with a handful of FR620 .FIT files for your development pleasure. All of these files were done on the final firmware.

    Thank you!

    Reply
  123. jolaca

    Hi Ray, did you really say 339€!! without HRM ??That is indeed a very good price!. However, if it is just a typo please let us know because I’m between buying right now a 910xt (for a very good price, 293€) or wait. If the price is wrong, I may decide for the 910xt, a mature product with open swimming capabilities.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Interesting. I copied over what they sent to me correction-wise. But I think you’re right, and that their correction introduced another error and that it should probably say 399 euros. I’ve just sent a quick confirmation message over.

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Ok, I’ve confirmed the 339€ in their updated release was also incorrect – it is indeed 399€.

      Reply
    • Aaron replied

      What does a FR910XT run in EUR? It seems a bit expensive vs. the competition – maybe this is a US/Europe pricing issue?

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      The 910XT shows as 339€ on Amazon, though official pricing is 399€. In general, most companies simply price the units the same numerical value in Euros. Thus $399 becomes 399€.

      Obviously, this makes the European unit more expensive if you do current conversion (roughly 1.3x). But that’s simply the reality of Europe being more expensive. Everything from import costs to worker costs and taxes are all substantially higher here. The various social related programs that many European countries enjoy are ultimately paid for from somewhere, and that somewhere would be higher taxes across the board than Americans pay. But, I look at the positive side…I get a crapload more vacation days in France than in the US. :)

      Reply
  124. I’m going to watch this very closely. I’ve had 2 previous Polars (RS300X & RC5) and loved them both. I only switched off the RC5 when I started doing triathlon. I have the TomTom which works well enough for me now but I already see that when I do half & full distance races, that won’t be enough battery life wise. And I do love Polar 8)

    Reply
  125. Filll

    What’s the chance of openwater swimming mode, stroke, distance, speed etc.?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      I’d suspect that long term it’ll probably get added. But it’s definitely not currently scheduled for launch.

      Long term, they’ll have to add it – otherwise as a tri watch, it’ll flounder in the marketplace with other units that do have it.

      Reply
  126. ducroz

    Hello
    actually is it possible to have the distance with gps when you are swinning in openwater?
    thank you for your reponse

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      As this time Polar hasn’t committed if or when that’ll be included.

      Other triathlon focused units on the market today do include such functionality, including: Garmin FR310XT, FR910XT, Suunto Ambit 2, Ambit 2S, and the Bryton Cardio 60.

      Reply
  127. David

    Hi

    will it be possible to transfer the trainig data from Sunnto Movescount to Polar Flow? Have the Suunto Ambit and might switch to Polar v800.

    Thanks,
    David

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Polar hasn’t clarified to what extent their API will allow such actions. I’m sure if they do allow uploads to it, we’ll see a few 3rd party apps allow sync to it. I wouldn’t expect such details to become clear though until the spring.

      Reply
  128. SmileSydney

    This looks to be a great watch. Bluetooth Smart looks to be very promising.

    Hey Rainmaker – keep up the great work – love your reviews!

    Reply
  129. Michael Lie

    Thanks for the review. I have 12 years of data on Protrainer 5. I still could not figure out from all the reviews and comments whether 1) data can be migrated 2) how easy it will be to do so- to the new Flow. I’ve held back on upgrading all these years because it was not possible before.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      They’ve confirmed will be offering a migration path from both PPT (desktop) and PPT (web). That path has yet to be defined however. But they note it’ll be available at or prior to launch in April.

      Reply
    • Andreas replied

      Nice Preview!

      I understand that there are plans to offer a migration of the data from Protrainer and PPT to Polar Flow. However, I would certainly also hope for an export function from Flow to Protrainer. I prefer the direct access to my data on my Computer to be able to analyze the data. Do you know about plans for this?

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Not directly. You may see export that might work to get files out that ProTrainer ‘happens’ to consume. But ultimately, ProTrainer doesn’t really have a future.

      Reply
    • Andreas replied

      I don’t know if I am old fashioned, but not being able to have access to a locally stored safety copy of my own data gives me a bad feeling. And the need to have internet access to read out the data files from the watch is an unnecessary limitation.

      An what I have seen from Polar Flow so far does not really convince me. It looks more like a social media contact platform than a serious tool to evaluate your data.

      Just my 5 cents. Am I the only old fashioned guy thiniking in these directions?

      Reply
  130. Steven Hall

    I assume the V800 would work with the 4iiii BTLE/ANT+ HR Strap, so couldnt one use this to “channel” an ANT+ Powermeter like Power2Max to display on the v800?

    Also I added this above but not sure how often you go back to check replies but Strava supports GPX so why wouldnt ypu be able to upload the file from the v800 from PC direct to Strava without a 3rd party app?

    Thanks DC!

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Well, that’s the tricky part. It works on the HR channel fine, but whether or not the V800 will accept multi-channel devices remains to be seen. Right now my test unit doesn’t pair to anything beyond a HR strap, so I can’t test that piece unfortunately.

      Fear not, it’s something i’ll definitely be testing.

      Reply
  131. Jeff

    I really like that Polar is incorporating a fitness tracker into this watch. Three of the features that Polar Loop is missing viz Fitbit Force are sleep monitoring, silent vibrating alarms (fantastic for waking up without waking up my wife and dog), and stairways climbed. Has Polar described in more detail what the fitness tracking features will be?

    Reply
  132. MrBill

    I also would like to know if this watch could be used in an Endless Pool. It appears many features would work; however, laps would need to be simulated using the “wrist flip” technique described under the review of the Garmin FR910 using a Dryland Swim Trainer.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      No, it would not. For two reasons. First and foremost is that Polar hasn’t defined exactly what swimming functionality will be there.

      But second, is that all of these units require the ‘push’ off the wall to determine lengths indoors. No push, no distance.

      Reply
    • MrBill replied

      Your review of the Polar RCX5 indicates that it does provide underwater HRM. I assume the RCX5 would work at least for hear rate monitoring. Any chance the “wrist flip” trick would work with this watch? I’m referring to the Oct. 2011 of the FRX910.

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Yes, both will definitely work underwater monitoring HR.

      The wrist flip trick might work, but again, Polar has been very cagey and back-pedaling a bit on what functionality will be there at launch. It could be pool distance tracking and openwater distance tracking. It could be just pool. It could be neither.

      Reply
  133. Ray Flash

    Does the watch have auto-pause function and continues back light on function for night runs? Thanks, R

    Reply
  134. Mattias

    “Polar would like me to point out that the box isn’t final. Nor are it’s contents”

    -do you think that Polar develops a new chest strap to V800 or will the HRM-bundle contain the Polar H7-strap?

    Reply
  135. david lee

    Thanks for your precious reviews on the wearable devices. Ilive in seoul, korea. I have been doing workout such as weight training,, indoor & outdoor running & jogging, marathon. In the future, l also plan to utilize the unit in the area of skiing, mountain trekings home and abroad. I have been browsing for one unit, and i plan to buy v800. Please advise me how to pick up one very good android polar app.

    Reply
  136. Stephen

    Hi Ray, Do you know if Polar have published prices for Australia yet?

    Thanks

    Stephen

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      They haven’t done any listings, either price or specifications (for official sale listings) – in any country. The only prices that have been listed were within the press release for US/EUR. But that’s technically slightly different than official listing prices (aka copy).

      Reply
  137. Mazzazo

    I think V800 is unfinished stew when it ready to serve.
    Many feature is said it’s nice to have and they will try.

    Do you have any news for new Garmin’s triathlon unit.
    Maybe I should bet on Garmin instead of Polar.

    Reply
  138. Ronimo

    Thanks for the review !!!

    Do you have any more details on the platform for coaches you mention in the review?

    This would be a very strong argument for buying a V800. I currently use Polar Pro trainer 5 which allows me to easily email my training files to my coach (who is using Pro trainer 5 to analyse the data of athletes he is coaching). All those community type websites like GC, polarpersonaltrainer.com or Flow make it very hard and cumbersome to share training data with your coach (or make it cumbersome for the coach to look at them as he often needs to log on to all different accounts).

    So any details would be very much appreciated and helpful.
    Any chance I would be able to continue using Polar Pro trainer 5 with the V800 ?

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Nothing new on the coaching side. For today though, sites like Training Peaks are really your best bet for coaches (it’s pretty much designed around that). And what the vast majority of coach/athlete situations I see use.

      As for PPT5 with the V800, it should allow import of the GPX/HRM files from bike/run – at least, I would expect it to.

      Reply
    • Aaron replied

      All those community type websites like GC, polarpersonaltrainer.com or Flow make it very hard and cumbersome to share training data with your coach

      I’m curious what is hard? All the websites should have an option to share a link like this:

      link to sporttracks.mobi

      Even Garmin Connect has per-workout privacy options [ private | friends | public ], and you can just copy the URL. Suunto Movescount is the only one I know that fails on the privacy setting.

      Reply
    • Ronimo replied

      Thanks Rainmaker, import in PPT5 would be perfect.

      Aaron, that’s exactly the level of detail most sites share (route and speed/pace etc). Interesting for your friends or Facebook but most coaches are interested in your hart rate files and some more detailed data, not so much in where you went running.

      Most sites are built for sharing (at best) not analysis. Even if I can foreward individual URL’s to my coach it will be very cumbersome for him, he won’t see things like week overviews, total distance, total time trained per hart rate zone …
      They are just not made with that in minds.

      I will have a look at training peaks and see if my coach knows it.

      Ronimo

      Reply
  139. Thibaut

    Hello,
    Is the Polar V800 use and record the HRV during the activity as the Polar V650?
    Or is that the Polar V800 uses the HRV only during Orthostatic test?
    Why this question? Because if the HRV is used only during Orthostatic test, I think using the watch like this:
    -Running: Polar V800, left wrist + Mio Link, right wrist, (without using HRM chest strap)
    -Swimming Polar V800, left wrist + Mio Link, left wrist, just near of the watch for transmission underwater (without using HRM chest strap going down on your stomach during flip turn)
    -Orthostatic test: Using HRM chest strap.
    Sorry for my englisch, i’m a French guy fan DC blog.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Hmm. I don’t know…quite yet. The test isn’t enabled on my current unit unfortunately.

      Reply
  140. MLRTYME

    Question:

    It was mentioned that the watch would not support open water swimming metrics…however, I would assume that it would still supply basic GPS tracking functionality in the water for time/distance metrics…similar to running (only much slower pace!!!), correct?

