• Amazon.com
  • Clever Training

Polar V800 Multisport GPS Watch In-Depth Review


All the way back in early January at CES Polar announced the V800 multisport GPS watch.  This would be their first multisport integrated GPS watch to market, combining the RC3 GPS watch along with the RCX5 non-GPS multisport watch.  On top of that, they’d also be integrating in their Polar Loop activity monitor functions – effectively making a powerhouse of a fitness watch.

Since even before the announcement I’ve been using the V800, with now daily usage in the past couple months as it has neared release, which ultimately culminated last week in the first final software release.  As such, I’ve got a pretty good idea on where things work, and where there may be a few holes in the story.

To be clear, Polar sent me over a V800 to start testing with until retail availability.  Like always, I’ll be shipping that back to them in Finland in the next few days and going out and getting my own via regular retail channels.  That’s just the way I roll.

Lastly, at the end of the day keep in mind I’m just like any other regular athlete out there. I write these reviews because I’m inherently a curious person with a technology background, and thus I try and be as complete as I can. But, if I’ve missed something or if you spot something that doesn’t quite jive – just let me know and I’ll be happy to get it all sorted out. Also, because the technology world constantly changes, I try and go back and update these reviews as new features and functionality are added – or if bugs are fixed. So – with that intro, let’s get into things.



The V800 comes in two flavors.  That with a heart rate strap, and that without a heart rate strap.  Down the road, it’ll also come in a blue flavor.

In the meantime, I’ll go ahead and show you the unboxing for the model with the heart rate strap.  In putting this together, the box I had is from a few months ago – so it’s plausible it looks slightly different than the final boxes.  No worries though actual contents are the same.


Inside the packaging you’ll find the heart rate strap, heart rate strap pod, USB charger, and then the watch still attached to the packaging.


Take everything out, and here’s your package.


Looking at the pieces briefly, the heart rate strap included is the H7, which is Polar’s Bluetooth Smart + Analog transmission for underwater usage (and gym equipment like treadmills).


Next, the USB charger will snap onto the V800 like a clamp.  The other end will connect to your computer.



Finally, the watch itself:


And, here’s the back:


Button-wise you’ve got five to work with.  On your right side will be page up and page down, and then the red button is for starting, laps and selecting/confirming objects in the menu.


While the left side is for the light (plus a menu while running), and then the back button (which pauses/ends the workout).


Now that everything is unpacked, let’s hit up the size and weight comparisons.

Size & Weight Comparisons:


Above, you’ll find all the major units in the high-end multisport market today, plus a few others that are relatively recent.

From left to right: Garmin FR910XT, Adidas Smart Run GPS, Suunto Ambit2, Polar V800, Garmin Fenix2, Suunto Ambit2 R (and Ambit2 S), Timex Run Trainer 2.0, TomTom Runner/Multisport, Garmin FR620, and finally the Garmin FR220.

As you can see the V800 is in the same ballpark as other watches.  It’s a little bit skinnier (width and depth) than most other units, but still tends to be about the length:



Looking at past Polar watches that it evolved from, you can see it’s got a much sharper display, as well as overall sleeker design.


Thickness-wise though, it’s roughly the same as those:


When I give the watch a weigh-in, the V800 comes in at 82g, right inline with all the other multisport units on the market:

Fenix2 – 85g
Fenix1 – 83g
FR910XT – 83g
Ambit2 – 89g

*Note: Polar sent me a photo showing the official measurement on a super-fancy scale at 79.88841g.  When I get a new unit I’ll re-measure.  But at the moment, everyone is on the same scale, so to speak, with the above numbers.

Ok, now that we’ve got all the comparisons done – let’s start using the thing.



In many ways, the V800 is really at its best while running.  That’s mostly because it’s essentially like taking the RC3 of the past and adding some customization.  Plus, it is a watch after all (versus a cycling head unit).  Which is to say that if you’re a pure cyclist, I’d be looking at other options (potentially Polar’s V650 in the future).  Whereas if you’re purely a runner (non-multisport), then the V800 is still a very viable unit.

With that in mind, the first thing you’ll want to do is pair up the sensors (such as your heart rate sensor).  You’ll do that in the general settings area.  I’ve got an entire section dedicated to sensors a bit later, so I’ll hold off on all the details till then.

Next, depending on where your watch was shipped from you’ll want to change the date/time.  Unfortunately, the V800 doesn’t gather your current time based on GPS (like most fitness watches do).  It only takes about 10-15 seconds to change it, but it would be a nice feature (or, to sync to your phone’s time instead like most activity trackers do).

With all that set you’ll press the red button.  This will bring you to the screen with your configured sport profiles.  Sport profiles are basically modes that you can configure for a slew of different sports.  While you can’t create your own sport (Cow Tipping), you can choose from a huge list of sports and then tweak all the settings.


Only modes that you’ve created/configured will show up on the watch.  In my case, we’ll use the up/down buttons to get to the Running mode.  Once you’ve done that it’ll go ahead and initiate the search for any sensors.  Within the context of running that would be the heart rate strap and running footpod (both are optional).  You’ll see little icons displayed on the screen once connected, and in the case of the heart rate – you’ll see your BPM value displayed:


While the unit is connecting to the sensors it’s also searching for GPS signal.  In my testing I’ve found the GPS acquisition time acceptable but not great.  It doesn’t appear to pre-cache satellites like all other fitness devices on the market for the last 1-2 years do.

So sometimes GPS acquisition takes a minute or more.  If you start in the same place as you last stopped however, it’ll tend to find it in a few seconds.  Here’s an example video showing the acquisition time, which in this case was about 30-40 seconds depending on where you measured the ‘start’ from.  The unit had been turned on earlier in the day in the same locale.

For comparison, here’s at the exact same spot and time (same run) the FR15 and FR620’s acquisition times.

With GPS all ready, you’ll go ahead and press start.


I do want to point out to definitely wait for GPS acquisition to be found before you start running.  If you don’t, it’ll take much longer and you won’t get accurate data (distance/pace/etc…).  After pressing start it’ll bring you into your configured data pages.


Assuming you don’t have a footpod your pace and distance will come automatically from GPS.  Again, a footpod is NOT required to get speed/distance/pace while outdoors (that’ll come from GPS).

While running you can change the viewed data pages at any time by pressing the up/down button.  You  cannot however re-configure those pages (only online via computer).  Each page can have up to four pieces of data on it (again, configured online).  Here’s a handful of screens from various runs:



You can change the screen display during activities (but not in regular watch mode) to either be white text on black background, or the inverse:




Since I mentioned the footpod a minute ago, let’s talk about that in more depth.  Officially known as the ‘Stride Sensor’, the running footpod allows you to get cadence information (indoors/outdoors), as well as pace/distance information when indoors.


The Polar variant of the footpod is unfortunately the size of a Twinkie, and the largest in the industry.


Now, there are some things to be aware of with the footpod.  First is that like past Polar units, the footpod will override any GPS pace/distance data.  There is no option to change that.  What there is however is an option to determine whether the unit will automatically calibrate the footpod at the start of each GPS run, or, whether to use a set calibration value.  This is configured within your sport profile (running in this case):


For me however, it never seems to automatically calibrate anything (with both the Polar BLE footpod and other footpods).  Rather, it just sticks to some unknown value. As a result, my distances are off.  What’s unfortunate here is that the common industry thing to do is to take cadence from the footpod and then pace from GPS (unless you lose GPS in a tunnel).  Or, to offer a configuration option as to which source to pull from.

In any event, the footpod can then be used for indoor running to get pace and distance while on a treadmill (per the calibration values set).  Note that the V800 does NOT gather cadence from the wrist like most newer running watches, nor does it do pace indoors on a treadmill like most newer running watches.  At present, that’s not on the planned features list – though technically speaking the unit has the hardware to be able to do it.

Assuming you do have the footpod however, you’ll see cadence displayed on the unit, as well as stride length:


Further, you’ll see this data afterwards on Polar Flow.

Next when it comes to instant pace the V800 is very smooth and yet at the same time responsive.  Below is a video I shot that shows me doing one of my intervals from last night’s workout.  I started from the barely walking position and then accelerated up to pace.  I initially turn a corner (90° onto a bridge), and then you see a slight slowdown as the bridge rises, before I stabilize the pace (and the bridge flattens out).  There was no running footpod used/attached here, just pure GPS instant pace (shown in minutes/mile):

Next, let’s look at the workout functionality.  The V800 includes some basic workout target modes that can be used.  It does not have a separate/instant interval mode.  These workout modes are all configured on Polar Flow (with computer) first, and then transferred to the watch for use during an activity.  In my case, I created my Saturday long run workout on Polar Flow.


This had a main chunk, and then some intervals at the end.  You can see how I’ve structured these here and even done a ‘repeat’ function within it:


Now, there are some downsides to the tool (via computer).  First is that the only ‘target’ you can set is heart rate (+ distance or time).  No pace/cadence/speed/etc… goals that are fairly common.  Also, creating repeats can be a bit frustrating the way the tool is designed because it always wants to randomly select different segments to repeat.  So it may take you 1 or 12 tries to get the repeats right.  Eventually you’ll get it all set though.

Note that you’ll actually create workouts within the ‘Diary’ portion after selecting a given day and adding what’s called a “Training Target”.  This too is fairly confusing since I tend to have a collection of workouts I use and don’t really think to associate them with a specific day.  I wish this was just a separate section that I could easily get to and make workouts.  Plus, “Training Target” doesn’t really convert into English as the idea for a pre-scheduled structured workout.  Rather, most would think that would mean an end-goal (i.e. run 10 miles).

In my case, I set this one as a ‘Favorite’ so I can find it easily on the watch.  Thus, once back outside I instead scroll down to favorites:


Then from there I selected my workout:


And with that it brought me to the usual page prior to a run.  Once I press start, I’ll get a new page that indicates what I should be doing for each step.  In this case, it shows a little HR bar that shows the zone I set for this step.  Down below it shows how much time is remaining on this step:


This new page is in addition to any of your usual sport-defined pages.  If you are above/below zone the unit will chirp and vibrate at you telling you that you’re screwing up.  It’ll continue to do this until you get with the program.

Once you reach the next step it’ll automatically show you a new screen for that next piece.  Note that it will not give you a count-down warning however (beep or display).  It simply goes right into the next piece.


Now in addition to this custom workout mode, there are two somewhat simpler modes that you can create as well.  The first is called ‘Race Pace Target’ and is basically like a virtual pacer.  You specify the duration and distance, and it figures out the pace:


The above can be configured not only on the computer, but also on the watch at the last second:


And here’s how it’ll look during a workout, like a virtual partner of sorts.  Shows you how far behind (5 seconds in this case) you are from the pacer, as well as your current pace and heart rate (along with the goal pace – 6:53 in this case):


The second is simply called ‘Quick’.  In this mode you choose one metric and then it’ll void the other metrics out.  Sorta like a goal.


This mode shows you a progress chart during the workout:


Next, whether you’re in a structured workout or a manual workout you can create laps at any time by pressing the lap button.  Additionally, you can also configure ‘Tap to lap’, which allows you to whack the screen to trigger a lap.  Tap to lap isn’t a touch-sensitive thing.  Rather, it’s a whack-sensitive thing (accelerometer driven).  Thus you need to give it a nice little thump to trigger a lap.

I have found though that tap to lap kinda doesn’t really work while cycling.  The bumps in the road will constantly trigger it – so make sure you turn it off there and just use the buttons instead.

Further, you can also use automatic laps, which are separate (in addition) to manual laps.  These can be configured for example for every 1-mile (or kilometer), and then will automatically show on the display, as well as afterwards in Polar Flow:


Note that if you need to pause the unit you can simply press the lower left button once to pause.  You’ll hold down said button for three seconds to then end and save the workout.  Note that in the paused mode you unfortunately can’t view your current distance/pages (I really wish I could, drives me crazy).



After you’ve saved the workout you’ll be given a summary screen that shows your activity totals, including recovery times:



This information is also available on Polar Flow afterwards.  With that, I’ve covered all the running functionality.  Let’s continue on to the cycling side of things.



The V800 can be used in a cycling mode, like most other multisport watches.  In this mode you’ll get all the same functionality as in running, plus the ability to pair to other sensor types like cycling speed and cadence sensors – and down the road, power meters.  Further, in this mode you’ll also get included information.

In order to minimize re-hashing everything I wrote in the running section – everything is essentially the same there.  The core difference though is that now the metric will be ‘speed’ (i.e. MPH or KPH), rather than pace (minutes/mile).


Further, when you start a ride you’ll get a new little icon if you happen to have a Bluetooth Smart Speed and/or Cadence sensor(s).  These sensors can be used not only outdoors with GPS, but indoors on a trainer.

Note that the V800 will override the GPS speed with your speed sensor speed.  So if you have a speed sensor setup but not properly configured (i.e. wrong calibration value), then you’ll get inaccurate distance and speed.

On the cadence front, if you have a Bluetooth Smart cadence sensor, you’ll get cadence information while cycling:


From a cycling standpoint the V800 makes for an ‘ok’ cycling computer.  I say that because there is no capability to remove the unit from its strap and quickly attach it to a quick-release kit.  Rather, you’ll need to place it on some form of watch holder on your bike.  You can do that with something like one of the $9 rubber blocks (in accessories section), or Polar’s ziptie solution.  I personally prefer the $9 rubber blocks (even by other companies) because they don’t actually require zipties (you can use them if you want).  Plus, I find them a bit more stable.

If you have a trainer, you’ll want to create/add an indoor cycling mode.  In this mode you can turn off the GPS so it doesn’t try searching for it, then you can go ahead and use a speed sensor to get speed and distance.  Without such a sensor you’ll only have heart rate data (or, cadence data if you have that too).


When it comes time to viewing things like cadence afterwards, these will show up on Polar Flow just like any other metric:


Note that as of this writing the V800 doesn’t yet support Bluetooth Smart power meters.  That will come later, per the schedule down below in the section titled ‘The Future’.  Prior to that Polar will release their Look/Keo Power System with updated pedal pods for Bluetooth Smart.  That unit will join both the Stages Power Meter and PowerTap Bluetooth Smart power meter caps as the only direct force Bluetooth Smart power meters on the market.  I don’t foresee any additional Bluetooth Smart enabled power meters in the near future from any other companies. (Updated: Added initial power meter support as of Sept 30th, 2014)



First and foremost – let me get this out of the way to minimize confusion: The Polar V800 at this time does not support swimming metrics such as distance or strokes (either in a pool or in openwater).  It does however support heart rate in the water, as well as time recording.  Updates for adding in that support are listed in my updates section a bit further down.

With that out of the way – what does work while swimming? Well, simply put: Heart rate.

The V800 continues the Polar tradition of being pretty much the only multisport watch on the market that can gather heart rate data while your body is underwater.  It’s long been a Polar-specific selling point that is included in the V800 as long as you have a capable heart rate strap.

That would be the H7 specifically that’s capable of doing both Bluetooth Smart (above water), and analog (below water).  The H6 however, will not work.

To start a swim session you’ll go ahead and select swimming from the menu.  I’ve actually configured two swimming variants.  One called ‘Aquatic Fitness’ and one called ‘Swimming’.  Why two? Well, on the other one I set GPS to be enabled (more on that in a second) and changed some other settings.  So I use the ‘Aquatic Fitness’ one in the pool and ‘Swimming’ one in openwater.


Once it’s found heart rate you can get to town swimming.  The challenge for me though is that the heart rate strap simply won’t stay on my body.  This is less of an issue for women since one presumes that they aren’t swimming topless.  For men however, the water pressure can sometimes push the strap down depending on your body type.

I’ve tried all the most common tricks: Sliding transmitter pod to your back or side, twisting the strap a bunch, placing it higher or lower on the chest.  No love.

Generally for me it’ll work in steady-state swimming.  It’s just as soon as I hit the wall and push off that I lose it.

In talking with others, it tends to effect men who are a bit leaner than those who aren’t.  In any event, that’s indoor pool swimming for ya.  Again, at the time of this writing it does not currently track pace/laps/lengths/stroke.  See the section below titled ‘The Future’ for details on that.

Next, comes to openwater swimming.  This is basically the same as indoor swimming, except outside.  You’ll just get heart rate data, that’s all.

Of course, I knew many of you’d wanted to know what happens if you enable GPS on the unit in swimming mode (which you can do).  So, I went out and tested it.

Or rather, I tried to.  Until I ended up in the hospital.

But, then I went out again the next day and tested it…for real this time.  I’ve continued testing it a bunch of times over the past few months, including on the most recent firmware this past Thursday.


This test is likely the easiest to illustrate what the GPS track looks like when left on:


Here’s the actual track as measured by a different GPS device in my swimcap (red swim track both above and below):


To compare, the distances are:

Polar V800: .68 miles
Reference distance: .50 miles

The reason for this is that the Polar V800 does not yet have an openwater swim mode.  And thus the unit loses GPS reception each time your arm goes under the water and then tries to re-gain it each time above the water.  When it does that the accuracy of the GPS location can vary significantly.  In order to alleviate that, Polar will need to add an algorithm that attemps to guess where you’re going, like watches from Garmin, Suunto and Bryton have.  In most cases, those watches tend to get it within about 10-15%.

Obviously, it should go without saying that based on the features in the product today – the V800 isn’t really a swimmer’s watch.  Down the road, perhaps, but not today.

Finally, I do want to note that for reasons unclear to either me or Polar, my watch seems to lose the HR connection as soon as the strap goes underwater.  I’ve tried a multitude of H7 straps without success (including brand new out of box) on a number of firmware versions.  That said, I’m reasonably certain this is simply a defect with my specific unit and not widespread since other readers have reported no issues with this functionality and it’s something that sorta falls into the camp of ‘it normally just works’.  Polar is sending over another unit to have me test on that, so I’ll update this paragraph once that comes in later this week.

Preemptive notifier: See the section at the end titled “Updates & The Future” to validate that things in this section haven’t changed since I wrote this post – specifically in relation to the swimming piece.

[Update Note: July 8, 2015 – Today Polar added Open Water Swimming features (distance & stroke) to the V800; and these metrics are now also available in the Swimming profile for indoor swimming]

Triathlon & Multisport Use:


The V800 today includes a multisport mode, which allows you to easily change sports and record those sports in succession (as well as the transition times between them).  I’ll explain the overall concept of how it works in a brief moment, but first I want to be really clear about two specific things:

1) As of today the V800 swim metric support is limited.  I can’t use it to track openwater swims (aside from my heart rate), and I can’t use it in the pool to track distance/stokes/metrics.

[Update Note: July 8, 2015 – Today Polar added Open Water Swimming features (distance & stroke) to the V800; and these metrics are now also available in the Swimming profile for indoor swimming]

2) There’s no quick release style mount.  This means it’s going to be on your wrist the entire time.  For some that’s OK, but for most serious triathletes the inability to see your watch while in aero position is a letdown.  You’d be required to put it on a separate mount and take care of that in transition (T1 & T2).

I say that because approximately 48.2% of all comments I receive seem to be on the issue of #1.  So, I’m kinda going for the brute-force repetitive approach here to ensure it’s really clear.

With those limitations noted, you can indeed use it in a multisport event, and it’s silly easy to do so.  To start, the unit includes what’s called “Free Multisport” mode, which allows you to basically go all free-wheelin’ between whatever sports you like.  Linking them together like a chain of sausages.  There’s also a regular multisport mode as well that I’ll cover in a second.


After starting this mode it’ll then ask you to select your first sport.  At this point it’s really just like completing a single-sport activity.  Any of the views/configuration settings/sensors that you’ve setup for that particular sport profile will be there just like normal:


Once you’ve completed flailing around in the water (as was my case), you can then tap the bottom left button (normally used as pause), to change to the next sport.  In this case Polar allows you to simply scroll through your sports and choose whatever sport you want to begin.  So, you’ve got some flexibility:


The only downside to the ‘Free Multisport mode’ is that that if you have a ton of sports saved it may take a second or two and you may have to briefly concentrate (which, can be tricky in a triathlon).  However, there’s a regular fixed mode I’ll talk about in a second.

During the time while you’re choosing your next sporting venture, it’ll be tracking your first transition time.  It’ll continue tracking transition time until you press ‘go’ on that next sport.


Once you’ve pressed go it’ll start that next selected sport just like normal.

You can continue to iterate sports like this as long as you darn well want.  Over and over again, if you’d like.  You’ll get a page on your data fields which has the ‘total’ time for the activity – listed as ‘Tot’.

Finally, once you’re all done you’ll tap that bottom left button to get back to the ‘next sport’ screen, and then from here you’ll hold down the bottom left button to stop the unit altogether and save the workout (just like normal).

Once it’s done it’ll show you a summary of your workout segments, but then allow you to pull open individual sports and look at those just as if they were their own standalone segments:


The implementation here of the history function is actually really well done and thought out.  I like it.

In the event you add the ‘Triathlon’ sport profile to your watch (in addition to Free Multisport), then you can configure the modes ahead of time on Polar Flow.  This allows you to just advance seamlessly between the different sports without having to choose them (more appropriate for races).



Lastly, after uploading your workouts to Polar Flow you’ll see everything on a single page.  This is a bit different from Garmin, which splices out the different sports into specific activities (i.e. one for swim, one for bike, one for run) – with no total triathlon time.


There are pros and cons to doing either approach.  From an analysis standpoint it actually tends to be easier to analyze each sport individually (Garmin approach), whereas from a holistic race perspective that can only be seen with the Polar approach.

On Flow, each of the sports are shown along the top on the graph:


Overall, I found the multisport function seemed to work out great for me.  No specific issues with the implementation on the device, though, as you can see above the Flow site information is a bit thin at this point (I suspect that’ll improve over time).

Preemptive notifier: See the section at the end titled “Updates & The Future” to validate that things in this section haven’t changed since I wrote this post – specifically in relation to the multisport piece.

Data Field Options


The V800 allows you to customize your data pages online with Polar Flow using a computer (you cannot currently do it via the device or the phone app).  However, the tool works quite well and is very easy to use, so I have no complaints.

You can create up to 8 custom pages of data per sport profile, with each page having 1 to 4 pieces of information, as seen above.  Below is a table of all of the data fields you can currently choose/configure to add to the above pages:

Polar V800 Data Fields

Time FieldsEnvironment FieldsBody MeasurementDistanceSpeed/Pace FieldsCadence FieldsPower Fields
Time of dayAltitudeHeart RateDistanceSpeed/PaceRunning/Cycling CadencePower (Instant)
DurationTemperatureCaloriesLap DistanceAverage Speed/PaceAvg Running/Cycling CadenceAverage Power
Lap timeTotal AscentAverage Heart RateLast Lap DistanceMaximum Speed/PaceCurrent Lap Running/Cycling CadenceLap Max Power
Last lap timeCurrent Lap AscentZonePointerLap Speed/PaceAverage Stride Length (Running)Lap Left/Right Balance Avg
Total DescentMaximum Heart RateLap Power
Current Lap DescentTime in ZoneLeft/Right Balance (Instant)
InclineHR Avg in LapLeft/Right Balanace Avg
RR VariationMaximum Power
Maximum Force
Power Limits

For the heart rate field you’ll choose a per-sport option of seeing the heart rate value in: Beats Per Minute (BPM), % of Maximum, or % of Heart Rate Reserve.

Again, these are all on a per sport profile basis, with the ability to configure a lot of different sport profiles (though at this time you can’t just create your own).

24×7 Activity Tracking:


The Polar V800 was the first multisport watch on the market to double as an activity monitor.  This falls in line with Polar being the first activity monitor on the market to double as a heart rate strap (the Polar Loop).  When people refer to an activity monitor, they’re talking about a device that isn’t used to track sport activities (like a run), but rather the other 23 hours of the day that you’re not exercising.  So basically, your walk to Kentucky Fried Chicken and your mid-afternoon siesta.  The type of activities that most normal non-endurance athletes enjoy.

The idea with activity monitoring is to give you a better understanding of how much activity you have outside of training – allowing you to put together a comprehensive view of your day to day work effort.  For example, yesterday I walked about 8 miles while out doing errands in the city.  Then, after doing all that, I ran another 11 miles.  If I didn’t have an activity monitor on, I might not be able to quantify the full extent of my errands, which, might not allow me to understand why my run later that evening was a bit slower.

