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The New Polar Vantage Series: Everything you ever wanted to know

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After just shy of five years since Polar’s last multisport product was announced – the replacement for it is finally here: The Vantage series. This series actually breaks the product line into two models, the Vantage V being the higher end touchscreen edition, and the Vantage M being the mid-range non-touchscreen product. Feature wise, they are nearly very similar, both supporting full triathlon modes.

These new models completely revamp the underlying operating system of the watch, not to mention the hardware too. The company has changed GPS chipset vendors, alongside creating the mother of all optical heart rate sensors with 9 LED’s in it.  Not to mention being the first company to introduce running power at the wrist on the Vantage V (no other sensors required).

At the same time, due to the complete revamp of the watch, there’s a number of past features that didn’t make the cut. Some permanently, and some temporarily.  For example, there’s no more navigation/routing capabilities, nor smartphone notifications. I dive into all the cuts down a bit lower.

Which, is a good time to note that I’ve got loaner Vantage V and Vantage M watches, which I’ve been using on workouts for a short time now.  As usual, once I’m done with these units I’ll publish an in-depth review and send them back. As such, this is not a review, in-depth or otherwise. Simply put – the product is too far away from completion to do a review at this time, with too many features in beta or missing.  But that’s cool, that’s why I have hands-on posts like this. Give you a feel for it as a bit of a preview.

Oh, and if you don’t want to read a bunch of text, watch this semi-condensed version of it here in video format:

With that, let’s get cookin’.

What’s new:

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I always like condensing everything down into a single bulleted section of newness. It helps you filter the cool stuff from the marketing fluff.  So let’s dive straight away into it. Fear not, down below in the ‘overview’ section I go through things in more detail too.  Note I’m looking at the ‘what’s new’ from the perspective primarily of the V800 (it’s predecessor).  Also, this list is specifically for the Vantage V:

– Addition of optical heart rate sensor (both for workouts and 24×7 HR)
– Added electronic skin-contact sensor to validate a human is attached to watch
– Added color touchscreen, still retains buttons for all athletic functions
– Changed GPS chipset maker to that of Sony (same as what Suunto 9 did recently)
– Changed max GPS-battery life to 40-hours 1-second recording with optical HR too
– Added running power from the wrist (no sensors required)
– Added new training load metrics (cardio/muscle/perceived stats)
– Added new ‘Recovery Pro’ metrics (daily recovery, training, and balance stats) – requires H10 chest strap.
– Added both segmented real-time and post-processing of optical HR data to fix quirks (I’ll explain later)
– Made watch round, from rectangular shape previously
– Reduced weight of watch from 79g to 66g

The price is $499USD/EUR for the base models in orange, white, or black. It’s $549USD/EUR for the bundle with the Polar H10 HR chest strap.

When it comes to the Vantage M, here’s the core differences to the Vantage V:

– No barometric altimeter
– No native running power, as it lacks a barometric altimeter (still works with 3rd party running power like Stryd though)
– GPS 1-second battery down to 30 hours instead of 40 hours (but seriously, that’s still incredible)
– Added swappable straps using industry standard quick release bands (the Vantage V doesn’t have this)
– Not a touch-screen, just buttons only
– No Recovery Pro metrics (but does have other training load metrics)
– Weight is a mere 45g instead of 66g

That’s priced at $279USD/EUR. That’s an awesome deal, though it’s also on-par price-wise with the Suunto Spartan Trainer Wrist HR.  In talking with Polar – they were eyeing that watch as their main competitor in this space for the Vantage M.

But it’s not all bubbles and rainbows. The following features were removed from the Vantage V/M series, but are slated to be re-added by the end of Q1 2019 (so by March 31st), but they noted some features will likely be by end of year:

– Smartphone notifications (i.e. call/text notifications)
– Fitness test functionality
– Standalone device timers
– Strava Segments
– Back to start navigation
– Additional trailing summary details on workouts

The following features were removed, without specific/current plans to re-implement in the Vantage series:

– GoPro Action Cam Control
– Following a downloaded route (navigation of tracks)
– Reduced GPS recording rate activities (i.e. beyond 40hrs of GPS time, the V800 also supported a reduced recording rate to 50hrs)
– No longer option to use HR strap while swimming, only optical HR sensor [Older 5hz straps no longer supported]

Note that for functions/features that aren’t in the beta yet but are slated to be included by the time the product ships late next month, I haven’t listed those. In my mind, that’s simply just beta finalization.  Whereas the lists above are specific features that have been decided upon already as the ‘end-state’ of the product.

Phew, got all that? Good, let’s move onto a more photographic based section into the overview.

Overview:

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So let’s get right into things, starting with the touchscreen of the Vantage V. From a practical standpoint there’s no screen menu differences between the Vantage V and Vantage M. The only difference is you can’t control the Vantage M by the screen as it doesn’t have a touchscreen. Plus of course the smaller battery and lack of some metrics I’ll call out when I get to them. But otherwise, it all feels the same.

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In the case of the Vantage V, it’s actually not a case of being able to use either buttons or touchscreen. In fact, you have to use a blend of the two for certain things. For example, in order to get to the different dashboard pages (like activity stats), you have to use the touchscreen, and then confirm with a button press. Inversely, in workout mode, the touchscreen is entirely disabled.

From a responsiveness standpoint, you can see it in the video up above. It’s beta, so I won’t hold it against them at this point. In my experience testing a lot of devices, touchscreen optimization tends to be one of the last things to come together for companies.  I would say that they’re under-utilizing the buttons though. For example, when I’m at the main watch-face some buttons have zero purpose (pressing them does nothing). As my two-year-old would say – every button pressed should do something. Otherwise, you just assume it’s broke.

Since we chatted buttons we should at least talk hardware for a moment. The buttons have a pretty nice etching in them, as does the rest of the band of the Vantage V. The Vantage M buttons (below on the white unit) are a bit more simplistic.

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Meanwhile, as the Vantage M doesn’t have the swanky etching pattern, it does make up for it by having swappable straps. They use standard watch quick release straps. That’s a feature the Vantage V lacks.  Speaking of which, Polar is selling a few straps of their own, and I think the grey one actually looks pretty nice.  The orange will be appropriate for Strava employees.

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Back on the watch, you can swipe to access the different watch face dashboards. One for activity, another for training load, past workouts, and heart rate. Some features aren’t implemented yet, so my understanding is Recovery Pro will also show here once enabled on the unit itself.  In the case of the Vantage M, you use the up/down buttons to access these.

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You can dive into each of these by pressing the button. For example, here’s the new training load status. This includes your cardio training load, but will also include your muscle load and perceived effort as well.

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The muscle load will come primarily from running workouts on the Vantage V with running power, as well as cycling workouts with a cycling power meter. Whereas the perceived effort is asked of you every time you open up the Polar Flow smartphone app and look at one of your workouts:

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In many ways, the training load is very similar to what we see with FirstBeat, and even uses some of the same terminology (which in turn is also based on TRIMP).  You can see some of how this flows from one of the pages of a presentation I got from Polar.  Note that the user interface elements on these screens (and really anywhere you see photos in my post) aren’t necessarily final.

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In discussing the features with them it takes upwards of a month to get really solid data out of it, and I’m just over a week now – so things are still a bit jello-like in terms of the status it gives me. But I can see it starting to turn a bit of a corner and giving me more useful feedback.  Here’s a shot from Polar on what this should look like longer term:

30 days overreaching with increased injury and illness risk

And then the two overlaid:

Buildup horizontal

The next piece of that puzzle is the new Recovery Pro metrics (only on Vantage V). This is driven by data from the Polar H10 HR strap. So if you don’t have that chest strap, you won’t get these metrics. They don’t believe that the optical HR sensor gives them enough accuracy of HRV data to get these details correct. I don’t necessarily disagree with them, but I also don’t think it’s black and white either. I think there’s some middle-ground like what Suunto and Garmin have implemented.

The way this feature works is that after putting on the H10 strap you’ll do an Orthostatic test. That’s roughly two minutes of lying down followed by two minutes of standing. It measures your HR during that time. After which it’ll give you a score:

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Once you have three days of scores you’ll start to get recovery information. This information will show up in a variety of places, but at present it’s not fully implemented in the app/site (due to beta state).

Of course, Polar has done all their own legwork here for both training load and recovery, as opposed to licensing that from FirstBeat like Garmin, Suunto, and probably a dozen others have done.  In some ways, I wonder if that was the right decision. Which isn’t a slight on Polar’s crew – not at all, nor is a direct praise of FirstBeat. Rather, it’s purely a business thought. Polar’s spent a lot of time on something that best I can tell is no better than what FirstBeat offered. And as I’ve noted in the past, many of the people working in this particular space tend to move around between these companies (helped by the fact that they’re all located in Finland).  But I just look at the totality of new features on the Vantage series and wonder if the ROI was there for this, compared to just licensing it.

Next, there’s the settings menu, which they’ve re-aligned a bit of how things look in there. It’s a nice change, a bit cleaner. And for those familiar with the Polar interface you’ll recognize most of the groupings.

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Sensor pairing is in there, but at present the beta can’t yet pair 3rd party sensors – so I can’t quite test that yet (probably within the next week or so). Once enabled, it’ll be Bluetooth Smart sensors of the usual variety. Cycling power, heart rate sensors, speed sensors, cadence sensors, and also 3rd party running power sensors. No ANT+ sensors supported here.

Next, let’s hit up some of the sports modes. There’s two ways to get there. The first is to long-hold the right red button, or the second is to navigate via the lower left button to sports.

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Once there you’ll see all the modes synced from the watch. You’ll see the little HR icon illuminate once it has optical HR lock, as well as the GPS icon once it has GPS lock.  All of this happens pretty quick.

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And now’s a good time to talk about that beast of an optical HR sensor. I’d love to have sat in on the conversations on the design of this one. It’s got 9, yes 9 LED’s on it. It’s got four sets of dual red/green LED’s, followed by an extra green. And technically, I just lied to you. There’s also an orange LED in there too (absolute center pairing) – making that 10 LED’s. But the orange one isn’t used at this point and Polar isn’t seeing the benefit to enabling it based on their testing to date.

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One interesting tidbit that Polar will be doing behind the scenes is retroactively correcting the optical HR readings, within 60-second blocks. So while you’re working out you might see a given incorrect reading (such as 205bpm), but then 60 seconds later the watch will actually correct that in the file in the watch after it does some post-processing.

Polar is looking at patterns more broadly than just typical instant HR validation to correct for errors, and is instead retroactively looking at bits where it got things wrong and fixing them before you ever even upload the file. Of course, it’s a bit hard for me to demonstrate this at this point, but it was pretty interesting to hear that Polar is doing it.

On the inside, you’ll see those four silver dots. Sure, they enable charging of the device on the charging clip, and also sync of data when attached via USB. But more importantly, they’re also electrical sensors that can measure the quality of the skin contact. They can use that to determine whether or not you’re wearing the watch, so they don’t bother to turn on the sensors if not.

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Polar was pretty clear that they wanted to have the most accurate optical HR sensor. And while I don’t have enough data yet to confirm that, early results seem positive. And if nothing else, they could use all those LED lights to land planes in the fog at the local airport.

Ok, onto running we go. Simply because by choosing running I can show you running power. Once we’ve started our run the touchscreen gets disabled and changing pages occurs via button presses – just like most watches.  You can customize these pages on Polar Flow like past Polar watches.

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Most of the pages shown here are pretty much the norm – not much new. Common metrics like pace, heart rate, distance, time, etc… Except now it’s all in pretty color graphs and with nice clarity – and the screen is super clear.

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The biggie though is running power. That’s coming directly from the wrist, with no extra sensors needed. This is only on the Vantage V though because that’s the only one that has a barometric altimeter. The Vantage M lacks that and thus lacks the quality of data needed. This is the same requirement as Garmin has for their running power (but their power also requires an extra sensor).

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The running power is displayed on what appears to be about a 10-second smoothed average. I based that on how long it took when I stopped running for the power to come down. At this point I think there’s actually a bit too much smoothing in it, but that’s minor stuff they can tweak.  In any event, the running power is based on GPS pace, and not footpod or wrist-detection pace. This is notable because it does NOT work indoors (treadmill), nor should it work in a tunnel Polar tells me (I haven’t found a tunnel long enough to meaningfully test it yet).  Assuming you’re outside though, this data will be written to your files just like a cycling power meter. And 3rd party apps can easily handle it as well.

You can see it below shown on one of my runs this past weekend, lower down in the graphs, as well as up above in the summary section.

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The next question is whether or not running power is ‘accurate’. Well, first off, if anyone says that it’s accurate or inaccurate, just close that browser tab. Seriously, there’s no definition of that agreed upon by anyone out there with any meaningful scientific credentials. Instead, I’d argue that running power is more in the ‘is it plausible’ range, with a side of ‘is it at least consistent’.  Even Polar noted in my discussions with them that there are many interpretations of how to measure running power and at which point it should be measured.

But certainly you’ll want to know how it compares on the same run to Stryd or Garmin Running Power? No problem, I’ve got you covered down below in the accuracy section on that bit. Short version: It’s half-way in between them. Again, no idea whos right or wrong. But I did encourage Polar to be as open as Stryd, Garmin, and RunScribe have been in terms of publishing papers and studies that support their algorithm and thinking.

Like others, Polar has done a bunch of work on validation here. They too went to a force-plate treadmill to validate their power metrics, and the results they shared in a presentation seem promising. They also went out and did some pretty technical measuring of hills and did all the science math backwards to validate the numbers after test runners ran them. But again, so did Stryd – yet these two companies don’t match on the same run.

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Now, don’t mistake me for thinking I’m down on Polar. Cause really, I’m definitely not. Instead, I’m just ‘less optimistic’ about running power in general. Mostly because we can’t seem to get any two companies to agree.  As such, I think it’s tough for consumers (or myself) to know what to make of it. Or whether to trust it when training. Similarly, as much as we as humans want our cycling and running power numbers to equate, there’s no science that says they should. Just like our heart rate numbers for cycling and running certainly don’t match for the same perceived effort.

Moving along to other newness, we’ve got Polar leveraging a new GPS sensor/chipset in their Vantage series. They’ve switched from SiRF to Sony, just like Suunto did in joining forces with Sony. At present Polar is leveraging GLONASS, but not yet Galileo. That’s a limitation by Sony, which doesn’t yet support it. Polar says there’s a chance they’ll be able to update it down the road via firmware update, but that’ll really just depend on Sony doing so.

With this new GPS chipset, Polar is going to be able to get a whopping 40 hours of GPS and optical HR on recording time, all at 1-second intervals. That easily surpasses the 1-second rates of Garmin and Suunto.  But it also falls short of Suunto and Garmin’s less-frequent recording rates aimed at really long ultrarunners. Polar doesn’t have any secondary less-frequent update modes on the Vantage series like it had on the V800.

Finally, as I noted up in the earlier section – there is no routing or navigation on the Vantage series at this point. They do plan to add in a basic “back to start navigation” by the end of March 2019, but there’s no plans for downloadable route navigation like seen on past Polar products. That might make this a tough sell at $499 for some folks, given many cheaper products have that as a baseline.  And once in the Vantage V’s price point, it’s honestly unheard of to not have breadcrumb style navigation and routing. Still, Polar did note in my meeting with them that they’re focused on paying attention to feedback and will certainly take things into account going forward.

And just to be a bit clear on why these features are missing: The Vantage series is a complete code re-write for Polar. Thus unlike new watches of the past where they were essentially just porting code chunks over to new hardware, Polar re-wrote everything here and simply had to make hard choices on what to keep or not. In some ways this reminds me of what Suunto did moving from the Ambit series to the Spartan series.

Early GPS & HR Test Data:

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Now, before we dive into things I do want to stress this is early data. The product is very much still in beta, and isn’t expected to start shipping until later in October. So we’re talking 6-7 weeks away here. That means things will likely get better (though, in rare cases I’ve also seen some products get worse too).  Still, Polar came to the Netherlands to meet with me and hand over watches for me to do my thing with. Thus, good or bad I’m going to share those early results.  Since then I’ve done 1-3 workouts per day with the watch, plus I’ve been wearing it 24×7.

First, let’s start with the good – the new optical HR sensor. Everything I’m seeing is showing some very nice results there across a variety of workouts. I’ve done indoor and outdoor rides, a pile of runs at varying intensities, and also gym circuit/core workouts. So far, so good.

For example, here is a run I did last night. I started off with a simple warm-up, and then went into a series of intervals. I had the Vantage V on my left wrist and the Vantage M on my right wrist. I also recorded a Wahoo TICKR-X chest strap to a Garmin Fenix 5 Plus (not on my wrists), and a Scosche 24 to a Suunto 9 (also not on my wrist). Here’s the data set.

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Now, I’m going to remove the TICKR-X, because it was drunk (sigh…again).  Here’s what’s left:

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As you can see, things are very close to each other.  And if you had looked past the odd noise of the TICKR-X in the earlier screenshot, you’d have noticed that all four basically agreed.  These were 2-minutes of running at 6:30/mile pace, followed by 60 seconds of 7:30/mile pace. Repeated. Solid stuff.  The blocky bits is just cause we’re super zoomed in, so one 1BPM is causing a bit more of a blocky look at 1-second intervals.

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I then threw in a couple sprints at about a 5:30/mile-ish pace for the fun of it, these were 40 seconds long each. You can see the Scosche 24 is tracking the intervals just a slight bit faster (both increase in intensity and recovery). But not bad.

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Here’s another run. For example this hour of alternating mile intervals, easy and hard (And again, TICKR-X, you’re drunk, go home):

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I’m going at a high level on this because this isn’t a review. But you can easily click any of those links to dig into the data live online to your heart’s content. Get it, heart’s content? You know, heart rate? Oh never mind.

Next, off to the bike we go, and here’s a couple-hour ride I did outdoors. Without question, this is the most solid optical HR data I’ve seen while riding. Oh, and that wonkiness around 1hr23min? Was flying a drone while riding, so I won’t hold it against it there. Anyway, the data set.

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As you can see it’s perfectly on-target the vast majority of the time with the TICKR-X and Scosche 24 straps, even when the Fenix 5 Plus on the other wrist takes a turn for…somewhere.

So, with the optical HR sensor looking good – let’s talk about GPS.

Gulp.

Well, it’s beta, right?

In short, it shorts a lot. The watch can’t seem to find a corner it doesn’t like cutting. Which ultimately ends up with me having all my runs being consistently shorter than the Suunto 9 and Garmin Fenix 5 Plus (as well as Suunto Trainer Wrist HR). This doesn’t seem to be an issue while cycling though.  For example, this run might look good at a high level:

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But once you dig into the details you can see that almost every time I come around a corner it flies through it. And this is largely off in the countryside:

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In Vondelpark, which is wide open spaces both units are all over the place:

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If I head into the trickery of the ‘city’ (which is kinda laughable in Amsterdam as the city buildings are really only 3-5 stories in most cases, hardly a GPS issue), you’ll see it gets even worse (shown are both Vantage M and Vantage V tracks, plus the Suunto 9 and Fenix 5 Plus):

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(Note above that the vast majority of those are Polar errors, but the Fenix isn’t without an error or two of its own, which I highlighted with a non-arrow line.)

Now again, as noted, it’s beta. And Polar confirmed they’re working on it (they’ve seen these tracks of mine). So certainly we’ll give them time to sort things out. But I’d also keep this tweet of mine in mind too.  This is all somewhat ironic because during my meetings with them I asked how they were finding the Sony GPS chipset, given Suunto had some teething pains with it (and still does to some degree as you can see above).  They were pretty confident at the time that they were in a good spot, even noting that Suunto probably paved the way for them a bit on early Sony aspects that would ultimately benefit Polar as well.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t yet seem to be the case.

Oh, and finally, running power. As noted above – I’m not about to declare any winner in this battle. I’m just going to plop the data out there and let folks decide what they want to decide.  Here’s one run of mine comparing Polar Running Power (teal) vs Garmin Running Power (purple):

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And here’s another run of mine comparing Polar Running Power (teal) vs Stryd Running Power (purple):

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Maybe in my next run I’ll actually manage to have both the Stryd and Garmin pods not have dead batteries when I start my run. Sigh. Sometimes you just can’t win.  Oh, and if y’all behave I’ll toss in the newest of new RunScribe pods that I got at my hotel last night.  Note that you can see the running power data on both of those sets under the section on the DCR Analyzer links called ‘Developer Fields’.

In any case – it’s all a bit too soon to declare whether or not the Vantage series is accurate in optical HR, GPS, and I suppose running power.  But if beta improves over time then I’d say that optical HR is in a really solid spot, and we just need GPS to join it.

(Note: All of the charts in these accuracy portions were created using the DCR Analyzer tool.  It allows you to compare power meters/trainers, heart rate, cadence, speed/pace, GPS tracks and plenty more. You can use it as well for your own gadget comparisons, more details here.)

Product Comparison:

I’ve added the Polar Vantage V & M into the product comparison tool, which means you can compare it against just about anything you want.  For the purposes of this chart I’ve compared the Polar Vantage V with the Suunto 9 and the Garmin Fenix 5 Plus.  Of course, you could remove the Plus part and go with the base Fenix 5 and that’d reduce the price a fair bit (and remove music/contactless payments/maps).  But you can do all that within the product comparison tool here, comparing it against all other GPS watches I’ve ran with to your heart’s content.

Function/FeaturePolar Vantage VGarmin Fenix 5 Plus (5/5S/5X)Suunto 9 Baro
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated August 30th, 2019 @ 4:19 pmNew Window
Price$499$699/699EUR$599 (non-baro is $499)
Product Announcement DateSept 13th, 2018June 17th, 2018June 5th, 2018
Actual Availability/Shipping DateLate October 2018June 17th, 2018June 26th, 2018
GPS Recording FunctionalityYesYes (with Galileo too)Yes
Data TransferUSB, BLUETOOTH SMARTUSB/Bluetooth Smart/WiFiUSB & Bluetooth Smart
WaterproofingYes - 30mYes - 100mYes - 100m
Battery Life (GPS)Up to 40 hoursUp to 32hrs in GPS-on, up to 85hrs in UltraTrac GPS (varies by model)Up to 120 Hours
Recording Interval1s1S or SmartVariable
Satellite Pre-Loading via ComputerYesYesYes
Quick Satellite ReceptionGreatGreatGreat
AlertsVibrate/Sound/VisualVibrate/Sound/VisualSound/Visual/Vibrate
Backlight GreatnessGreatGreatGreat
Ability to download custom apps to unit/deviceNoYEsNo
Acts as daily activity monitor (steps, etc...)YesYesYes
MusicPolar Vantage VGarmin Fenix 5 Plus (5/5S/5X)Suunto 9 Baro
Can control phone musicNoYesNo
Has music storage and playbackNoYesNo
Streaming ServicesNoSpotify, Amazon Music, Deezer, iHeartRadioNo
PaymentsPolar Vantage VGarmin Fenix 5 Plus (5/5S/5X)Suunto 9 Baro
Contactless-NFC PaymentsNoYesNo
ConnectivityPolar Vantage VGarmin Fenix 5 Plus (5/5S/5X)Suunto 9 Baro
Bluetooth Legacy (pre-4.0) to PhoneNoNoNo
Bluetooth Smart (4.0+) to Phone UploadingYesYesYes
Phone Notifications to unit (i.e. texts/calls/etc...)Feb 2019YesYes
Live Tracking (streaming location to website)NoYesNo
Group trackingNoYesNo
Emergency/SOS Message Notification (from watch to contacts)NoNoNo
Built-in cellular chip (no phone required)NoNoNo
CyclingPolar Vantage VGarmin Fenix 5 Plus (5/5S/5X)Suunto 9 Baro
Designed for cyclingYesYesYes
Power Meter CapableYesYesYes
Power Meter Configuration/Calibration OptionsYesYesYes
Power Meter TSS/NP/IFNoYesNo
Speed/Cadence Sensor CapableYesYesYes
Strava segments live on deviceTBD Future UpdateYesNo
Crash detectionNoNoNo
RunningPolar Vantage VGarmin Fenix 5 Plus (5/5S/5X)Suunto 9 Baro
Designed for runningYesYesYes
Footpod Capable (For treadmills)YesYesYes
Running Dynamics (vertical oscillation, ground contact time, etc...)NoWITH RD POD, HRM-TRI OR HRM-RUN (NOT VIA OPTICAL HR)No
Running Poweryes (built-in)With extra sensorWith extra sensor
VO2Max EstimationYesYEsYes
Race PredictorNoYesNo
Recovery AdvisorYesYesYes
Run/Walk ModeNoYesNo
SwimmingPolar Vantage VGarmin Fenix 5 Plus (5/5S/5X)Suunto 9 Baro
Designed for swimmingYesYesYes
Openwater swimming modeYesYEsYes
Lap/Indoor Distance TrackingYesYesYes
Record HR underwaterYesWITH HRM-TRI/HRM-SWIM (Not with optical HR)Yes
Openwater Metrics (Stroke/etc.)YesYesYes
Indoor Metrics (Stroke/etc.)YesYEsYes
Indoor Drill ModeNoYesNo
Indoor auto-pause featureYesNo (it'll show rest time afterwards though)No
Change pool sizeYesYEsYes
Indoor Min/Max Pool Lengths20M/Y to 250 m/y14M/15Y TO 150Y/M15m/y to 1,200m/y
Ability to customize data fieldsYesYesyes
Can change yards to metersYesYesYes
Captures per length data - indoorsYesYesYes
Indoor AlertsN/AYesNo
TriathlonPolar Vantage VGarmin Fenix 5 Plus (5/5S/5X)Suunto 9 Baro
Designed for triathlonYesYesYes
Multisport modeYesYesYes
WorkoutsPolar Vantage VGarmin Fenix 5 Plus (5/5S/5X)Suunto 9 Baro
Create/Follow custom workoutsYesYesNo
On-unit interval FeatureNoYEsYes
Training Calendar FunctionalityYesYesYes
FunctionsPolar Vantage VGarmin Fenix 5 Plus (5/5S/5X)Suunto 9 Baro
Auto Start/StopYesNo
Virtual Partner FeatureNo (but can give out of zone alerts)YEsNo
Virtual Racer FeatureNoYesNo
Records PR's - Personal Records (diff than history)NoYesNo
Day to day watch abilityYesYesYes
Hunting/Fishing/Ocean DataNoYesNo
Tidal Tables (Tide Information)NoNoNo
Jumpmaster mode (Parachuting)NoYesNo
GeocachingNoVia GPS coordinatesNo
Weather Display (live data)NoYesNo
NavigatePolar Vantage VGarmin Fenix 5 Plus (5/5S/5X)Suunto 9 Baro
Follow GPS Track (Courses/Waypoints)NoYesYes
Markers/Waypoint DirectionNoYesYes
Routable/Visual Maps (like car GPS)NoYesNo
Back to startFeb 2019YesYes
Impromptu Round Trip Route CreationNoYesNo
Download courses/routes from phone to unitNoYesYes
SensorsPolar Vantage VGarmin Fenix 5 Plus (5/5S/5X)Suunto 9 Baro
Altimeter TypeBarometricBarometricBarometric
Compass TypeN/AMagneticMagnetic
Optical Heart Rate Sensor internallyYesYesYes
Pulse Oximetry (aka Pulse Ox)NoFenix 5X Plus onlyNo
Heart Rate Strap CompatibleYesYesYes
ANT+ Heart Rate Strap CapableNoYesNo
ANT+ Speed/Cadence CapableNoYesNo
ANT+ Footpod CapableNoYesNo
ANT+ Power Meter CapableNoYesNo
ANT+ Weight Scale CapableNoNoNo
ANT+ Fitness Equipment (Gym)NoNoNo
ANT+ Lighting ControlNoYesNo
ANT+ Bike Radar IntegrationNoYesNo
ANT+ Trainer Control (FE-C)NoNoNo
ANT+ Remote ControlNoNo (can control VIRB though)No
ANT+ eBike CompatibilityNoNoNo
ANT+ Muscle Oxygen (i.e. Moxy/BSX)NoYesNo
ANT+ Gear Shifting (i.e. SRAM ETAP)NoYesNo
Shimano Di2 ShiftingNoYesNo
Bluetooth Smart HR Strap CapableYesYesYes
Bluetooth Smart Speed/Cadence CapableYesYesYEs
Bluetooth Smart Footpod CapableYesYesYes
Bluetooth Smart Power Meter CapableYesYEsYes
Temp Recording (internal sensor)YesYesYes
Temp Recording (external sensor)NoYesNo
Compatible with Firstbeat HR toolsN/AYes-
SoftwarePolar Vantage VGarmin Fenix 5 Plus (5/5S/5X)Suunto 9 Baro
PC ApplicationPolar Flowsync - Windows/MacGarmin ExpressPC/Mac
Web ApplicationPolar FlowGarmin ConnectSuunto Movescount
Phone AppiOS/AndroidiOS/Android/Windows PhoneiOS /Android
Ability to Export SettingsNoNoNo
PurchasePolar Vantage VGarmin Fenix 5 Plus (5/5S/5X)Suunto 9 Baro
Amazon LinkLinkLinkLink
Clever Training - Save with the VIP programLinkLinkLink
Clever Training Europe (Save 10% with DCR10BTF)N/ALink
DCRainmakerPolar Vantage VGarmin Fenix 5 Plus (5/5S/5X)Suunto 9 Baro
Review LinkLinkLinkLink

Again, don’t forget you can mix and match all the products in the database to make your own comparison charts here.