    Is the functionality in question just stroke count/metrics, or does the GPS tracking not work at all?

    Thanks in advance. Your insights and efforts are greatly appreciated.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      The official quote regarding that – and leaving a fair bit of ambiguity on exact functionality: “Open water swimming mode: we don’t have a specific open water mode since we have the same problem that also others have. GPS is not very accurate in water. GPS is default OFF in swimming mode but user can turn it ON if wants.”

      Reply
    • MLRTYME replied

      Thank you for the clarification. I find it odd that you have a general level of success with swimming + GPS in the 910xt, but Polar suggests that this functionality is not accurate. At any rate, if the GPS can be activated during the swim, I could allow for error of a reasonable delta. Some data is better than no data, in my opinion.

      I know the watch is still in beta, but I am interested to see what other changes (if any) are brought forth before the launch date.

      Reply
  141. Michael

    Hi,
    thanks for a great review.

    What about the length of the V800 wrist watch band?

    When xc skiing I find the band length of the 800cx too short when wearing clothes necessary in -10′C. 1-2 cm longer as in the polar 610 was much better!

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      The inside dimensions on the very last pin is 22cm.

      Reply
    • TheTrimaster replied

      Michael, to my knowledge there is a accessory from Polar which is exactly ment for the use on top of clothes. I have one but cannot find it on Polars homepage. Sure you will find it buy websearch.

      Reply
  142. SK

    Will the V800 have any programmability like the Ambit?

    Reply
  143. Can´t wait to see the full review.

    Reply
  144. Victor

    Hi
    Many thanks for your reviw abd help.
    Do you know if there will be pace vibration alerts ?
    Cheers

    Reply
  145. Kent

    I saw Iivo Niskanen wear the blue V800 in the XC team sprint today. It looked really good, and obviously made him very fast!

    Reply
  146. Lars J

    It would be interesting to know what functionality is available through computer without use of phone with app. It seems some kind of extracting data is thought of. That correct? Anything else?

    I went to my local bike store, which has Polar, and asked about preorder. They said that Polar wants to launch it world-wide at the same time (and is trying to hold letting particular country having it before others).

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      You can upload/download data through the PC app, but the data goes to Flow, isn’t available locally.

      Reply
  147. Only Ray can say “This is just a first look, not an in depth review” and then proceed to give the most thorough and in depth review you can find on the internet. GOtta love it :)

    Reply
  148. Atilano Bullos

    Ray, thank you for the great review. Question, do you see Garmin and Suunto adding daily activity tracking to their top to end devises? Taking a line from the V800. They should al have that capability, no?

    Reply
  149. Arman Zand

    Wahoo’s bike computer should be able to pick up on the new Polar V800 Bluetooth Smart sensors, no?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      If the V800 is paired to a Bluetooth Smart HR strap, and rebroadcasting is enabled, then yup, the Wahoo unit will pick it up successfully.

      Reply
  150. Carlos

    Now I’m really in doubt: the V800 is a very nice and complete watch with coachingsfunctions I really appreciate but it has a regular heart rate H7 item. Is the Mio Link compatible with the V800 for HR measurement with a sensor? The Adidas Smart Watch has it all in once but the review of that watch and on the forum of Adidas aren’t very positive. What” s your opinion: V800 with Mio or waiting till the problems of the Adidas unit are solved and buy that watch?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      The Link is compatible with the V800. But that would mean wearing two watches on the same wrist. It’s also not clear if in the final implementation the V800 will actually enable the BT side of things while in swimming mode, or just trigger the legacy analog transmission mode that it would normally connect to that side of the H7 strap with.

      I don’t really have an opinion on the V800 until they release it. Too many variables/unknowns right now.

      Reply
    • Carlos replied

      Ok, it’s clear that some variables are unknown at this moment.
      Subsequent: is it by other devices (Garmin 610 i.e.) possible to wear the Link at the other wrist than the watch itself? Or is it by all the watches a must to wear the Link at the same wrist as the watch because of the distance between the devices?

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      It’s the distance. ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart only travel about 1-2″ underwater.

      Reply
    • Carlos replied

      Thanks for the quick response. Ok, normally (not underwater) it’s no problem for ANT+ or Bluetooth Smart to travel the distance between the wrists, I suppose?

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Correct, up to usually about 20-40m, in clear line of sight for ANT+, a little bit less for BT. BT4.0 devices are certified to 10m.

      Reply
  151. Winchester

    It seems that the site http://www.polarv800.com has been updated recently. And here I have found some extra info from Polar guys (look for post from Chris @ Polar) : link to forum.slowtwitch.com

    Reply
  152. Michael

    Thanks for many great reviews. I don’t understand how Polar can launch a Triathlon watch without open water swim. That makes it a duathlon watch at best in my opinion. How would that work in a race where the course isn’t just from A to B? The Polar map of the 70.2 in your review showed the swim for the guy that raced. How does the unit know that unless the swim is straight across the lake?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Marketing mock-ups…that’s how.

      Reply
    • trimaster replied

      Well a minor comment there. You can, with a little fantasy and tweaking already get a pretty good open water distance measurement with the RCX5, I would be very astonished if this would be worse with the V800.

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Except, the RCX5 doesn’t have GPS in it, so you’re just putting the GPS pod in your cap (or upper arm), which is kinda really different than having a GPS watch.

      Reply
  153. mvillegas

    Hello, how about this new watch “Polar V800″ against the new Garmin Fenix 2, or its better to wait until an upgrade of the garmin 910xt. I’m looking a Triathlon watch but I’m not in a hurry, so I can wait,

    Regards

    Reply
  154. Brittanie Neaves

    Any word on Polar releasing earlier than April? I want the V800 BADLY, but I am running the Flying Pig in May. If they aren’t going to push it up, I am looking to push my purchase to Fenix 2 just to have a tool for my training earlier. But that underwater sensor is killing me softly. For argument sake, could I later get he polar HR sensor and use it on the Fenix 2?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      I do not expect it before April. While I haven’t confirmed what Lars says (I’m going to check in early next week again with them), last I heard, there wasn’t nothing planned pre-April, since there are some April launch events planned.

      Reply
    • Raymond B replied

      I too am doing the Pig in May. I was hoping to see the V800 by then, but also backed the Bia. So I am hoping I have one of the two by then. For now I picked up an Adidas Speed Cell BLE foot pod and have been training with the Wahoo Fitness app, feeding Strava and RunKeeper. I hate running with the phone, but sold my Garmin 610 after the Indy Monument Marathon (ohhh yeah and broke my leg at the 22 mile mark, but finished with a PR :) So I am GPS/Running watch-less until something starts shipping. I bet there are a bunch of folks in the same boat with us.

      Reply
  155. Lars J

    Just talked to Polar at Vasaloppet skickat race, apparently V800 is pushed back one month. Said to release in April and sale start early May.

    Tried V800 and it felt good. Somewhat thicker than the other watches.

    Anyway, he skied in one of the races , 90km, and he had the watches on. So good for skiing too :-)

    Reply
    • Lars J replied

      One thing Polar guy also mentioned was that his watch had time, heart rate, gps (and thus speed) enabled. Functionality much like this preview’s.

      (meant Vasaloppet ski race, in Sweden, in previous post, wrote on phone)

      Reply
  156. Tiago Ferrão

    Hey Ray, thanks for the review. It seems i cannot find the dimensions of the unit (length and wideness) anywhere, could you disclose that?

    Reply
  157. William D

    Hello, Do you think that a bluetooth smart weight scale will work with the V800?

    Reply
  158. Mixuli

    Hi Ray

    I’m just curious, if you have got any further info regarding running cadence? I assume that there is no internal accelerometer to show your cadence and foot pod is needed. If one is using foot pod, will there be option the get speed and distance data from the GPS or the foot pod will override it?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      There’s an internal accelerometer. It hasn’t been disclosed if it will initially, but the unit is technically capable of it.

      Reply
  159. Søren Haack

    Really great review – especially knowing that the watch isn’t on the market yet. I am very interested in this watch – I have the Polar RS800CX and now want a watch with integrated GPS and multisport function. What are your thoughts about the Polar V800 vs. the SUUNTO Ambit2 S, which really looks nice also and also support multisport. The only thing is that I believe that the Bluetooth smart will be the communication standard of the future for fitness devices. So I believe that more 3rd part companies will provide BT smart sensors that will be compatible with the Polar V800. What are your thoughts?
    And again – thanks you very much for a great and detailed review.
    Best Søren

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      As it stands today, there are companies that provide BT Smart sensors for every category of sensor that you could connect to the V800. The major players there being Wahoo Fitness (HR, SPD/CAD), Polar (HR, FOOTPOD), Adidas (FOOTPOD), and Stages (POWER). There are smaller ones that simply OEM the devices as well and just re-brand.

      That said, I see that by the end of the year folks will simply be buying dual sensors (dual ANT+/BLE) instead, so it won’t really matter. There are dual HR straps (4iiii’s, Wahoo), as well as dual power meters (Stages). The chipsets are arriving now to make that silly easy for companies. By Interbike we’ll see dual SPD/CAD and a few others.

      Reply
  160. Glen Howse

    Will the V800 work with the H2 heart rate strap that comes with the RCX5?

    Reply
    • Toby replied

      Should do? H2 has 5khz, WIND won’t work though.

      Reply
  161. Anton

    I’ve browsed through the comments but haven’t found an answer…
    Is it possible in anyway to get the files off the watch? As I understand, the watch unfortunately does not enumerate as a mass storage device and the only other way to upload files is though the smart phone app?

    I think it feels good to store the files locally and that is something I’d like to continue with if possible. But is it possible?

    Reply
    • maukka replied

      Hello folks,
      Thanks Ray again for the deep preview. In Finland they sell it (pre order 349€ with h7 belt and without 299€). Pretty good prices?

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      I don’t believe that Polar is allowing any retail companies to list it yet, so it’s kinda a risky bet on timelines/features until then. What site is currently listing?

      Reply
    • Mixuli replied

      Hi Ray,

      You can preorder it in both countries: Finland and USA.

      Here are the links

      Finland
      link to verkkokauppa.com

      USA
      link to m.heartratemonitorsusa.com

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Interesting. Let me do some poking…

      Reply
    • Robin Johnson replied

      I was able to place what looks like a “full” order at the US Site, but before hitting confirm,I chatted with them and they eventually admitted it is a pre-order with a loose expected delivery of April. The order is final and they charge your CC upon them getting the product shipped to you. I await what you find out.