Now typically (as in the case of the Polar Loop), an activity monitor will tell you on the unit how many steps you’ve taken, distance walked, your progress towards the defined goal of the day (steps), and calories.  It may also show a few other random things like time of day.  Unfortunately, in the case of the V800 it only shows this single page:


It won’t show you steps walked nor distance.  Just a bar graph without any numbers.  What’s sorta frustrating here is that I identified this six months ago in my original post and noted that it made the activity monitor side kinda useless.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t changed.

While you can sync to the phone to get steps – most would agree that defeats the purpose of having glancable information on the wrist (in part why units like the FitBit Force and Nike Fuelband are more popular than the Jawbone UP without a display).  Ideally they’d just list the steps directly on top of that, or, allow me to add it to my home page.  That’d be sorta logical (and what the Garmin FR15 does).


Once I connect it to my phone I do get the step counts there within the daily activity summary.  This view comes in a giant donut.  I’ve personally always found the layout a bit confusing, but it hasn’t changed yet:


Along the bottom I’ll get a breakout of total steps (plus distance if I tap that field) and calories for the day, as well as my total active time.  Had I worn it sleeping that night I’d get that information as well.  Personally I find the watch a bit too bulky to wear sleeping, but each person will differ of course.

20140608_182321000_iOS 20140608_182319000_iOS

You’ll also see inactivity alerts on the phone, but you won’t get these on the V800 yet.  This will come down the road a bit (see the schedule in section titled ‘The Future’).


All of this information is then sync’d to Polar Flow (online) where it’s accessible there as well:


Overall I think this is a good first step on the activity monitor side of things.  I just really wish I could glance and see my steps.  Without that, I’m far less likely to wear it during the day (and thus, negating the value of that feature).

The end goal of what Polar is doing here is to create an all encompassing view of your fitness.  In addition to the activity monitoring and regular sport recording, you can also do tests to both see how you’re recovering (Orthostatic test), as well as a fitness test.  In the case of the Orthostatic test, Polar is measuring fatigue – and by doing these measurements regularly you can start to understand patterns and potentially base training on it.


The Orthostatic test is perhaps one of my favorite tests to complete, mainly because it involves hanging out on the couch:



Midway through the test it’ll go ahead and ask you to stand up (and do nothing).  It’s measuring the impact of that on your heart rate – which in turn can allow it to determine fatigue.  This is then pulled together into reports on Polar Flow:


Next you’ve got the status view you can look at the state that the unit believes you’re in from an overall recovery status:



Recovery status works by taking into account both your training load as well as your recovery, for the past eight days, and pulling together a single value for them.

Finally, do note that while the unit measures RR/HRV today, it doesn’t actually record the data to Polar Flow, thus you can’t quite use 3rd party utilities to analyze that yet (that’s coming though).


The V800 contains many hardware features typically in a watch designed for hiking, specifically: a barometric altimeter, a magnetic compass, and the ability to get upwards of 50 hours of battery life in a low-power GPS mode.  Now, while it has those hardware features, it generally lacks much of the software at this stage behind those features to realistically use it in a navigational capacity.

Barometric Altimeter:

To start with the most complete feature, we’ll take a look at the barometric altimeter.  A barometric altimeter means that it uses pressure to understand elevation changes.  This is generally considered the most accurate method for consumer sport GPS devices to measure elevation.  Each time you start an activity the unit will use GPS to initially calibrate the barometric altimeter.  This is inline with how most other units on the market work:


You can however manually override that value by holding down the upper left button and accessing the manual altimeter setting and simply setting a known altitude.  This is useful if you’re at a location where the altitude is posted on a sign.


Once calibrated you’ll get altitude information during your activity.  This comes in the form of current elevation as well as ascent and descent – essentially whatever you’ve configured on your data pages for that given sport profile.


Two weekends ago I spent considerable time in the Pyrenees doing barometric altimeter tests, looking at how different units faired.   I was looking at total ascent and descent, as well as maximum elevation.  Along with validation against known elevation markers.  In the first category, here’s the V800 against a known elevation marker:


In this case, the marker was 1,490m (or 4,888.45ft).  The V800 read 4,860ft.  So pretty darn close – only about 30ft (9m) – inline with what I saw with other units (for example, the Edge 1000 read 4,869ft).

In the second category, here’s the total ascent/descent listed on the unit.  In my case, I was looking for these to be nearly identical – since I stopped and started in the same place:


Again, pretty close – within 20ft.  I’d be happy with that.

Note that when it comes to elevation, you’ll also get grade information displayed – but that’s currently only available in the cycling mode when the speed is fast enough to calculate the grade.  It won’t show up in running, no matter how steep a hill you’re going up or down.

Next, we’ll look at navigation.  The V800 includes some very rudimentary navigational capabilities allowing you to navigate to saved points of interest, as well as to follow saved routes using a compass.  You’ll first need to calibrate the compass by waving it around like a crazy person:


Once that’s done you’ve got two choices.  The first is to follow a pre-planned route downloaded from Polar Flow.  The trick here is that as of today you can’t create your own route.  Rather, you can only follow past activities you’ve created, or other public ones on Flow that other people have completed.  Thus, for most people this will be kinda useless since you sorta already know where you went (if pulling from your own).  Personally, I’m waiting for when I can just map out my route.


Nonetheless, if you save this route to the watch and load it up you’ll get a compass that will point you in the direction you’re supposed to go:


It’ll show you distance remaining and will be accurate based on which direction the watch is facing.  For example, notice in these next two images how if I rotate just the watch face, the arrow stays pointing the same relative direction:



The second option is if you access the upper left button menu you can save a point of interest (POI), which then allows you to navigate back to that POI later on.  Thus, ideally you’d save said point before you got yourself lost.  Further, you can also navigate back to the start.  It won’t be on the track you got there though – but instead will be as the crow flies.  This means that if you’re hiking it’s not likely useful because you may have streams/cliffs/military checkpoints/etc in the way that would otherwise hinder a direct line of sight route:


In addition, you can retrieve your lat/long coordinates by simply holding down the ‘Light’ button (once in an activity with GPS enabled), and then scroll down to ‘Current Location Info’.


Overall, the features are super-basic in the navigation section.  I hope over time we’ll see things get built out a bit more.  At present, I can’t imagine many folks will find the navigational capabilities very useful, especially compared to more full-featured hiking/navigation watches like the Suunto Ambit series and Garmin Fenix series.

Battery Life:

The V800 has a few different battery life thresholds depending on how you’re using it.  In day to day mode without GPS on, the unit is rated at 30 days before you need to charge it up again.  For most though, you’re interested in GPS usage time.  For that, the V800 includes two different GPS modes that can impact battery life.  The first is a standard 1-second recording mode that updates GPS and records the values every one-second.  This is the default and normal mode.  This mode is rated at 13 hours of battery life with heart rate data (more on my testing in a second).


The second mode is an ultra-long battery mode designed for getting upwards of 50-hours of battery life.  In this mode the GPS update is reduced to every 60 seconds (with HR data), thus resulting in less accuracy but far more usage time.  This is generally best for hiking where you’re moving comparatively slowly.  It’s not at all ideal for cycling where you’d be moving rather fast and thus the difference in 60 seconds would cut many corners (unless of course your riding across the US or something).

I’ve found in using the watch over the last 6 months that battery life was never a problem.  In that I mean that there always seemed to be enough battery for my activities.  Part of that might be my charging behavior, but it didn’t seem like it burned through battery, which is good.

In order to test the battery life I went ahead and plunked the unit on my rooftop and let it run with GPS on (in normal mode) from 100% battery down to whenever it shut itself off.  Here were the results:



Interestingly, at 6% battery it basically ends the activity and goes into a safe-mode.  In this case, it was at 18 hours and 53 minutes.  Far surpassing Polar’s official estimates.  However, there is one catch: There was no Bluetooth Smart enabled heart rate data (which is included in their numbers).  With ANT+ creating a sensor simulator to run all night is really easy, but with Bluetooth Smart it’s a bit more tricky and I haven’t quite gotten them to work yet with the apps I’ve tried (it’s a me ‘limitation’, not really a Bluetooth or Polar one).

Still, that’s fairly promising when it comes to battery life.  Whether or not it would last a ‘full Ironman’ time of 17 hours is something that remains to be seen.  Hopefully I can rig up a simulator to better capture that.

Day to Day Watch, Backlight, Alarms:

The Polar V800 can (obviously) be used as a day to day watch.  It contains the ability to set a single clock alarm, which can be configured to alarm every day, once, or just weekdays.


Further, you can configure/change the display on the front slightly to also include your name, which is kinda interesting.  This appears to come from Polar Flow.

The backlight can be turned on by pressing the upper left button.  It’ll stay on temporarily before turning back off.  However, while in an activity you can force the backlight to remain on by holding down the upper left button and then setting the backlight to stay on.  I prefer this for night running.


Alternatively, you can setup the backlight to activate from either tapping the screen or by touching the V800 to your heart rate strap sensor.


Finally, I found that I can indeed fit the Polar V800 under a dress shirt without too much issue.  Thus, if you’re wearing it in such an environment it won’t be too hard to keep it out of view.  Note that unlike other Bluetooth Smart connected smart watches (like a Pebble), the V800 won’t display any sort of Bluetooth Smart notifications (i.e. text messages or phone calls).  Polar has noted that this is potentially possible, but as of now it’s not currently on the ‘futures’ list, however, be sure to double-check that section down below.

[Update note: As of April 15, 2015 the V800 can now support Bluetooth Smart notifications. Sadly, this anxiously awaited feature is only available on iOS 8.0 at this time, but they tell us Android support is coming ‘soon’.  So, anyway, with this feature enabled you can get alerts from your iOS device about incoming calls and messages (such as calendar events, emails, SMS, and social media messages) displayed directly on your V800.  You can set the watch to display the basic contents of a message, such as who a text message is from and the first 30-40 characters of said message.  

If a call comes in you can see any available caller ID info and you can ‘Answer’ or ‘Silence’ the call.  If you choose to Silence the ringer at that point (like when you are in a meeting with your boss and a call from your coach comes in), and then you can go further and ‘Decline’ the call, which effectively sends your coach to voicemail heaven.  

And don’t be fooled by the ‘Answer’ option, you can’t hear or speak to the watch, all that does is answer the call in which case you need to slam the phone up to your ear or hope you are wearing earphones or some kind of handsfree device.  And lastly, none of the notification features seem to be sticky at this point.  All notifications (calls, messages, etc.) are only available on the watch for about 30 seconds, after which you have to fish your phone from your pocket (or your fanny pack) to check to see what other messages or calls you might have had come in since the last time you obsessively checked your phone.  Update: July 8, 2015 – Polar added a Scrolling Notifications feature today, allowing you to ‘preview’ up to 4 notifications on your watch.]

[Update note: As of October 5, 2015 the long awaited Android compatibility for Bluetooth Smart notifications has finally arrived!]

Bluetooth Smart Sensor Support:


The V800 is the first Polar device to support Bluetooth Smart sensors.  Previously, they’ve only supported them via their smartphone apps.  As of this writing, the Polar V800 supports the following sensor 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 Stride Sensor (footpod)

Later this summer, Polar will add support for:

– Bluetooth Smart Cycling Power Meters (Updated: Added as of Sept 30th, 2014)

Bluetooth Smart sensors have picked up steam, especially in the past 12-18 months.  They are most popular in the heart rate realm, but are slowly becoming more common in cycling.  I’d wager for running (footpods), they’re pretty rare – with most of that market going to ANT+.  ANT+ is of course the massive incumbent when it comes to sports and fitness sensors, with most of the market currently on that protocol.  ANT+ devices will not work with the V800.  Neither will past Polar W.I.N.D. sensors, which aren’t supported with the V800.  Nor will past Polar-branded Nike+ straps, or Bluetooth legacy (non-Bluetooth Smart straps) – Polar branded or otherwise.

The unit allows you to save a ‘pool’ of paired sensors.  This is awesome, as it makes it super easy if you have a bunch of different sensors lying around (like me).  It’ll automatically connect to what’s available.


Over the last 6 months I’ve been using a wide array of Bluetooth Smart accessories, both Polar branded and non-Polar branded.  In my testing I’ve found that when it comes to Polar branded accessories things tend to work out just fine.  However, I’ve found the situation rather fragmented when it comes to non-Polar branded Bluetooth Smart accessories.

For example, if I use the Wahoo RPM cycling cadence-only sensor, the V800 will incorrectly think it’s a combo sensor and override the GPS with a zero-value speed.  Resulting in non-correct speed and distance values (0-MPH, 0-Miles).  At the same time, if I use non-Polar footpods, it won’t calculate the stride length, nor does it seem to calibrate at all.  There are other examples, which I’ve outlined below in the table.

Polar V800 Bluetooth Sensor Notes

Sensor NameSensor TypeTested by DCRTested by ReaderV800-specific Compatibility Notes
4iiii's ViiiivaHR, ANT+ to Bluetooth bridgeYes-HR works. Bridge works for: SPD/CAD combo, SPD-only, CAD-only, but not power (yet), or footpod. On cadence-only, same bug as Wahoo RPM below.
Adidas Stride Sensor (Speed_Cell)Running FootpodYes-Cadence works, but stride length & auto config does not, nor does jump test
Mio AlphaOptical HR wrist sensorYes-HR works, but non-trusted HRV/RR support
Mio LinkOptical HR wrist sensorYes-HR works, but non-trusted HRV/RR support
PowerTap BLE HubCycling Power MeterN/AN/AV800 won't support Bluetooth Smart power meters till August
Scosche Rhythm+Optical HR armband sensorYes-HR works, but non-trusted HRV/RR support
Sports Tracker Cycling SensorSpeed/Cadence combo sensor-YesAll good! (per reader July 7th, 2014)
Stages PowerCycling Power MeterN/AN/AV800 won't support Bluetooth Smart power meters till August
TomTom Combo Speed/CadenceSpeed/Cadence combo sensorNoYesDoes not pair, does not work, tested as of firmware v1.0.10 (per reader July 5th, 2014).
Topeak PanobikeSpeed/Cadence combo sensor-YesAll good! (per reader June 9th, 2014)
Wahoo Blue SCSpeed/Cadence combo sensorYes-All good!
Wahoo KICKRCycling Power MeterN/AN/AV800 won't support Bluetooth Smart power meters till August
Wahoo RPM (V1/V2)Cadence SensorYes-Cadence works, but V800 incorrectly overrides GPS with 0 speed
Wahoo TICKRHeart RateYes-No HRV/RR being sent over Bluetooth yet (coming in update)
Wahoo TICKR RUNHeart Rate, Running CadenceYes-Cadence works, but stride length & auto config does not. Note with firmware 1.0.10 for the V800 and 1.5.18 for the TICKR RUN, cadence is now doubled, i.e. 184-SPM instead of 92-SPM.
Wahoo TICKR XHeart Rate, Running CadenceN/AN/A

Note that when you see me list “Non-trusted HRV/RR data” that means that it’s gathering the data via optical sensor.  As of today, optical sensor technology is not capable of gathering true HRV/RR data.  Instead, the companies ‘estimate’ the data (read: kinda fake it).  Sometimes it works out, sometimes not.  This is most visible though in recovery and effort metrics, where you may (will) get inaccurate data on things like recovery time and VO2Max metrics.  That’s because those metrics depend on HRV/RR.  Note that this does not affect straight beats per minute display, but rather only functions like Orthostatic testing, RR display and recovery related estimates (+ the ability to tap/touch the HR strap for certain functions).  So if you don’t use/care about those features, then there’s no problems using an optical sensor.

Next, the V800 includes the ability to rebroadcast your Bluetooth Smart heart rate out to other devices.  This is important because while the next generation of Bluetooth Smart (4.1) devices will support multiple connections to a single sensor, current devices don’t.  Thus if you connect to a heart rate strap with your V800, it would (otherwise) have blocked a connection to another device like a smartphone.  This is particularly important for coaching and gym scenarios, but also for triathletes with multiple devices (i.e. one for running and cycling).


Polar solves that problem on the V800 by re-broadcasting the heart rate signal so other devices can pick it up.  In theory, it’d be genius (and awesome!).  But in practice, it doesn’t really work out.  That’s because the ‘other devices’ part really only means ‘other Polar devices’.  My testing has found (and Polar confirmed) that non-Polar devices currently can’t see the rebroadcasted signal at all.  Making it rather…lame.

Which, brings me to my final point.  Polar has a long history (read: their entire history) of not playing well with others or industry standards.  Up until now, not a single device has followed an industry standard for sensors.  It’s always been only their own.  With the V800 (and the V650), they’ve been proclaiming that the industry standards of Bluetooth Smart is the “way of the future”.  Thus allowing you to use accessories of any brand.

Except, they’re not really doing that.  There’s no excuse for not correctly working with Wahoo’s products, or the Adidas footpod.  After all, these products have been available for a very long time and are well known as industry standard compliant.  Nor is there an excuse for not properly re-broadcasting the heart rate signal.  Period, end of story, no excuse.  I hope this is merely a transient thing, but it’s also something I brought up months ago.  This is even more frustrating given that Polar actually sits as the chair of the Bluetooth SIG for sports & fitness.  Which is essentially akin to giving the rest of the industry the middle finger.

Mobile Phone Connectivity:


The V800 is able to wirelessly upload both workouts as well as daily activity tracker data (i.e. steps) directly via Bluetooth Smart to your mobile phone, and then from there to Polar Flow online.  The pairing process is seamless and only takes a couple of seconds to setup.

Once done, you’ll go ahead into the general settings and then into the Bluetooth area (‘Pair and Sync’) to sync the watch.  At this point after pressing ‘Sync Data’ you’ll want to open up the Polar Flow mobile app on your phone to start the sync process.  You can also simply hold down the bottom left button for two seconds to start the sync process.


For daily activity data I’ve found it syncs pretty quickly.  Perhaps 30-45 seconds depending on when I last completed it.


However, for fitness data, I’ve found it takes a bit longer.  A rough estimate is 1-minute of sync time for every 1-hour of activity time.  So my 3-hour ride this morning took about 3ish minutes to transfer.  Sometimes it’s a bit longer, sometimes a bit shorter.


The watch will at the same time automatically download from Polar Flow online any planned workouts (aka ‘targets’) as well as any customizations or changes to settings you made.

Finally, when it comes to looking at your workouts on the phone you’ll get a nice overview on the upper half, followed by graphs of your heart rate and heart rate zones an then a map of your activity:


There’s more data to dive into once you get off the phone and onto the computer.  Note that from the phone app you can also see planned workouts on your schedule, as well as notification on activity goals reached and an overall training diary:

20140608_220025000_iOS 20140608_215859000_iOS 20140608_215903000_iOS

Note: While initially only available on iOS, as of December 31st, 2014 Polar has also released Android compatibility for the V800.

Flow Sync & Polar Flow (online):


In addition to sync via phone, you can also simply plug the V800 in via the included USB cable (which uses a special connector on the watch side).


In doing so it’ll use Flow Sync to upload to Polar Flow, the included/free training log website.

Once there you’ll get an overview of your recent activity by going to the ‘Feed’ button:


Alternatively, you can click on ‘Diary’ to open up a calendar view of things.  You’ll see your daily activity shown along the bottom with that grey/teal bar, and then workouts shown up above that with the sport icons.  Everything is totaled at the end of the week to the right.


You can click on an activity to look at the details of it. The upper half of the activity will show summary stats including total distance, pace and attitude stats:


While the lower half then transitions into the map.  You can change map types, such as satellite below, or regular map above.


Below the map is a graph of your heart rate, pace, and cadence.  And next to that heart rate zones as defined for that specific activity.

Finally, below all of that are your splits (laps).  If you’ve setup automatic splits you’ll see those, and then there would be a separate tab for manual splits.


You can view overall summaries of your progress in terms of totals (duration/distance/etc…) via the progress tab.


I’ve covered the remaining functionality of the flow site from within the different sections above.  At present, it’s pretty bare bones compared to other sites (like Garmin Connect or Suunto Movescount), but the basics are there.  Also note that at present there’s no export functionality.

That’s coming down the road (again, see futures section).  So at present the V800 only uploads to Polar Flow, and cannot be sent to either 3rd party sites or other Polar sites/applications. (Updated: Added as of Sept 30th, 2014)



As I’ve been doing on all reviews over the past year or so, I’ve been including a section on bugs and/or issues that I’ve seen within my timeframe using the unit.  Do remember that  a ‘bug’ is different than ‘by design’.  For example, the lack of a feature is something I highlight within a given section is considered ‘by design’, whereas something not really working right is considered a bug.

– Bluetooth Smart sensor pairing consistencies (aka: not adhering to the standards specifications) per the sensor section, with certain types of non-Polar Bluetooth Smart sensors.
– Bluetooth Smart rebroadcasting only seems to work with other Polar devices.  As far as I’m concerned, this is a bug.  They need to fix it to work per the specifications.
– Polar Flow elevation values don’t match unit elevation values, can result in wildly over-enthusiastic ascent/descent values.
– Stride sensor doesn’t autocalibrate for me, resulting in inaccurate run distances
– A tiny little bug with workout targets and goal distance not showing correctly.  If I enter in 10.00 miles, it shows up as 9.99 miles on the unit.  Likely the result of some sort of statute to metric conversion behind the scenes
– Unit froze up once (just yesterday on final firmware).  Was unable to get it to respond to any button presses.  Was actually in the state you see in the ladybug picture above.  First time in 6+ months that’s happened though.  Doing a reset fixed it (pressing four silver buttons at once for 10 seconds).
– H7 strap isn’t working for me underwater, heart rate signal immediately gets cut as soon as I submerge.  Tried multiple straps.  Neither Polar nor I am sure what’s causing this, but I’m reasonably certain this is a one-off issue just affecting me.

Thus far, some of these bugs are ‘moderate’ (Bluetooth ones, stride sensor) and a few are barely noticeable.

Finally, note that the bugs section does not include features simply missing or not planned.  I talk about that more two sections from now in the section titled ‘The Future’.

Comparison Tables:

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.

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 chart with any device you want here at this link.

