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Sunday Tidbits: Polar’s new Vantage V Titan + Roadmap Updates, Suunto Updates, and Xert iOS App

While this was a busy week when it came to new product reviews, there was a small undercurrent of notable sports tech news this past week that my brain couldn’t quite squirt onto the page. But…now that time has come. Thus, let’s dive in.

Polar’s new Vantage Titan and Roadmap Updates:

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Polar has released a new version of the Vantage V – called the Vantage V Titan. This new unit swaps out the previous case for a titanium case with a black PVD coating on the top edge (which is a protective layer). And interestingly, it actually weighs 7 grams less than before – 59g. The buttons have been polished by small Finish squirrels, and the wrist band is a DCR-kit approved black and red. The unit will set you back $599 – an extra $100 more than the previous Vantage V.

The box design is slightly different, cooler:

DSC_0172 DSC_0173 DSC_0175

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Here’s a small gallery of pics I snapped, comparing it to the regular Vantage V. The one with the red on the inside of the band is the Vantage V Titan variant.

I haven’t had a chance to go for a run quite yet to test out GPS accuracy and such. The company says that the changes to the unit are only cosmetic, and there’s no software or internal hardware differences between this and the previous unit.

Speaking of GPS accuracy – the company released a GPS-focused update on Monday for the Vantage series that they note will improve a bunch of GPS items (V/M), and altitude (in the case of the Vantage M). However, some folks have reported substantial GPS issues since that update. Polar reached out in the last couple days and noted that it appears there may be an issue for some people on the first workout post-firmware update. However, it’s not clear if it’s limited to that or not. I suspect we’ll see more in the coming week.

Finally, Polar has added a modest update to their Vantage V/M update schedule for later this year. It includes the following:

Update 4.0 – October 2019:

  • Fitness Test: You can do it both with wrist-based heart rate and chest strap heart rate sensor
  • Zone Lock: You can lock a training zone during your workout
  • Lap details: time, distance, average pace etc., in the training file on your Vantage watch
  • Manual stride sensor calibration [Added May 9th, 2019]

Update 5.0 – December 2019:

  • Strava Live Segments support (only for Vantage V)
  • Race Pace

Most (all?) of these are really focused on matching features that were previously offered on existing watches (e.g. Polar V800). I’d consider them more catch-up features than new per se. But, if it’s not on the Vantage series, then it’s new to you.

Suunto Platform Updates:

image

Next, continuing the Finnish based updates, Suunto has made some minor clarifications around their plans as well. You’ll remember back in January they announced that they plan to shut down Movescount, and fully transition over to their Sports Tracker based platform, just called ‘Suunto’. The biggest challenge so that announcement was that it meant for certain older watches (e.g. Ambit 1/2), those watches would effectively become paperweights. Well, I suppose you could technically use them, but you couldn’t upload/sync/configure/download routes to them/etc…

This week’s updates cover a pile of different areas:

A) General Reminder: The first part of the update basically reminded you that Suunto added a bunch of features to their mobile apps in the past few months, in particular their Android app. For example, there’s the ability to save workouts as a route, as well as importing routes on a mobile device – even from an attached file (like a .GPX file).

B) Data Transfer from Movescount to Suunto: Starting sometime this month, they’ll allow you to perform one-time transfers of historical data. Note, this isn’t intended to be a constant sync process. Nor does it cover all the things in your Movescount account. For example, saved routes still won’t be moved over. The plan is that Suunto 9 users will get this turned on first, and then it will slowly iterate/expand through additional product families.

C) Older Movescount iOS/Android apps: These will be removed from their respective stores by the end of 2019. If you have them installed on your phone, you’ll be able to continue to use them however.

D) Older devices: For folks that were on devices that would be left islanded (e.g. Ambit 1/2), Suunto doesn’t yet have a plan. Though, they note that they’re working to figure out a plan. It’s unclear if that plan is basically ‘tough luck’, or ‘we’ve got some options’. Honestly, I’m still unclear why this is all that difficult. We’re not talking that many device types. They just need to be rolled into the newish (already existing) Suunto desktop uploader and call it done.

In any case – for those wanting to use the newer platform instead of Movescount, then the upcoming enablement of the data transfer will be welcome news.

Xert arrives on iOS:

2019-05-04 21.55.21 2019-05-04 21.55.16

Finally, last but not least, the combination training platform and trainer app, Xert, has made available their iOS app. For those familiar with the company, they’ve previously had an Android app that could connect to trainers via ANT+, as well as a desktop player for workouts. But there wasn’t any way to control smart trainers with Bluetooth Smart.

That mattered (ok, it mattered for a lot of reasons, but one particular) because the app’s smart trainer workout capabilities means it dynamically controls the trainer and by extension changes the workout structure based on how well you’re executing the workout. They do this as part of their smart workouts.  It’s a pretty cool capability, but was always a bit hindered based on people’s devices. While Android enjoys strong global market share (meaning, everyone in the world), for the market that owns smart trainers and other high tech consumer fitness goods, it’s actually iOS driven (usually around 60%+ iOS users). So excluding that chunk of the market was tough.