      Reply
    • Robin Johnson replied

      also available for pre-order here: link to heartratewatchcompany.com

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Hi Robin/Mixuli-

      So I chatted with Clever Training a bit tonight about, curious about their thoughts on opening pre-orders on the Polar V800.

      At this point, they are going to hold off doing so – for a few specific reasons:

      1) Even as of this afternoon, Polar is unable to provide them the final retail pricing. Polar is giving them ‘estimated’ pricing, but they don’t want to be in a situation where they have to come back to you a month from now and ask for additional sum of money. The other companies are gambling that it’ll work out. There is also even aspects where certain bundles that were initially planned, aren’t, and vice versa.

      2) The feature set. Polar hasn’t yet confirmed to them what exactly will be there upon launch, or what might be coming down the road. Clever is thus hesitant to get in a situation where folks order one thing under the assumption it might have a feature (i.e. swimming), only to find out that it doesn’t have such a feature. And then have a bunch of upset customers.

      So as much as it pains them to not offer the unit for sale, ultimately, I agree with their decision that until Polar actually says what will be in the unit, along with the release dates, and the official/final pricing (for all currencies) – it just doesn’t make sense to pre-sale it.

      Now, don’t misunderstand me. I’ve very excited about what Polar is doing as a product with the V800. But, I’m also growing extremely hesitant on what those timelines look like, or what that immediate feature set will look like.

      Reply
    • Robin Johnson replied

      Thanks for the quick digging Ray. Makes sense. I for one will wait to support this site and buy through CleverTraining. Can I assume you will post a comment once CleverTraining are taking orders?

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Yup, absolutely. I’ll definitely post here in the comments so comment subscribers will get notified. Appreciate the support!

      Reply
    • Harmless Harm replied

      Thanks Ray for update. In Netherlands shops are opening-up registration as well…
      Polar has started partnering with IM champ Frederik van Lierde, but question is if this is a sponsor (financial) deal or Frederik is really that excited on V800. For now I assume the later, and future wise the device will be great.
      Furthermore, I am seeing more professionals using V800, e.g. dutch speed-skating team.
      My confidence in this watch is high, and waiting bit longer is not an issue for most of us.
      We are looking forward for your in-depth review, thanks in advance!

      Reply
  162. Samantha Benefield

    Do you know if you can use the Wearlink+ Nike+ transmitter with this watch?

    Reply
  163. Bart

    From the very beginning I own the “old” RS800SD and am looking forward to see the complete review of this watch.
    Biggest concerns after a quick read: Offline data export and open water swimming.
    Experience with polar is their hardware is good but if you need software they start enthusiastic but after short time they “drop” the support even if day one items/problems are not solved or included.
    I won’t be a day one buyer anymore for the above reason but i will be happy if they will release a 99% ok product.
    Two question:
    a) Will there be a trade in swap program (replace RS800 by V800) (i ques not after 7 years)?
    b) Will the watch be user firmware updateable?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      A) No, not planned
      B) Yes, absolutely.

      Reply
    • Bart replied

      Thanks for the very fast update.
      Thinking about my current RS800, can you tell me where the “input” of the altimeter is located? on the RS800 it’s on the back against the skin. Result when running after a while sweat gets on/in the oppenings with the result a jittering height (average is ok) but second to second is bad (eq climbing 22m in one second running is possible)
      Does Polar use a industy standard Li-pol battery, can it be replaced by an user? Beause (all) batterys lose capacity or die after a few years and i hope my watch last longer than a phone. (does polar mention a lifetime?)
      Charging time for the internal battery? based on the capacity less than a hour? (inductive charging from Polar after 1st hardware revision?)
      If not planned maybe add above question to the upcomming full review.
      Keep up the perfect work!

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      1) Altimeter: It’s non-obvious on the unit (unlike some), but it appears to be on the upper edge of the inside of the watch.

      2) Battery Swap: No end-user replacement

      3) Battery Charge: Hmm, I’ll measure it next time.

      Reply
  164. James

    Will it be possible to combine the V800 with the sonn-to-be released Mio Link in order to avoid the chest heart rate band? If yes, I think that would be a great combo.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Yes, they are both compatible with each other.

      Reply
    • Harrison replied

      My understanding is that optical based heart rate monitors (in this case Mio) can’t evaluate r-r. If this is true, then a number of polar smart coaching functions would not work.

      Can this be confirmed?

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      That’s correct. The features might work, but the data would be suspect.

      Reply
    • James replied

      What is r-r?

      Reply
  165. Martin

    Hi ray
    I too will be looking at the v800 mio combo but what exactly is RR and what would I be missing out on

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      RR is part of HRV – Heart Rate Variability, which allows one to analyze recovery aspects by looking at the time between the heart beats.

      The challenge is that optical watches at this point are unable technologically to do so. However, in order to meet various transmission specifications at the protocol layer (i.e. ANT+ or BT Smart), they ‘estimate’ (read: fake) the HRV numbers. In some cases that faking is semi-close and based on some basis, and and in other cases it’s simply just filler data. In either case, it’s not really real.

      Thus it would impact recovery-type metrics, and likely VO2Max type metrics.

      Reply
  166. Jorge

    Hi Ray, first of all thanks for your great work here.
    I am a runner and now I have sold my Forerunner 620, because the watch has no back-to-start function. The navigation-function is very important for me.I am now thinking on what clock I should buy. Which clock would you recomand me? I am considering between the polar V800 and the Fenix ​​2… Thank you very much

    Reply
    • Nigel P replied

      Jorge, I was in your exact same shoes, but realized that Garmin has become more about “pretty marketing campaigns” than any substance providing real, actionable feedback to help athletes.

      By most accounts, the pretty looking GCT and Vertical Oscillations graphs, as well as their Recovery feedback are completely useless as it can’t even detect that a day ago you may have run a marathon.

      As Fenix 2 is based on the FR620, it’s also in the dark ages in terms of real actionable recovery feedback.

      The Polar V800 does have the back-to-start function, plus has real, actionable Recovery feedback and looks to be several years ahead of Garmin.

      Besides, Garmin has the bad habit of treating their premium customers as beta testers, so who knows how many months it’ll take them to fix both the bugs on the new watches and their website (looks like they have serious resource/staffing issues).

      Based on Ray’s remarks alone (see below), I went ahead and per-ordered my V800, despite the fact that I don’t cycle nor run.

      “Training Load and Recovery: This is designed to provide a holistic picture of training load and recovery. This is similar to other load/recovery systems that you see within other platforms such as Training Peaks and TSS (Training Stress Score)…

      The workout data is then combined with historical data to determine your recovery times. The unit will use the previous 14 weeks of training history to help determine these recovery times. In addition, it’ll account for other activity from that day. For example, if you spent the first 4 hours of the day at the mall walking around like a madman doing last minute Christmas shopping, and then you ran 15 miles, it’ll compensate for the fatigue from both.”

      I’m sure Ray would agree that for any runner that can afford to wait just a couple of more weeks and is trying to decide among FR620, Fenix 2 and V800, the V800 is the hands-down winner.

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      The problem is, that at the moment Polar is really no different in terms of marketing than Garmin here. As a runner, you have less risk than a triathlete, but I can’t keep emphasizing enough that I’m highly skeptical of what the product will look like upon release (be it in April or May or whenever).

      Thus, I wouldn’t say it’s anywhere near close to the winner at this point. If however, they come forth with a product that does everything they say is possible, then absolutely it’s huge. But I think the chances of that in the spring timeframe are minimal.

      Reply
    • Jorge replied

      Nigel, thank you very much. You’ve helped me a lot.

      Reply
    • Carlos replied

      Hoi Ray,

      Why are you thinking that chances are minimal and which features aren’t ready at the releasedate of the watch you think? The watch you’ve tested has already many features of the watch expect the new Polar-app, isn’t it?

      Thanks!

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Nope. As noted in the review, the watch I tested had no phone connectivity enabled, nor any integration with the site. Nor does it have any swimming functionality (which Polar has since largely removed from any spec sheets).

      In the summary I stated: “Now, as I alluded to – everything is great on paper. But, the unit I have today has pretty much just the core running functionality active/ready. Thus, all the ‘good stuff’ that you want out of the unit won’t come for some number of weeks or months, in later beta cycles (all before final release of course). Thus, I can’t know for certain how it’ll turn out.”

      Now, it could turn out great. I hope it does. But I’m hearing so little information from Polar on where they stand – having only one e-mail update since January regarding the V800, and no firmware updates. Contrast that with Garmin and the Fenix2, and I get 2-3 e-mail updates…a day, even on the weekends. And roughly one firmware update every 1-3 days from them.

      Reply
    • Carlos replied

      Ok, that’s not a very optimistic story you mentioned above, but realistic unfortunately. If they don’t react on e-mails or don’t give any update that is really an indication that they aren’t far as I wish they are. Reading your comment it’s more likely the running specs are ok, but that’s their experience part of the watch but the other features are hard to integrate for Polar.

      Now I’m really curious what kind of beta-testing watch some Dutch iceskaters had received, because Polar is sponsering some teams and they’ve given some athletes this watch. Hence I expected the watch and the features of that watch are ready-to-act. but skaters aren’t swimmers, except when the ice is too thin.

      Reply
    • Nigel P replied

      @Jorge: thks should be directed at Ray; as I changed my mind from the FR620 to V800 after going through this, related previews (Fenix 2) and comment sections here, as well as confirming the many bugs listed throughout all of the Garmin Connect + Running forums, where no one from Garmin appears to even bother responding to user problems.

      @Ray: thks for your insightful perspective. As always, you’re right on the money, I looked at the spec sheet where I pre-ordered, where it states “Available April 2014″ link to heartratemonitorsusa.com and there’s nothing about swimming or cycling so it will definitely be a major let down for Triathletes.

      However, for Runners, everything is there, and more:

      “Recovery status based on 24/7 activity: Know your true recovery status by combining your workout training load with data on the small activities you do every day. Get a true picture of your required recovery time before getting out there again.

      Running Index : Running Index is based on heart rate and speed data measured during the run. It gives daily information about your performance level, both aerobic fitness and running economy. Improvement in running efficiency indicates improved economy of running performance”

      Plus, it even lists a whole bunch of added features under Polar Flow web services & Mobile app features that seem to meet/exceed your preview, at least with respect to runners.

