Polar Vantage V2 In-Depth Review


Today Polar has announced the Vantage V2, a touch bit over two years since they announced the initial Polar Vantage V & M series watches. Since that time those units have gotten numerous firmware updates (and even a Titanium version). However, earlier this year Polar signaled that it was the end of the line for the original Vantage V & M units in terms of new features.

That played out with the Polar Grit X watch this past April, essentially taking a Vantage series watch and adding more hiking/outdoors related features, as well as new nutrition and energy source related metrics. Thus, this brings us to the Vantage V2, which essentially takes all those new Grit X features and adds a couple more related to performance testing. Also, music controls and new watch faces. It is by all definitions a modest update, both in terms of software – but also hardware, with only slight changes to the watch’s exterior design – albeit a significant reduction of weight.

I’ve been using it for a bit now, and I’ve got a pretty good idea on how well it works. Also, it helps that it’s virtually identical to the Polar Grit X in terms of underlying hardware and software – a watch I often throw into comparison lineups (such as over most of my workouts in the last few months).

Once I’m done with this media loaner Vantage V2 I’ll get it sent back to Polar, like all the previous ones. Just the way I roll. If you found this review useful, you can hit up the links at the end to help support the site, or you can become a DCR Supporter!

What’s New:


First things first, unlike last time Polar announced the original Vantage series, there’s not two versions at this point. Last time there was the higher end Vantage V, and then the mid-range Vantage M (with less features, lesser materials). This time, it’s just the Vantage V2 at the higher price point. The slightly less expensive Polar Grit X doesn’t (in my opinion) really replace the much cheaper Vantage M. But more on that later.

To begin, let’s talk about what’s changed between the Vantage V and the new Vantage V2:

– Added Running Performance Test: Determines your VO2Max using an increasing RAMP-test variant for running
– Added Cycling FTP Test: Standard 20/30/40 minute cycling FTP test added
– Added Leg Recovery Test: Designed to determine whether or not your legs are recovered
– Added New Test Hub in Polar Flow: Consolidates test results online
– Added New Dashboard View to show weekly training totals
– Added Ability to customize which dashboard views you see (dashboard views are the watch widgets)
– Added Music Controls for Phone: Controls music on your phone (there’s no music storage on Vantage V2)
– Added Hill Splitter: Counts your hill ascents/descents automatically mid-workout and in app afterwards
– Added FuelWise: Gives nutrition alerts mid-workout for carbs and hydration (separately)
– Added Energy Sources: Shows breakdown of carbs/fats/protein usage post-workout on watch/app
– Added Weather: This is a widget of sorts that shows current weather on the watch
– Added 100-hour GPS tracking mode: This power-saving mode reduces track points to increase activity length
– Added Komoot route integration: Officially ‘turn by turn’ navigation, though the definition of that is a bit loose
– Increased waterproof spec from 50m to 100m, to match the Grit X
– Changed the optical HR sensor: Notably changing the colored LED types it uses, matches Grit X
– Changed display to that of the Grit X, so it’s a tiny bit sharper and crisper, with deeper blacks

Phew, got all that? Good. Now, Polar did say the following are coming before the end of the year:

– Power-based training workouts on Polar Flow (to transfer to the watch)
– Zone Pointer for power/speed zone-based workouts

Ok, now, let’s start using it.

The Basics:


While you’re likely buying the Vantage V2 for its sports prowess, we’ll start off here with some of the basics of the watch. Things like activity tracking, sleep tracking, the new music control, as well as other usage bits.

The watch has both a touchscreen and five dedicated buttons. The buttons on this follow the same elongated look as the original Vantage series, which is a bit of a bummer as I really preferred the better grip texturing on the edges of the Grit X. In any event, there’s also a slight vibration each time you press a button.

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In addition to navigating with the buttons, you can also use the touchscreen to move around the menus. I find the touchscreen acceptable, but hardly the pinnacle of touch screen technology on a wearable. It does often decide to go and set alarms and airplane mode when I’m in the shower, but I haven’t had issues beyond that (despite the never-ending rain here in the Netherlands). Perhaps my shower is just more shower-power-full.


The Vantage V2 uses a propriety strap design, which unfortunately means that unlike the Polar Grit X, you can’t just swap it out for any old strap you want (the Grit X uses standard 22mm straps). While Polar is offering a few replacement colors with the Vantage V2 series, it’s a bit peculiar to not just switch to the same standardized design as the Grit X.


On the backside of the Vantage V2 you’ll find the new optical HR sensor. This arrangement is identical to that of the Grit X, and is seen as an evolution of the original Vantage V Precision Prime sensor arrangement. With the original Vantage V there were 9 LED’s (5 green, 4 red, + 1 unused yellow). But in the V2 there’s now 10 LED’s used (5 red, 4 orange/yellow, 1 green).

Typically speaking, the different color LED’s handle different skin colors better. Also, some colors tend to go deeper than others which are better at more shallow depths. Polar has long toyed with different LED’s to try and increase accuracy, slightly more so than most companies do. Unfortunately, as we’ll see later on, I’ve seen a regression in accuracy with both the Vantage V2 and Grit X sensors compared to past Polar sensors.

Meanwhile, the Vantage V2 introduces tweakable dashboard pages. These pages are often called widgets by other companies, but basically allow you to get consolidated information in other areas such as sleep, steps, or workout history. And Polar has introduced a few new pages here, as well as the aforementioned ability to select which pages you actually want displayed. Starting in no particular order, here’s the heart rate one:


This will show the time, as well as your current heart rate. You can then tap it to get more details about your heart rate for the day:


Your heart rate is recorded 24×7 as well to Polar Flow, so you can dive into a given day and look at the stats there:

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There’s then the sleep one. Which apparently thinks my sleep was compromised. Kinda odd since I slept mostly OK, and then doubled down on that by going back to sleep with a nap for three hours after I got the kids to school.


Again, you can tap to get more details there:


And again, you can dive into sleep metrics from within the Polar Flow app as well:

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Generally, with the exception of today, I do find Polar’s sleep data pretty consistent with how I’m feeling on any given day, as well as consistent with the actual times I went to sleep and woke up. Unfortunately, like Garmin, Fitbit, and others, Polar does not support tracking of naps (and today being the ultra-rare occasion I managed to get one).

Next, there’s FitSpark, which basically offers you daily suggested workouts to keep your current fitness level. There’s different types of workouts such as strength, cardio, and supportive (typically flexibility-focused). And it’s smart enough to generally first offer a cardio or strength workout, and then after you’ve done that, it’ll give you a supportive workout. But more on this later in the Sports section.


Next, there’s the weather page, which consistently tells me how terrible the weather is in Amsterdam. Today was no exception:


After that, we’ve got the new weekly training summary page, which specifies training time per HR zone. In this case you can see it towards the end of my week:


Or here, at the beginning of the next week:


You can tap this to then get more details on the zones, distances, calories, and activities, allowing you to see each activity that contributed to that weekly total.


Next we’ve got steps. This is pretty straightforward, and shows your steps against the daily goal, as well as once you dive into it, your active time for the day.


Then finally, there’s the training status page. During new watch release season (as it is right now), this stays pegged on ‘Overreaching’. Once things settle down it’ll slide back to productive or some other less-appealing status.


You can tap to open it and get more on the strain and tolerance aspects (which I’ll also talk about later in the sports section).

Now, shifting back out of the widgets, if you press the bottom left button it takes you to a menu to go through starting a new workout, Serene (breathing exercises), Fueling, Timers, Watch Face Views, Tests, and Settings.


Starting backwards, Settings is where we can tweak things like pairing of sensors, the changing from Nightly Recharge to Recovery Pro (more on that in sports section), as well as a slew of general watch settings.

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One of the new Vantage V2 options is the ability to choose your dashboards (or, watch face views as its called here).


This allows you to deselect items you don’t care about.


Then there’s the Serene guided breathing functionality, which gives you permission to sit on the couch and do nothing. This should realistically be my most favored feature of the watch.


You’ll configure the overall duration as well as the inhale/exhale lengths, and it’ll walk you through each step.

Rounding towards home in the basics section is smartphone notifications. These non-interactive alerts will be sent from your iOS/Android phone whenever apps that you’ve configured on your phone send a notification. They could be Strava, Twitter, Facebook, Tinder….anything. You can’t reply to them though, so it’s just one-way in nature.

Last but not least is the new music control feature. This allows you to control music on your phone. You’ll access this by swiping up from the bottom of the screen. You’ll need to have a music app open on your phone for this to work. The Vantage V2 does *NOT* have any music storage on it. So it’s *ONLY* controlling music already on your phone.


Somewhat neat though is that it does pull the correct icon for the app it’s controlling, so you can see the Spotify icon shown there – a nice touch. I can skip/rewind/pause/play on the main screen, as well as tap the volume icon to increase volume:


There’s no other options beyond that, such as selecting songs or such. It’s just iterating through what you have – pretty similar to what buttons on a pair of headphones would do.

Finally, just for the sake of clarity, there’s no NFC payments on the Polar Vantage V2 currently. I say ‘currently’, because somewhat interestingly that’s the very specific wording that Polar’s PR team used when discussing it – specifically saying (an exact quote) “No, there are currently no payment solutions included in Polar Vantage V2.”, whereas on other music storage related questions, it was a much more definitive ‘No’.

Still, it’d be incredibly difficult for them to implement contactless payments without having a partner of some sort doing the leg work, and I’m not aware of any mainstream/widespread partners that aren’t already tied up in exclusivity agreements with other wearable companies.

Sports Features:


When it comes to the sports and workout aspects of the watch, the Vantage V2 is the culmination of everything in the original Vantage V series, combined with the new features of the Polar Grit X. That means you’re gaining previously Grit X only features like Hill Splitter & Fuelwise, but you’ll retain the Vantage V series specific features like Recovery Pro, which aren’t in the Grit X.

For this section I’m going to focus mainly on the core workout/training load/recovery tracking features. Whereas for the new performance testing type features, that’s in the next section. Meanwhile, for the features that were introduced with the Grit X, I’ll briefly cover them here, but I dive into things like FuelWise & Hill Splitter in far more detail in the Grit X post. Nothing has changed with the Vantage V2 in that respect.

To begin a workout you’ll either single-press the lower left button, or long-hold the middle right button. No matter your route, you’ll eventually get yourself to this page that shows one of many sport modes (and the current sensor/satellite status).


The Polar Vantage V2 can store up to 20 sport profiles in it, each with its own set of customizations – things like your data pages or data fields.


The customization of sports covers everything from the exact data fields and pages you want shown, or the frequency of update rates. You can also change zone limits for pace, power, and heart rate. As well as automatic laps and more. These can be changed on both Polar Flow online, or via your smartphone app:


For example, it’s in here that you can tweak the data field shown on your watch, or following that the GPS & Altitude settings.



These changes are synced to your watch anytime you sync your watch, which can be done via Bluetooth Smart to your phone, or cable to your computer. Usually the sync process takes about 20-40 seconds via computer, or about 30-60 seconds via Bluetooth Smart. It does tend to take longer though if you haven’t synced in a while and it needs to sync GPS cache information, firmware updates, or Haribo stockage levels.

Back on the watch, once you’ve selected a sport mode, it’ll go off and find GPS (if an outdoor sport), as well as lock optical HR (if using the optical HR sensor).


The Polar Vantage V2 supports the same sensor types as the Vantage series. These are:

– Bluetooth Smart Heart Rate Straps
– Bluetooth Smart Cycling Power Meters
– Bluetooth Smart Cycling Cadence & Speed Sensors
– Bluetooth Smart Running Footpods
– Bluetooth Smart Running Power Meters (it also includes a built-in one)

From a power meter standpoint, I tested a few different ones. I had (mostly) success with both a Quarq DZero power meter & Elite Tuo trainer, but oddly was unable to pair to a PowerTap P2 pedal set. A Tacx NEO 2 was fiddly, and it wouldn’t find a Wahoo KICKR 2018. Polar has a list of guaranteed power meters, but realistically that list is far less extensive than their competitors. There’s no support for ANT+.

You can however pair multiple types of sensors to the watch easily via the sensors menu. So you can effectively save multiple bikes’ sensor configurations, or multiple heart rate straps, etc…

If you press the upper-right button while on the sport screen you’ll get a mini-settings menu of sorts. This is where you can select routes, do back to start navigation, add countdown/interval timers, or load structured workouts. It’s also where you can configure power-saving settings to get the longer 100 hours of GPS battery life.


Back at the main sport menu though you’ve got the sensor status menus, which will turn to green when it locks optical heart rate and satellite, as well as any paired sensors will also change color too (such as a paired HR strap or power meters). Above the time it’ll show how much GPS time is remaining on the current battery charge and settings.


To begin recording, tap the center right button. At this juncture you can now iterate through your data fields to see various metrics from whatever workout it is you’re doing. So if you’re outside you’ll see things like speed/pace, distance, etc… More or less all the usual goodness you’d expect from a GPS watch.

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Now with the Vantage V2 you’ll get running power natively from the wrist, just as with the original Vantage V series (and the Grit X). It uses the accelerometer in the watch on your wrist to make those calculations. That has its pros and cons as I’ve outlined previously. So that’ll show up automatically as a data field, as well as later in your workout data files (shown as wattage below – 522w in one of my track workout intervals):


Now if on a run where there’s hills involved, you can use Hill Splitter to track each rep of the hills. The way Hill Splitter works is that it automatically detects when you’re ascending or descending a hill and will give you the time ascending/descending, as well as length of the climb/descent. It’ll also count each ascent/descent. You’ll see that on the screen each time you go up/down, as well as summarized afterwards on the watch and then on the app. If you’re on flat ground (as I am for 99.99% of my runs here), this is what it looks like:


This page is non-customizable, but can be added to your watch. As you start going up a climb, once you hit around the 8-10m of elevation gain marker, it’ll trigger an ascent, and the screen changes to the below screen which shows how far you’ve run/ridden/hiked up that climb as well as the duration. And of course you see which number hill this is (e.g. 1st ascent). Note that Hill Splitter does NOT reference any saved course/route data. It’s purely off the cuff style hill counting. That has its pros and cons. It’s great for impromptu weeknight training sessions where you just pick a hill and start doing repeats without creating/loading a course. Inversely, it’s not terribly useful in the Alps or something where you’ve got massive climbs and want to know how much ascent is left – it won’t tell you that.