Wrap-up:

DSC_0431

From a purely aesthetic and hardware standpoint, the Vantage series is a huge improvement in my opinion. While the older V800 did its job, I’m not sure there were a ton of people that called that baby beautiful. However, I really like the design of the Vantage V especially. The nuance in the etching of the band and the underside of the bezel is really well executed. Same goes for the button etching.  And of course, dem optical HR sensors! It’s clear Polar has spent a good chunk of the time between iterations on the industrial design elements, and it shows.

The challenge though I see for Polar at this point is the software side. In most cases you want a new product to generally carry with it all the features of the previous unit and then add new cool stuff. Polar checked off the ‘cool new stuff’ box, but did so at the expense of some existing features not being in the current watch. While smartphone notifications will come in a future update, more outdoor focused features like track/route navigation aren’t expected to.

Polar was clear in my meeting that they aren’t going to try and compete with Garmin on feature-count. Suunto mirrored those exact words when we met prior to the Suunto 9 launch. Neither has the resources to challenge Garmin on features. Instead, both are aiming to narrow their focus on the performance side of the house. With Polar that focuses heavily on heart rate driven training load and recovery metrics, while also expanding to their own running power solution. Whereas with Suunto that expands more towards ultra runners and their crazy long battery life options.  Both companies have shifted to Sony GPS chipsets, which may work out long term – but short term seems to be challenging for both, based on my testing.

Still I’m looking forward to seeing how the Polar matures over the next 6 or so weeks as they near shipping release. The current plan calls for them to start shipping in late October.  I’ll drop my in-depth review on or slightly after they start shipping.

With that – thanks for reading and feel free to drop any questions down below.

Note: You can now pre-order the Polar Vantage series, including both the Vantage V and Vantage M units. If you do so via Clever Training which I have a partnership with, you’ll save 10% using DCR Coupon Code DCR10BTF, additionally, you’ll get free fast US shipping. All of which supports the site here! 

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1,427 Comments

  1. Andy Quick

    Can you migrate any of your old training data from other devices into Flow? I can’t seem to find any answer, and since they don’t even support exporting, I’m not that hopeful…

    I loved Flow for the well thought out design, but the ugly/bulky hardware made me switch to Garmin for day to day activity tracking. I’m really tempted to switch back to a Vantage, but losing all of my running data for the past couple of years would be a no-go.

    • tom

      Sure you can. I used syncmytracks for a bulk import but other popular services exist. Rungap appears to be possibly the best choice.

      In general, it’s a good idea to export all your data from Garmin and Polar to a neutral service like training peaks and obviously something you can set up in Flow to happen automatically.

      That way, next time you change vendor, you can continue to keep all your data in the same place.

      I love Polar and flow but I would never lock myself into a vendor specific service.

    • Nicola

      My solution for avoiding any vendor lock-in is to use SyncMyTracks to keep in synch my current account with all the others. This way it does not matter what watch I am going to use, my history will be available everywhere and I can use the best feature of each service.

  2. Andy

    Ray,
    what is your assessment on the consistency of running power?
    If it relies only on GPS and GPS is all over the place, is running power useful at all or would it be better to go with a stryd?

    • Fredrik

      Andy: That question is a whole article in itself. I think you will have to be patient and wait for the Polar Vantage review.

    • Yeah, in all honesty the whole GPS pace this is really the least of power meter for running issues. I know a lot of folks like to throw it out there in favor of Stryd, but if I look at all the challenges of running power across the board, I actually don’t see responsiveness of power shifts as a huge issue.

      Some might say it impacts pace stability, but again, that’s also something relatively easily solved through accelerometer smoothing from the wrist and cross-referencing that (which most units do).

      Now, where things can be impacted is if there’s just bad GPS accuracy to begin with – since that introduces extra distance. Too early to say there.

  3. Chris

    Seems Polar have taken the money out of my account today for the Vantage V. Getting excited. Possibly get it earlier than expected. In UK.

    • Rob

      Likewise. UK also. Ended up going for the M as couldn’t really decide whether the ‘power’ bit was worth the extra outlay (I know there’s more differences than that but that’s probably the main one imo and I know I’d end up not putting the HR start on everyday for the Recovery Pro metrics) Hoping I made the right choice in the end. Can always get a Stryd or similar I guess.

      Have just checked Polar account and just says ‘in progress’. Don’t recall if it said anything different previously though.

  4. Jose Fortes

    Hi. An important reason to make the purchase decision of the Polar Vantage V is to know if it will allow structured workouts by power zones in running and with alarms when I leave the power zone marked in the interval or concrete moment of the work. And if it was also compatible with the use of Stryd and not only with Polar’s power measurement. Do you know anything about this topic in both Vantage and Flow? (sorry my bad english)

  5. Alongzo

    DC Rainmaker,

    This is my biggest question and it will determine if 1. The Polar M or V will be my watch of choice and 2. If it makes sense wearing either all day vs my Garmin 645. The reason is because of Garmin’s new Body Battery feature and if it will come to the Garmin FR 645. I would keep both just for comparison sake but it seems like the Polar Vantage V would take in account not only training metrics but also the 24/7 metrics like Steps, HR, and Sleep data. Is this true? If not then this would mean the Vantage M would be good enough for training only (it may not be needed at all depending) and I can rely on Garmin for the 24/7 data. What do you think?

  6. Anonymous

    Polar Vantage M vs. Garmin Vivoactive 3 vs. Suunto Spartan Trainer?
    Any thoughts?

    • Jens

      If correct HR is a deal breaker I’d say do not choose Suunto. It shows cadence for me 95% of the time. Other than that I like it except the lag for starting and stopping activities. Great for running, roller skiing and pool swimming for instance. The others look good. Polar has great OHR in OH1, Vantage should be good! Garmin is sometimes great. VA3 is probably good value. Not sure about touch screen. Have no Garmins with touch screen.
      Suunto Trainer is not so easy to read on the run, small screen!

    • Andrew

      Jens has pretty much said what I would have said.

      I should just clarify that Garmin models to avoid are the Fenix 5 and 5+ if you want accurate GPS and good battery life.@

      Suunto’s optical HRMs just don’t work @(which is odd as they are by Valencell and used in the Scosche which does).

      I did an acutely embarrassing Youtube video which, however bad, nicely demonstrates the cadence lock problem on the Suunto 9 (which I also had with the Trainer)

      link to youtube.com

      My F3 without optical HR is a good all rounder and only cost me 160 quid. GPS is better than on later models (despite the Glonass / Galileo marketing hype) but not as good as the FR910 and 920.

      The problem with any comparison is it really depends what you are going to use it for. The old Ambit 3 is great for GPS accuracy, battery life, navigation and OWS. Polar (M400, M430, V800) is great for serious athletes looking to improve through structured training. The old F3 is a good all-rounder though master of none. It gives you access to apps through the best SDK for a non-Android watch.

      We seem to have passed the zenith for these devices by 2-3 yrs and newer is most definitely not better so save you can yourself a chunk of money by getting a new(ish) older model.

      An old FR920xt is still a great device despite being ugly. It is lightweight with a good battery life, good GPS, runs Connect IQ apps and gives running dynamics with the HRM Run or Tri straps.

      In the end you “pays your money and takes your choice”. (-;

      @ from my experience.

    • I’d narrow down what features you want. For example, to consider:

      Vivoactive 3: Good all-arounder, even has onboard music option. But no openwater swim. Does have a baro altimeter, which is handy for some. Also has Connect IQ app support.

      Polar Vantage M: No baro altimeter, but can do openwater swim. Also supports both cycling and running power meters. One of my favorites of the three from a looks standpoint.

      Suunto Spartan Trainer: A better optical HR sensor than the Garmin, has OW swim support, running and cycling power support, but is a bit chunky in some ways. Less ideal screen than the others.

      The’re kinda similiar, but also quite different.

      Note that most of Suunto’s optical HR woes seem to be tied to the size of the device being used. No real surprise there. Heavier devices, specifically top-heavy devices as Suunto designs them, generally perform more poorly with optical HR due to tendency to lock onto cadence. Whereas thinner watches or those ‘lower’ to the wrist tend not to bounce, and thus less cadence lock issues. None of which affect the three watches you’ve asked about.

    • Luis

      I have to disagree with the SSTrainer. I don’t know if it was a “cadence lock” issue or just a bug, but I had 2 different watches and both had the same problem: extremely high HR values the first 5-10 minutes of the runs.

      And that is something I’ve also seen in the HR comparisons you’ve done with Suuntos (S9 and SST)… And it is a pity, as I liked the watch, the interfaces and the Movescount app (not so many people would say that hehe)

    • Andrew

      Hi Luis, Ray.

      My experience with the SST was as bad as the S9 in terms of cadence lock and crazy high HRs. I wonder if age is a factor (I am 60 so the skin on my wrist is less elastic). Tightening the strap does not seem to help with any of the WOHRs I have used.

  7. Greg

    I pre-ordered a Vantage V from Clever Training. Just checked with Polar when they will ship to the US. October has now become the last week in November

    • Zack

      Polar Watches are now on Amazon for pre-order and they say “Starts shipping in late November”.

      However, EU people are reporting early expected dates.

    • Nick K

      Just checked. Amazon now promises delivery on Monday, 11/19 for prettty much all Vantage models.

    • Andrew

      I have been told first week in Nov here in the UK.

    • Greg

      I wanted to check with Polar themselves, as they have now kicked back Vantage V US ship dates at least twice. The new date of “the last week of November” (which is still later than what Amazon is advertising) is over a month after the initial date. This is right around US Thanksgiving/Black Friday, which has to be the worst supply chain launch period decision, but one they are clearly forced to make because the product isn’t ready. So I don’t really trust any of these dates anymore. If Polar can’t get the hardware out when they say they will, how can we trust the software update timelines?
      Anyway, this is too close to an early Dec. trail ultra I’m running for me to have time to give it a proper shake down. I may cancel and look at a Suunto 9. Or stick with my Spartan Sport sine HR.

    • Christian

      Not sure about differing ship dates in EU and US but the hardware should be definitely ready. The first V Models shall be sold from tomorrow noon onwards at the marathon expo in Frankfurt. This is said to be the sales start event in Germany.

    • I’d be very interested if that actually happens…

    • Christian

      There are several pages on the Frankfurt Marathon Homepage announcing a new partnership with POLAR and sales starting at the Expo tomorrow noon.

      link to frankfurt-marathon.com

      Would be a bummer if the big announcement does not hold true. Maybe they will sell VANTAGE pre-order vouchers? 🙂

    • Fredrik

      “Maybe they will sell VANTAGE pre-order vouchers? 🙂”

      Ah, like the toy company KENNER did when they did not have STAR WARS figures ready for us 8-year olds 😉 The parents bought a pre-order voucher for that little YODA with orange plastic snake.

  8. Tyrell

    Does, Garmin have anything that competes with Polar’s Recovery Pro or the Orthostatic Test? That would be the only reason for me to switch sides. I’ve tried the HRV test from Garmin but if I can’t do it multiple times a day and get some sort of feedback, what good is it?

    • Recovery Pro is covered by Garmin’s partnership via FirstBeat, with all the Training Load and Recovery data. More or less the same concept, just displayed a bit different. Sorta like agrueing Android vs iOS.

      I’m not aware of anything the same as the Orthostatic test on Garmin devices natively, but I think I have seen some Connect IQ apps that do it. As of a year ago they were able to access HRV/RR info via CIQ.

    • Tyrell

      Thank you so much for the response!

      Does the Recovery Pro feature include 24/7 information in it’s metric (Sleep, Steps)? It seems that this information is just “pretty data” instead of being useful. The one thing I like about polar is that your daily goal is based off caloric burn instead of steps. I feel if I just did a crazy workout, why does Garmin still focus on how many steps I achieved? Do you think Body Battery helps solve this? I just can’t find a reason to let go of my F645.

    • I searched Garmin’s Connect IQ App store for “orthostatic” and did not find anything: link to apps.garmin.com

      But I searched just “stress”, got 23 results, then filtered for fenix 5X plus, and there are 5: link to apps.garmin.com

      First app, Heart Rate/HRSS – brings up some interesting questions about the best way to measure: link to apps.garmin.com
      HRSS is like HrTSS from TrainingPeaks.. read more here.. link to trainingpeaks.com
      This article concludes TSS (Training Stress Score) is better than HrTSS (heart rate training stress score), but doesn’t mention anything about HRSS. (Heart Rate Stress Score).

      Zone Runner has a LOT of data available… link to apps.garmin.com

      hrTSS only shows the same number in multiple times..

      Zone Runner is really the star of the show here… So much so that I’m pasting the whole description for you to read here:
      “Zone Runner is an all in one data field that displays relevant information on a single screen and uses colour to allow a quick view of your current HR and Pace information.
      Forum thread here: link to forums.garmin.com

      Optionally Uses Joe Freil for Running formula from TrainingPeaks to calculate HR and Pace Zones.

      Features 8 configurable data fields that use color to indicate training zones at a glance.
      • Current pace – uses Garmin Connect colors to indicate pace zone
      • 4-Second Smoothed Pace
      • 30-Second Smoothed Pace
      • Average pace
      • Current HR Zone
      • Current HR
      • Distance Travelled
      • Cadence
      • Estimated hrTSS (Heart Rate Training Stress Score) – link to help.trainingpeaks.com
      • Estimated rTSS (Running Training Stress Score – This is a much more accurate formula than hrTSS) – link to help.trainingpeaks.com
      • RRE (Relative Running Economy) – link to fellrnr.com
      • Power – Requires Stryd (Does not work with Garmin Power)
      • 4 Sec Smoothed Power
      • 30 Sec Smoothed Power
      • TRIMP (Training Impulse) – link to trainingimpulse.com
      • Intensity Factor (1 Hour Rolling Average) – link to help.trainingpeaks.com
      (End of Zone Runner description)
      Note that Zone Runner includes rTSS, and says it’s also more accurate than hrTSS.

      If the orthostatic test was the only thing the polar had over garmin devices, I’d simply manually calculate my orthostatic heart rate, the jump and fitness tests are pretty cool. I suppose one could do the same type of physical movement for the polar tests, and watch how they trend… Worth noting is that Polar’s orthostatic test is more advanced than a simple standing heart rate average – resting heart rate average. It’d be interesting to see if that’s true though.

      I’m not too swayed by having music on the fenix 5 plus series, although the pulse oximeter is really cool. Some day I plan on getting a real smartwatch to go on my other wrist, which will have better music capabilities, and allow me to worry less about people potentially trying to contact me. As others have noted, the smartphone notifications on the fenix 5 are pretty useless, since you have to have your smartphone in range. I really wish the fenix 5 asked the user their rate their perceived exertion and take that into account like the polar… That might be the straw that breaks the camels back here.

      Add in the fact that I’m planning on getting a real smartwatch to go on the other wrist, I really only need this fitness watch to do the fitness stuff and do it the best it can. The polar also seems more accurate thanks to having 9 sensors.

      Now – something I have yet to consider – is which watch acts as a better sleep tracker, or integrates with a good sleep tracker. I’m guessing the Garmin is the device/ecosystem to invest in, but it’d be worth checking what a good android wear smartwatch has when it comes to fitness apps, and I should also note that samsung watches have their own unique OS and smaller app store, I’m guessing samsungs S-Health is probably the best app on that platform overall, but there’s probably at least one other fitness app providing more detailed fitness metrics.

      I guess maybe my question here, is what’s the best fitness watch and smartwatch combination? I’m definitely interested in using a heart rate strap for more accurate heart rate data.

    • My fitness concerns can be boiled down to: Which fitness tracker is going to give the most conservative advice on which days I can play bball, how many games can I play, and when I should stop playing? Polar Vantage V or a Garmin watch? Price/time/convenience are not major factors. It would also be nice if the watch could recognize and track reps for any lift where the hands are moving. Being able to tell me when to stop lifting would also be very valuable information.

    • Nicola

      The Polar Vantage V is Sport Watch targeted at triathletes, suitable for running, cycling and swimming. Even though it has dozens of sport profiles for many other sports, I doubt it goes into the details you indicated.
      Regarding the Garmin offering I let others respond, as I am not familiar with it.

    • flokon

      You already have a device that does exactly what you asked for: your brain.
      In all seriousness. The cardiovascular load from playing ball is negligible, play as much as you like.

  9. Jorge

    I am totally confused with delivery times, yesterday at noon I received this email from Clever Training:
    Thank you for your order for the Polar Vantage GPS Watch. Based on the most recent information available from the manufacturer we are still on track to process your order the end of October.

    I can Trust??

    • I suspect the custom pre-order message for Vantage folks just wasn’t caught as needing to be updated. I’ll let someone know.

      (Typically for major products like this with longer-lead pre-order times CT will customize the pre-order/backorder type e-mail a bit, as well as usually provide weekly or biweekly updates. My guess is this just slipped through the crack to update the pre-order with the correct November dates.)

    • Actually, update on that update a few minutes ago.

      Just got off a chat with Clever Training, who in turn also just got off a call with Polar. They will have units shipping to them today or tomorrow, so they’ll go out to customers early next week – ahead of schedule.

      The dates shown online right now are mostly just placeholders based on previous updated Polar guidance, as well as CT’s own take on how reliable a given date is from a given company. They tend to be pretty conservative, so usually push dates out slightly beyond what manufs say.

      In any case, you should be getting Vantage units from CT by the end of next week, short of something last minute changing.

      Thanks for the support!

    • Chris

      Apparently individual order shipping has started. Reported on facebook that order 22826535 has been dispatched. My order is almost 2000 after that number….

    • Greg

      Ray, thanks for getting to the bottom of this. I received the same CT email yesterday. Seems like you’re more tapped into what’s going on at Polar than the chat person on the Polar website!

    • Mike@PolarUSA

      The initial inventory delivery (at least for here in the United States) has arrived. Those who have pre-ordered (whether direct through Polar.com or 3rd party sites like Clever Training) will see shipments starting to arrive starting mid-next week. Demand/Supply will be high early on and once these initial orders are fulfilled, subsequent orders will be processed on a first come/first served basis. – Mike@PolarUSA

    • Andrew

      Just been notified (this pm) of shipping with tracking number.

    • In that case perhaps there is a slight chance it will have a better price during Black Friday/weekend😀 Wonder how stores do with such a new product🤔 I got the M430 solely for its OHR but am disappointed with it in general.Probably my best OHR watch but not only does it lack such a simple thing as a beep at autolap but also there are huge limitations when it comes to editing sport profiles WHEN YOU ALREADY HAD OLD ONES CONNECTED TO OTHER POLAR WATCHES. Super stupid bug.
      Am tempted to get the Vantage V.

  10. Rhena

    What is the best Try watch in the market now ? Polar Vantage V or any other ? I am using Polar V800 (I bought back in 2013 based upon your review) . I want your honest opinion ?

    • I think it’d be pretty tough to argue the Polar Vantage V as the best triathlon watch in the market, at least in terms of features. We’ll see on optical HR accuracy (so far, it’s pretty good). But there’s a lot more to a tri watch than just that.

    • Luís

      If we talk about features (amount of) then I guess Garmin wins. But considering the price to quality ratio, what would you say? I mean, for a non professional triathlete that will not benefit from some of that extra features, the accuracy of the Polar could make it a contender?

    • Rhena

      So If you were me. Which watch will you buy ? I need make and model. I want best Tri watch in the market now. which I can use for next 5-6 year.

    • tom

      What triathlon features do you miss?

      I’d say anyone who wanna buy a watch and have it for a long time should go for Polar. V800 has been updated for 4 years.
      Vantage might be the first watch with reliable OHRM and you can trust Polar to keep finetuning this watch for years to come, at least if they have the same approach as before.

    • “But considering the price to quality ratio, what would you say? I mean, for a non professional triathlete that will not benefit from some of that extra features, the accuracy of the Polar could make it a contender?”

      I don’t know.

      Personally, I don’t see any meaningful differences between what Firstbeat is doing and what Polar is doing in terms of training load/recovery type stuff. Slight nuances to each, but basically the same fundamentals (Polar noted as such during their presentation to me). Both companies have a solid reputation in this area, though, there’s no question that Firstbeat’s footprint in terms of technology licensed is far larger (as well as the various pro sports team pieces they do). But insofar as consumer stuff, it’s basically a wash.

      There is the Orthostatic feature in Polars units – if you’re planning on buying one of their HR straps. I did find the HRV app that I had seen before on Garmin’s side of the house, here: link to apps.garmin.com

      Optical HR sensor wise, there’s no question Polar’s going to win that game based on what I’ve seen. Of course, if you don’t have plans to use the optical HR sensor for whatever reason, then that’s a non-isue.

      GPS-wise, the jury is out. I received a final production unit this morning, so we’ll see over the weekend how things shake out. Up till this point it’s no secret from all reviewers that GPS accuracy hasn’t been awesome by any means.

      In terms of feature upgrades, I don’t really put a ton of stock into the argument that Polar keeps on updating features for years to come. Yes, that’s true – but one has to provide context. That’s because they were missing at launch. So it’s not really new features above/beyond what the competition is doing – it’s always been catch-up. So it’s kinda like trying to get extra credit for turning in your homework two years late.

      I think the most relevant competitor for the Vantage V series is the FR935 – same price last I checked. Like always, you somewhat need to figure out what you value the most.

    • Chris

      Hi Rhena,

      My opinion is that there isn’t a definitive answer to your question. Too many variables, too subjective. What’s your price point? How long of a Battery life do you need? Do you care if the watch is Heavy? Do you like music on your watch? Do you have any other sensors that you need to pair too? Do you care if it has a barometer? Do you want a quick release mount?

      Anything we buy right now, can’t be guaranteed to be future proofed, when was the last update for V800? November 2017 firmware, so Polar updated it for 3 years. Sometimes manufacturers make one offs either to help with their manufacturing process, or the lack of sales kills the product. Like the Garmin Epix, Suunto Ambit Vertical Garmin Chronos, or Garmin 735 (which Garmin is still updating firmware.)

      The V800 was available to purchase Late June 2014, and if you read Ray’s review at the time, he wasn’t a fan of it, because, IIRC, Polar was going to roll out features over time, which other competitors already had in their older watches, and at the time Ray didn’t have confidence that Polar would keep there promises. He wasn’t slamming Polar, but took a, I’ll believe it when I see it stance. I did buy the V800 at the time, and had to put up with the swollen batteries, and H7 eating CR2016’s once a week, but Polar has a great 2 year warranty, so things where fixed up. I did like the Flow interface over Garmin Connect, and I did preorder the Vantage V (after selling my 935), and I’m waiting for Ray’s review to see if the GPS has improved, but if you look at some of his other reviews where the Vantage is in the mix, it doesn’t look pretty.

      Regards,

      Chris,

    • Andrew

      If people rely on WOHR some of the calculated Firstbeat metrics on the Polar are less likely to mislead because the input data supplied to (identical?) algorithms will be more accurate. I remember getting flattering/silly VO2 max readings with my Garmin F3 HR (but not with my F3 using the HRM Run belt). Of course if you habitually use an hr strap it should, as you say, be a wash. The development of an acceptably accurate wrist OHR would be the development to make the hr belt an historic curio. With Polar it seems close. It probably isn’t quite there yet (R-R variability and swimming) but for many it will be close enough.

    • Luis

      I’ve read that Vantage M seems to have more accurate results from a GPS standpoint. May it be a case of metallic case-bezel interfering with the GPS signal? I may be mistaken but I remember reading some review of a GPS watch that was affected by this problem (Suunto maybe? I can’t remember!).

      Anyway, it is true that Vantage V has a price tag not so competitive (ok, it is not a Suunto 9 but as you said, the FR935, and even the F5 can be found at the same price or even slightly cheaper). But what are your thoughts on the M? May it be superior to the rest of entry level try watches such as SST (hated its HR initial spiking) or Instinct (loved the looks, not so much what I’ve read in your review).

      As you may have guessed, I’m in doubt between both watches (more prone to the M, as barometric altimeter, cadence measures etc are not dealbreakers for me…).

    • Paul

      Ray, please let us know here how your GPS testing of the retail unit went!

      Thanks,
      P.

    • It was cold, wet, and windy today. So while I did rides around town as normal in this city for errands and such, I didn’t do any workouts outside. Saturday/Sunday are supposed to be pretty though. 🙂

    • Paul

      Will be here waiting for your reports! 🙂

      Thanks,
      P.

    • Paul

      Hey Ray, it’s Monday already 🙂 How did the Vantage V do over the weekend? How is GPS on a retail unit?

      Thanks,
      P.

    • Ride from yesterday (Vantage V): link to analyze.dcrainmaker.com

      HR: So-so, on-par or better than a Garmin, but clearly worse than Apple Watch 4 or TICKR HR strap.

      GPS: Some pretty unusual errors for road-riding (I rarely see road-riding errors with any GPS units I test), including place shifting and corner cutting.

    • Paul

      Thanks Ray, I guess I’ll have to wait some time and see how Polar responds with firmware updates and if these will actually fix anything.

      P.

  11. David

    Just got shipping notification from Polar for my Vantage M…

    Excited! Hopefully it gets here before with leave for a week on Monday!

  12. Jorge

    Hi David Congratulations!!

    I order mine 15 days ago !! So excited !!, where are yo from?

  13. Damon

    Thanks for the first review!

  14. Felix Alicea

    Dear DC Rainmaker:

    Does Polar have any plans to develop a watch along the lines of the Polar Vantage M, but specifically for running, and possibly at a more inexpensive price in the near future?

    All the best,
    Felix Alicea

  15. Patrick

    Does the Vantage allow for manual entry of distance (i.e., treadmill calibration) when using it in treadmill mode prior to the workout being saved?

  16. Not to put salt in anyones wound, but shipment of polar vantage v was confirmed today (Sweden). Looking forward to getting started testing it.

  17. Christian

    Manuals for Vantage series are now available on global site 🙂

  18. Not happy reading in the Polar Vantage M manual!

    Regarding heart rate recording through the wrist while swimming, there seems to be bad news. However, I like that Polar are honest. Actually, they also came up with a solution for open water in the manual: Use the H10 and start the recording through the Polar Beat app. (Then it doesn’t use Bluetooth) I have actually tried this during the summer, and it works fine in open water. However it is not optimal, that you can’t start it on the watch like in the good-old-days with 5 kHz Polar watches like the Rcx5. It’s not the most important data while swimming, but it’s nice to have after a swim session. (GPS-accuracy, distance, average speed and counting swim lanes would be more important when swimming than heart rate.)

    The manual is really honest here on page 99 on the Polar Vantage M:
    “Polar devices with wrist-based heart rate measurement are suitable for swimming and bathing. They will collect your activity data from your wrist movements also when swimming. In our tests, how- ever, we found that the wrist-based heart rate measurement doesn’t work optimally in water, so we can- not recommend wrist-based heart rate measurement for swimming.
    In the watch industry, water resistance is generally indicated as meters, which means the static water pressure of that depth. Polar uses this same indication system. Water resistance of Polar products is tested according to International Standard ISO 22810 or IEC60529. Every Polar device that has water resistance indication is tested before the delivery to stand water pressure.
    Polar products are divided into four different categories according to their water resistance. Check the back of your Polar product for the water resistance category, and compare it to the chart below. Please note that these definitions do not necessarily apply to products of other manufacturers.
    When performing any underwater activity, the dynamic pressure generated by moving in water is greater than the static pressure. This means that moving the product under water subjects it to a greater pres- sure than if the product were stationary.”

    Really looking forward to see more testings from Ray. You’re the man 🙂 And a busy kind of man 🙂

    Reading reviews from other Polar users who have gained experiences with these parts of the watch, would be very helpful.

    At the moment, I actually stepped back a bit, and I think the Vantage M would fulfil my needs for data – and a feature that I really like: it’s really lightweight and almost half the prize than the Vantage V. I’m not training like a pro, so at the moment, I think the data from the Vantage M would be fine for me. Stepping back, was actually an advise from Ray. Thank you. I think I would be a bit more frugal and not just buy the newest and most expensive versions.

    My impression is actually, that the Garmin 935 is one of the best and most allround triathlon watches out there, but it’s still more expensive than the Vantage M. The Garmin has more connectivity options e.g. power meters, but I don’t use that. At least not now. Maybe later. By now, I would just need some more miles in the saddle. And when the season is running, I often use my intuition when it comes to how much I could push the bike.

    Power while running on the Vantage V…it’s a nice detail, but for me, it’s didn’t whet my appetite – and I think my wallet would be grateful.

    Actually, I think most people have focus on the Vantage V. It seems like a lot of people are whiling to spend more and more money on triathlon. Just during the 7 years I have done triathlon – people spend a lot of money on different kind of equipment.

    The Polar Vantage M would probably be a very good watch for a lot of people – and it’s close to half prize of the Vantage V. Not bad! But I respect, that there are different demands to the watches out there on the market. Depending on what you need, is a useful reflection to make.