      Given this is all in the April 2014 spec sheet, it seems that runners will definitely have a way better/more helpful training watch to use than any of the latest Garmin FR620 /Fenix 2 offerings. Can’t wait to see it released.

      Tried pre-ordering with Clever Training, but V800 wasn’t available, and I know these orders work on a FIFO-basis, and I really can’t wait to get it. If I was allowed to pre-order today, I’d be willing to cancel from the other site. If this is possible, pls reply.

      Reply
    • Jorge replied

      @ Nigel P:
      yes sure. Ray earned my full respect for his great work! I am still very unsure whether I should buy the V800 or the Fenix ​​2. But until now, the V800 is my favorite

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Thanks Nigel-

      No, Clever Training hasn’t listed the units for pre-order. I provided a bit of detail up a little further a day or two ago. But in short, Polar actually hasn’t provided any listing information to any companies yet (meaning, official SKU’s, etc…). So the ones that are listing it, are simply taking the initial press release and hoping for the best. Even pricing isn’t actually technically finalized. As of yesterday, Polar was unable to finalize this for Clever Training.

      While Clever Training is excited to be able to eventually offer the V800, they don’t want to get themselves in a situation where CT sells you a product that doesn’t do what it said it was going to do.

      Don’t get me wrong – they’ll definitely be selling it – but only once Polar provides all the proper documentation and listing information.

      Reply
    • Nigel P replied

      Thks Ray. It is curious, however that the place I pre-ordered from did cut out any mention of swimming or cycling that the original press release did include.

      I’ll call them later to get a verbal confirmation, as it’s my first order from them.

      Reply
  167. I really hope that by August the product is solid (I am planning a purchase for this month).
    The product I need is for both swiming and running (cycling is totally optional).
    In order of priority for both sports I need:
    - Heart rate (control while using and data upload)
    - Metrics (pace, strokes and so on)
    - GPS

    So far the promisses around v800 made me look nowhere else for this. I hope polar dont disapoint me…
    Any other product I should try? (or a combination of those)

    Reply
  168. J.Griffin

    Sounds like some people simply want to rationalize/justify going the V800 route.

    Reply
    • Nigel P replied

      There’s plenty of justification at least from a runner’s perspective, take a look at the latest comments from FR620 owners:

      Mark: “Has anyone else found the recovery advisor to be worthless? … I go for a run, and despite running 25.4 miles the day before it said my recovery level was good. Come on, I was totally spent. ”

      Reinhard L: “I have the same experiences with the ‘recovery advisor’ function and therefore turned it off. In my opinion it is one in a row of new features that are quite worthless (others in that row: Ground Contact Time / Oscillation Figures / Elevation Figures).”

      Isn’t that enough to tell you that Garmin is more interested in marketing fluff than focusing on athlete’s real training needs?

      Reply
    • J.Griffin replied

      I’ve lived many years w/o a device telling me how much time I need to recover (esp. after a long run), but hey that’s just me and my experience. Could be a newbie/novice might need more accurate help.

      The last I looked, its still not a perfect world.

      Reply
    • Nigel P replied

      I’m with you. But charging over $400 for fluff is not cool. I’d rather pay $50 extra and get the real deal.

      It just seems like Garmin has become more corporate than user-centric. They seem to be more concerned in adding up “Functionality bullet points” than actually fulfilling them.

      Reply
    • neil rosson replied

      I think the vo2 is fluff as well on the Garmin. But really what did people expect out of all these fancy features other than a few extra stats? And yet people are potentially falling for the same fluff with the v800. I would rather wait & see how accurate the watch is & if these features are of actual use. As J’Griffin mentions most people know when to rest i don’t really see why i need watch to tell me, especially when its potentially wrong.
      For running I’m only interesting in accurate heart rate, distance, barometer & pace, long battery life & large memory, usable route & way-points, flexible interval & training modes. All the other features are potentially fluff.

      Reply
    • Kent replied

      So, only newbies and novices get overtrained! Interesting, you really do learn something new every day!
      I think a proper working recovery meter is a really useful tool foor every serious endurance athlete. Finding that spot where you are overreached but not overtrainined, where you sometimes nerd to go, isn’t easy (at least not for everyone). For those who don’t train really hard there is obviously no need for this tool.

      Reply
    • Harrison replied

      I own Garmins and only Garmins for several years and I’m satisfied my purchase. I didn’t know about Polar’s Smart Coaching until I looked at their website and found that it’s been a feature for a lot of their watches for 5+ years. I don’t know how well it performs but it seems to be highlighted today because only now it’s a feature-set for the current and future Garmin models. This is rather odd thus it has made me look rather deep into their offerings.

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      I think it’s somewhat ironic/interesting/funny that the VO2Max/Recovery/Estimates pieces are all done by three Finland companies: FirstBeat, Polar, Suunto. You see, Garmin actually just licenses the FirstBeat pieces and does what their algorithms say.

      More so, is that employees migrate employment between those three Finnish companies. FirstBeat and Polar are only a 10-minute drive from one another. Suunto and a 4th HRV-related company – Omegawave, are also only a 10-minute drive from each other. A number of key employees have gone from Suunto to Omegawave.

      In short, the HRV world is not quite as varied and diverse as one might think. For example, my run using a Garmin device and a Suunto device gave me two nearly identical recovery time points yesterday.

      Reply
    • Carlos replied

      Hello Ray,
      Very interesting stuff that that companies are very close together and that it maybe ‘all the same’ is with little differences between them.
      For me it’s still an interesting point if these technologies are really usefull (VO2max, orthostatic test, fitness test etc.) and sciece-based. You’ve a coach who helps you with timetables etc. but if you haven’t a human coach are the outcomes of al these technologies in your opinion usefull for ‘selfcoaching’ (trainings effect) and can I trust them? On internet I found conflicting information about the scientific basis of these stuff.

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Fwiw, just finished up a trainer ride. Recovery times: 22hrs for Suunto Ambit2, 23hrs for Garmin Fenix2. I didn’t have the V800 on this one, since I don’t really have a cycling mode with capabilities anything yet.

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      To answer Carlos’s question…

      Ultimately, they are yardstick guidelines at best (from any company). They’re having to take a lot of recommendations and boil them down to be useful across a large number of very different people. For some (many?) the recommendations might work. For others, they might be out of line. The trick is determining whether or not you fall into either of those camps.

      For me, I don’t use them. They tend to roughly correlate with what I see, but not always. Still, I think they may in general be better than nothing at all. Ultimately, I’d love to see more data from units like the Basis watch (tracking 24×7 of vitals) make it into sports/fitness watches, as I think that’s a bit better blend.

      Reply
    • Anonymous Coward replied

      It will be interesting to see if Polar releases their V800 “recovery / orthostatic test” feature as an in-app purchase for Polar Beat (similar to their “Fitness Test” feature), or just add the recovery test to the existing Fitness Test upgrade.

      Reply
  169. Harmless Harm

    Is there evidence/proof that there is no swim nor cycling mode on V800?
    I am asking since it seems a negative sentiment is being propagated on v800, maybe not all features are available at projected release (April-ish), this is fine as long there is roadmap presented. Especially when people are referring to Garmin 620 (which I own) as competitor, the promised cycling mode is still not there.
    People must realize that G620 and V800 are very different watches, targeting a different audience. We must respect each other preference, and reviewers must give an unbiased opinion. It is not a battle!
    My opinion is also just one sampling point, but truth is I am already at my second 620, and even now the HW is working, there are quite some annoying things going on, software wise. That being said, and even my previous Polar was very reliable (again single sampling point), there is no guarantee V800 will do better overall or on a per-sample basis.
    As ray pointed out, my season is in progress, so I need to use what is available on the market, but expectation is I will put my G620 on sale later this year, provided V800 is received well; and there is an (external) ANT+2BT converter for my powermeter.
    Looking forward to Ray’s in-depth review, but also experiences from others.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      RE: Swimming

      From the PM of the product:

      “Accelerometer based swimming metrics: As we commented already these will be coming later in 2014 with SW update. We support only HR measurement in swimming with sales start release.”

      “Open water swimming mode: We don’t have a specific open water mode since we have the same problem that also others have. GPS is not very accurate in water. GPS is default OFF in swimming mode but user can turn it ON if wants.”

      Note: I had updated the swimming section of the post when I received the note, in early February.

      RE: Cycling

      I never said that wasn’t going to be there. I have no doubts that’ll be there. Power meter won’t be there till “June” (the date they’ve previously announced).

      RE: Misc

      My primary concern is around connected features (i.e. mobile connectivity), website (flow), activity monitor details, and then swimming (as a triathlete).

      Reply
    • Harmless Harm replied

      Thanks for reply Ray. Some words on connectivity:
      Polar is known that priority is given to Quality of Data, which for the target audience is most important. As you know connectivity (e.g. WiFi) is delicate topic, since it is error prone and could lead to many support questions. I think the last thing Polar want is that flagship watch will get bad reputation on non core capability/features.
      I want to stress Polar must provide a high-quality platform to be able to analyze acquired data (Flow), since this is part of end-to-end solution.

      Reply
    • Eduardo replied

      Ray, if I understood, in swimming mode it will count the exercise calorie based on the H7 strap, but not distance. You confirm that?

      Reply
  170. Aljaz Topole

    Hy ray.
    One simple question. will this watch also have a timer and a countdown like the ambit 2 has?
    Aljaz

    Reply
  171. polarv800.com has been updated again

    Reply
    • Robin Johnson replied

      ….and they have posted an MSRP consistent with the sites taking pre-orders.

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Yeah, the problem hasn’t so much been the EUR pricing, but the pricing for everyone else.

      Reply
  172. neil rosson

    Simply run have uk prices of £369.99 with heart strap with a release date of 17/4. I’m hoping there will not be a shortage of units like with the 620 although i’m sure allot of that is marketing so people panic buy.

    Reply
    • Dan Feist replied

      I emailed simplyrun.co.uk regarding availability, interestingly they said they have had confirmation that they will be available on 17th April (and that 17th April isn’t just an estimate)… wondering if this is accurate though..

      Reply
  173. Noah

    I thought it was going to be available in April?
    link to cbs8.com

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      When I last asked Polar 10 days or so ago, it was still April, albeit just barely.

      Beware that the CBS news report you linked to isn’t direct information from Polar. Rather, it’s just a press release copied from HRWC (a retailer), which issues random press releases all the time (almost daily) about things, much to the annoyance of various companies behind those products. Simply a marketing tactic for that store.