Now, I dive into all the pros and cons and nuances of Hill Splitter here in my Polar Grit X review with an entire dedicated section to it.

Speaking of routes however, you can transfer routes into the Polar Vantage V2. These can be created on Polar Flow itself, or, via Komoot. Though do note with Komoot you’ll need to have that region activated in Komoot (the point where the route starts), which might involve paying Komoot depending on if you’ve activated any other regions already.

Assuming you sort all that out, here’s what the routes look like in Polar Flow using the sync option, you can see the Komoot ones with the icons in the middle, and then on the right which ones are synced to my watch:


Note: The Strava icon you see above is for Strava Live Segments, and regrettably not Strava Routes. Though, if you scroll down, you can see those Segments synced:


In total you can sync 100 ‘things’ to the Vantage V2. That could be a combination of Segments, Routes, or Workouts.

To access Routes or Workouts (called ‘Favorites’ in the Polar watch menus), you’ll crack open a sport mode, and then hit the settings icon:


You’ll then see the listing above of Routes (or Favorites), and can choose one. After selected, it’ll show up on the left side of the sport mode screen:


For routes, they show up as breadcrumb trail data. There’s no mapping, or terrain data shown within the Polar Vantage V2 for routes, just the line of your track. As you approach a turn you’ll get an arrow indicating that a turn is coming up, and the direction of the turn. And if you go off trail you’ll get a notice of that too.

Now, once you’re done with all your heavy breathing and finish your workout you’ll get a summary screen of data, and in the case of this particular running workout – that includes running power too from the wrist:

You’ll also note the new Energy bits that came in from the Polar Grit X, which show the breakdown of energy consumption during this workout:

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If you then work backwards into things, you can use the Fueling functions (also added from the Polar Grit X) that give you either smart or manual carb alerts, as well as drink reminders:

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For example, with Smart Carb alerts you’ll specify the duration of the workout, and the gel packet details, and it’ll figure out and remind you how often you should be taking it:


I dive into the FuelWise & Energy sources in far more detail here in this post section.

In any case, all of the workout data is loaded to Polar Flow online (both smartphone and online website):


Further, it’ll automatically be synced to various Polar Flow partners, like Strava or TrainingPeaks, depending on how you’ve got your account configured.

Next, let’s say you can’t decide what workout you want to do – Polar’s got FitSpark for that. Basically, the idea behind this is to keep you doing something. First it’ll skew towards Cardio or Strength workouts, and then after that it’ll finish up with a Supportive workout (which is core/stretching typically). You’ll see this on your home watch face dashboards:


And when you open it up it’ll give you different options to suffer through. Now, these aren’t tied to any specific training plan. It’s just a variant of ‘Workout of the Day’, with the singular goal to keep you moving, but ideally doing so in a way that doesn’t get you injured.


Depending on the type of workout you choose it’ll give you the specific steps and guidance in the watch itself. There are cardio-focused running workouts with different intensities. And then there are core type workouts too, and for those, it’ll give you the specific moves to do, along with animations and text for each one:

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Again, keep in mind the goal of this function isn’t to be an endurance trail running coach. It’ll suck at that. Instead, the goal is actually more applicable to date: To keep you fit and push you slightly with mostly varied workouts across disciplines (such as flexibility and strength).

However, if you want the endurance side of things you’ll want to look at the training load bits. You’ll remember earlier on we saw the new weekly training summary, right?


Well, atop that there’s the Polar Training Load Pro. There’s basically three components to this: Training Load, Cardio Load, and Muscle Load.

Starting with Cardio Load Status, which shows you whether you’ve got too much or too little load. You can see this from the watch face, and then dive into it to get more details:

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Strain is a metric showing the average daily load from the past 7 days. Whereas Tolerance shows your average daily load from the past 28 days. So basically you can look at those two values and see the ratio as part of the number above it, such that it keeps things in check. Go too high, and you’re prone to injury. Too low, and you’re not going to make gains. In the middle, and life is grand.

You can also view this on the Polar Flow app:

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Now, when it comes to Recovery Tracking, you’ve got a binary choice between using ‘Nightly Recharge’, which is mostly focused on sleep tracking, or using Recovery Pro. You have to select one. By default it’s Nightly Recharge, but you can change it in the settings:


However, selecting Recovery Pro means that you’ll need to break out that chest strap at least three mornings per week and do the Orthostatic test. The chest strap is required for more accurate HRV related data that’s used for making the recovery determinations.

Somewhat handily, you can even specify exactly which mornings it’ll prompt you to do this:


In my case, I just used the Nightly Recharge function – though that too will require at least three days of activity before it starts giving you results. So just keep that in mind. I showed those bits up in the basics section.

Ok – with all of the core sports functionality covered, let’s talk about the new performance related tests.

New Performance Testing Tools:

With the Vantage V2, there are three new performance tests included, and one new platform to consolidate all the tests Polar offers. The new tests are:

– Running Performance Test
– Cycling Performance Test
– Leg Recovery Test

This is in addition to the previously existing tests of:

– Orthostatic Test
– Fitness Test

We’ll just dive right into them, with the Running Performance Test. This test technically has two components to it, but both are geared towards determining more accurately your VO2Max. While previously (and still currently), Polar has the Running Index score it gives you after each run, this is apparently a bit more accurate.

To begin the test you’ll want a flat place that’s ideally without any obstacles/obstructions/stoplights/etc… In other words, you don’t want to stop, and, as I noticed during my test – you really want to avoid any sharp angles, as it’ll impact GPS accuracy a bit which in turn could cause issues in the test. To select the test you’ll open the ‘Test’ menu, and then choose the Running Performance test”

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The test begins with a 10-minute warm-up. While Polar specifies Zone 1-3 on the screen, in reality the app is only programmed to work for Zone 1, so it alerts you constantly that you’re annoyingly out of zone during the warm-up because you’re not still in Zone 1.


Then, you’ll start the main portion of the test, where basically it ever so slowly makes you go faster and faster. This section should last about 10-20 minutes, but needs to last a minimum of 6 minutes. You can adjust the starting pace for this portion of the test, otherwise it starts you off pretty slow (16:00/mile – basically a fast walk).

On the upper portion of the screen you’ll see the current target pace, below that your current actual pace, and your heart rate in the lower left. In the lower right are the current sub-maximal and Max HR targets.


The thing simply keeps marching faster and faster until you break. Remember, it’s less about the pace (or that point in time pace), but about your heart rate for that pace, and the build into that pace. So while my test yesterday ended at 5:48/mile, that’s because at that point I’d been running at an ever-increasing pace for 12 minutes. You can see the warm-up (WU) and test portions below, with the cool-down after that – and the build into it.


Afterwards it’ll give your running VO2Max score:


And some additional data related to that:

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Now, a few things notable here. First, on my other runs last week using the Running Index scoring system I scored 63 for my VO2Max scores:

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So, that’s quite a drop (way more than would normally be seen). Of course, 63 is higher than my highest ever actual lab tested value. Meanwhile, at the same time as I ran the VO2Max test with the Polar Vantage V2 (score 58), I also had a Garmin FR745 tracking my run. And it gave me a score of 57, without having to do any fancy test. That’s pretty consistent with what it gives me each workout (sometimes 58).

I’d say both values are in-line with my current fitness levels, maybe 1 or 2 below how I’d do on a well rested day (which, as you saw earlier in this post, this day was apparently not well rested according to the Vantage V2).

Next, there’s the Cycling Performance Test. Which, is basically an FTP test, and requires a power meter. In this case you can pick your poison of 20/30/40/60 minutes for the core test portion. Like any other FTP test, if you select a lower time, it’ll use an algorithm to extrapolate that to the full 1-hour timeframe.

And like the running test, it starts off with a warm-up period, although this one is 20 minutes. And also like the running test, while it says in the descriptive text you should build intensity and do some sprints, it never actually gives you any guidance for that.


Eventually you’ll get to the core of the test – the part that matters. Note that with both the running and cycling test, this won’t automatically start until you press to begin this section. That’s handy if you’re trying to get to a clean spot sans traffic lights or distractions. Once ready, you begin:


It’ll give your current power, as well as the average power for the time.

And unfortunately, this is as much as I can show you.

I’ve now taken the FTP twice in the last few days, and both times it failed. It, not me. The first time I paired it to a Tacx NEO 2 trainer, and as I started the main portion of the test dropouts occurred via Bluetooth Smart, and eventually it ended the test due to lack of data. Other units I was using weren’t seeing dropouts (via ANT+).

So on Monday I tried the test again. This time at the office (as opposed to home, in case wireless issues were a problem), and with a different bike on a different trainer. This time I paired it to the Quarq DZero power meter (which is on the approved list), and began. I completed the warm-up and began the main chunk of the test without issue:

Then, some 13 minutes into the painful part of the test, the connection dropped out, and the test also forcibly failed.

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This sucked, because FTP tests are no fun – and further, you’ve set aside time for doing it, time away from a normally scheduled workout (including the lead-up to it).

Maybe this was a one-off, I don’t know. Polar says they haven’t had any reports of this happening elsewhere, and they’re digging into it. So, for the purposes of discussion – let’s just set that aside. Let’s say it’s a ‘me’ problem. Ok.

But here’s the thing: In 2020, both for this and the running test, most platforms are moving away from doing frequent one-off testing. Most platforms are moving towards leveraging your actual workout/training data to do that analytics for you, so you don’t need to take off time in your schedule for a test. We’ve seen Xert doing that, Today’s Plan doing that, and Polar’s watch/bike computer competitors just giving you those values in real-time as you complete workouts.

Sure, others like TrainerRoad do include a monthly test scheduled within most of their plans – but even that is a RAMP test, which is far more common these days than setting aside 60 minutes as per the Polar routine (20 mins warm-up, 20 mins core test, 20 mins cool-down). The RAMP test is over in 20 minutes total.

The other somewhat silly challenge I realized here is that I still need *another* non-Polar device to actually do the test on a trainer (which, is what Polar and everyone else recommends for FTP tests). That’s because the Polar Vantage V2 won’t control your trainer’s resistance. So in my case I had to use a Garmin Edge device to control the trainer and set the target wattages. And that gets even more complex if you’re  using your trainer as your power meter for the Polar device, since all but the Wahoo KICKR only allow for a single concurrent Bluetooth Smart connection (and the Vantage V2 doesn’t connect via ANT+).


In any case, moving on to the last item, the new Leg Recovery Test. This test is designed to help you determine if your legs are fatigued, by performing three standing jumps in a row.

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These three jumps are then measured to centimeter accuracy by the unit and compared against a rolling baseline for the last 28 days. If the deviation is more than 7% lower, it’s determined that your legs aren’t fully recovered. Interestingly, that data is actually fed into FitSpark, for deciding on which workouts will be given. So that’s a good example of using the data to drive decisions.

Finally, Polar has started rolling out a new Test Dashboard on Polar Flow, which consolidates all your tests into one spot:


You’ll see all the testing types, as well as drop-down filters for each type. Now, given this feature has only rolled out, and I’ve only got a few jump tests and a successful running test (my failed cycling tests interestingly don’t show up here), the data is kinda slim. Still, long term I like the dashboard look:


Ok, wrapping things up – as I said earlier, I think the tests are useful to some, but in general it’s not the direction the industry is trending. Also, for cycling, I’d really have preferred they’d included a RAMP test in there. But hey, I suppose there’s always room for improvement.

For the jump tests related to leg recovery, those are indeed quick and easy tests to do that take a few seconds and can easily be done each day without impacting your normal training load/recovery, so those actually make quite a bit of tests.

GPS & HR Accuracy:

There’s likely no topic that stirs as much discussion and passion as GPS accuracy.  A watch could fall apart and give you dire electrical shocks while doing so, but if it shows you on the wrong side of the road?  Oh hell no, bring on the fury of the internet!

GPS accuracy can be looked at in a number of different ways, but I prefer to look at it using a number of devices in real-world scenarios across a vast number of activities.  I use 2-6 other devices at once, trying to get a clear picture of how a given set of devices handles conditions on a certain day.  Conditions include everything from tree/building cover to weather.

Over the years, I’ve continued to tweak my GPS testing methodology.  For example, I don’t place two units next to each other on my wrists, as that can impact signal. If I do so, I’ll put a thin fabric spacer of about 1”/3cm between them (I didn’t do that on any of my Polar Vantage V2 activities however, all workouts only had a single device per wrist).  But often I’ll simply carry other units by the straps, or attach them to the shoulder straps of my hydration backpack.  Plus, wearing multiple watches on the same wrist is well known to impact optical HR accuracy.

Meanwhile, for HR accuracy testing I’m typically wearing a chest strap (usually the Garmin HRM-DUAL or newer HRM-PRO, but also the Polar H10, but or Polar H9) as well as another optical HR sensor watch on the bicep (lately the Whoop band and/or Polar OH1 Plus). Note that the numbers you see in the upper right corner are *not* the averages, but rather just the exact point my mouse is sitting over.  Note all this data is analyzed using the DCR Analyzer, details here.

To begin, we’re actually going to go with my Running Performance Test from yesterday, taking a look at both HR accuracy and GPS accuracy. For GPS accuracy, the test started off mostly in the trees for the warm-up, since GPS accuracy was less important at that point in the test. This is compared against a Garmin FR745 and a Fitbit Versa 3. Here’s that data:


At a high level we see some slight differences. So zooming into a few spots during the warm-up we see some slight variances from all three. In general the FR745 is on the path the most, with the Vantage V2 close behind, and the Fitbit Versa 3 a bit more variable.


As we hit the straightaway (but under tree cover), the Polar and Garmin are pretty much a wash, whereas the Fitbit is generally off deeper in the trees picking mushrooms or something.