Function/FeaturePolar V800Polar RCX5Garmin Forerunner 910XTSuunto Ambit2
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated September 13th, 2018 @ 1:33 am New Window
Product Announcement DateJan 6th, 2014Mar 21, 2011OCT 4, 2011APR 29, 2013
Actual Availability/Shipping DateMay 2014June 2011JAN-APR 2012May 2013
GPS Recording FunctionalityYesSeparate GPS PodYesYes
Data TransferUSB, BLUETOOTH SMARTirDA WirelessANT+ WirelessUSB
WaterproofingYes - 30mYes - 30mYes - 50mYes - 100m
Battery Life (GPS)Up to 50 hours1 year (GPS separate)20 Hours50 hours
Recording Interval1sAdjustable1s or SmartVariable
Quick Satellite ReceptionGoodGood via GPS PodGreatGreat
Backlight GreatnessGreatGoodGreatGreat
Ability to download custom apps to unit/deviceNoNoNoYes
Acts as daily activity monitor (steps, etc...)YesNoNoNo
MusicPolar V800Polar RCX5Garmin Forerunner 910XTSuunto Ambit2
Can control phone musicNo
Has music storage and playbackNo
Streaming ServicesNo
PaymentsPolar V800Polar RCX5Garmin Forerunner 910XTSuunto Ambit2
Contactless-NFC PaymentsNo
ConnectivityPolar V800Polar RCX5Garmin Forerunner 910XTSuunto Ambit2
Bluetooth Smart to Phone UploadingYesNoVia Wahoo Fitness AdapterNo
Phone Notifications to unit (i.e. texts/calls/etc...)YesNoNoNo
Live Tracking (streaming location to website)NoNoNoNo
Group trackingNo
Emergency/SOS Message Notification (from watch to contacts)NoNoNoNo
Built-in cellular chip (no phone required)NoNoNoNo
CyclingPolar V800Polar RCX5Garmin Forerunner 910XTSuunto Ambit2
Designed for cyclingYesYesYesYes
Power Meter CapableYesNoYesYes
Power Meter Configuration/Calibration OptionsYesN/AYesYes
Power Meter TSS/NP/IFNPN/AYesNo
Speed/Cadence Sensor CapableYesYesYesYes
Strava segments live on deviceYes
Crash detectionNo
RunningPolar V800Polar RCX5Garmin Forerunner 910XTSuunto Ambit2
Designed for runningYesYesYesYes
Footpod Capable (For treadmills)YesYesYesYes (internal accelerometer)
Running Dynamics (vertical oscillation, ground contact time, etc...)NoNoNoNo
Running PowerWith extra sensor
VO2Max EstimationYesYesNoYes
Race PredictorYes, via Race PaceNoNoNo
Recovery AdvisorYesYesNoYes
Run/Walk ModeYes, via timersNoYesNo
SwimmingPolar V800Polar RCX5Garmin Forerunner 910XTSuunto Ambit2
Designed for swimmingYesNoYesYes
Openwater swimming modeYesN/AYesYes
Lap/Indoor Distance TrackingYesN/AYesYes
Record HR underwaterWith Certain Polar StrapsYesNoNo
Openwater Metrics (Stroke/etc.)YesN/AYesYes
Indoor Metrics (Stroke/etc.)YesN/AYesYes
Indoor Drill ModeNoN/ANoYes
Indoor auto-pause featureYesN/ANoNo
Change pool sizeYesN/AYesYes
Indoor Min/Max Pool Lengths20M/Y to 250 m/yN/A20m/22y to 100y/m15m/y to 1,200m/y
Ability to customize data fieldsYesN/AYesYes
Can change yards to metersYesN/AYesYes
Captures per length data - indoorsYesN/AYesYes
Indoor AlertsN/AN/AYesNo
TriathlonPolar V800Polar RCX5Garmin Forerunner 910XTSuunto Ambit2
Designed for triathlonYesYesYesYes
Multisport modeYesNoYesYes
WorkoutsPolar V800Polar RCX5Garmin Forerunner 910XTSuunto Ambit2
Create/Follow custom workoutsYesYesYesNo
On-unit interval FeatureYesYesYesBarely
Training Calendar FunctionalityYesNoYesNo
FunctionsPolar V800Polar RCX5Garmin Forerunner 910XTSuunto Ambit2
Auto Start/StopYesYesYesYes
Virtual Partner FeatureYesYesYesNo
Virtual Racer FeatureNoNoYesNo
Records PR's - Personal Records (diff than history)NoNoNoNo
Day to day watch abilityYesYesNoYes
Hunting/Fishing/Ocean DataNoNoNoNo
Tidal Tables (Tide Information)NoNoNoNo
Jumpmaster mode (Parachuting)NoNoNoNo
Weather Display (live data)NoNoNoNo
NavigatePolar V800Polar RCX5Garmin Forerunner 910XTSuunto Ambit2
Follow GPS Track (Courses/Waypoints)YesNoYesYes
Markers/Waypoint DirectionYesNoNoYes
Routable/Visual Maps (like car GPS)NoNoNoNo
Back to startYesNoYesYes (added Aug 30, 2013)
Impromptu Round Trip Route CreationNoNoNoNo
Download courses/routes from phone to unitYesNoNoNo
SensorsPolar V800Polar RCX5Garmin Forerunner 910XTSuunto Ambit2
Altimeter TypeBarometricNoneBarometricBarometric, GPS (FusedAlti)
Compass TypeMagneticNoneGPSMagnetic
Optical Heart Rate Sensor internallyNo
Heart Rate Strap CompatibleYesYesYesYes
ANT+ Heart Rate Strap CapableNoNoYesYes
ANT+ Speed/Cadence CapableNoNoYesYes
ANT+ Footpod CapableNoNoYesYes
ANT+ Power Meter CapableNoNoYesYes
ANT+ Weight Scale CapableNoNoYesNo
ANT+ Fitness Equipment (Gym)NoNoYesNo
ANT+ Lighting ControlNo
ANT+ Bike Radar IntegrationNo
ANT+ Trainer Control (FE-C)No
ANT+ Remote Controlno (but can control GoPro)NoNoNo
ANT+ eBike CompatibilityNoNoNoNo
ANT+ Muscle Oxygen (i.e. Moxy/BSX)No
ANT+ Gear Shifting (i.e. SRAM ETAP)No
Shimano Di2 ShiftingNoNoNo
Bluetooth Smart HR Strap CapableYesNoNoNo
Bluetooth Smart Speed/Cadence CapableYesNoNoNo
Bluetooth Smart Footpod CapableYesNoNoNo
Bluetooth Smart Power Meter CapableYesNoNoNo
Temp Recording (internal sensor)YesNoNoYes
Temp Recording (external sensor)NoNoNoNo
SoftwarePolar V800Polar RCX5Garmin Forerunner 910XTSuunto Ambit2
PC ApplicationPolar Flowsync - Windows/MacPPT/WebsyncGTC/ANT AgentMoveslink Agent
Web ApplicationPolar FlowPPT.comGarmin ConnectMovescount
Phone AppiOS/AndroidPolar BeatsiOS/AndroidSuunto Movescount
Ability to Export SettingsNoNoNoYes (online)
PurchasePolar V800Polar RCX5Garmin Forerunner 910XTSuunto Ambit2
Clever TrainingLinkLinkLinkLink
DCRainmakerPolar V800Polar RCX5Garmin Forerunner 910XTSuunto Ambit2
Review LinkLinkLinkLinkLink

The tables are updated dynamically and thus if/when things change that’s represented automatically in this section.  And again, remember you can create your own charts easily here with any product you’d like.

Updates & The Future:


The V800 is really the first product I’ve written a review for where so much of the product is essentially in the pipeline.  Polar has been mostly upfront about these components, but it does pose a challenge for me in writing this review knowing full well that untold weeks or months from today what I wrote may be substantially different from the current state of the product.

Polar has been unfailingly helpful however in the last week in providing me with an exhaustive spreadsheet of every planned feature through the end of the year, and a timeline when known.  I’ve taken that and consolidated it down to the major items (some are tiny little things), which should help folks make a decision.  Below is a chart that I’ll try and keep up to date as Polar updates me.

Polar Updates/Futures Timelines

FeatureOriginal TimelineCurrent Timeline/Notes
Cycling: Release of Polar Speed-only sensorMid-June 2014Released
Cycling: Release of Polar Cadence-only sensorMid-June 2014Released
Heart Rate: R-R/HRV Recording AnalysisAugust/September 2014Released
Polar Flow: Training Load/Recovery: Combining data from V800, V650, Polar BeatSeptember 2014Released
Polar Flow: Data export to send files to 3rd party apps and services (+ProTrainer)Fall 2014Released - Sept 30th, 2014
Cycling: Power Meter Support for Polar pedal Bluetooth Smart Power MetersOctober 2014Released - Sept 30th, 2014
Cycling: Power Meter Support for 3rd party power metersOctober 2014Released both Sept 2014 & April 2015
Cycling: Release of Bluetooth Smart Keo power meter podsOctober 2014Released - November 2014
Swimming Metrics: Indoor pool swims (distance/strokes/etc…)October 2014Released - November 2014
Daily Activity Tracking: Realtime inactivity alerts on devicesLater 2014Released - Fall 2014
Polar Flow: Ability to move training history from PolarPersonaltrainer.comSeptember 2014Limited support in Q1 2015, expanded in Q2
Mobile Connectivity: Android device support for Polar Flow appEnd of 2014Released - Dec 31st, 2014
Swimming Metrics: Outdoor openwater swims (distance/strokes/map route/etc)Later 2014Planned End of March 2015
Training Programs: Ability to create programs and templates for targetsFall 2014Planned in Q2 2015
Polar Flow: Ability to move training history from ProTrainer5November/December 2014Planned End of March 2015
Routing: Ability to define route on Flow to follow breadcrumb trailEnd of 2014Planned End of June 2015
Footpod support for the M400End of February 2015Released - April 2015
Smartphone notifications for V800/M400 on iOSEnd of February 2015Released for V800 only - April 2015, M400 coming soon
Polar Flow: Ability to manually add training session to log (i.e. no device used)End of March 2015On Schedule
Smartphone notifications for V800/M400 on Android End of June 2015Released for V800 only - October 2015, M400 coming soon
Music control of V800/M400 for phone End of June 2015On Schedule
Internal/accelerometer detection of cadence/pace/speed for V800/M400 (treadmill focused)End of June 2015On schedule

Note that these are best estimates – things can change (timelines or features).  As I always say – be a bit careful in buying products based on promises (no matter what the product or company).  Polar generally has a very good track record in doing what they’ve announced, but a so-so track record in terms of hitting original timelines.

Finally, to that end I’ve put this little placeholder section in here as a way that I can quickly add updates and notes to the review without overhauling the entire review.  Make no mistake I will overhaul as able, but sometimes my schedule just won’t permit me to test a just released feature that same day and write about it immediately.  So this allows me to quickly plop in items of note in the updates world.  Updates that have occurred will have dates next to them, as per below.

June 9th, 2014: There are no further new feature updates at this time.

Over time I’ll incorporate the above updates back into the post as I’m able.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):

In responding to a few thousand V800 comments over the last 6 months, I’ve figured out the most common questions (and associated answers) that most folks have.  While many of these are answered up above, the below helps to streamline it a bit:

Does the V800 do live tracking with your phone?

No, not today. Polar says that may be a possibility down the road, but no timelines have been defined.

How can I use the V800 and a Garmin watch device at the same time with sensors?

To do so you’d need sensors that transmit both ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart.  For example, in the heart rate world that’d be something like the Wahoo TICKR, 4iiii’s Viiiiva, Mio Link, Scosche RHYTHM+, and likely others coming down the pipe.

Can I pair the V800 to an optical sensor?

Yes.  I’ve tested it with the Mio Link, Mio Alpha, and Scosche RHYTHM+.  For heart rate it’ll transmit your heart rate just fine.  However, note that it won’t properly transmit your heart rate variability to the V800. This isn’t Polar’s fault, but rather a limitation of optical sensors today.  To that end, you’ll see incorrect recovery numbers.  For example, on one run it gave me a recovery estimate of 178 hours – that’s over a week!  So you’ll have to decide if that’s a tradeoff that you’re fine making.

Will it pair with XYZ Bluetooth Smart sensor?

Well, it depends.  In theory it should, but in practice I see things just aren’t as guaranteed as they are in the ANT+ world.  Stuff like basic heart rate straps tends to work well, but when you get into other sensors there’s often tiny little variants that can cause trouble.  In order to make that clear, I’ve put together a mini ‘caveats’ chart below.  This chart I’ll update as things change.  This is separate from the general ‘accessories’ section at the bottom of the review.  I did that because that chart lists everything that’s compatible (it at least pairs), whereas this shows a few little quirky things of note.

Polar V800 Bluetooth Sensor Notes

Sensor NameSensor TypeTested by DCRTested by ReaderV800-specific Compatibility Notes
4iiii's ViiiivaHR, ANT+ to Bluetooth bridgeYes-HR works. Bridge works for: SPD/CAD combo, SPD-only, CAD-only, but not power (yet), or footpod. On cadence-only, same bug as Wahoo RPM below.
Adidas Stride Sensor (Speed_Cell)Running FootpodYes-Cadence works, but stride length & auto config does not, nor does jump test
Mio AlphaOptical HR wrist sensorYes-HR works, but non-trusted HRV/RR support
Mio LinkOptical HR wrist sensorYes-HR works, but non-trusted HRV/RR support
PowerTap BLE HubCycling Power MeterN/AN/AV800 won't support Bluetooth Smart power meters till August
Scosche Rhythm+Optical HR armband sensorYes-HR works, but non-trusted HRV/RR support
Sports Tracker Cycling SensorSpeed/Cadence combo sensor-YesAll good! (per reader July 7th, 2014)
Stages PowerCycling Power MeterN/AN/AV800 won't support Bluetooth Smart power meters till August
TomTom Combo Speed/CadenceSpeed/Cadence combo sensorNoYesDoes not pair, does not work, tested as of firmware v1.0.10 (per reader July 5th, 2014).
Topeak PanobikeSpeed/Cadence combo sensor-YesAll good! (per reader June 9th, 2014)
Wahoo Blue SCSpeed/Cadence combo sensorYes-All good!
Wahoo KICKRCycling Power MeterN/AN/AV800 won't support Bluetooth Smart power meters till August
Wahoo RPM (V1/V2)Cadence SensorYes-Cadence works, but V800 incorrectly overrides GPS with 0 speed
Wahoo TICKRHeart RateYes-No HRV/RR being sent over Bluetooth yet (coming in update)
Wahoo TICKR RUNHeart Rate, Running CadenceYes-Cadence works, but stride length & auto config does not. Note with firmware 1.0.10 for the V800 and 1.5.18 for the TICKR RUN, cadence is now doubled, i.e. 184-SPM instead of 92-SPM.
Wahoo TICKR XHeart Rate, Running CadenceN/AN/A

Note: For the HRV/RR pieces, please see the previous question in this area for what that means and what impact it’ll have.

When will Polar be releasing the blue version?  Or the packaged version without the HR strap?

Both are currently slated for Late July 2014.

Where’s the user manual?

The (very well written and detailed) user manual is located here (PDF).  Just be sure that if you access this link 3 years from now that the manual is the correct version.  As of this publishing it has 89 pages (thus, if it has more, it’s likely updated).



The Polar V800 is without a question a great first step for Polar in getting back into being competitive in the sport GPS market, inclusive of the larger endurance sports watch market as well.  They’ve kicked into new territory being the first company to announce integrated 24×7 daily activity monitoring while also allowing mobile phone connectivity.  From an accuracy standpoint I found the watch spot-on with a slew of other units I’ve been using over the past 6 months (when I first started testing it in late December).

With that in mind though, it’s critical to remember that as the watch stands today it’s not terribly competitive in the multisport market.  As a running watch?  Sure.  But as a full-featured triathlon watch?  No, not even close.  It’s missing a lot of functionality, especially in the swimming department but also in areas like power meter support for cycling.  While Polar has timelines established for those features, from a feature by feature standpoint even if Polar completes all of the functionality as promised it’ll still lack a number of features that other watches have.  For example; the ability to execute more complex workouts, live tracking transmission, or the ability to configure data pages directly on the watch.  And all of this completely ignores the elephant in the room that you won’t be able to get your data to anything other than Polar Flow for many months to come (that means no Strava, Training Peaks or any other site).

[Update Note: July 8, 2015 – Today Polar added Open Water Swimming features (distance & stroke) to the V800; and these metrics are now also available in the Swimming profile for indoor swimming]

Which isn’t to say it’s not a good watch today.  It certainly is.  It’s just not as competitive in the multisport arena as either the Garmin or Suunto multisport units are.  As a pure running watch I’d really have no problems recommending it assuming the features match what you’re looking for.

To that end though I’m really looking forward to seeing what Polar delivers software wise on both Polar Flow and the V800 over the next year.  We have the plan through the end of the year, but it’s how they keep the watch competitive in the marketplace into next winter and spring that’ll be the real question.  If they can deliver everything promised, and then double that again in the following 6 months – I think they’ll be on the right track to really shake up the market.

With that – thanks for reading!

Found this review useful? Or just wanna save a bundle of cash? Here’s how:

Hopefully you found this review 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 reviews 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 an exclusive 10% discount across the board on all products (except clearance items). You can pickup the Polar V800 below. Then receive 10% off of everything in your cart by adding code DCR10BTF at checkout. By doing so, you not only support the site (and all the work I do here) – but you also get a sweet discount. And, since this item is more than $75, you get free US shipping as well.

Polar V800 (with and without HR strap) – Black/Grey
Polar V800 (with and without HR strap) – 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.

As you’ve seen throughout the review there are numerous compatible accessories for the unit. I’ve consolidated them all into the below chart, with additional information (full posts) available on some of the accessories to the far right. Also, everything here is verified by me – so if it’s on the list, you’ll know it’ll work. And as you can see, I mix and match accessories based on compatibility – so if a compatible accessory is available at a lower price below, you can grab that instead.

ProductStreet PriceAmazonClever Training - Save with the VIP program
2014 Giveaway Extravaganza
4iiii Viiiiva ANT+ to Bluetooth Smart HR Strap & Bridge
Garmin Bike Mount Kit (for mounting any watch onto handlebars)
Polar Bike Mount Kit (for mounting any watch onto handlebars)
Polar Bluetooth Smart Running Footpod (Bluetooth Smart Only)
Polar H6 Heart Rate Strap (Bluetooth Smart Only)
Polar H7 Heart Rate Strap (Gym equipment + Bluetooth Smart)
Suunto Bike Mount Kit (for mounting any watch onto handlebars)
Timex Bike Mount Kit (for mounting any watch onto handlebars)
Wahoo Blue HR - Bluetooth Smart Heart Rate Strap
Wahoo Blue SC - Bluetooth Smart Speed/Cadence Sensor

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.

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked.
If you would like a profile picture, simply register at Gravatar, which works here on DCR and across the web.

You can click here to Subscribe without commenting

Add a picture



  1. jC

    Thx DC, I’ve been waiting for your review before make my move. You do an amazing job (besides the real one).

  2. Wow, great review again. Ray you are the John Siracusa of fitness gadgets!

  3. Phellan

    Thanks Ray. As always your reviews are the best but now here is my question. Is the V800 better than the old RS800CX??
    As for the future, not only Polar has to provide what they’ve said but they could add more functions to make it more competitive since hardwarewise the watch is complete but they is lacking a lot of functionality right now. So do you think that polar will provide new features down the road that hadn’t been announced just to keep it more competitive??? Cause as of it is right now it will have to face not only the Fenix2 and Ambit2 but the future 920XT.

    • Hi Phellan-

      I actually never had the RS800CX, so I’m not quite qualified to comment there unfortunately. As for futures, when talking to Polar in the past, they’ve definitely noted that many things are possible on the platform – i.e. LiveTracking and Smart Phone notifications, but for some of those features that would have put them on the same ‘level’ in certain areas as the Fenix2, they haven’t provided dates.

    • Heiki

      I read this overview and I would say – if it is not hard to you to carry on GPS pod then RS800CX seems to be better, at least currently.
      Yes, RS doesn’t work in a water but neither did V800, so tied 1:1 here.
      For me RS is better because I can make training plan by setting different goals – like speed, pace, HR, increase HR, decrease HR, cadence etc.
      I can mix them together as well. Also different repeats can be added etc.

      Yes, daily tracker, recovery recommendation are nice things, as well pictures are nice but if to look what is important for training then I didn’t see any big difference.

      PS! As you are able to transfer data into computer, you can also merge GPX and HRM files together and “override” POD sensor when it did show you wrong data.

      PS2! I still found one thing what is better in V800 – data transfer is better then it is in RS

    • I have the RS800CX. I think the V800 adds some “nice to have” features, but nothing super compelling.

      The big show-stopper from me (something they should have fixed from the RS800CX): The interval timer still doesn’t beep at the end of an interval. Having to watch your HCM as you run, bike, xc ski, swim, or rollerski during to see if your 4 minute interval is over is unsafe and awkward. I’ve had to use either a watch with a countdown timer or my smartphone with an interval app. Seems stupid that I spend $500 on a HRM that doesn’t have this feature built in.

    • Kjell

      I have both RS800cx and v800
      you cannot compare rs800cx with v800.
      rs800cx start to be a bit old fation

    • Kjell

      I have both RS800cx and v800
      you cannot compare rs800cx with v800.
      rs800cx start to be a bit old fation
      I doesnt agree with Mike it is a lot of function that the Rc800cx doesnt have.

    • SteveT


      I’ve had 2 RS800CXs. One drowned and the other still works. I say the V800 is much better waterproofed so if you do a lot of water based activities, that to me would be a big criteria to consider the V800. If you wear a wetsuit I think both are slim enough to not hang-up getting out of it-not like a 310 or 910.

      Both have HR R-R variation capability built in so can do Polar tests based on that data.

      I got a lot of inadvertent start/stop button activations with the RS and I think the design of the V800 will reduce the likelihood of that happening.

      Ir data transfer vs USB/Bluetooth-hands down V800.

      Notifications and near real time access to data are better on the V800 esp. if you have an smartphone.

      You can compare the watches features on the Polar website.

      To me the hardest comparison is the RS800 is a known quantity with an Polar proprietary eco-system. In the beginning and for a long time that was the go to system. The V800 is still being developed and who knows what functions will or will not make the transition.

      There is a lot to be said for something that “just works”

    • Haakon

      I totally agree.
      Also, the possibility to set the intervalls on the watch is missing.
      And the countdown timer is just silly. It just keeps starting over. I’d like to be able to set a countdown timer on the watch and have the timer visible in one of the views. My old Suunto T6 did all this. I almost regret purchasing the V800

    • Astolfo

      I have both the V800 is much modern, but if you are REALLY use it for training the lack of creating your own training plans and most important to me a reliable placer where to analyze your data regardless the location still makes the Rs800 better.

      Add the fact that if you use the V800 5 times a week in 40+mile rides it will last you about 2 years at best.

      I honestly do not get this “cloud” trend on hardware companies like Garmin and Polar, they do a pretty poor job at it and they do not know how to run a cloud service and most importantly do not have the infrastructure.

  4. Hubert

    Much expected, finally available, with the usual high standard of DC Rainmaker : I am a happy man 🙂
    Thanks Ray!!

  5. Hubert

    One question : when you say that satellite acquisition is not as fast as other units, does it mean that the GPS accuracy is not as good as Garmin or Suunto?
    The question that hides behind : which unit provides the best GPS accuracy? I trail, hike and mountain bike with my iPhone, and it has errors going from 5% to 100%, so I seriously consider buying a device. GPS accuracy is THE thing I look as because running in forest or canyons are really causing serious trouble to GPS chips to catch any signal. Does the GPS accuracy of the V800 makes it a good candidate?
    Thanks for your help!

    • No, the actual accuracy of the unit I’ve found spot-on with Garmin, Suunto and other devices when I’ve ran with them – all within usually 1-2% of each other. Zero problems there, especially with city running.

    • DrNotta

      When you say GPS accuracy compares to Garmin, do you mean the 910XT in your comparison chart, or the 620’s much worse GPS?

    • I’ve been comparing with a bunch of devices lately: FR620, Suunto Ambit 2R, Fenix2, TomTom Cardio, Garmin FR15 and occasionally the 910XT, oh, and usually an iPhone app in the mix.

      For cycling, mostly the Garmin Edge units (800’s/810’s/1000), as well as the Mio Cyclo 505.

      Ultimately though, when I take 3-4 units on a run or ride, and all of them come back with what is basically the same value (and that value was consistent throughout the activity) – then I kinda throw out the argument that one of them has a ‘worse GPS’.

    • Hubert

      OK, super clear! Thanks ray!
      So any device more or less does the job.

  6. klaus


    have you also tested running without footpod?
    Because my rs800cx with G5 GPS will so show incorrect distance and pace 🙁
    and I’m hoping that this feature will have been improved

    kind regards

    • Yes, I tested about half the time without a footpod and half the time with.

    • Heiki

      Before running – will you always wait that GPS signal has been found?
      Do you run lots in a wood?

      Just asking because haven’t seen same problem as you, when GPS is locked correctly.

      And just from technical aspect – in woods GPS signal might get lost but also haven’t noticed that.

    • Absolutely always wait till lock (it’s funny, I actually had some semi-snarky comments about that in a recent post but removed them before publishing…).

      I ran both in the woods and the city, and everywhere in between during my testing time. My long run route often includes about 3-4 miles of woods. And then of course most of my regular running routes are in downtown city areas, since that’s where I live.

      That said – which ‘problem’ are you referring to in this section?

  7. José

    I would caution against buying anything from Polar with expectations they’ll add on functionality. They always plan/promise to add functionality to every product they release, but rarely follow through. Only buy the v800 if it meets your needs as is. Even functionality that supposedly exists, but is later found to have issues may be dropped entirely.

    In addition, as you mentioned Polar isn’t very friendly with any other platform. Which also means if it doesn’t work with Polar’s platform, you are in a bind. I have multiple Polar products, including a RCX5. polarpersonaltrainer.com shows that I biked >600 miles in 4 hours while burning 0 calories. I’ve had multiple issues and Polar support hasn’t been able to help me. I’ve given up on Polar and slowly starting moving over to Garmin.