      Reply
  174. Simon Nicks

    Dear Rainmaker

    Fantastic site. However, I am in a dilemma. I am mainly a road and MTB rider with an interest in sprint triathlons and open water swimming. Have used and continue to use a Polar S720i – v happy with it. Only extra feature I wanted was power. Subseqent Polar HRMs went backwards ito functionality from the S series and so I have ignored them. S720i fine even for events like ABSA Cape Epic. Now another great South African MTB stage race, Joburg2C, from Johannesburg to east coast (9 days), is making GPS compulsory for 2014. (end April/beginning May) Have ignored GPS to date on basis that I will never likely get anywhere near the podium and will always be following others’ tracks. Was just about to start investigating Garmin when, last week, the Polar Expo site at the Argus cycle tour (largest individually timed 100km race in the world) advised me about the V800. Even if it were going to be able on time – what would you do?

    Reply
  175. Tom D

    Is there a minimal ‘length of the pool’ for V800 ? The new Garmin does have a minimal setting, but does the V800 have similar ? let’s say 24Meters ? What about 20 Meters ? What about 10 Meters?

    you say “While indoors, the unit will track laps like all other indoor-swimming focused watches on the market, and use internal accelerometers to determine distance, pace (speed) and stroke related metrics. This is based on knowing the length of the pool (you enter that), and then it will detect turns (either flip or open turn) at the end of each segment. “

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      I don’t know at this point. Per the paragraph after the one you copied, it wasn’t (and still isn’t) enabled on my unit. Based on the most recent discussions from them, I’m reasonably certain we won’t see any swim distance tracking at launch. Just HR.

      Reply
  176. James

    Availability in late May 2014 according to this site:
    link to virtual-strategy.com

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      When I last asked Polar 10 days or so ago, it was still April, albeit just barely.

      Beware that the news report you linked to isn’t direct information from Polar. Rather, it’s just a press release copied from HRWC (a retailer), which issues random press releases all the time (almost daily) about things, much to the annoyance of various companies behind those products. Simply a marketing tactic for that store.

      Reply
  177. tk

    Any news about the additional or variable recording rates?

    Reply
  178. Howard

    In one of your replies, you say that the firmware on the V800 will be “absolutely” user-upgradeable. However, how confirmed is this? Is Polar the source of this information? I’m just asking because I’ve owned some previous Polar products, and none of them has had this feature. I won’t even consider buying it if I have to contact a Polar service center to upgrade firmware – like I had to with my RC3.

    Otherwise thanks for a great site and your great work. Truly impressive. :)

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Yes, Polar has stated this directly to me (lead of the V800), but, it’s also alluded to in that they talk about features being added down the road. It is unlike past products, except the recent Polar Loop, which does support upgrades.

      Reply
  179. Jeff

    We all know Apple is working on a watch, and one might infer from recent pictures of Tim Cook wearing a Nike Fuel that the new iWatch will take aim at the health and fitness market rather than purely the tech market. And now this: link to 9to5mac.com. Might well be way cooler than the Polar Flow app, which I find to be much less robust than Cyclemeter, at least until the V800 comes. But Polar better hurry.

    Reply
  180. Semi Ennafaa

    Ive just visited local Garmin shop to check Garmin Fenix size (they dont have Fenix 2 yet and I assume size wise both units are same?). Anyway I would like to know if Polar V800 is less thick than Fenix 2 which seems to be quite big on my girl-like wrist lol.

    Reply
  181. Robert

    Hi, and thanx for a great write up. Two things:

    I am upgrading from my RCX5 partly because of the latter’s low contrast display (background too dark), that makes it hard to read with my 45 year old eyes in everything but direct sun light. Commercial photos hint that the V800 has better contrast, and more negative displays (“white” text on black background). Is the contrast better in your opinion, and do more of the standard displays feature such “negative” layouts?

    Secondly, and of great importance to me: I see the V800 will upload training info to a new Polar web service, and not to polarpersonaltrainer, where I have collected my entire training history. I need my historic info, will the two Polar services share all data or will I need to start from scratch when my V800 is delivered? (If “yes”, chances are I will pass on the V800 and stay with my RCX5 anyway until one of us stops ticking)…

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      You’ll be able to get data from PPT (online or desktop) to Polar Flow. The plan is to offer that around the time the unit becomes available.

      Reply
  182. Sam

    Could you post a photo of the V800 on a small woman’s wrist?

    Reply
  183. murtsi

    Hello
    Thanks for the awesome preview. Biggest selling point for me in this time is dimensions. Could you give me exact measurements and vs. Fenix2/Ambit2/Forerunner 910xt. Those “big” millimetres are not in your comparison tool. Thanks.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      I’ve got comparison photos of all those units in tomorrow’s Fenix2 review on the roller, so that should help.

      Reply
    • Semi Ennafaa replied

      Ohh full review on Fenix 2 tommorow ! Great looking forward

      Reply
  184. Klaus

    When I use the iOS Polar Beat app, neither in the app nor on the Polar Flow website I see altitude information. I read that the V800 does track it. But will it also appear then on the iOS app and the Flow website?

    I’m mountainbiking quite a lot. So this would be fundamental for me.

    Thanks for a short reply. Cheers.

    Reply
  185. Lischent

    Kann mir jemand sagen ob ich die Daten der v800 auch in den Polar Trainer 5 übertragen kann

    danke

    Reply
  186. Carlos

    Lischent,

    The common language here is English, but for the others I will translate your question because it’s a reverse version of the Robert’s question:

    I see the V800 will upload training info to a new Polar web service, and not to polarpersonaltrainer, can I send the data nevertheless from the V800 also to PPT5?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      I cover this a bit in the FAQ section. But in short, for some sports, yes, because the V800 is outputting standard files. But for others sports, no, as PPT won’t understand swim metrics once those are added.

      Reply
  187. Paul

    Is there any rumours if it will get proper trackback?

    Reply
  188. Kimmo

    Hi,

    This release date is now May.

    “The Polar V800 with integrated GPS will be available around the world in May for a suggested Canadian MSRP of $499.99.”
    http://www.newswire.ca/en/story/1324781/train-and-recover-24-7-polar-announces-the-world-s-smartest-training-computer:

    Reply
  189. J. Carnelis

    Hi,

    Great text, thx ! Can you post side by side comparison pictures just these models – V800, 910XT, Fenix2. I read the Fenix2 review and look the pictures (of course). V800 is much smaller than other top models ? Is the difference so big ?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      I did indeed include pics of it within the Fenix2 review, and it is pretty much a fair bit smaller.

      Reply
  190. Simon

    Hi Rainmaker

    Not clear if the V800 provides temperature? – please confirm

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      No, it does/will not.

      Reply
    • Mattias replied

      Both Polars website and V800 campaign website states that V800 displays the temperature, is it just marketing bs?

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      I can confirm again, but the last time I asked they said no (and confirmed the comparison chart). Perhaps something’s changed. Given they’d actually have temperature as part of the barometric altimeter, it’s a bit odd to not expose it.

      Reply
  191. Paolo

    Hi Rainmaker,

    There is an option “other sports”, that allows you to configure different sports from running, swimming, cycling and triathlon? .. like soccer, tennis etc..

    finally…Fenix 2 or V800 (assuming that the promises are fulfilled)?

    Many thanks

    Reply
  192. Dion

    Hi Rainmaker,

    Great article thank you.
    Not sure if this was asked but can you set different HR Sports Zones for Swim, Bike, Run. This is typically different between the sports, I have the RCX5 and you can only set Zones for one sport, I have set my zones for running but my bike zones are about 10 bpm lower than the run.

    thanks,
    Dion

    Reply
  193. Just as a brief update for curious folks…

    Polar states that the unit is still on track to ship in April, however won’t likely arrive in stores till early May. Pricing is $450 w/o HR strap, $500 with HR strap.

    Beyond that, nothing else to share at the moment. Cheers!

    Reply
    • J.Griffin replied

      So where does that slate your In-Depth Review being released?

      Reply
    • Lew replied

      Add the stride sensor and that’s some serious money even with the discount from Clever Training.

      Ray, might be a good idea in the full review to remind folks to check their sharing settings in PolarFlow. I was playing around with it the other day and was surprised how many runners around me display far more info about themselves than I’d feel comfortable sharing publicly.

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      J – It depends. They’re hoping to get me some updated firmware in the following weeks (since mine is late December). If so, and if they keep frequent updates, I’d guess I’d hit close to the end of April, or whenever they ship with final or almost-final firmware.

      Lew – Agree. I think I made note of it in my Polar Loop review as well. The settings by default share more than I would have expected.

      Reply
  194. stuart

    Rainmaker – you have had the benefit of actually seeing this amazin device in the flesh (as it were..) – whilst it looks fantastic – my main concern (like quite a few have posted already) is about size and weight. Question is therefore, is it ok to wear as a day to day watch?? I currently use a Polar FT80 – which is also really good – but also nice and compact – i.e. wear it 24 hours a day and hardly know it’s there…

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Size is pretty good actually compared to most other units on the market. Weight, it’s a bit heavier than lighter watches (such as the RC3). But, that seems to be the general trend lately with more expensive units.

      Reply
  195. tk

    Were you able to connect the V800 to both BT HR sensor and to phone at the same time? I’ve heard the polar loop have some issues…

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      That firmware capability isn’t yet enabled on my beta device, hopefully I’ll be able to validate it soon in a new update.

      Reply
  196. Lew

    Ray, two questions about the Polar Flow site since it is essentially integral to the V800 user experience.

    (1) I see no elevation graph/data showing on any of the the pages you included here or in the Loop review. This seems very strange as speed/HR stats are a bit of a two legged stool unless you live in a very flat area. Why no elevation information? I also see no tracks from oversharers living near me that include elevation information when I play around on flow.polar.com myself. Your thoughts?

    (2) Is there any indication that Polar will allow users to disable the ITEMS ON MAP sidebar? I *really* have no interest in what runs and rides a bunch of other people near me have done. It’s wasted space and a distraction from what I do want to see.

    I apologize if there were already covered, I looked again but saw nothing relevant.

    Thanks again!.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Hi Lew-

      1) I suspect we’ll see it by launch.

      2) Hmm, it’s something I can bring up. That said, that’s more the global landing page. Once you dive into your stats, you only see your stats.

      Reply
  197. Mixuli

    Hello all,

    Just few updates, firstly Clever training is now accepting preorders on V800 and secondly Polar USA says the availability will be late April, but generally shipping in May.