    Link to the manual:
    link to support.polar.com

    Kind regards,
    Robert

  19. Jorge

    I have the same feeling regarding HR in the water, Sad but the People of Polar is Trusted

    My recommendation : If they said is not accurate why did they stop the band for swimming, for me should be a customer choice in the sport profile, for example in open water i choose by H10 and in a pool the wrist.
    Other issues : I did not see the field Temperature in any display!!
    Altitude graph the same.

    I hope Polar have this in his plans

    • Robert

      I agree.

      Heart rate touch function where you place the watch infront of the monitor and it would show data or time is maybe also left out.

      I prefer to have hour:minutes:seconds showed digital. I can’t see anywhere that you could have seconds showimg unless it is the analog display. Hope they could fix some of these things in an update.

  20. Thomas

    Either the DCR10BTF coupon and the VIP membership @clever training does it mean one can get 2X 10% discount?

  21. Umut

    I have just purchased the Vantage V at Brussels Matathon Expo 5 minutes ago. They have a all colors and models available.

  22. Idriss

    Personally a feel like the vantage’s (M) has nothing’s advanced…. no Baro ,no altimeter , not better screen,no touchscreen ,no protection , no music …. ok it’s a sport watch but in 3 months every watch will have all of this and better screen ….EVEN THE COROS A THE SAME PRICE HAVE it all ….. so my question is why they took 5 years to sort a watches that will be killed in my opinion in 3 months with new hardware ?!!

    • Marios

      Because not all athletes care about Music, Payments, Body Battery, Barometers and other consumer-level features that Garmin and other companies introduce to entice the general population. Either way, those people who need these kinds of features will be more attracted and better served by an Apple Watch which is almost impossible to compete with.

      To me a running watch is a glorified stopwatch. It’s an accurate tool that helps someone train and none of the above mentioned features has anything to do with (my personal at least) training. So if the accuracy and reliability is there, I am going to be all over the Vantage M. I am done with chasing Garmin bugs on every firmware release, Garmin has lost my trust. Now whether or not I will trust Polar is another story but less (but dependable) features is a great thing in my book not a shortcoming.

    • Glenn Levine

      Marios,

      Agreed not all care about these features. It’s worth saying, though, that even pros are humans that buy things (especially food/fuel), making payments useful; and listen to music while running even though many take the “meditative” approach to listen to the body. The alternatives are not very attractive: carry a much bigger additional item (phone/music player and a wallet/cash/credit cards). And no one likes to carry extra stuff, especially the pros.

      Suffice to say that the perfect device would have these features. But it’s trade-off. I believe Polar is excluding them from Vantage because of battery life (wireless audio sucks battery), and payments just because of the sheer investment it takes to get it done. It’s a rational decision.

      If you’re REALLY into music and canNOT carry your phone or a music player with you, and want a Polar that gets updates and w/Android, Polar’s m600 has all that and many other smart-watch features. Just not battery life. It can do 8 hrs w/GPS, although 36 w/out it. Upgrade to Android 2.0 has breathed a lot of new life into it. And it already has many of the core Polar features. This article from ZDNet tells quite a story about this product that doesn’t get much media play:

      link to zdnet.com

      g

    • flokon

      This.
      I’ve been using Polar watches since the late 90s (Accurex Plus), and grew tired of their rectangular design. So I bought a 735XT, and shortly after that a FR935 in May. Except for the fact that those Garmins are round, they offered nothing to my training. Quite on the contrary, Garmin Connect Mobile is a mess compared to Flow, and their firmware updates seem to fix two bugs, and introduce like three new ones. Not to mention the bad GPS tracks, and unusable instant pace from my 935. For some time now I’e been using both my M430, and the FR935, and have a Vantage M on the way.
      I couldn’t care less about the “missing features”. I’m actually glad about all the stuff that’s missing, less stuff that can clutter menues, go wrong during firmware updates, or unnecessarily eat battery. I just want a no frills running watch with a round face that puts the focus on training for serious athletes instead of ticking all marketing boxes for the consumer-level like Garmin. I chose the M because I want to be able to switch bands, and I don’t need a barometer/power nor Recovery Pro, because as a TP Premium user my training load/recovery is taken care of.
      I for one am looking forward to go back to working with Flow+TP, and ditch that mess that is GCM.

  23. Stefan G.

    @ray or anyone else that can give input:

    What is your take on the practical usefulness of Recovery Pro? I realise that this feature need time to dial in, but in general?
    I don’t compete, and probably wont for maybe more than charity races etc, but I started running only 3 years ago and in total i do 4 runs a week plus 2 strengths sessions, which at 54 years old definitely put me at the limit – or over.

    Recovery Pro and Power are the two main features I see in Vantage V that makes me want it (plus the design), but if Recovery Pro lacks usefulness then a Vantage M together with a Stryde pod might be the better option since it will give me (hopefully) more developed power measurements, accurate distance and pace (using Polar Stride Sensor now anyway) as well as some other running metrics.

    • Robert

      @Stefan

      If you use common sense, I think you could easily live without recovery pro.

      Vary your training and intensity and listen to the body signals. Many triathletes have done this. I even heard an interview with Chrissie Wellington who won the world championship on Hawaii – she didn’t use a powermeter on the bike. She knew her limits and raced on intuition. Oldschool and cool! (In my opinion)

      I just ordered the Vantage M yesterday. You could still see your training load if you want to look at that. Actually not something I use in my everyday life from the old Polar watches. Anyway, it’s data you could take into consideration.

      The M model is super light weight. It apeals to me. I use the running index data. I know it lacks altitude measurement and navigation, but it’s almost half the price as the Vantage V.

      In the end. It’s up to you. Maybe the V is a bit more exclusive looking

    • Andrew

      At 60 if I were to listen to my body signals I wouldn’t do anything!

      The serious point is that not everyone is blessed with reliable body signals. I have run the same route and felt great and felt terrible on different occasions but the performance metrics didn’t correlate often doing surprisingly well when feeling crap. Recovery pro uses how you feel as part of its algorithm. There is some good science behind heart rate variability and it is used to detect foetal distress in labour. I suspect professional athletes become very in-tune with their bodies (I also suspect their coaches handle a lot of the balance of training and recovery).

      Maybe Recovery-Pro is a bad name for it but I suspect it will be useful for may.

    • Andrew

      P.S.

      I have not had an injury in two years using the basic recovery data in Polar Flow. I even won a race (only in my age cat). Prior to that I was always pulling a hamstring, hip flexor or something. I think many non-pro athletes overtrain and don’t polarise their training so get injuries and don’t improve. I have run the London Marathon 3 times, once in my own name. The other numbers came from injured over-trainers (yes, that is going back a bit and no, I didn’t eat the Mars bar at the end!).

    • flokon

      How are you supposed to – blatantly put – feel when you cannot interpret your body’s signals, as you said? The problem with those algorithms is, that they rely on correct data. Polar’s Recovery thus far has worked with VO2Max. Put in a wrong value, e.g. much too high, and you can easily see how the balanced, strained, very strained sectors are shifted. Since it’s been shown in studies that Polar’s fitness test, and general running index, calculates one’s VO2Max much too high, I wouldn’t trust metrics derived from that value too much tbh. Heck, according to Polar my VO2Max is 71, resulting in race times I am far from clocking. Garmin puts me at a more realistic 57, which is kinda in line with my recent times (5k in the high 19mins). I guess my real value is somewhere in between. With that in mind, how is an algorithm based on wrong data better than an inaccurate/inexperienced interpretation of one’s body signals? I’d take the latter approach any day. You also have to keep in mind that recovery is always meant as recovery from quality sessions before your body is ready to benefit from another workout. There’s no need to recover from or before easy miles. If there is, then those miles weren’t easy to begin with.

    • Robert

      @Andrew
      I went from long distance triathlon to shorter distances. It works fine for me.

      Once I guess I overtrained and pushed my self to heard. Sometimes I tried to make to much progres by adjusting two things at the same time: speed and distance. I think it’s better just to adjust on parameter at a time.
      I also found out, that it’s a joy to take some slow runs. It could be a long run in the forrest. However, it is benefitial anyway in many ways. I guess, many people try to push themselves too hard. I’ve been there to, and also had problems with injuries. But I learned from my mistakes.

    • tom

      With Vantage there is also a Perceived Load which can be handy when having done a session that you feel was a lot harder on you than the “mesardued” value indicates. I come across those sessions a lot, especially when i do some stength/gym sessions which Polar seems to underestimate.

    • Stefan G.

      @robert, andrew
      I cannot say (unfortunately), that I trust my own body signals. Well maybe I do, but I do not trust my own judgement of them. After quitting rugby when i was 23, I did not do any serious exercising apart from a bit of leisury mountainbking in mid 90s and the odd visits to a gym until i started running almost 30 years later and I am quite certain that some issues I had with my shins last winter that kept me from running almost 3 months could have been avoided if I had more self.knowledge. At that time I wanted to run, so I ran even if it was a (more than) bit uncomfortable. Of course, I do not believe that Recovery Pro can give me 100% correct answers, but i was hoping it could give me reliable enough information so that I would at least think a second time before going out for a run (or staying home).

      @flokon Im afraid your reasoning is not a strong point for me since Polars Running Index can estimate my 5k and 10k times pretty well. Running Index/Fitness Index are quite different from Recovery Pro in that they measure single instances and that Recovery Pro is based on comparing a daily value with historical trends. as @andrew write, HRV/Orthostatic test is quite established as such for estimating your current fitness. Question is how well it work in practice outside laboratory or in Polars settung

    • Stefan G.

      I could also add that 2 years ago I went for emergency surgery for a ruptured appendix that went quite wrong and I ended up 10 days at ICU, followed by 3 weeks in a ward.
      Since then my body have not been as before – i’m all recovered and healthy now, but my body sometimes feels like someone elses, the signals doesn’t match up all the time they way they did before surgery. On the positive side is that I got tolerance for alcohol and seldon may bad hangovers the times I do drink… 😉

  24. Andrew

    Just got delivery of my Vantage V. I feel a bit like Ray when he first tested the SSU. I don’t really see the point.

    I am going to send it back to Polar.

    Here is a copy of my letter to them:

    “…Hi

    Just got my new Polar Vantage V

    I am very disappointed both with the device and with Polar.

    It is missing basic features which were present on the V800.

    1. No display of power zones on watch. You would think this would simply re-use the HR display algorithm.
    2. Absence of Pool Swimming Metrics. It doesn’t even record lengths and lap lengths.
    3. No option to keep the backlight on during an activity
    4. No adjustment of the brightness of the backlight (it is dim and the display is pretty hard to see).

    The website is also missing something fundamental to a watch with native power:

    1. No interval training using power! It just uses HR and pace.

    I have not included a lack of route navigation as I know this is in the pipeline in software developments. A few more watch faces would have been nice but not a deal breaker.

    This device is virtually in every respect not as good as its predecessor the V800.

    I now wish to return the device and would be grateful for your instructions on how to do this.
    …”

    • Nick K

      Andrew,

      Re: your issues #3 and #4. I don’t remember V800 having backlight on during activity options — a heart gesture, yes. But not a toggle, but then maybe I haven’t looked into settings for a long time. Could you please confirm?

      More importantly, am I reading it correctly that Vantage doesn’t support structured workouts with power as intensity target? Only heart rate and pace?

      Because that would be a huge omission.

    • Jens

      I’ve been reading lots of comments on this site where people return watches when they are not satisfied with their watch. Forgive my stupid question, but do all manufacturers have some kind of money back and return policy for the watches? I am really surprised people are able to return something they bought and used. I see people selling their used watches which is understandable but returning is for me “too good to be true”. I get the feeling I have missed some rules that all watch manufacturers have some kind of “try it and return if not happy” policy.
      Is this a fact?
      In any case it’s great to hear reviews from people actually having the device in question and testing it.
      Thanks for a great site 🙂
      In other news I’ve just ordered an M600 because I’m curious. Does it measure HR in the water and how good is it for swimming? My SST isn’t great with HR in water but otherwise very good for pool swimming.

    • Nick K

      Here in the US, you can indeed return a watch in most cases, say, if you purchased it from Amazon or Clever Training, for example. The former has a return window of 30 days and the latter is 60 days. Similar policies exist for retailers like Best Buy or Target. Some places have stipulations that the watch shouldn’t have been used. But that’s rare. Very few prohibit returns.

      The customer is always right! As long as a watch isn’t broken/scratched and you include everything it came with and packaging isn’t damaged, sure. You can return it. Often for 100% of the value paid.

      Besides, with watches these days… Some of them ship out so full of bugs, they are practically unusable. Like Vivoactive 3 that had a really nasty battery drain that couldn’t be fixed unless the watch went through a full factory reset. When I brought it to Best Buy for return last year the sales clerk told me they had been getting tons of Vivoactive back. Didn’t even bother to ask what was wrong or look at the package…

    • Andrew

      Not used other than ascertaining that the device lacks basic features. Bit like getting into a car and finding it has no steering wheel. I am sure Polar will be grateful for your concern though. There is, of course, no such thing as a stupid question…

    • Rob

      Hey Andrew. Shame you are unhappy.

      I’ve recieved my M today and would say that is definitely so far at least an upgrade on my old 400.

      I kind of agree with your comment regarding the display being dark however it does light up when you raise your wrist to view and find personally that to be acceptable. It would be better to have had the option to brighten however and whilst I don’t train with the back light on, again, an option to do so wouldn’t hurt for those that do.

      With regard to pool length etc I was under the impression it does do exactly what you are saying it doesn’t. On the M at least when you go on the ‘pool swimming’ sport on the watch in the top left it gives a pool length which you can change to some pre defined lengths or enter a custom length. Now I haven’t swam with the watch yet but if that setting is not related to recording laps/lengths then what exactly is the point of asking? I can’t see the point of it being there if not used.

      As for the lack of power zone indication during workout. I agree. Had I gone for a V I’d have expected that to be shown.

      With regards to returning assuming you’ve set up and used will they be happy to except back?
      I’ve had experience of Polars returns with my original M400 having a DOA god chip. Can’t fault them.

    • Rob

      That should read GPS chip. Stupid auto correct!

      You posted again before I replied. Having seen you haven’t touched it then I imagine your return will be painless going off my experience. Assuming UK you’ve distance selling regs on tour side anyway.

    • flokon

      Received my M today and went for my usual Monday easy 10k.
      A few stuff that instantly caught my eye:
      – Font is quite thin, which makes it hard to read during a run, even when lit in the dark. Will change the displays to 3 fields max like I did with the M430, and see if that improves readability.
      – Sluggish navigation through menues, and while scrolling. Hopefully this improves through updates, or maybe it’s just a matter of a slow chipset. The M430 is more responsive, just saying…
      – The bezel, while being quite thick, is about the same size as my 935’s, so it doesn’t bother me.

      Of course the M doesn’t even come close to my 935 in terms of features, and customization, but that’s exactly why I got it: A no-frills running watch that I want to use with Flow, and Trainingpeaks, instead of GCM. So far it delivered. I will keep using it for a month now and then decide, whether it’s time to let my 935 go, and go back to basics for good with the M, or if I actually miss any of the 935’s features.

    • flokon

      two other things:
      – While my pod paired flawlessly, the H7 has yet to be recognized.
      – despite Ray’s enthusiasm to use our 22mm bands, Polar uses some weird mechanism that prevents the usage of other bands than theirs. Bummer, was looking forward to using my different Garmin bands.

    • Rob

      Hey flokon. Nice to hear some initial real world use of the M.

      I received mine today but have only had chance to set up, hoping to get a run in tomorrow between family commitments.

      Regarding some of your points.

      My H7 paired instantly. I’m not sure whether the watch turns off the OHR when the H7 is detected/on but mine stayed lit. The H7 is in the paired devices though. Need to look into that just for clarification.

      Moving through menus I’m finding is perfect. No lag or delay. I’m coming from the 400 and find it as fast if not maybe quicker.

      With regards to the straps equally miffed about that!

    • Andrew

      Update. Here is a pool swim.

    • Andrew

      Here is a run

    • Andrew

      Round the bend.

    • Andrew

      Around another

    • Rob

      Similar to my tracks in that they are correct in shape and direction etc but not right to the actual path on the ground. I reckon on the two sessions I’ve now done, one run and one walk the drift from the actual path is not as dramatic as what you appear to be experiencing. How’s the rest of the track?

      Strange on the swim. Not something I’ve tested yet and probably won’t anytime soon. Did you set pool length on the watch?

    • the5krunner

      pool swim:

    • Andrew

      That is a really good time for a single backstroke length in a 36 m pool?

      It is a quadzillion times better data set than mine! (-;

    • Andrew

      P.S. and I bet you never left dry land?!

    • he he he
      it was drills, not backstroke. I’m a triathlete…I DON’T DO BACKSTROKE…I don’t even know what it is 😉

      it was 1600m i think, see top of image. but I had to get home for a quiche or something. i think i normally do 3.5k on tuesday??

      jeez. someone should write a proper review on this.

    • Andrew

      Lorraine? Classic!

    • Scott

      I thought you said you didn’t use it prior to returning it?

    • Manfred

      Hi flokon,

      how would you describe the difference to the M430?
      Anything stand out especially?
      I’m curious as intend to replace the M430 real soon.

      BR
      Manfred

    • flokon

      @Manfred: Hard to say whether it’s an upgrade from a M430. The screen definitely is much nicer. Then again, the resolution and colours come at a price, namely readability. The watch face definitely looks crisper but the training views stand out much better on the M430. The font used on the Vantage is very thin.
      Battery is about the same as the M430. GPS same as well. On paper the new OHR should be much better. I’d never rely on oHR for workouts though so cannot really say something about it. 24/7 HR tracking looks good though. Irregularities settle quickly.
      It depends on what you’re after and also what you grew accustomed to from your M430. For instance I instantly missed the M430’s favourite workouts. The Vantage only stores the one you scheduled for the day via Flow. Another thing I miss is the option to change display from light to dark and v.v. which depending on time of day and position of sun improves visibility quite a bit. If you can live with the M430’s oldschool display I’d say no to an upgrade. The round watch face and the display are really the major differences.

    • Pete Parfitt

      does it not have pool distance tracking

    • Marathon Man

      Yes it does. Tracks your lengths / style and Heart rate etc.

  25. Nick K

    Ray, Mke@PolarUSA, or anybody who got the watch and has access to Stryd…

    Does Vantage support Stryd for pace/power? The answers in the comments appear to indicate yes, but I noticed that Mike’s answers are all carefully worded with future tense. And there’s no Stryd to be found in the list of supported third party sensors in the manual:

    link to support.polar.com

    And if the answer is No, when should we expect this support?

    • Manfred

      Thanks a lot for your insight flokon!
      My 430M has 3 main issues:
      OHR is crap, HR with H7 less so,but still buggy.
      Battery lasts for about 5 hours.
      Quality: wristband coming off, display sorta started bleedind.

  26. Jorge

    Andrew,

    I was quite worried when I read your article, especially because I am waiting for my Vantage V, in relation to the points touched:
    1. At least I have seen the Power Zones in the Polar Flow application, to make a more detailed analysis. Not worry for me.
    2. This point is important, Did you use the watch in the pool ?, because if not, is little serious to say that it does not have swimming metrics, when in the manual it clearly says it have. I do not think Polar reaches those levels of irresponsibility.
    3. While it can be turned on via the wrist is not a worry for me.
    4. I’ve had the V800 and the M600, amazing display to see, I’m worried about this point, since Ray said it was pretty clear and as I have 59, it’s a killer point for me.
    I have to sold my spartan trainer, impossible to read for me.

    Where is Mike? to clarify all this points, Sorry but I sold my Fenix 5, to return with Polar .
    My favorite brand that i have been used more than 15 years.

    • Andrew

      Hi Jorge

      1. Seeing power zones in retrospect is fine but for me not terribly useful. Polar Flow supports intervals consisting of multiple phases of training constrained by HR (of course), pace but NOT POWER! As the watch has power natively on the wrist not developing Polar Flow to fully support this seems to me to be a pretty serious omission. I can set a power zone target on my SSU (used with Stryd). I can also have multiple phases of interval training constrained by power on my Fenix 3 (it has taken a while but I can now do this using a Connect IQ intervals app* that I developed specifically for this). This stuff isn’t rocket science. It seems perverse not to implement it.

      2. You don’t have to use a watch in the pool to test out swimming. You can simulate the swimming action on dry land. It does measure distance and lap distance. Unfortunately this is expressed in either miles or km and not in multiples of the pool length or in pool lengths. A 25m pool length is 0.0155343. That means I am back in the dark ages counting lengths or doing several decimal place divisions to work them out. Of course if your swimming is unstructured endless lengths this does not matter. Kind of sucky. No SWOLF.

      3. But the wrist gesture switches an already dim backlight on at half strength. With a rather washed out display similar to the SSU it makes it pretty much unusable for a 60 yr old presbyope.

      4. I think you should be worried. I agree the trainer’s display was awful and I gave it to my son for the same reason. The SSU has a slightly better display and is certainly bigger so just about acceptable. The Vantage V is similar to the SSU but the backlight is feeble and there is no adjustment of its brightness. It is harder to see than the M430 and V800.

      I went running tonight with my old Fenix 3, Stryd and my Power Intervals app. It worked really well. The backlight is really bright (set to 50%) and the display is easy to see. It got me back to the car park through woodland in the dark (A bit creepy). I was pleased to have the ability to track back.

      How would I have faired with the Vantage V?

      I really liked the V800 but it was a bit heavy and I could never get a really good fit on my skinny wrists because of the fixed watch and antennae curvature. I was rather hoping this would be a round V800 with really good WOHR. It isn’t. It is in most respects not as good.

      Gutted.

    • Andrew

      P.S. The wait is finally over! lol…

      P.P.S. My new intervals Connect IQ field.

      link to apps.garmin.com

    • the5krunner

      1. yes. i expect this to be added eg zone lock for power is clearly on flow for the Vanage and that never worked on the v800 iirc
      2. no. try the pool swim mode it gives stroke detection, metres and swolf
      3./4. yes it is a bit dim in some circumstances

    • Andrew

      Hi 5k

      2. Don’t understand. I attempted to configure pool swimming sport mode but attached are the only options presented. Is there an issue with my device I wonder?

    • Andrew

      but not while you are swimming!

  27. PAOLO CAPRIOTTI

    Any possibility to have avanced power metric on cycling (NP, IF etc)? is it true that is not even possible to set 1, 3, 10 sec averaged power on the watch?

    • the5krunner

      @Paolo 2x No.
      IIRC the V800 did allow what you are saying with the moving average time period being set on the watch

    • PAOLO CAPRIOTTI

      Thanks @the5krunner, I thought so. From a triathlon watch I’d have aspected more attention on cycling power not just the basic 🙁 🙁 Maybe a strategy to sell more M460/V650..

  28. Marios

    Does Polar have a forum similar to forums.garmin.com where we can all read about common problems or ask questions?

    If there is no official Polar forum, where do people go to exchange questions about the Vantage? forum.slowtwitch.com, or even watchuseek.com like for Suunto (forums.watchuseek.com/f233)?

    • Andrew

      Polar forum is no longer available 🙁
      link to forum.polar.com

    • Marios

      Exactly that’s why I asked! Are we supposed to turn poor Ray’s blog post into a makeshift support forum? I think Polar should give us a place to discuss all this. It doesn’t make any sense if they don’t!

    • tom

      As much as I hate Facebook, that’s where the discussion is taking place (apart from here). There’s a ridiculous amount of posts in the two Vantage groups, ‘Polar Vantage Users’ and ‘Fans of Polar Vantage V’. And yes, some trolls as well.
      Only now, people are actually getting their devices, so hopefully moving towards more substance and less speculation.

    • Marios

      Oh wow, I also dislike Facebook and there is no way I will participate on a forum there. Man, why is it so hard for a single sports wearable company to get most things right? Suddenly the Garmin forum seems so advanced …

    • Marios

      This makes me think that maybe Ray can see this as an opportunity! He can create a crosslinked forum for all major wearable brands (Suunto too) so that people can compare features and discuss bugs all in one unified place. At the end of the day we are all athletes trying to make the best out of our training tools.

      Ray could also monetize it by giving specific API access to companies that presents aggregate information on bugs, problems, potential solutions and statistics. I wouldn’t mind contributing my data in such a forum even if Ray makes money off of it since the main objective would be to make our devices better and give us our money’s worth.

      Just an idea …

    • David Webb

      Maybe not a way for Ray to monetize it, but it’s save him work as well, I wonder if a simple sub Reddit would work as a place for people to discuss fitness wearables and such.

      Reddit.com/r/wearables already exists although it is more generic than pure fitness.

  29. Robert

    Heart rate recording while swimming 👏👏👏
    (Source:nakan.ch)
    See screenshot

    Looking forward to test the M model this week 😀

    The test in nakan.ch showed that it measured 1475 instead of 1500 m. However I’ve also tried that with the Polar V800. Could be different reasons. Maybe your style or another swimmer close to you.

    In the user manual it says you have to have it tighter than normal while swimming.

    Hope someone could use these informations. Think I will get my Vantage M this week. It’s in transit and i ordered it Yesterday (Sunday).

  30. Christian

    Gratulations to all new born Vantage owners!

    I hope that Polar takes a few steps further to develop training with native power – at lest as far as the Vantage V is concerned. At least, I would expect to be able to manage intensities by power zones – as it is implemented for HR and Pace at the moment. The dedicated power screen does not show the power zone either – in contrast to the heart rate page which shows numbers colored according to the HR Zone.

    Does anyone know if the Vantage works with Stryd also indoors in terms of pace and distance – or does it take power only and determine pace and distance from its internal accelerometer? That would be a big bummer for me as I very often train on treadmills and do not trust wrist based pace and distance at all.

    • tom

      Yes, eagerly awaiting my Vantage. Should be getting it today.

      It does work with Stryd for pace and distance both indoor and outdoor and if you are using Stryd, it will also be the source of your power.
      I specifically asked Polar if I would like to use Polar as power source but get pace and distance only from Stryd, would that be possible? The answer is no. If you connect a Stryd, power will be handled completely by Stryd.
      Oh, and one more thing I heard is that Polar’s own implementation of Power actually do work with a stride-sensor. It appears to be a misunderstanding that it has to be GPS when in fact it is not.

      Polar does listen to the community and hopefully they are in for the long run with Vantage, so I expect a lot of development to take place but primarily this will be on improving the existing stuff as much as possible (GPS, HRM and iron out bugs). Since now they even provide power themselves, I would be amazed if not a lot of development around this (such as power based training) would not be implemented.

    • “Oh, and one more thing I heard is that Polar’s own implementation of Power actually do work with a stride-sensor. It appears to be a misunderstanding that it has to be GPS when in fact it is not.”

      This would be a good (and recent) change if so. Polar was very clear about this gap earlier in my discussions with them, as well as the discussions with The5KRunner. Nice to see if true.

    • Stefan G.

      @ray, I asked Polar Support in Sweden this – If Vantage V could connect to a Polar Stride Sensor to get pace, distance and also use that as foundation fo the power calculations in and outdoors.

      The reply was a clear yes – and a maybe for other similar Bluetooth sensors.

      I hope they are right, and I had a lot of contact with Polar Sweden the last years and never got any false information.

    • Stefan G.

      Oh, and if i din’t misread or had google mistranslate nakan.ch review from yesterday he wrote that Vantage V can get pace data form the wrist through the watch internal accelerometer and get pace and distance on threadmill.

      A lot of maybes on that one, but from a technical view it sounds plausible.

    • Gotchya.

      Yeah, Polar did note that it could get pace inside no problem from wrist. They just had specified that they couldn’t use that data for power training. I suppose it’s easy enough to test – simply use the treadmill profile and go for a run outside (even if you don’t have a treadmill, since GPS will be off) and see if power values show or not.

      Perhaps later today I’ll give it a quick whirl. Up to my ears in bike trainer stuff right now.

    • the5krunner

      I know you’re busy so I’ll save you a few minutes 😉

      @StefanG – yes the polar stride sensor gives pace, distance and cadence on a treadmill as does the watch by itself with no sensor at all. neither of those scenarios calculate power on the V (I seem to remember a comment about not knowing the calibrated status of the pod as the reason for not calculating power)

    • tom

      So really, what you’re saying is that unless you use a Stryd, Vantage really will not give you any power unless you use GPS?

      I also heard that if selecting to get pace and speed from a foot pod, one needs to turn GPS off. If true, this is also a let down. On V800 you could get select to have pace and speed from a footpod but still get the gps tracking

    • Nick K

      I might be mistaken from reading too many answers in too many places, but…

      1) Vantage V own power calculation requires GPS. Vantage M doesn’t have power unless you connect Stryd or similar. This hasn’t changed since announcement, even though one hopes Vantage V would gain the ability to calculate power based on footpod provided pace.

      2) My current assumption is that Vantage doesn’t let you choose the source of pace/distance when a footpod is connected. However, it will use footpod provided pace/distance over GPS while retaining the GPS for tracks.

      Let’s see if people with the actual units who have done testing disagree…

    • Patrick

      >> it will use footpod provided pace/distance over GPS while retaining the GPS for tracks <<

      I surely hope this is how it works. Even the Polar 430 works this way.