The app also has all the core metrics you’d find on their desktop site as well, so it’s a good summary of what’s going on in your athletic life. But for the trainer control bit, it pairs to your trainer using Bluetooth Smart standard device profiles. So it supports power, cadence, speed, heart rate, and trainers (Bluetooth FTMS).

2019-05-04 21.55.09 2019-05-04 21.55.46 2019-05-04 21.55.53

The only downside to that is that there’s still some outliers that don’t support Bluetooth FTMS fully. For example, I couldn’t pair my Tacx NEO2 as an FTM trainer (most all other Tacx trainers do have it), though just about every other trainer is supported via FTMS or directly (such as Wahoo’s trainer).

Anyway – cool stuff. I’ve long said that Xert is underestimated in the coolness category in terms of what they can pull off and do. But this expansion onto iOS should go a long ways towards people realizing it’s a very legit solution – not just as a training log, but also as an indoor training app.

With that – thanks for reading and enjoy what remains of your weekends!

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105 Comments

  1. H.W.

    Small typo in the second paragraph: “later” -> layer.

    Some nice tidbits for a gray Sunday afternoon 🙂

  2. Dulle

    Some more goodies…what a week. Great work.

  3. Miguelangel

    I knew beforehand that the vantage wasn’t a full features watch, nevertheless, I thought that they were going to solve that sooner.

    It’s dissapointing to see how’s low the process is. Ofc if core features takes months to arrive, we should start to forget any additional features like watch faces or other “smart watch” feature. It’s a great watch though.

    • Marathon Man

      It’s a great watch…. for telling the time and knowing today’s date…. which is the function of a watch. It can definitely do that.

      It’s a pretty mediocre fitness / training / sports watch. If you can’t tell what distance or pace you are running at, then the core function of the device is not fit for purpose.

      And Polar marketed the Vantage series on accuracy. No gimmicks with Polar – just good accuracy.

      Well they didn’t achieve that goal.
      I say that as somebody that has had Polar devices for 20+ years…..

    • runner-33

      For me the last Vantage update works fine accuracy-wise. OHR accuracy is now better than M430 and almost on par with H10 (besides the time lag). GPS is greatly improved. So the Vantage M is my most accurate watch at the moment.

      The lack of further features and the slow catch-up on standard features is really frustrating, though.

    • Marathon Man

      Seems like the Vantage M is the better device for GPS accuracy. Maybe the different casing helps.

    • Ognjen

      Hi,
      I own Vantage M as well. It’s my first sports watch. I had issues with OHR and finally bought H10 to couple it for training. No issues on HR since. Optical HR sensor seems weird to me, can’t really understand sudden changes even when I’m sitting down typing comments like these etc. As for GPS, there were problematic runs (not much though), but looks like it has improved since last 3.2.10 fw. Also, I have info from Polar that they will push GALILEO constellation support with user select option (GPS+GLONASS,GLONASS+GALILEO etc).
      Not sure when though, I think this could be definitive improvement. Hope they do it soon enough.

  4. giorgitd

    Finnish (not Finish) squirrels, I think, based on capitalization. Of course there could be finish squirrels who are responsible for the finish on the buttons – but they don’t need to be in Finland.

  5. Hilly

    Sitting here with a Polar V800 that’s 4 years old wondering if it will make it to the end of the year when the Vantage V will finally get the same/similar functionality…

    Love the V800, it just works and is accurate. The issues people appear to be having with the V are a little worrying. May have to jump ship to Suunto or Garmin, but from what i can see, Flow is the better training/analysis platform.

    • Marathon Man

      I prefer Polar’s website and app. All my history is with Polar.

      And honestly, if the buttons on my V800 still worked, I’d return to that without a second thought. And just put the Vantage in the desk draw.

      If you don’t care how far you run or knowing what pace you are running at during your workout (or after) then the Vantage may be fine for you.

    • Hilly

      Well I now use the V800 with a Sryd so I could move elsewhere as long as I can manually calibrate the footpod (looking at you Suunto).

      Other than the terrible GPS, how are the rest of the V’s features?

    • Marathon Man

      There really aren’t that many other features yet.

      I mean Orthostatic test mostly works. The time / date seems to be reliable.
      I do the Fitness Test with Polar Beat because they aren’t rolling that out on Vantage now until winter 2022. 😉

      I’ve had reasonably good oHR but I mainly use a chest strap.
      Syncing has been fine. I don’t use the smartphone alerts so can’t comment there.
      It connects to a Power Meter for cycling and allows you to capture that data.
      Swimming support is mediocre.

      I’ve been told by Polar that they do not intend to bring calibration of footpods to Vantage series, so it doesn’t work well with Stryd.

      At this stage, you get more by keeping your V800 and I wish that was an option for me – but my buttons are so worn out now on my V800, so that once I’ve started a workout, I can’t stop it….