Making a 90° turn, the Polar nailed this one, with the Garmin & Fitbit devices undercutting the turn. Interestingly however, despite taking this turn at speed (and that it then goes downhill slightly), the actual pace displayed on the Vantage V2 did noticeably drop, which was of particular note given it was in the middle of the VO2Max test and started giving ‘behind pace’ type alerts.


However, after that point in the wide open bike path with nothing on either side, the Polar was off by quite a bit – more than a two-lane roadway away, the Garmin spot-on, and the Fitbit just very slightly off:


Meanwhile, taking a look at the HR accuracy during that run tells an oddly similar story. Here’s the Polar Vantage V2 vs Polar OH1 Plus (optical arm band) vs Fitbit Versa 3, and then the HRM-RUN chest strap.


As you can see, the HRM-PRO had the most correct and gradual build-up of data at the beginning, but the optical HR sensors were too far behind. The Polar Vantage V2 stuttered at the 2-minute marker for a bit. The slight stutter from purple line of the HRM-PRO was simply me adjusting it at the 3-minute marker. It’s been interesting to see how much more visible the adjustments of the strap is on the HRM-PRO than other chest straps.


We see that for the most part for the first 10 minutes the units are fairly close, though around the 8-9 minute marker during one of the sprints I did as part of the warm-up that it caused the Fitbit to struggle, and then slightly caught the Polar Vantage V2 off-guard. The Polar OH1 and HRM-PRO were basically identical there.

While the Fitbit is mostly a mess as the intensity gets higher, the Polar Vantage V2 isn’t perfect either. In fact, you can see numerous spikes throughout, something I’ve consistently seen on the Polar Grit X since launch (I frequently use it in testing):


And just before the VO2Max test ends, we see the biggest difference here, with the Vantage V2 overestimating me at 194bpm, versus the chest strap at 182 and the OH1 at 187. Meanwhile, the Fitbit Versa 3 is at 169.


So overall on that one, it’s not terribly good, in particular at the height of the VO2Max test, which might impact my results for that test actually. While the HR got back into line just as the test ended, did that incorrect spike impact things? I don’t know.

Next, let’s look at a track workout. Cause everyone likes a track workout for both GPS testing. This time against the Apple Watch Series 6, Garmin FR745, and Fitbit Versa 3. In this case, I was using the Vantage V2 with the Polar OH1 Plus for the heart rate portion, so we won’t be evaluating that aspect as part of this set.


As the test began, all units correctly managed to mostly plot the route down the middle of the tree lined path:


And they all kinda-sorta made it out of the massive pile of bridges/tunnels/overpasses without any massive incidents. Not perfect by any means, but the Apple Watch was definitely the winner here.


Meanwhile, over at the track things were actually pretty good. You’ll see a single red line across the infield – that’s my fault. After one of the intervals I hit the pause instead of lap button, and then realized it about a 100m later. But everyone actually stayed roughly in the track, which is good.


The FR745 was in running track mode, so it’s even scarier how close it is. It only shows the exists/entrances, as I was curious if I could start it off-track (the answer is yes, but you just can’t quite get too close to the track on the arrival, or it snaps in like it does below).


But overall, the Polar Vantage V2 did pretty good here – no complaints. Also, for fun, while I wasn’t using the Vantage V2’s optical HR sensor, I was using the Polar OH1 Plus sensor paired to it. No drop-outs or such. And just in case there was any doubt on accuracy (or, lack thereof in one unit’s case):


Moving along again, this time to an easier run. I don’t really need to re-hash all the details on this one, it’s pretty obvious that the units are fairly close, except the Vantage V2 does suffer briefly around the 3 minute marker. While the Fitbit Versa 3 spikes a few times around the 21 and 26 minute markers, both times after stopping at lights/etc and resuming running again.


From a GPS accuracy standpoint, all units were actually pretty good on this city run. With only the Fitbit Versa 3 struggling occasionally (although, not hugely):


They all correctly managed to plot their way through the Rijksmuseum building underpass, though the Fitbit and and Polar units did hose up slightly a turn shortly thereafter back into the park – both of them going off into the water and buildings.


Changing scenery again, what about an outdoors ride? Well, that’s a hot mess. So, I made the Polar Vantage V2 hot pink to illustrate that. Note the sections between the two lines are when I realized I had a conference call, so I stopped to take it on the side of the road.


I could analyze all these sections, but you can see pretty clearly it’s bad. Really bad. Which, is basically what I saw with the Polar Grit X as well.

On the right side, GPS accuracy was perfectly fine:


For this route I was over at an outdoor cycling track, that loops around and around. So it’s a good test of repeatability, and things were spot-on then.

Finally, as for an indoor cycling workout – heart-rate wise that handled much better:


Ok, with that – wrapping things up a bit, I’d say that HR accuracy was basically what we saw with the Grit X, which makes sense as it’s the same sensor there, though, unfortunately that means I don’t get as good of accuracy as the original Polar Vantage series sensor.

For GPS accuracy, things are pretty much par for the course with what I see from most GPS watches these days, no major outliers (good or bad) in any of the data sets, nor in any of my daily commutes I recorded here and there either (mostly through the city). So all good and acceptable there.

(Note: All of the charts in these accuracy sections 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.)



Overall, the Polar Vantage V2 is a modest upgrade to the original Vantage V unit, incorporating the largely software-driven updates of the Grit X from this past spring, with weight reductions and changes to the optical HR sensor. The new performance testing features may be useful to those that are looking to chart more specifically their progress in cycling or running, or perhaps figure out if their legs are recovered in the gym.

I think the Vantage V2 may be challenged in that it doesn’t really have a ton of features that are going to draw existing Vantage V owners to it. Sure, some will – especially those that may have held out on buying the Grit X, despite wanting those new features. So for that crowd, this helps basically give people what they want in terms of the extra training/recovery focused elements.

But, I don’t know if those new testing components are enough to draw away new sales from competitors – that’s a much tougher pitch, especially when compared against both what COROS has at a substantially lower price point, or Garmin has at the exact same price point. It puts Polar in a bit of a tough bind with this offering, in that the COROS Pace 2 is priced to attract a beginner, whereas the Garmin FR745 feature set (including music) and identical price as the Vantage V2 somehow make the FR745 price seem reasonable now.

Still, Polar has committed to more firmware updates throughout the remainder of the year, and then perhaps we’ll see additional feature upgrades beyond that, just as we did with the Vantage Series for the first 18 months or so.

With that – thanks for reading!

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  1. Jeremy

    Why do you think it is that no one besides Garmin seems serious about putting music storage on their running watches? I’m sure there are plenty of people who would like more options in the marketplace.

    • The challenge is that in 2020 (or even 2-3 years ago), the shift is towards subscription services. The overwhelming majority of the market just wants to take their Spotify/Deezer/Apple Music/Amazon Music/etc… with them, and not deal with the mess of loading MP3’s or what-not onto their watch (which usually ends up getting stale because it’s a pain to load).

      The problem though for a company like Polar, is that the aforementioned services won’t really entertain you as a device to invest bringing music onto, since the user numbers are simply too small. Garmin’s now the #2 smartwatch in the US (behind the Apple), and as such is able to secure those deals.

      Though, realistically, most of those deals were signed 2-3 years ago, but still, in an era where they were a big dog in the market. There are a handful of tiny companies that landed Spotify on-device wearables access years ago, and based on everything I can tell, Spotify just got drunk one night with those product companies and signed deals they couldn’t later back out of.

    • Dave Lusty

      Between music and maps I’m stuck with the Garmin platform. I really, really like my Vantage V but I never use it as I miss these features. It’s good to see Polar release something new, it’s kind of a shame they’re not extending the original V via software but I don’t feel like many will be compelled to upgrade this time. That’s OK though because what’s there works and works well so they’ll (we?) be back eventually. I’m always a bit sad when Garmin throws in another bell or whistle when there’s so many broken, unfinished or unpolished ones desperate for attention. I’m still secretly hoping Garmin buy Polar at some point and let them be in charge of quality and finish while the Garmin Devs churn out new stuff 🙂

    • John Steven

      I was thinking it would be nice for Apple to buy Polar

    • Dave Lusty

      Apple would kill them. Garmin probably would too come to think of it, but I can dream of a Fenix 7 with the polish of a Polar!

  2. Jacob

    It shows good speed value with elite tuo?

  3. Gilbert

    Great review Ray, it seems like it has features we didn’t know we needed but still want them.
    But, how can something this great come without ant+ ? I’ve started out with the m400, had the v800 but was always playing around with only the bluetooth option.

    So i switched to Garmin just because of that. Is there any possebility that they will add ant+ ?

    • I’m doubting ANT+ support, which is too bad, because the FTP testing was a great example of where it really needed it (due primarily to the limitations of most trainers on the market to not support multi-channel BLE connections).

  4. stephen

    Do you get phone workout notifications during a workout? My understanding is that the Grit did not show them. I’ve been researching your site trying to find a good replacement for my broken Suunto Trainer Wrist HR, and the lack of notifications is one of the bigger knocks against the Grit. I was hoping they would fix that in a firmware update in conjunction with this announcement.

    • No, they’re disabled here as well during workouts.

    • Ben Waite

      Boooo! This was the primary reason why I had to get rid of the Vantage V. Running with a pregnant wife notifications are critical!

    • Patrick Coenen

      You are running with your pregnant wife! wow 😉

    • gunnar

      Why on earth would they not make it optional to have (or not have) notifications during a workout?

    • jww

      Would guess it was a bad feature choice from yesteryear, and today they’re resource constrained given the features customers want [dictated by the market/Garmin], and the comparatively lowish number of devices they’re selling.

    • Edward

      This may seem like a very small and unimportant feature, but this the one that keeps me from thinking about upgrading from my M430. I’ll happily keep using my M430 until they release a watch that has this feature (since there’s no telling if this watch will actually get it…)

      I hope they are reading these comments, since I doubt the mails sent through their website get through to anyone who cares what potential customers think.

  5. David Chrisman

    Nuts–was really hoping for a “M” version and ANT+ sensor support

  6. skyrun

    anything about treadmill running or gym equipment compatibility?

  7. Vitor Sargo

    Is this a good watch for Crossfit?!

    I’m searching for a multisport watch since crossfit has a bunch of workouts that mix cardio with powerlifting or gymnastics with powerlifting.

    I was thinking buying OH1 Plus + Vantage v2 because i cant always wear a watch in some workouts (ketbells and rings).

    • Roy

      I use my Vantage V combine with an H10 for CrossFit workouts every day and it does the trick for me. They actually had a workout profile specifically for CrossFit until I’m guessing they were legally forced to change the name to HIIT. Again, it works great for my purposes.

    • Vitor Sargo

      h10 is great and very accurate but i dont like chest straps so i think im gonna go with the oh1 plus.

      glad to hear that polar vantage v works for crossfit, i guess v2 will do also.

      Thanks for your feedback.

  8. Robert

    Any word from Polar on bringing the new features to the (old) Polar Vantage V? Seems to me that most of them could be added via an update.

  9. Vincent

    Any chance any of the non-sport features such as the new watch faces etc will come to the Grit X?

    • The exact wording from the press thingy:

      Question: Will any features from the new Polar Vantage V2 be rolled out in a firmware to the Polar Grit X?
      Answer: There are currently no plans to introduce the custom Polar Vantage V2 features to the Polar Grit X.

    • Vincent

      That’s a shame. Long support and updates for their watches is one of the reasons I stick with Polar. It appears Garmin is doing this better than Polar at the moment.

    • Allan Mitchell

      say what now!! Does this include Power Based Struvtured workouts won’t be coming to the Grit?

    • kuifje777

      I find it pretty disappointing that there are no plans for features to be rolled out in the Grit X. I do understand that some features need to remain Vantage only. Given that the Grit X has only recently been released and is pretty close in price, I would have hoped for some trickle down.

      In the past, Polar used to be very good at improving their devices over time. The Polar V800 was updated literally forever.

    • Joonas

      That’s really a shame.
      Grit X was released only just 6 months ago so it’s not that old.

    • Nox Erin

      Not even the basic quality of life improvement of music controls? If that’s the case my Grit X is the last Polar device I’m buying. It’s not even six month old FFS.

    • inSyt

      They did initially say that Fitspark would not come to the Vantage, but eventually bowed to consumer pressure. Just keep nagging them, specifically on their forums and reddit.

  10. Stefan Gutehall

    Great review as always!
    Did you notice if they updated the phased workouts to include powerbased workouts?

    • Power based workouts are coming by end of year. Here’s the exact details:


      The 2.0 software release for the Polar Vantage V2 is estimated to arrive before end of 2020 and will
      include power-based training targets as well as zone pointer for power and speed.
      • Power-based training targets: Plan power-based phased training targets in Flow and transfer
      them to your watch.
      • ZonePointer for power and speed zones: Helps you to stay in the right target zone when doing
      power or speed zone-based sessions

    • Stefan Gutehall

      Thanks. That’s what I was imagining would have come to original Vantage V when I bought it on release since they marketed it so hard with power training.
      Now it is in a drawer and I bought a used fenix 5x cheap instead.

    • Dirk

      Do you think this will include power-based running programs?

    • Jocke

      Nice, have tou heard anything if they are planing to integrate this towards TraningPeaks or simular platforms or is it just within polar ecosystem?


  11. W.

    So…. would you advise to upgrade/trade in for the Vantage V?

    Also, how is the pairing, syncing and bluetooth connection compared to the Vantage V; is there a more stable connection? And no dropping out/loss of connection between an iPhone XS and this Vantage V2?

    • That’s tough. I think $499 is a lot, relative to what you have today with the Vantage V, and what the competitors have at either substantially lower price points or the same price point.

      One would have to really ask yourself which exact features out of the ‘new features’ list you’d use, and how frequently you’d use them.

      On connections, it seemed fine for phone usage, but I had problems with the power tests as noted.

    • ChrisTexan

      Not sure you paid attention to the review, we know for sure in his sample, he had dropout problems with the FTP training at least twice on his power meter for cycling. Doesn’t seem likely it’s any more stable (at least on first review).