  31. Fredrik

    I got this today from PolarGlobal regarding foot pod, speed and power (yes battery down to 42% in the pic. No lo-battery shaming please! 😉

    “Hi Fredrik,

    Thanks for holding. I managed to get hold of our product management.

    Yes Vantage V will support BLE footpods and speed that you get from them (please note, however, that in the sport profile GPS needs to be turned OFF).

    If you want to have power info our own Vantage V calculation is at least based on GPS speed, so for treadmill running you’ll need to use a foot pod that gives the power data, like Stryd.”

  32. Rob

    Well I squeezed a short run in today with the Vantage M. Nothing fancy, just a zone 3 (hr) session.

    Took my M400 along also with that using my H7 and Vantage using its OHR.

    Both were fairly close tbh. Distance was 3.28mile (M) vs 3.22mile (400). This was pretty much the case for the other metrics, all being pretty much identical.

    The area that I noticed most deviation whilst out was the HR values.
    The OHR on the Vantage started with a reading that fluctuated between 5 & 10bpm higher, but whilst into the run ‘seemed’ to be under reading by a similar amount against the H7 equipped M400. Not the end of the world but could result in you being in the wrong zone.
    They both recorded the same maximum however but the Vantage had a lower average by 5 bpm which ties back in with it under reading at the start. Assuming the H7 is the more accurate of course!
    Looking at the times in zone in flow and the graph the OHR had me in a lower zone for longer than the H7 and also seemed to be very spiky. I could in hindsight have worn the Vantage a hole tighter so that ‘may’ have made a difference but suspect not.
    Personally not overly fussed about this as I will be swapping the H7 over to the Vantage now anyway. I am more interested in the OHR for just general day to day/continuous recording.

    Going back to the different distances recorded and onto the gps tracks.
    Both started poorly. Maybe 1-2metres off the actual path. Both however recovered quickly and stuck pretty close to the actual path (a mix of open and under tree cover plus several short tunnels) I would say though that the Vantage was tighter to the path going out and also dealing with two sections where I crossed over a canal via bridge perfectly whereas the M400 was not even close. It’s not a clear victory for the Vantage on this run however as on the return portion the Vantage went back to being 1-2metres off (but consistent line not wavering about) whereas the M400 tracked spot on barring a couple of random spikes where it was several metres off (not something I’ve noticed before tbh on this route) overall though for me I’m happy with the Vantages performance on this occasion and even though it wasn’t as tight to the track coming back, overall it was a better track than the 400’s.

    Other things I’ve noticed not related to the run.

    The Vantage is much comfier to wear imo.
    The screen which is dim but acceptable for me is much brighter when training and see no reason for it to be an issue.
    Syncing with Polar Flow is much quicker in both connection and time taken to complete vs the M400.

    Only thing I need to keep an eye on for now is the Sleep Plus. It didn’t work last night giving only the basic metrics that I got anyway with the M400.

    Overall, for me, I feel the Vantage M is a worthy upgrade to my M400.

    • flokon

      Great first impressions.
      Unfortunately, mine weren’t as nice.
      – Been on my second run today, which was a 2mi warmup, followed by 4*(200/200/400m) repeats, and ended with a 2mi cooldown. The warmup’s track was most probably the worst any of my watches ever recorded. I don’t know why, tbh, because the cooldown, which was the same route back to start was actually quite tight.

      – Another thing is the lack of a usable lap/step/phase display. There is basically none. At the end of an interval I didn’t even get as much as time, just the information that the next phase has started.

      – Also, maybe I haven’t found it yet, but I got no countdown before the start of a next phase. I nearly missed a couple intervals because it’s just a faint vibration right at the start.

      -Display brightness and font (it’s just way too thin) make it very hard to be of use during hard running, especially colours like blue are hardly readable on black background.

    • Gianluca

      Was the Sleep Plus problem a one-time problem or is it still missing it?

      I had it only for one night and didn’t worked, I hope it doesn’t end up like the A370 in the beginning where it took months until they fixed it (it would regularly miss several days in a month).

      TBH I’m not much impressed so far 🙁 I bought it to replace V800 and A370 in a single device with continuous HR monitoring and knew about all the initial missing features re the V800, but some things really left me wondering like the Polar Scale not pairing and not being able to force the light on while training.

    • Gianluca

      FWIW sleep data appeared in Sleep Plus a couple of hours after I woke up and synchronized. I noticed that basic metrics were immediately available in the Activity report when I synchronized so maybe it was just the back-end lagging behind.

    • Rob

      Hi flokon.

      A shame you are having issue/less than satisfactory results. I’m not claiming the Vantage M is perfect just yet. I did a very simple pretty much straight out and back due to time restraints so had hoped the god track would have been fairly decent.
      Like you though I experienced the less than stellar track tightness but mine was poor on the return. To put it into perspective though baring one little section of it going mental (I’d stopped to deal with my four legged running partner!) it tracked a pretty much right to the actual trail track just 1-2m to the left of the actual track. It was close just not close enough at the minute. It dealt with changes in direction much better than the M400 on this run though.

      The test for me will be future runs. A lot of my shorter runs are in the woods so I’ll see how it copes with heavy tree cover.

      One thing I’m initially wondering is if it needs several minutes of being ‘locked’ to the satellites before starting a session to allow it to settle. Wouldn’t explain my poorer return portion however.

      On yesterday’s run I set up a simple phased run (10min warmup/20min work/10min cooldown). As for the ‘notification’ to phase change I’m in two minds. I liked the audible warning on the M400 but couldn’t use headphones when training with phases as couldn’t hear so feel the vibration will be better there. I’m finding it strong enough after that run but on something more intense I will have to see.
      As for counting down to phase change mine started to vibrate 3-5 seconds before change with a visible countdown along to bottom edge coupled with the green bar that reduces with time/phase progress. Visually I found it better than the M400 method. Will have to see how I feel after doing some more complex workouts.

      I think the display brightness is going to be one of the main points people keep coming back too with these watches. I’m finding it acceptable, but, would like the option to brighten slightly. If that affects battery then so be it. The choice would be good. I definitely found the training screen to be brighter than the day to day screen so it’s clearly got adjustable brightness levels programmed in.
      For me maybe it’s partly from coming from the mono M400. Seeing colour is much better!

      I much prefer the way HR zones are shown on screen too with the coloured segments around the top. A little thing but I like!

      I may have missed what watch you are coming from but compared to the M400 I’m finding the Vantage M a pretty big step up. I’d wanted to have continuous HR and the advanced Sleep metrics etc and had toyed with getting an A370 to get that but ultimately didn’t want two devices. Equally I didn’t want the M430 as even with those features it didn’t feel to me to be much of an upgrade to the 400.
      I did debate getting the Vantage V but ultimately decided that whilst I’d like the barometer I didn’t want the touch screen, and whilst interesting I’m not 100% on power yet and ultimately can pick up a Stryd if I decide to explore that avenue.

      I hope you get to a satisfactory level with your watch and that Polar are actively listening and addressing our early initial concerns/criticisms. I’ve been been Polar since the day the M400 shipped and I’m well tied into the experience and don’t want to change. That doesn’t mean I won’t but I’m prepared to see how things go for now.

    • Rob

      Hi Gianluca

      I’m going to go with the Sleep Plus just being slow to update. Like you experienced it updated later into the day.

      The same has occurred this morning with only basic metrics initially being available so will see if it also updates later.

      This is the first watch I’ve had that offers it so not sure if this is to be expected or if the other watches that support the feature give the more detailed metrics as soon as you sync.

      I will keep an eye on it for now but it initially at least just appears to be slow to process.

    • flokon

      I come from a FR935, so obviously I’m used to a rich feature set, and customization in whatever way one sees fit. Regarding the former I don’t care so much, because it’s exactly the reason why I wanted to go back to Polar as soon as they come up with a round watch again (been using Polar since the end of the 90s and only recently made the switch to Garmin in May): A basic care-free feature set that just works without constant firmware updates, and Flow software, which beats Garmin Connect in pretty much every way.
      The latter, i.e. customization, wouldn’t be that much of a problem if Polar had at least kept the quick menu from the M430 (which I used since its release, and lately parallel with the 935) to cover the most basic functions. Like toggle 24/7 HR, lock buttons, end an interval, set an interval timer, or just switch backlight on/off accessed with a long press of the upper right button, which on the Vantage sadly is just illumination.

      I knew it would be a big change to go from what by many is considered the best running watch (935) to a new line-up, even if by someone renowned as Polar. But I’ll hang in there for now, eagerly awaiting what Polar comes up with hopefully not too distant firmware updates, simply for the reason that I like Flow (plus a premium TP) so much better than GCM.

      P.S.: OHR is VERY shaky for me. I have a very low RHR of 38-41, and my HR hardly climbs above 60 during my day-to-day activities. The VM however displays any number between 40 and 140 while standing, sitting, walking. Tried different fits by adjusting the band’s width, and position on my wrist, with some resulting in less shaky numbers than others, but all in all HR seems quite random at times.

  33. QARunner

    Thanks for the great early review on the Polar Vantage on DCR and YouTube. Definitely the best info pre-release info out there by far. Just ordered a Polar V using your link.

    Hoping this helps me up my game for indoor cycling and strength training with occasional hikes and jogs. Excited to return to Polar as my first HRM was FT60, followed by Fenix 3 without HR and then Samsung Sport. The FT60 provided the functionality I wanted at the time without a myriad of unwanted features. The Fenix and Samsung provided some of that but a lot of other stuff I don’t care about. Looking forward to device that provides motivation and metrics to manage my training without burying the capability under a lot of unneeded functionality.

    This is a leap of faith as it looks like substantial firmware upgrades are going to be required to deliver full capability. However, hoping this device will be focussed

  34. Dale F. Jayne

    Will you be able to use the power meter on the Polar Vantage V and use it for Zwift running?? I am did not want to have to purchase a seperate power meter and footpod after spending $500 on a watch??

    let me know thanks for the great review.

  35. Leo

    On HR tracking, do I understand correctly that, when not in training mode, the Vantage only shows you maximum and minimum HR and not current HR?

    • Rob

      No it will also show you your current HR if you have continuous HR on or it will do a scan for it.

      Also shows your lowest HR from sleep if you had it on.

  36. Fima

    Hello. I’m sorry, I don’t know English very well, so I used a translator.
    I have a question for Ray and all those who have already received and use “M”. I am facing a choice of 920 / F3HR / M. The budget is limited, so here it is. Price including sensor +/- close. All friends use Garmin and advise it, as the largest set of features for the money, the most reliable and accurate tool. I used the M200 and M430 for 1.5 years, got used to Flow and sympathized with Polar, besides it is a new product. Of the requirements: running 60%, swimming 20%, power 20%. That is the most important thing for me is everything related to running. What do you recommend me to buy for the next 2 years?
    Oh yes, I forgot to add, by the beginning of the next season I plan to buy a power sensor.

    • Nicola

      Since you are coming from a polar lineup and you already have data in Polar Flow, all other things being equal, I would stick with Polar and buy me a Vantage M.
      Besides, Polar Flow is a much better tool for predicting your recovery status, your racing times, for making running programs tailored to your actual capabilities and now also for planning your training and racing season. And it is for free once you have a Polar device. You can forget this all with the other brands.

    • Andrew

      The M430 is great. So is the F920xt. The F3HR has terrible heart rate during activity though fine at rest. They are both light with a good form factor. The 920 will handle Stryd with their app or field from CIQ. The earlier Garmins are good devices, particularly the 920 but GC really sucks and you might then need to pay for a third party site to upload your data to such as TPs. You could wear a 920 to get power and the M430 on the other wrist just to get distance, pace and HR data input into Flow and get the recovery metrics, running index and predicted race times!

    • Andrew

      Agree with Nicola but I would wait a bit before risking VM. I am pretty disappointed with my VV. The firmware is not finished after all the waiting. They have had 4 yrs!

    • Jens

      Hi Andrew,
      I can’t help but make the reference to Suunto Spartan Ultra. Ray pretty much trashed it in his initial review due to bad firmware. I think it was 2016. Two years later I used Suunto’s midsummer deal this year and bought it for a great price IMO. Firmware has been updated tons of times since Ray’s review and today I don’t think you can find almost any bad review of that watch with its current firmware. The only negative I can think of now is that you can only pair one sensor of each type at a time, but that’s probably the only bad thing about SSU today, so for me it kind of looks like this is Polar doing a Suunto Spartan all over.

      I’m eagerly awaiting Black Friday/Weekend to see how much the VV is be discounted, if any 😉 The SSU might be a catch at BF btw.

    • Andrew

      I hope you are right but I suspect these are hardware issues rather than firmware. I suspect the backlight brightness is maximal on backlight button press (100% duty cycle of PWM but low light output LED) so no fix there. I also suspect there may be fundamental difficulties with the Sony chipset as the S9 has had similar GPS issues. I hope it is fixable in firmware but in the end it might not be. Synthesis of accelerometer, gyro, compass and GPS takes place on the Sony chip not in Polar’s firmware. (I can see why they did not release it with navigation as until they fix the GPS issues it just won’t do this reliably and they need to focus on this problem first and see if it is fixable)

  37. magnus svanblom

    Glad to have had the first 10k run with my new Vantage V, had it this Monday in Sweden/Stockholm.

    Tried it along side my old M430 paired with H10,
    M430 recorded 9.99k, the Vantage V 9.96k > can well be the difference between left and right hand from what I understand.
    H10 recorded avg pulse of 158, the exact same as the Vantage V 158.

    Solid.

  38. juha salmela

    Hello! Very good sight you have here. Thanks for this.
    I haven’t had time to read all about this polar V, maybe someone asked already, but i just wonder why does it have to have H10 heart rate sensor required? Doesn’t it pick up the HR through the watch?
    Regards
    Jussi

    • magnus svanblom

      hey juha, you dont have to, it picks up HR but historically not as precise as a strap. The Vantage seems to have more precise readings and as such there might not be a need for chest strap i the day to day training.

  39. I may be overstepping my mark but I have just created a new subreddit where I’m hoping we can have some of these discussions about all the (high end) fitness trackers and wearables.

    Please feel free to check it out. And Ray, if I have overstepped the mark please feel free to delete this message.

    David

  40. Chris

    My options are VV (standalone) or VM + Stryd.

    Prize-wise it’s nearly the same and in regards to functionality it’s also pretty similar:

    Pro VV:
    – everything included in one device
    – Recovery Pro (only if I can really manage to use it daily, which I doubt)
    – a bit more battery (40 hours instead of 30). OK, doesn’t really matter to me

    Pro VM + Stryd:
    – instant pace from Stryd, e.g. to not overdo by starting a race
    – lighter
    – changeable straps which make it business compatible

    My question is basically about power from VV which is to my knowledge dependent on good GPS
    reception:
    What happens if GPS reception is really bad, e.g. during a city marathon with skyscrapers? I guess that power isn’t usable / reliable in this scenario.

    If I’m right, this probably gives the tip to VM + Stryd.

    But as I’m running a marathon only every other year, VV + stride sensor (e.g. Milestone POD) might be a great option as well with only slightly increased costs.

  41. Homer2010

    Received my Vantage V yesterday and tried it out today for the first time. Brief overview: good watch, easy to use, has all functions I need. On the other hand: GPS is so far quite bad. And that’s in a city with no high buildings and/or narrow streets. Even in the park it did cut edges. Luckily I also have a Stryd foot pod that gives me the data and accuracy I need. Still, hopefully Polar fixes this soon.

    Some more detail: I have been using polar watches since 2000, Last watch was V800 with which I was very happy for almost 4 years. Since I am kind of a data freak, I also have the A370 fitness tracker and bought the Stryd recently. The Vantage looks nice, but is still too big for me to wear it every day. I will stick to the A370 for now. What is really an asset of the Vantage is the optical heart rate sensor. Even though I am planning to still use the H10, it will surely help when I want to minimize the stuff I take with me, e.g. when going to the gym or while traveling.

    If you guys are interested, I will share more experiences. Of course, I am far from competing with DC’s analysis, but let me know if you have a question.

    Ultimately, thanks to DC for the great job. I have been following your site for quite a while but until now never commented.

    • Marathon Man

      @homer2010 Still waiting for mine. Hopefully any day now. 🙂
      A few questions:

      1/ Assume in running profile you can set it like the V800 to take pace / distance and power from Stryd and have GPS only for the map?
      2/ I also use V800 and A370. Have you noticed whether at rest / during the day that Vantage is more accurate?
      3/ Is there any data that you won’t get if you use A370 during the day instead of Vantage V?
      Thanks in advance.

    • Homer2010

      @Marathon Man

      1) I did not change anything, just connected the Stryd. But now that you ask: did not find where to adjust whether the Vantage shall use Stryd or GPS (will check later in detail)
      2) to me the A370 seems pretty accurate. I did not see a big change with the Vantage (actually quite similar results). This said, it reads once a day or so very low heart rate values. I will also check and if I find anything starneg come back here
      3) I don’t think so, but have to get used to the new features (e.g. recovery). From what I saw, the heart rate seems to be read now permanently instead of every 5 minutes. If that is so, I will check on battery life

    • Homer2010

      One ammendment: it is nice to have more information shown, e.g. it shows the current heart rate now

  42. Nick K

    Got my V yesterday, took it for a short run around the neighborhood followed by a crossfit session.

    TLDR: It’s a fairly competent sports watch here and now. It otherwise feels unfinished and rushed. I’d say it’s at least 8-12 months away from something that begins to approach a true V800 replacement.

    GPS: Meh! Roughly in line with Suunto 9, which is no surprise given it’s the same Sony chipset. But whereas Suunto tracks are often of jagged, wandering drunk variety, Polar is a smooth operator. Lots and lots of smooth. Hence, plenty of corner cutting. My V didn’t meet a corner it didn’t like to lop off. The test run distance from V800 was 2.58 miles, from Stryd 2.60. Suunto 9 reported 2.69 and V 2.52. Draw your own conclusions!

    OHR: OK? Looked really solid and good for a steady run and on the hills. Indoor rowing hasn’t been awe inspiring, and fast hard effort was outright disappointing. Bodyweight exercises were a wash. Kettlebells and weights not too good. Things improved visibly 10-12 minutes in. I’d say raw here-and-now data wise, Suunto 9 Valencell sensor does roughly the same on a gym effort. But… And here comes a big BUT… There was no HR locking on cadence like Suunto. No spikes in steady state HR. And Polar does some post-processing Magic. Despite discrepancies during the session, my crossfit average HR from V matched H10 spot on, the overall shape of the graph was fairly close as was time spent in zones. At no point did my HR drop below 110, which is typical for wrist HR in these types of situation. Even though V missed most of the peaks, it recovered and locked quickly. I can see OHR being useful for most of my runs, easy rowing, and stretching/mobility exercises. Any heavy lifting or hard intervals are still better done with a heart rate strap, alas.

    Running Power: Good, very good. At least, for a sample of one run. Color me surprised! Polar’s power followed Stryd fairly closely. Close enough that you could take one graph, move it by 40-50 “whatevers” (thank you, 5krunner!) and get less or more the other. All peaks and valleys and even a lot of in-between oscillation. It is definitely consistent with effort. So, if you haven’t purchased Stryd yet and are running outside, Polar has you covered.

    Other nitpicks:

    o Backlight is dim in poorly lit environments. Granted, screen lights up when you bring the watch up and you can always press a button, but there’s no way to change default or backlight intensity

    o No Do-Not-Disturb/Theater mode. This means that at night your screen can light up waking you or your significant other. Again, Polar does a pretty good job distinguishing when you raise your hand to look at the watch vs just move your hand, but for some it may not be enough

    o Alarm vibration is weakish. Would be enough to wake me up, but not a sound sleeper. What’s worse, if you don’t turn it off in the first 5-10 sec, it turns on sound alarm like Apple Watch. No way to select either vibration, or sound for an alarm

    o Structured workouts are there, but there’s no way to jump phase or end a structured workout

    o No quick menu during the workout (or at least I didn’t find one) to quickly change settings

    o You get the whole of 2 (as in two) watch faces, and minimalistic doesn’t begin to describe it. Needless to say, there’s no way to customize them

    o No background sync. At least for me the V requires a manual sync with the phone every time

    o While Sleep Plus is there on the first attempt, it appears to come with a delay of 20-30 minutes. Perhaps, the V is making sure you actually woke up. Perhaps, it’s a delay on Polar processing servers. It is more accurate than what I got from M600 or A370 though.

    • Andrew Knox

      Hmm. I’m glad I waited to be honest. The worry about GPS accuracy was the reason. That’s going to be harder to fix, the feature wait I was fine with.

      I’m thinking of sticking with my trusty V800 but purchase an H10 (need to pair with 2 devices) and a Styrd instead.

      Gutted!

    • Andrew Knox

      Oh, and thank you for posting this 🙂

    • Nicola

      Thanks for your report Nick.

      One question, you said that there is no wait to jump a phase of a structured workout.
      Is it as all possible on other Polar watches? I have a M430 and I do not know how to jump a phase there. I thought it was not possible at all…

    • Nick K

      The GPS isn’t that bad. I honestly expected worse from my experience with early Suunto 9 firmware. But it is no V800 and I don’t think it ever will be. Basically, as we go to low-power GPS chipsets, we traded accuracy for longevity.

      Still, let’s be honest: even V800 isn’t perfect when it comes to pace and distance.

      Couple V with a cheap but accurate pod like Milestone Pod, and you got yourself fairly pretty GPS tracks, accurate pace/distance, and lots of goodness that V800 doesn’t have. Higher resolution color screen, better backlight gesture, built-in wrist OHR, improved orthostatic test, 24/7 heart rate tracking and Sleep Plus, way faster sync times… Not to mention Training Load Pro and Recovery Pro, both of which look pretty well done and useful.

    • Nick K

      Nicola —

      Definitely on V800 and I think M430 (not entirely sure though!), during structured workout do a long press of Light button to access Quick Menu, then scroll down. The structured workout options would be towards the end.

    • Glenn Levine

      Nicola,

      With V800, holding down the upper left button brings up a menu with options to set while performing an activity–and one of those options is to end the current phase and jump to the next.

      g

    • Stephen Thomas

      > Not to mention Training Load Pro and Recovery Pro, both of which look pretty well done and useful.

      I do wonder how well the new metrics are going to work with trail running. IIRC, some of the V800 goodness for running only applied to road running. I would expect that run power is only available for road running, in which case the training metrics might not be as useful for someone who runs primarily on trails.

    • Glenn Levine

      Nick,

      Do you (or anyone) know if the use of v800 and/or Vantage with a Milestone, Stryd, or other 3rd party pod will cause the 3rd party pod’s GPS tracks to replace the watch’s own GPS tracks when it shows up in Flow/Strava?

      g

    • Nick K

      Footpods don’t have GPS tracks of their own. So these will always come from the device. The distance/pace will come from the pod though. In case of V800, you can actually configure this, i.e. use foot pod for speed setting. Vantage — I haven’t tested it yet — but the rumors have it, foot pod pace/distance takes priority over GPS provide one. Will be testing this tonight.

      Hence my suggestion above to combine V/M with a decent foot pod. Solves the problem of pace/distance in any environment while still providing GPS tracks.

    • Nick K

      Glenn —

      Unlike Garmin/Firstbeat that indeed turn off VO2 Max and other goodness for trail runs, Polar’s running power is based on GPS and has nothing to do with training load in general, where power is only one of the components used to calculate muscle load. Your self assessment and heart rate are other training load components, and you’d gonna have them irrespective of trails or even activity type… Recovery is derived from their revised orthostatic test (HRV and all) and your exercise/activity history.

      So, whether you run trails or roads, with Polar native power or Stryd, even if you do something completely different like crossfit or swimming, you still have access to Training Load and Recovery Pro.

    • Andrew

      Pretty much echoes my impressions but nicely presented! For me the dim backlight is a deal breaker as I am a 60 yr old presbyope. I can read the display on my V800 and M430 at night. They are twice as bright and also the contrast is better. Polar customer service has been helpful but they were unable to confirm or refute the backlight being at full intensity when the backlight button is pressed (If the duty cycle is at 100% then there is no firmware fix to improve brightness). Its a shame as the display is good in daylight. The firmware is obviously unfinished and there is a lot of catching up to do to get back to even the V800 functionality but the potential is there. Whether the inaccurate “swooshy” GPS is fixable or not is also questionable as I think the INS and GPS are integrated on the chip not in firmware using solid state analogue circuitry.

      They have agreed to accept the device back.

    • Mike

      Thanks for that as I had not even taken that into consideration till I read your review. That is a big concern for me too. With all this mentioning of fine output/dim display, Ive decided to hold off till I can see one for myself. Luckily my pre-order with a dealer got botched by Polar who only informed them now, that they are not releasing certain colors(Red) to dealerships for at least another month. They were not happy!

    • Nick K

      I’d say a default backlight level is a on a dim side. Once brighter “active screen” backlight comes up, due to wrist movement or button press, the screen should be pretty readable to most. As a comparison point, I’d say think of Garmin Vivoactive or Suunto Spartan Trainer.

      Of course, with Garmin you can crank up brightness. And as Andrew rightfully noted, it’s not clear if backlight we have in Vantage now is all there’s. Certainly, there’s no way to change it now.

    • Glenn Levine

      Nick,

      Do you know if this means that v650 data collected–while using a power meter–will contributed to the data and analysis for Training Load Pro and Recovery Pro?

      g

    • Anders

      @Glenn Levine,

      Yes V650 power data is added to the Vantage data and contributes to the Training Load Pro and Recovery Pro.
      I’ve used Vantage V for a month with V650 for bike sessions and they work as expected together.

      in fact i have about 8 weeks of Training Load Pro data which is a mix of data carried over from V800 + V650 (pre Vantage V) and Vantage V and V650 once I switched.

      I must say I am exteremly happy with the Training Load Pro and Recovery Pro.
      i may be one of teh most useful features of the Vantage V solution.
      becase of continous HR monitoring, Vantage V and V650 training session I now have best possible view of where i am from training load and recovery!

      Super happy with this function!

      I also sync automatically with TrainingPeaks, and the combined view with Training Load Pro and Recovery Pro gives me an extremely good insight of where I am.

      LOVE IT!

    • Glenn Levine

      Anders, that is quite relieving. I was worried they broke their prized run/bike ecosystem and made my v650–which is now, like the v800, quite the matured little device with most everything I want, and nothing I don’t.

      And this integration is accomplished so long as you use power meter on the bike, right?

      And then here’s the hard question: if there is a problem mixing Vantage V power with Vantage V+Stryd power, could there be a problematic offset with the various non-Polar power meters supplying measurement data to the V650? Perhaps not as most power meters are within 5% accuracy/of each other–unlike Stryd vs. Vantage Power way off each other?

      Do we have some triathlete friends to weigh in on this?

      g

    • Marathon Man

      Glenn
      I’ve been using the PowerTap P1s with my Vantage V, and haven’t noticed any issue. In the case of cycling, my assumption is that because Polar are simply reading a power number from a Power meter (i.e. not calculating a power number themselves) then there should be no issue for the strain and recovery metrics etc.
      As you say, most power meters are within 1 or 2% of each other.

    • Anders

      @Glenn Levine,

      I use Specialized built in crank power meter connected to the V650. It’s a Tarmac S-Works (so underneath it it’s a 4iii power meter – see review here:link to dcrainmaker.com). it provides power data that is +/- 1% to 2% accurate.
      All the power metric that the Specialized meter collects is sent to the V650 displaying exactly what I want and need (HR, NP, pace, lap time…) – V650 does not distort the power stats in any way (same as before when I have the V650 combined with V800).

      Also V650 in my set up is not showing any confusing nonsense stuff – I prefer to focus on what I am supposed to do and prefer not to have any disturbances like music, graphs and other stuff (quite frankly listening to music or other distractions are dangerous at these speeds and in traffic/other people – I do not get how people can do that during training).

      I agree, V650 does exactly what I want and need.

      When the bike training is complete I sync the V650 with PolarFlow which syncs with TrainingPeaks and Strava perfectly as before.

      PolarFlow now provides the FULL picture of what I have done and I mean EVERYTHING: every bike training, every non bike training, BUT also everything outside training: every step, every minute slept, garden work (and it’s stress impact), walking around the office etc, etc. (not just training sessions) Now I have a complete picture of how all these activities adds up to stressing my systems.

      Already now (after 8 weeks), I feel that I have a much better handle on the “Fit vs. F…ed” balance – something which I have struggled with in the past, leading to fatigue and sometimes injuries.

      I summary, I must say I am now super happy with this set up: Vantage V + V650 + PolarFlow (Recovery Load Pro etc) and feel I will actually get better and more controlled improvement ramp with this setup. I think so because I have better data and better actionable insights into the data.

      One thing I can say is that now, being able to compare before and after, I feel like I was flying blind before. I mean I had PolarFlow old standard Recovery Status (which mostly flagged me as Strained or Very strained – I was not) and TrainingPeaks with TSS scores, TCL, TSB etc., etc. that gave me a ramp but it only covered my training sessions and did not take into account how I slept, how I felt, how stressful that last trip was or how recovered I actually was.

      One think I did not mentioned was that you need to take your Orthostatic Test 3 times a week to get good recover data to complete the full picture with Recovery Pro – this is key.
      You need your H10 for this – H10 is the best HR sensor I have ever used and I have used a lot of them!