    • Hilly

      No calibration of footpods is a bit of deal-breaker, I didn’t know this wasn’t going to be implemented 🙁

      Might be worth looking on Ebay, there seem to be a few ‘new’ V800s available link to bit.ly

    • Marathon Man

      I’m fine buying a new 945 or 245.

      To be honest, if Polar had calibration for Stryd I’d probably just “suck it up” with the Vantage V deficiencies and weak roadmap. I just want accurate pace / distance / power / HR. Apparently that is just not possible with Polar any more.

      I’d have been fine still using my V800 but it’s not an option, unfortunately. I’m not going to buy another V800 at this stage, even though I was very happy with it previously.

    • Evgenii

      Looks like swapping the battery in v800 might be a viable option:
      link to ifixit.com

    • Tom

      Manual calibration is now part of update 4 thanks to some serious lobbying by users.

  6. Florian

    That time-line update for the vantage pushed me over the edge. It’s like you said: They are barely trying to catch up with their previous unit!! There’s simply no land in sight in terms of Polar ever catching up to the Garmin feature-set again. Instead they are consistently demonstrating their inability to increase their development speed.
    For years I was that one guy defending Polar, trash-talking all my garmin-buddies about how much better my various Polar devices were. Well NO MORE – I’ve had it!
    I’ve just ordered the New Forerunner 945 (From Clever training with the DCR discout – thank you!).

    That said, the hardware still looks cooler on the Polar front…

    • Hilly

      Seeing as everyone is now using the same Sony GPS chipset, the superior accuracy Polar used to have is now gone. Whilst we now have a level(ish) playing field, seleciton a device will come down to how it looks and what functionality it has.

      I’m tempted by the 945 or Suunto 9 but will just hold out until the V800 stops working/charging.

    • Marathon Man

      I’m tempted by the 945. Will be interested to hear what you think of it.
      This experience with the Vantage has made me prepared to put up with Garmin’s app and Garmin Connect.

      I’d even have been prepared to live with Polar’s limp roadmap… but no manual calibration for a footpod, means no way for me to get reasonably accurate pace / distance.

      In 2019, the fact that I can’t tell the pace I’m running at or how far I have run is just absurd.

    • Homer2010

      Marathon Man: where did you get your information, that manual calibration will not be implemented? Is it a credible source? If it were like this, it would be an absolute no-Go!

    • Marathon Man

      From the Polar customer service team. Have been pushing them for months on this and the feedback has consistently been either that it is not coming or is not in the planning for the Vantage series.

      I guess only weight of feedback will get a change in their position.

    • Tom

      That wasn’t very reliable information. Manual calibration is now part of update 4

    • marathon man

      Yup. Certainly wasn’t there 2 days ago 😂🤣
      So long as you don’t want accurate pace / distance for the next 5 months you should be fine!

      Must be the pressure of DC’s forum…. 😉

    • Tom

      All pressure helps but I think it is more likely the monumental pressure that Polar forum users have mounted on the Polar forums by directly communicating with Polar over and over and over again, including mail to Polar management 😀

    • Glenn Ayala

      I have been with polar since they came out with their first heart strap monitor. I understand all you concerns. I am being patient. Just finished a swim which I though I did 2000 metres but only regiestered 1600 metres. I can only hope that Polar remedy these issues. Have thought about the Garmin 945 but I will stick with Polar for now. I will be patient.

    • Ognjen

      I wonder why on Earth did Polar leave out Gymlink support on Vantages. H10 is so good strap, and I can’t use with my M? I’m going to the vacation soon to the seaside, wouldn’t mind little swimming with strap and watch.

  7. Andrew

    Suunto is also rolling out firmware updates to Suunto 9, 3 and Spartan series.
    New Features:
    Spartan & 9 – Direction indicator when navigating a route
    3 – Fitness age
    Some other “enhancements” but I haven’t explored yet.

    Andrew

  8. Alex

    I wish Garmin put the 945 in the shell of Vantage Titanium, this would make one beautiful and capable watch.

    But with the current choice 945 wins hands down.

    • Crispin E.

      They did do something not to far off that. It’s called the MARQ Athlete; a little more expensive than the Polar though…

    • Alex

      That’s correct but the price is insane for a watch that becomes obsolete in 3-5 years and it weights a hefty 94gr vs. Polar’s 59gr and 945’s -50gr.

      On pure aesthetics, completely subjective, Polar has this modern flavor and Marq is just a copy cat of 100’s of existing mechanical racing watches with stop watch complication.

  9. Tommy

    I wish xert would update the android app to look like that. The android one is an ugly mess.

    • MartinD

      Yeah. It really does look very nice on IOS! And connecting all kind of sensors worked pretty (HRM Dual, Cadence, Power, Speed from Tacx Trainer)
      The only thing that didn’t work was trainer control. But, as I understood it, it’s a Tacx limitation. I’m using one of their cheapest smart trainers (Flow Smart) and there is no FTMS which is needed for Control via Bluetooth. Man, this stuff is complicated…
      So to complete my workout with automatic trainer control I had to use the old, not so nice looking, workout player on my Edge 520.