    Reply
  198. Hi All-

    Indeed, as of a few hours ago, Clever Training has now made the Polar V800 available for pre-order. All the usual DCR partnership benefits with Clever Training apply, including 10% off your cart and free US shipping.

    Polar is currently stating an early May arrival for the black edition, and a June arrival for the blue/red edition.

    You can find all the discounts and DCR reader coupon code at the end of the post (direct link here: link to dcrainmaker.com).

    Note that I remain fuzzy on exactly what features will be there at launch. It is clear however that swimming will not be there upon launch, and instead will be “later in 2014″. Whether that’s June or December I don’t know, nor will Polar share. I just want to be really clear upfront that…well…neither me or Polar is super-clear.

    In any case, you can at least reserve your place in line and cancel later if need be. Thanks for the support, I appreciate it!

    Reply
    • Paul Colby replied

      Any word on Clever Training pre-orders for the Bluetooth Smart bike sensors?

      I definitely want to order the V800 through CT soon… would be great to be able get the bike sensors at the same time, assuming they’ll begin shipping around the same time (Polar’s site seems to suggest they will).

      Thanks again!

      Reply
  199. Stephen

    I’m trying to figure out if I want to buy this unit or not. I already have an RCX5. The main advantage would seem to be activity tracking.

    The problem I have with the RCX5 is that I do a lot of walking. I walk miles to the gym and some days miles with the dogs. To buy into the “Training Load” feature, and to get an accurate assessment of calories, I should be getting this data into Polar, but the RCX5 doesn’t handle walking well. I can walk a few hours before feeling tired since have done a lot of hillwalking in the past, but the RCX5 sees this non-sweaty, gentle activity as being worthy of sending my training load off the scale.

    I hope the activity tracker in the V800 is more sensible about it.

    Reply
  200. Dmitry

    Are they capable to measure R-R intervals as the previous model of Polar did – RS800?

    Reply
  201. Giba Baisch

    Hi Ray,

    I’m an avid reader of your blog, Tks for your dedication. I just pre order the V800 through your CT link, Tks again!

    I’m aware of lack of swimming metrics so far, but when you have a chance, can you verify with them if they will implement the concept of recovery required after swimming or it will be only for running?

    Please correct me if I’m wrong but Fenix 2 only do that for running, isn’t it? I was wondering if this kind of technology already exists or not, since their HR belt would work in water, I assume …

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      My understanding is it will. I’ll definitely validate that in person once my firmware is capable of it.

      Correct on the Fenix2. It does do TE though for other activities.

      Reply
  202. Asaf

    Just to make sure I understand- if I use Mio link wrist strap, there’s no need to buy Polar’s heart strap, right? Thanks!

    Reply
    • SK replied

      Mio Link won’t work underwater. You loose one of the great advantages of the V800 over the Fenix2. I used the Mio Alpha with the Polar Loop. Results was worthless, too many gaps over 1 minute to be useful.

      Reply
  203. Chris

    Hi Ray,

    I’m not sure at the moment, if the V800 makes sense together with a Mio Link. Personally, I like to avoid the heart rate strap. So I go for the Mio Link.

    Question is now, which “Smart Coaching Feature” still works with the Mio and doesn’t rely on HRV but only on heart rate.
    On Polar website they talk only about heart rate. So I’m not sure, if HRV is mandatory

    As you already mentioned, Training Load and Running Index seem to be the most interesting, also for me ;)

    So do you know for which feature HRV is mandatory?

    - Training Load / Recovery
    - Running Index
    - Smart Calories
    - Training Benefit
    - Recovery status based on 24/7 activity
    - Fitness Test
    - Orthostatic Test – ok, you already mentioned, that HRV is used for that

    Thanks for your help!
    Chris

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Hi Chris-

      Off the top of my head, HRV is required for everything you noted except Smart Calories. That’s my understanding, but I’ll be able to validate it as part of my review.

      Reply
  204. Cato Hals

    Hello Ray,

    I am planning to buy a Polar v800, I dont know if I should buy it with or without a HR-strap?
    I have an Wahoo blueHR (marked with Bluetooth smart at the backside) wich connects to my iPhone 4s. If it works, are any functions reduced in some ways?

    Reply
    • KilkennY replied

      I am pretty shure that the wahoo blue HR will work just fine. You will miss out on HR under water and the rebroadcasting.

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Yup, Kilkenny is correct on both accounts.

      Reply
  205. Linda

    Awesome device (and first look), but I’m not sure about a few things.
    One is about recovery and training. Will the watch be able to suggest me to go for a bike ride when I haven’t recovered enough to go for a run (as I consider running much harder on the body than cycling).

    Second, if the watch lasts for about 13 hrs / 30 days, I wonder when it’d be the best time of day to charge it, as, I assume, you can’t wear it while charging and therefore can’t track anything. Would that be during sleep, or when I’m at work sitting at a desk? In my case it looks like I’ll have to charge it at least once a week.
    Or maybe I’m just nitpicking :)

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Generally speaking when I’ve had to charge other activity trackers, I do it while sitting at a desk. Some devices, like the Basis watch actually allow you to charge them while wearing them through a nifty clip design. But definitely not the V800 unless you drill a hole through your wrist.

      Reply
  206. Vogges

    Hi Ray,

    I have a question for the switch between sports during a triathlon. i have to press one or more keys to switch or recognizes the clock this automatically?

    Thanks for help….;o)

    Reply
    • Linda replied

      Your question is answered in the article: “The V800 includes a triathlon ‘multisport mode’. This specific term is used when a watch can be seamlessly switched between the multiple legs of a triathlon (or other multiple sport event), without requiring you reset and/or restart the activity. This means you can seamlessly transition from Swim to Bike to Run, and the unit will show the appropriate sport information and displays for each leg of the event.”

      Reply
    • Stipek replied

      Hmm, i don’t think that’s correct. You can see Fred Van Lierde in the commercial video pressing at least one button for transition. So the question would be if you only have to press one button for changing a sport or if you have to do it the RCX5-way: pause current sport, switch to different sport, start different sport. The latter did not always work in the hectic rush of a truathlon race. Ray, do you know more about that?

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      As of the older firmware I have, you press back and then the red button to move to the next sport. But, that may or may not be how it is today.

      In general, don’t believe marketing videos too much. Most videos (by most companies – Garmin/Polar/etc…) are shot well before the product ever actually does what they are showing.

      Reply
    • Stipek replied

      Today I was able to wear a V800 on my wrist. The procedure works as Ray described. When the watch is in Triathlon-mode and you enter T1, you only have to press the “back”-button, the timer continues and the watch already prepares the sport-profile “cycling” which will be started by pressing the red button when leaving T1. So, basically, you have to press two buttons. That’s it.

      Reply
  207. scualo

    Can you pair simultanuosly (dual sync) the polar h7 hrm to v800 and android app (e.g. polar beat, runkeeper) with ble trasmission like you can do with h7 pairing with mobile phone and 5ghz dual sync. Or down BLE only one connection is possible?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      The V800 supports the ability to rebroadcast, so you can pair the H7 via BLE to the V800, and then pair the Android app to the re-broadcasted BLE signal from the V800.

      Reply
  208. Barry

    Anyone know whether (unlike my RCX5) the V800 will allow you to set heart rate zones for each sport profile? This would be really valuable as your maxHR differs between sports (eg lower for cycling than running).

    Reply
  209. Ryan

    I noticed that the proposed release for the product has changed from April to May. Perhaps a bit more tweaking to be done.

    Part big bonus is the ‘all-in-one’ factor, saving your arm from turning into an electronics store with so many devices lining up and down. It helps too that what it does measure appears to be relevant to active people.

    Reply
  210. JohnO

    Awesome first look. One question, does the V800 have to be used with a footpod for treadmill tracking or are the sensors in the watch enough to estimate distance and pace?

    Reply
  211. Tofel

    Hi Ray,

    I’m a bit confused. I was contacting Polar on their plans for the Flow Webservice. Among other things, “their aim is to first enable export of individual training files from Flow. This is planned to take place within a few months after our new flag-ship product V800 is available in the market. (ETA end of summer 2014)”. If I am interpreting this correctly, there will be NO FILE EXPORT via Flow at the release of the watch, which could be a real dealbreaker for many people. You mentioned the export of hrm and gpx files in your FAQ. Is this done via a different app/service?

    Keep up the good work!

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      I wouldn’t generally trust people outside that product group.

      I’ll check with them next week to see if any of the timelines have changed.

      Reply
  212. Garry

    Will this work with the polar h3 sensor for running?

    Reply
  213. falconeye

    I am just playing a litte bit with the Polar flow site. What I couldn’t find until now is a possibility to add trainings manually. Am I just blind or is this really not possible? Could not found anything about this issue on the web either.

    Reply
    • Garry replied

      will my data from polar personal trainer be available on polar flow
      currently it is blank

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Upon launch of the V800, the plan is to allow/enable some forms of migration. The details on that are a little slim.

      However, on the bright side, I do at least now have an up to date V800 firmware-wise, so nice to see things cooking forward.

      Reply
    • Raymond B replied

      Ray… are you able to comment on the progression of the firmware “cooking forward” :)

      Any notable new features added or fixes that you have found?

      Reply
    • falconeye replied

      So hopefully the in-depth review is not soo far away ;-)

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      I’d expect an in-depth review won’t arrive until early to mid-May. I want to be 100% sure that whatever I’m reviewing is the same that you’re getting. Right now they’re targeting wrapping up firmware in late April, with delivery in May.

      Obviously, as with most devices they’ll continue to update firmware over time, but I’m interested in ensuring the features are all there for a review. I don’t want to write a review saying it lacks feature X, only to find it has feature X a week later with a new release.

      Cheers.

      Reply
    • falconeye replied

      I have made a preorder anyway, but fear it will be June until I receive my watch. But nevertheless I am always keen to read your reviews. For me it is like reading a good book.
      So keep up you good work and hope you have fun testing the V800.
      Cheers.

      Reply
    • J.Griffin replied

      Hmm, well that will be pushing the end of my F2 return window. Hard to gauge which device best suits my needs, as I’m not a Tri-athletic. I mostly run (roads & trails), some bike. My biggest issue to date has been the readability of the F2 where lighting is lacking.

      Reply
  214. Chris D

    On the Garmin Edge 510, the unit sends data to a paired phone through bluetooth. Do you think there is the ability in the future the V800 could listen to that data from the Garmin or that Garmin could pass through the bluetooth data like you mentioned the V800 can do? Is the 510 a different bluetooth standard?