      I am going to continue with this set up (with Training Load Pro and Recovery Pro) and have some check points the coming 6 months to see if these insights actually leads to better results – so we’ll see.

  43. Glenn Levine

    This is largely a repost as no one was able to answer. No that a few people have the device, maybe someone can answer or or more of the 3 questions related to the interplay of steps/HR/activity/recovery.

    I do think the overall activity tracking and integration with flow and reporting is quite good, but the precision seems to be undercounting very consistently by 10-15%. I know this only because I use a Fitbit as part of a work-related social/fitness program–and Fitbits are very precise w/steps.

    In any case, setting aside (more advanced step-tracking) like immediate/real-time step track display and social stuff not in the “Polar athlete’s” lane, a person taking 20k steps a day (perhaps typical for a runner) can be undercut by 2-3k steps–which is rather significant loss of output.

    Three questions then:

    1) Will the step-tracking accuracy improve?

    2) In calculating activity output, recovery, calorie burns, etc., will Polar Vantage compensate for this, perhaps with the use of 24/7 heart-rate tracking from the wrist as the measure of activity that indicates recovery times?

    3) Will Vantage both count steps and calculate training cardio and muscle load using data from other devices histories, or will this start only once the Vantage is put into action?

    g

    • Nick K

      Glenn —

      #1 question should be addressed to Polar support. Though as a one-time Fitbit user, I wouldn’t call their step counting a benchmark to judge others by. They have assumptions and blind spots of their own.

      #2 I don’t think your “activity level” and calories burnt rely solely on steps. If they did, I wouldn’t get half of my calories.

      #3 Yes, Polar Flow activity can take multiple devices into account. So, you can walk around with M600 during a day, switch to A370 when at home or sleeping, and use Vantage V for training. This has been supported for a while.

    • Glenn Levine

      Thanks for the response, Nick.

      For #2, I wasn’t suggesting Flow relies only on steps–but I am wondering. It seems like a mix of whatever’s coming from swinging the wrist + structured activity.

      For #3, my question had less to do with the general use of multiple Polar devices, and more to do with Recovery Pro for muscle and cardio. Once I connect a Vantage to Flow, Is Vantage the only device that can collect the necessary data for this? Or does HAVING the device allow the use of this new Polar application while also using some historical data to show the historical trends? What data does the Vantage collect that other devices don’t?

    • Nick K

      Can’t answer #3 for sure.

      Here’s what I do know. Recovery Pro is really looking at your cardio recovery only, mostly using Polar orthostatic test data and cardio load from exercise. The orthostatic test can only be administered by two devices — the new Vantage V (M can’t do that) and the veritable V800. Whether V800 orthostatic test can feed into recovery remains to be seen*. From the point of view of reporting, V’s orthostatic test results are no different from V800 and feed into the same reporting data buckets and display in the same reports.

      * Checked my back data and was surprised to see two weeks in September and most of October that actually have Training/Recovery for them, kind of retroactively. Until yesterday I used offline OH1 and V800+OH1 or M430 for training and V800+H10 for orthostatic test. However, it wasn’t until Vantage V was added to my account that this new load/recovery became available. Nor it exists for period preceding public Vantage announcement.

      So, I think it’s safe to say: you need Vantage to get new Training Load, which then can be calculated using data from older devices. You need V for Recovery Pro.

    • Anders

      hi,

      I just got my Vantage V and started to set it up.
      I was positively surprised to see that the Cardio Load report function automatically transferred my V800 cardio data from September 20th until today November 1st .

      This is EXCELLENT!
      I now have more than a full month of cardio data which means I do not have to start from scratch and build up a load profile for the next month (before the values make sense)!
      Nice to see that the past 40 days sessions where in the so called “productive zone” (high but still in zone 🙂 consistently except the last week which was a recovery week. It will be interesting to see how that changes when I dial up again this and the coming 3 weeks lol.

      As far as data is concerned, the transition from V800 to Vantage V is going much smoother than when I moved from RS800CX to V800.

      Also, just set up some of the training views for my key sports trying to mimic the V800 once to see how that will work. Honestly, the key metrics I need during exercises is mainly HR, lap time, pace and power so it is pretty easy to customize some key views – done very similar to V800.

      So far, I am missing some things V800 allowed me to do:
      – Speed/Pace zone lock – obviously important
      – HR zone lock – obviously important
      – HeartTouch – this is a key feature to for instance Activate backlight, start a lap, or just check the time of day… and no Tap is not a replacement: if you are cross country skiing for instance try to Tap and tell me how that’s working out for you. Also Tap sometimes get confuse with a double poling motions so I turned it off on all cross skiing related sports profiles for V800 and used HeartTouch instead and that works.

      Nonetheless, I read that most of these things are happening in future releases.

      Tomorrow I’ll try my first session and I’ll see how that goes…

    • try tapping lots of different things…see what happens. Friends, neighbours, doors.

      finish up with tapping the watch. That should give you a lap 😉

    • Anders

      @the5krunner,

      😊
      I think I’ll mount a tap stylus (I think I have some somewhere in my computer bag…) on my gloves, my forehead or on my jersey straight over my HR strap – just need to find that role duct tape… Wait! Taping the styles on my jersey/jacket over my H10 would be like – wait for it… Heart touch – problem solved 😊!

    • Glenn Levine

      Anders,

      Thanks for that post. Enjoyable as this blog has been, yours was the most satisfying yet as it addresses the advancement of this ecosystem and the “completeness of the vision” as Gartner likes to call it. As awesome as v800 was together with v650, the 24-hr wrist-based HR addition is the tip of the iceberg. It’s not just about sleep-tracking, resting HR, and calorie burn estimation. The fact that it’s now feeding the load and recovery pro models makes it a really cutting edge and complete solution for the runner and biker…well, as complete as I believe exists in this consumer market. Realizing it’s not perfect, the 24-hr heart rate tracking now account for are the most common things that impact tracking of load and recovery for me: days I carry boxes, work on the house, or walk around town all day with my family (20-30k steps for who’s counting).

      The one key hole in the model seems to be muscle load tracking. If that metric is tied to power, it seems the ecosystem will capture it only when running or biking with a power meter (is swim power meter next?). I don’t know of a power meter that tracks 24-hr muscle usage while carrying boxes :). Muscle usage outside of biking and running will be lost.

      In any case, I’m not one to sweat the petty stuff. I fully expect Polar to iron out the bugs and I think I’m convinced now that they brought it together. I did send this question in to Polar support, so I’ll be curious to hear them validate what you said and add anything of interest–which I’ll share here.

      Best,

      g

  44. Anders

    QQ
    What Screen Protector should I get for the Vantage V?

    Did not find any recommendation anywhere…

  45. Nick K

    VANTAGE + STRYD: Match made in h… Not hell, but neither exactly heaven. Hall? City hall?

    So, I paired my V to Stryd this time and took it out on another run, having V800 connected to Adidas Speed Cell (remember it?) on my other hand. Ladies and gentlemen, I have more news. Good news and bad news.

    The good news:
    1) Stryd pairs with V without any problem and connects instantly, both as foot pod and power
    2) Distance, pace, and power flow into Vantage data fields as intended, no surprise there
    3) Both distance and pace from Stryd are indeed used, which improves Vantage tracking accuracy significantly
    4) Stryd provided power works just fine with Polar Muscle Load and enters Training Load Pro as expected

    This is where the good news end. Now for the bad news:

    1) While distance and pace are definitely being used, I have a feeling we have a silent auto-calibration or “fused speed” type of situation here. I run similar route today as I did yesterday. On a segment that was the same between yesterday and today, the raw Stryd reported same distance of 2.6 miles as it did yesterday. V800 + Cell reported 2.6 miles too. V reported 2.57 miles. While this certainly beats 2.52 I got from its GPS alone yesterday, it’s still off. Despite being connected to Stryd. And yes, I checked. There’s no calibration factor stored in the pod.

    2) We know Vantage doesn’t support foot pod calibration yet. And Stryd isn’t considered calibrated. Hence, even though I had GPS on, no running index was produced for the run. No running index means no race predications.

    So, there you have it. Connect Stryd or any foot pod, and you will get instant improvements to tracking accuracy. These improvements, however, won’t be the best possible and they will cost you the running index and race predication.

    • Homer2010

      I do have running index (with Vantage V and Stryd). Or do I miss something?

    • Mike

      Are you sure the V is taking instant pace from the Stryd? Apparently Polar have told some that pace never comes from a footpod when Running outside – always GPS. This is different from the V800 where I understand there is an option to chose pace for footpod and calibration factor.

    • Homer2010

      @Mike: when running outside the other day, pace was very constant. To my understanding, if it came from GPS I would have seen spikes. Hence, I would suspect that pace from my Stryd was taken,

    • Nick K

      @Homer2010

      Here’s what I know. First run with V got me the running index. Second run with V + Stryd didn’t. Apart from Stryd, the only difference between the two runs was that I used a road running profile as opposed to a generic running, since I set it up for the upcoming race and wanted to test. And yes, I checked: road running supports Running Index.

      Perhaps, it was a one off. The GPS crashed when I tried to start my run, so I have to reboot the watch.

    • Nick K

      @ Mike

      I’ve never said instant pace, have I? 😉

      But V was definitely taking info from Stryd, because lap pace, average pace, and distance were far closer to the raw Stryd data and V800/Cell than on my first run with GPS alone. And GPS track this time was visibly worse than the first time.

  46. Anders

    So I can confirm that the Vantage V does NOT recognize the Polar Balance scale. It does not pair with it and therefore does not sync with it. In other words you need the cell phone with you in the bathroom to sync the weight.

    And that is a bummer. I would propose to Polar to fix that. I loved the fact that I could use my V800 to sync the weight and feel that this feature should absolutely be carried over to Vantage V.
    Polar, you have working production code already – just port it…

    However, the Vantage V does pair with the Polar Stride Sensor Bluetooth Smart (easily and quickly). If you already have an old one (like I do – used it with my V800), it might be worth a try… Not sure how the measurements differs with and without it. I saw a few comments that when using it (the Polar pod), it takes over certain measurements (speed/distance) but does it actually make these measurement more accurate or just different…? Also does it give a Running Index and if so is it different compared to just using the Vantage V on its own?

    • Nick K

      @ Anders

      Please see my comments above. V appears to support foot pods including those that provide power. But I’m not sure if their pace/distance data completely replaces V’s or it’s some sort of Suunto-like “fused speed” type of situation. Strongly leaning towards the latter.

      My running index disappeared when a foot pod was used. However, when running without the foot pod, the running index calculations appeared to be in line with the old tech. I got a few points knocked off, but it was to be expected. GPS track was much shorter than actual, hence the pace feeding into calc was slower.

    • Andrew

      Although you can use Stryd for power you cannot meaningfully move back and forth between wrist based and Stryd power measurement as they will just provide different numbers. You would need to find your FTP for both. Not sure how or if it takes this into account for calculated metrics such as muscle load and recovery pro.

    • Nick K

      That goes without saying. It goes beyond FTP: because the values are fundamentally of different order, this would completely mess up muscle load. So, yes… The runners will have to make a choice and stick to it.

      Even though Polar power from the wrist looks good, it is only supported on V and only for outdoor runs. My plan has been to rely on Stryd as something established, that works indoor and outdoor and can be connected to another watch while still providing meaningful power.

    • Anders

      @ Nike K

      saw you used the Stryd pod (which does not produce a Running index – a very useful metric btw) but did not see if your tried the polar pod and see if that still gives a Running Index…

    • Nick K

      @ Andres

      Stryd does produce running index just fine as does Adidas Speed Cell as long as it’s calibrated, i.e. you either run outside with GPS and used automatic calibration, or run inside and entered manual calibration factor/distance. This works just fine with my V800 and M430.

      Trouble is: Vantage doesn’t support calibration options. Hence, no running index.

    • Anders

      @Nike K

      got it. It’s a Vantage V issue that it can’t accept Stryd to provide data for a running index… and yes running index works fine with Stryd and my V800.

    • Homer2010

      @Nike K

      I do have Running Index with Vantage V and Stryd…

  47. Anders

    Tried the sleep function this night by wearing in while sleeping and the stats are much more detailed than using my V800 and other trackers I’ve used.
    I would need to use it a few more nights to get a better grip on interpreting the data and graphs, however…

    …Polar need to fix the light on feature when you move the hand with the watch on during night. I woke up multiple times by the light on feature. PolarFlow’s Sleep Plus counted 43 interruptions – Normally, I do not wake up during night at all and have usually less than 5-10 interruptions.
    Nick K (#832), wrote that there needs to be a silent mode “Do-Not-Disturb” during night – Agree 100% !!!
    This silent mode “Do-Not-Disturb” during night shall: mute all audio, all screen light (but HR led light needs to be on IF continuous HR is turned on), all vibrations etc. It should appear dead.

    I definitely need that because I cannot use the Vantage V during night as it is now – it’s messing up my and my wife’s sleep.

  48. flokon

    Latest update: Been using the M now since Monday and today its battery is down to 10% with constant battery warnings.
    I charged it Monday evening, wore it 24/7 since then with continuous HR tracking and about 4hrs of workouts, 1.5hrs of which were with GPS and H7, rest on a treadmill with oHR and GPS obviously off.
    Very disappointing.
    I know that usually the first charge hardly is representative because one plays around a lot with new gear. However, seeing that GPS is the hardest hit on battery, this is far off the 30 hours advertised by Polar. Also, I’m on vacation and am on my feet the whole day sightseeing, with no time to play with my new gadget.

  49. Mike

    Finally got my Vantage V today and rushed back home to set it up and get started, but hit a brick wall… I cannot get the Vantage V to pair with my Huawei Mate 20 Pro running Android 9.0 (Pie). It worked well with my wifes iPhone and with an older Samsung phone I have lying around. Polar support could not either find a solution.

    So a heads up there…

    • tom

      You just have to be stubborn. Unpair and try again and make sure the watch isn’t already connected to something else. Oh, toggle Bluetooth off and on also can help.

      Next is you have to do like me, promise yourself never to buy a Huawei again. My Huawei has bluetooth issues with V800, headsets, everything really. My Sony however, just works to sync with always. I also have a Vantage V. Not even tried pairing it, though. Mine is a Huawei P10 Plus.

    • Mike

      Hi Tom
      I have actually spent a few hours trying all different scenarios, checking existing connections, reset etc. I remember though that When iOS 10 came out I had the same issue with the v800 for couple of weeks

    • Nicola

      I have the very same pairing issue with my phone, BQ Aquaris X Pro.
      Tried many work-arounds, nothing worked.

    • tom

      I hear you. Bluetooth can just be nightmare. You try just about everything and nothing helps. Then suddenly another day it works again.

      But really my Huawei is especially awful.

    • Andrew Knox

      Just for the record, I have a Huawei and have no problems syncing with my V800 🙂 Paired a milestone pod with it yesterday first time too. Mate 10 Pro. Totally getting another next year (and I’ve owned a Pixel 2).

      But I totally agree, Bluetooth can be a total pain in the arse and you just have to be stubborn. The amount of time I’ve lost over this…

    • Andrew

      I’ve noticed the action sequence of syncing makes a big difference – both on my phone and computer. On my Android phone, I found success when the App wasn’t already running (fully shut down) and that Bluetooth and GPS were both enabled before opening the App and trying to sync. Similar experience on the computer – had to use the task manager to shutdown (closing wasn’t enough) the Polar Flow program before plugging in the USB cable and restarting the Polar Flow sync program.

      Hope this helps.

  50. Nicola

    I have got my Vantage V today.
    I am just setting it up with my computer, because there was no way to pair with my Android phone.
    The Polar FlowSync has done the job instead and immediately proposed me to update to firmware 1.1.7.
    I have not seen mention of this update in the comments. Anyone else here got the same update?

    Even after the update to 1.1.7, I still fail to pair the V with my Android phone, as soon as I accept the pairing on the phone, the watch complains that it cannot find the device to pair with. Is anyone here having the same issue?

    • Mike

      Same here. Although I found a reference to a firmware 1.2 that should solve this issue for Samsung phones link to support.polar.com
      But I don’t get newer firmware than 1.1.7 through flow. Polar. Com

    • Nicola

      Same here, no firmware 1.2 available yet.
      What is worse is that in my many attempts at finding work-arounds, I have unpaired my M430 and now even that does not pair anymore with Polar Flow!
      I feel there is a bug between Polar Flow and Android 8.1. I paired the M430 a long time ago, before my phone was upgraded to Android 8…
      Now I stuck with synching with my computer.

    • sq1492

      I have Samsung Galaxy A5 and I wanted to buy Vantage M. Now I’m a little bit disappointed with the issues. Can you guys report here once 1.2 version is out? There’s no information on the polar website about this version other than on that page.

      On the flip side of that, it is nice polar at leat tested our phones with the watch and addressed the issues.

  51. Robert

    Feedback to you Ray and others
    Ray gave good answers before I bought my Polar Vantage M. I owe him one. He suggested me to step back and think what I actually needed.

    So…

    First of all – I’m glad, that I chose the M and not spend the double prize for the V model. And – I also had a 25 percent voucher – so I ended up having a pretty cheap and new sports watch. 251 dollars or 221 euro for an advanced Polar watch. That is a VERY good prize. Garmin would be more expensive.

    I know the M lacks power data – but I don’t need that. I have the avg. speed, distance, current speed, heart rate and cadence. That’s fine for me on my level as a relaxed age grouper in triathlon.

    First of all. The M model is very light. About 49ich gram I think.
    It has small and good buttons. Not bit and clumsy buttons (like the V)
    I went swimming for it…da da. Something I was worried about, and I’ve posted a lot about my worries in this review. BUT! It works fine in the pool. It will maybe not give you 100 percent – but I guess it’s pretty close – and – you don’t even have to wear a heart rate strap while swimming. That is actually the best watch on the market when it comes to ohr… or at least that is what I have read on many webpages.

    I also ran 10 km in the forrest today. No problem. It’s very good. However, I chose to wear a Polar H10 breast strap, because I think it must give the most accurate measurement – and it’s just a old habit, and it doesn’t bother me.

    So – for now. I’m pretty satisfied. Nevertheless, swimming is my favourite. I did write Polar an e-mail with suggestions.
    At the moment, the watch didn’t show meters while I was swimming. It only did so when I ended the session. So I had to count the lanes and I counted 20 of them, and the watch automatically summed it up to 500 meters which was spot on. I hope it will be able to show meters while swimming too after an update. It only shows a weird number in km that doesn’t give any sense. After swimming 200 meters, it showed 0,0 km!

    Next time I will have to count the lanes while swimming and then I will have these data showing in my watch: avg. speed and duration. It’s not optimal but it will work.

    You could make a lot of customizations in the sport settings – so hope meters will be there too in the future.

    So. I would recommend this watch to you.

    By the way. It gives good recording while sleeping too, and it has a very good battery life. I have set the watch to show pulse 24 hours a day, and you could easily see how your sleep has been on Polar Flow. Finally – it’s comfortable to wear and I think it looks pretty good compared to other sport watches. I have got used to the round shape, and I don’t find it too big. This is my second day of using it.

    I will just share my swimming data with you. Maybe you will find my feedback helpful. But in the end it all comes up to how much you want to spend on a sportswatch and what data you want or which brand you prefer. Some think a Volkswagen Golf is fine – other think it would be better with a BMW…

    Kind regards and happy training,
    Robert

  52. teamspinjitsu

    uh, how do i get the swim screen to display meters/yards instead of miles/kilometers??? what am i missing?

    • Robert

      Excactly. It does not have this option like the V800.

      Regarding updates:
      It said enhancements of excisting features.

      I hope they will take more swim options into consideration like meters in the pool. 🤞🤞🤞🤞

      However it still sums up your workout – but it’s not optimal if you want to have the data shown while swimming in openwater or swimming-in-pool sportsetting.

    • you’ve chosen what as the pool length? yards or metres. I have a custom pool length in metres.
      is the global setting metric or imperial

    • Robert

      @5k runner
      Meters in the flow app.

      And 25 m pool in sportsmode.

      Strangely enough, it show 0,0 km after swimming 8 lanes (200 m) crawl.

      My V800 shows meters while swimming. This is not an option a the moment on the Vantage. But. I know they posted updates to come – here it said “enhancements on existing feautures”. Hoping they will fix this.

      I want to see the distance while swimming in meters.

    • Andrew

      I had one swim where it failed to record distance otherwise it usually works but is pretty darn silly.

      You really have to select metric or you are scuppered.

      If you do so then distance is presented in km. A 25 m length then registers at 0.02 km, 50 m as 0.05 km, 75 km as 0.07 km etc…

      I am amazed that Polar would think this acceptable.

    • the5krunner

      Sy, yes,

      I was reading your post too quickly. Yes the data on mine shows as 0.28km (or whatever distance). No option for metres on the display but the fraction of km DOES seem to show the correct data (ie 280m) to me – albeit in a very undesired format (KMs, as you point out)

  53. Ok so after 5 days with my V not sure what to think. There needs to be a way to turn off the touch screen, when I sleep the backlight keeps going on and the watch changes modes and after 3 days I’m sure that’s what killed the battery.
    I can’t find it anywhere, is there a way to disable the touch screen?
    I also wonder how much does the recovery pro rely on you wearing the watch 24/7. I like my Apple Watch a little better as a daily watch, but this for training, except don’t want to miss out on those features
    So far on a few runs seem to have the same GPS rounding issues others have noted.

    • Rob

      I have an M. Biggest complaint? That auto back light. It’s too sensitive. Definitely need to see some adjustment/ability to turn off in future updates as I agree. It’s got to be killing the battery.

    • Nick K

      I have a feeling Recovery Pro doesn’t really need your daily data, except for the actual workouts. In fact, I’m not sure they are even using sleep at all beyond a question about it. At least, after a few days with V, I’m not persuaded that they do. So, I’m leaning towards a similar approach: Apple Watch when out and about, V for home, sleep, and training.

    • Nick K

      @ Rob —

      Please visit a page where they published a road map for Vantage and drop them a message about backlight. I already did so. Perhaps, if enough people keep bugging them about a proper do-not-disturb mode, ability to disable touch screen (total disaster in a shower!), and on, we might see it sooner rather than later.

    • Andrew Knox

      Here is that link to the roadmap page btw. There’s a link at the top where you can send over your suggestions.

      link to polar.com

    • Anders

      I think we have consensus on the auto on back light feature.

      During night, the back light should not go on at all point period.

      I think there need to be a mute “DO-NOT-DISTURB” mode like you can set up on the iPhone for instance. You should be able to specify mute hour range say from 11pm to 7am or so.
      During mute hours, the light should be off, the sound should be off and it should not vibrate, e.g. it should appear dead.

      I have given this feedback to Polar.

      I am no longer wearing my new Vantage V when I sleep because I wake up too much.

    • Rob

      I’ve sent a message to them via that link/page. Can only hope. I’m pretty happy with it so far but that’s definitely the main annoyance as such.

      One thing I’ve noticed and wondering if others are experiencing the same.
      I wear the watch pretty much 24/7 as I did with the M400 prior. My daily activity level has remained the same between devices yet with the Vantage (M) I’m seemingly having to do more to meet said target. I’ve done a run today that with the M400 would have resulted in me meeting/exceeding my daily when coupled with the typical level of other daily activity yet with the Vantage I was still only up to 80%.
      I’m wondering if they’ve changed the calculation or whatever or if the newer watches are interpreting things differently. Could possibly be the 24/7 HR is resulting in lower activity load compared to the M400’s lack of such data.

      Anyone else noticed a difference.

    • Nicola

      Hi Rob,

      I have had the same impression, my M430 seems to be about 20% more generous with the activity levels. Today I have moved a lot, I have not run, nevertheless I am 57% AL. With the M430 I feel today I would have gotten about 80%.

    • Anders

      Hi rob,

      I have the same impression. Just finished a 2h10m session with 4x20min zone 4 tempo “intervals” + warmup and cool down in Zone 2. Normally that would put me at more than 100% of daily target – not so with my Vantage V. No Now Polar flow (and Vantage V) put me at 90%.

      Well I guess I need to go out for an other 30-45 minutes then… I must be slacking off. 🙂

    • Rob

      Not just me then. That’s good! I don’t mind having to work a bit harder to achieve it!

      Something I’ve noticed today then of the collective want to other any opinions.

      My training load has been higher the last few weeks so I’ve been dancing around strained with the occasional dip into very strained going off the original Recovery Status in Flow. Since getting the M I’ve been trying to figure out this Cardio Load side which has sat roughly inline showing me as Productive with a spot of Overreaching after a tough session. Got up this morning and I’ve dropped from Overreaching to Detraining in one night. Weird.
      Recover Status has me as Strained as I’d roughly expect based on my previous workload.

      Not understanding the reason for such a dramatic drop.

      Any insight welcome on this.

    • Rob

      Screenshot…

    • Nicola

      Getting back on the activity levels.
      Yesterday I have done 15472 steps and reached an activity level of 58%.
      Today so far I have done 16684 steps and accrued 169% of activity level.
      I do not know how the activity level is calculated, but it is not a linear function of the steps only. Not in my case at least,

    • M430Nicholas

      For activity tracking, it depends on intensity as well. So similar steps but different % would be like jogging vs walking maybe?

      link to support.polar.com

      Probably unrelated, but for the older “recovery status” the support page says (effectively) that it may be non-linear; see the quote below.

      “The most recent trainings and activities affect the Recovery Status the most.”

      link to support.polar.com

  54. Phil

    What a flaming pile of poo.

    Just got the Vantage V yesterday that I pre-ordered direct from Polar (white). I have never seen such crappy data. It’s sooooooooo bad. My first run I went with (in true DCRainMaker Style):

    – Vantage V on left wrist, first ~ .75 mile snug, then super snug, then constricting (at end of run I noticed left wrist was way colder than right wrist)
    – V800 on right wrist (made sure to change wrist setting in flow), connected to HR10 chest strap (it’s awesome!)
    – iPhone in hip belt connected to Scosche Rhythm (not the new one) for strava/baseline optical

    Here is the Vantage track in Flow:
    link to flow.polar.com

    Here is V800 + HR10 in Flow:
    link to flow.polar.com

    Here is iPhone + Scosche in Strava:
    link to strava.com

    These are after I fixed the Vantage files to at least not account for me going all the way to Queen Anne, as you can see it still went through a building, to the park, and then back. This is pretty much open space, no trees, no tall buildings. I’m shocked.

    Map
    [img]https://i.imgur.com/cvj1zzY.jpg[/img].

    Heart Rate
    [img]https://i.imgur.com/urXLPZy.png[/img]

    I don’t even know how to compute how crappy this was….! I can’t see it as myself doing something fundamentally wrong here… I’ve used V800 for years with HR7, Scosche, HR10 and get bang up perfect data. I expect GPS to be worse with newer chipsets, but dang, this is horrible… AND the HR is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO BAD..!

    Non-sports:
    – Watch is the most comfortable ‘pro class’ training watch. I don’t foresee this bruising my wrist bone as the Fenix’s do.
    – Lightweight
    – Good looks
    – Perfect Size
    – Nice sleep data
    – Seems accurate constant heart rate (haha training…)

    • Nicola

      Phil,

      I would have expected the H10 and the Soche to be nearer to each other, their average HR differ of 7 bpms!

    • Anders

      Hi Phil,

      In my 2h10m, session today I wore my Vantage V with the H10.
      HR curve and GPS was tracking better than my old set up: V800 with H7. GPS was tracking tighter to the trail I was following (relative to old set up) and HR values were essentially consistent with the V800/H7 set up (no real difference). Perhaps the Vantage V / H10 set up was a bit more responsive to HR changes but not a big difference in my estimate. In summary: I was impressed with the Vantage V and H10 combo. Notably, the trail is running along a river and is not remotely close to high raises like in down town Seattle (though the trail itself is not too far from Seattle:) ).

      Having been burned after trying multiple (lost count…) optical HR wrist and arm strap solutions, I am so cynical about optical HR that I have extremely low expectations of any optical HR – Polar’s included. maybe it’s just my skin or veins but nothing seams to work for me when I dial it up. So my plan with Vantage V was and still is to use it with H10 for exercise and the V’s optical for 24/7 non exercise monitoring.

      This has worked for me so far (2 days) and I am getting good exercise HR and GPS data, and non-exercise activity (i.e. optical HR) data.

      What I was not impressed with was the altitude tracking of my trail – it was just simply wrong for the first 40 min. During the first 40min the altitude went from 17m above see level to -38m (i.e. 38 below see level) and back to 17m above see level. And the trail is essentially at 15m +/-10m (I know because I have used it extensively over the years). After 40 min, altitude tracking got better and started to more closely track the true altitude for the remainder of the session. Maybe there is a calibration going on the first 40 min… not sure. Maybe this have been covered before in some post could not find if this was the case…

      One more thing: Just before heading out, I did sync my Vantage V and got my planned training (planned it in PolarFlow as a phased tempo) loaded into the Vantage V from my PC. So GPS data was 100% up to date. I should say that the planned training session came up automatically (as expected) when pressing the right button – essentially it behaved the way it should, similar to V800 and it worked beautifully. Also I did not find it hard to read the watch text/data/graphs while exercising – it was not dark but cloudy and the rain was pouring down the whole time… There were some minor kinks in the views and automatic laps that did not work the way I wanted them to, but that is probably on my side – need to figure out the right settings…

      Net, net: I had an excellent experience (save for altitude data).