  10. James

    Good that Ray calls out the firmware update issue but where is he on the fiasco with the v13.00 update on the 935 and F5. If you look at the Garmin forums there are numerous accounts, including my own, of the latest update causing crashes and data loss. Garmin are quick to market with product but their software dev and support suck. Very keen to see where Polar and Sunnto go next so I can kick Garmin into touch.

    • Hmm, I didn’t see the V13 issue (I was mostly just looking a cases where readers have reached out to me – and there were a boatload after Monday). Unfortunately, I rarely look at the Garmin Forums anymore.

    • Komeil

      So so so much this.
      Garmin sync has been all over the place for the last two months especially over the period they launched new products (the Marq and new FRs) yet none of the reviews honestly said what a failure Garmin back end software is.

    • Garmin sync from GC to 3rd party sites? Or something else?

      If there’s one thing on Garmin that I’ve had work perfectly every time ever – it’s sync from GC to 3rd parties. If you’re talking from device to Garmin Connect, then that’s a different question of understanding where the failure could occur. What probably helps most new devices is that they also have WiFi, so that means the uploads get there super quick and via potentially multiple paths (WiFi, Bluetooth Smart/Bluetooth, and USB).

    • Komeil

      For the said period my Fenix 5X has not been able to sync data with Connect wether through Wifi, BL to phone, or USB to Express. All other functions work independently but crash when syncing. Anything like Alarm in the watch can be set, but set it through GC and the app crashes.
      I’ve deal with hardware/software issues for a living long enough to know this issue is not my setup, my device, or my account. It’s broken back end at Garmin. The many threads on the G forum also suggest it’s widespread but no action from Garmin

    • What did Garmin Support say?

    • Komeil

      So far they’ve been running circles with ridiculous gold such as asking me wether I’ve tried plugging in my device with USB in response to video I sent them of plugging the device in and failed sync. After my own troubleshooting ranging from simple restarts to clearing cache and memory, reinstall of software everywhere, removing and reconnecting devices, and even a new account they still haven’t got anywhere. They got me testing on different networks, different computer OSs, and different phones. A user shouldn’t really be expected to have all these available or need them to get a device working.

    • Huh, weird. Yeah, that’s definitely odd. I’d ask them to simply escalate your ticket. It sounds like you’ve done most of the legwork. There’s definitely not something systemwide going on (otherwise, we’d hear of it).

      Instead, it sounds like either something specific to that device (perhaps a serial number), the networks, or the user. Though, in this case it sounds like the only constant is the specific device.

  11. Andrew Weyl

    After what’s been a debacle of a roll out on the Vantage V/M series I’ve gone back to my M430 for most workouts. Its far superior on almost every metric other than battery life and notifications. Polar REALLY dropped the ball on this model. It’s going to take them until October to put functionality into their top end model that already exists in the M400/430/800 and the Vantage series STILL has a buggy GPS doesn’t fill me with a lot of confidence!

  12. marklemcd

    Anyone know when polar is going to allow me to update my h10 firmware via the polarbeat app? It seems weird that it’s available in one app and not the other.

    • Not sure. Why not install Polar Flow though? Quick and easy?

    • marklemcd

      As far as I could see, if you only have the strap polar flow doesn’t work?

    • Ognjen

      Hi,
      I have H10. Initialy when I got it, it had to be updated to newest version 3.0.50 via Polar Beat. I could not even get/see the strap in Polar flow. After that update, I see it in Flow and I think one can update fw via Flow now.

    • Ognjen

      Also, in order to “configure” strap i.e. not to use Gymlink or disable/enable ANT+ or whatever, one has to use Beat afaics. Flow mobile app gives me now only fw update. This is very stupid, as I for one have no need for Beat because I have Vantage M paired to H10 and hence using Flow only.

    • marklemcd

      @Ognjen It’s weird because I am not prompted to update my H10 in Polar Beat. And my FW is way earlier than 3.0.50.

    • Ognjen

      @marklemcd Are you wearing your strap moistened and on your body? It’s the only way it would pair.

    • amnr

      I updated my Polar H10 with Polar Beat about week ago.

  13. Jacob Neumann

    Hey Ray!

    Thanks for the updates! In the Suunto portion of the post it was referenced that the update makes changes to the android app in particular. Can you add gpx. Files to the iOS app and sync them for a route? If so is there a place to learn how?

  14. maxfrance

    I’ve been a Polar user since the beginning of my triathlon career, back in late ’80s.

    The Vantage V is without any doubt a beautiful WATCH (hardly can name it “device”) that makes me consider a switch back from Garmin, but reading about so many complaints about accuracy (the very first reason one aims for) and lacking features, I’ll gladly buy another Garmin when my current one dies.