    • Sebas

      “I would caution against buying anything from Polar with expectations they’ll add on functionality.”
      I agree, the only company that actually adds functionality to their existing models is TomTom, although they
      have been lacking to begin with.
      Any news about whether RC3 users will be able to use PolarFlow instead of PPT.com

    • Strange. If I look at all the major companies, all of them have added a fair bit of functionality after the fact – Garmin, Suunto, and to a lesser degree actually, TomTom.

      Looking at Polar, I’m not sure they’ve had the opportunity to really promise anything previously (except Loop, which they’ve added small things to). Their previous units didn’t support firmware updates in the field, making that tough. Their Loop does, and we’ve seen updates.

      As for Flow, my understanding is that they’re working to make it backwards compatible with previous devices by the end of the year, but I don’t have an exact list of which devices will make the cut. I’ll see if I can get one.

    • TimforTri

      In my experience, Garmin ‘add functionality’ in that they fix some of the glaring bugs which were there at launch. Suunto add genuine functionality eg. the massive extra features for the Ambit 2 range this past 9 months. They also improve software weaknesses (eg. speed of upload to Moveslink).

    • Dave Lusty

      It’s a proper hassle for you I’m sure, but an article on how well each company have updated, firmware and software, how open the platform is, and how easy they are to integrate with might poke them all into working in the right direction. What I’ve read of Suunto suggests they are currently the most “good” of the big companies in this area while Garmin (from your recent article) seem the most evil and Polar seem the most disorganised/incompetent where software is concerned. It’s a shame because with some great programmers the hardware these companies have would really shine and if the politics would move aside we could see which had those programmers.
      I say programmers…Polar may not have plural by the look of things, but their programmer is pretty good doing it all alone!

    • Darwin

      Polar can’t be worse than Garmin.

  8. Vidar Johannessen

    Hi Ray, and thank you for a very interesting review!
    Like Hubert above, I am very curious on the GPS accuracy of the V800. Using the V800 for a few weeks now, I noticed that my actual track deviate from the GPS measured track as seen in the polar flow map. e.g.running into an area with trees, the GPS measured track typically goes 10-20 meters beside, but parallel, to the actual track.
    Did you have a feeling that the V800 chipset is “weaker” than lets say Garmin 620?

    • I’ll plop up a handful of GPS tracks from a few different units today. No problem.

      I don’t see any issues with the V800 and actual track accuracy. It simply just isn’t the fastest unit to initially acquire it.

    • Stefan

      While using the v800 for two weeks I found GPS acuracy pretty close to my accurately measured (not GPS) distances.

      What bothers me is acuracy on actual pace. On an open aerea it’s pretty good, but in the park it’s useless. On a steady pace of around 4:45 min/km it jumpes from 6:00 to 3:30 and everything in between.
      My hopes had been up for the stride, but on Rays tests …

      And even if automatic calibration would work its useless if it’s not constantly adjusting. I have the RCX5, and love my stride sensor setups and acuracy. But the cal-factor has problems with variation of pace and shoes. And the v800 has no setup for different shoes, so manual cal is to userunfiendly.

      This is something I’m really disapointed on. Especially while the v800 should not be a jogging toy. Polar has advertised it as their top in the line training computer for pro’s.

    • Martin Birk

      The folloqing comprehensive and up-to-date test shows that Polar V800 is the best watch for measuring distance and also has the best track precision. Surprisingly, the old Forerunner 205 is also extremely accurate, just a hair worse than V800. Garmin’s newer watches like 920XT and Fenix3 all use the GOS chip MediaTek, and all watches with this chip get really bad accuracy scores. On the other hand, almost all watches with the SiRFstar chip have good performance.

      And when we add the very good altitude/elevation measurement of V800 as reported in the present review, then I think V800 really stands out.

      link to fellrnr.com

  9. Iris van Breda

    Hi Ray, thank you for your review, very extensive.
    About your heartrate band problem during swimming, I’ve seen a lot of pro swimmers train with a heartrate band, because they are also quite lean they use some sort of suspenders to keep the band stay put.
    Maybe you can use that?

    • Yeah, honestly, I’m just not going to wear suspenders or a second top at the pool.

    • Steph004

      Yesterday, I’ve swim in a pool with my V800 and the hr belt.
      It was the first time in pool an after having see my hr data from previos open water swim, I was concern about the hr data.
      On my open swim, GPS track went very well. I was surprised on the precision nearly perfect in distance. But the HR data was lost 80% of the time.
      And when I’ve read from your recent post Ray, you had the same problem in the pool.
      So i’ve give a try.
      First, I get in the pool. My hr data works just well. At the moment I put the belt in the water, the signal was lost. So, I get out and signal came back. I’ve done that few times…
      The moment who I was thinking to myself that feature was crap, signal begin to connect between the watch and the belt under the water!!! So, I think that it takes times before switching from bluetooth to special chanel between the 2 units. Is that a good tought?
      Second thing, it’s impossible to have the belt still in place when you push from wall. You have to ajust the belt very thight and every time you push from wall, with one hand, you have to “hold or protect” the belt from sliding down the belly. It’s seem complicated but it isn’t that much.
      I’ve swim almost 3km like this and thing do pretty well.

      Same behavior for others?

    • GuyHarrison

      Have you tried the T31 coded strap? It seems much more compact and streamlined and the longer rubber tabs seem like they would stay in place better. I have a similar issue with the strap sliding down and was thinking about ordering a T31.

    • Bill D


      That goes to the point I was making in my post the other day. Let me know if the plastic T31 Coded works with the V800. It works with my current monitor, but I don’t know if it will with the V800.


    • Luis

      Ray, I swim with the RCX5 (also dual frequency) but, for that, I always use the Polar T31 coded HR sensor/belt. It’s an old one (5 kHz analog, coded) that has a non-replaceable battery (2500 hrs) and is much more streamlined and low profile when compared to the normal ones, being quite hydrodynamic.

      I wear it tight (but not too much) and I manage not to have glitches in the HR readings even during push-offs. It reallly works. If you set 1-s recording rates, you can count the nb of pools from the cycles/periods in the HR data.

    • Yeah, I have a few of those straps as well and have tried them too. Ultimately though they just don’t stay on either for me. :-/

    • Danpiruth

      Back when I used a S720i Polar watch, I would wear a HR belt under my one piece tri-suit. The suit kept the belt in place, even at push-offs on the wall. Of course, the data collected underwater was useless but everthing worked good once out of the water.

    • Jen

      I’ve done one ~1.5 mile open water swim (at 67°) with the heart rate strap, but I’m female and had the swimsuit to provide some friction to keep the strap on. It stayed put during my swim and I couldn’t see any place in the record where the heart rate data dropped out. I’ve also crossfitted with the v800 strap and the only time I’ve lost the heart rate trace is when I accidentally popped one of the snaps off with a rower handle. Derp. I haven’t used the heart strap in a pool yet so it remains to be seen if I lose the trace coming off the wall.

  10. Markus


    thanks for your great review. I still hve a few questions: 1. Can it show pace per lap? Is instant pace while running reliable?


    • Yes to lap pace. And I’ve found no problem with instant pace while running being clean.

      I’ll get up a table of all the data fields you can add.

  11. Michael Jakob

    Thank you Ray!

    As Great as ever!

  12. Hans

    This looks like a typo to me (bugs section):
    Stride sensor doesn’t autocalibrate for me, resulting in accurate run distances

    I would say that no autocalibrate means less accurate distances 🙂


  13. Giba Baisch

    Hi Ray,

    thank you so much for your review, very comprehensive! Regarding Foot pods, If I remember correct in your first look, you recommended Adidas Foot pod, instead of Polar one, basically because of the size. Do you still think is a good trade of smaller size comparing to a full functionality of the polar brand? I’m not so much into jumping test, but I’d like to have a fairly accurate distance recorded from the foot pod.

    Thank you again.

    • Yeah, if Polar can sort out the footpod stride length & autocalibration issues for 3rd parties, then I’d definitely recommend the Adidas one. I too don’t find the jump test terribly useful for what I do.

      Now, with the Adidas footpod you can still manually calibrate. So if you put a calibration value in you’ll be reasonably close on treadmills, but it might be a bit off outdoors. It’s kinda a tough tradeoff, which is a bit of my annoyance that the 3rd party pieces aren’t working well with BLE.

    • Hank

      There is another Bluetooth footpod (Pyle Bluetooth Wireless Sensor with Wireless Data Transmission) that I found in Amazon, which is much cheaper than Polar and Adidas one. Do you think it would be compatible with v800? (I just need to get speed and distance in treadmill run)

    • Do you by chance have a link to the Pyle one? Trying to find it.

    • I think he meant this one: link to amazon.com Haven’t got it though.

      Thank you for the great review btw (first time reader). I’m still figuring out if I want to buy the watch. I currently own just the H7 heart rate sensor and a compatible phone. My gym recently added screens and is displaying heart rates of all people wearing a H7 on it. Didn’t hear you mention it, but this review isn’t about the H7 of course. (The club app: link to polar.com )

  14. Staffan

    I currently own the Polar RS800. As a 100 % runner should I buy V800 or FR620?

    • It would depend a lot on how much value you place on different features. For example:

      – Activity Tracking (go Polar V800)
      – Live Tracking (go FR620)
      – Lots more heart rate metrics (go V800)
      – Weight (go FR620)

      Etc… I’d look at the comparison chart and kinda do a bit of a shootout based on what you think is more valuable.

    • Calle

      “Lots more heart rate metrics” – what are you referring to here, since it doesn’t even do R-R recording (yet)?

    • Time in zone primarily (both on the device and on the unit). And, it does to HRV/RR display on the unit itself (see that in the photos).

  15. Peter

    Another great review from DCR!

    I was planning to pick up a V800 next week but based on your review I’ll not bye this watch. Seems like Polar is just pushing to much ‘promised functional’ ahead of them..!!

  16. Calle

    Great review as always. Just one thing – isn’t the fact that you can’t export to i.e Strava fatal? I would really miss all the features provided by external sites (not that it makes you a better athlete, but it sure takes some of the fun out of the whole thing). For me it is a complete showstopper and a rather big elephant.

    • For me, yes, I can’t/wouldn’t use it as my primary watch until export is there, specifically because I upload everything to TrainingPeaks to share with a coach.

  17. Leo

    So what happens when you connect the V800 to your computer with the cable? Do I understand correctly that it doesn’t show up as a USB pendrive? And that there’s no way to access the training files either on the V800 or on your computer?

    • Correct, it does not show as a USB mass storage device. Rather, you have to have FlowSync to access the data on it (which is not visible to you).

    • John

      Is SportTracks (PC version, not their online service) able to read data from V800? “No” would be a deal breaker for me.


    • No, you cannot. The V800 is not able to send/export/deliver data to any 3rd party apps today (because Flow can’t). Down the road, absolutely (and I’m sure ST will work with it). But not today.

    • Beck Andras

      Hi DC!

      The Beat app sync my training to Flow website,which in turn shows up in polarpersonaltrainer.com. Does the V800 do the same? Upon syncing to Flow,does the sessios appeat at polarpersonaltrainer.com? If yes,than one export the session to a degree.

    • SteveT


      The V800 uploads will only show in Flow where you really can visualized your training and activities. At his moment any data in Flow is not exportable only promised in the future.


  18. simon

    thanks for the great review – it’s close but no cigar. Even if they add all the features they promise they’ll still be enough gotchas for it not to be viable (IMO) eg, the whole situation with the footpod/pace/distance is a no for me.

    the battery life looks good but I’d be interested what happens when you pair a footpod and HRM

    ray – any feedback on the intensity on the vibration, I’ve read some reports that it isn’t quite strong enough ?

    did you find the additional things like the “jump test” of any value ?


    • I’ve found the vibration perfectly fine.

      As for jump test, no, as an endurance athlete I don’t find much (any?) value there. Perhaps I’m missing it, but it just doesn’t really seem to fit into things.

  19. blondin

    Much ado about nothing.

    Quite sad to see so much efforts of marketing and communication to make us believe that the final product is more than just a beta/alpha product.
    Seriously, both the firmware and polar flow are not even close from what other watches can offer, including the Polar RC3 I own currently (data output), gloups.

    Although the watch looks pretty and follows the trend of hyper connectivity and all day tracking (which sounds nice to me), all this points are not enough to convince the basic runner I am, and the triathlet I dream to become. As you often mentionned, I would rather go for something available and working now than for a box of nice promises. The competition is hard (suunto, garmin, tom tom), and I suggest Polar to think about another solution to find beta testers than to ask them to pay more than 400€.

    Again Ray, thank you so much for the time spend to review in depth this product. I really appreciate to be able to avoid some wrong (too early) choices thanks to your advices. I will wait six months to see the winner betwen Fénix 2 / V800 when both products will be more mature. I am sur my wife will thank you also for saving our summer holidays 😉 .

    Bonne journée.

  20. georg pieber

    Hi Ray, good report – as always!
    If I use a speed-c​adence-sensor – does the v800 record the GPS data too? So I can see the gps und speed-cadence-sensor date on polarflow?
    Thanks Georg

    • Yes, it records the GPS data (which you’ll see on Polar Flow) – but the distance/speed data will come from teh cycling speed/cadence sensor. I’ll add links into a few activities here in a little bit so folks can see what it looks like.

  21. s/Pyranees/Pyrenees/ 🙂

  22. Erik

    Thanks for the review!

    I waited for this to decide which triathlon watch to buy. But I guess the V800 is out of the picture as I want to buy one in the coming weeks. Maybe someone can help me out? Just to see if I missed something.

    I have started this year with triathlon (only running before that) and for now I have a few things I would like to have in my watch:

    – multisport support obviously
    – 8+ hours battery
    – routes for biking (I own a 305 and I like the simple yet effective line that I can follow so I do not nee more than this)
    – counting of lapses in the pool as I am sooooo bad at it (HR would be nice too but not necessary)
    – would like to continue to use Sportracks 2 … unless someone here would suggest otherwise

    I do not really need powermeter support (as powermeters are too expensive for me at the moment) and I would not use the whole smartphone connectivity stuff.
    On my list were the 910xt, Fenix 2 and V800. With the V800 out of the picture I think I go for the Fenix 2. I know that it has a lot of stuff I do not need but honestly I like the design way better than that of the 910xt (and would have preferred the V800 in this). I think I have to update sportracks though, do I? Is there any other watch I missed? I know Suunto overs watches with the features I want but I could not find anything that would make it better than the Fenix 2.

    • Tiago Ferrão

      Forget the Fenix2 for the routing on a bicycle though! The previous versions of the Fenix would work great combining routes and no matter which sport profile. This version you can only see a route in the “navigate” profile, invalidating all the other fields. Already wrote to Garmin asking about this issue but or my english sucks or they don’t really get the issue…

    • Erik

      Oh. So you mean I would not be able to switch directly from the route display to a display with HR/speed/time/…? That is a bummer.

    • No, you can do that, you just have to configure those fields in the navigation display to show HR/Speed/Time/etc… What Tiago is referring to is that Garmin made navigating in the Fenix2 a little bit like what Polar has done with different sport profiles. So you’ve gotta kinda think ahead a bit as to which fields you’ll need.

      It’s ‘annoying’, but I wouldn’t describe it as a show-stopper.

    • Erik

      Aha. Thanks for clarifying Ray.
      I agree that it is not perfect but when I am on my bike for a few hours I think it is fine to spend a minute or two to set up the display.

  23. Barrie

    Great review Ray.

    I think you may have a typo in the bugs area:
    – Stride sensor doesn’t autocalibrate for me, resulting in accurate run distances
    I suspect you mean resulting in inaccurate run distances ?

    The Adidas sensor doesn’t calibrate for me also.
    I can’t decide if I should run without the footpod or not.?

    • Thanks. As for Adidas sensor, I’d generally avoid running with it right now outside unless you absolutely need cadence. GPS accuracy is just fine.

  24. Emmanouil

    I got the V800 and HRM Rebroadcasting works fine for me, I can see my heart rate on the treadmill display. I am not sure the treadmill make, but is what David Lloyds (UK) is using.

    • Jake

      Emmanouil, I imagine the treadmill is picking up the 5kHz transmission from your chest strap rather than the HRM rebroadcasting from the V800.

    • Emmanouil

      Jake: Probably you are right, I didnt know that the H7 HRM was broadcasting 5KHz Wind signals and Bluetooth Smart simultaneously, but that should be it, as the treadmill is not that new to support Bluetooth Smart (4.0) technology.

    • That’s correct, it’ll use the analog 5Khz signals (actually not W.I.N.D., that’s a separate thing).

    • Jean-Pierre

      The rebroadcasting works fine. I use my H7 over BTLE simultaneously with both the V800 and an iPad mini (to graph my heart rate in real time), and over 5 GHz (W.I.N.D) to my elliptical over its screen. It’s quite neat, if Polar could work faster on allowing us to export data from Flow – i.e. for Firstbeat in my case.

    • Which iPad app are you using?

    • Jean-Pierre

      iCardio – you have to let it find the H7, and then allow the V800 to connect to the H7, if you do it the other way around (V800, then iPad) it doesn’t work. in iCardio there a 2nd screen/page (when tracking), that provides you with a longitudinal graphic view (with the cardio zones) of the session. It just gives you IMO a better visibility of what’s happening over time, and without having to constantly look at the watch. You can also visually see the impact/decreasing speed of recovery during cycles in HIIT, etc.

    • Ahh, so in that case it’s actually not both connecting over BLE. Rather, it’s connecting over the analog connection (the V800), while the app takes that BLE connection.

      Thus unfortunately, not dual-connecting over BLE.

    • Mario Fonseca

      I do not have V800 (yet, but it’s coming). Last week I tested my H7 with iPhone 5 (Polar Beat) and iPad 4th gen (Polar Team) and it works well at same time in both (pairing first with iPad). Could the rebroadcasting implementation is already working on the iPad? This weekend I will try to do the test again pairing with iPhone first.

    • Greg

      As Ray said, the rebrodcast does not work. The only reason why it looks like it works is because:
      1) The V800 can work with either BLE or the 5KHz GymLink signal
      2) You’re using an H7 which transmits on both BLE and the 5KHz GymLink signal.

      If you would use an H6 which has no GymLink 5KHz transmission only BLE you could not connect to both the V800 and the iPad at the same time. Same if you disabled the 5KHz signal transmission in your H7 using the Polar beat app.

  25. Jake

    Hi Ray

    What happened to GPS acquisition?

    In your preview of the V800:

    “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.”

    In your final review:

    “In my testing I’ve found the GPS acquisition time acceptable but not great. It doesn’t appear to pre-cache satellites like all other fitness devices on the market for the last 1-2 years do. So sometimes GPS acquisition takes a minute or more.”

    I have a sense that the comparison chart changed, too. The V800 seems to have gone backwards.

    Many thanks for the review.


    • Hi Jake-

      I don’t know why things went backwards. It was very quick in my testing previously, but I’ve found in the last month or two that it’s always been the slowest of the bunch of watches I’d have on – usually by a fair margin.

      As for the charts, yup, I updated those to reflect the new reality.

      Ultimately, it’s one of the core reasons I go back and do full in-depth reviews, in case things change down the road in a final product.

    • Asaf

      Quick GPS acquisition is so important, though, less regarded as such.
      If there’s one thing a GPS watch should do is allow you to start running/Cycling the minute you’re out of the door instead of stretching for 5 minutes… Good thing I waited for your review.
      If I’m right, TomTom and Suunto are best in this category.

    • Yes, though, it’s definitely not 5 minutes. More like 1-2 minutes.

    • Rowlarry

      This is quite an interesting finding then- perhaps it’s software related if the unit used to find a fix quicker a few months ago? Hope for the future then, unless it no longer pre-caches or something similar.

    • Christian Köhler

      GPS satellites are not like TV satellites that appear to stay at a fixed position in the sky.
      They are in a lower orbit and go round the planet every 12 hours or so. Every tine you use your GPS you will receive data from a different set of satellites.

      There are no “European” satellites.


    • maou

      From V800 manual: “V800 uses SiRFInstantFix™ satellite prediction technology to acquire a fast satellite fix. It accurately predicts satellite positions for up to three days allowing you to find satellite signals in 5 -10 seconds.”

      Have you tried connecting the V800 to a computer for preloading the satellite info before an exercise, in case the phone sync doesn’t include it (or work at the moment)? Seems a bit weird that for some people V800 finds satellites just fine (at least they are saying so @ polar V800 forum).

    • Yes, multiple times (usually multiple times a day). Looking at the Polar V800 forums actually some people are reporting the exact same thing that it was fine a bit ago, and less fine now.

      In a video I shot tonight of it, it was the slowest of three watches, though, only about 30 or so seconds (of course, this was in the same spot as when I turned it on earlier today).

  26. Tiago Ferrão

    Hey Ray, thanks for one more thorough and professional review. I do have a question though. On the first review you wrote about the V800 you mentioned that the GPS acquisition was “Awesome” and now you mentioned the unit is rather “Meh!” on acquiring GPS. What do you think it happen from the earlier firmware and the current version? I am hoping this is a reversible thing or maybe the European satellites are going some sort of a crisis… (my Fenix2 also is taking a loooong time to acquire the signal, and it use to work fast and furious 2 firmwares before).

  27. Rowlarry

    Morning Ray, and many thanks for your review- it’s the one a lot of people have been waiting for!

    As a V800 owner of 5 whole days, I had been looking forward to reading it but with trepidation as to whether I had made the right choice of ditching my MotoActv and associated ANT+ sensors and investing in a brave new world…after reading your review, I’m 50/50!

    A couple of Negatives:

    The export functionality needs to be A1, top priority for Polar. I urge owners to make this clear at the forums: link to forum.polar.fi

    A very close 2nd to this needs to be Android app functionality- end of 2014 is not good enough, and I should not have to borrow my better half’s iPad or plug this into my laptop to get access to fitness and daily activity data.
    That is without the massive drawback that the current Android App does not support the V800, and is only compatible with certain mobile phone models. I have sideloaded the App, but I really shouldn’t have to do that. Really Poor.

    The Bluetooth Smart Sensor compatibility situation is dreadful, particularly as Polar is chair of the Bluetooth group. I really have got the impression over the last few months (this is my first Polar product btw) that this company has made some questionable decisions over sale of the watch, prioritised their own hardware over ensuring compatibility with open standards and are acting not in the industry’s best interests.


    Watch looks smart
    Battery Good
    Great display
    Limited functionality at present works as expected

    *I can confirm that Topeak Panobike Bluetooth SC Sensor works without a hitch – Ray, for your chart*


    Has anyone at Polar considered import of data into Polar Flow? This I would assume help to refine the recovery assistant? I’m happy to have *my* data in more than one place, and this would be useful until the Export functionality arrives.



    P.S. Polar- if you bring out a V810 in 9 months time, I will find you, and I will ki..probably write a very stiff letter.

    • Awesome, thanks on the Topeak unit, I’ll update the chart!

    • Rowlarry

      No problem Ray, happy to contribute (in a small way). I’m going to buy a 2nd Panobike for my other bike, so will update if any issues present themself.

      Any thoughts on importing data to Polar Flow? Any mention of this at all by Polar? Surely more data would be better for the recovery advisor etc.

    • For importing data, that’ll come later in the year when they get/add support for pulling in PPT and PT5 data.

    • Urb

      I have ordered a panobike sensor in order to use with my V800. After unpacking I decided to send it back because the spoke magnet is soooo big. I did not want to install this monstrosity onto my bycicle. I was afraid it will pull in passing vehicles or metal garbage.

      Great Review Ray

    • Bignorthernmonkey

      Hi all,
      In regards to the Toppeak Panobike sensor, has anyone else found that support for this on the V800 is now just cadence and not also speed?
      I tried unpairing and repairing with my V800, but instead of offering the bike 1 bike 2, I saw pairing complete then bike 1. With no options like before.
      Have tried a factory reset, no luck.
      Any help gratefully received



  28. Dan Feist


    Great review. You say:

    “What’s unfortunate here is that the common industry thing to do is to take cadence from the footpod and then pace from GPS (unless you lose GPS in a tunnel). Or, to offer a configuration option as to which source to pull from.”

    But, this isn’t on planned features/improvements. Any idea if Polar plan to do something about this or if they consider this current behaviour just fine?