  12. runnershigh

    Hi Ray,
    will the aerobic/anaerobic thresholds automaticly sets by the results of the Running Performance Test or do you have to set the values at your flow-profile on yourself?
    Can you perfom the Running Performance Test on the treadmill as well?

    • You have to go and set them yourself – it’ll tell you at the end of the test to go update them if you want. My thought was kinda: Why don’t you update them for me?

      Maybe down the road.

      For the Running Performance Test, it’s only allowing me to select either Road or Trail Running on my list of sports, not the Treadmill one I have in there.

    • runnershigh

      Interesting, so it seems hardly GPS/Pace-driven. Pace on the treadmill is simply easy to control during a test like this; beside the fact that ventilation inside may completely different.
      Furthermore I would guess that heart rate measuring are the key to analyse/set the thresholds.
      We will see. 🙂

    • Nick K

      Ray! Could you please confirm…

      The test DOES give you aerobic/anaerobic thresholds? Them, not MAS/MAP business? Because I don’t see that anywhere in Polar’s test description or reviews.

  13. John Steven

    Seems like Polar could have made most of these features simply available on the original vantage V without it requiring a new piece of hardware. I don’t think this attracts many to part with their $500

    • Dan G

      Especially given that the OHR sensor in the V2 is junk.

      How Polar can deliver the OH1 — probably the most accurate way to measure heart rate — but also abominations like the Grit X and now the V2 is beyond me

  14. Paul

    Hey Ray, thanks for great review as always! You don’t mention improved screen on V2 and I saw it listed as an improvement over original V on the5krunner’s website. Can you confirm it’s improved and what exactly is better vs V1?


  15. Mike Potomac

    Oooh look, DC Rainmaker from Garmin Guerrilla Marketing Team strikes again.

    • Dennis

      I have to reply on this one i used to have more than 10 suuntos from t6 to ambit vertical didnt want to buy suunto 9 because i found i to big waited a long time for a next gen but it is not coming suunto is just not releasing also have given dc rainmaker a hard time for his suunto reviews BUT after reading his garmin fenix 6 review and from 5krunner i bought the fenix 6 and i have to say i is a super watch another level so fast en so many great features maps are great which i was afraid for but for the screen is really good to read
      So sorry about the hard comments and you make great reviews

    • ChrisTexan

      Did you see the launch??? Polar has done almost nothing worth mentioning in this new product. I’m a loyal Polar user going on 20 years now, and this product is… from a post I saw on reddit, this is probably the end of the line for Polar if this is any indication.
      There is nothing compelling in Vantage or V2, to move me from my v800. Form factor sucks (look at the screenshots, almost every screen has data “cut off” at the top or bottom (in particular) that would fit just fine on a 1.3″ “square” screen, but is cropped due to the stupid round shape. They stressed in the launch “function over form” but still keep making round watches which is ONLY beneficial from a “fashion” perspective.
      I had high hopes for Vantage to be a v800 replacement (and Vm to be an M430 replacement)… I knew based on the path the past 2-3 years though, that V2 was going to be an “eh, so what” product, and yep, it’s exactly that.
      A Coros Pace 2 and $300 beats the crap out of this v2 in nearly all meaningful areas. It doesn’t have Flow behind it, but I can use Training Peaks (free version) and get everything I need that I get with Flow.
      I can get better pace accuracy from my Stryd, or sensors on my bike, than the GPS can hope for.
      I can get better power accurace from (see above).

      Bottom line, I’ve been waiting with my wallet for years for Polar to beat the v800… they still haven’t (by the way, music controls, and message notifications (and GoPro remote control, and GPS waypoints, route tracking, strava segments, recovery tests…) were already there. The only thing(s) v800 lacked from now 2 generations later, were/are touchscreen, OHR (not an improvement by any indication, a strap is still the way to go), and color screen (which a v800 with a color touchscreen, would have been a very minor hardware change, frankly).
      Oh, and loss of Gymlink, which WAS a significant differentiator (accurate HR from chest strap, while swimming anyone? (not OHR, which is, “not good” in so many words as expressed on review here and elsewhere)… still love that I can sit on an exercise bike or treadmill at any random gym, and look up often and see my HR on screen without having to touch anything because it just works and picks it up…
      I kept my hopes out, but it’s clear, when my current crop of Polar watches (2x v800s, M430) die, they’ll be replaced by another brand, and that’s NOT what I’ve ever wanted. Very sad. (At least adding Power training plans by year-end, HAS caught my attention, but the still sub-par (for their top-end watch) HR problems, and GPS tracking (which everything else depends on)… just makes it pointless. At $300, this might be closer to competitive, but it’s not a “high-end” product feature set, it’s barely mid-grade, when compared to it’s competition.
      I have stacks of Polar watches, HR sensors, etc (at least the sensors are relatively brand-agnostic with the H10)… this isn’t trivial to me, it sucks but one can’t stay loyal to a dead horse forever.

    • Andrew Weyl

      This sums up my thoughts exactly.

      I’ve had M400, 2 M430’s, and the Vantage M plus all the assorted sensors from Polar.

      Still love the M430, lukewarm on the VM and this “new” product update on the Vantage and Polars decision to stop producing bike computers means when my M430 goes out I’m going to be changing brands. I love the Flow website and mobile app but it just doesn’t cover up for what is essentially uninspired design and a bunch of “new” features that seemingly could be rolled out via software updates.

      At the $499 price level I’m expecting contactless payments, HR broadcasting, live tracking via app, and if you’re going to do FTP tests with Power you NEED ANT+ compatibility.

      I’m sick of companies trying to compete with an Apple watch by rolling out tons of frivolous new features while raising prices.

    • skookum8

      Why not give Coros a try? They seen to have hit the mark with their latest watch.

    • leon

      Mate, go through the site, it ain’t guerilla marketing. Garmin just have shedloads more product than others and if you look how the site developed he has followed his interests and preferences (complemented by data), which became an occupation. He is comprehensive in his reviews, gives you all the detail and his opinion. Now you don’t need his opinion because of all the detail but because all the data is there you see you can trust his opinion (though not always agree with it but that’s personal preference). If you want to contest that then how about you show your data to support your assertion.
      ps I have a polar m400 but next will likely be a corus

    • SS

      Yes, give us a redesigned M430.
      An M460 for $249 with 12 hour battery life and a larger squared display that loses the huge bezel, along with some cool new features. I’ll buy a 3rd M430 for $199 before I spend $500 on something like this.

    • ChrisTexan

      That’s exactly one of the directions I’m expecting to look strongly, the Pace 2 is an amazing package, I began syncing all my data sources (bike computers, trainers data, polar devices) to Training peaks a few years ago as an “alternate” to compare with (when the Vantage was a clear miss), and the past year or two have debated paying for the full service, which by all indications, would replace everything Flow does other than tracking “daily recovery” type stuff, which the Coros app does instead (I really don’t like phone apps for anything more than basic functions).
      All told, the only thing tying me to Polar at all, is Flow, and it can certainly be replaced now, might not be as elegant, but since I can’t pair my v800, or any Polar watch, reliably to my new Kickr Core without data going into the bin or doubling power, etc, I’m using non-Flow sync devices (Stages Dash bike computer, Zwift directly, etc) for capture, so the less “Flowing” into the Polar ecosystem reliably, the less reason to stay there….
      Coros looks pretty amazing for value, and they clearly are supporting their products (pushing the new “Pace 2” feature improvements, up and down-line to all devices that physically could support the changes… that’s the way to do it. It’s the scrappy “we want your business” philosophy that Polar seems to have wandered away from into limbo. Suunto is also a potential, and heaven-forbid, even Garmin (I have nothing against them, just don’t really like their UI methods). We’ll see, hopefully my 100% currently functional (I have 2, one with bad barometer) v800 lasts a couple more years.

    • Andreas


      As long term Polar user (FT4, M400, V800, Vantage M, Polar Balance) – may I ask what you mean exactly?

      This new watch costs exactly the same as a Forerunner 745, but without payments and music and custom watchfaces and … – and in DCR’s review, he criticed that price too.

      Plus, the Vantage V2 is essentially a software upgrade only. The new hr sensor and the new display can’t be the reason to block these updates for the older Vantage V, and less so for the Grit X which has the exact same hardware. Polar headed into the right direction with the Vantave V, but stopped with the Grit X and now they are even going back two steps with this release.

    • Dan G

      Dennis nailed it. It’s hard to see Polar and Suunto continuing in the consumer wearables market. Polar has great software but the V800 was their last good (great) piece of hardware. Suunto is just junk, both software (what little there is) and hardware. The Ambit and Spartan series were great, so was Movescount. All gone.

      Meanwhile Garmin is turning out products that are on a completely different level. Looks like Coros are too (though I have no first hand experience with their watches).

    • Anche

      Hi ChrisTexan,
      I’m 110% with you!
      My Polar history started wit the M51 followed by F6, then the RC3 GPS was on my wrist followed by the V800.
      Actually it is the Vantage V, due to false promises. I feel trapped!
      Knowing the functions of the V800 and using the Vantage V is depressing.
      Lack of flexibility!
      Imagine you would like to do a planed training a day earlier or swop days. There is no calendar at the Vantage V were you can chose your planed training from instantly.
      Lack of functions!
      The V800 has programable training reminders for duration, used kcal and time. Reminding you to eat and drink. Not so the Vantage V.
      Lack of intelligence!
      The navigation function of the V800 was smart enough to ask you if it should reverse the track when you turned around. Guess what the Vantage V does! Indicating “false direction”! You have to stop, play around, calibrate the compass again and eventually you will find your way back. But hey, at least you got two trainings then! Nearly forgot to mention a zooming function of the track would be extraordinary!
      Lack of visibility!
      A square shape with an high contrast display would be beneficial.
      Lack of containment!
      For a good night sleep, you can’t turn off the auto light on function. Sometimes it feels like a searchlight is blinding you in the middle of the night.
      Lack of cosmopolitan functions!
      The V800 has a second time zone where the Vantage V has just one.
      The list goes on with acoustic feedback, the higher the puls the higher the frequency of the beep. With the lack of HeartTouch, Power based training seasons…………
      I’m asking my self, is Polar aware of their own functions and the history?
      The Vantage V is faaaaaar away from being a flag ship!

      My conclusion is nearly the same, after all the years why not giving the COROS APEX PRO a chance?

  16. Andy Dennis

    Hey Ray – Have you thought about tracking altitude in your tests ? As an example the polar GritX needs its altitude set before every activity to make sure it’s getting the right stats. If you don’t do this I’m sure the Hill Splitter Stats as well as the altitude gained/lost will be way out ..

    • I’d love to, and do when I can for reviews (when I can travel). Regrettably, I live in a place that’s a pancake – the greater Amsterdam area isn’t well known for elevation, with basically the biggest thing I can find here being a bridge.

    • Tim

      Run up and down the stairs of a skyscrapers :D?

  17. Mike Philippens

    I wonder if this Polar can also track indoor rowing like the Garmin Fenix does. Do you have any info on that? It seems that Garmin is the only one able to do this. It tracks your movement and records your pace (strokes/min). Very useful. Most sportswatches concentrate on running, cycling and swimming. The rest is overseen. Or somebody figures out a way where you can define a new sport in the watch. I mean, there are plenty of sensors. It would be a nerdy option to have 🙂

    One small issue is that when you do indoor rowing, it obviously doesn’t know the distance you’ve done. You can edit the record later, but when you sync with some other service, the data has already been sent. When you row using a Concept2, there’s the option of connecting to the PM5 computer on that specific rower.

    • ChrisTexan

      There is an indoor rowing profile. I’ve never used it, don’t know how well it works, but it’s in Flow (now I want to try, just did a 2km row the other day, would have been good to try!)

    • Mike Philippens

      I saw that it’s in Flow, but I’d like to know if the watch records anything other than your heartrate during the row. Would be nice if it records stroke rate.

    • flokon

      Nope, it doesn’t. Only HR, time and calories. It’s a basic cardio profile named indoor rowing. I use ergData, and the c2 ciq app with my Concept2 since my Garmin 945 messes up stroke rate.

    • Mike Philippens

      ok, thanks for that.
      My Fenix 5 also messes the stroke rate up a bit. For longer sessions it isn’t too bad, but I have this HIT routines where you have 10s HIT and 20s slow, where the Garmin takes about 10 strokes to adjust to the new tempo. That’s a bummer. But there’s no other watch that does this. And I have a water rower (First Degree) and I can’t connect that to the Garmin for distance, stroke rate, speed etc. I have to adjust it later in the app, which is a bit of a pain.

    • pokoss

      Hello. I use the “treadmill running” profile for rowing at home. km the VV fleece counts quite well – after training I edit the profile for “indoor rowing”

    • pokoss

      rowing machine – inSPORTline RW60

  18. Martin Dufort

    Super review Ray.
    One quick one: have they changed the Workout Pause screen ? I wish I could see current distance / pace / etc when in Pause maode.

  19. Jens

    Hi Ray,

    It’s still not possible to disable OHR, right? And still not possible to use a chest strap for swimming? Also, does the swim sport profiles record temperature now? VV only records temperature for other stuff, but not for swimming. Grit-X does however.

    • You can disable via a chest strap. 🙂

      As for swimming, no, it doesn’t support the older analog frequencies, so only optical HR there for swimming.

      Not sure on temperature, I haven’t had a chance to take it out for a swim yet.

  20. W.

    I think an “easy” firmware update for the Vantage V with Leg Recovery Test, Running Performance Test and Cycling Performance Test would have done the trick.

    Or can this only be done by a ‘faster’ CPU from the Vantage V2 and other hardware internals?

  21. Oliver

    I’d have been all over this, but for one omission.

    I can’t deal with the shitty faded 2005-era looking LCD screen. OLED or no buy for me.

    A friend got sent a review unit and I’ve had the chance to use it. The software is worlds better than in the early days of the Vantage V and Vantage M. For me, personally (I know it’s highly individual) the optical HR sensor works better than any of the Garmins, Fitbits, Suuntos, Samsungs or Apples.