    Or maybe the next “real” Polar will be available at the time…

    • Pieter Andrews

      I’ve had this watch since January 2019, and I love it.

      I love that it doesn’t have maps, contactless payment, music etc.
      The GPS was out for a bit, but it seems to have improved a lot, the OHR seems fairly reliable, i have paired my H10 with my iPhone, and using Strava recorded runs at the same times as the V, and they are pretty damn close.
      As the device has running power, why should they enable stryd or others?

      It has pace? Why are people saying it doesn’t?

      At the end of the day, a company will produce the device they want, and what they feel is right. People on here don’t like what they are doing, well they have choices, just like Garmin users, who were sick and tired of 100’s of features, and lot’s of buggy firmwares they never get completely fixed, I was one of those, went to Wahoo, and am happy, don’t want and need Garmin’s crap. Now Wahoo are being bagged for not keeping up with Garmin. Maybe like Polar, they don’t want to…

    • marathon man

      Pieter
      I think a lot of us long time Polar users are just underwhelmed with the Vantage currently. I love the look and feel. And I’m like you, i don’t want maps, contactless payment, music etc. I have a phone for that.
      I understand however that some people do want that and I have no issue with them articulating their different opinion. What is important for one person, doesn’t matter to the next.
      It’s clear though Polar don’t have the resources to do maps, music, contactless payments and so will focus on making a device that people can train with. I personally have no issue with that.

      However, they marketed the Vantage series heavily on accuracy and also on focusing on people that just want to train and not be distracted by those other features. And currently, it is a little deficient in those areas in some (not all) use cases.

      I think the frustrating aspect for me as a long term Polar user, is that they have taken away basic training functions that we relied on – and there is no word about bringing them back. This isn’t them not doing music, maps, contactless payments, this is simple stuff that some of us rely on to measure our training effort e.g. accurate pace, training views etc. Stuff we had with V800 that we now have to go without.

      Vantage supports Stryd. As did V800. There is no issue there. Polar were great at bringing Stryd support to V800 even though it was probably a 2 year old device at that stage. The issue for me personally is Polar not currently having calibration for footpods (like their own or Stryd, milestone pod etc), given how awful initially the GPS was. They have now said they will bring calibration to Vantage series in November, but hopefully they can achieve it sooner.

      I don’t really want to move to Garmin. I find their app awful and their website just as bad. I really like Flow (app and website). I have no issue Polar doing what they want to do. I just hope they are listening to the people that have kept faith with Polar over a number of years….

  15. Gabriel

    I used the Vantage V for 5 weeks. It is a great watch when it comes to showing the time. It is beautiful and I think that the interface is very clear and uncluttered.

    However, running with the Vantage V gave me a new perspective on running. I started to measure time and time in pulse zones instead of looking at pace and distance. Many basic features are missing and the implemented features are buggy.

    * I usually use laps when I train but vantage V does not really do auto laps and can not really handle manual laps in a good way,
    * I tried the interval function but with an inaccurate GPS and interval laps that could not be overridden the function was useless.
    * I used the watch for many runs at the indoor racetrack but track running is not a supported sport mode so I had to enter the runs as treadmill runs.
    * I used the timer for taking time at an indoor race but the timer was interrupted by a SMS from my phone and thus canceled (panic!).

    But I still thinking of getting the Vantage V over the 945. The DC review of the 945 did not convince me. I do not ask for all the features in the 945 and the 245 does not have the looks for me. I really hope that Polar can step up their work in the coming months and fix the bugs and improve the current functionality.

    Also. I think it was a mistake to add “Polar” on the watch face on the titanium. It just looks cheap.

    • Pieter Andrews

      Gabriel, who do you work for? I smell a rat.

      * I usually use laps when I train but vantage V does not really do auto laps and can not really handle manual laps in a good way,
      – Ummm, it does, have a look within Polar Flow, and go to the individual sports profiles, and you’ll find more than you need.
      * I tried the interval function but with an inaccurate GPS and interval laps that could not be overridden the function was useless.
      – Really, works for me and my partner
      * I used the watch for many runs at the indoor racetrack but track running is not a supported sport mode so I had to enter the runs as treadmill runs.
      – Why would you need a sport profile for the track, it’s outdoors, you could just set 400 metre laps as default within the sports profile, or make your own?
      * I used the timer for taking time at an indoor race but the timer was interrupted by a SMS from my phone and thus canceled (panic!).
      – Notifications are disabled when the device is in activity mode!

    • marathon man

      I can’t comment on who Gabriel works for.

      I agree with Gabriel though mostly. Laps on Vantage V are disappointing. To still not be back to the state we had with V800 is underwhelming. For example, still no view as far as I’m aware, to see Last Automatic lap data or Last Manual lap data. I’m disappointed that either Polar don’t see the need for it, or that it seems difficult to re-implement.

      He mentioned indoor racetrack. So I imagine he is not using GPS as it is an indoor workout. I don’t know why he doesn’t use the track and field profile and just switch off GPS. And then mark a lap manually. Boring, but can be done.

