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Polar’s Vantage V2 SHIFT & Red Models + Unite & Grit X Features Firmware Update

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In addition to today’s new Polar Grit X Pro & Pro Titan models that Polar announced, they also announced two additional Polar Vantage V2 models – the SHIFT & Red editions. Further, these models, as well as existing Vantage V2 models, get a firmware update that takes the new features introduced on the Grit X Pro today and adds them to the entire Vantage V2 family.

Meanwhile, the existing GRIT X gets many, albeit not all, of the new Grit X Pro features. And finally, the Unite gets a slate of features promised earlier in the year.

Got all that? No? Good, that’s the point of this post – so you can keep reading then. Efficiency will be the name of the game here.

Vantage V2 SHIFT:

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First up is the new Vantage V2 SHIFT model. This is the same internally (software and hardware) as the existing Vantage V2 that came out almost exactly a year ago. However, now you can swap any 22mm band onto it. This SHIFT version though comes with the leather band, as well as the sport band.

Best I can tell it’s the same band (including red accents) that come with the Grit X Pro Titan. Here’s a little gallery of it all:

And again, this is the same unit as the existing Vantage V2 internally, but with the new software update expected to release to all Vantage V2 owners as of October 20th.

The price on this one is $549, and there are actually three different SHIFT color options:

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However, interestingly, Polar is also making an adapter bundle available for existing Vantage V2 owners that want to get the removable/standard strap option. Previously you could change the Polar Vantage V2 straps out, but only for other proprietary straps. This now means you can use any 22mm strap you want. There’s approximately one gazillion of them on Amazon.

Here’s what Polar had to say about that bundle:

“The all-new SHIFT™ Edition Bundle is available for all existing Polar Vantage V2 owners. The parts included in the bundle allow Polar Vantage V2 users to update their current watch into a SHIFT™ Edition and seamlessly swap out their current wristbands for any other 22mm Polar wristband. These wristband options include the stylish perforated leather wristband and the premium FKM wristband”

I don’t see that listed quite yet on Polar’s site, but I’m guessing this will show up on October 20th as well. The price will be $49USD.

Vantage V2 Red:

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Meanwhile, we’ve got one of my favorites – the Vantage V2 Red edition. Now, to be clear, this isn’t technically a PRODUCT(RED) unit. It’s just a red unit (the difference being PRODUCT(RED) units benefit that charity).

Here’s a gallery of that:

Again, same hardware as previously Vantage V2 – just very very red.

Also, you can see this unit is also pre-loaded with the new Vantage V2 firmware coming on October 20th, which now includes all the new GRIT X PRO features, such as the compass/altimeter watch face. Watch as my iPhone struggles to render this photo correctly. I suppose the sunburst and flaming red colorway threw it for a loop.

VantageV2RedOutside

The pricing on this is $499USD (same as regular Vantage V2) and is slated to show up for sale on October 20th.

Unite, Vantage V2, Grit X Firmware Updates:

Finally, there’s three different firmware updates in play here. We’ve got the Polar Unite firmware that actually dropped a bit over a week ago. Then there’s the Vantage V2 firmware coming October 20th. And finally, a Grit X (original) firmware coming by end of year.

Here’s what’s in each one. First up is the Polar Unite firmware update:

  • HR sensor mode
  • Weekly training summary
  • New watch face styles and colors
  • Energy sources summary
  • User selectable watch faces
  • Customizable Quick settings menu
  • Activity Goal reached animation
  • Current distance and exercise time displayed in Pause mode
  • Other minor updates and bug fixes

Then there’s the slated Polar Vantage V2 firmware update (officially firmware version 3.0), coming on October 20th. While Polar has the official list below, know that it’s actually a lot more than that – as there’s tons of nuanced features of the Grit X Pro that come into this, such as zooming on maps and such.

  • Adds new sunrise/sunset/daylight/etc dashboard
  • Adds new altimeter/compass/GPS coordinates dashboard
  • Adds new Route selection profile page (with map, elevation profile, hydration/nutrition reminders in one spot)
  • Adds new in-workout route elevation profile page
  • Adds further ‘back to start’ routing options including reverse route, beeline, and traditional track back
  • Adds ability to load route mid-workout
  • Adds ability to change brightness setting
  • Adds HR sharing
  • Adds Music Controls
  • Adds Backlight brightness setting

Again, it’s totally likely the above major features list misses some of the nuance of the massive list of tiny Grit X Pro features, but in short – everything there is coming in the Vantage V2 (so if you see it anywhere, it should be on the V2 as well by October 20th).