    • Phil

      Color of oHR sensor I think may be impacting the accuracy of the Vantage oHR sensor!. Went for another test run today, and again it just does NOT want to ramp up. Period Just takes a nice chill break till I decided to run at a blitz pace just to ramp my HR up as much as possible, from then on out (about 8 minutes in) it’s actually acceptable (not awesome).

      The Vantage V (White):
      link to flow.polar.com

      The V800 + HR10:
      link to flow.polar.com

      For ‘fun’ I flipped on dual pairing on the HR10 and used it for both of the remainder of the tracks back, first the Vantage:
      link to flow.polar.com

      The V800:
      link to flow.polar.com

      I really wonder if the oHR issues are because the back of the sensor is white on the white model. The pre-production ones seemingly were not color matched, always still black–even if the casing was another color. This may have been a last minute production change that DID end up impacting. I can’t recall another monitor that actually is not black for the optical heart rate sensor module.

      GPS was significantly better today compared to yesterday. It actually had me on land for the most part and didn’t go through the same building that *shockingly* was still there today. No trip to Queen Anne either.

      Struggling with the pace, it’s too variable and not the best for using while training. I can hold a really good pace with no footpod and the V800, with this Vantage V, not so much. The fact a footpod isn’t used when you use GPS is mind boggling bizarre. So what the hell does a footpod get you? Nothing?

      I do like the sleep tracking, now two nights and seemingly near spot on. I do like all the new Training Pro and Recovery metrics–but I struggle knowing that fundamentally the watch isn’t really tracking anything with the quality to get the best out of those metrics.

  55. Mark

    Took my first run with the Vantage M tonight and was disappointed. I also ran with my RCX3 + H3 strap, which is my current watch that I’m replacing. I’m an out of shape 47 year old, getting back into running after a year of inactivity, and am in about the 8th week of running again. I’m a big believer in John Parker’s HR book, which is basically polarized training. So, the most important thing to me is to be able to know when I’m running too hard and be alerted so that easy runs stay easy. Today I ran a 1 mile warmup, which for me means keeping my HR <= 153 (my max HR is around 192), then 1 mile of striders, then 3x400m with 200m recovery, and finished with 1 mile easy.

    Attached is a plot of the Vantage M oHR compared to the H3 chest strap for the run. Most concerning is that except for the intervals, the Vantage was junk. If I went by the Vantage M, I would have run very hard during periods when I should be running easy. I cannot trust the oHR on the Vantage to be a good partner for easy runs, which is where it is most important to me.

    Now, I have a small bony wrist. So, I was sure to have the watch on tight enough (it leave marks when I remove it). It was cold out: 3C / 37F or so. I use electrode gel on the chest strap to get it to work well in this cold weather. Perhaps the watch works well when it is warm, but I thought Polar was in Finland and would also be testing their products in the cold.

    Other things that bug me: The Vantage uses colors, and they can be hard to read for me. When I was in zone 5, the HR was shown in dark red on a black background. Duh. I couldn't read it with the rain on the watch. I could easily read the display on the RCX3.

    The Vantage M seems to only vibrate. What the heck? An audible alarm would really help when you're moving quickly. Sure, the alarm on the RCX3 was too quiet, but no audible alarm at all?

    I did a phased run, and it was neat to have the watch tell me when to do the next part of the run, but I cannot find a way to control the display of a phased run (can cycle through the displays, but is there a way to customize the "phased" display?

    The GPS seemed okay, but I wasn't able to compare it to the G5 because I misplaced the G5 before the run.

    So, it seems like I'll need to also buy a H10 chest strap and the oHR is just wasted money – a toy for activity tracking.

    Mark

    • Phil

      Yeah I too have a bony wrist…

      Seems your data wasn’t that far off from me on the HR side.

      My run isn’t by any towers even if it’s downtown, it’s right along the banks of South Lake Union-it’s the one spot which hasn’t been exploded by 4+ story buildings XD.

      It’s just hard to justify the cost when without oHR you’re not really getting much. 🙁

      I’m going to give it one Gym workout, see if it can keep up there (which is where they typically struggle, but if it nailed your intervals… Maybe… That might be worth keeping then.

      I just hate chest straps, even if I’ve used them for years.

    • Mark

      Today I did a treadmill run (3mi) with both the RCX3+H3 Chest Strap and the Vantage M. I usually don’t run on a treadmill, but I really wanted to see how the temperature affects things for me and the Vantage M’s oHR. Very early in the run, I tightened the strap one notch when things seemed wonky. Tightening doesn’t instantly fix anything, and so that doesn’t seem to be the issue. From what I can tell, until I am warmed up and have lots of blood flow to my hands, the oHR isn’t going to work. I’m the type of person with cold hands unless I drink some alcohol or it is really warm out. So, my working theory is that unless you are meaty with good blood flow to the hands, the oHR is going to have problems at the wrist. Seems that when I get lots of blood flow (intervals) or am sweating and warm, things work pretty well.

      Indoors, I also find the old fashioned LCD display on the RCX3 easier to read than the Vantage M. (Yes, my eyesight is getting worse as I near 50.) I think Polar should make a high-contrast version of black on white or white on black available of all displays.

      The Vantage M kept okay distance for most of the run. When the treadmill said I’d gone 3 mi, the Vantage M said 3.11 mi.

      People might ask, “why not keep using the RCX3 if you like it so much?” Well, two reasons: 1) two of the plastic buttons broke in half from normal usage and I am left with little metal stubs to press, and 2) Polar is killing polarpersonaltrainer, which is the only way to upload RCX3 data.

      Mark

    • Phil

      Yeah I too have cold hands typically so that might explain quite a bit but I haven’t seen it this far off because of that.

      What color is your watch? I got the white one and I wonder if the white backplate to the sensor is causing too much bleed of the LED’s? What’s interesting is it looks like only the SHIPPING units were color matched. All images I found of beta/testing they were black backing, or even if the back plastic backing was color matched they kept the HR unit backing black.

    • Mark

      I have the black Vantage M.

      Last night when I tried to wear it to bed again, I could tell it wasn’t tight enough because the green LEDs spilled light everywhere. Tightening it up sealed it properly, but at 3am I woke up sick of it on my wrist and took it off. The sleep thing is cute, but not a reason for me to buy the watch, and so I’ll happily sleep without it on (I’ve never liked wearing a watch to bed). So, one way to check fit may be to go into a dark room and see what you see.

      By the way, attached is a photo side by side with the RCX3 in dim light. Personally, I find the RCX3 easier to read, but people may disagree.

      Mark

    • Mark

      Did another run in cool weather (45F), and again, the Vantage M oHR has trouble. It seems to do better when I keep it covered and warmer. Turns out this is a common issue with oHR : link to fellrnr.com . Basically, unless it is nice and warm where the sensor is, there are going to be issues.

      Tonight I also had to restart the watch because it wouldn’t use GPS. Then, it refused to sync with the Flow App, and I had to use Flow Sync. It had been syncing great up till tonight.

      This was my first run to compare Vantage M GPS to the old G5 GPS. I would say the Vantage M is on par with the G5. Note that the Vantage M has 1 second sampling and the G5 only every 5 seconds. The Vantage reported 5.81 mi and the G5 reported 5.83 mi.

    • Marathon Man

      Sorry to hear that.
      So I tried Polar oHR on Vantage V for first time this afternoon (treadmill).
      The first 12 minutes were not as accurate as I would have liked (sometimes 8-10bpm lower than actual – but mainly too much fluctuation for a steady pace activity) and specifically the section between 8 and 10 minutes was not accurate – but the last 48 minutes were identical to the HR data I recorded via H10 strap in to Zwift / Humon.
      I’m super impressed by the accuracy and consistency of the last 48 mins – and if it had been correct for the initial 12 minutes, I’d be ecstatic to dispense with the HR strap.
      This is the most accurate data I have had from a wrist based oHR device – beating easily the prior best from a beta Microsoft Band.
      Again I did get running index, cardio and muscle load calculations as well as power and stride length etc. As I expected.
      For some reason however, I ended up with cadence that was double the normal value e.g. 178 instead of 89. Cadence should have come from Stryd and was correct the prior day so no idea what is going on there. Will try resetting Stryd.

    • Mark

      New data with the 1.2.3 firmware for me. See attached plot. Treadmill run, with 1 mile warmup, 2 miles hard, and 1 mile cool down. The vantage M did pace well for the warmup, but was way off for the hard 2 miles. Thank goodness the treadmill tells me how far I’m really going.

      Basically, I’m too used to the accuracy of a chest strap to put up with the oHR for training. I’m sure for people that don’t like chest straps will find the compromise okay, but I’ve never minded a chest strap. I’m not impressed with the oHR, and with the idea of having to kick in for a new chest strap, I might as well pick up a Garmin 735xt run bundle and get lots of other features for the same price point (in Canada). Or, I should find a used V800, which is probably more my style. I’ve contacted Polar and asked to return the Vantage M, for I dislike the display and find the older LCD displays easier to read with their monochrome displays and greater contrast.

    • Glenn Levine

      Mark,

      Reach out to me on the v800 Facebook group, I’m selling my very late model (newer) v800 and getting a Vantage 🙂

      g

  56. Uwe

    In order to get correct trainingload und recovery…is there a possibility to Upload Zwift to polar?

    • Marathon Man

      You can use RunGap to push workouts to Polar Flow (ios only) but not sure if that will factor in to the training load and recovery calculations. You would need to download the file from Zwift to Dropbox and then import to RunGap and push to Polar Flow.
      Alternatively you could push directly from Zwift to Garmin at the end of your workout and then import from there to RunGap. The benefit there would be avoiding needing to download from Zwift on a PC.

    • Uwe

      Thank you, I will try it 🙂

    • Christian

      Dear all,

      I am using the Vantage V in conjunction with a Stryd Pod. Does anyone know which data source the Vantage is using for distance and pace recording for outdoor running activities? GPS for all outdoor workouts or all data from Stryd?

      Unfortunately I did not manage to get Running Index so far – one of the most important metrics for me in Flow. I tried to switch from the generic running sports profile to special profiles such as road running but no luck.

      The information provided here in the discussion section is quite ambiguous. Did anyone manage to get Running Index on the Vantage V in conjunction with Power measurement from a Stryd?

      In general I like the watch quite well – particularly its look and feel and its focus on the essentials. However, what is clearly missing is phase based information. At least I did not manage to have average numbers for the current workout phase or a summary of achieved metrics for the last phase during the workout – which is essential to follow phase targets during training. Moreover, there is no focus on power based running training visible. For example, there is no option to training according to power zones which does not make sense to me at all, given that on board running power is one of the key differentiators of the Vantage V vs. competition.

      Best regards – hopefully anyone can help sorting things out for me,
      Christian

  57. Fredrik

    Polars response to a Facebook post regarding STRYD and Vantage V.

    “Hi Joakim. Thanks for posting. Great to hear you’re liking the Vantage V design!

    When you disable GPS from the sport profile, you’ll get the speed and distance from your Stryd sensor.

    To have Running Power and Muscle Load features on Vantage V, however, you’ll need to have GPS and altitude enabled.

    And currently if GPS is enabled, speed and distance is taken from GPS rather than your Stryd sensor.

    We’ve forwarded your feedback.”

    • Marathon Man

      I’m not sure I totally understand. I just did a treadmill run with Stryd and got the following:

      Running Index – 63
      Cardio Load – High – 113
      Muscle Load – High – 807
      Perceived Load – 361

      I got the normal power metrics too, plus cadence and average stride length etc.
      Same data that I used to get with the V800 and Stryd but now including the various load measurements.

    • Christian

      I am not sure if anyone at Polar knows how the Stryd integration works. Neither I am sure all watches are behaving the same – for me definitely NO Running index for all outdoor activities. I even checked the pace conditions to make sure the run qualified for Running Index (no sensor dropouts, for example).

      Hmmm … quite confused and not very impressed.

    • Christian

      I realized that a strange device was paired with the Vantage, the name starting with a question mark followed by an alphanumeric code. Unpaired that device and now have Running Index when using Stryd. Strange. Was wondering if this was an internal sensor but OHR still works …

    • Marathon Man

      Are you getting Running Index now for outdoor runs with GPS then?

    • Christian

      Yes, it seems to work now after having unpaired a strange device which was already paired when trying to pair the H10 and Stryd. No idea what this was …

  58. Daniel

    Help!

    Due to some wired numbers on my HR i unparied phone and HR-strap, after that i havent been able to pair my Iphone and watch again. Tried to redo the setup of the watch via a computer, update flow app, restart phone, but nothing…It just shows its trying to pair, wothout anything happening. How do I even restart the watch? Any other suggestionst are most appreciated!

    • Christian

      Did you try to do a factory reset via flow link? Maybe this helps … if not try doing a forced firmware reload.

    • Christian

      To restart I think there is an option under settings to do that. Or you do a 10 seconds long press of the ok button.

    • Daniel

      Hi and thanx for your respond!

      In the end i found both ways to do a restart, but my watch is still just pretending to search for the flow app.

      Yeah, I did the factory reset without any results.

      Hmm. How is the forced firmware done?

    • flokon

      Same here.
      My Vantage M responded with the dreaded “ooops” message and restarted during a workout. I unpaired my phone before coming home to stop the watch synching the botched run with TP, and Strava (had my 935 on the other wrist luckily, and wanted its data obviously). Ever since I haven’t been able to pair my VM with my 6s… There was an update to Flow while I was out running, maybe that introduced some bugs.
      I have to say, with each passing day, I am inclined more and more to just use my 935 until Polar manages to iron out all the bugs, and bring the Vantage up to at least M430 functionality.

    • Rib

      Just suffered the ‘oops…’ messaged out on a run now. Lost all the data when it did so, so you wouldn’t have had to worry about that.

      I also couldn’t sync to Flow beforehand but restarting the phone solved that. Related. Possibly. Annoying? Very much so. Either way I was 25mins into an interval workout and I lost it. Subsequently I’m still apparently ‘Detraining’ and working out less than normal even though I’m training the same volume just higher intensity.

      Personally getting a little fed up with it and regretting it from the start. If my M400 hadn’t been on it’s last legs I wouldn’t have. Let’s hope Polar have been working hard to get these things up to scratch ASAP.
      If it crashes again I’ll be contacting Polar UK to see what options I have open for returning.

  59. Rob

    Wondering if anyone can do me a favour.

    I’ve noticed that there seems to be some inconsistency between the watch/Flow app/Flow web and want to see if it’s a problem my end.

    Towards the end of last week my training had me ‘Productive’ in Training Pro/Cardio Load with a dip into ‘Overreaching’ depending on days training. I wake up one morning and the watch has dropped overnight to ‘Detraining’ and the Flow web service matches that. For the last few days I’ve sat in ‘Detraining’ and it doesn’t seem to want to move out of that (I’ve some intervals planned later so will see what happens then).

    Anyway, I’ve been looking into my data again this morning and noticed the inconsistencies.
    The watch says I’m Detraining 0.6. Strain 23. Tolerance 42.
    The Flow web service says the same (0.6/23/42).
    The Flow app (iOS) however says I’m Maintaining (no score). Strain 23. Tolerance 28.
    I don’t get that as surely the app is scraping its data from the web service.

    I’ve messaged Polar Support UK to try and get some idea on what’s going on but curious to know if anyone else is suffering weird data results/behaviour.

    • Jens

      Hi Rob,

      This to me looks like exactly what I am experiencing at times. The app is not up to date with the Flow web. On several occasions I’ve made changes to sport profiles in the Flow web but this is not reflected in the app, so after syncing my watches (M400 or V800) the app has synced in old settings to the watch. I’m fairly sure that’s the case. I think I might’ve mentioned this already in a comment earlier on this page, but got a reply that other people had not seen this problem. I’ve even logged out and in again in the app and it still is not correct! It’s like it’s not fetching data at times.

    • Fred

      Try to:

      1. Log out on both the Flow app and the web-application.
      2. Uninstall the Flow app on your phone.
      3. Restart phone
      4. Log into web-application
      5. Reinstall Flow-app on your phone and log in.

      I hope that helps, otherwise it is Polar support.

    • Marathon Man

      I have seen this behaviour. If you make changes to the order of screens using Flow on the website, and then you subsequently make changes to the sport profiles in the app then it resets the order of the screens i.e. overwrites the changes that you made on the web. Basically the order of the screens needs to be the last thing that you do – once you are happy with the changes you made to the sports profiles in the app.

  60. Jan-Åke

    Same issue pairing with my samsung galaxy A3, Android 8. Pairing step was done 1 out of 20 tries, but therafter watch hangs at next step with connecting to flow app. Nothing gets synced. Vantage M has firmwarwe 1.1.7.
    Contacted Polar support, and got answer i need to wait for the 1.2Firmware. No exact date but support mentioned that hopefully they would release updated firmware later this week

    • Daniel

      Okey, good to know. I only got the “copy-paste” even when i specifically mentioned that i’d done all of that standard s**t. But better not to get upset over this, it will probably be a little quirky for a while. 😉

    • Nicola

      I doubt Firmware 1.2 will fix the issue. My suspicion is that the problem lies in the Polar Flow App for Android, that is not pairing properly on Android 8.1
      I had my M430 paired with my phone (BQ Aquaris X Pro) when it had Android 7. Then few weeks ago BQ pushed out the upgrade to Android 8.1 and I installed it. The M430 continued to work just fine with the Polar Flow App, the pairing done under Android 7 was kept and working.
      Fast forward few weeks, the Vantage V come along and I need to pair it, but it does not pair. Among my many attempts I unpaired the M430 and after that I was no longer able to pair the M430 back to my device.

      If there is a but in the firmware, then it is also in the M430, but it surfaced only with Android 8 (or 8.1).
      Or more likely it is a bug in the Polar Flow App.

    • Kevin

      Just as info, I have my Vantage M syncing with my Pixel 2 with Android 9 and so far no issues with the Bluetooth connection.

    • Update Iphone+VV:
      After trying the everything recomended by Polar I tried pairing my watch with another iphone, it worked right away. I then went back trying with my phone. Now the watch came up inte bluetooth settings and the watch went from “hold your phone close..” to ” connection to flow” without getting further though. I removed the watch from my bluetooth settings and voila, suddenly watch and phone found each other again after that. Weird stuff IMO… but I’ll take it and get back to training.

    • Andrew

      BT LE is just weird. If things go awry it is always worth “forgetting” the connection on both devices, restarting both then trying to connect again.

    • Jan-Åke

      Have just now upgraded my Vantage M to Firmware 1.2.3 and pairing with my Galaxy A3 succeded directly therafter sync with Flow app works fine as well 🙂

  61. Yefta

    Hi, i just received my polar VM yesterday and i tried to explore all the features.
    When VM connected to polar flow app, it requested to update the firmware.
    Now its firmware is 1.1.7.

    After firmware update, training option in “Start Training” is not shown.
    Please restart your VM first after firmware update, and training options will be shown.

    Restart option is in Option > General Settings > About Watch

  62. Christopoh

    Just one question to all of you, who has bought a polar Vantage V/M:
    Would you, if you turn back time, buy the watch again????

    • Andrew

      link to youtube.com

      Interesting question! Of course you would be unable to take the information back with you if time was merely “turned back”. What is really intriguing however is if all the conditions were the same after turning time back this would not guarantee the same outcome. God plays dice! If you time “hopped back” in time a little older and wiser – not sure. I might wait for the thing to be finished. I would think it had potential!

  63. Christoph

    I’m thinking of buying the polar vantage V.
    I am very undecided whether to replace my Sunto Ambit3 Peak, which is a fantastic watch.
    With all these posts that complain about the new clock of the polar, a doubt arises.
    I have only one question to all of you who have already purchased a Polar Vantage V/M:
    Would you, in hindsight, buy the clock again, and if yes/no why?

    • Marathon Man

      I purchased a V. For me the decision was pretty simple:

      1/ My V800 buttons were no longer working
      2/ I’m vested in Polar Flow and find it much better than Garmin Connect for what I need
      3/ I really like the design of the Vantage V
      4/ I don’t need navigation or smart notifications (never used them on my V800)
      5/ I was interested in having a fallback, reliable option for heart rate monitoring for those times when I don’t have a chest strap with me
      6/ I’m interested in the Training Load Pro and Recovery metrics

      I would buy the V again. I’m happy with it for what I need and am confident it will get better.
      I’ve so far had good results using the oHR and it has worked flawlessly with my Powertap P1s, Stryd and other sensors.
      I really like the customization of the metrics on the training screens.
      It also looks good and isn’t too heavy / bulky.
      I find it very comfortable to wear.
      I also think it is priced at a reasonable price point.

    • Andrew

      See my response above to Christopoh

    • Nicola

      I concur with all the above.
      I have a Vantage V and coming from the M430, and previously a Garmin FR-610 and FR-305.
      In particular I have to say it is good looking and comfortable.
      The GPS, at least in my case is as accurate as the M430, which is to say it is very good.
      My Garmin friends (Fenix 3 / 5 / 235) all have worse results GPS-wise.
      oHR is also on par with the M430, but here your skin, and wrist veins and capillarization play an heavy role.
      So far the V is doing a far better job than the M430 at estimating my recovery and readiness to take up more workload. The M430 was based on math done by the Polar Flow website, using simpler data, and it was somewhat underestimating my recovery and I started ignoring it. The V is less conservative, which given the audience of the watch is much better in my opinion. If I pay 500€ for a watch and a service to monitor and guide my training, I look for something that helps me getting on the edge, not over, but on the edge. And the V promises to be that tool much more than any of my previous sport watches.

  64. Hi Mike@PolarUSA (if you find this) and others that might have some insight.

    Screen brightness/backlight issue, i just want to know if it’s fixable via firmware update
    or all units will have to be returned and replaced ?
    🙂
    This would be a major play for all owners … and Polar of course.

    • Fredrik

      I agree. I recently bought the Vantage V. love the design and training load and recovery pro features (really nice thought out).

      BUT THE SCREEN IS TOO DIM. I can not read the orthostatic test in the morning and I can not see squat in the evening either. Polar need to crank up the backlight in all situations AND MAKE A DO-NOT-DISTURB MODE to turn the wrist-activated dim backlight off.

      Than you Polar, you will get there! But until you do…please INCREASE BACKLIGHT so we can see the display.

      All the best,
      Over all happy customer

    • Marathon Man

      There also needs to be an option to turn off sounds on the orthostatic test (so you don’t disturb your sleeping partner) and just rely on vibration…..

  65. Carlo

    Compared to v800 some data fields are missing.
    Last lap for instance, that’s a pretty basic one and easy to add.

  66. Rob

    So then, how are we all getting on with our V’s and M’s?

    I’ve got an M and as the days go by its starting to annoy me more.
    Daily use is fine but training is not going smoothly.

    I’ve been using my H7 with the watch when training and its either next to useless for the first 5 or so minutes and spiking all over the show or on the occasion its fine I’m getting silly 200+ bpm spikes at points that extremely unlikely! This behaviour was not present when using the H7 with my M400.

    Next. I like doing phased runs and in the past have had no issue planning them and then the M400 executing them fine. With the Vantage M the results are not always great. Of the 4 phased runs I’ve done 2 have messed up come syncing. They are in my diary as runs. Sync to the watch as runs. Start as runs. then sync to Flow as walks losing me the Running Index. Yes the data is correct but a silly bug that seems to not affect all my planned runs.

    Lastly. I got the ‘oops something has gone wrong…’ in the week and lost that session. Now when connecting to Flow Sync on computer I get 2 errors.
    1 is the lost workout that it cant upload but is clearly on the device somewhere. The other is labelled only as ‘btdev’. I’ve messaged Polar about it but yet to have a response. Syncing with the mobile app gives no errors so assume the app isn’t set up to give any. Despite multiple re-syncs the errors remain.

    I’m loathe to factory reset something that is less than 2 weeks old but feel that’s the route I’ll need to take to remove the errors.

    All in all not totally happy this time. As a slight plus though I find the screen absolutely fine!

    • Marathon Man

      I’m getting on great with my V. I’ve not had any of the error messages yet thankfully.

      – Syncing to iphone has been reliable and way quicker than V800.
      – Battery life has been better since the 1st charge.
      – Training with HR strap either H7 or H10 has been fine. I’ve been super impressed with oHR once warmed up. With oHR, I seem to be about 5bpm off what a HR strap is recording for the first 15 mins – and with a little more variability than the strap. But after 15 mins and for the rest of the workout it is locked on to the same value as a strap.
      – Stryd power, running index etc work fine.
      – All my sensors work e.g. Powertap P1s etc
      – Training load and recovery pro seem like great additions.
      – I don’t have an issue reading the display but I can’t understand that others might
      – Heart rate while swimming in a pool appears pretty accurate

      Yes – there are things that Polar could improve on / add that would help me:
      1/ Training view options e.g. last automatic lap
      2/ Calibration for Stryd / footpods
      3/ Selecting footpod as the source of pace / distance when GPS is turned on
      4/ Option to turn off sounds for orthostatic test

      All in all, I’m enjoying the V experience. It feels way more solid than the early days of V800. I’m sure Polar will continue to refine and resolve the quirks.

    • Marathon Man

      EDIT:
      – I don’t have an issue reading the display but I can understand that others might

    • flokon

      Have to concur on most of your points.
      Especially battery life seems to have improved after first (and second) charge.
      Also, with today’s fw update to 1.2.3 the watch became really snappy. Watch faces change in an instant and navigating through menus is much more responsive. Also they fixed the profile bug in phased workouts where settings of whatever profile you used before a phased workout got carried over to the workout – very annoying.
      That said, I have yet to make RI work with my Stryd (what profile do you use?).

    • Marathon Man

      I’m just downloading the update now 🙂
      I don’t see a changelog of what has been addressed. Have you seen one?

      RI works for me in Treadmill Running profile – works with Stryd. I haven’t tried with other footpods but I’ve not had an issue in the 5 sessions I have done so far. I get RI, stride length, power, cadence, pace, distance etc. All the same data that I used to get on V800.

  67. Martin wood

    Poor back light
    You decide

    • Fredrik

      Martin Wood: picture not visible unfortunately

    • Martin Wood

      link to youtu.be
      have a look here

    • Rob

      Whilst I fully get your point I think you are being somewhat unfair.

      Now as my post above says, I’m far from happy with the watch right now but in your video it ‘appears’ that the screen is not awake and as a result in its darkest mode. Had you allowed the screen to be awake at the darkest point of the video I’m pretty confident from my own experience that it would have been fine.

      That’s not to say I don’t think the screen/brightness/etc is perfect. I think it’s too sensitive to auto brightness especially in the evening and definitely needs a do not disturb type setting.

      I’ve noticed Polar seem very quiet in the comments since launch mind. Would be nice to see some response to the concerns that are being posted.

    • Mike

      Regardless, if you really want to highlight just how bad the display is, look at an Apple Series 4 watch screen. The difference is like night and day. The brightness is a BIG factor IMO where colors just seem so washed out, so whats the point? Just not sure how they could not have seen this as an issue given how beautiful screens look on a device like the Apple watch.

    • Martin Wood

      Rob I do resent the fact you think I’m being unfair I don’t think I am.
      Polar need to address this issue now and stop keeping so tight lipped,
      so I can decide wether I should return my unit or hold out for a FWupdate
      which may not be possible then where does that leave Polars most avid fans

    • Rob

      No need to resent Martin. I’m not having a dig at you I just think it would have been a fairer comparison with the screen ‘on’

      The screen brightness issues do need addressing however in some way as whilst I and others find no issue, plenty, and possibly more than those that have commented as happy, are unhappy with it.

      I think the watch(es) have a lot of issues and I’m firmly leaning towards regretting ordering from the off at the minute. IMO we’ve all ended up as beta testers.

    • Andrew

      Unable to see it so I guess it must be poor?

    • Andrew

      Although it is natural to wish to convey how the display looks to you it is clearly not possible to do this with a video or still image of the device as your eye and a camera are so very different. I did the very same but in the end realised it was nonsense. Here is a V800 and VV side by side. I think the VV looks better than it really is. The transflective display is very crisp and clear in sunlight, I think comparable Garmin screens. It does however seem rather low in contrast when backlit which combined with lowish light intensities (only around 2/3 as bright as the V800 at full brightness on both) makes it hard to read. Although not very good aesthetically (black bevel) it might be good to be able to invert the display and show dark text on a light background. Of course all these technologies are wasteful of energy. A white LED screen behind the transflective display would provide increased contrast and reduced power consumption but I suppose would be expensive to manufacture.

    • Andrew

      Histogram of light intensity for V800

    • Andrew

      Histogram of light intensities for VV

    • Andrew

      hard to interpret but there seems to be essentially two peaks, one is the background luminance, the second that arising from the text on the display. Ideally the background peak would not exist. Unfortunately it is rather large on the VV. The text peak on the V800 is smeared out over a greater range of luminances but if you reshaped it keeping the same area into a narrow peak the same shape as for the background I bet it would be taller. I don’t think it would be for the VV. Contrast is equally important as brightness in enabling people to see what is on a screen.