    But the screen 🤮 I’d rather just rely on a head unit for cycling and I’ll make do with a Samsung for other stuff.

    • Andreas

      For me it’s a no-buy if it would have a oled screen and shitty battery life. What are you doing with the watch? Watching movies? I do not need a ultra high res brilliant glancy display that you can’t read outside l, burns battery as hell and also showing nothing more than some numbers.

  22. Kristian

    Polar needs to hire some new designers. This watch looks older not newer than the old Vantage. The user interface also looks a bit off. Both font faces and size does not look polished. Bigger sales volume in looks than advanced performance features.

    • Geraldaut

      Fully agree. I have a basic black Vantage M which looks classier than this greyish metal ring and faux tissue band I see on Ray’s wrist.

  23. Carlos Cabrita

    Great review!
    Does it have the missing diary function from V800? Does it give distance information after each interval during phased workouts?

    • Tom

      Good question I’m still amazed at having lost this feature

    • Zhivko Nikolov

      Hi, I miss the distance info shown after marking a manual lap an a Diary on my Vantage M. They were so useful on my old M430. The Diary was the best tool to simply do your yesterday’s planned workout today without messing with Flow app and sync just to move the training target and start you exercise. It is a shame that they don’t implement the diary in Vantage series, I wrote a few emails to Polar’s support about this.

  24. Aut

    How is the integration with Stryd?

  25. Richard

    Thanks Ray. Underwhelming update and can’t see anything here to motivate me to put my hand in my pocket and upgrade from my current Vantage V. Let’s hope they do a better job with V3.

  26. Puk

    Hey Ray,

    Totally not related to this article, but didn’t know where to ask it.
    Do you know if Garmin is working on any new forerunner watches? Like a new 245 or 645?

    Currently I’m having a 645 without music and really want to switch to a Garmin with music storage.

    • Kristian

      He will never answer those type of questions as he is ofren testing unreleased devices. Check out the 5k runner for roumours link to the5krunner.com

    • In general you see Garmin on a min two year cycle for Forerunners. So, the FR245 came out April 2019, thus, I wouldn’t imagine anything prior to around then.

      The FR645 came out January 2018 (though, didn’t start shipping till early Mar 2018). Garmin these days likes to basically announce when a product is available to ship the same day (like with the FR245/945 that year).

      Finally, remember the Garmin Connect IQ Summit is (virtually) next week. While these days they don’t tend to announce new watches/devices at the Summit (sometimes they do, but not as much the focus). But it almost always can give insight into Garmin’s future plans.

  27. Karel

    Great review again Ray. Thanks for all your work, testing etc.

    I was so hoping they would finally come up with a new cycling computer (and with that the integration to show all your data on the cycling computer coming from your watch), and ANT+.
    But alas, none of that. I’ll stick to my Vantage V for a while and hope to withstand the urge to move to Garmin.

  28. Nathan Miller

    The exercise physiologist within me is excited to see this new “test results” section because the approach seems way more repeatable and perhaps valid compared with sub maximal predictions offered by first beat, etc. I agree is it a pain though to retest and I have been trying to dive through the literature to determine the true potential for first beat and others to quantify training load. I know recently, I performed a VO2 max treadmill test and got 50/ml/kg/min measured through indirect calorimetry, while my fenix 6 has routinely been spitting back 46 ml/kg/min. That’s a fairly decent range of error. My Apple Watch, which I do admit I don’t wear very often, spit back 40 ml/kg/min which I suspect is because it has bad resting HR data to calculate this. I like to take a combined approach of looking at first beats overall training status while retesting myself on known routes and KOM segments on strata. The bottom line is I like how polar, in a way, is forcing the dedicated testing because after all we train to get better test results and thus faster as endurance athletes. Having it all in one tab is nice.

  29. Tom

    Hej Ray,
    Is the instant pace on the V2 any better. As a long time polar user moving from the V800 to the vantage V was a real disappointment GPS wise. While the overall track from my Vantage is good the instant pace is all over the place running at a steady pace it can vary between 3:00/km and 8:00/km. When I get home the total distance and average is perfect but in the moment useless. This also makes the power feature similarly useless is it’s all over the place so impossible to stick to zones (power or pace) based off the watch.
    The V800 for reference never had this problem keeping pretty steady.
    Is it the same Sony GPS chipset all the watches are using these days? I for one would sacrifice a colour screen and long battery for better GPS.

  30. Tim Zett

    Thanks for the review!
    I am currently using a Kickr Core 2019 paired with an older Samsung Smartphone using the Wahoo App and a Fenix 5 paired seperatly to the trainer. That works out fine. Do I understand it right in your review, that this setting is not possible with the Vantage 2 due to the lack of Ant+?

    • kuifje777

      That setup will work in principle as the Kickr Core does support more than one (I think two) bluetooth connection. However, I suspect that there might still be a problem, as my Grit X shows double the actual power for the Kickr Core. This problem was already present in the original Vantage. When I asked Polar whether there is a workaround, they told me that the Kickr Core is not on the list of supported devices (link to support.polar.com).

    • Jens

      It would work via Bluetooth but Polar does not play nice with Wahoo – sometimes power will be doubled, sometimes not and there are dropouts. All in all, Polar devices are not usable with a Wahoo Kickr. This made me switch to Garmin and I like the watch but despise the website 😉 Oh and the work out recommendations were not bad at all by Polar.

    • Tim Zett

      Thank you both! So I guess I will have to stick with Garmin, despite having the feeling about the watch (great) and the software (not great),

    • Jens(1)

      Hi Jens,
      Please use Jens2 or something when commenting, people would think it’s me lol. It wasn’t 😉

  31. Erik

    Concerning the optical HR accuracy, is there any official word on it? You would think that they have some measure of improved accuracy since this new sensor is a “new gen” – also is there any sense of variability/accuracy depending on individual?

    There could be good reasons for the tests to improve accuracy – it would be interesting to understand more the reason they chose this route.

  32. W.

    How is it hardware-wise different from the Polar Vantage V (first gen)?
    Different chipsets and CPU, different GPS-module, OHR-LED’s etc etc

  33. Hiit4life

    check out this channel, you’ll find what you are looking for

    link to youtube.com

  34. Jeremy

    In your review of the Vantage V, you mentioned that it suffered from ‘death by a thousand cuts,’ which seems to have continued with the Grit X and now the V2. I have the V (it “replaced” my v800). Other than the incredible battery life it has been a big disappointment. It will likely be the last Polar I own. If Coros continues to grow I will likely switch over to them.

  35. Patrick

    What really bothers me about the Vantage V is that the vibration is very weak and I can’t feel it during training. Is that better in the V2?

  36. Andres Duarte

    Hey! Thank you so much for the review. I am mostly interested in a watch that will basically be like a coach, that will help me not-overtrain, recommend me workouts and avoid me injuries and detraining, but also take into consideration the stressors of daily life and not just of my workouts.
    Even though there is not an official “Stress” measurement like in Garmin, do you think this watch will take daily stressors into account when doing its calculations about how recovered you are???

    • flokon

      You need a coach, plain and simple. While devices these days gather all kinds of data of you the algorithms interpreting that data are pretty sketchy. Or they have good algorithms, and an amazing concept on paper, but the data they gather is bad, like WHOOP with its ridiculously inaccurate OHR.
      As for your “stress” measurement like Garmin’s body battery: Polar had that! They called it Recovery Status. Alas, since the Vantage line they ditched it in favour of the new but inferior Training Load Pro. Inferior because Cardio Load doesn’t take non-activity strain into account like the old Recovery Status did. So, to answer your question: No, it does not take daily stressors into account, only recorded activities with HR data (or relies solely on sleep if you use Nightly Recharge).

    • Andres Duarte

      And yup, I absolutely will have a coach in the future when I can afford it, but for now, a watch seems like an in between no coach and coach.

    • Dan G

      Nightly Recharge basically does this link to support.polar.com , but note that it detects periods when you’re more stressed compared to your 28 day average, rather than stressed all the time.

  37. Yonah

    Ray – do you think Polar is abandoning the Middle-tier (aka casual runner) segment? i.e. the group of people between the Unite/Ignite fitness enthusiasts and the Triathletes outdoor adventurers that are going to spend 4/500 on a Grit or V2?

    I am a casual runner/cyclist, and I’ve had my VM for almost 1.5 years now – I like it. I bought it before the ignite, but given some of the features (i.e. the display and external sensor support being 2), I would probably still have bought the VM.

    Polar has had some good watches in this range in the past – M400/430 as one example, and I’d hate to see them abandon it, but I imagine it’s hard to price a watch at $250 and compete with both the Apple Watch Series 3 (200) and the Garmin 245 series.

    • I’m not sure. I think in some ways that’s actually where they do best.

      I think it’s incredible difficult to compete with the Garmin/Apple one-two punch at the top-end ($399+). For features, people will mostly choose Garmin. And for day to day smartwatch, they’ll likely sway towards Apple (I know, this doesn’t solve Android people, but in general people not getting Apple Watche’s just aren’t turning around and picking up WearOS watches, the market numbers show that clearly).

      Where I think Polar really has a compelling case is that $199-$279 price point where someone wants something sport-focused, but doesn’t really want to spend for a Garmin, and doesn’t really want an Apple Watch, and needs something more than a Fitbit.

      So I really hope we see a Vantage M2, at perhaps $229 or $249, with a few Grit X features tossed in. I think that’d do exceptionally well.

    • James

      I think the best chance Polar have of increasing sales volumes is actually an M600 mk 2 with the new generation Qualcomm processor and latest WearOS. Hopefully they should now be able to squeeze enough battery life out to satisfy the casual athlete and this would provide “streaming” music and payments, two features I imagine the mass market care quite a lot about.

      I can only assume the VV2 is primarily a placeholder to fill a lengthy gap in product development before the next generation product (I’m quite surprised they haven’t enabled manually side loaded music in VV2 to at least offer some kind of solution in the meantime. And realistically that probably means there will be a VM2 announced shortly as another water-treading product).

      They could then use M600 mk 2 platform as a stepping stone to VV3, having done the hard yards with a less demanding audience (e.g. battery optimisation, GPS/OHR accuracy, “basic” feature completeness etc).

      If I remember correctly, having read one of your reviews, Suunto have started down this path. It’s going to be painful but inevitable I feel and the new Qualcomm processor is probably the enabler.

      The biggest chance of success would be to get some of Google’s WearOS engineering resource seconded into their team (and that probably depends if you see Fitbit competition as blocking this opportunity – I don’t personally but I can see arguments in both directions).

    • Tuomas Pakkanen

      I tihnk this comment is spot on. I would consider myself average when it comes to sports, but it’s nice to track the whole thing when it comes to sleep, recovery and training. Not too much into looking into calories etc. as it’s a bit of an effort to keep track of food intake.

      Used to have a Fitbit Charge 3 and after that the Versa 2. The software experience is excellent and I didn’t mind too much missing out on the GPS (connected GPS was good enough). The real problem with Fitbit that is not covered in the media enough is the quality issues they seem to have. My Charge 2 screen had issues less than a year after I got it, then the Versa had many issues with random reboots and freezing (even had two replacement units during a year or year and a half!!). Now I have the Vantage M which is pretty great for the price and has seemed very reliable for now.

      If I were an iPhone user I might consider an Apple watch, but even so I don’t think I’d like the battery life which kind of limits those types of watches out of my selection. Garmin would likely be great but with a much heftier price (Fenix line). At least their cheaper watches are not aesthetically to my liking and I doubt I’d actually need the music etc. on the watch. Maps would be nice, but like said it would cost much much more.

      I think it’s actually better to not have so much features or even great smart phone notification support on a watch as it’s just super distracting to have a watch buzz you all the time. Polar hits it on the simplicity where it’s easy to see the information about your recovery, training etc. without having to open an app and look there. I’ve noticed that in the long run with these watches, I mainly stop using the mobile apps or web apps anyway so it’s nice to get the info straight from the watch (daily).

  38. Patric

    They do have forums?

    • Gianluca

      They close the official forum long ago after it was like a ghost town for some years… Try Facebook, they have an official page allowing community posts.

    • Patrick

      I know that there was a forum. I used it years ago.
      That’s bad. I have no Facebook account and for sure won’t create one just for Polar.
      But thanks anyway!

    • ChrisTexan

      There is a reddit (polarfitness) that some of us are using, no idea if Polar has any eyes on it or not, but it’s there and some good discussions, not a ton of traffic but a few Q&A posts daily typically.

    • ChrisTexan

      The FaceBook page for Polar is pretty much marketing-heavy, customer-care light. Lots of questions, but anything “unpleasant/doesn’t work right” in nature generally goes completely unanswered/ignored, or the canned “we’ve sent that to the dev team to consider” (even thought it might have been asked monthly for the past 8 years, they act like it’s the first time, every time (trimming workouts for example, goes back to the nascence of “Flow”, gets asked regularly, and same answer each time)

      Anything the marketing team can say “YEAH! We do that, here’s how!!!” gets answered almost immediately…

  39. Graham

    Agree with your summary. I can’t see vantage owners upgrading. In fact this release just stokes resentment that they have stoped updates on vintage v and are forcing purchase of a new device if you want the features. This strategy may have worked for gramin but this was not polars strategy in the past. Apple are committing to provide os updates for older devices their fitness features are now good enough for most. I think polar need to either offer a upgrade route with a discount or continue to provide updates for the older device even if it is not all features. If this is the way forward for polar then I will simply skip a generation or two or switch to garmin.

  40. Neil Meyerowitz

    Still seem to think they had the winning HR sensor with the M430…that’s what’s keeping me from moving to the Vantage series. Guess I’ll keep waiting

  41. Panos7

    What I understand is that Polar went for a software update by bringing a hardware product more or less the same. I was a big fan of polar products, m400, v800, vantage v, ignite and gritx. I enjoyed the m400 and v800, the rest were a big disappointment.