    • jonhoffm

      Good question Dan. I do not have the answer, but can relate my experience with the RCX5 –

      I contacted Polar when I got my RCX5 and they seemed to think that it was perfectly fine then and told me (which proved to be true) that they did not have any intent to change the behavior on the RCX5. I could understand this (though I did not like it) because of the separate GPS unit and the need for them to have a configuration mode specific to only those runners who were using both. The fact that they did not change it on the V800 is very troubling to me and I suspect that they expect to leave it as is considering the other features they are working on.

      Overall, I am disappointed with several of the current features of the V800, this being one of the bigger disappointments along with the lack of export, no GPS pre-cache, no automatic time set, the workout pause screen allowing no viewing of information, I could go on. I only hope that they take feedback seriously.

  29. Oisin

    Hi Ray,

    On the topic of HR signal drop while swimming:
    I tried my V800 for the first time in the pool yesterday – it dropped the pulse signal every time the sensor was submerged – after a while though it did return and then dropped again. Seems like the same issue.
    I was however using the old firmware (just got the update to work!).

    There is one thing which you do not cover in the review: look n’ feel.
    The V800 is massively nicer to use than for example a 910xt or a Fenix2 – it’s much more responsive, the screen is beautiful and it looks like a watch you can wear all day.
    My girlfriend wouldn’t let me wear a Fenix2 or 910xt when out, she has no issue with the V800.
    I am happy to accept the shortcomings for this reason. Garmin does sloppy job of the software and it’s devices are ugly. (I am currently struggline with the Edge 1000 and I have fiddled with the Fenix2 – ugh).

    • Mirek_

      This is very subjective. I bought Fenix 2 also for looks and day to day wearing. V800 exterior didn’t impress me, looks totally as a sports watch.

    • “This is very subjective.”

      My wife disagrees. My opinion is non-inclusive when it comes to what I wear out to dinner.

    • Kayne

      Hi Oison

      My V800 Chest strap loses HR signal every time I submerge into chlorinated water as well. Also, it now gives abnormally high HR values when I am at high speeds.

      Just curious, how do you get the most updated “firmware” and should this fix the problem I am experiencing?


  30. Neil

    Thanks for your review Ray.

    I decided to wait to read your final review before making a decision even though I was tempted with the ability to track sleep and assess recovery, etc. I also liked the design of the watch as well; ie a square face.

    However, as a runner, measuring cadence and distance with gps is important so the current configuration with the foot pod is disappointing. Also the Flow beta site appears too simplistic at the moment. (I thought they were marketing this for professional athletes who want to analyse their data!?!)

    Looks like I will stick with my trusty garmin 310xt for the moment. Maybe the rumored Apple iwatch can deliver?! Integration with Wahoo fitness products could be promising.

  31. rltprivat

    Thanks for the magnificent review!

    I have been waiting for your analysis to decide upon switching from currently using Polar RS 800CX (Bike) and Garmin FR620 (Run) to the new Polar V800.
    Now cancelled this plan right away:
    Looking at the details from your review I feel very fine with my ‘old’ but stable Polar 800 and have learned to relove my new but somehow instable FR 620 ( ie talking of data transfer it still feels like a ‘beta’….).

    Crucial in my oppinion:
    – universal data export functionality (GPX/FIT/TCX) for analysis in Sporttracks e.g.
    – historical data export functionality (within Polar devices!)
    – generally: (all) Polar features ready to ‘work’ with non-Polar-world!

    Agree with others in this section:
    Early adopters at this stage pay the full (premium-) price for getting beta functionality: Way too early to buy now (IMHO).

    Stay in touch with all of your comments here,

    • I definitely agree on ‘universal’ data export. I *REALLY* hope Polar understands how critical it is that when they release the data export piece that it be a single file and compatible with all major 3rd party apps without anything extra. Which basically means either .FIT or .TCX (to be able to include other sport data).

      While they can do the combo .HRM/.GPX like they do today, that’s hurting them when it comes to upload to a lot of sites and/or apps. Which in turn, means less people buy it.

    • Pedro Manzana

      I fully agree with your comments: I use RS800 for almost 6 years (actually bought a new one like one year ago). The GPS; both the newer G5 or the G3 which can be connected worked proper, so I never used them. The S3 cadence sensor worked excellent for me, but it is really BIG.

      So, now I felt really in love with the new v800, in particular with the recovery time recommendation, wifi, etc. but reading all the comments, I think for sure I will wait or maybe not switch at all. The features of the RS800 work fine and the polar protrainer 5 software is really cool and very flexible, but old ;). So if the v800 and polar flow platform doesn’t offer me the same functionality, why changing?

      Now I started investigating about the FR620, but as well a lot of issues. Should I switch? I think I will wait. Does anybody use another tool to measure recovery times and training load with the RS800 data?


  32. DS

    Nice review as always Ray. I expect the V800 to eventually be a respectable multi sport triathlon device. What troubles me is the BLE problems given Polar’s role in the creation of this standard as well as the choice to delay Android support for essentially 6 months. Unless one of Polar’s competitors releases a BLE product worth considering I’ll stick with my RCX5 indefinitely and revisit this purchase decision next year.

  33. Ray nice review!

    I am a runner/swimmer and I believe Polar v800 will be my training watch. The HR for both sports is a killer functionality. I do hope they deliver the swimming metrics by october.
    I will have the chance to buy my unit by the end of august (and OFC I will support this site on purchase), so I wont suffer a lot without this (I hope).

    How do you post updates here? A whole update section or just change the core text as it goes?

    Once again thanks for your great review Ray and keep the good job!

    • For updates, I’ll add a line-item into the ‘The Futures’ section where it has the italics right now with: June 9th – No Updates yet.

      Then, depending on the specific update I’ll potentially add a section. For example, for adding indoor swimming – I’ll definitely go back and add a section into the review and then update other relevant sections. Whereas, for something tiny I’ll probably just call it out in that futures section.

      I structured this review a tiny bit different to try and make it easy long-term to update. But ultimately as you might guess for some major items it means re-writing opinion text in a bunch of places. I try to keep it clear where either opinion text has been updated/change, or where other major shifts in the section have been done.

  34. josefpm

    Hey i used a Polar rcx5 and swimming with it and have problem when i used “new” HR sensor, but if u used T31 sensor from polar his old HR sensor it work perfect.

    I know v800 no support ant+ and for this reason and for no gps under water i think is better rcx5 .

    The problem with new sensor its cos water do contact with conections betwen band and sensor and sensor become crazy and no send information to unid with T31 no problem cos it is totally waterproof.

  35. yannis

    Awesome review as always Ray.
    I am a swimmer/runner who recently started doing it more “professionally” and I run my first marathon yesterday and I very proud of myself.
    I’ve been actually waiting for your review since I have my eyes on the V800 since its announcement. To be honest now I am more confused as I was before. I am in between Fenix2 and V800. V800 promises swimming capabilities that Fenix2 hasn’t but aren’t there yet. Fenix2 has the nifty thing with predefined custom waypoints that V800 doesn’t have. Could you maybe do a section as your preview that you were comparing them with each other or give me a few recommendations.
    Thanks for the awesome review and keep up the good job!

  36. Thx lot for the review – which actually prevents me from buying this device. What I’ve planned months ago. Actually, I planned to buy the Loop and the V800. But right now, there are some things I cannot understand:

    (1) Polar has two products (V800 and Loop) that would perfectly match / compensate each other. Just image using the v800 for training and the loop for the remaining 23 hours. BUT Polar did not manage to combine their data – e.g. for culculating rest etc?
    (2) Polar is still not allowing to export my data to mfp or the like? And not offering an alternative. Come on.
    (3) And their webservice is just offering rudimentary functionalities.
    (4) Polar is not transmitting the bluetooth signal to other devices (my iPhone).

    And these are just the major issues for me. So, I don’t see a reason to prefer this watch over the fr620.

    Sadly. I really wanted to like it.

    • On #1 – At this time you cannot use both Loop and the V800 together (at least with the iOS app), it’s one or the other. Per the futures table though, combined data is planned for later.

    • And that is something that I cannot understand – feels a bit like the two product teams do not like to team up with each other.

      Other question @rainmaker:
      Have you thought of incorporating the ability / shareability of data with 3rd parties in your comparison chart? Just thinking of it, as it seems to be important for you (and is for me as well).

    • Yup. I’m working on some charts to do exactly that. It’s a bit complex as each company is kinda 50 shades of grey when it comes to what they allow/show/do.

    • It is true, that you need to change which product is active in use with Polar Flow App (iOS). It does not however mean that you can not use both Loop and V800. You should not use them simultaneously (as it would result double values), but you can use either Loop or V800. I am currently testing this and wearing my Loop today. My activity is showing in regular places at Flow App and web + it is showing on recovery bars. So same way as with using only V800.

      –> You CAN use Loop for example as your day watch and V800 only when training. Everything IS in sync. When you change device, you just need to sync the with App and then change there what you would start using. AND V800 even DOWNLOADS everything from Flow Web. So syncing to V800 is bi-directional. Unfortunately it is not that (yet) with Loop. So your Loop won’t show your activities done with V800, but other way round it works (V800 shows Loop acitivites as it shows also Beat trainings in the watch training calendar etc).

      This is what I have found so far. Looking forward on Beat and Loop bi-directional syncing too. As a reference, you can also see the flowchart of the data flows here: link to polar.com

      Hope this helps 🙂

    • Dan Feist

      Very useful information. My V800 arrives today, and I was hoping to use my loop when sleeping, but was unsure if I could mix it with V800.

      So you can actually mix Loop/V800 and still fully use i) recovery features of V800 and ii) daily goal features of Loop?

      IMO there are a couple of errors in Polar’s diagram:
      1) Flow App is not bi-directional at all, at least not for android. Maybe works with iOS, but I’d be surprised if Flow App is downloading Beat training sessions.
      2) Also, Beat App (again at least on Android) is not bi-directional, i.e. V800/Loop training sessions don’t appear in Beat App. This though, isn’t an issue I don’t think as everything is moving to Flow.

    • I suspect the Flow App for the V800 and bidirectional is referring to updating training views/etc.. Which, it does (at least on iOS).

    • Great!

      Really looking forward to that. (as I am a bit lost in this syncing jungle)

    • Based on my findings 1) yes you can use both Loop and V800 and enjoy both of worlds and their special benefits 2) Agree about Beat not being bi-directional (I’am iOS). There is a bug on the picture (or maybe future feature slip from architect at Polar..hih). I have informed also Polar about this. 3.) Based on my findings my V800 downloaded my daily activity values from Flow App when I first time took it in use (I had been using Loop that day previous to changing to new V800) –> So based on that finding I would say it is bi-directional in addition to only training views or other settings. I will confirm whether this is true today when I later change from Loop back to V800.

      Having said that, I’m still VERY MUCH waiting for additional views for activity data on V800. I have suggested Polar to add that on some watch faces and also to activity screen (new scroll screen maybe). I know it is a device for athletes, but I also know that there are LOADS of people wanting this (what can be red from forums and here too).. Lets keep our hopes (and friendly pressure to Polar) up 🙂

    • Dan Feist


      There are a number of things which should be very simple to implement and make a lot of people happy! Come on Polar, I’m sure you could squeeze these in before you all go off on summer holidays 😉

      – Facebook/Twitter “share” buttons in Polar Flow (also gives Polar free social marketing)
      – Silent (vibrate only) alarm.
      – Activity view(s) on V800. This can evolve, but basics would be good to start with.

      BTW, if anyone out there wants to help me try to implement Flow export before Polar do, let me know and we can sync up. 😀

    • Yes. This works as I said.

      1) I came home this evening from work
      2) Synced my Loop to my iPhone
      3) Switched the active device in Flow App to be V800
      4) Synced the V800 and it downloaded my activity from today into the device (to V800) from Flow App
      5) Started using the V800 to track activity and today’s workouts

      So everything went smoothly. Now ofcourse my Loop bracelet is not in sync anymore with the current acitivity goal status (after three hr sessions, including swimming in the lake..but that’s another story) and continued daily activity.

      So V800 is bi-directional with activity and training data included. Loop only uploads data. Hope it will start downloading also in the up-coming fw-upgrades.

      Hope this clarifies the case of interoperability.

      Ps. Also Beat training sessions are downloaded from Flow to V800 diary. I still think they won’t affect to daily goal though. Only Loop & V800 will.

  37. Barry

    Hi Ray,

    I know this has been asked before, but as its a deal maker/breaker for me with the V800 I wanted to check whether its possible to have a different set of HR zones for each sport profile.

    • Yes, you can define different zones – one per each sport profile.

    • “When you change device, you just need to sync the with App and then change there what you would start using”


      When you change the device you want to use, you just need to sync it first with you Flow App (to get the data out from it) and then change there (in the settings) the other device in use (to be active) and start using it.

      Sorry abt typo.

  38. David

    Epic fail polar

    • Tucker

      How so? They released a $500 “multisport” watch that isn’t really a multisport watch. They decided to ignore the legacy ANT+ power meter market, not that a watch on your wrist makes for a good bike computer anyway but still. There are no swimming functions. You cannot export data to third party sites. It doesn’t cache GPS, though to be fair it seems my Garmin 220 which I’ve had since Christmas is acting up slightly with respect to this recently.
      And how about doing something revolutionary and getting rid of the HR strap. Why can’t it just measure HR from the wrist?
      You say below it has a good foundation with hopes they will release the new features. Sorry but that shouldn’t be acceptable especially at this price point. Same goes for the Garmin 1000 which I felt you were much harsher on garmin then you are Polar in this case.

    • Emmanouil

      Tucker, I have the V800 and I am perfectly happy with it, it replaced my activity tracker and my dedicated sport watch.
      How do you know that is not caching the GPS? Most of the times my V800 is almost instantaneous (2-5 seconds) connecting and acquiring the satellites positions.
      Is perfectly fine for my walking/running/cycling training, I still havent used it in the pool but I will soon do (in a matter of days).
      As I said before I am perfectly happy with it (no compromises) and still waiting for all those features to come.
      Not everything is perfect, but it is still early, my main gripe is with (mainly Polar flow) the exporting the data, and not being able to crop my graph (there is is a functionality to select the graph but you cannot crop it).
      Generally I would actually recommend the watch, if not now, wait a couple of months until they get things fixed (now polar is getting a proper exposure of how people are using their watch), unless ofcourse Suunto releases Ambit 3 with bluetooth support, and activity tracker 🙂 .

    • Jean-Pierre

      ANT+ is hardly legacy, just a different competing ecosystem, and it doesn’t work under water, so you can’t really fault Polar for not including it. Measuring HR from the wrist is done with optical sensors, and they don’t provide you with HRV data, which is a must on if you want to actually measure recovery. Not perfect by far, I have both the V800 and the FR910XT and they have their strengths/weaknesses, but if Polar can deliver on the updates, the V800 + Flow have more potential than the FR910XT + Connect.

    • Tucker

      ANT+ isn’t legacy? You may want to talk to the thousands and thousands of power meter owners out there. And I didn’t mean go exclusively ANT+ just out a dual chip in there. I get that the market will move away from ANT+ but why alienate the existing athletes? Or why not make your hr strap a bridge?
      I know people might like it and that’s great, but I’d rather buy the 910 which is actually a triathlon watch and save a couple hundred or I could actually buy a Garmin watch for running, their swim watch and an edge for the same price or less than this watch.
      No HR underwater? How ever will I survive?
      I hadn’t thought of the HRV measurement and how it needed to be near the heart but that could easily be solved by measuring hr optically on the wrist and selling the strap that you can measure at the heart everyday like omegawave does not?

    • SteveT


      I think that not being able to accurately calibrate your food pod is an epic fail on Polar’s part. I really do.

      Not having a simple calibration by distance as a main menu choice (as the last two generations of Polar running devices) not even in release 1.0.10 is a fail and puzzling.

      When you need to bring a calculator and the owners manual to calibrate the manual adjustment “factor” your “stride sensor” on a top of the line $500 sports watch, not only is it a complete fail but in this day and age can truly be called and epic fail!

      Really Polar?? Really?

      P.S. more below around post #777

    • Greg


      Actually you can calibrate the footpod with a known distance just like you could on the RS800cx.

      1) Run the distance between two manual lap markers.
      2) After marking the lap, long hold the light button for the menu
      3) Select calibrate footpod
      4) Select calibrate using distance
      5) Set the lap distance
      6) Enjoy your new calibration value

    • Mike C

      Hi Greg
      Can you clarify that a bit?
      Do I run the measured distance with the GPS alone or the Footpod on?

    • Greg


      You have to have the footpod on and paired to the V800. I don’t think it matters whether you ahve it in Auto or Manual calibration prior the run. The only thing that matters is that you run a known distance between two manual lap markers and you set the distance for that ran distance in the menu when it comes up.

      When I tested this feature last (very early in the beta testing) the unit did not “fix” the distance up to the calibration but all new measurements from then on used the new calibration values in that and all future runs. It also did not display the non-calibrated distance for the lap but an arbitrary 0.25 value that had to be changed to whatever distance you actually ran. I calibrated using a known mile distance on a road.

    • Mike C

      Thats very helpful, Thank you!

      Do I have to end it with a lap press?

      Again Thanks.

    • SteveT

      Thanks Greg,

      I did know (or found out) about that.

      Please see my post #783 and what my experience was using that method.


    • Greg


      I read your referenced post and the one below it. First of all the S3 is a “running cadence sensor” not a “walking cadence sensor”. Walking will never get your good results, regardless of calibration. The other issue I saw was the relative short distance of your calibration. I always used a mile to calibrate the sensor, never less than that. Polar apparently allows as short as 400 meters, however I don’t think you should use anything less than a mile or a km.

      As for the 400 meter being measured short and not allowing you to use, Polar basically had to draw the line somewhere. How short would 400 meter measure before you disallow it to be used for calibration? 380? 350? They basically said unless the unit measured 400 meters with its current calibration we will not allow to use it, period. It’s a limitation that is not really limiting if you are willing to run a mile to calibrate it, this is why most users would never even encounter this issue.

      The “undocumented” feature to calibrate is identical to the feature on the RS800cx so they had this calibration method available for at least 6+ years. I never received nor read a manual for the V800 but having owned a multitude of Polar HRMs it was a no brainer and very intuitive to figure out the calibration and any other features as well.

      Having said all this, I have done extensive testing with a beta V800 unit and my findings were identical to poster tk (comment #785) that the calibration is pace/gait dependent and it is essentially unusable for anything other than steady pace runs. As soon as your pace/gait changes the measurement will be off. Note that this is no different from the RCX5 or the RS800cx, they both used the stride sensor distance exclusively for distance measurement if they were present regardless whether GPS was also available or not.

      The calibration method does work but it will not fix anything that was recorded prior the calibration, unlike the RS800cx did. So if you go out, run a mile that reads 0.9 miles then perform a calibration and run two more miles the exercise will read 2.9 miles instead of 3.0 because the first mile will still be stored as 0.9 miles. I think it is a bug and I pointed it out to Polar in a beta feedback two months ago.

      I think the stride sensor lacks the required consistency and accuracy throughout the entire pace/gait spectrum that most runners use to be of true value and it would be better served utilizing the GPS distance when available at all times unless it produces ridiculous pace variations and/or paces or it goes missing.

      The GPS sensor is the most accurate and best GPS I have ever used for running, including the Garmin 910xt which is lauded as one of the most accurate and best GPS by Fellrnr. The lock speed is also incredible, it is a matter of seconds on most runs/rides for me.

      I did express my concerns to Polar about the stride measurement accuracy and lack of consistency on runs and I think they’re working on a fix for this issue.

      Disclaimer: I’m a Polar Ambassador

    • SteveT

      Thanks for the response Greg,

      There is a lot there to address;

      This is what I did. 2 days using Automatic calibration on the BT Stride Sensor (SS) walking around the neighborhood. Then I went to a very good high school track to do some calibration work, first on my running shoes and then next on my trail running/hiking shoes. First trial-I did walk 1.0 mi and the auto calibration showed 0.82 mi. This was at my walking speed 3.8-4.0 mph. So I agreed with Ray the auto calibrate is not accurate.
      Next I set a calibration factor that I used in my Garmin foot pod- and took 2 quick 0.25mi laps both showed the distance way short. I then guessed at a factor and did
      a 0.5mi lap and got 0.49mi, two more laps and I had it dialed in to show 0.25mi as I did each lap within 3-4 steps of the start/finish line-yeah I’m happy. thats the same technique I’ve used for my CS800s and RCX5 -only it was simpler on those devices. I’ve got 2250+mi on my RCX5 mostly in the track and treadmills and never saw an issue that I couldn’t correct in two laps.

      Break// so my V800 doesn’t give me an inactivity warning for not moving while I type. LOL

    • Greg


      Before we go any further in the discussion there are two things I’d like to say:

      1) I never used the stride sensor for walking, strictly for running. I’m also pretty confident that Polar developed and concentrated on running as the primary target for the sensor and I would not be surprised if it gave inferior or completely unacceptable results for walking.

      2) I’ve been using polar stride sensors since the S3 came out then switched to the S3+ and now the S3 BLE. I found their accuracy to be an issue where they would measure different distances at different paces. I was always unhappy with the fact that both the RS800cx and the RCX5 used the stride sensor for distance if it was present even if I had a G5 connected. I really thought the V800 would address this, as of right now this is not the case. The S3 BLE is essentially the same as the S3+ and as of right now I find it the same in terms of accuracy if not worse.

      Fortunately I use SportTracks for all my logs and I go off of GPS distance in SportTracks so I really don’t mind that the distance is a bit off on the watch as long as I run familiar terrain with known mile markers. Given that I do all my quality work, marathon pace and LT runs strictly on HR I really don’t concern myself with pace information accuracy that much.

      But I think the V800 could be improved upon greatly if Polar would reconsider how the use the S3 footpod data.

    • SteveT

      I’m back,

      Next I wanted to calibrate my trail “trotting” shoes which I use for hiking etc and I do want to have somewhat accurate trail distances. I couldn’t count on the “Auto” function and setting a factor was a pain in the shoestrings, so I did find the set by distance function similar to the previous devices as you stated. However, none of that is in the current Polar documentation. Why not? Polar is using us a “Beta” testers -this is still in development and it shows.

      Thats why I wanted to do some junior DC Rainmaker fan and part time unofficial Polar beta tester detective work. I reset the factor to 1.00 did 3×0.5mi laps and 3×1.0mi laps while only resetting the distance to the actual on track distance using the quick menu method. The final two laps showed 0.23mi vs 0.25mi actual.

      So to my way of thinking, since Polar bills this as their flagship “multi Sport” activity tracking watch it should be able to provide a range of accurate calibration factors-not just running- and wouldn’t it be great if I could select my shoes/bike like I could before.

      I believe that if Polar has a function that is accessible on the watch they need to provide proper documentation or list the fw as a beta build available to the public like they do for their Flow website.


      P.S. would you let Polar know to set the default lap distance to 1.0mi not 0.6mi for all sport profiles for those that select imperial units.

      Thanks again Greg I know you are trying to help.

    • SteveT


      I agree that Polar has been in the running HRM business for decades, but now there are new use cases for the V800 (they even have Trotting, as in behind a horse, as a sport profile).

      I think there is a use case for a stride sensor to provide accurate distance for someone on a trail that has intermittent GPS reception. I would also like vertical acceleration to be used to measure the accent on a incline treadmill (NordicTrak x9i) -right now Polar assumes a level treadmill and I can have 1000′ of climbing and nothing is captured.

      I agree with the GPS accuracy. I’m now comparing the V800 to my fenix1, GPS only, no foot pods/stride sensors.


    • SteveT


      To close out the discussion, I’m going to go back to the track to do some more testing over the next several days, just to make sure I have a good Speed Sensor and check the factors being calculated internal to the watch.

      FWIW I did end each session after I updated the factor so I don’t think it was using corrected and uncorrected distance values.

      Thanks for the info and discussion.


    • SteveT

      I did get back to the track for more testing and the bottom line seems to be you won’t be able to calculate an accurate calibration factor especially if you are using miles/ft units. By accurate I mean the same accuracy I got with my RS800CX and RCX5 with their foot pods. (i.e.pace within a few seconds/mi and no more than 0.1mi/5mi on a measured track).