  68. maikkeli

    FW 1.2.3 out

  69. Thomas

    I bought a V a week ago. I have had two spinning classes and I wore the V on the arm and had a chest strap connected to V800. It seems they show more or less the same HR reading during training. I wore it also during a swim (I only do breast strokes), but the HR reading seems fine there as well, and nice to not have to wear a chest strap in the pool.

    Continuous HR reading works ok. I have seen some spikes, and some too small readings, but I don’t have the armband very thight because that feels uncomfortable. The first two days I thought the armband was very bad and uncomfortable, but now I have become accustomed to it, and it feels as good as, say, the V800.

    The battery drain is so far a bit higher than I expected, but I think a load can hold for 3 days, which is better than my wife’s A370.

    • Thomas

      Now I got my first Ooops. Think it has to do with the touch sensitivity. The swiping to change menu is a bit flaky and quite often when I look on the watch, it has magically changed menu item. I prefer having the hr menu, but oftentimes some other item is active.

  70. Nicklas

    Hi
    Heard that GPS on V campares to M is not the same, heard that M with plastic shell shows better gps accuracy.

    I am just a little curious as an amateur, training mostly bike and running. When u talk about bad gps accuracy, How bad is it. Does it show 99% or 95% gps accuraracy. Having an polar m waiting for me. But I still like it to show 5km when i run 5km.

    And thx dcrainmaker for all reviews

  71. Goc

    about screen brightness …

    Hi,

    Thank you for contacting Polar.

    The Vantage products have an MIP display (memory in pixel) with a resolution of 240×240.

    We decided to go with the MIP display instead of OLED, because an OLED display consumes a lot of power and is not very readable in bright sunlight. We figured extended battery life and the ability to see the display continuously when training (during indoor and outdoor sessions) are important for athletes.
    We’ve created a dedicated space on Polar.com to provide detailed info of what’s to come and when.”

  72. Jorge

    HI, I just received my Polar Vantage V, Very Nice !! , I took it to a MTB ride, very accurate but i did not see the incline/decline field.

    I already did the second update of firmware.

    Some body Knows where i can find the improvements of each update.??

    Many Thanks

    • Marathon Man

      Are you asking where the incline / decline field is on the watch while training or afterwards in Polar Flow?
      If you are asking where it is on the watch, then you may have to add a training view and then select Altitude, Total Descent and Total Ascent.
      I think the default profile for Mountain Biking only comes with the altitude graph – so you’ll need to add the additional view.
      Make sense?

  73. Anders

    Anyone figured out what’s in the new/fixed with f/w v1.2.3?

    • Jarkko

      This from a fillarifoorumi.fi:

      – In the most recent firmware update, the backlight has been brighten so that users are able to view the display more easily in darker training conditions.

      – As for the crashing of the Polar Vantage V product approximately during mile 39 of your cycling session, a firmware update, version 1.2 was released today that should resolve the crashing.

      This email is a service from Polar Care.

    • Jarkko

      FW v1.2.3: I am also detecting speed improvements in UI, especially when swiping l/r or pressing up/down on idle screen,

    • Jarkko

      link to support.polar.com

      – Lots of bugs fixed
      – High Continuous Heart Rate feature peaks fixed
      – Brighter backlight when using the light button (more improvements to backlight coming in future releases)

      Also someone reported 24h HR measurement turns off after certain period if movement is not detected, and reactivates with movement.

    • Marathon Man

      Jarkko – you are right. There seem to be massive improvements in the speed of the screens. I also noticed improvements in both resting and workout oHR. For workout oHR, I only have 1 training session so it may just be luck, but almost immediately the V replicated the values I was getting from a HR strap. Have you seen the same?

    • Mike

      I had received my M just the day before this update. This update made a big difference to the Continuous HR as they said. After updating, I noticed this immediately how closer it tracked to my HR without these wild high HR peaks. I honestly was going to return the watch as I thought it was useless….now changed my mind. I still want a brighter display though 🙁

  74. Yefta

    Hi, I just got notification from Polar Flow App to update VM firmware to 1.2.3..
    But VM screen still showing “Updating” even update process already finished from Flow App?
    Anyone having this?
    How to solve this? Is there any button shortcut to hard reset the VM?

    Thank you

    • Christian

      I’d suggest to update via PC and cable – I think this is the safer option.

      Took the Vantage V for a first indoor run yesterday – everything worked as expected in conjunction with my Stryd – but after having had Running Index for outdoor runs there was no Running Index shown for the treadmill session.

      @ Marathonman – it seems you are always a step ahead 🙂

    • Yefta

      So, i got my Vantage M back from updating by long-press at OK button.
      I don’t know the side effect, checked the firmware already updated to 1.2.3

      Yeah, i will. I am not going to doing an update via Flow App anymore. Thanks

    • Chris

      I still haven’t got a running index, indoors or out, with my vantage v paired to stryd. Any tips or did yours work immediately. I have sent a request to polar for any info/advice.

    • flokon

      There isn’t anyone who knows exactly how the Vantage works with the Stryd. Not even Polar. To be on the safe side they stated that you only get speed+distance if GPS is off. Some reported though that they indeed get pace+distance despite having GPS on. Without the option to calibrate a Pod within Vantage, noone can say for sure whether their pace/distance comes from the pod or GPS. You’d have to set calibration to something very high or low, and if your pace suddenly drops to some ridiculously low, respectively high value, you know the pod’s actually giving speed+distance. Sure, a pace graph from a pod looks much smoother than from GPS but with a very good GPS signal, and the ability to run very consistently, a GPS graph can look smooth as well, not to mention the smoothing applied from the software of whatever service you’re using (Strava, TP, Flow,GC,…).

      As to why RI + GPS works for some and others not, it’s a mystery. Some speculate the M gives RI with GPS+Pod, and the V does not.

    • Marathon Man

      Christian – Sorry I don’t know why you are not getting it indoors. Would love to help you figure this out. All of my treadmill runs with Stryd have had Running Index.
      I’m sure you probably know this:
      1/ Are you sure the Stryd is showing as connected before you begin the workout? It takes about 5 seconds for me in pre-training mode before it connects to the watch.
      2/ You are selecting treadmill mode or at least a running profile and GPS is not on
      3/ You are faster than 3.75mph and longer than 12 mins
      4/ You are not stopping more than twice?

      When you connect in the treadmill mode to Stryd, do you see the orange light on Stryd flash to indicate connected. And then when you exit the running mode do you see Stryd flash again?

    • Marathon Man

      Mine worked immediately. I paired Stryd with Vantage V, and now when I go to train, I wait for it to connect in the pre-training mode and then when it does, I start running.
      I do wonder though whether there is some conflict between wrist based speed / cadence and Stryd.

      Last night I did a gentle recovery run on the treadmill and for some reason my cadence value was doubled from the previous day. Nothing different – I hadn’t changed anything in the Stryd app. I had adjusted the layout of the screens in the running profile.
      Just to be sure, after the run I went back in to the Stryd app and toggled back and forth between RPM / SPM and so will see what happens today. I won’t make any further changes to the screens, so will see what cadence value I get today.

      When I look at the pace track in Flow, it’s impossible that the pace was coming from the wrist. I was running at a consistent pace and there is no variability to it, it is too smooth in my opinion to have come from anything else other than Stryd.
      Power is there and running index as normal.
      The only variable is the doubling of the cadence value.

      One other thing I noticed. In previous runs it had taken 16 minutes or so, for oHR to lock on to the value I was getting from a heart rate strap. After firmware 1.2.3 yesterday, I got almost immediately the same values as a HR strap. If that continues, and is not just a one-off then I will be very impressed.

    • flokon

      You can’t stop more than two times, however stopping more often will net you a lower RI. I stop 3-4 times (traffic lights and bio breaks) on most of my runs and get a RI jut fine. The highest numbers are always when I didn’t have to stop.

    • flokon

      Second the oHR. Very impressed after the update. The watch is snappy, my HR is stable, and most of all after a more than 60′ run both max, and avg. matched the values I got from my 935 paired to H7.

  75. Thanos Gatos

    I’ve been bouncing back and forth between the Vantage V and FR935. After a short discussion with Ray yesterday, I was leaning more to the FR935 side, and was almost going out to buy it today. However, I am seeing that people are reporting great changes on the Vantage V since yesterday’s firmware update (1.2.3).

    I am looking forward to seeing more feedback on what’s going on with the GPS on the Vantage V.

    Honestly, I think I prefer the looks of the Vantage V and its metal construction, compared to the FR935’s plastic shell. However, as Ray told me yesterday, for him it was a no-brainer in favor of the FR935. Maybe there is a shift now, after the new firmware on the Vantage?

    I might need to wait it out a bit longer, since things are pretty confusing right now. I don’t understand for example how bad the Vantage V’s “bad” GPS is and how I should interpret that.

    • flokon

      I have both, a Vantage M, and a 935. Seriously, the 935 is in another league feature-wise (vs both V, and M). It is basically a Fenix 5s in sheep’s clothing.
      I’ve always been a Polar user, but grew tired of their rectangular design, and switched to Garmin half a year ago. Despite the 935 being the superior device, I got a Vantage now simply because I prefer the more athletic-centric Polar Flow to the activity-tracking-crowd centric Garmin Connect. Polar’s ecosystem is unbeatable unless you go for paid services.

      Regarding the “bad” GPS, the5krunner recently published a great GPS test, and found the V to be a bit worse than the M, which is on par with the 935. However, as with any things GPS, especially nowadays where companies lean towards battery-efficiency vs accuracy, all chips seem to have strengths, and weaknesses in different areas. A “bad” chip might be better than a good one when it comes to corner cutting, for instance. Since I run with a Stryd I don’t care about GPS accuracy, I only need it to re-trace my steps, so to speak.

      New firmware: 1.2.3 really improved both Vantages when it comes to UI performance, and the firmware is more stable with less bug, a nasty one in particular (profiles in phased workouts) that got fixed. They didn’t introduce new features though, yet. You can see the roadmap of those on the Polar page (link to polar.com). Note though, that Polar is not really known for sticking to their projected time frames (see V800).

      TL;DR: Choose based on what ecosystem you prefer: Flow or GCM. If you don’t care or rely on a paid third-party service like TP or Strava (one of which you should use anyway, at least the free version, to switch brands easily), then I’d get the 935.

  76. jean

    Hello

    I have some questions for the owners of a vantage v:
    – does the watch go to sleep if it is not used (eg at night)?
    – what do you think of the reliability of the gps and the altimeter?

    I would like to know if the data gps and alti arrive at the height of my ambition 3 vertical …

    sportily

    • Nicola

      I do not know if the V sleeps when I sleep, because I am sleeping 😉
      Seriously, I am an hard sleeper, so I am not the right person to report on this feature. However the phone itself does not sleep, it has continuous monitoring, so you might mean the display. Yes it is dark in my case, it does not go on very easily when I rest in bed, contrary to what I have been reading in other posts here.

      On the GPS side, I have good results so far, in line with the M430, which I consider a good GPS watch, except today, where the V did not track the first 300m of my run, I hope this is only because I was too fast to start, or maybe some side effect of it being the first workout after the firmware update to version 1.2.3

      Regarding the Altimeter, I am really impressed. It is not calibrated yet, so I can only report on the relative elevation measurements, not the the absolute elevation. However on a Flyover sprint workout I have done yesterday, 10 repeats on a flyover, it measured for 10 times the 6 meters elevation gain I do at every repeat.

      Here is the workout link to flow.polar.com

      In the workout above the first 10 minutes show a spiky HR graph, it was my H7 misbehaving, I have then detached it, the V falled back onto its internal oHR (neat!) and it measured my HR without issues.
      Also in comparison with the M430 I typically use in parallel these days, the oHR measurements match almost to the hearth beat, notwithstanding the V and the M430 are worn on different arms.

    • jean

      thank you Nicola

      little translation problem, I’m french 🙂

      I wanted to know if the watch had a sleep mode when it is not used …

      thanks for your return

    • flokon

      The watch has an always on display, as is the norm with sport watches. The OHR, however, does have a “sleep” mode. It has skin detectors, and will shut off when it cannot “feel” skin. This works very well, and is a great QoL improvement over other OHR watches where you had to toggle the OHR, often buried in menus.

    • jean

      thanks Flokon

  77. Jorge

    Thanks Marathon Man,

    Unfortunately is not the case incline/decline is an angle I had it in my V800, however in the Vantage manual mention this values but are not implemented yet, I also ask Polar to include the Temperature Field.

    Today i made a 2,200 mts in a Pool with an Interval programmed training.
    Bad news:
    HR was not accurate at all, I tighten the band, next time I will tight more, my HR was to high most of the time and very erratic.
    In the 3/4 of the training the pool distance change from 25 mts to 20 mts, so the distance remaining in my intervals was 0.08 km??. I realizd after the program in the web was good, but in the phone the distance change in one interval to 0.04 km, I do not have idea how it happen??
    Good News :
    In the Fenix 5 I already sodl it, to buy this baby, if you do 20 intervals, you have to press the lap button to indicate to the watch that you are end this interval, i always wondering why, if the watch indicate 0 mts to swim, but you have to press the lap button anyway.
    In the Vantage, the watch realized that you end the interval and continue with the rest time immediately if you programmed this( No need to press any button¡¡¡, )

    • Marathon Man

      Hey Jorge

      Sorry – I think I misunderstood your point? You are asking whether the watch shows the actual incline / decline that you already covered when you are actually out training? If you look at Nicola’s message earlier #1001 (November 9, 2018 at 10:45 am) you can see in the link to her training that the altitude line is there.
      The fields are there currently in the sport profile for incline / decline and they are on the watch, but I don’t believe you can see any data currently in those fields yet, other than the altitude you are at while training.

  78. Andrew

    I am growing a little weary of my VV and think I might pop it back in its box and have another look at it next year. Any good deals on the FR935?

  79. Jorge

    Hi Marathon Men,

    Nope, in Nicola training you can see altitude is different , ascend is not equal incline, one is in meters the other is an angle( the slope, I think in English ), My ex V800 read the slope in real time and show it in the display.
    If you are seen this in the display configuration, Please send me a photo because i did not find this fields, only ascend/ descend but not incline/decline. I think is very useful for a runner too.

    • Marathon Man

      Jorge

      Can you send me a picture of the screen you are referring to in the V800. I don’t know I ever used that screen / function. I still have mine.

      When I’m training I can see ascent and descent, as well as current altitude. Attached is a blurry pic of the ascent / descent and altitude training view on vantage V. I’m not sure what slope view on V800 you are referring to.
      I don’t think there is any way yet to calibrate the altitude. At least not a way that I have found.

  80. Andrew

    I have the Vantage. Used it for a few days. Just ordered a 935. Draw your own conclusions!

  81. Christoph

    Hi
    Did anyone notice a freeze of the touchscreen after the new Sw update.
    I had it twice. After a restart of the watch everything works fine.
    It looks like the touch function was disabled. The buttons worked fine

  82. Andrew

    Can anyone help? I am confused with the recovery information that I am getting from my VV / Polar Flow. I have the old recovery data which shows I was ready to roll yesterday morning. The new cardio load shows that I should be OK early this afternoon (hard to see exactly when as the display only shows 28 days, not weeks or a single day) My watch still shows me as overreaching 1.4 (whatever that is (I know, a ratio of strain vs tolerance, whatever they are!)). Are we recommended to only use the new recovery metric? (it may be more accurate as has input from the orthostatic test not just hr during training and running index). I think it would be better if there was just one recovery metric displayed derived from as many parameters as it had available. A range of prediction would be good too and this would presumably get smaller with inputs such as OrthTest.

  83. Rasa

    Hi Ray, i have one practical question for you.
    As i pay more attention to HR stats, than for distance accuracy, i like Polar new HR sensor which lets me not wearing some chest straps, and in the same time to get reliable HR data. But if their watches stay gps unaccurate, could it be overriden and fixed with Stryd?

    • Marathon Man

      Rasa
      I think if you can do without the GPS map, then you can use Stryd now as the source of pace / distance. Just turn GPS off and run with Stryd and you should get oHR from the watch and pace / distance / power from Stryd.

      I’m not sure what watch you had before. Two things to note.
      1/ V800 had a setting where you could still have the GPS track but you could set the watch to take pace / distance from Stryd. My uninformed guess, is that Polar will return this function at some point in the future.
      2/ There currently is no way to calibrate a footpod e.g. Stryd with Vantage V. Again this was a function on V800 and again I would imagine that this would reappear on Vantage V.

      Since firmware 1.2.3 I have been really impressed with the oHR accuracy during training.

    • Homer2010

      This is what Polar told me: “Thank you for contacting Polar. Yes it would be the source [of distance/ pace] when paired. The GPS is only used to populate the map on Flow.”

      I got this after FW 1.2.3 was relased. Maybe they changed the function. Anyhow, my Vantage V gives me sensible results in (instant) pace / distance while running, while GPS-track has still sometimes weird moments…

      In general, I must say that I am quite happy with it.

    • Homer2010

      Additional remark: when starting my running tracks here at home, I have almost no GPS signal due to walls and bridges, Hence, I always had had wrong data in pace, distance and GPS-track until I got my Stryd. For obvious reasons, I have since then correct distance and pace from the beginning.

      Now, the Vantage gives me correct pace from the start of my track – and always did so (also with former FW). So, either the Vantage has an algorithm that recalculates the pace or it does take speed/ distance from the Stryd. Not worth mentioning that the GPS track is still horrible with the Vantage at the start.

      I’m very curious what DCR will analyse…

    • re 2:
      The Runscribe Plus pod stores the calibration on the pod via its app.
      I’d have to double-check exactly what stryd does with other devices and its app.

    • Marathon Man

      For some reason since 1.2.3 I’m now getting doubled cadence in Flow from Stryd.
      It doesn’t matter whether I set Stryd to deliver RPM or SPM, Vantage V displays the same data.
      I even did a soft reset but that made no difference.
      I don’t think there is anywhere in the Stryd app to set a calibration factor.

  84. Andrew

    Anyone know how to calibrate the barometer on the VV? Went for a walk tonight. Started at “700 ft” on a coastal walk. The VV initially did not record any distance on my walk despite quickly picking up GPS. I reset the watch and it would then record distance but my altitude remained 40ft too low for the whole route. I have attached the plot – the lowest point is actually on the beach next to the sea and not below sea level! Just started a hike profile and the altitude at home was up at 700ft again (131ft on my SSU and 110ft on my F3). Both my SSU and F3 will calibrate based on GPS position. Although the power calculation would factor in only relative changes in altitude the change in pressure with change in altitude is itself a function of altitude as air is compressible. I guess the effect on the accuracy of the power calculation would be pretty small. It just really bugs me that the displayed altitude is not even as good as one might expect using GPS altitude measurement.

    • Marathon Man

      Andrew

      You used to be able to calibrate V800 within the settings but I don’t think you can do this on Vantage V or M yet. Again, as it was on V800 my guess would be that it is one of the items that Polar refer to when they say: “Enhancements for existing features.” link to polar.com

  85. Christoph

    Has anyone tried to attach a milestonePod to te VV to get the pace?

  86. Daniel

    Hi!
    Coming from using a garmin watch (FR620) together with Strava and Elevate (stravistix) I’m now wondering if i should try to transfer my earlier workouts into the polar flow eco system.
    1. Anyone done that?

    2. I’ve seen RunGap mentioned, is that the “easiest” way to go about it?

    I would love to have all my data in the polar system since I think I’ll stick around for a while. The polar eco system, especially regarding load, recovery etc speaks to me and fits what the evidence is saying as well. For now I just started at scratch, still on the fence if it will be worth the hustle trying to transfer the data.

    3. How will even the data from my earlier workouts affect my numbers in the polar system?

    I would appreciate all the help I can get 🙂

    BR,
    Daniel

    • Marathon Man

      Daniel

      RunGap may be the way to go if you have an iOS device? It would allow you to transfer your training history to Polar Flow. I don’t believe link to tapiriik.com offers the ability to sync to Polar flow at the moment.

      The other advantage I can see, would be that you could post all your future training activity with the Vantage V / M also to your Garmin account. That way should you ever decide to switch back you’ll have all your data in Garmin Connect too.

      I far prefer Polar Flow. But I do use RunGap to post workout data to Strava, Training Peaks, Garmin Connect etc. You can connect Flow to these accounts (not Garmin) so that the synchronization is automatic, but I prefer being able to review and add commentary before I post.

      Hope that helps.

    • Daniel

      Thanx alot Marathon Man!

      If I have understood RunGap right, that meens transfering 1 session at a time right? I so wish there were an easier way 😉

      Good point!

      Seems to me it’s just time to face it and take a closer look at RG.

      Once again, appreciate the help.

    • Marathon Man

      Daniel

      No – I believe you can bulk export. Once you have imported your Garmin history to RunGap, and you can see them in the activities screen, then hit the share and export tab under the tools menu. Then select Polar Flow and it should export all the activities in one batch.

      To test it, I’d recommend that you use the filter option and only import a date range from Garmin Connect e.g. a month of data. Then export these activities in bulk to Polar Flow and check that it works how you want it to.

      Hope that helps.

    • Nicola

      I have transferred all my workout that were on Garmin (some 6 years of workouts) from Garmin to Flow (and Training Peaks and Strava) by using SynchMyTracks. It is an app that runs on Android.
      Since then I am keeping all of them in synch by using the following mechanisms

      1. Flow gets the workout from the watch
      2. Flow pushes the workout to Strava and Training Peaks
      3. SynchMyTrack copies the workout from Flow to Garmin Connect
      4. SynchMyTrack copies my weight, fat %, muscle mass info of the day from Garmin Connect (I still have a Tanita scale that synchs with GC) to Flow and Training Peaks (Strava does not store this info)

    • flokon

      Your data won’t be take into account of Polar’s algorithms, as Flow only respects metrics recorded with Polar devices. That’s why you never track your overall training with a company’s service who also make devices. There will always be proprietary stuff, like Garmin’s Training Status, VO2Max/Recovery, Polar’s Recovery/Training Load, Running Index, and whatnot. The gold standard is TP, but Strava+Elevate works as well.

    • Daniel

      Allright, that was a positive surprise!
      Great advise, big help!

    • Daniel

      Nicola
      Thanx alot, great help.

    • Daniel

      Flokon

      does that include pace and heart rate? I that case I don’t really see the point of transfering anything to polar flow… Or am i misunderstanding the meening of “metrics”?
      I get what you´re saying, big help!

    • Marathon Man

      Daniel

      I think what Flokon is saying is that while Flow will show your metrics e.g. heart rate, pace, cadence, distance etc for the training sessions that you transfer in, it won’t perhaps show you the new metrics that Polar are presenting now e.g. Cardio Load, Muscle Load, perceived load etc. They present those for activities recorded on a Polar device.

      The picture here is a little mixed. I transferred in last night a Zwift session, just to see what data was presented and the Cardio Load, Muscle Load and perceived loads weren’t calculated. However on Saturday I transferred in a FIT file from Stryd and the perceived load and cardio load fields were present (although cardio value was 0 as the Stryd file didn’t have heart rate data in it). Muscle load field was totally absent.

      Hope that helps.

    • Marathon Man

      Daniel

      Here’s an example. The activity on the left was recorded with the Vantage V and the one on the right was a workout in Zwift posted to Polar Flow. I believe Flokon is referring to the metrics on the left that I have circled in red that don’t appear for activity that isn’t recorded on a Polar device.
      Moving forward if you use a Vantage for recording activity then they will show and be factored into the Training Load Pro metrics. You just may not see them for your Garmin activities that you transfer in.

    • flokon

      Marathon Man explained much better what I meant 🙂
      Importing your data into Flow is only useful if you plan on using Flow as your training diary, therefor want your mileage there. If you want to benefit of Polar’s algorithms, but keep track of your training elsewhere anyway (Strava, TP, Nike+, Runtastic, et cet.), don’t bother since Flow won’t respect data not recorded with a Polar device for their own soup (Training Load/ Recovery/ Running Index).

    • Daniel

      Marathon Man and flokon,

      I follow! Big thanx for the help.
      I’ll probably test it, but maybe not go back to far.. I haven’t really used my GC very well, always focused on strava so going through GC will be messy.

      Take care!

  87. Jorge

    Hi Marathon Men

    Attached the photo of a V800, please see the second line, the first field is grades of incline, the symbol in the midle change if you are incline/decline in the photo is incline, the third field is the incline in percentage.

    • Marathon Man

      Jorge

      Thanks for sharing. I haven’t seen the ability to set that yet in Vantage V. To be honest, I didn’t know it existed on V800 🙂
      My uninformed guess would be that many of the training views from V800 etc will appear on Vantage V in time. I can’t think of a technical reason why you’d be able to have that on V800 but not on Vantage V.

  88. Paolo

    Hi everyone,

    I ask you one thing about VV (FW 1.2.3)
    Where can I view and select on the VV my quick target (no data or time set only time or distance) created and present in the “favorites”?
    On the V800 there was a specific icon (star) in the menu.
    The instructions are not clear for me, but it seems to me that they should appear by default when you enter the menu to start a new workout … but I see them only my 20 sports profile that I have set.

    Thank’s

    • Nicola

      Those favourites targets are not selectable from the watch just yet. Maybe this feature will come in the future.
      The workaround is to plan those in your diary and they will appear as workout for the day in your watch.

  89. Jorge

    Hi Nicola

    Could you give a hand , I do not find the imported weight from my Garmin Balance , I have the same app SynMyTracks ( Amazing!!) but i do not see the % Fat or weight, Could you tell me where it is in Polar Flow ?

    Thanks

    • Nicola

      Hi Jeorge,

      in Polar Flow you cannot see the history of your physical parameters from the scale, but at least the wight is transferred and taken into account for various computations.In the picture below taken from the ‘Physical settings’ under the ‘Settings’ menu in Polar Flow you can see my weight of this morning. I did not enter that manually, it is changing every day and it goes in through SynchMyTrack.
      In Training Peaks instead, in the Calendar section, I can see all my weights, day by day, with % fat, muscle mass, etc. All coming from the Tanita scale I have paired to my Garmin Connect account and whose weight data is being transferred daily via SyncMyTrack to TP.

  90. Jorge

    Hi,

    Some body are see this display in the watch?? Or is a future display at least no in Altitude Graph.

    Thanks

    • Marathon Man

      Jorge
      Unfortunately I don’t think you can set the display like that yet. I imagine that is one of the “Enhancements to Existing Features” that Polar refer to.

    • Nicola

      The so called Altitude Graph display that is the third one when you are running is very similar to that, it is missing the graph on the left part of the second row though. I guess it will be added in the future.
      Here is how it looks like on my watch with firmware 1.2.3 (I am still inside my room, not running)

  91. Yann

    Hi !
    I have the vantage M
    First swim in pool and … I don’t see the hundredth !
    Where are the hundredth of seconds in this watch ?
    Thx for your help.

  92. Fabio

    I have problem, using Stryd, with speed/pace… Vantage doesn’t have a calibration factor for distance so my speed (with paired sensor) is 40” @km faster. Did someone have same problem? -.-

    • flokon

      Unfortunately it seems Polar does some auto-calibration business with Stryd. When’s I run with Stryd, GPS on or off doesn’t matter, my pace is way too fast.
      Today I ran with both 935 and Vantage, both with GPS off, so pace/distance should come solely from Stetd, and the Vantage was about 30” faster per km. It’s really annoying.

    • Marathon Man

      I really hope Polar bring calibration soon…. my pace as reported on Vantage V via Stryd is too slow.

      For those of you that are using Stryd and are unaware, the cadence figure sent to Vantage is wrong. There is a switch in the Stryd app between SPM and RPM but it doesn’t seem to be working.
      Stryd only sends cadence at the moment as SPM and it causes some issues for Suunto/Polar users because the watches expect cadence value in RPM:
      link to club.stryd.com

      Hope that helps.

  93. Greg

    Ok, here’s my mini-DC Rainmaker review of the Vantage V, Suunto 9, and Fenix 5X+.

    I have a Suunto Spartan Sport and was ready to make the leap to something with wrist OHR and improved metrics. Overall, I was satisfied with the Suunto and comfortable with the interface (therefore inclined towards the 9). I have a Garmin hand-held for climbing/hiking, which has a terrible UI and which I had to pay an additional $100 for 100k maps. This made me less inclined towards the Garmin, even though they lead the industry. I was hopeful for the Polar VV, as I know several triathletes who swear by Polar. Most ultra runners I know rock Suunto, with Garmin a close second.

    I pre-ordered the VV then figured, what the heck, and got the 9 and 5X+, to compare. I’m a runner who does occasional ultras, and I’m an avid climber/hiker. I’ve taken all watches out on 20+ miler rubns on trails and did a trail marathon in real backcountry with the 9 and 5X+ Ray-style on both wrists. Have done crossfit as well.