    • ChrisTexan

      I have no inside information, but 30 years in the IT industry in a wide variety of fields and roles including some very global projects. I can only tell you what I “see” from outside…

      The pre-Vantage generation devices, were purpose-built sport watches. They required trained dev teams on the legacy sensor integration code. It all worked very well, because it was very targeted and a literal (product) lifetime of development. This was GOOD…. BUT it did not allow room to grow the product as the “smart” market began to boom, the existing physical and code base could not accommodate broad capabilities.
      Other possible internal triggers that I “see” from the results… a loss of llegacy development skills (people retiring, changing jobs, wanting to do something “new”… basically the legacy products, became hard to grow and maintain because, well, they were “old tech”. Just like any other old tech, new blood doesn’t know it, and wants to do “new things” and old blood, starts disappearing.

      So someone at Polar in their wisdom, likely a new-hire product development/marketing person, said “okay, we can’t get to with what we have now, the parts won’t get there, the team to build it is declining, and the new guys (or “market-available” devs), are not going to want to go backwards by working at Polar. So, it’s time to scrap everything and start “new” (hence, such a VERY long gap between v800, and Vantage, it’s a ground-up rebuild even though some of the Polar-specific algorithms likely carried forward (the data-handling parts) all the sensor, kernel, UI integrations, were ground-up rewrites, because all the parts going in the device, from core chipsets, GPS, screen/display interface codes, axes sensors (could be the same, but likely all new as part of a new integrated motion chipset) all were new code.
      This ISN’T necessarily bad. But it resulted in bad… because if I’m right, the “new guys” didn’t have the rigor, and the background (both in skills, knowledge, and legacy code) to match what was out before. Vantage was essentially a “first gen product” for a new company, even if the financial and HR department are the same, the dev team, either hardware, or skills, feels “all new” with likely only a few legacy members from say 20 years ago, remaining to try and guide them to “Polar-centric” output.

      If/assuming all the above is somewhat right (I guarantee it’s at least 20% valid, if not 80% valid), VV1 glitches/problems/errors, can be forgiven, even expected, *IF* acknowledged and efforts made to correct (more than have been)… but 2+ (really 5+ given it’s an evolution product now versus the vv1 overhaul) years later, the SAME problems and glitches still are in the product. The young devs have spent some time with fitness teams and given “new features”… but the product still isn’t “legacy Polar quality”… and the features suck compared not only to “market-leaders” at the same price points, but even smaller competitors at CHEAPER price points.
      It’s like there isn’t actually a marketing team, or they are asleep at the wheel ignoring not only the market, but what their OWN loyal Polar users are screaming at them to do. Or the dev team is really “it” and there isn’t anyone guiding them on what to do, and so they are aimless and just putting in things they can easily code (nutrition alerts based on “x+y+z = “drink”, no hardware sensors required, just rehashing inputs already reaching the CPU at that point).
      It really feels to me like they have a minimal sensor code team (the most critical team in such a product, my mother used to be a firmware-level dev integrator, if the firmware/sensor levels aren’t perfect, all the code on top suffers). It’s NOT easy, but it seems like Polar is seriously understaffed/overwhelmed on that part, so all the junior programmers are left with is glitchy input, to then provide “neato” features outputting less-than-reliable information.
      Hill-Splitter – simple, if the barometric sensor detects pressure change “x” (either raw data for Polar code to handle, or outputs say “+3 meter change, depending on how it’s integrated), and cadence/pace/whatever is “above y” (meaning the person is walking/running and not just GPS wandering), then “you are on a hill” and indicate elevation change or whatever… this is just software… but if the sensor integration (GPS, barometer, etc) aren’t giving reliable input, that other code won’t work well, and… well, read the GritX review on several sites about hill splitter not always picking things up right. (Or Swim laps indoors being wildly off, my v800 on 20 laps, might miss one, and I have TERRIBLE form, so that’s a miracle).
      Sorry for the long post anyone who made it this far, these are just my perspectives, but Polar needs someone in charge of product dev that is actually listening, and has very rigorous product expectations to match what is being asked, and it just seems they don’t have that, or a team (or hardware) that can deliver anymore on the new hardware/code base.

  42. Tony

    As always, most amazing review Ray! Do you have any information on when it will be available (particularly in Canada). Also, do you have any idea when the Garmin 955 will be available? You are probably not allowed to say… Just wondering if it is worth to wait for the 955 (depending on how long that will be…).

    Thank you for all your most amazing work in your tests!


  43. Jens

    Have you noticed if Polar have fixad the problem with the step counter counting steps even though you have started an indoor sport profile workout? For example indoor cycling or a cross-trainer.

    On the Vantage M it does keep counting steps insisting I’ve walked thousands of steps while working out in the gym.

    • ChrisTexan

      This is by design, Polar isn’t a true “step-counter” (which is a poor way to track things as it ignores a lot of non-step related workout contributions). Instead, they are basically giving a “step-equivalent” to whatever activities you are doing.
      So it’s working correctly/by design. If you want a true pedometer, those are available at WalMart for like $10 (or a Fitbit, etc for a lot more, that doesn’t do any better other than integration with a website/app), which will track physical steps, but if you are doing something like wall-balls, bench press, etc, they aren’t going to track much of anything, even though you may be burning 700 calories an hour.

  44. Wayland

    Does this watch have audible feedback, like an Apple Watch when running for time, distance and pace or just a vibration?

  45. John McCurdy

    I’ve been waiting for an update from Polar for ages and I have to say having watched your video, I am really underwhelmed by what I see.

    In the next few weeks, one of these companies is going to get my money and with the recent jump with the apple watch series 6, then I think it is apple which is going to get it. Having played with one over the weekend, the speed of the watch is mind blowing. By comparison, watching you struggle on the video with the new V2 is embarrassing for them. For £450, I would expect something a lot fast than that. Plus the UX looks awful still, not to mention the screen still looks like a tamagotchi from the late 90s.

    The fact you can piece together a good running watch with apps on the apple watch or a biking watch with apps makes me wonder how Polar and Garmin are going to fare going forwards.

    The series 6, for sure seems to have chopped off the bottom end of Polar and Garmin watches. But their top end is too disparate and unwieldy.

    I genuinely (I really do) want a proper running / sports watch, but I feel spending £400-500 on a garmin or polar is pointless as I am buying old tech dressed up in newer colours.

    • Dirk

      I think you cannot compare the Apple Watch 6 with the Vantage V2. Look a battery life, for instance. You are not able to do really long rides with the AW. So for an endurance athlete the AW is simply no option.
      But you are right: The AW offers much more feature and of course a nicer user interface.

    • W/

      The AW sure has the newest features like oxygen saturation (SpO2) tracking, plus indeed a nicer interface.
      From runner’s perspective I think Polar (and Garmin) have the better equipment, data, user base, tracking and interpretation on it.

    • Nox Erin

      You’re correct that you can assemble a very nice sport watch with apps on the Apple Watch. If you’re looking for any particular features let me know. I’ve been using an Apple Watch alongside a Garmin or Polar since the S2, I’d be happy to offer recommendations.

      (I’m not an app developer, nor am I associated with any app developers. I’m just so bummed at Polar right now I want to actively help people find alternatives.)

    • Carlo

      What apps do you use?

    • Andreas

      “The fact you can piece together a good running watch with apps on the apple watch or a biking watch with apps”

      Nope, you can’t. Can you configure your own data pages on the apple watch? Do have third party apps have the always on display? And do I need to bring a charger, if I am longer than 2 hours outside?

      There you have your answers. It is maybe enough for people who want a smart watch and do some casual fitness stuff, but no more.

      You couldn’t even go on a weekend trip with an apple watch…

  46. neil

    I have owned 2 x 2nd hand M400s both costing approx. $US100. The first lasted 2 yrs before the charging port broke, my current one (3+yrs) is starting to loose battery life. Running 4-5x week offroad where GPS accuracy is important. I love Polar Flow and am reluctant to change, any strong opinions on a Vantage V original vs going new? The music feature is gimmicky. Have others gone to Garmin 745 and been happy? Thank you

  47. Esaiemo

    Hi! Is It possible to enter different routes/segments while recording a run/ride?

  48. Gns

    Hi Ray,

    An irrelevant question here if you don’t mind. Are you releasing the fitibit versa 3 review this week?
    I am really looking forward to know your thoughts on the watch.


  49. Greg Kimura

    Ray, I have a basic question regarding the buttons. Your review mentioned it retains the Vantage V vs. Grit X buttons, but adding a vibration. Does the V2 have a more positive feel when pressing than the V, like the Grit X? I found this a weakness of the V, such that I lost data from a trail race, when I thought I pressed start all the way, but didn’t.

    • It’s funny, I sat there one night pressing buttons between all three units – and ya know what: Aside from vibrations, it’s really tough to tell.

      And I think that’s because my Vantage 1 unit I have now isn’t one of the first few months batches. It’s one I picked up 4-6 months later, and I believe the mushier buttons were earlier on units before they fixed it. I still do like the Grit X style buttons better though.

    • Greg

      Thanks, Ray!

  50. Chris

    Loving your reviews Ray. I have been eyeing up the Vantage V to as I look to replace my Fitbit Charge 3 with a more functional smart watch and tracker – GPS, Open Water Swimming etc is what I am after.
    It seems a bit of a dead end to do so now, even with the fairly reasonable price offerings available (£350 inc a H10 bundled in). The V2 would make more sense from a supported perspective and despite looking nice seems to be premium price with a fair few caveats and points made from the other posters, it could mean moving to another eco system in a couple of years time on the next upgrade. Garmin seems a safer bet although I think the finish doesnt look as polished and a bit plasticy on the 745/945’s.
    Tough one

  51. Paul

    Can it show the “PM” time indicator for more than 60 seconds during any activity sessions? 😜

    My VVT can’t (always reverts to “AM”, no matter the time of day, once the first minute clicks over), and I’ve had an open support ticket with Polar for more than 7 months (they acknowledge the issue, just have no plans to fix 🙄)… wondering if they fixed it on the VV2?

  52. Steven K.

    Great write-up and as always, thank you for the work you do.
    * So for that crowd, this helps basically gives people what they want …
    * Still, Polar has at committed to more firmware

  53. mahmoud elbeh

    would you choose it over the new Garmin 745?

  54. Jan

    So Vantage M2 is not coming at all? Even the M1 version is great value for money (I don’t need a watch to tell me when to eat, drink or track my sleep), but the lack of navigation is a bummer in version 1. Otherwise my favourite watch.

  55. Sean K.

    Great review Ray!

    I wish Polar had taken a different approach. They could have added some HW based distinguishing features with the watch such as a brighter, bigger display. Then they could have provided those new software features in the V2 in later updates to the Grit X and Vantage V/M. That way the customer sees the value trade-off of going to the V2 for that new distinguishing HW feature. And for existing customers, especially Grit X owners of only 6 months, the software update is a nice way to extend the value of their recently purchased watch. It’s a win/win. Honestly, that’s more of the trend you see with Garmin and even recently with Coros. I don’t feel software gated updates is the way to go for Polar.

    • Marius Eggerud

      Fully agree. In my mind a huge mistake by Polar. They shouldn’t forget their existing customers. Especially Grit x users, the model is just 6 months old.

  56. Mats

    Do you know if it possible do a manual jump to the next phase in phase-based trainings?
    That can be done om M430 but not on VV.


    • Patrick

      If you mean Fitspark trainings, no you can’t.
      That’s why these trainings are not that much fun as they could be.
      It could be easily fixed but instead you get two additional watch faces. 🙂

    • kuifje777

      I would be surprised if that was possible with the V2.

      As you said it is not possible to skip a phase in structured workouts on the original Vantage V. It is also NOT possible on the Grit X, which I assume has a very similar firmware to the V2.

  57. Herbert


    any change to get a deep review or a how to guide for polar flow 😉 to understand all the features in depth?
    what can and what cannot be done with the platform? As someone who jumped onto the platform some month ago, it is still not clear what is what and what means what 🙂


  58. Oskars

    How does it adjust HR zones after taking the test? Does it still uses 90 80 70 60 50% based on the max HR, or does it set zone 5 to the anaerobic threshold and zone 3 to aereobic threshold values?

    • No, it doesn’t update the zones automatically unfortunately. It actually tells you at the end of the test that you should go to Polar Flow and take care of it yourself.

  59. Mats

    I don’t mean Fitspark (never heard of).
    I mean the phased trainings you can define in Polar Flow.


  60. Jochai van Bergen

    Thanks for the great review!

  61. Ola

    Great review Ray!

    Which GPS system(s) do you use when testing GPS accuracy? You usually have the option of selecting one or more (GPS, Glonass, Galileo and sometimes others). I assume you use the default setting.
    Depending on which GPS system you use and where on earth you do your test runs the accuracy must vary considerably.
    It seems to me that, from all the watches produced to date, you get the best GPS accuracy from the Polar V800. Do you agree? I live in Sweden and since Polar is produced “next door” perhaps it’s optimized for our region.

    • I generally go with the defaults, unless there’s a compelling reason otherwise.

      In general, the Polar V800 did very well – as did the Ambit 3 series. Since then, chipsets have changed (mainly to Sony), by all companies, and battery power has become more of a focus, so less power to the GPS chipsets.

      Still, I think we’re starting to see things creep back up to really good levels.

      Also, there are some areas that are clearly far better these days. For example, openwater swimming as seen in Garmin’s latest devices is just worlds ahead of anything we’ve *EVER* seen in the endurance sports world. So, it’s not all negative.

    • Nathan M.

      It almost seems like polar is great for people who are more technical with exercise science like myself, but it seems like they don’t have a polish to them that is good for the masses. I think people love auto calculations because not a lot of people I know want to ponder or tinker with things to make stuff work. They like how it “just works”. I hope this approach doesn’t hurt polar in the market, although it seems like it is, because as a tech lover myself of all these nerdy approaches to tracking fitness I like polars approach, despite the learning curve and large amount of time the user has to dedicate to the platform to use it.