    I really like this V800, but hate that I can’t pair it with my Quarq on the bike

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      No ability in the future from the perspective of getting your ANT+ Quarq data directly to the V800. However, I think you’re best bet will be using one of the new 4iiii’s POD’s to do the trick, which would be a sub-$100 solution and could just be stashed semi-permanently under your bike seat-post.

      Reply
  215. Philip

    Hi Ray. First of all, thanks so much for your thorough (p)reviews. Quick question: could you check with Polar if they foresee to include graphical view (i.e. charts) of the tracked altitude/elevation (such as tracked with the v800) in Polar Flow? Elevation charts are available on e.g. Runkeeper and Runtastic but don’t seem to be available in Polar Flow. I’m currently using Runkeeper but since it appears the Runkeeper team doesn’t want to implement compatibility with BTLE HRM on their Android app, I’ll probably switch back to Runtastic again (as their Android app allegedly does support BTLE and thus also the H7). But ideally elevation data chart would/should also be available in Polar Flow. Any idea if/when they intend to implement that? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Hi Philip,

      For the time being, Polar has asked that I hold off on showing/detailing how Flow looks/works in the pre-prod environment until later in the month once they finalize things. Things are in a state of flux there and they don’t want folks to make the wrong assumptions based on non-final and non-implemented functions, which, I think is fair.

      Sorry!

      Reply
    • Philip replied

      OK thanks Ray for your quick reply. I trust Polar realize elevation data is crucial (in addition to pace/speed data) when analyzing heart rate data. If not already done (and as far as necessary), I’d appreciate if you could bring up the suggestion with them. I’m seriously considering to buy the v800 to replace my 7 year old RS200sd. One of the key reasons, other than all the v800′s ‘next gen features’ (and, admittedly, its looks), is that I finally want to be able to overlay my detailed HR data on pace AND elevation charts (the area where I do my runs isn’t exactly flat, to put it mildly), either directly in Polar Flow, or after exporting the HR data to e.g. Runkeeper (or Runtastic, …), which I’ve never been able to do with my RS200sd because its crappy sound-based connectivity interface has never worked. Thanks again!

      Reply
  216. Lars J

    My local bike store (Lund, Sweden) has V800 in this year’s catalogue for SEK4399 (incl tax), corresponding to about $675. Not clear whether heart rate strap is included. (for ref Garmin 910xt triathlon ed is SEK4599)

    Reply
  217. Lew

    Ray, I’m definitely looking forward to the full V800 review and understand the wisdom of ensuring it clearly differentiates what will be available at launch. I don’t consider promised future capabilities since things can happen despite the product tema’s best intentions.

    On balance it would be really great if the full review were available before Clever Training starts shipping pre-orders… :)

    A request: possibly in the conclusions or comparisons, please do consider the potential buyers who are focused on the running features and may not own a “current” running watch. Even though the V800 may be overkill, I suspect I am not the only runner who chose not to upgrade to the Garmin 620 because it was a step backwards from the 610 in certain functions/capabilities.

    I’m especially interested in whether the V800 exhibits any sort of HRM spike issues. I don’t ever remember my Polar RS200SD giving me issues with heart rate readings, but with my 610 I had to drop back to the Garmin hard strap and always use electrode gel. Even that isn’t perfect.

    I’m crossing my fingers that Polar’s got this one right. I’d love to come back to the Polar platform.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      The trick with HR spikes is that it’s really all about the strap, not the end-unit (be it Garmin or Polar). Historically speaking, Polar straps have spikes less than Garmin straps, though, in the right conditions I can still cause spikes/drops on either platform.

      For Garmin, the HRM3′s made after July 2013 are pretty good (not perfect). On the Polar side, the H7 is also pretty good from my past testing.

      Nonetheless, it’s something I’ll be looking at.

      Reply
    • Lew replied

      Yes, good clarification that it’s the HRM module and strap rather than the watch end-unit and that Garmin’s improved things since the 610 first came out. If I decide to not upgrade from my 610 I’ll order a new HRM3.

      Thanks for all you do, Ray, you’re a great asset to the community. Make sure The Girl knows we appreciate the time you give us.

      Reply
  218. Søren Haack

    Hi Rainmaiker,
    How is the backlight possibilities for the V800? Can you set the backlight permanently on for for instance intervals in the evening? Such as the Garmin 910XT can do?

    I’m really looking forward to the V800 – can’t wait
    /Søren

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      I actually don’t see an option for setting the backlight at all (other than to simply turn-on). I’ll have to e-mail and find out if that’s a possibility. I suspect it’s just hidden somewhere I don’t realize.

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Circling back to the backlight item, I found the option tonight on my run by accident. It’s only accessible once in an activity. You hold down the light for three seconds which opens up a new menu where you can set the light to stay on permanently. Said option is not available in day to day watch mode.

      Reply
  219. dorin

    Hi Rainmaiker,

    Can smartwatches like sony smartwatch 2 linked to specifics smartphones applications, do the same things as Polar V800 does?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      It can do portions of things, but not really at the same level as the V800.

      Reply
  220. r4d4r

    Hi Ray,
    I have a question regarding – “CONNECTIVITY: PHONE NOTIFICATIONS TO UNIT (I.E. TEXTS/CALLS/ETC…)”
    In product comparision chart you say, that they do not planed it initialy. Was there any decision made by Polar to implenent in the future or is it still TBD?

    Reply
  221. Janis

    Hi Raimaker,

    So far current battery life wo. GPS is about 30 days (With activity monitoring). It would be sexy to have a such mode, just “smart watch” w-out activity monitor etc. to prolong battery time even more ( like RC3GPS have 120 days in pure watch mode). I think in such way Polar could grab even more potential customers out from “smart watch” segment. Could you forward this idea to Polar people?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Generally speaking, the actual activity monitoring function (counting steps) isn’t much of a battery drain. It’s actually the sync (and smart watch transmit) and display that ‘costs’ battery.

      Reply
    • Janis replied

      I think, display might not be a problem. Such LCDs can last with one battery for a year and more. Sync, transmit and other “bells” could be different story. Nevertheless, a possibility to switch off all but watch would be nice feature. Theoretically display could also be switched off (during inactivity) and activated back by accelerometer, hardware should allow that.
      ….just my 2 cents.

      Reply
  222. Stipek

    Out of curiosity: Do you know if the V800 will be able to retrieve the exact time of the day via GPS as car-satnavs do? That would be more than great!

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      I can’t quite remember offhand if last time I had to change it when I traveled (or, if I bothered). Looking at the menu’s, I don’t see an option to tweak it either direction. Let me poke about a bit.

      Reply
  223. Dan Feist

    Hi Ray,

    Wondering if you have an updates (from new firmware or communication from Polar) on the following which I’ve seen asked multiple times by different people over the last few months:

    1) Possibility to see activity/sleep on device. You said: “I’ve argued however that having an activity monitor that doesn’t show you the activity on the device…is sorta pointless. Hopefully they’ll adopt my viewpoint between now and April”. Any update on this?

    2) Strength training. If there is not a specific function like on other models, is there an interval training function that could be used for this.

    3) Use of accelerometer in training. While the possibility of it’s use for swimming metrics has been discussed, does the V800 use (or plan to use) the accelerometer for any other activities? e.g. treadmill running speed/cadence, rowing stroke rate etc.

    4) Training plan creation and sync. Have you been able to play with the new Flow service yet or have any information about where there will be possibility to create and sync training plans as with ppt.com as well as other ppt.com functionality.

    5) For those that own a loop, can V800 and loop be used interchangeably both contributing to activity data at flow.polar.com?

    6) File export. You mentioned HRM/GPX export, is this via Flow? Does it include HRV data?

    7) Any news/rumours about the possibility of developing apps for the V800 like SUUNTO?

    thanks!

    Dan

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Hi Dan-

      1) Activity Display

      No, it’s still not on there. Just the little bar graph seen above. Probably still my single biggest pet peeve (aside from lack of swimming as a triathlon watch).

      2) Strength training

      No specific strength mode like the Adidas, though, you could use the timer functions (Stopwatch + Countdown Timer).

      3) Accelerometer

      It won’t use it for swimming at first. I need to do some treadmill (or fake treadmill) testing to see where (if at all), it’s doing that today.

      4) On Flow, pieces are still coming together there. So the picture isn’t quite clear yet.

      5) Yes, both end up in the same Flow.

      6) It will be via Flow. I don’t know if they plan to include HRV data.

      7) It was bantered around as a ‘possibility’, but nothing that sounds anywhere on/near the radar for 2014. They’ve got a lot of other fish to fry first.

      Reply
    • Dan Feist replied

      Thanks for reply!

      - re: activity agree, although guess you can easily see it on your phone (once android Flow app exists!! )
      -re: strength training. I was thinking maybe interval program with HR based recovery periods.
      - re: accelerometer, lots of interesting things that can be done there..hope they eventually take advantage of this.
      - good to hear flow is coming together, software does seems to be a issue with Polar in general though :-( I really do hope Polar get their game together quickly here because otherwise they’ll soon struggle to compete.

      Reply
    • JF Gioux replied

      Hi Ray,

      Re. export in HRM/GPX format, I am a bit confused. On one hand Polar says it will be via Flow, on the other hand I read earlier that they also say that no export via flow will be available for many months after the V800 launch.

      If so, that would be I think a huge shame, and a marketing mistake. For instance, I have got all my sessions since years under SportTracks (imported from Garmin/tcx). After repeated hardware failures on several Garmin units, I am absolutely eager to switch asap to a V800, but I couldn’t do without ability to analyse and compare previous history.

      Please tell me that I am wrong to worry … ;-)

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Polar (the lead of the product team) has committed to me on numerous occasions that they’ll be offering HRM/GPX exports, at or roughly about launch of the V800. I’ve made it super-clear to them that not having said capability upon launch is akin to being shot (it’s fine if it’s a week or two later, but not months later).

      There have been some folks that have gotten different communications from various Polar employees further afield. I generally prefer to go direct to the lead of the group responsible.

      Reply
    • JF Gioux replied

      Thanks a lot for such a quick reply !

      Cannot agree more with your assessment. Great to hear that they made a firm commitment. Now looking forward for their announcement before I confirm an order with my local running shop … tough to wait !