      On the watch side, you need to know the calibration factor and the calculated distance the watch converts the stride sensor data into. This is only displayed on the calibrate distance page in the quick menu. If you are using meters you can see and set the distance to the nearest meter (3 decimal places) but even if you use metric units that you can set to the nearest 1 meter that calculated distance is then converted back into miles.

      If you use miles you will only see the calculated distance to the nearest hundredth of a mile, so that could be off by up to 0.009mi (48′) depending on how polar does the math and rounding.

      On the stride sensor side who knows what precision those have other than they do seem to be sensitive to small variations in velocity.

      Bottom line: the best I got with the stride sensor was around =+/-15ft/0.25mi. I will say that I did get near spot on (+/- a stride or two) with the GPS only and a solid 11-12 satellite lock, open sky. More typical is 9 satellites and who knows what errors that means (+/- 2%)?

      YM (and stride sensor LoL) MV


  39. Stephane

    Hi all,
    Just to let you know on my side that i’ve test both the Fenix 2 and V800 for running, biking and open water swimming and pool swimming.
    My perception is that the V800 is more accurate for real distance in open water swim and more accurate too in instant pace in running.
    For now, yes, i’m concerned about not been able to export data from polar flow to other site like TrainingPeak. And not having the foot cadence when running outside directly in the watch. But after few days of use, i still prefer V800. Will surely return my Fenix 2 is the next days.

  40. Fredrik

    I’m actually glad I bought the V800 ahead of your review, as I might not have bought it given the tone of your review.

    But I’m really happy with my purchase. I bought it knowing that swimming metrics and data transfer would come at a later stage, but as Oisin wrote a bit higher up, I think you missed a point here.

    The V800 first of all looks really smart compared to other similar products.

    The user interface is very smooth and reactive, menus are simple and easy to navigate.

    The data transfer to the phone is done with a single button press, and woosh it’s on the web. All settings you do on the Flow webplatform can be synced to the watch through the phone, i.e. you can edit your settings from any computer by login into Flow, and the data will sync through your phone to the watch, no cables needed. This is neat, I can just login with my ipad and sync the watch with my iphone.

    I love the dynamic recovery features. After each work out, you get an estimated recovery time, and it will adjust according to how active your are during the rest of the day using the data from the embedded activity monitor. If you have a busy day, your recovery times will adjust. I agree that more details visible on the watch would be nice regarding the activity status. But I’m not usually looking at the activity data during a workout, and when not working out, I just look at the detailed data on my Iphone Flow app.

    I agree that the Bluetooth sensor issues are a bit irking, but this must be possible to iron out with firmware updates. And I guess a bunch of sensors will come out later this year, as BT4.0 seems to gain traction. I’m not hurrying to buy these add-ons yet.

    To sum it up, I think this is a great multisport, it looks sharp, all basic training features work well and I hope I won’t be disappointed by Polar in the long run. But so far, I’m loving it.

    • NMS16

      A “great mulitsport”!?!?!

      From what I gather:

      -no pre-cache for gps;
      -cannot start running until gps is acquired (or run risk of poor data);
      -gigantic foot pod that doesn’t calibrate and does not take over when GPS is lost;
      -no cadence sensing from wrist;
      -only target HR based workouts from Polar Flow;
      -no quick release functionality;
      -no bluetooth smart power meters;
      -no swimming metrics for distance or strokes;
      -no open water swim.

      I am sorry but as far a mulitsport functionality is concerned, this seems pretty half-baked.

    • Fredrik

      Except quick release, everything on your list can eventually be fixed by firmware update, guess I took a risk there.

      Since I train mostly based on heart rate, the temporary lack of other external sensor metrics doesn’t bother me.

      All I meant to say is that there is a strong focus here on what’s not in the watch (yet) while overlooking all the good stuff that works really well.

    • “All I meant to say is that there is a strong focus here on what’s not in the watch (yet) while overlooking all the good stuff that works really well.”

      To some degree though, I have to focus on the things that aren’t there. Focusing on what I’d consider ‘baseline’ features isn’t as valuable. Meaning, if I look at Bluetooth sync – that works equally whether it’s the FR620 or the Fenix2 (and actually, there’s less button presses on either of those watches than the V800, not that it really matters).

      I agree that the V800 has a good foundation, but it’s just that – a foundation. Polar has to prove they’ll deliver the features. Further, if someone is looking at buying a triathlon watch for this summer, it’d be really hard to recommend the V800 over other units given the lack of features today. If they’re buying it for next summer/spring/winter, then I’d say wait and see what comes out between now and then.

    • Fredrik

      I agree with where your focus needs to be and that a lot of features that would make it a great triathlon watch are missing for now. Polar definitely has to deliver on their promises and hold to their release calendar, otherwise they’ll struggle to stay relevant in that field.

      Although regarding button press, a single 2 second push on the stop button in watch mode starts the BT sync. Can’t see how you can beat that.

    • Ahh, good point, forgot about that shortcut (I always go the long way for some reason). Yeah, that’s handy.

    • Pedro Manzana

      Hola Fredrik, are you working in the polar v800 product development team?

    • Kent

      “Once done, you’ll go ahead into the general settings and then into the Bluetooth area (‘Pair and Sync’) to sync the watch. At this point after pressing ‘Sync Data’ you’ll want to open up the Polar Flow mobile app on your phone to start the sync process.”

      “Meaning, if I look at Bluetooth sync – that works equally whether it’s the FR620 or the Fenix2 (and actually, there’s less button presses on either of those watches than the V800, not that it really matters).”

      Less than pressing one button? It seems that you have missed that you just have to hold the back button to start syncing the V800!?

    • Kent

      Ooops, missed that someone else already pointed the shortcut out….

    • Yup. Though, actually, to answer your question – yes, on the FR620 (or Edge 510/810/1000), it’ll automatically sync the data when you save the activity and the phone is connected. Or, in the case of the FR620/Edge 1000, the same over WiFi.

      (I’m really not saying that I care though, just purely noting it).

  41. Marcos Rivas

    was eagerly waiting for this review! I had the V800 for two weeks now.. really happy with it….
    Bit disappointed with the flow ….
    Wanna ask about laps/interval info…. I programmed several workouts on the watch but I’m not getting any info on the different stages afterward… I get all the,alerts.
    I too clarify … After a 3k easy and let’s say 6*2min fast (since I can’t make a pace target in my $450 Euro watch) and 3 k cool down…. I get the alerts but I don’t see any info afterwards on the different stages….
    Do you have any info on this? I have asked the polar people with no luck at all..

    • Assuming you’ve pressed lap, the information will show at the bottom of Flow (see my screenshots), as well as in the history on the activity (separated by lap). Or are you asking for something different?

    • Jesse

      I think Marcos means without pressing laps. If you create an interval training in PPT.com for RCX5, afterwards you can also view data for the phases (separate from any manual or automatic laps). Is this not possible in Flow? Kind of pain in the ass to take manual laps when the training guidance is fully automatic and you would just like to follow alerts.

    • Marcos Rivas

      That’s what I meant…

    • Ahh, I see what you meant. Good question, I’ll find out. I agree, that’d be much more logical.

    • anders

      yup, I just came home from doing a phased workout and was quite surprised by:

      1. the watch takes automatic 1.0km splits from the beginning of the exercise – so even if am in the middle of a “work” phase it will beep and light up!? any way to turn that off? When I do a normal run I do want the 1.0km splits, but not with a phased exercise.

      2. the splits for the work-phases are nowhere to be found afterwards on Flow – the watch does light up and show them at the end of the work-phase while actually doing the exercise but it’s just madness that these numbers are not then found in Flow!?

    • Adriaan

      You can create another sports profile for example: “Road Running’ in which you do your Phased Intervals, then remove the autolap = 1km in the alinea “Basic – In relation with sport’.

      And do your normal training in another sports profile where the autolap is ON.

  42. Hanna

    Great review thank you.

  43. Hanna

    Great review. Thank you

  44. David Nixon

    If the V800 has motion sensors built in, why is there any need for a foot pod? On the same subject, as one who runs hills alot, I can not use a foot pod if that overrides the GPS signal since stride length changes based on incline. That is why my existing post pod is collecting dust right now

    It seems like the V800 is so close to being good… Guess I’ll have to wait 9 months for the V810. Of course an iPhone, a complete Wahoo groupset (once swim monitor comes out), and iWatch for showing data, may end up being the way to go…

    • I’d agree, I’d like to see the V800 support internal cadence like all other mid and high end GPS watches that have come on the market in the last 18 months or so.

    • Tiago Ferrão

      same theory applies to the jump test, then! the accelerometer in the watch should be able to pick elevation from your body and determine the exact same parameters than the pod does. The only requirement would be to instruct the user to keep his arms still and not wave them in the air (like he just does care)… seems Polar is trying to sell ice to eskimos.

    • Hank

      I actually ordered last night v800 with HRM. To me I usually run on the treadmill but do you see or have you heard any future updates from Polar to enable internal accelerometer or motion sensor to calculate distance or speed?

    • I haven’t heard anything on that front either way.

    • Chris

      That has been (re) added now on the latest release 1.7.18.

  45. xander

    “You can do that with something like one of these $9 rubber blocks….”

    I guess I miss a link here?

    “On Flow, each of the sports are shown along the bottom on the graph: …”

    I think you mean top by ‘bottom’, bcuz time is on the bottom (or i’m holding my screen upside down)

  46. Jose I

    Thanks for a great review. I’m underwhelmed by this device – the lace of foot pod and GPS simultaneously recording, the data lock in and the buggy 3rd party accessory compatibility.

    I wonder why it is so hard to release bug free software? Are there too many manufacturer specific platforms and not programmers? Are the companies under capitalized? They can’t all have bad project managers. Should they all switch to more common or open source platforms?

    Regarding the heart rate strap slipping off during swimming, have you tried sewing on shoulder straps, maybe cut from an old HR strap or a old sports bra?

    Also, please add a tip jar.

    • No, I sorta refuse to wear a sports bra to the pool. It’s one of my ‘thou shall not’ rule pillars, right alongside wearing a dress.

    • Jose I

      LOL. I meant just the * shoulder straps* from an old sports bra. Not the whole thing. It would make a very manly harness.

  47. Roger Abrego

    Thanks for the review, I was waiting for this in order to buy the Fenix 2 or the Polar v800 and I think I’m going with the Garmin. I’m a beginner triathlon and a Mountain biker for almost 4 years and I think the Garmin have more features that can help me to complete my tasks.

    Thanks and keep the good work it is always good to read your reviews.

  48. Trailerman

    Ray, how come your GPS reception rating has changed so drastically since your first look? Are you saying that GPS reception has deteriorated signficantly since you tested the pre-release version? Seems a little strange.

    Many thanks for a great site.

    • Not GPS accuracy, just initial GPS pickup/reception time.

      No idea why it’s shifted. But it’s been very clear (since I had video from it back in Dec/Jan) – and now it’s much slower for me. Curious to see what others see there.

      Again, if I start/stop in the same spot it’s within a few seconds. But if I fly somewhere (like Finland last week), it took almost 2 minutes for initial sat.

      Contrast that to when I first had the unit and turned it on in the US after flying from Europe and it was under 20 seconds.

    • Oisin

      it can be very slow….
      I got sick of waiting for it today 10% – 20% – 30% – .. – 40% – 10% – 20% etc…aaagghh
      I just started cycling despite the lack of GPS.
      The accuracy does seem good though.

    • Fredrik

      Same here, went up to 90% today to fall back again to 20% and was stuck there for a while, took 1 minute to lock. Yesterday I had a lock under 15 seconds.

    • Vidar Johannessen

      Same experience for me as well! Once I got the V800 pre-release model two or three weeks ago it was extremely fast to acquire a GPS lock. After going out of my house I got a lock in some seconds, time after time. To my surprise I now have to wait a minute or two, still outside the same house and starting point. What happened????
      I also got a warning that I run without calibrated altitude in the start of my two last running sessions.Still the same track starting from my house, so something seems to have changed here as well. The problem with (GPS)altitude calibration in the start of the session might indicate that the watch use some time to acquire a good lock.

    • Trailerman

      Thanks Ray

      I’ve seen a slowdown in GPS lock from my pre-release firmware, since I updated to 1.03. I don’t recall what the pre-release firmware was, but it’s whatever Polar shipped all their pre-June units out with.

      That said, it still gets a lock quicker than my 910XT which would sometimes sit there alternating between 1 and 2 bars for like a minute.

      Hopefully if enough people shout loud enough they’ll find away to restore the performance it showed originally, without compromising other areas.

      Android app support (or lack thereof) is very much the biggie for me. If it doesn’t come very soon, I will consider returning the unit, despite the fact that pretty much every thing else on it is great. Only exceptions would be a) training load – which seems to be horribly over-calculated every session; if I followed it I’d need 3 days rest after every two hour bike ride at tempo, and b) button sensitivity, or something on my unit which is causing it to randomly swap profile screens whilst I’m riding my bike – could me my glove touching a button, but it’s becoming really annoying.

      Aside from these quirks, I think it’s a great piece of hardware, very wearable as a watch, and the activity tracking is great, or will be once it works with Android Polar Loop.

      Does anyone know if you can enter Basal Metabolic Rate manually at all? Not sure how Polar calculate it, but I’d rather use the value my scales give me.

    • TheTrimaster

      might be that the slap-the-screen function (“touch”) is set too sensitive and you just set the setting to “scroll view” … can be that you do MTB and the loss end of the wristband initiate this action. Decrease the sensitivity and you will be fine.

    • stubs

      Any correlation with syncing through the bluetooth phone app vs. the usb website sync? I assume that aside from the “where you were last” cache, any quickfix data is calculated on a server and downloaded to the watch when sync’ing with it.

    • TheTrimaster

      Had continous tests on the GPS aquisition speed.
      My observations:
      – mid May and about two weeks forward: extremely fast (within seconds)
      – beginning of Juni: suddenly both footpod and GPS takes longer time to connect (GPS upp to 40 seconds in some cases)
      – tests during the last two days: extremely fast again (within seconds for GPS and footpod) HRM takes some seconds more. But sure below 10 sec.

    • TheTrimaster

      addition: all was running in firmware 1.0.3 so cannot be connected to firmware etc.

    • Tommyboy39

      Trailerman… or anyone else who might know.

      Have you heard anything regarding more android support yet? Mainly the V800 working with the flow app? I sent some correspondence to Polar but am not expecting to get any real details.

      Got the watch the other day and have used it with a couple of my Insanity workouts and walks. I am loving the new training watch.

      In terms of GPS… after the initial connection which took about 30 seconds or so… it acquires a signal pretty quick. Usually within 10 seconds. I don’t have any other training watch to compare it to as this is my first one with GPS built in (or GPS period… even with a separate GPS pod).

      So far so good with the watch. I hope some of that support comes sooner than later…. like actually numbers for the activity tracking would be fabulous!

    • Hi Tommy-

      Per the table in this section (link to dcrainmaker.com) I’ve outlined the Android support. I assure you that there’s no more direct connection on the exact dates than that table (since it’s me straight to the product lead of the V800).

      And, the second it changes, they’ll let me know and the table will get updated.


  49. Grzeg1

    Ray, many thanks for a great review. I’m really sad about the timeline. I really
    wanted to get the watch but without data export and Android compatibility it’s for nothing. 🙁

    Again I’m curious what others think and we’re after the final review so I put a link to a new survey.

    Here are previous results.

  50. Hi Ray, I can confirm as a retail user that the Wahoo Blue SC does indeed work fine with this watch.

    I can also confirm I have done a number of open water swims now and my Heart Rate works fine 🙂

    Hope that helps.

    • TheTrimaster

      Wahoo Blue SC just died for me during a race last weekend. Still connected but did not kick. Had to do a hardreset and finally it came back yesterday. What is going on? Is Bluetooth Smart sensitive to terristic radiation? Also other sensors on a completely different setup (not V800) all together suddenly lost pairing.

  51. Y

    For those still waiting for shipment from Clever Training, I received this email from them today. I preordered on 5/19.
    Polar has confirmed they have shipped the V800 black with HRM and we should receive enough to fulfill all of our pre-orders. We are expected to receive within the next 5 business days at which time we will ship to our customers.

    • Tommyboy39

      I did not receive that email and I pre-ordered on 5.11.2014. Based on that, it looks like I will not get it in time for my camping trip where I was going to be doing plenty of hiking and biking. I would need it by 6.17.2014 in order for that to happen. Serious bummer!! Either way, I am looking forward to getting it. I will just keep my fingers crossed in hopes that I get it by 6.17.2014.

    • If you shoot Clever Training a quick note (or just ring them), they’ll be happy to give you an estimated date.

      Edit: Also, I do know that e-mail went out to all V800 pre-orders, so I’d double-check your SPAM/Junk folder in case it got snagged there.

    • Tommyboy39

      Thanks Ray.

      I contacted them shortly afterward. Looks like my order should be shipping out tomorrow. Looking forward to receiving it.

      Thanks for the great reviews.

  52. Gabriel

    1) Can V800 sync with a PC via Bluetooth (with FlowSync), without the USB cable?
    2) Does V800/FlowSync give you the option to save the training files on your PC (whatever formats), the same way as RCX5?

    Thanks for your review, Gabriel

  53. J.Griffin

    Long story short, I needed a upgrade to my FR305, waited thru the FR220-620 releases. I wanted the V800 to hit the marks, but could see the writing on the walls so I opt for the Fenix 2. In hind sight it was the right move for me.

    Now I have a workable unit, that I can use over the next few years as I wait to see what improved units hit the market.

    As it was mentioned above the V800 seem very half baked.

  54. Urb

    Hi Ray,

    I want to mention that you will enjoy the full activity tracking functionality of the V800 only if you are a owner of a Polar Loop and have registered the Loop to your account.

    If you dont have a Loop (like me) you will not get the activity percentage bar and not the remark how useful the activity of your day was.

    This is something very anoying.

    And I want to mention that it is also very anoying to read the date of expected android app. It should not be so much difficult to offer a android compatibility. It seems to me a bit supercillious from Polar not to bring the android app earlier.

    • TX911

      Activity tracking on the V800 is geared toward taking your non-training activity into account in terms of RECOVERY.

      It is not designed to track your activity primarily in its current form, hence the lack of display for number of steps, activity bar etc. These functions you will have on the Loop, which is designed to track and encourage activity for relatively inactive folks.

      If you do any training at all, your activity percentage bar will be way over 100% every day.

      BTW, as someone above mentioned, I am glad I bought the V800 before the review came out, or I may have been swayed not to buy. This is a great training device, very well-made, and the activity tracking is icing on the cake. I understand why the lack of data export and android app would be a deal-breaker for some, but I am very happy with this watch. Having said that, there is no excuse for Polar not to have had data export and a functioning BTLE repeater at lauch.

    • TheTrimaster

      Hi Urb,
      as a former user of the LOOP (since it was available) until the V800 was available one question:
      What is the point to wear the V800 AND the LOOP. I only can see simple one information which I do not get by the V800: amount of steps (moves). All the other activity tracking information including amount and quality of sleep is there and all visible either on the web or Iphone.

      As I agree that several functions are not in place yet and have to proof to be superior or compatible with competitiors BUT I think the industry anyhow coming to a end of the war “suppling most metrics wins”
      this is finally nonsens as we will not have time and knowledge to use it all out properly.

      I think there are some extra strengths of this watch which yet have not been emphasised:
      suppling a very smooth transition for in triathlon (including transition times) – you need only to press two buttons 3 times each during an entire triathlon to get all sections right –
      As it is a 24/7 watch it will include all your daily activity, development of HRV to consider your recovery.
      To tell you if you are on the way to get overtrained or undertrained.
      This is going far beyond than if there is one more function (even if I want them all !!!! )

    • Urb

      Hello TX911,

      I dont agree with your opinion. There is no lack of display at all. The display offers much more scope than the Loop display. BTW I don´t miss anything on the watch itself. I miss the data in the flow service. All relevant datas are collected in the V800, and, as far as I know, if you just have registered a polar Loop you will get the informations wich I miss. Even if you not use the Loop.

    • Urb

      Hello TheTrimaster,

      the point is, I dont like to buy a Loop because all the datas are collected by V800 as well.

      You are wrong in a certain point. As a no loop owner, I get the steps as well. But I miss the percentage bar and the description of activity benefit.

      Of course I might be above 100 percent a lot of days. But this should not be the problem of Polar. I would like to know my level of activity even on normal working days, without training.

      What makes me angry is that it is not a problem of the device. They just turn the functionality of if you dont buy a Loop.

    • Trimaster

      in this case it is a bug or a very strange thing. I was wrong I see the steps, the bar, and also the activity benefits. Exactly all features which I had with the LOOP. It is still registered but I do not use or sync it anymore. Is that the reason I can see the features and you don’t ? I cannot believe that. Ask Polar via Facebook etc.

    • Urb

      it is exactly like this.You don´t need to use the loop, you just let it registered and you get all the information. As soon as you remove the loop from your account all the information is removed also. This is what another user told.
      And this is what makes me so much angry.
      I already contacted Polar Germany by phone, they advised me to write an E-Mail with a lot of informations about my Computer System and so on, and I never got an answer.

    • Arnout

      By design you are 100% right.
      However found it very useful in my case.
      Stressful job with long hours and recovering from injuries it keeps me honest on my total training and activity load. And it looks even kind of decent under a dress shirt.
      And I would expect it to work quite well for tapering for an important race.

    • Gene

      I have to concur with Urb. I’m an owner of a Loop that recently purchased a V800, and the only way to maintain the daily activity goal tracking (blue percentage bar) is to keep the Loop registered on my Polar Flow account. I thought I’d be able to delete the Loop but I can’t if I want to maintain the daily activity goal tracking feature. While I use all the training tracking features, I want that daily activity goal tracking for the days I don’t train, might sound dumb but I want to make sure I walk around enough on my days where I’m mostly stuck sitting in the office, and that blue percentage bar (or the red bar on the Loop) was a good and easy to read indicator.

      At $500 (not to mention the $130 I spent on the Loop) I was hoping that the V800 would at a minimum have the same activity tracking features as the Loop. Whether I’m running, or walking around a cubicle farm, I’d like the feedback that I achieved my daily activity goal aside from info on any training I’m doing. I hope a future V800 firmware upgrade includes Loop activity tracking features along with whistles and bells.

      It would be nice if syncing with an iPhone wouldn’t crash either.

  55. Heiki

    Nice watch with nice idea on a road.

    I see that Polar wanted to build lets say – most valuable product and put into market. Now they will start adding features and updating it by using their own thing list as well getting input from users, like DC and some others.

    I hope they will keep their promises and will not get lost on a road what I think have happen previously – you can find lots of user comments under polarpersonaltrainer forum. Most probably reason was that they wanted to build something new, something big and that’s why turned back to existing products and wish list.

    I’m still wondering how this recovery thing is working?
    Do you have any idea / info what logic they are using? On what their estimations are built on?
    Average person, average sportsman, your own data?

    I see currently on personaltrainer that Polar thinks I should rest but I don’t understand why, according my feelings. So it’s sometimes hard to accept what they are showing and calculating.

    And one additional thing – if I will be injured, can I add it somehow, so that “brain” inside of watch will not say that I have been un-active x hours?

  56. Paul

    So if I had to choose between a 910XT and a Polar V800 for tri purposes it must be the 910?

    • TimforTri

      Or a Suunto Ambit 2S. Much cheaper than the V800 and robust software and hardware. Also looks much nicer than the 910XT.

  57. Jacquyes Godon

    I have a V800 since a week. I use it with an Edge 800 and a Stages power meter. To be able to use the Bluetooth and Ant+ values, i use a Viiiiva strap. It works fine with Edge and Stages. With the V 800, i have the values for “regular” use but not those for R-R, Fitness test and orthostatic test. Not a big problem, when needed , i change for the H7 unit. Maybe later, i hope the Viiiiva will be fully compatible.