    1) OHR — Polar and Garmin (surprisingly) were good, both in-line with readings I’ve done with straps. Suunto, with the vaunted upgraded Valencell unit, was entirely unreliable. On the trail marathon I wore the Garmin on my dominant hand and the 9 on the non-dominant (which is recommended placement). Garmin was spot on. 9 was all over the place. I readjusted several times and just could not get reliable data.
    Polar’s OHR is accurate, but the downside is at night. Every watch leaks some light from the sensor, but Polar’s 9 lights leak like crazy, which is odd as it is by far the smallest watch on-wrist. This sounds like a small deal, but it is hugely distracting when you’re trying to fall asleep, or are, and then wake up because of the light. I had to keep my arm under a pillow. My wife complained about it, too.

    2) GPS — Polar is getting ripped in the comments (along with Suunto 9) for the accuracy of the new Sony chip. Some of the Garmin’s seem to have problems, too. I ran a 10 mile loop that I have clocked by car and my Spartan Sport. Polar was fine, as were the 5X+ and 9. On the trail, I’ve noticed a not insignificant difference between the 5X+ (with GPS and Galileo on) and the 9. The 9 consistently records .1 mile more on an average run. On a trail marathon with 4k+ elevation gain, the 9 recorded .4 miles more than the 5X+. This is a huge discrepency — I don’t have to explain to folks here the mental game at the end of a long run where you are expecting the end and it is actually almost a half-mile further! I’m blaming this on Suunto, but it could be that the Garmin is overly stingy, or a combination of both. However, because I have noticed that Strava will correct the Suunto by subtracting c. .1 miles on an average 10 mile run, I’m more confident in the accuracy of the Garmin. Ray, as usual, has excellent and encyclopaedic data on the GPS accuracy and my real-world experience is similar.

    3) UI — just not there yet for Polar, but probably will be in 6-12 months? People love the V800 UI, but with so many features not ready at rollout, the VV is like a watch from 8 years ago. Why do they do this? The backlight/readability issue for the VV was a deal-breaker (seriously, you couldn’t read it even in daylight without pressing the backlight). This was “fixed” already in a firmware update.
    I like the simplicity of Suunto — 3 buttons, easy to access screens, and basic data. I don’t mind the dual-Suunto and Movescount apps (maybe because I’m used to it). So I plug the watch into the computer after syncing via Bluetooth. No real sleep data, though, and the Suunto app and Movescount never agree on recovery time. Whenever I do a long run, Movescount always says 120 hours, regardless of effort, hr, elevation gain, etc. No one is going to wait that long before running again. Besides, that’s not metrics, it’s just an automatic number assigned after running X miles.
    5X+ has the best UI with the best usable data. I almost hate to say this after my bad experience with their hand-held unit. I disable notifications on all the watches, will never use the music function, nor Garmin pay. The 5X+ is still way ahead of the VV and 9. The maps function does put the Garmin in another league. Most of the time, a breadcrumb trail is all I want and need — in a race, anything else is just a distraction. That’s what I like about Suunto (the VV will eventually get breadcrumb trails, not maps, but it’s not on the watch now). However, once you’ve seen the map on your wrist, it’s hard to go back.

    4) Battery life — I’m planning on moving from 50k to 50m and 100m trail ultras in 2019, so that is why I was looking at these three. I think all 3 will do 30 hours in best GPS mode and OHR. The 5X+ may be even more efficent in trail running mode than the S9, which on paper is the best. The VV will clearly make 25-30 hours, but it drains faster than the other two. Polar says 40 hours with GPS and OHR. I think it’s closer to 30 and may get worse as more functions come with new firmware. That is still a lot of time, but I find it deceptive that they claim a time that isn’t what it ends up being.
    What I didn’t think about until wearing them, was the daily use and power drain. The S9 and 5X+ are just better between charges as a daily driver.

    5) other thoughts. A big watch — and the S9 and 5X+ are big watches — don’t bother me. I’m 5’10” and 150 lbs and can wear all 3. Throw out preconceptions until you have all three on your wrist. The 9 wears the biggest for me, even though the 5X+ is bigger on paper. The VV seems tiny. It is, of course, the most comfortable, but the other two are comfortable on long runs as well.
    Garmin has figured out “stretchiness” on its straps. That means you can have it tight enough to get good hr data and not bounce around, and also not be uncomfortable to wear on long runs, at night, or around town. Suunto ain’t there yet. I almost purchased a NATO-style cloth strap from Suunto’s website to see if that would work better. This doesn’t matter on my Spartan Sport sans OHR, but with OHR this is a problem affecting accurate OHR data. The VV is somewhere between the two, but because it is smaller and lighter it is the easist to wear.
    The VV and S9 both have a combo of buttons and touchscreen. The VV is slow, but has been sped up a bit with firmware in the first week. The S9 touchscreen is better than the Spartan Sport. When in exercise mode, they all shut off and only use buttons. The 5X+ is buttons only. I’m still getting used to the 5X+ way of doing things, but all three are button-centric anyway.
    Looks-wise, the Suunto gets my family’s vote. It is sleek, Scandanavian-clean and sharp. My daughter says the 5X+ looks like Batman’s watch. It does look militaristic and even chunky, but that has an appeal, too. The Vantage V is a split between the two, but it is considerably smaller, for those who prefer that look.
    Garmin’s quick-fit strap system is light years ahead of Suunto. The VV doesn’t have aftermarket straps (although the M does). You can tell it will be a pain to change them out — even more than the S9, which is easy to take off, but as quirky to put on as a simple spring bar system.

    Summary
    So, after all this, and my anti-Garmin bias, I’m returning the VV and S9. The 5X+, especially now with the $150 off at most places, is the industry leader. Ray gestures in this direction, as well as towrds Garmin in the 935 vs Vantage V debate.
    The VV, S9, and 5X+ are all wonderful products. I don’t think one could go wrong with any of them. After a week with all of them, the 5X+ is the right watch right now for me.

    • Jens

      Wow Greg, great post!
      As always I’ve really surprised you could test all those watches and return two since you “didn’t like them”. Amazing IMO. I think there ARE stores here that let you try for 30 days and then return actually but it isn’t common practice by any means.

      Interesting thoughts, I own a V800,SSU, Fenix 5S and now also a FR935. I have always liked smaller watches so they don’t interfere with my wrists, started with a FR110 (which still works but a button is lacking its outer plastic thing) and I got the Fenix 5S since I wanted a small watch, but now I feel the FR935 and SSU are not overly big even, so perhaps I could even use a 5X haha. Kinda doubt I will get one unless a great bargain (Black Friday anyone?) comes up but I think I will probably get a VV sooner or later because I’m curious. I don’t do ultra marathons, only half marathons at most 🙂 Something I’ve noticed while doing trail runs with SSU and Fenix 5S is that the SSU is showing more distance, however at some point in the forest, they are equal and then the 5S might even go ahead and end up with a bigger distance after finish. Often times, the SSU does show more distance however, but I have no idea who is correct since it’s not measured tracks I ran. In general I think SSU shows longer distance for me on trails. I usually use GPS only btw.

    • Scott

      Thanks for the review! I am sitting on the fence right between the Suunto 9 and Fenix 5X Plus. However, I think what you are describing with the GPS discrepancies is acceptable. You are talking about 1-2% difference. I think I’ve heard Ray say the same thing. I always use at least two watches on my long trail runs. I am happy to get that kind of accuracy between devices.

  94. Fabio

    Other sensor problem: i can pair my velocomp powerpod with Vantage V but power datas were not trasmitted to the watch.

  95. Jorge

    Hi Every Body

    Some comments about Vantage V in one week of use, the product is raw but is a master piece and it will be the best watch in the Market in one year or so.
    1. The flow SW is amazing!! I programmed an interval exercise and then i could see the plan vs real in colors.
    2. When i swim I see my HR in Real time without a band.
    3. I have Power when i Run.
    4. The new training views are spectacular
    5. The design is beautiful.
    6. Iam so happy with the Touch screen and colors

    I had the Fenix 5, yes is more complete but music, I have my mp3 and when I used BTL , I lost the signal in each movement of my arm ( Socks), Maps I have my phone for that and I can see better, Payment I have my credit card.
    I am a fun of Polar,I used 15 years Polar products, but my experience with the V800 was really bad ( 2 watches in less than 2 years with sea water inside) so I move to Garmin but The Vantage so far , is a raw “Master Piece”.

  96. Marcel

    Hi all,

    Still trying to decide if I will buy the Vantage V… I read a lot about the screen and difficulties to see the info on it though… So, for the people who have used it: would you say it is usable for everyday use in these situations:

    – outside in sun
    – outside in shade
    – outside when its dark
    – outside in rain
    – inside during the day in normal lightning
    – inside in the evening, lights in house are dimmed
    – inside in darkness

    I would not only want to use it while sporting but also for everyday use.

    Thanks!

    • Marathon Man

      Yes it is very usable. I personally have no issue in any of those scenarios.

    • Andrew

      That is a hard question to answer as I think it is very down to the individual. Also the firmware is immature and there is no option to keep a backlight on during an activity or to adjust its brightness. Everyones eye lens is going to stiffen from 45 yrs on so if you had normal vision you will become “presbyopic” (long sight of old age). It is hard to see at low light levels (that is when you first notice it). So at the moment with its current level of development:

      – outside in sun. Would be very good if the zone pointer was larger or darker. I can see which zone I am in and I can see the HR value colour coded but I am unable to get a graphic representation of my location within zone while running. Of course if you stop you can make it out. This is an issue as it is nice to anticipate dropping out of a zone and adjust your effort before it happens. It works like a “bang bang” controller!

      – outside in shade. This is a real problem for me. Of course there is non-configurable gesture illumination but this is at a very low battery conserving level and I have to press the backlight button to see which is an irritation. Of course no option for the backlight to stay on (as per M430, M600 and V800.

      – outside when its dark. Depends if you are using a head torch. If so then no real problem save the zone pointer indicator. If not then again gesture illumination too dim so you have the irritation of having to press the backlight button on the fly.

      – outside in rain – the above but harder.

      – inside during the day in normal lightning – no real problem.

      – inside in the evening, lights in house are dimmed. – no real problem as at rest it is easy to hit the backlight button if the gesture brightness isn’t enough.

      – inside in darkness . As above.

      A good example of the problem is swimming (apart from the lack of any worthwhile real time swim metrics). Unable to see anything on the screen in an artificially lit indoor pool with goggles on.

      Most youngsters will probably think it ok.

      The screen is objectively not as bright as the V800 when both are at full brightness (backlight buttons pressed). V800 is around 6 LUX, the VV only 4 LUX. The old Ambit 3 is around 10 times brighter at full brightness. There is also more background light coming through the colour display which looks a washed out blue. This reduces contrast which is ultimately the determinant of whether we can discriminate a visual stimulus or not.

    • Glenn Levine

      Andrew, thanks for this terrific run-down–perhaps the best yet. Can you confirm that you have the latest update, I think 1.2.3, which reportedly improved the illumination functionality and readability ?

    • Marcel

      Thx for the opinions so far 😉
      Yeah, the eye-problem above is 45… I become 49 this year and indeed it’s getting more difficult to read. I will have to reconsider if this is the right watch for me.
      Or maybe it will be better after firmware updates. I’m also interested if the 1.2.3 update has helped?

    • Chris

      Sigh, I have old eyes too (48 now), and have the latest firmware on the watch. My opinion in terms of oldman readability is that the screen is on par with the FR735, slightly better than the Suunto Trainer WHR, and slighly worse than the 935. The M400, V800 or Ambit series are noticeably better (monochome displays are all easier to read than the VV.) I have sent a comment into Polar about having the option of white background with black text, so I am hoping they will have some options with future upgrades. You’d think they would try to accommodate the middle aged, since we can afford these new toys. In terms of GPS accuracy from my experience, since I run basically the same handful of routes, I would say that the watch is on par with the FR935, and better than the M400 and 735. So far, I am ok with paying a premium price to be a beta tester, as long as they keep to their work and develop the product.

      Question: Has there been any Sales information on the Vantage Series? Is Polar happy with the Preorder Sales?

    • Andrew

      Thanks Glen. This is following the 1.2.3. update. Visibility with back light press is improved though I could not detect any improvement in gesture illumination.

    • Andrew

      Hi Chris. Your device backlight pecking order is identical to my own! It must be an age thing but as you say a good business model should not overlook a large potential market. I think Garmin take this into account. An adjustable and potentially very bright backlight on the F3, F5, F5+, 935 (735 being the odd one out) gives the user the choice over the tradeoff between battery life and visibility. They have also beefed up the fonts (too tall and skinny on the F3).

    • flokon

      Have to concur. Brightness and contrast about the same as my retired 735XT, albeit much crisper (about 150% the 735’s pixel count), packing the same resolution as my current watch, the 935, which I keep wearing on my other wrist for as long as the Vantage is missing essential stuff (like lap information during intervals/repeats for crying out loud)
      I run roughly the same route 6 times a week, with 2 seemingly particularly hard to track stretches (narrow road, 4-5 floor houses on both sides), where all my GPS watches have had problems so far, and the Vantage shows the same problems as the 935. 735 was the same, if not a bit worse, while the M430 funnily enough is the most accurate of my current watches.

      As for being a beta tester: Well, my last Polar was the M430, which I also got right at release, and it shipped quite complete (24/7 monitoring came quite a bit later). If the Vantage was my only watch, I would return it for all that’s missing (no, I don’t care about navigation, notification, and other smartwatch fluff, but I want at least the basics for an athlete-centric watch). With the luxury of having a 935 anyway, I just wear the Vantage to populate Flow, which is my favourite service, and use it as my day-to-day watch, until Polar hopefully adds much needed functions, like last lap view, lap information for intervals, calibration for Stryd, favourites stored on watch, quick menu, profiles accessible on watch. Seriously, how can I not change GPS or auto-laps in the watch. I never run with my phone, and this thing needs to be synched for pretty much everything, so annoying.

    • Mark

      47 years old with uncorrected vision, but I notice that I must have bright light to read small print. 50+ year old people need about twice the amount of light as a 25 year old. I notice nothing different post 1.2.3.

      To me, the Vantage M display is frustrating because:

      1. Compared to the monochrome LCD displays, this display does not seem as easy to read in low light. I remember the other day having on the VM and the RCX3 and sitting on my stairs before a run in low light and it was easy to read the RCX3, but I had to use the backlight for the VM. Some will say “problem solved”, but it is annoying to have to wiggle my wrist to trigger the backlight or use my other hand to press a button. The use of color is not worth it to me since the color conveys little to no extra information on the VM.

      2. I had the chance to look at a Garmin 230 worn by someone else, and I was struck by how it too suffers compared to an LCD display, and thus part of what some of us as Polar users are experiencing is Polar moving to new technology.

      3. On the other hand, Polar is guilty of using too small and thin of fonts in many places on the watch. The Garmin I looked at was much easier to read font wise. I can only tell that it is my avg hr and max hr because of the numbers and not because of the text. I still have trouble seeing the date on the face of the watch without holding the watch carefully.

      4. Some colors that Polar uses make reading text hard. I’ve asked them to provide a monochrome display option with black on white text and have heard nothing.

      I’ve asked Polar to let me return the watch because of their poor design when it comes to people without great vision. I’m fairly shocked that they prioritized the look over the functionality. (I have other complaints, too, but I am frustrated with the display enough to want to find something else. The Vantage M is $390 + $50 tax in Canada, and it kills me to pay so much for a watch that every time I look at it, I think “this sucks to look at”. Likewise, why the heck cannot Polar give me a watch face with seconds? Why the heck does the VM lack audible alarms? Why do I have to use a computer to put in a HR alarm via a phased run rather than just tell the watch to do it, or do a zone lock? Why is the face polycarbonate and not glass? And so on… )

  97. Yefta

    Guys, i just realize on my Vantage M, there’s a yellowish ring around the screen. Is it normal?

  98. Mike Steele

    Received recently my new Polar Vantage M to up my exercise game after using the Polar H10 chest strap and Polar Beat and Polar Flow apps. Have bought into the Polar Flow environment.
    Problem so far with the Vantage M is the dim and less crisp screens when compared to Apple Series 4 watch screen data. Hard to chug along on a run and have to stare at my wrist for too long seconds to assess how I’m doing – can’t just take a quick glance. Polar, how about a non-refective srcreen or up the brightness?!

  99. Glenn

    Wow, after a week of owning my Vantahe M, Im really on the fence on whether to return. Im going to give it some more tries this weekend and if the same issue occurs, its going back.

    Issues:
    1) Visibility of the watch is poor especially comparing it to watches like Apple. I mean its just downright dismal if you have to compare it to that.
    2) I have a hard tine trusting the OHR. I get some pretty wild swings sometimes. Going for a walk yesterday I had it pretty snug and was getting some swings of 30 beats higher. Temp was 60 degrees and seems as if that may have had something to do with it but if thats the case, it seems too flakey for me. After all I bought this mainly for its HR readings and if you need to wear a strap to trust it, then whats the point.
    Even on some runs, I find I have to move the watch around a little as I too get some high upswings.Its pretty firmly strapped around my wrist,

    I do have the Red one, so not sure if thats any factor. I do like the Continuous HR as that is pretty accurate

  100. Gunnar

    I ordered a Vantage M from Clever Training using Ray’s VIP discount and some accumulated bonus points…..what a great deal. Thanks Ray!

    I haven’t received it yet since I’m waiting for it to come across the Pond to the UK, but in the meantime I have switched from using my forerunner 935/edge 1000 and now I’m using a Polar m430/v650.

    The switch made me realise how much the Polar Flow service works better for me over Garmin Connect. The switch also made me realise what a sleeper of a device the v650 is….

    Looking forward to the Vantage M, but I’m actually pretty happy with the m430, so I’ll sell the M and happily keep the m430 if it comes to that.

    • flokon

      I was in the same boat. Switched from 935 back to M430 to start populating Flow before my Vantage M arrived, and realized how much I actually liked Flow. I really, really like my 935. It’s more than I’ll ever need in a sports watch. It was an upgrade from my M430 like night and day. However, I instantly missed Flow. After more than half a year I still couldn’t get over the fact how convoluted, and superficial Garmin Connect is, not to mention the awfully designed UI. The service is clearly aimed at the activity-tracker/smartwatch-crowd, and next to useless for someone who trains seriously. Flow otoh is so streamlined, and minimalistic in design, plus it offers functionality that only paid services like TP usually offer. So I started using my M430 together with my 935, and getting a Vantage M was basically an escape back to Flow. As it turns out though after two weeks of using the Vantage, the M hardly is an upgrade from a M430, and of course not even remotely comparable to what in my opinion (and several reviewers) is the best running watch out there, the 935. The M might be a better looking everyday watch than the M430, but the latter beats the Vantage when it comes to their actual purposes in functionality, and practicality.

    • Andrew

      Flokon. Totally agree. I too am two watch guy again (now a 935 and my trustee M430) just to get data into Flow. The Vantage V is going back as it is a mile from being ready to release on sale and I have concerns as to whether it ever will be. I agree GC does not coherently present important training data. With the 935 (which seems really good, much better than the F5+ I used transiently) you really need a third party site like TrainingPeaks, SportTracks, TodaysPlan etc… I think Polar should sell access to Flow for non-Polar users. How cool would it be if your 935 pushed data onto Flow and then picked up your scheduled trg too? Perhaps this could be a route forward for Polar who seem to be in a pickle with their watch hardware and firmware.

    • Gunnar

      I think I have it figured out. I’ll use the m430 as my everyday watch since it does a great job at all Day heart rate and the screen clarity is great. The things missing for me (which the Vantage M doesn’t take care of) are notifications and route navigation, so I’ll buy a used edge v800 which will be my triathlon racing watch and running watch when I need route navigation and swim metrics.

      All in, price wise (for my v650 and m430) I’m at just over £200 (the m430 was £85 used and the v650 was £120 with OH1 optical sensor. Used v800’s go for under £100,

      Then, maybe in a year, Polar will have the Vantage series where it should be as features are concerned and I can try the Vantage V.

  101. Glenn Levine

    DCR,

    I can’t imagine I’m the first to ask this…

    Will you ever review and compare fitness apps? Strava, Flow, Garmin Connect, TrainingPeaks, SportTracks, you surely know them all. You have the awesome 2016-17 Training App guide, so something like that but for the non turbo-trainer/virtualized running, bike, swim, and whatever. Even if you focused on the common run/bike combo and only the top apps. I know this is asking a lot, but there is so much discussion about this here and the places and, well, your fans need you!

    g

    • I’d like to find a way to objectively compare them mostly on features.

      The challenge is that for every person that loves Polar Flow, there’s an equal that hates it. The same is true for Garmin, Suunto, and everyone else. Less so for Strava, Training Peaks, and Sport Tracks though.

      I actually suspect in a lot of cases, people that hate one specific platform usually just don’t know how to use it. Which may not be that person’s fault, but rather the platform’s fault for being too complex/poorly navigable/etc…

    • Andrew

      I think these things are always going to be very specific to the individual. No additional cost is one factor but that can tie you in to an ecos. They way information is presented and how it aligns with how the individual best assimilates the information is also really important and so a simple feature based matrix, while being objective might not tell the whole story. It could, however, be a general driver of improvement as no third party solution seems complete.

    • Glenn Levine

      Exactly why we need you–to silence the emotions and put out the facts. But yes, I get what you mean about the comparison methodology. There’s a LOT to cope with.

      g

  102. Darren Hunt

    Stryd or Polar Vantage V?
    My goal is to run a good for age marathon and looking to switch to power based training to give me an edge.

    So the question is whether I keep my v800 and add a Stryd sensor or buy a Vantage V. I’ve investigated the Stryd data available and watched a few YouTube videos they’ve produced, I’m quite impressed with the level of information available – e.g. leg stiffness, training curves – and wonder if similar level of information can be obtained from Flow with a Vantage.

    It looks like Stryd offer a power-based marathon training plan, does Polar have something similar? (Although I’ve tried using a Polar training plan before and it has always been on the conservative side with the number of miles, so I’ve often ditched it for a Jeff Daniels plan plus a spreadsheet!)

    • Glenn Levine

      Darren,

      You can get real-time reporting and post-race analysis of power and even zones…but neither yet have the phased training, zone-locking that really seem to be the enablers of this technology in structured training. v800 has its own strengths, even compared to the Vantage V (like GPS, readability, and high level of maturity and stability), but I would bet perhaps more than half the farm that the power-based functionality (and running dynamics) will differentiate the Vantage V from the v800, and Polar will release those features in an upcoming release to the former while leaving the v800 to lag behind that part of the cutting edge.

      g

    • Andrew

      Hi Darren.

      I would agree with Glenn on how (hopefully) the future is likely to map out for the VV. I suppose the question is when you intend to run your good for age Marathon? At the moment, although offering running power in different forms (Polar at the wrist, Garmin with its pod or hrm run on some devices)

      I don’t believe any producer at present has a software ecos that properly supports power with zone locks or phased interval training with power. They seem behind the curve with the very tech that they hope provides them with a marketing edge.

      The VV firmware seems really immature and I understand the V800 took around 2 yrs to get right so I guess it depends on how old you are and how long you are prepared to wait (-;

      At present I quite often use my Suunto Spartan for steady state runs because you CAN set a power zone target with popups, vibration and tone alerts when off target, particularly if I also want to try a new route.

      You can get a power zone view on the V800 but no alerts.

      The alternative would be a Garmin device and third party site. I know SportsTracks provide TCX exports to Garmin devices which support complex phased training with power constraints and would work on older devices like the F3 and many FR devices including the FR920xt which is ugly but excellent.

      I also wrote a couple of Connect IQ fields. One supports complex intervals with power. The other zones with zone change alerts but not a zone lock as such.

      link to apps.garmin.com

      link to apps.garmin.com

      The intervals field is configurable with a really simple syntax. I tend to use Flow to generate a program then replicated it for my Garmin device.

      Training Peaks have their app but are very hard sell and also I think have deliberately chosen not to or to cease to support some platforms despite there being no technological limitation, presumably in cahoots with Garmin, so I avoid them as they irritate me.

      Of course the tech is only a tool to assist with trg. You need a good plan too. Worth looking at 80 20 running by Matt Fitzgerald and that has olde worlde paper training plans that you can annotate with a pencil. Nice!

      Marathons are pretty straightforward in terms of training (lots of long slow distance running with a smattering of temp runs and threshold intervals) and you probably don’t need anything too complex to get a good result. My PBs are long in the past and I used nothing more flash than a cheap Casio watch.

      The bottom line is if you need to achieve your objective within the next year I would go with a Stryd and A.Another relatively cheap device such as an SSU or older Garmin that supports CIQ. You can always wear your old V800 on the other wrist to stuff data into Flow.

      Maybe one day the VV with the Flow ecos will do it all but I think it is going to take at least a year and probably two.

    • flokon

      I know new gadgets can kindle the spark of motivation, and get you out when the weather seems to scream “stay in”, and just while I was about to write a lengthy reply, Andrew jumped in, who apparently is a faster typer, or thinker – or both 🙂
      Anyway, I concur with his idea of just using whatever you have lying around, and get a Stryd if Power is what you’re after (and let’s not forget spot on instant pace, which no watch on the market right now gets right, with their new GPS sensors that prefer battery life over accuracy).
      While I use both a Garmin, and Polar watches, my main log is done on a Premium Trainingpeaks account (and Strava for the social aspects) for the very reason that I’m not stuck with one brand, and can use whatever floats my boat.
      Also, while Power seems to be the latest fad (for running, anyway), I really have a problem with running by some number, and not pay attention to my HR, especially for those easy days. It’s like sticking to a pace religiously (like VDot, Yasso, LT derived, et cetera), and as a result overreach/train.

      The guy is called Jack Daniels btw, and I also usually follow one of his plans (right now 5k to 10k training with 64-80k/week). You can’t go wrong with his stuff.

    • Andrew

      I agree with most of what flokon has said other than:

      1. I don’t think running power is a fad. I was initially really doubtful. It is certainly not a true measurement of power as cycling power is so I understand the justified scepticism. It is however really useful as a gradient adjusted measure of effort and it exactly mirrors pace on the flat which should reassure many.

      I recommend having a look at this link and beyond re: running power. It shows my initial scepticism then a discussion that I think clearly defines what “running power” really is and what it is not.

      link to dcrainmaker.com.

      I didn’t find Jack Daniels helpful, in fact rather the contrary.

      3. I touch type fast and think slow.

    • Glenn Levine

      Darren and Andrew,

      The current Flow APP (and not yet Flow Website) has a power zoning set screen that uses your running FTP to set 5 zones or lets you set them yourself. These are used to do post-run analysis side-by-side with HR, speed, etc.

      I suspect this is an indicator that Polar will do structured and phased training using power by plugging it into the existing (and really solid) structured/phased training features they already have based on HR or speed. And a further suspicion tells me that the complication is around the use of their own wrist-based power estimates vs. Stryd’s, which are clearly on different scales.

      g

    • Andrew

      Hi Glenn,

      I hadn’t noticed that before in the running profile and believe me I have looked in the past. Thanks! I used to set power zones in a cycling profile (though based on my running) and the V800 would just pick these up in a running profile field with Stryd connected as a power pod. A hack I suppose. With the presence of power zones for running it should be a fairly trivial step to implement the option of phased training with power constraints. As one would expect this to be a pretty simple software task (generic input parameter (hr, pace or power) X (zones, phases, constraints and common displays) I find it bizarre that Polar did not get these in place at launch and risk their goodwill.

      As far as scaling is concerned I agree this key. It makes no sense to mix and match wrist based power and power from an external sensor such as Stryd unless the constant of proportionality (if indeed there is a simple linear correlation) is known and factored in.

      It is also not possible to determine training load without reference to some datum of effort such as rFTP (personally I think this is key to using running power effectively). I see that Polar uses something called MAP.

      Because there is no absolute standard for running power, and because potentially we are looking at different datum points and different scales comparison is going to be difficult (I think impossible). I don’t believe it will not be possible to mix and match say Stryd and wrist based power and we will have to choose and stick to one sensor to make any sense of things.

      I am not sure how Recovery Pro factors in these differences. There is no input of latest rFTPw so unless it is estimated (like an FB metric on a Garmin F3-5, 935 etc…) and normalised it is not clear to me how RP can be valid.

      Drew.

  103. Jesus Villegas

    Hello. The Coupon Code DCR10BTF is not working. It says: “Oops! This item is not valid with coupon codes” when trying to purchase the Vantage M. Any advice? Thanks

    • Hi Jesus-

      Are you trying that on the Clever Training site, or some other site? I just tried it on the Clever Training site and it did correctly remove $28 off the price (10%).

      Cheers.

  104. Fima

    Rey hello. When to wait for a full review of V and M? I waited by the end of October, then by mid-November ….

    • Initially they were set to start shipping in October, so I had planned late October. However, I didn’t get a final production unit till the first week of November, so for a while now my plan has been late November.

  105. Nathan

    Can you charge this watch while running and does it continue to record data while charging? I’m sorry if you answer this somewhere in the review but I couldn’t find it.

    • flokon

      Yes, you can charge it during an activity, and it keeps recording. You can also start an activity during charging. Because it charges in a cradle that cups the OHR sensor (the 4 silver pods for skin detection also act as contact parts), you can still wear it normally making it actually one of the better (if not best) watches to charge on-the-fly. You’ll lose OHR but if you need to charge your watch during an activity, chances are you are wearing a strap anyway. 🙂

    • Chris