      Reply
  224. Eric H

    I was wondering what you thought of the numbers you got with the Training Load feature. Are they logical and/or appropriate for the workout you did? Did the recovery period displayed seem appropriate?

    I currently have a FR310XT and load my data into SportTracks so I can get my TRIMP values. I have found the numbers to be logical/consistent/repeatable in determining the state of my training, but I am really annoyed at the cumbersome Ant Agent software. If I can get the same function directly from the watch without the extra hoops to jump through, I would be happy.

    But only if the numbers make sense and seem “right”.

    What are your thoughts?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      It’s an area they are still working on. The numbers right now are placeholders from what I’m seeing.

      Reply
  225. Bob D

    Do you think that V800 will be compatible with Microsoft Health Vault?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Likely not directly via API (ala Withings). In looking at my Healthvault account, I think if you use the Connection Center app, you can pull in some data manually, but I don’t know offhand if that includes .GPX/.HRM files.

      Reply
  226. Pierre

    Hello,
    Site wiggle.fr the V800 with the belt pre-order at a price of € 490.
    Delivery end of April.
    It is not a little expensive?

    link to wiggle.fr

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      It won’t be there at the end of April. But yes, it’s a bit expensive compared to most other units. Time will tell if it’s competitive at that price point.

      Reply
    • JF Gioux replied

      A 490€ price tag seems a bit on the high side ? What I have seen so far referred to in France is 449 € with HRM, and 399 € without. That means aligned with the Garmin FR910XT, although this one now seems to get promoted as Garmin will surely attempt to preempt the V800 launch.
      Got the same “non-official” feedback on price from my local shop, after they got the sales pitch from Polar.
      Wiggle might be just trying to get a nice premium through an early preordering process ?

      Reply
  227. Thank you for the great and detailed review. For me, I like the Blue one but is worth the extra wait ? You have seen them both.

    I cycle 2 hours, 3-4 times a week. My biggest concern is would I have to charge the V800 everytime after a training session ?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      They’re just color differences, no functional differences.

      As for hours, it has plenty of battery life for your full week of training.

      Reply
    • Hanna replied

      Thank you for this great website and reviews. Just used the link above and placed two watches on ore-order and saved almost $100. Thank you again.

      Reply
  228. George Raihala

    Great review as always…this is always the first place I come for reviews on training watches. Some questions:

    1. I determined that my RC3′s instantaneous pace is really converted mph to the tenth decimal. Is it the same with the V800?
    2. Is the sound for auto laps louder than the RC3? I can barely hear that sucker….
    3. Does the 4iiii ANT+ to BLE HRM strap also broadcast HR in ANT+? Or just BLE? I’d like to wear the V800 but still have data on my Garmin 510 during a triathlon, without having to wear 2 HRM straps.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      1. Hmm, I’d have to ponder on that.
      2. Auto lap seems about the same.
      3. The Viiiiva broadcasts dual ANT+ & BLE, and does both concurrently. So you could do as you describe.

      Reply
  229. Dan Feist

    Read these two tweets from Polar, makes no sense:
    - “We’ll have an Android app within the next 2 weeks.”
    - “At first iOS support. We’ll try to get Flow Android app prepped for V800 as soon as we can.” (link to twitter.com)

    Conclusion: Either V800 is available imminently OR Android app will not support V800 initially OR Android App will actually be delayed again!

    Reply
  230. Michael

    Any news on the swim functions? What will be included at launch and what will be added later?

    The polar websit still says “Swimming metrics Coming later in 2014″, but nothing about what that means.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      They will not be included at launch. Upon launch the only swim functionality will be that it can record HR while underwater using the H7. No distance, lap, length, stroke or otherwise counting. Just time and HR.

      Reply
    • Michael replied

      Thanks. Any thoughts from you or projections from Polar on when the swim functions will be added.

      Not happy about buying a triathlon watch if it takes Polar 12 months to add the swim functions.

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      No, I’ve pretty much begged them to outline a timeline for it.

      I’ve also made it clear that it’s rather difficult for me to recommend any triathlon watch that doesn’t actually measure swim metrics, given that’s 1/3rd of the event. At least having a timeline for that would be something to work from.

      Reply
  231. TdR

    Thank you for a great site, with fantastically thorough reviews !
    Will Polar have the V800 available at the Boston Marathon Expo ?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      It’s not ready for sale this weekend. It will however likely be shown on display.

      Reply
  232. Gary

    So on the Swim, there is no distance at all for Swim. Does that use different GPS settings than Bike or Run then?
    I pretty much only need the Swim to have distance and time for Open Water. I already have a Garmin Swim.
    Im sure i read somewhere on Slowtwitch or something that there would be distance on release for Swimming?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Correct, no swim distance – whether indoors or outdoors. By default the GPS will be set for off for outdoor swimming, however you can turn it on. But there’s been no attempt made at an openwater swim mode, so the data will be useless as it isn’t tuned for it. Likely off by a factor of 2-3x.

      Reply
  233. Chris

    Hi Ray,

    just once more a question about the cadence. Is the V800 able to use the internal accelerometer for running cadence (without a food pod)?
    Before you said it’s unsure, but now you have the (nearly) final firmware ;)

    Cheers,
    Chris

    Reply
  234. Marc

    Hello Ray,
    Thank you for your time in setting this article.
    I’ve using the RCX5 for a while and I’m planning to upgrade into a new watch. On your personal review what do you recommend the new V800 or the Garmin Fenix2 GPS. Or even any other new watches…? I’m not involved into triathlon but I do MTB, squash, running, weightlifting and crossfit. Let me know.

    Reply
    • r4d4r replied

      +1 to this question

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      It’s hard to say on the V800 a bit, but it’ll depend on what you want to measure. For triathlon, it’s going to be really hard to recommend it, due to lack of swimming.

      For running and some indoor activities that are heart-rate based, it’s definitely a better fit. Part of the equation will be seeing what the phone app does from a connectivity standpoint. Competitive apps do more than just upload completed workouts, but also allow transferring scheduled workouts, firmware updates, courses and the like.

      Reply
  235. Paolo

    Hi Ray,

    Can you set the sports in mode “Triathlon” (swim->transition->bike->transition->run)?

    Example:
    - run->transition->bike->transition->run (duathlon!)
    - treadmill->transition->crossfit->transition->walking
    etc..etc..

    Thank you!

    Reply
  236. I have been talking with Polar Global and they are still not sure when the Android app will be ready to communicate with the V800, for android users like me, it sounds like maybe it is better off to hang on to your regular HRM watch and get the V800 when it fully communicates with Andtoid app.

    Reply
  237. Hanna

    Great website and great reviews. I just placed my order for two watches using link above and saved almost $90. Thank you Rainmaker for all your effort. If you happen one day in Beirut I will be happy to show you around and invite you to taste best Lebanese food ever :)

    Reply
  238. Ossi

    Does the watch support other sports than cycling, running and swimming? For example mountain biking, cross country skiing etc…

    Reply
  239. Max

    Hello Ray,

    first thank you very much for all the reviews and articles! it’s a pleasure reading you.

    The V800 is presented also as a day-to-day activity tracker, does that mean you have to wear your HeartSensor 24/7 for accurate data? Even while sleeping? or the activity is only measured using the integrated accelerometers? In the latter case, any idea how the watch differentiate between rest and sleep?

    Cheers!

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      No, it doesn’t need HR for the activity tracking. It just does it based on the accelerometer – identical to teh Polar Loop.

      I can’t quite see yet the non-fitness activity data from the unit, since the mobile app isn’t quite enabled for it yet.

      Reply
  240. neil rosson

    I wonder if everything is still on track for the 1st of May? Not long now. Should we expect a review soon after if this is the case Ray? Can’t wait to see how this watch turns out.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      My understanding as of late is mid-May is current target for them. So, likely 1-2 weeks after that for my review.

      Reply
  241. Patrik

    Amazing Review – Thank You !
    Android App coming later is of course a little annoying for the large Android community.
    Question Though ; Can you sync via PC/MAC to the full Web Application ? If yes is connection possible via the Bluetooth or only wired ?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Yes, you can still use PC/Mac via wired USB (not BT).

      Btw, I wouldn’t necessarily assume Android support will be significantly later.

      Reply
  242. Kenni Lund

    Hey Ray.
    Is it possible to change the strap. I’m thinking of buying the black watch, and later the blue strap if possible.

    Kind regards
    Kenni.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      I don’t believe so, though, there could be a trick to it I’m not aware of.

      Reply
    • Kenni Lund replied

      I shure hope so. It would be kind of crappy to by such and expensive watch, and then break the strap with no way to fix it. ;-)

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      In looking at it closer today, you can definitely remove some portion of the strap. But it’s not clear if that extends all the way to the edge of the square/screen portion, or just to the end of the holed rubber strap piece.

      Reply
  243. Sash

    Hey ray, thanks for the review.
    Do you know if the v800 will include a proper track back funktion ( the way you came) or just the “as the crow flies” mode? this would be crucial for me. Thanks

    Reply
  244. Gilberto Baisch

    HI Ray,

    I’m eagerly waiting for your full review, but another quick question. You mentioned about the Adidas BLTE foot pod is compatible with V800. I was wondering if you had a chance to validate its data… Polar foot pod is really too big comparing to the other ones in the market (non BLTE)….
    Is the foot pod overriding GPS if both sensors are present?
    tks again.
    GB

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      I haven’t had a chance to dig into the exact functionality there. Though, I did notice last night it found the footpod somewhere in my suitcase just fine (as I was pairing a different HR strap). It’s on my to-do list by time of review.

      Reply
  245. maou

    Hi Ray,
    Do you know if the v800 has any failsafe system if battery is running low, like turning off GPS automatically to save power or stopping the exercise and saving existing data before battery runs out?

    Reply
  246. Jakub

    Hi Ray,

    I noticed in other posts that you seem to be spending a lot of time with this watch recently.
    In your initial thoughts you’ve stated that you’re very impressed with what Polar is planning to do with the watch. In your opinion, is Polar delivering on this promise? Is this going to be a strong competitor to Fenix 2 or fall short?

    Thanks for the great reviews!

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      It’s not a Fenix2 competitor. It doesn’t have the navigation functionality like the Fenix2, nor any of the swimming functionality.

      It remains to be seen what phone connected functionality it is.

      There are things it does that the Fenix2 doesn’t do, like activity tracking however.

      Reply
    • neil rosson replied

      Ray do you know if they dropped the idea of route navigation or just put it back for later this year?

      Reply

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