      Setting 400 meter laps by default for track work won’t work if you aren’t using GPS. And if using GPS, it’s not accurate enough on a track. Using a footpod gives you data, but without the ability to calibrate it on Vantage….

      I do a lot of track work and so I have different views set up for a track profile. There is the track and field running profile in Flow, so I adjust that for views that I want for track work vs road running; but without manual calibration for a footpod, track running is really deficient with Vantage IMHO. GPS is no use on a track, and given the voodoo that Polar do with footpod calibration, pacing off the Vantage V is problematic.

      On V800 you had the option to have GPS on but take distance / pace from a calibrated footpod. This was brilliant. Sadly not available yet with Vantage. Calibration in November though – will see if this lets you also have the prior functionality found on V800.

      I don’t think he was in activity mode when he was using the timer. I suspect he was timing somebody else otherwise he would probably have been in an activity mode.

  16. For those curious – here’s the Vantage V Titan vs FR945 on my run yesterday. Note: Both HR tracks were from the HRM-DUAL, because, I’m stupid and forgot I had paired the HRM-DUAL to the FR945 to test respiration stuff a few days prior. The Polar was paired on purpose however.

    So basically, just focus on GPS tracks: link to analyze.dcrainmaker.com

    Also, I did a 30 minute track on the Polar the night prior in the backyard, just in case it was a 2nd post-firmware update type of thing.

    • Marcus Schneider

      I just had a quick look into the analyzer results. There must be some error … Where do those Vantage dropouts in the distance graph come from? How can altitude be so different between the two watches? Which is the right altitude anyway? The Vantage’s GPS tracks are horribly off! Is this for real? Do I miss something obvious? I am a bit confused.

    • Mirko Surf&Run

      In which arm did you have the watches? If they were not in the same arm, probably the one watch in the left arm had a disadvantage, because probably Garmin and Polar design the antenna to be in the left arm of a person.

    • RE: Distance dropouts – it comes from the implementation that Polar does in the file export, it’s annoying. We could semi-easily fix it, but that’d defeat the point of us not faking data.

      RE: Altitude: The issue here is two-fold. One, we don’t graph negative (below-zero) altitudes in the DCR Analyzer – so we need to fix that. That’s why you only briefly see the F945 blip for a moment mid-run. At the same time, I can promise you we’re not at the 40m in altitude the Vantage V shows. Basically the altitude for that run would have been between -3m and 2m high.

      RE: Track accuracy: Yes, it’s that bad on the Titan. No, that’s not terribly unusual. Note the FR945 did slip up in the final hundred meters or so, putting me slightly in the canal.

      RE: Wrists: I had the Garmin FR945 on the left wrist, and was hand-holding the Vantage V on right hand (unit facing outwards). Another watch on the right wrist.

    • Mirko Surf&Run

      “Note the FR945 did slip up in the final hundred meters or so, putting me slightly in the canal.” I read somewhere that the water causes a reflection of the gps signal, so it is another source of error for the gps receiver, in a similar way that the building causes multipath interference. Good that you test gps watches also near water.

    • Mirko Surf&Run

      “was hand-holding the Vantage V on right hand (unit facing outwards)”.
      Some gps watches have better reception when worn in the left wrist, because probably the antenna was designed to be worn on the left wrist. In the past I had two watches, the FR35 on the left and the FR610 on the right. The track of the FR610 wasn’t very good. Then I lost the FR35 and I began to wear the Fr610 on the left wrist, and the tracks are now very good. Maybe in the next test you could have one watch on the left wrist and the other in the left hand with the unit facing outwards. If you want to have a watch in the left hand, maybe it’s better that the unit is facing inward, to simulate the condition that you are wearing the watch in the left arm.
      The difference could be one or both of these factors:
      1 -the position of the antenna in the watch (hardware factor)
      2- the algorithm that the watch uses to try to eliminate the swing of the arm (software factor)

    • Ognjen

      On Vantage M one can set via Polar Flow, on which arm is watch being worn. I imagine that has some implications if not set properly.

    • Mirko Surf&Run

      If in Polar Flow there is the option to set in wich arm the Vantage M is being worn, this means that the Vantage M has an antenna that has a good reception in both arms. Probably the difference from right and left arm is only that the accelerometer must give to the algorithm the right input.
      Probably in the new watches the brands are more careful that the antenna has good reception when the watch is worn in both arms. In my Garmin FR610 of year 2011 the difference between left and right arm is very high. With left arm the track is very clean and continuous (better than a lot of tracks of new watches). With the right arm is not so bad (similar to the tracks of the current watches) but not so clean like the left arm. The FR610 doesn’t have an accelerometer inside, so the difference must be the design of the antenna.

    • I generally mix up watches on both sides of the body, though frankly, if a watch fails in that respect – the watch is a failure overall in my opinion.