  62. Czlowieniu

    Hi Ray
    Do you have any information about drills during swimming pool training – manually entering for meters after drills like in garmin.

  63. dizpark

    I am not a Vantage user (but we have a Grit X in the family). So no first hand experience with Vantage V1.

    But looking at the comments and having followed V1 ‘saga’, I suspect that many V1 users are not only interested in the ‘big ticket’ items (new SW functionality or better hardware but also (or rather), if the little things or gotchas that they have been complaining about in V1, have been fixed in V2.

    • Patrick

      Yeah, you’re right. What is particularly frustrating is that while new features are introduced that may be of interest to some individuals, the old features are not maintained.
      There are some nice features, but they are not fully developed or could work better with little effort.
      For example no notification during the training. (WTF!!)
      To use Follow Track you have to hit exactly the starting point or a given point, otherwise it won’t start.
      Back to Start is only a directional instruction as arrow.
      Auto Stop cannot be changed during the workout, etc.
      But with these small improvements you obviously don’t gain new customers from Polar’s point of view, only with new features.

      Translated with link to DeepL.com (free version)

  64. Mandla

    Hi Ray,

    I have to say that as V1 owner I am LIVID to what Polar has done – I am from a Polar V800 – I believe that the Vantage 1 was never a finished product – V1 has been out for two years and half that time we owners of the V1 were like Beta Testers – only now with the Vantage 2 the unit feels close to completion and is a good proposition over the old V800. I never went for the Vantage V – I went for Vantage M as it was a better value for money on features – I still have my old V800.
    With the hardware on both the Vantage V and Vantage M – what is stopping Polar from rolling out the features of the Vantage 2 – I understand that some of the features the need a barometer can’t be rolled out to the Vantage M but what about the Vantage V.
    Polar is chasing loyal customers away at this rate.
    I have been with Polar sine 2008.

    Thank You,

    • Liam

      I hear your pain Munz. I also went from v800 to VM, for most of same reasons as you.
      Whilst I also look back with nostalgia on the V800, I do recall it being in beta for roughly 18 months since launch.
      I’m broadly happy with my VM and after reading Rays review don’t see a compelling need to upgrade to the V2

    • Mandla

      Hey Liam,

      I agree with you – the V800 was being fine tuned for 18 months and and once complete it was a solid performer – also we had another 2yrs of enjoying the unit before a new unit was introduced – we did not have a V800 version 2 that polished the shortcomings and quirks of the original V800 – with the introduction of the Vantage V2 – the Vantage 1 is an almost forgotten product by Polar – if there is one thing I wish Polar would at least add now it would be the ability to look at your exercise averages such as (current distance, average heart rate, average pace) when your watch is on pause just like we had on the older units such as my RS200 of 2008.

      Good Day,

  65. Marcio c.

    The grit X is 6 months old and no longer receives updates and polar has already said that new features will not arrive. I don’t trust companies that make planned obsolescence. @polarglobal @polarbrasil

    • HN

      For real? The Grit X wont receive more updates?
      If so I am thoroughly disapointed!

    • kuifje777

      I do not think that this is what Polar actually said (or meant to say).

      See DCRainmaker’s comment:
      Question: Will any features from the new Polar Vantage V2 be rolled out in a firmware to the Polar Grit X?
      Answer: There are currently no plans to introduce the custom Polar Vantage V2 features to the Polar Grit X.

      In sum, they are not ruling out updates for the Grit X. However, it feels like Polar needs to be a little more specific here and tell Grit X users what to expect in order to not lose lots of goodwill from loyal Polar users. The perception here (and elsewhere on social media) is indeed that they have already abandoned the Grit X after a releasing it less than 6 months ago.

      I hope that this is not the case and that Polar will keep performance tests exclusive to the V2 as a differentiator but will bring other more general features (like the ability to hide certain watch faces) and potentially the ability to set power zones for workouts to the Grit X.

      Anyway, I hope that Polar will clarify this very soon as they should have anticipated this sentiment.

  66. Nils


    I’m looking into a new GPS watch for quite some time now. My Forerunner 935 developed some flaws over the last months – Elevation is to high in 95% of the time and sometimes totally off (up to 250% increase), heart rate readings are inaccurate especially in colder conditions (I had a intervall session this week and always when I picked up the pace for my 1200m reps the HR actually fell down for the time of the rep. Interestingly the watch seemed to catch the right HR again everytime I finished a rep and got into the rest phase). Both are things that bother me alot, but Garmin isn’t willing to offer a replacement as I’m out of the warranty period.

    I initially planned to wait for the Forerunner 955 (especially the leaked LTE version – I hope for a possibility to send an emergency notification without needing a phone nearby). But as things get worse with my current Garmin, prices seem to creep up again with the new iterations. After releasing the 745 for 499€ I’m afraid the 955 will be 699€ at least. And no release date is on the horizon. Therefore I’m thinking of ditching Garmin and go for an Apex Pro or the new Vantage V2.

    I’m really curious about the power on wrist of the Vantage V2 and what you write in your review sounds really promising. But what scares me away is the lack of maps in comparison to Garmin as I’m hiking and trailrunning a lot. I learned to love the Strava route explorer lately and the easy export from the Strava routes to my Garmin watch. Do you know if that’s possible with the VV2 / Apex Pro? I’m hopefull that the navigation is atleast no step back from my 935.

    Long story short: What would be your suggestion for a new GPS watch right now? Vantage 2, Apex Pro and 945 are all in the same price range here in Germany right now. The 955 would be probably 200 more. The Coros Pace 2 on the other hand sounds great as well at a much cheaper price range, but this one has no navigation at all, right? I don’t care for swim metrics at all and on an occasional biking session GPS is all I need. My main focus would be running, trail running and hiking.

    I would appreciate your advice!

    All the best!

  67. Babis

    In terms of training insights and muscle load, training suggestions etc, could you please tell us according to your opinion, if Garmin FR745 is equivalent to Polar Vantage V2? Does the user take the same “amount” of information and also guidance? I am a disappointed Suunto user (Suunto 9 was the last one) ready to migrate to either polar or garmin, but info regarding the training guidance is not clear to me.

    Thank you and thanks for the great in-depth review of vantage v2!

  68. Kirk

    Apologies in advance if this has been covered before, but is there any way to bring data from Garmin Connect into Polar Flow that can be used for Recovery Pro, etc? I use an Edge 530 for bike rides and am considering getting the Vantage V2 for running, but from what I’ve read you can only use RunGap or other similar apps to bring the activity into Polar Flow, but it does not add anything to Time in Zones and the synced workout will also not receive a Running Index score and will also not add to your daily activity. Is that accurate? Thanks for a great review, as always!

    • Nick K

      Recovery Pro uses orthostatic test and Training Load Pro for its analysis. If you are using RunGap and have one of Polar devices that support Training Load Pro (like V1 or Grit or whatever), when you import via RunGap, the workouts should get TRIMP scores and be displayed in Cardio Load report. At least, this is how it works for me. From that point onward, all Polar recovery features — Recovery Pro or Night Recharge — are aware about your training load.

      Running Index, daily activity, and heart rate zones are only calculated when you use Polar devices. Not unlike Garmin which also only provides physio/activity metrics for workouts captured on its devices.

    • Kirk

      Thanks, Nick! Re-reading my comment I realized I wasn’t very clear what I was asking, so appreciate you deciphering it! Sounds like you can bike with Garmin and run with Polar and have it sort of work in Polar Flow, which is exactly what I hoping for.

    • Nick K

      This setup works for me. In the early V days, I had an issue when several workouts captured on V didn’t get TRIMP scores but got Polar legacy strain instead. I complained. Somebody threw a few switches in the backend, and since then all RunGap imports get TRIMP and are part of Cardio Load reports, which lets me switch between Polar, Garmin, and COROS. Not sure if it’s me, or Polar is just nice and crunching TRIMP for everything, like Runalyze.

      I do lose Polar proprietary stuff like Running Index, Energy Sources, heart rate zones, so it’s not perfect. But for training load/recovery, this works great.

    • flokon

      Recovery Pro/Nightly Recharge don’t take your Training Load into account! They’re merely measuring “morning readiness”. RP uses an orthostatic test, as such does not take strain into account, and nightly recharge only looks at HRV and sleep metrics. That’s why Recovery Pro is such a bad substitute for the old Recovery Status, which calculated your readiness on the fly from all your HR data.

    • Kuifje777

      I choose to just record the activity with both my Garmin 530 and my Grit X at the same time as both can be connected to my H10 concurrently.

      This gives you the best of both worlds.

    • Nick K

      @ flokon re: Recovery Pro, etc

      I don’t think you are correct. Both the updated Recovery Pro based on shortened orthostatic test, and Night Recharge looking at 4-window HR/HRV/breathing will use your training load. If you aren’t fully recovered, you will see something like “You have been training a lot lately, it’s ok to take the day off”. Likewise, if you are fully recovered, you might get “You’re good to go. However, you’ve been training a lot lately, so trust your gut feeling” (this is verbatim, I’m looking at the phone and Night Recharge status right now)

  69. Frankwin Aerden

    Hey Ray,

    Great review. For me Polar nailed it. I was hoping for a watch with more testing ability.
    This watch has it all. Now at last i can validate my trainingplans.
    – every day fitnesstest, based on HRV
    – every day orthostetic recover test, based on HRV trend
    – monthly VO2 max test for running and for cycling
    all in one platform

    Ray, do you think there wil be a V2 Titan in the future?

    Polar you made me happy. You just put in things that make sense and helps me to achieve my goals.
    Wath the heck i pre-order a V2 now and if there wil be a V2 Titan i buy it for sundays.

  70. Kusi

    Vantage M, Vantage V, Grit X Vantage V2 – only minimal differents in technology, appearance and software features. Sorry, but for this price it’s not enough. It’s embarassing, that there ist still no 02-measurement, no music on the watch itself and no real maps like on garmin F6. The best on polar is their marketing on instagram and not their products.

  71. Max T

    I own a polar ignite. Is it worth it to upgrade to this or a comparable Garmin? Or some other watch? I need accurate hr tracking. Don’t care about GPS at all. I use the ignite for tracking heart rate and somewhat calories burned in tennis, running, and gym training. I like tracking and getting as much data as possible other than GPS. Anything related to my training. I literally track every calorie I eat as it’s very important for performance. I compete on a pro level in tennis.

    So, any recommendations? Should I look into a watch upgrade? Or maybe a an arm or chest strap paired to my ignite would be better? Thanks for any recommendations.

  72. Arne Bruening

    Interesting review as always, many thanks agin. Being a loyal Polar customer for years, especially because I like Polar Flow, I won’t invest into the V2 right now. I don’t care for the new tests. The music controls are something I could have liked, but now I invested in a pair of earbuds with music controls, so I have no need for the controls on the watch anymore. Especially as I expect the music control from my earbuds being easier than fiddling on the screen while running.
    So what leaves it for me is trading slightly better GPS accuracy for slightly worse OHR accuracy. Maybe they patch the OHR over time, Polar watches always need 2-3 patches. It is lighter, but I got used to the VV’s weight while running and I use an Ignite for every days usage. And a slightly better screen, what I like because the screen is still my main complaint with the VV.
    So I will probably wait for the price to drop. The old VV is around € 330,-, for that price I might do the upgrade and give my VV to a family member.

  73. Adam

    The original vantage just finished getting software (like Strava segments) it promised at LAUNCH less than half a year ago, as well as feature their cheaper polar ignite had. I don’t really want to deal with polar anymore, they’re just good enough, which doesn’t cut it at the pricepoint.

  74. Glenn Ayala

    I am new to triathlon. Looking at Garmin 745 and Polar Vantage 2. I do have a small wrist which would make the 745 an ideal watch for me. But I have used Polar in the past. Could you tell me which of these watches is the better one to get. I am really confused.

    • Nico G

      I have a small wrist, and at this price point, the 945 is the better option because you can easily find it for less than €/$ 500. I use the 945 as bike computer as it has most of the metrics of a Garmin edge and maps. I used to have Polar but Garmin is overall more reliable in term of sensors and it just works. It is not perfect but pretty good. Polar has a better interface, better build quality but sensors wise is ‘hit and miss’.
      Coros Pace 2, it is a very good choice as well. Probably to start training for Triathlon I will go for that one.

  75. Hans Behringer

    Is it possible that the RR interval (HRV) can now be displayed on the watch again during training? That was the case with the V800 and I always missed it with the Vantage V1.

  76. Christian

    Wonder how durable the black anodised aluminium is compared to DLC. Does anyone have any Info?

  77. Donie Gibson

    Brilliant review Ray – any idea if there is going to be added features to the Grit X with a firmware update ? For me it’s a much better looking watch than the V2.

    • No, there’s no for that. According to the Q&A document I received from Polar.

      “Question: Will any features from the new Polar Vantage V2 be rolled out in a firmware to the Polar Grit
      Answer: There are currently no plans to introduce the custom Polar Vantage V2 features to the Polar Grit X.”

    • Donie Gibson

      I would think this might piss loyal customers off eventually. They can’t offer what Garmin can such as onboard music so surely it would make sense to keep customers happy !! And ….. ANT+ !!!

  78. Michael

    Hi there
    Does the Vantage V 2 has power smoothing (choosanle between 1-60seconds) on the bike? The V800 have it but not the Vantage V. This is the main thing that will make me buy this watch. The other new things are pretty cool but not so important.

  79. Phil

    Would you change the Polar vantage Titan for a Polar vantage V2 ?

    • Just depends on whether or not you want to pay for the added features. It’s effectively the same equation as the non-Titan V1 model, except that you’d lose the Titanium look. I do think the V2 look is nicer than the V1 look though, so that may sway things.

  80. Hanna Bayoud

    Great review as usual. Been wrestling with an issue even Polar never answered me or tried to help me. This review shed a light on my issue but would like to hear your 2c. I am 57 taking beta blockers which as you know screws up all my heart rate zones. So I lowered my max to 150 but I feel it might be off … there is no science behind that and through research max will decrease between 10-15 beats … my question will V2 through these new tests can help me better determine my zones … and does it automatically adjust the heart rates zones after the tests ….