    • ThomasR

      I have a Viiiiva too and AFAIK it records R-R, I wonder if Polar ever will address this. Care to do a bug report to them? I’m still waiting for my V800…

  58. JEsc

    I was surprised to see my first treadmill run with the V800 automatically synced to my MapMyFitness.com account after I had manually logged it in yesterday cause I didn’t think it would work with Polar Flow. I had the Import Workout from Polar account setup for syncing but assumed it would only work with PolarPersonalTrainer.com

    • Jii

      So you have discovered the workaround for the data export? 🙂 It seems that data uploaded to Flow will be automagically synced to polarpersonaltrainer.com. From there you can actually export…to gpx and xml. Unfortunately gpx does not have HR values and xml does not have coordinates 🙁
      I wonder how many 3rd party sites can sync automatically to polarpersonaltrainer.com? Can you do export then on mapmyfitness?

    • JEsc

      The confusing part is that PolarPersonalTrainer.com is not showing the run?!
      MapMyRun only allows exporting as .CSV for paid MVP members.

    • Jii

      Well I don’t have V800 yet (still). I have experimented with Polar Beat and thought that the data flow would have been the same. I guess not. Perhaps the Beat is uploading to PPT which then gets synced to Flow.. So it is that way around.
      But as mapmyfitness is able to pull the data from Polar, there must be a generic shared API which is used for Polar accounts/services. Then we would need to find a 3rd party site which syncs to Polar and allows data export. Crazy – uh?

  59. Harmless Harm

    Lack of proper BT sensor support worries me, what about power meter support promise. Could be just PolarPower sensor is working in September. Powertap and Stages users will be very upset. Is there any commitment geven here?

    Thanks for review.

  60. AM-J

    Hi Ray.
    Thank you very much for your great review. It helps me a lot in my decision to buy/or not tne V800.
    Currently I use the RC3X and – for me – the very good training programs from ppt.com. How does it works with flow? Are there any functions for complete running programs for marathon etc.? Or do I have to enter alll training sessions manually from ppt to flow?
    Andy F.

  61. Semi Ennafaa

    Wow to be hones Ive expected bit more from Polar. Their to do list is quite impresive and I agree that if they will be able to tune it than it would be probably best multisport sport tester arround. But right now I am bit tired of being used as beta tester. And I am not pointing just to Polar but also to Garmin with their “unfinished business” Fenix 2. Both units v800 and Fenix 2 cost ALOT and you would expect certain level of quality but it seems development teams are bit overhelmed with all possibilities that they forget about main purpose of multisport tester. For now I keep my Suunto Ambit 2 (returned Garmin Fenix 2) which is also far from perfect but at least works. Anyway as a IT geek I am looking forward to future fw updates on Polar and Garmin products. BTW it would be cool if someone would offer sporttester with opensource system.

    • Marcos Rivas

      totally agree with you… My Garmin Fenix 2 is on eBay an I will be lucky if I sell it…. I thought the delay on the V800 was to release something decent and not a unfinished watch like the Fenix.. but I’m afraid it is not so… I love polar but I must say that the watch is not really finished… The funny thing is that if you wait say 6 month you well be able to buy it with 30 % off and in the final version…. I don’t understand really why are r we paying more to look for bugs … They should we paying us for our help!!

    • TheTrimaster

      I do not get the point. The V800 is a very solid watch of high quality maybe the best hardware built of all. The watch works in all functions which are supplied yet with very great response. The advantage is that is has the newest hardware and as a IT geek you know, when the hardware is good you can built fantastic software on top of it. (it is most often the hardware which is the fault when it does not, right 😉 )
      So the quality is there and the hardware is there.
      But if you like to go with a diesel car don’t buy a Tesla you would be very disappointed.

    • Stefan

      I do agree. The hardware is rally great, and already a great running partner.

      On the software side polar is a bit slow, but they have huge potental with this hardware. I really hope they understand and contribute with all their resorces to make it a even better product. And my secound wish is, that they go the path to give pros and semi pros tools for their training. Even if the masses are more interestet in a cool fitness watch.

    • Marcos Rivas

      That’s my point… The V800 is like a Ferrari… But a Ferrari you can drive at max 20 miles per hour….
      You can’t programme pace training
      You don’t have any info on your training phases (you have to hit manually the lap button !!Come on!!!)
      I talked with polar and they don’t know when this features well be available…
      Polar flow is so rudimentary when you compare itwith ppt…. Maybe in the future… Funny thing in the future the V800 will cost 300…

  62. david n

    Thanks for the review Ray!
    Do you know if enabling custom apps, or a sdk to allow users to write custom apps, is planned in the future? Or if it would be possible to hack the firmware to allow to do so (similar to the canon firmware hacks)?

    • It’s not on any roadmaps that I’m aware of. And honestly, that would be a pretty big shift in thinking for Polar.

      Ultimately, it’s the direction the industry is slowly heading though (whether or not said industry wants it). Shifts from companies like Apple and Samsung will soon cement that idea, and the major fitness players will have to find a way to respond to that shift.

  63. Evan

    What exactly is the “Fitness Test”? Does it estimate V02 Max?

    • Vidar Johannessen

      It is mainly based on what you add of info on your training background. I discovered this some years ago when I tried changing every parameter in the RS800, and than I observed how it influenced reported VO2max. It is in other words based on statistics, and the heart rate variability including other parameters directly measured has just a minor influence. Just try for yourself to put in the watch that you train 1 session a week training background- take the test… than change to elite background – do the test again……. you will see!

      I was very disappointed after this discovery!(And I assume it is the same for V800 as for RS800)

    • Evan


      So it is an estimation of V02 Max? Can anyone say how accurate it is, compared to proper tests/ other watches etc.? Is it just based on a single test or does it update after every run like Fenix 2?

    • TX911

      What updates every run on the Polar is not the Fitness test, but rather the Running Index.

      The running index supposedly takes into account not only VO2max, but also other components such as running economy.

    • TheTrimaster

      The fitness test is astonishing close to more expensive labtest. Certainly if you set all input values lik max heartrate, personal values etc. right and do the ortostatic test regulary (HRV). Even if there might be a slightly deviation (offset) from real numbers its so very good to tell your VO2max level.
      If I could wish I would like to have an abitrary fitness level which I could correlate to my competition results … we know it does not fully correlate with VO2max only.

    • Stephen

      I’m guessing something like this must be the case.

      Today I got a result of 62 (Elite) whereas a few weeks ago with the RCX5 it was 47. At first I thought this might be due to them changing the test (RCX5 used to call the result “OwnIndex” and say it was comparable to VO2max, but 800 seems to just use the term VO2max so I thought they might have adjusted things). But looking way back over my RCX5 history, it did give me the 62 result once or twice
      For it to hover around two numbers that are so dramatically different, either my body must be all over the place or some setting in the watch must be behind it. I don’t think adjusting my weight by a kg, or my age incrementing by 1, would do that so can only assume it’s the Training Background.

  64. falconeye

    Hi Ray,

    thank you very much for the long awaited review. I think you put so much effort into your reviews that it would be a day time job for a ‘normal’ person. I preorderd the V800 and I am a little disappointed now. I am considering to cancel the order and wait till autumn.
    PS: Could find nothing about temperature. Is it included and can you display it on the watch?

  65. neil rosson

    Was looking for a new running/ulra watch to replace my trusty old 405. The hardware, display & battery life are great but for me there are too many missing features. No ability to assign footpod to cadence with pace as GPS, I assume no instant pace, poor configuration of workouts, no android connectivity, can’t use it with sports tracks, can’t upload tracks from third party mapping apps, no soft watch strap or quick release strap for winter, poor 3rd party accessory support. Unless they added 90% of these things i wouldn’t consider as it doesn’t really offer anything more than my old Garmin. Also just not convinced about a watch telling me my recovery needs, maybe if i tried it i would be sold on the idea but from what i have read people generally tend to ignore this feature. 6 months down the line it may be a different watch but then Garmin & Suunto will no doubt have something in he pipeline.

    • John

      yeah, in the pipeline… and customers will do their beta testing then.

      This annoys me and this is why I switched from beta testing half baked super expensive gadgets to surveying exisiting/proven solutions and buy what fits my needs best.

      Maybe thats why I still love my working FR305 and SportTracks3. Because in the end, it’s about running and excercising not about web 2.0 and debugging closed software stacks.

    • falconeye

      This is exactly the setup I use. Unfortunately the battery of the 305 is getting worse and worse. So I have to make a decision what to do. I thought the V800 is the solution. But after Rays review I am not sure anymore.

    • TheTrimaster

      so what do you recommend to go instead and why?

    • falconeye

      Sorry, I can recommend nothing, because I am no expert in Triathlon or Multisport watches. At the moment, for me it is the best to wait till my old 305 dies completely and then have a look what the market offers. Perhaps we will have a Fenix 3, 920xt or a V810 at that time. Who knows?

    • Claudio MV

      Get a new battery for your FR305! 😉

  66. stef

    Hi Ray
    “No pace/cadence/speed/etc…”
    Will it be possible to create training on gait target?

  67. Mm

    Hi Ray

    Perfect review , thank you !
    A crucial question for me is can you delfine manually HR target zones for different parts of a workout other than Polar standard HR zones ? From your screenshot it looks like you can only define xyz km in Zone 1 (=50-60% hrmax). This is crucial for me as I follow an individual training plan based on threshold / vo2m lab test.

    Thx in advance for a response 🙂

    Btw I can not understand why a top of the line model such as v800 offers only a fraction of training plan programming features offered by old school rs400 or rs800 with pro trainer 5 ??? Is Polar targeting v800 at “Sunday runners” ?

  68. Luis

    Hi Ray,

    Many thanks for the review. It seems Polar is sticking to the major flaw I see in my RCX5 with the stride sensor: if used (for cadence), it forces you to use it for speed/pace also, which yields greater uncertainty than GPS (and variance in the running index scores); if not used in favor of GPS, than no cadence and no data when in tunnels, which is unacceptable in urban areas!

    BTW, does the V800 now provide average speed/pace in the current lap (another major Polar flaw)?

  69. chris

    Thanks for the rundown, always appreciate your work. I just got my watch last week and have the same in water issue with HR. As soon as I submerge I lose all HR tracking. Did they believe it was related to strap or watch in your case?

  70. Sofia

    Great review! but really dissapointed with the watch… It seems that polar is falling in their old habits… And deadlines are really dubious with them… Was seriously considering getting one but beginning to question if I should look somewhere else… Used to use a RCX5 and wasn’t really happy about it. Hated having to add so many polar accesories to it. Will probably get a fr910xt.

  71. giorgitd

    Conflicted. Really ready to replace my FR305, appreciate the idea of tri GPS watch + activity monitor. Not excited about the ‘trust me’ approach wrt future functionality – although my customer service from Polar has been pretty terrific. Still, not paying full price for a partially baked product.

  72. NorSold

    Hi Ray!
    Thnx for the in-depth review. I have waited for ages for this watch to hit the retailers now, and have to say its a bit dissapointing to read the review as of now.
    Still I see the people who bought it are pretty satisfied.
    I need help – I’m now pending between the v800 and the Fenix2. To those of you having experience with both, feel free to help me a littlebit:

    1. Polars future updates for swimming metrics and such, is it reliable or am I buying a really expncive HR watch for running!?
    2. For those with experience with the fenix2, why did you choose the v800 instead? As of now the Fenix is more a multisports watch than the V800 is it not?

    I really hope you guys can share your thoughts on my to questions. Btw, so long Polar will update the watch to what they have promised, I will most likely buy the V800 beeing a beta tester doesn’t bother me if the basics work like a charm.
    Thnx again Ray, your review are as always really great!

  73. Stefan

    I use the v800 since two weeks for dayly training. In general I really like it, despite some issues and unfinished software.

    To be able to use the Mio Link is something I really love the v800 for. It’s so great running with no HR strap :-). And no real issue with it.

    Last weekend I tried to take my combo for a swimm. But no love with HR. Even outside water there was no HR. Than I tried to use a other sport setup. Used cycling, and perfect HR reading, all the way through my swimm.

    I guess Polar switch off BT connectivity for swimming. But unfortunately there is no option to say otherwise.

  74. Benazzi Alberto

    Hi. Thanks for the review.
    One question: once I’ve sync the V800 whit polar flow, there’s possibility to export data to trainingpeaks like for garmin?

  75. Stipek

    Hi Ray!
    Outstand review (once again)! I will buy the V800 as it has (or better: hopefully will have by the begining of next season) everything I need. There are just two things I’m currently not happy with:
    a) The inability to set pace-depending training phases (I don’t care for HR during work outs as I only use pace and power). Do you know If this is in the pipeline?
    b) BTLE rebroadcasting. Is it true that the V800 will only be able (once rebroadcasting is enabled/fixed) to rebroadcast HR? I wanted the V800 to rebroadcast all cycling data to my future V650 (or vice versa) because I don’t want to bend my arm every minute or so to observe my wattage in a race and I don’t want to mount the watch on polar’s Universal Bike Mount as this costs way too much time in T1 and T2…

  76. Staffan

    You never provided a video of the stability of the momentary tempo. Is it roughly the same as FR620?

  77. Stephen

    I really want to use this watch while swimming, but hate using a chest strap. Is it likely any of the optical sensors would work? I don’t know if any of them are waterproof. I know Polar is using analogue for chest strap but wonder if bluetooth signal would work if Optical strap was next to, and almost touching to V800?

    • Yup, as Stefan noted, it works if right next to it in a non-swimming mode. I did some testing with both the Mio Link and Scosche units in the pool. No problems.

    • Stephen

      Great. Though sounds like will be a problem when they include swimming metrics. Unless they add the option to use bluetooth in the swimming profile, or allow you see swimming metrics in another profile.

      I’d really, really hope they do that in recognition of how hard it is to swim with a chest strap, but I can see them saying because bluetooth isn’t supported in water they won’t.

    • Stephen

      …Just read article again and noticed that optical sensors mess with the recovery estimate. Do you know how much that messes things up? Is it just hat the little estimate you get at the end of a session it wrong, or does it mess up other data like training load graph and other things in flow?

    • Stefan

      Haven’t got an issue with this vs. Ray. And I where the Link all the time, except Tests. Training load and recovery need are just where I would expect them. Even better than on PPT with my RCX5.

    • Mirek_

      Interesting… but it can be only a coincidence. It’s a match for you but not necessarily for other people if optical doesn’t measure HRV correctly. I expect it’s not measured to save power.

    • Stefan

      My guess is, that it’s calculated by ordinary HR, pace alivation PLUS your settings with Resting HR, VOmax, HRmax, activity level and your training history. If all of this is set realistic they can calculate a close match.

      I’ve got now two weeks with about 15 sessions, most running approx. 150 km. And not one odd number. I gained a pretty solid understanding of training and recovery on years of running semipro. So something should work, I guess 😉

    • It’s not a power issue, it’s a signal noise issue. I’ve talked to all the major companies (and minor companies) in this space about it. They’re getting closer, but nobody has quite nailed it yet with getting truly accurate HRV/RR out of it.

      For some people, or more specifically, some activities – it’ll roughly work out. For others, it could be all over the map. I’ve had some activities where it matched spot-on with what other devices were saying. But then I’ve had other activities that it was off an order of 5-7 times.

      The cool thing is that I just got my WASP unit updated to record/show the raw RR/HRV values, so I’m able to now compare a bunch of units at once and show (for example) what the Scosche is sending vs the Mio vs the TICKR vs a regular HR strap, etc…

    • Mirek_

      Thanks for the explanation.
      I’ve just found some plots showing it well, chest straps are spot on, MIO tries to measure it but it’s garbage, good for HR only.
      link to marcoaltini.com

    • Very cool link explaining it, as well as the charts. I’m looking forward to pulling up a bunch of the data I’ve collected over the past two weeks with the new WASP to see how the HRV data looks across everything.

      Just trying to get one more review out the door this week first, before I get to ‘play’ (with the data).

    • Stephen

      I just tried a Scoshe Rhythm but can’t get it to pair. Android sees my Rhythm. V800 pairs with my H7 without a problem. But v800 just can’t see the Rhythm. Am I missing something? I’ve turned off my Android’s Bluetooth so it can’t be because the Rhythm is pairing with that and preventing the pairing. I’m going to the v800s Pair and Sync menu and it just doesn’t find anything.

    • Stephen

      ..never mind. See the problem!

  78. Stefan

    Mio Link works just fine. One little issue, in the moment I don’t get HR using the profile swimming. If I use cycling it’s fine. You can change sport later on flow again. And this even sync to the v800 back.

  79. ThomasR

    Don’t have a V800 (yet), but I noticed that
    In the review
    ” it would be a nice feature (or, to sync to your phone’s time instead like most activity trackers do).”
    In the manual on p. 30
    “When syncing with the Flow app and web service, the time of day is automatically updated from the service”

    • Yeah, that doesn’t work. 😉

      Having played the timezone change game on a weekly basis, I’m always changing the time manually, despite a sync with the app.

    • Stephane

      That’s very strange…
      I’ve let the time by default on the watch. It was 2:00pm but in real life, it was around 5:30.
      Since i sync it with me laptop, it does sync time too. So Ray, i don’t understand when you say that it doesn’t sync time….!!!

    • I’m not sure on your example.

      But my experience is really clear, even from this past week:

      1) I live in Paris, where the timezone is CET (Central European). The time is 2PM, my phone shows 2PM, and the watch shoes 2PM.
      2) Now I fly to Finland, where the timezone is Eastern European Time, thus an hour forward.
      3) Now, the time is 6PM, my phone shows 6PM, but the watch still shows 5PM.
      4) I try and sync the phone to the watch, hoping it’ll sync time: It doesn’t. The watch still shows 5PM.
      5) I turn on GPS to get time, hoping it’ll show 6PM. Nope, still shows 5PM.

      Hopefully that explains it. For reference, all other activity trackers on the market will use the time on your phone to set the time on the device.

    • ThomasR

      Wouldn’t you call that a time zone bug then?

    • ThomasR

      Sort of.

    • Technically it’d be called a time bias bug. But, most people don’t know about offsets or the like, all they know is that the time is wrong.

    • Steph004

      Ok, so maybe it just updating via polar sync on desktop…
      You travel too much! 😉

    • Andreas

      Just tested with my device.
      After the USB sync via Flow Sync the time is adjusted to the time of my desktop. I guess it is the same with the time zones
      So the time sync should be added to the mobile phone app and/or GPS for travelling tasks.

    • ThomasR

      As some people seems to get a satellite fix pretty fast, could it be possible that the satellite position caching isn’t working either when you use the phone app for syncing. Anyone care to test this?

    • Rowlarry

      My Polar V800 is losing time, in a related issue.

      I have noticed over the last couple of days that my V800 has gradually lost time- it happened yesterday and my watch was suddenly 3mins slow when I looked at it.

      I have a feeling that something is happening whilst Bluetooth syncing is taking place, ‘suspending’ the watch time? Interestingly, the opposite seem to happen when plugging it into a PC, the time seemed to correct itself.

      I’m very confused- has anyone else seen this behaviour, and should I report it to Polar, and if so how?
      Unbelievable a £400 watch can’t keep time properly!

    • Robert

      I did my first run today with the V800, and the GPS connection was amazingly fast…I did not actually time it, but I am sure it was less than 10 seconds (clear sky, no trees or buildings). The accuracy seems really good as well. I ran on a 10 mile certified course and the V800 agreed with the mile marks to within a few meters. The thing that was a bit strange was the recovery time recommendation…..4 days for an easy 10 mile run? It also said my “running index” level is “elite” for doing a 10:32 pace…I am 69 years old, but nowhere close to elite. I’m not sure what’s going on with this…I was careful about using my correct resting and max heart rate in the set up.
      Other than this stuff, I really like my V800 so far.

    • Graham

      I recently flew from the UK to Turkey. On the first synch with the Polar Flow App on android the time and date were correctly updated. Likewise on my return.

  80. Jean-Pierre THERRIEN

    Just received an email from Polar’s support today. They are still committed to allow data export to 3rd party apps and services in September 2014.

    • ThomasR

      Ray, has there been any hints of to which web services? Again Strava is on the top of my list, and preferrably automatically. No one should need to (or want to) manually transfer files anymore.

    • No hints. Well, to me anyway.

    • Interesting. They answered to my question (an their German facebook page) that exporting to 3rd parties is definitely NOT on their roadmap. Which fits to their past behavior (also in terms of Loop).

    • It’s been well confirmed that export is on the way – both on Polar’s official site and in all their communications to me (which come direct from the V800 Product Lead/Manager, along with a slew of PR people on the e-mails too). Thus, I have no doubts they’ll put something together.

  81. Flo

    is there a reason you don’t mention the “Fixed Multisport”-Feature? In the manual I found the following:

    There are two different ways to perform a multisport training session: fixed multisport and free multisport. In a fixed multisport (multisport profiles in the Polar sports list) like triathlon, the order of the sports is fixed, and they must be performed in that specific order. In free multisport, you can choose what sports you perform and in which order you perform them by selecting them from the sport list. You can also switch back and forth between sports.”

    I was hoping fixed multisport minimizes the needed button presses during a race (No scrolling through list). Can you confirm that?

    • I actually don’t see a Fixed Multisport mode in either Polar Flow, or on the watch, or on the settings.

    • TheTrimaster

      I can for sure confirm there is a fixed (triathlon) multisport feature where you only have to press the button for start and stop for each sport. After the swim stop the watch display prepares for cycling and timing continues in order to get the transition time. When you press the start button for cycling (which maybe could be be initiated by autostart – not tested), the cycling timing starts and you see the transition time for a while on your display. Same after T2.
      How you choose the different displays for swim, bike run (on swiming I only want to see time or puls BIGGGG) you can see at this video link to youtube.com
      at about 1:55 …

    • Rico

      Flo is right, there is a triathlon mode where you don’t have to scroll to the next mode, just hit back to do T1 (mode is automatically set to cycling) then start to start the cycling then back again to do T2 (mode is automatically set to run), start to start running and finally back to pause/stop the session.

      The times on T1 and T2 are counted but the last one is not, so after running you can pause and minutes later actually stop (holding 3 seconds) and the time will count till the moment you paused the first time.

    • Ahh, I see, not called ‘Fixed Triathlon’, but just ‘Triathlon’ within the Flow site (must add it first).

  82. Charles

    Ray, thanks for your review. Like several have mentioned, I wanted to really like the v800, having been lukewarm on my Fenix2 purchase, but find the v800 also lacking. To me, the deal breakers are the lack of exporting capabilities to TrainingPeaks, underwhelming BTLE functionality with 3rd party devices like the Adidas foot pod, “funky” data results in your running recap, the still under-baked Polar Flow site, and the looong list of “Future” updates that (in my mind) don’t justify purchase today.

    Additionally, if I may rant a bit, I find that I’m getting frustrated with the inability of any one company to just KILL IT and try and dominate this market, rather than just provide incremental and evolutionary devices/platforms! I find that I’m dealing with multiple sites because no one gives us the “One Site to Rule Them All” scenario. I download to TrainingPeaks for deep analysis with my coach, to Strava for the “fun, competitive factor” (which in my mind, should not be minimized for its importance), to Nike+ because of the community and fun, quirky site, and finally Garmin Connect basically as my archival database. Personally, I don’t think this market needs to be so segmented…I think someone could bring all of this together, and just NAIL IT with their platform.

    Ray, does this ever come up in your discussions with these companies?

    • I think it’s tough. Both in my day job in the datacenter/cloud computing world as well as when I talk to companies, I often talk about not trying to boil the ocean. When you do that, you almost always fail.

      For a company like Strava, their core is really the social aspect. We’ve seen them ever so slowly creep into the analytics side – but even then, it’s only barely putting their toe in the water. On the Garmin side, we’ve seen them slowly add in pieces from Training Peaks (like TSS/NP/IF), but really only as baseline stats.

      When companies try to do it all at once, they usually fail to do any one thing good. For example, Garmin introducing Segments – which hasn’t really been terribly awesome thus far. I think the best possible solution is to have a full ecosystem. Ideally, Garmin would have leveraged Strava for segments, and if they did, they would likely have sold an impressive multiplier of Edge 510/810/1000’s than they are today. Doing so would have left Garmin free to focus on other things (their core competencies), and then at the same time Strava would have gained from it.

      Finally, whether or not companies like Strava or Suunto (or to a degree, Garmin), realize it – the fact that they aren’t ‘hanging out’ in the Bay area does hurt them. I think had they (Garmin) not canned their Garmin Connect team which was based on California, then they’d be leaps and bounds ahead there.