      Honestly, no manuf has said to me (privately or otherwise) that I should consider testing watches on a specific side of the body (left vs right). They have noted that occasionally due to environmental aspects, one side of the body may be more advantageous than the other (i.e. if running next to a building, the side not on the building will likely be better off). But none of said that antennas were on one side or the other.

      The FR610 in particular was a strange nut for GPS accuracy (it had some solid false starts), so it wouldn’t surprise me if that was an outlier. Way back machine from here: link to dcrainmaker.com

    • Mirko Surf&Run

      I agree with you, I never read this in manuals of watches or in reviews (apart perhaps TFK, maybe I remember that he wrote that it’s better to test on the left wrist, but I’m not sure).
      I discovered casually this thing when I had two watches (FR610 and FR35) and I wore one in the left arm and the other in the right arm. At the end of the run I used to compare the GPS track, and if I remember well both watches functioned better on the left arm. At the end, I used to have the FR610 on the left arm and the FR35 on the right arm (because the wrist hr sensor functioned better in the right arm). The FR610 that I have was once replaced by Garmin support because the old one had corrosion problems (thanks Ray, I discovered that I could ask a change under warranty in your blog comments). His gps chip eats a lot of battery, now its battery life is only 2-3 hours with gps on. But it still delivers good tracks, on par with the recent Garmin ones and better than the Polar Vantage. See for example my run on Sunday, only at the end between tall building in the town it lost the track, but nevertheless I would rate it very good link to mygpsfiles.com

    • Will Phipps

      Polar Vantage M or the Garmin 735XT? I need a triathlon watch and they are the same price on Amazon…..

  17. Oliver

    Had now make several runs with both Fenix 5x and Vantage V since the last software update of the VV the GPS is on par with the Fenix no issues for me.

  18. NV

    Ray, why aren’t you calling Suunto out more strongly to clarify their product strategy and roadmap? Besides the Ambits 1 and 2, the Ambit3 also will lose major functionality (routes, sports mode customizations). I have never seen this level of incompetence from any company making a product where they operate in such bad faith, including continuing to sell devices they plan to make obsolete, per current comms. I’m surprised they don’t get called out more on their mealy mouthed bullshit.

    • Because I already called them out here on it: link to dcrainmaker.com

      And I noted that again above. And eventually, when if/when they decide to finally not support the older Ambits, then I’ll do it again – likely far more strongly than either of the two previous times. They’d have basically set themselves up for that of course – effectively establishing a ‘use by’ date for their products. A date that one should logically apply to any future products they purchase from the company. For a company that’s entire marketing focus is on products that ‘last’, it would seem an odd decision that undermines more or less all of their marketing (if they ultimately make that decision).

    • LM

      I agree 100% with your post, Ray. How can it be so difficult for Suunto to roll out a desktop application that works for the Ambit-series when they ALREADY have a desktop application for those older watches? Deeply disappointed by a company that is cutting functionalities from their own products!

    • Todl

      Ray, please keep chasing them…
      Suunto’s customer orientation is absolutely unacceptable.

  19. Mariusz Luczak

    “Strava Live Segments support (only for Vantage V)” – is Strava update for Vantage M cancelled or will be implemented later than Vantage V?

  20. Dan

    I don’t know, it looks to me like the picture on the box is much larger than the actual product. I think Polar owes me an apology.

  21. daniel

    Wonder what happens on the M600 front? The square ones are superior imho.

  22. Jason B

    Hmm. I’m a late adopter to tech, always have been. I have been curiously watching the Polar Vantage for a while now having switched over from Garmin for the M430. I used to use a RS200 back in the day too.

    Anyway, from what I’m reading I’m better off with the M430 for now at least. Trouble is the strap on my M430 is terrible, I’ve had to glue one side back on and the other is now going baggy.

    I might just save some money and pick up another M430. Reason for this post is the recent Strava challenge has £50 off the Vantage so wondered if now was the right time

    • Andrew Weyl

      Jason B

      Send your M430 back to Polar for a new strap. Should cost you less than $30 with the shipping

    • Yonah

      I was thinking the same thing – I am using a polar loop – the original from 2014, bout time for an upgrade. I’ve been a polar user for the better part of a decade, and I also have the polar scale- so I am wondering if I should bite the bullet and get a Vantage M at $225 (280 less my 20% coupon) or if I should look to get a garmin 245 music – which would cost me at least $300 or so right now).

    • marathon man

      Vantage M seems to have better GPS than V. The 245 music does look nice though. I’m debating between a 945 and 245.
      Seems like there are similar frustrations with Garmin and I don’t feel Garmin Connect and their app are as good as Flow (imho)…. but it’s just a more open platform so some of the frustrations can be better mitigated than with Polar…

  23. Marathon Man

    From the Polar customer service team. Have been pushing them for months on this and the feedback has consistently been either that it is not coming or is not in the planning for the Vantage series.

    I guess only weight of feedback will get a change in their position.

    • Fredrik

      @Marathon Man

      Could you post a screenshot of their answer so we can see the question and exact wording of the answer, please?