    I am sure many people my age take beta blockers but I could not find a reliable source of how to deal with this issue.

    Thank you for any advice on this …

    • Hi Hanna-

      Thanks! It doesn’t automatically adjust the zones after the test, rather, it suggests an adjustment of zones and tells you to do it yourself.

      I’m not sure how exactly beta blockers would impact the teste HR zones versus suggested ones. Though, my guess would be that your tested ones would show your submaximal/maximal ranges as-is, so in effect, the actual ones you should use. But maybe there’s some catches there I’m not aware of.


    • Hanna Bayoud

      Thanks for your input … will hold off on V2 until further notice or anyone want a gritx 😉

  81. Hans Behringer

    Hi Ray,
    is it possible that the RR interval (HRV) can now be displayed again on the watch during exercise? That was the case with the V800 and I’ve always missed it with the Vantage V1. Many thanks for the answer!

  82. JensB

    Problem is that something is messed up with how the Vantage calculates reaching daily goals.

    It uses steps for that, not the data generated if i start a Walking Sport profile that uses GPS.

    I have Level 3 set for goals (the highest) and some days my Vantage says I’ve reached my goals after lazy 8000 steps.

    Doesn’t really matter though, I’m going back to a Garmin again .. where I can set the goals for Steps/Intensity Minutes/Floors and not some weird Level 1-3 which are inconsistent and can’t be edited 🙂

    • Fred


      Polar doesn´t use steps to calculate your daily activity goal at all. It is more complete than just that. Polar uses HR and the triaccelerometer to measure total movement in all three planes and the effect on your heart rate.

      Read the manual and support articles and you will understand how it works.

  83. Pete

    Concerning navigation, it is a bit unclear to me if you can see the completed and total ascent during the workout. For example, when you follow a route, it would be nice to see that your ascents are 1000m far and there are 500m more ascents to come. Would make it mentally easier to know that the worst part is behind you!

    Do Polar Grit X or Vantage V2 show that – or any other watches?

    • fneu

      On both watches there are data fields for completed ascent and descent of the current run. But they don’t show total ascent/descent of the chosen route you’re navigating, so you’d have to, i.e., look at the total ascent and descent of your route in komoot and memorize that.

    • Pete

      Thanks a lot!

  84. Marcela Nov

    Hi. Great review, as always!! Thank you very much!! I’m a polar user from years. I have gone through polar loop, m400, m430 and ignite. I’m very disappointed with the ignite because of its poor battery life, awful strap between other things. I still have my m430 and I use it more because of its battery like. I was thinking to upgrade to a vantage. But after what I have read, there are some things that makes me look at a Garmin Forerunner 245 like, for example, the price, and, in comparison to my Ignite, the possibility to pair speed and cadence sensors, low or high hear rate alerts. I think Polar is missing the point omitting things like this.

    • Jouko

      For many years ago I had Forerunner 235 (was it the first wrist HR in prize level sensible for normal fitness). In cross-country skiing it was fully useless – showed hearth rate for example 35, when it was about 150. Not only beginning, but after 30 minutes; no help keeping the meter in warm under sleeve of jacket. Vantage does it well, all time of up to 10 hours trips which I love to ski and snowshoe walk in forests, on ice of lakes etc.

      But Vantage (too) can’t know your step frequency from your wrist, when you rise your forearm in front of you and keep it therein (and your stepping is non-swinging-body type) – the reading decreases from 80+ to 60… very soon.

  85. Gordon Judd

    Hi Ray,

    great review – as always. Can you say anything about how the the V2 battery lasts compared with the V1 when in normal daily training use? I had the original V1 and it seemed to last 3-4 days.

    • It’s always a bit tough to tell, since one has to balance how much GPS time you’re putting into it, and, in my case how many random filming/etc time as well. But I’d say closer 4-5 days.

  86. Michael

    Now i know how polar call in cycling prifil “power smoothing”. They say “power rolling average” (see the pics)
    Just on the watch V800 you can change the settings., not in flow of the app. Somehow polar missed to intrgrate this into the Vantage V.
    Does anybody know if the Vantage V2 can do this again.
    It is the main criteria to buy or not to buy the watch.

    I hope some can help me.

  87. Does it have a last (auto) lap data field?

    More info when pressing lap or pause button would be welcome as well.

    Was really hoping that Polar in developing the V2 would appeal to their original userbase and fill in the gaps with the v800

    • fneu

      yes, you can add the following metrics about the previous lap or auto lap to your data fields: pace, time, distance, HR avg.

    • Steve De Doncker

      Are you for real?

      Do you have one linked in your Flow Online because I don’t see it (have only the VV1 and v800 linked)? Didn’t know they were already shipping.

      Can anyone confirm this? Willing to “upgrade” if last lap fields are back.

    • fneu

      Yes this is definitely the case. I ordered one after reading about the last lap metrics here: link to the5krunner.com

      I tried it and it works, screenshot attache.

      No other review mentions this, and I guess that’s because it is kinda hidden,
      but it’s a big deal for me, too.

    • Steve De Doncker

      Hey man, that’s great news!
      Thanks Fneu!

  88. Alex

    Does it show your heart rate in real time while swimming? Or which of the new models of devices shows the heart rate in real time when swimming?

  89. Devin Cashmna

    Wondering what kind of glass they used – same as the v2 or different?

  90. Kirk

    I’m sure this question will be somewhat “controversial”, but thoughts on upgrading to the VV2 from a Garmin Fenix 5 Plus Sapphire? I mainly use the watch for running and hiking (not as a daily watch) and as mentioned in a previous post, use a Garmin 530 for cycling, I like the lighter weight, better design (personal opinion, of course), recovery aspects, and Polar Flow integration of the VV2 , but not sure worth the upgrade. I almost always run with my phone, too so music onboard not a deal breaker. Thanks!

    • Honestly, I think that’d largely be a downgrade. Though, I suspect you know that based on the intro portion of your question. 😉

      I think if you’re looking for the recovery aspects you could basically get that with a FR745 for the same price, which keeps you getting all your cycling data contributing to it from your Edge 530. It also has deeper hiking integration. The other thing to remember is you’d lose maps also (plus the music as you mentioned).

      In general, while Polar’s recovery bits are more forward in the app/watch, they actually aren’t substantially different than Garmin’s in terms of what each company provides. They just provide it differently. I suppose that’s probably an opportunity for me to try and explain/compare the two. I probably could try and also do it with Suunto/COROS, but realistically Polar/Garmin are just so much further ahead by comparison.

    • Ville

      Lightweight and sleek Vantage V2 is from a different world compared to heavy and massive Fenix 5. I used to have Fenix 3, which was way too big to sleep with. My current Vantage V is much better in that sense, and Vantage V2 will be even smaller and lighter. So if you want a watch that you can wear 24/7, then I would get VV2.

      Of course Forerunners are an option, but I also personally prefer Polar design and Polar Flow ecosystem after using Garmin Connect.

  91. Frankwin Aerden

    Hi Ray,

    Tip: You have forgotten to place the Polar Vantage V2 in depth review in the list of Polar reviews on your site.


  92. Yevgenus

    VV2 still uses the same chip?(Sony GNSS)

  93. Jouko

    DCR, you missed, magnetic compass is a new from V. The widget seems to show direction great – you can lock the desired direction and it shows how you are going compared to the locked one. V has been good the 23 months I have used it; my son will get it very soon (I just ordered V2 from Polar).

    Ok, everybody makes mistakes. Correrunamaraton.com says “New metal buttons (such as the Polar Grit X)” – but the buttons are metal like in V (very good ones, no need to change)

    What I’d like (concerning all wrist gadgets) is buttons on up and down sides, not left and right. Because when you turn your hands in front of you, there were no need to bend your wrist at all to press buttons.

    • The original Vantage V actually had a magnetic compass all along, it just wasn’t utilized until Vantage Update 5.0, when they added compass calibration.

      Cheers 🙂

    • Jouko

      Are you sure?

      “Compass calibration” in V may be something of calibration of other sensors.

      link to polar.com
      Compass Vantage V: No, Vantage V2: Yes

      Compass information (? -button): “The compass on your Polar product is viewable in training mode when you’ve added it to the sport profiles you wish to see it in. Add the compass view to the sport profiles of your choosing on the Polar Flow web service.”

      I have had system version 5.1.4 since March 2020, and there is NO OPTION of compass in flow.polar.com/settings/sports, not in any category (speed, time, body measuring(? in english), trip, environment, whole display).

      The ‘back to to start point’ is something newer I found for some months ago. If I just stand (not walk/run/…) and not turn around my vertical axis, but turn my hand from front of me to beside, the “compass” does not update the direction where my start point is. A real compass needle turns, sure.


      BTW 1
      link to support.polar.com
      “Note that this is the final major firmware update for Vantage V and Vantage M. No more new features will be added.”

      BTM 2
      My wife has Grit. Grit does not have the inaccuracy of extra 10-20 meters elevation variation. Some minor distance deviations found, too.

    • I’m about 95% sure. For a few reasons:

      A) Polar usually validates all the tech spec/product comparison database bits within a day of review, and did so for the original Polar Vantage V (and Grit X). They’ll send me any corrections, if applicable. Though usually, I work ahead of time to confirm any ‘unknown’s in the product database. All companies are pretty good about helping to get that filled in accurately.

      B) This: link to reddit.com

      It’s definitely a compass calibration screen, that’s the point of the figure-8. My guess on Polar’s site is simply that it was never updated after launch.


    • Jouko


      dcrainmaker /2018/12/polar-vantage-v-multisport-review.html
      Garmin Forerunnes 935: Magnetic
      Polar Vantage M: n/a
      Polar Vantage V: n/a
      Suunto 9 Baro: Magnetic

      I understand very well, if Polar accepted your written data about the compass existence.


      What in “https://www.reddit.com/r/Polarfitness/comments/evlsj8/does_the_vantage_v_have_a_compass_after_all/”
      tells you, that VV1 has a magnetic compass?
      I think they talk about any compass or something gadget&method used to get know geographical direction.
      frankts75: “why does it have to be calibrated like a ‘traditional’ electronic compass?”
      ThousandPrism: “and there’s definitely a compass (or some other direction sensing device) in the V”

      In real magnetic compass there is no need for calibrating. Declination variation must be set based on location (and time – magnetic poles are moving fast), and I would not use the term calibrating when it’s question of re-magnetization.

      I’ll have a hard working week again (several 100-110 hours week behind), so you will not get me “play” again for a period of x days.

      But Thank You for your researches overall!


    • Paul Colby

      Yes, as Jouko said, magnetic compasses don’t need calibrating (compensation, sure, but not calibration, at least not at a domestic level). GPS based compasses do. They need that 3D figure-8 movement (which is hard to do when on your wrist, and even harder when already mounted on your bike!! 😉

      The VVT always forced my to do the figure-8 at that start of any guided session (the V800 most of the time too), so they’re clearly using GPS compasses. If the V2 has a magnetic compass (as Polar indicates), that this would a significant hardware improvement over VVT for my use-case (I use route guidance quite a bit) – probably the only thing that could make me consider upgrading.

      Some useful background reading re calibrating GPS compasses:
      * link to physics.stackexchange.com
      * link to s3sensor.com


  94. Steven

    Could you please comment how gps accuracy of the new vantage v2 compares to that of the original vantage?

  95. Nathan M.

    I have more of a question about polars platform than the V2. The last time I used polar flow was back in May when I was testing the Grit X. My last workout in polar flow was on May 29th. Every workout I’ve done on my Garmin Edge and Fenix 6 are in Garmin Connect/ Run Gap. Run Gap has every single workout from every device I own and is the only place that has all of them, besides training peaks as well. My question is, how can I use either run gap or another piece of software to export a custom date range of workouts to polar flow? I’m interested in testing the V2 but want my workouts to be up to date in polar flow. I only need to export every workout from May 30th onward. Run Gap seems to only allow individual workout by workout exports or an export of all my workouts (the thousands of them) at once. Anyone else experience this?

    • Jouko

      Exporting one or all, nothing between them – I have experienced it too, and it’s stupid. In Polar Flow, no sum/average/… data of the trainings you may poorly filter. I don’t want to buy extra services to get that data. That was the reason I did some java&excel training (based on all my training data from Polar in json format of those days).

    • John Spitz

      three dots at the right top of rungap -> Filter -> start date (in your case May 30th) ->Done -> you then see only your workouts from May 30th onwards -> 3 dots at the bottom ->Use filter ->share (in your case to polar flow -> DONE 🙂

    • Nathan M.

      Thank you! That fixed it all up I had no idea you could filter them!

  96. Martin31

    These marks on bezel at position 8:30 on each photo… is this kind of mechanical damage? Looks not too robust.. And question for darker version… if there is any scratch, is there the same color “inside” the material or is it just dark surface and if removed, there is color of aluminium? Thx. Nice review btw, thx!

    • I routinely whack my watches on various surfaces, mostly cause I’m clumsy. I don’t remember what exactly I scraped it on. The DCR Cave is mostly concrete, and my guess is I turned a corner too tight and clipped it…which…umm…happens a lot.

      It’s a bit of a whitesigh/silevery color under it.

  97. Blu

    I own a Polar Ignite which I am quite happy with, but it really lacks GPS tracking when swimming in open water. There is no way to record a decent track, even with the latest firmware update. I would like to know if the Vantage V2 has the same big flaw. Great review, as always 😉

  98. Mikko

    Hi, do you know from which weather service the Flow app gets the weather data from?

  99. Michael

    Does the bracekets fits between avantage V and V2?

  100. Robert Walczyński

    I was fan of Polar (V800, Vanatge) for ages … but recently I bought Garmin Phenix. And frankly speaking, Polar is not match to Grmin. Forget Polar, buy Garmin. You want be dissatisfied, even for higher price. Probably I will never go back to Polar :-(.

  101. Alex

    Does it show your heart rate in real time while swimming?? Or which of the new models of devices shows the heart rate in real time when swimming?