      Looking at Polar, they’ve done well in pulling together Flow, which is leaps and bounds better than PPT. But, I think they still will need to hire more aggressively and pull in fresh blood from outside the company to stir up innovation.

    • Toby

      I said to Polar a while ago they should just buy runkeeper, that would have shook up the industry a bit with innovation!

    • simon

      I agree about wanting the “one watch to rule them all” – who knows maybe the v800 will eventually become that.

      regarding Ray’s reply:

      it seems to me that polar/garmin/suunto all produce great hardware but don’t seem to have the devs to be able to get the most from them…….AND…….strava/runkeeper etc have great devs but don’t have good hardware to run their apps on.

      it also seems to me that somebody should buy somebody else to try to fix the problem, BEFORE the whole problem goes away and apple/samsung give the devs and everybody else the hardware.

      and just to re-iterate what Ray was referring to:

      link to dcrainmaker.com

      GC has essentially stood still for 4 years, which is a lifetime in the tech world.

    • Charles

      Ray, I work in software/cloud computing too (Sales Mgmt side; not IT), so a lot of your points resonate. I can appreciate your point about these companies not trying to boil the ocean, but I also think that the category is fragmented and still relatively young enough that if someone was strategically visionary enough to go for sort of a “Fitness Unified Theory” approach, they could REALLY shake things up. High risk/high reward for sure, but transformative moments often happen only when companies are that adventurous.

      You may have mentioned this at another area on your great site, but may I ask what sites are part of your personal training workflow (not just for testing/staying current on what’s out there, but what you personally use), and why you’ve chosen them?

    • It depends on the sport, but for running for example, I’d use a Garmin FR620 and then upload the files to Training Peaks. With the new AutoSync now, I simply have it automatically push the files to TrainingPeaks once I get home and WiFi takes over.

      I have a backup copy of the files on Garmin Connect as well, plus I generally leave a copy of the raw files on the unit itself and then every few months I back them up.

  83. Joel engström

    I am so frustrated. Why can’t there be a watch to rule them all?
    Ambit 2 is a bit too thick and lacks upload via wifi or bluetooth, Fenix 2 has too many bugs and v800 lacks a lot of features as of today. How hard can it be?

    • Boaz

      I feel you. The 910 seems like the top pick but I really don’t care for the bulk. I love the TomTom’s size and feature set (though a bit limited) but I’m really concerned by the multitude of quality issues reported by users. Alas Gods of the multisport, give us guidance!

  84. StevenC

    I’ve got V800 over the weekend. The watch design is pretty good. It works well with H7 HRM and Wahoo BT cadence and speed sensor. Good battery life and cool looking. Couple of things I have submitted my feedback to Polar and hope they can fix them soon.

    1. Polar Flow app currently does not sync with Flow web service.
    2. Tapping function not working well on the watch. (made me wonder if tapping function of my watch is broken)
    3. Should be able to view activity / steps on the watch, to become a true activity tracker.
    4. Enable target features from Polar Beat app, profile editing on Polar Flow app -> sync to watch via Bluetooth

  85. Steve

    Hi Ray, been a long time follower of your blog and always enjoy your posts. Thank you for all your effort that goes into these posts.

    Being a polar fan for so many years I have been quite excited about the launch of this watch. I started off with one of their M series watches (I think) then moved to the S625X and then moved to the RS800CX. You know very well about their journey into triathlon and they never really got it right with the above watches especially when it came to racing. Granted the S625X was great as it let you read your heart rate while swimming (nice to have but in reality it doesn’t work as the bloody HRM keeps falling off!). Then I switched to the RS800CX as it had a few features over the 625 which I wanted and was happy to not have the heart rate in water reading. It still however didn’t make racing with it very easy. All this time I see other watches come to market that have really nice features and seem to get the whole swim to bike to run concept.

    So here we are, the Polar V800. It looks nice and the name even sounds awesome BUT I am left feeling very disappointed especially after reading your post. Why don’t these guys get it right? I mean they are a clever bunch, they know how to make good HRM’s, they have access to your expertise and yet they still fail to launch a watch that could have easily taken the crown of triathlon watches!!! Perhaps they wanted to launch something before the season kicked off but why do this when you don’t have a fully functional watch? Maybe another reason is that they wanted to get this out before the summer because as some of you might know, everyone goes on long summer vacations in Finland, leaving us users to do all the testing and then for them to come back and fix all the problems….

    Oh well, perhaps it’s time to stop being brand loyal and start looking at other companies or even better, Ray starts making watches and I’ll be the first to sign up!!!

  86. Toby

    Great review Ray, I bought a V800 I knew that I would be a beta tester and I’m cool with that. I hope that Polar can deliver on there promises.

    I hope Polar reads this so that can continue to implement the things customers want.

    I’d like to echo the requests that other made, swim metrics, proper & equal support of other BT sensors, smart use of sensors (e.g bimodal use of pod & GPS on conditions, auto calibration), plus the others that you mention as you have a good feel for what we’d like to see in a watch.

  87. Mazzazo

    I am a weekend ultra runner and I target to finish some Olympic distance triathlon next year.
    (I don’t have a bike now but plan to buy next year.)

    Which one is your recommend. V800 or Fenix 2
    (I want to share my workout to my phone app like Endomondo and Nike+ as well)

    • In general, I’d say that if you’re planning on using a watch this summer, then buy what’s on the market and get back to training.

      If however, your goals are from later this year to next year, then I’d say buying what’s available today probably isn’t the best of overall plan. Of course, that’s true of any technology device, especially ones that tend to iterate every year – but even more so ones where major competitors in the market are overdue for updates.

    • Joel engström

      Come on, tell us what you know. Guessing there will be a new Suunto Ambit soon. The Ambit 2 is getting old and is falling behind the competition in for example wifi/bluetooth connectivity.

      Or do you think the IWatch will be a competitor? Will it work without carring your phone with you? Gps? HR? Barometric altimeter?

    • mazzazo

      Thanks for your advice.
      Maybe I should buy running watch and wait for next season for tri-watch.

    • Leandro

      This is what I did. Nobody seems to “nail it” and spending $400 in a watch that is not reliable (Fenix2) or doesn’t have all the features (Ambit2 & V800) didn’t make sense to me.
      I have already raced the first triathlon of the season without a triathlon watch, but so be it.

      Hoepfully next year someone will actually make a good triathlon watch and set the standard for the rest.

  88. bruno grassi

    Hello I’ve gone from Polar RCX5 in suunto ambit 2s because the function fc in the water worked very badly. I would understand if this is still happening with the v800 I have now works fine.
    Congratulations on your site and all your reviews and posts.
    I’m sorry for how much I write in English but I am Italian 🙂

  89. Jorge

    Hi Ray, nice Review, thanks. I have a question: You write that the MIO LINK is compatible with the V800. Is the accuracy of the heart rate as well as with the POLAR Heart Rate monitor strap? Is then also everything transferred correctly on polar flow?

    • Hi Jorge-

      I detail out the compatibility pieces here for Mio Link in the table: link to dcrainmaker.com


    • Jorge

      Thank you Ray. What do you mean by “BUT NON-TRUSTED HRV / RR SUPPORT”?
      Do you mean that the heart rate is not as accurate? So you would not recommend it? Thanks again and excuse my many questions. 😉

    • It means that with optical HRV/RR measurement, it’s not real, it’s just a guess by those companies. That’s because today’s technology doesn’t allow accurate measurement of HRV/RR via optical. Most companies take a swag at it, and sometimes it works out, but I’ve seen cases where the recovery numbers are all over the map when depending on optical estimated data (both in the V800 and Garmin products).

      That in turn impacts a number of areas, but the big ticket ones are anything to do with recovery, as well as the HRV/RR estimations. It also can impact VO2Max estimates and other training impact calculations.

    • Jorge

      Ray,thank you very much for your opinion. 🙂

  90. Damon

    Thanks for the great review Ray! Do you still have some time to train and work besides writing great reviews?

    I’ve ordered the V800. I had a RS800CX which a lost with swimming :(. I want a replacement right now and think the V800 is the best choice at the moment with regard to my old polar data in PPT5 and my Polar experience with other older Polar watches.

    Keep up the good work and enjoy sporting!

  91. Hi All-

    Just as an FYI, I’ve added/updated a few sections within the review:

    1) GPS acquisition (within running section): Added a paragraph and video showing how long it takes
    2) Added new ‘Data Field Options’ section, listing all data fields unit can be configured for
    3) Added ‘instant pace’ piece to running section, and video showing how GPS instant pace looks starting from standstill to interval pace
    4) Added small section to triathlon/multisport section on how fixed triathlon mode works
    5) Added explanation on HRV/RR ‘non-trusted’ sensors to Bluetooth Compatilibty section.
    6) Added a bit more detail on Orthostatic testing.


    • Flo


      I noticed that in this review, you have made no reference to your earlier statements about the speed of sattelite aquisition (which was according to your first look, and some comments in the polar forum much better). I understand that the point of a review is to tell the people what they are getting right now instead of what was or will be.

      But just out of curiosity: Do you see them fix the issue (if fixable) and make it fast again?

    • I don’t have a clear idea why it’s changed yet – but it’s something I have an e-mail discussion with them about currently. Some other users have seen a recent shift as well.

      That said, as of today, the unit does NOT actually cache satellite from a computer/phone. Rather, it predicts it (explanation here): link to csr.com

    • JM

      Do you know if the V800 uses A-GPS or similar tricks to help get the GPS fix? To my slight surprise I have been repeatedly able to get a “GPS OK” indoors, with definitely no line-of-sight to any satellite.

    • Bart

      Has the non caching changed since the press release in january because in the “first look at Polar V650” article you wrote “Like the recently announced V800 GPS unit, it includes satellite pre-caching capabilities for up to three days. This means that if you sync your V650 unit every 3 days it’ll pre-populate expected satellite location information and dramatically increase initial satellite reception each time you turn it on”

      Any idea on when your V650 review will be online?

    • It sounds like it was a bit of a terminology confusion thing. While I referred to pre-cached in my e-mails, they assumed that meant predictive.

      In any event, I don’t think the V650 will be any different, but I’ll validate. Right now my V650 firmware is pretty old there, so I’ve got that on the backburner until I get a newer firmware.

    • Toby

      From the pdf on the CSR site it say’s that it’s not A-GPS, it uses something called SGEE/CGEE.

      Seems like if the firmware upgrade would wipe the SGEE data and make predictions harder.

  92. StevenC

    Side question, has any of you ever received reply from Polar support team? Hope they can provide better features forecast for the users.

  93. Jorge

    I can connect the Polar strap sensor to my Samsung Galaxy S4 and V800 at the same time. This works, for example with POLAR beat or runtastic. BUT it only works if you first connect with smartphone and then connect with the V800. The other way it does not work. I have just tested it now.

    • Alexey

      Looks like you connect your strap sensor to phone by BTLE and to V800 by GymLink. It works but not reliable.

    • TX911

      Yes, the V800 is using the 5kHz signal from the H7 strap, NOT bluetooth. So, not the same, but still a workaround at this point.

    • Jorge

      Does it make a difference if it is connected with bluetooth or using the 5kHz Signal? The data are the same or not? Thanks

    • Alexey

      Yep, data is the same but GymLink isn’t reliable as BTLE and you may have some spikes on your HR graph. Normally V800 use GymLink only in swim mode because it works in water.

    • Jorge

      ok, but how can I recognize it if I am now connected with bluetooth or with GymLink? How can I adjust it? Thank you.

    • JEsc

      I am able to use my Mio Link to connect w/ANT+ to my Samsung Galaxy S4 to collect HR data using MapMyFitness while connected at the same time via bluetooth from the Mio Link to the V800 also tracking the HR data! Really enjoying my V800!

    • Mario Fonseca

      I do not have V800 (yet) but last week I tested H7 with iPhone 5 (Polar Beat) and iPad (Polar Team) and it worked with both. Could iPad or iPhone software rebrodcast the H7 signal?

  94. Nick

    Hi Ray,

    I’ve read all the review & all the comments so far , as such i think it’s been made clear that the V800 as it stands is the first Polar product ever that doesn’t give it’s user access to his/her own hrm/gpx files !!?? So this new V800 is in no way usable with Polars own desktop software ? (protrainer 5 ).
    Sorry to have to ask a question that already seems to have been answered , but as a devoted polar user for 20 years , i’m really finding this difficult to believe :-/.
    When they do allow data export in september , it seems it’s only going to be via flow , so obviously only ever possible when online ! Pretty hopeless as a step ‘forward’ ..tragic if your trying to see it as a giant leap into the future ;-/

  95. Dave Lusty

    Hi Ray, odd question, do you test for north/south east/west differences on GPS? Maybe I’m paranoid but I feel my current watch gives a faster pace on one axis and was curious whether the watch peeps have just used coordinates to measure pace which would give massive issues. I don’t have the patience or gubbins to measure an east/west mile and a north/south mile but feel convinced the RC3 GPS has an issue here. I’m sure you’re aware of the problem but if not, a nautical mile is one minute north/south while east/west varies with altitude. No good testing at the equator but you’re all over the place so may have time and location to try this out on some kit?
    If you think I’m just paranoid do say so, but I find it odd that my pace is better in one direction consistently!

  96. ThomasR

    What about HRV/RR support from the Viiiiva? I see you mention it’s on its way for the Tickr. I would like to see the Polar tests work wirh other than Polar sensors.

    • I don’t know on Viiiiva offhand if it’s there for HRV for BLE (I know it is for ANT+). For some reason I thought it wasn’t, but then thought they added. Can’t remember offhand.

    • The Viiiiva I have transmits HRV for ANT and BLE. It is not at as good a resolution as other devices though. For ANT the underlying clock is 1/1024 seconds but the Viiiiva HRV data is always a multiple of 8 of this so the resolution they look to have is only 1/128 seconds which is not so good. It’s the same resolution for ANT as BLE. I only have 1 Viiiva for testing with and it’s not the latest firmware so this may of changed.

    • David

      I’ve been using Viiiiva with ithelete app on my iPhone 5. I definitely do not only get values only divisible by 8. Perhaps it is averaging reading over an extended period of time (it measures for 50 seconds).

  97. Pedro Manzana

    I would like to ask the current user how the feature recovery time works. Is this somehow useful and the values make sense? This a key feature why I want to change from my RS800 to V800.

    • Stefan

      Hi Pedro, while the recovery estemation works for me, it’s no feature i would buy the v800 for. Try to listen to your body and you’ll be fine.

    • Pedro Manzana

      Thank you Stefan. You are absolutely correct. But since I am already 53 years old, I am sometimes not “sure” what my body tells me and some additional external advice would be good. I have just looked what Garmin has done with the FR620 and Firstbeat at the Firstbeat side and it seems appealing. I am now using Polar for over 10 years and I am very confused if I should buy the v800 or the FR620. Actually I am only a Runner, so no issues with swimming and biking.

    • Sensor

      My previous was RS800 and then RCX5 with GPS and now I have Garmin FR620 (about 3months) I want to broke this up or sold – I don’t know more bad watch than this. this is not works – old Polars is so much better and I believe V800 can’t that bad witch is FR620.
      I don’t reccomend FR620 if you are user of Polar – disapointment is very very big, this sucs all the ways.
      with FR620 don’t see current speed – only last 1-2minute average,
      hr strap is chafing all time, I changed this to old Polar strap
      Garmin GPS don’t work in forest trail where Polar GPS is works good (in trails I use my old Polar RCX5 after that)
      and so on and so on,

      you can’t train with FR620 if you have old Polar user and know’s what is good watch for running. and I have a “hard” runner and can say this. believe me, you don’t want FR620!

    • I find that about 80% of the time the recovery values seem roughly in line, albeit overestimated often. The challenge is that the whole recovery value thing (be it Garmin, Suunto or Polar), don’t do a good job of matching to things like triathletes that may be doing double workouts or simply working out every week.

    • Pedro Manzana

      Thank you Sensor, so I will not buy the FR620. The best is to continue with my RS800 and buy the v800 in a couple of month when polar delivers on their promises. The need to look into the rs800 features and the pro trainer 5. I Want This but BETTER.


  98. Slowfatpeteacher

    Hi Ray,

    Great review. Wanted to ask. When you use your v800 and the wahoo bike and cadence sensor, what wheel size do you input on the v800 for your road bike? I’m assuming a regular 700x23c type. Reason I ask is because wahoo uses a different measure man and polar traditionally uses a different number. Thanks.

    • Toby

      In the Polar manual it say’s 700×23 is 2070mm, you can measure your actual value with out much difficulty.

  99. Sebastien

    Interesting view point from Tony Vienneau:
    link to slowtwitch.com

  100. Trailerman

    I’ve had the V800 for a couple of weeks now, and have done around 10 run and ride sessions with it, and worn it as an activity tracker over the last week.

    Fundamentally it’s a great watch, looks good, works well for daily use, battery life is superb, GPS is very accurate – all the basic stuff works really well.

    Here are the main issues I have:

    1. Tap gestures is a half-baked concept that doesn’t work very well. In particular, as I have now had confirmed by Polar support, tap functionality is unable to differentiate between a tap gesure and a bump in the road (when riding a bike), meaning that if you have tap gestures set to change display or trigger laps, a bump will do the same. This happens to me constantly and renders the whole feature pretty much useless.

    2. Training Load and Training Benefit reports are not helpful. I’ve done rides from 1.5 to 2.5 hours at varying paces, last night did a 40 minute easy run. Every single session I get the exact same report for “Tempo Training +”. This should be a big selling point for this watch. Polar do heart-rate monitoring better than everyone else (MHO) and ought to be able to differentiate between different levels of intensity in an adequately sophisticated manner to allow a proper analysis of the training load. The info I am getting is basically useless, and if I followed the recovery recomendations, I’d barely be training. This needs sorting ASAP.

    3. Android app support is STILL not available! Until we have proper app support, I have to physically connect my watch to my PC to get meaningful data, which is a step backwards from my current sports watch. Not to support the world’s most popular mobile OS on launch is IMHO unforgivable.

    In short, I have mixed feelings. It does things other watches don’t, looks great, and has solid basic functionality, but many of the features that should differentiate this device from the competition are either not properly implemented, or next to useless. We need a .1 update ASAP to turn this into the watch iit should have been on launch, and a bunch of quick follow-ups to satisfy swimmers and data exporters.

    • Stefan

      Hi Trailerman, Did you adjust your user settings? Espacially, HRmax, HRrest, Training Level (5-8, 8-12h), VOmax and aerobic/anaerobic threshhold?

      I think this it’s crutial to carefully adjust.

    • Trailerman

      Hi Stefan

      I set HR Max and HR Rest and training level. I don’t have an accurate VO2 max. Don’t recall if I set an anaerobic threshold. HR Zones I let the watch calculate automatically, because ti should be able to do this from max and resting rates.

      Either way, the watch calculates some of these settings, and should be able to distinguish between different levels of intensity more accurately than just working on the basis that (for example) ‘every session where majority of time is spent in zone 3 or 4 = Tempo +’ – that’s simply not accurate training load analysis. It should be weighting time-in-zones on the basis of activity and other metrics and delivering far more sophisticated information. Otherwise it’s just a gimmick and a fairly pointless one.

    • Stefan

      Hi Trailerman, have you tried a Fitness Test. You’ll get your VOmax from it.

      I’ve been sceptical with this features, but must say it works just fine for me. Not that I need it, my training is based on a propper plan from a human coach.

    • Harrison

      Are you doing the orthostatic test? Mine became align fairly well after doing the tests. I do them almost every morning.

    • Trailerman

      I haven’t done any of the tests yet – will give them a try.

    • Darwin

      Android is widely used but a nightmare to develop for and Android users spend very little on accessories. No reason for Polar to give it much effort.
      Most Android users have low end phones that they use as feature phones. So popular is relevant
      Apple owns the market of people who are willing to spend money for quality.

    • Stephen

      I don’t believe that to be the case. Even though what you say is true about Iphone owners being likely to spend more, the Android audience is so much hugely bigger that it is a bigger market. You also have to consider that Iphone users are going to flock to the new IWatch with its reported health features because Apple users love Apple products.

      Far more important factor in this battle was the lack of support for Bluetooth LE/Smart in Android until relatively recently. Some individual Androids had it built in like the Galaxies, but it was such a mess of different systems that it was horrible. I couldn’t get anything BluetoothLE working with it.

      Now BluetoothLE is part of the AndroidOS itself, but Iphone had a big head-start

    • Figures of note..

      Overall mobile numbers for DCR for past 30 days:

      iOS: 70.49%
      Android: 28.08%
      Everything else: Leftovers

      In looking at the V800 page numbers, it’s within 1%.

  101. Rowlarry

    Hi all, I’m struggling a bit with the (basic) interval/’Training Target’ functionality, and I wondered whether anyone could help. All I want to do is the following (cycle):

    Warmup until Manually Triggered
    3x1min Work then Normal riding until
    Manually Triggered
    9x1min Work
    Warm down until Manually Triggered

    I tried to set this up yesterday, but see no option for Manual Triggering- tried putting in a time of 00:00:00 for the different segments with a next phase start of ‘manual’ but it didn’t work- just skipped the warmups with and went straight to the work. The route is heavily trafficked so I can’t schedule a distance/time for these to begin.
    Any ideas?

    I posted yesterday about my watch losing time- turns out that it takes the time settings from whatever it is plugged in to- i.e. iPad and Laptop, both of which have slightly different internal clocks so the time on the watch changed depending. This was confirmed by Polar Support.
    I find this bonkers- you should at least have an option for choosing which one, or turning this ability off.

    • GMon

      Try using the free multisport mode.
      Warm up in cycle, when you are ready to do the interval session, switch sports to the 9×1, when done, switch to cycle.
      I haven’t tried this (don’t have my V800 yet), but it looks workable.

    • Toby

      Press and hold LIGHT. Quick menu is displayed. Choose Start next phase from the list, and press START
      (if manual phase change is chosen when creating the target). If automatic is chosen, the phase will change
      automatically when you have finished a phase.

    • Rowlarry

      G-Mon, thanks for the comment. I will have a look.


      Thanks for the comment- didn’t seem to have a problem triggering the next phase, but couldn’t see an option for just having a ‘free’ session before and after the intervals? It tried to make me put in either a time or distance target, couldn’t leave the fields blank.

  102. Mark

    Not being able to access my own raw data (which I parse and analyse independently with custom-written code) is a deal-breaker for me for *any* device. I have a Polar RS800CX (with foot pod) from which I can download raw data to my PC. Until I can do the same (via Polar Flow, or otherwise, and *easily* do the same at that), the V800 is a non-starter.

  103. Johannes

    Hi Ray, I’m just half way through your review and I think you’ve made a mistake in the navigation section. I tried the preplanned route feature last week on abusiness trip where I was lucky to find a route on flow that fitted. The compass view is only used to guide you to the starting point of the route. Once reached it is changing to some sort of breadcumb navigation mode (In which even shortcutting works).

    • The compass can also be used for getting back as well. I need to get better shots of the breadcumb trail, I didn’t like the photos I had since it was too poor of light. It’s on my list though for today. Thanks!

      (Side note: Actually more impressed you found a route on Flow – nice!)

    • Dan Feist

      Something I couldn’t work out how to do is use a existing route like you did, but at the same time setup HR zones. Any ideas?

    • Johannes

      Yes, it was nearly the only one in this particular city. And it was the only one with a length > 10k and out to the nature. Since it was a 20k route and I wanted to go only for 15k, I simply made a shortcut of a 5k extra loop in the middle of original run. This was handled very well by the navigation mode. Looking forward when I can use my own GPX tracks.

  104. David

    Anyone else notice the adidas Speed_Cell sensor no longer pairs to the V800? A few days ago my battery on the Speed_Cell went dead. I replaced it, it worked again. However, another day later it’s no longer being seen on the V800.

    I’m also now unable to sync to my iPhone 5S. Almost as fast as I press and hold the back button, it reads “Connection failed. No paired devices nearby.”

    Any ideas? I did do the required firmware update. I’m befuddled.

    • John

      Just got my v800, speed cell won’t pair and the pod has been working. The watch did require firmware update so something must have changed…