      Thank you.

    • Marathon Man

      English is not my first language 😉

      I’ve consistently had the same response every time I have asked them.

    • Marathon Man

      And this. Different customer service representative.

    • Marathon Man

      Manual calibration is important for me as I use Stryd. I’ve used Stryd since they started and therefore want to continue with their running power data – not the Polar one.

      And I do training sessions on a running track, so I want to have accurate pace and distance for ensuring consistent effort between repetitions. You can’t do that with GPS on a track.

    • Ognjen

      Does anyone know if Polar’s old own footpod is compatible with Vantage M?
      I keep seeing Polar Beat IOS only, and what not. Also can that one be calibrated? I have no experience with footpods.

    • The Polar footpod is Bluetooth Smart. So it’s compatible just fine. Unless you have a super old one, in which case it’s not Bluetooth Smart.

    • Ognjen

      I don’t have any, just thinking about getting one. Do you know if it can be calibrated like others have posted? Thanks.

    • marathon man

      It sounds like there is a workaround to get a Polar stride sensor to be calibrated with a Vantage. Basically you need to DM Polar on Twitter to find out how I believe. I’ve not received a response from them however….

    • Ognjen

      I’m not using Twitter. If you do find out, please share. Thanks.

    • Fredrik

      Thankfully Marathon Man was completely wrong and Vantage V will be 100% Stryd compatible.

      MANUAL CALIBRATION OF FOOT POODS is coming to VANTAGE V and M this October.

      link to polar.com

    • Tom

      Ray, Polar has modified the update 4 to include manual calibration. Thanks to consumer power! 🙂
      Might as well spread the word so the moaning stops (apart from moaning about the release date then ofc…)

    • marathon man

      I think you mean Polar have changed their mind 😉
      I simply shared when you specifically asked me, the feedback Polar customer service had provided me.

    • Thanks – just tweeted out! Good stuff!

    • Fredrik

      Can you update this post where you describe the upcoming firmware also perhaps? To reflect this new addition. Thanks!

    • Fredrik

      Thank you ^^

  24. Michael

    I feel like I’m the only person in the world having a good run with their Vantage V – my experience around pace, distance, GPS track quality and heart rate (apart from usual wrist-based lag) has been spot on.

    My first workout after the recent firmwear update was an outlier and the GPS track was a disaster, but now things are back to normal.

    Another weird data point: while my watch is clearly the non-Titan model, the buttons are polished in the exact same way is shown in the Titan photos you’ve posted. Super weird.

    • Fneu

      I get along with my Vantage V very well, too. I also have an M430 which obviously records better GPS tracks, but the distance and autolap speed shown on the Vantage V is fine (42.35km on my last marathon, which was before the recent update).

      That said, the Vantage doesn’t really do anything that others can’t, besides the power thing and a really nice look & feel. I get that it isn’t the watch for people that need footpods, music or payments.

  25. Gunnar Christensen

    I tried the Vantage M for a week. Compared it to my Garmin 935 and:
    -GPS tracks on the Vantage M were very good (both riding and running). As good as my 935 (which is good)
    -I LOVE Polar Flow, much better (for me) for activity tracking. Garmin Connect….meh.
    -Smart notifications were hit or miss on the Polar.
    -No “follow courses” feature on the M…..big bummer.

    The big deal breaker for the Polar was no “resume later” function. I commute and do kiddo drop off via cargo bike and end up doing a fair bit of mileage during the day. I really like the resume later function as I get one activity for the days commute/errands etc. The Polar would be a mess with too many short activities.

    Polar would have had a home run with a revamped V800..add optical HR…keep the monochrome, easy to read display and boom!

    • Ognjen

      Hi,
      when I’m cycling with my M, pause my activity, GPS is still functioning. During pause, I’m either standing still or relaxing sitting down near the bike (not really moving much). When I then continue activity and end it, afterwards I get strange path drawings (similar to number eight) in Flow right on the positions where I actually paused activity.
      I guess this behaviour should be fixed somehow. Those “eights” are really annoying. Not sure how’s Garmin handling these scenarios.

    • Gunnar Christensen

      Yes, I noticed that. When you pause the Polar at a coffee stop etc. the GPS pauses/starts continuously….my 935 doesn’t….on Polar flow it shows strange tracks and eventually skews power data etc.

  26. Will Phipps

    Polar Vantage M or the Garmin 735XT? I need a triathlon watch and they are the same price on Amazon…..

  27. Thanks for sharing this article.It really help me to make my mind for Vantage V Titan. Article is very usefull for those who wish to buy Vantage V Titan.

  28. Hans Behringer

    Hi Ray,

    do you know if there is planned to Show rr-interval in the Trainingmode of Polar vantage v?
    A few months ago it stood in planned functions, but now i can’t see it again.
    Thanks for a answer
    Hans

  29. Larki

    Once the Vantage V updates have rolled out, will there be an update to the in-depth review of the Vantage V or rather a new Review on the Titan?