And finally, here’s the original Polar Grit X firmware update list, as slated for ‘by end of year’. This list is longer because I went back and forth with Polar getting a complete list of exactly everything that’s coming (and what’s not). Whereas for the Vantage V2 firmware update it was basically “everything on the Polar Grit X Pro”.

  • Adding Music controls
  • Adding Running performance test
  • Adding Possibility to change route during the training session
  • Adding HR Sharing/Broadcasting mode
  • Adding Weekly-summary watch face view
  • Adding Power based training targets
  • Adding ZonePointer for power and speed zones
  • Adding Last lap details to training views
  • Adding Ability to turn off your watch
  • Adding Ability to perform a factory reset on the watch
  • Adding “Your name” watch face view
  • Adding Ability to manually skip a phase during phased session
  • Adding See the distance covered and time elapsed when pausing a session
  • Adding Silence a phone call from the watch
  • Adding Fully customizable quick settings menu which conveniently gives you access to flight mode, do not disturb, alarm, and the countdown timer by swiping down from the top of the display in time view.

Oh, and because I forgot to mention it – the Unite model got a new teal and red color options (two different ones) – both $149USD.

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There ya go, that’s it. See, neat and tidy!

Thanks for reading!

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37 Comments

  1. russell r glerum

    first, thanks for the info.

  2. Steven from Germany

    I am a simple man. I Have no Polar Watch, no interest in buying outside Garmin ecosystem. I see a new review on DCR about a new Polar watch, i read it in full. I see a new article on Polar FW updates, i read it in full.
    Am i crazy?
    😉

  3. Manson

    Hey Ray,

    What do those four humps at the caseback do? I guess they will affect HR accuracy on the “bonely” wrists.

    • It’s part charging port, and part skin contact sensor. They were introduced back on the original Vantage V1/M1 series. In that case, accuracy was generally very good.

      Polar changed their optical sensor pieces (not the bumps, but the other pieces) for the Grit X/V2/Grit X Pro, and in that case, I (along with virtually every other reviewer) has seen a decrease in accuracy unfrotunatey.

  4. Yonah

    From a practical standpoint, and aside from the HW differences:
    – What S/W updates will not be on the Grit x that are on the Grit X Pro? (The new watch faces? Tests? Recovery Pro?)

    – Once the Firmware is updated, the only differences between the VV2 and the Grit X Pro is cosmetics?

    • Steve

      So basically, the original Grit X isn’t getting is the cycling running, leg recovery test, orthostatic test, and the new reverse route features. Nor the elevation profile aspects pre/mid-route, or the Recovery Pro pieces from the V2. And finally, not the daylight or compass dashboards.

      That is what I gather from Ray’s other post published today (on the Grit X Pro).

      For VV2 and Grit X Pro, it is purely cosmetic, save 22m strap compatability out of the box for the Grit X Pro.

    • MarcZ

      No, thats wrong, it isnt purely cosmetic!
      The Grit X Pro has Saphire Glas and the V2 has Gorilla
      The V2 has a lightsensor, the Grit X Pro doesn´t

      Also I think, the software/firmware is different. I have big issues with sleeptracking with the Grit X Pro. No Problems with V2

      Regards from Germany
      Marc

  5. Filipe

    What about the Vantage M2? It seems quite strange that since it has been released, almost no firmware updates or even new features have been released.

  6. Gerald

    So Ant+ will never ever come to Polar watches?

    • That’s really up to Polar to decide. Best I understand it from various folks, the hardware is fully capable of it. It’s “merely” a software update.

      (And yes, I fully understand merely is a lot of work.)

    • GarminGuyButNotAFanBoy

      Garmin is likely causing a bunch for ant+ connectivity and Polar (along with Coros) are saying no thank you. Playing the long game of supporting more bluetooth channels eventually.

    • Except Polar and COROS both use ANT+ elsewhere. COROS already confirmed the only reason they didn’t put ANT+ on the Vertix 2 was that the combo chipset they were using for a different component didn’t have it, not because of any other reason.

      Meanwhile, Polar rolled it out to new products (the Verity Sense) this past year.

    • GarminGuyButNotAFanBoy

      The difference is the Verity Sense is an accessory not a watch. Polar is selling 80% of these watches to hikers, casual runners, gym goers, etc. If they don’t have to give a portion of those sales to Garmin that’s a win for them. The accessories are a different market for the more dedicated users so they need to include ant+.

      I do think they should include ant+ on the high end watches as those are more for triathlon and cycling types.

    • Mclongy

      The license is $0.08 per device. A lot of us with endless Bluetooth pairing woes on Vantage devices wish Polar would do the work and enable the ANT+ hardware. It’s there on the chip.
      The only real reason I can think of is the amount of storage on these watches is pretty small and I wonder how much bloat adding support would add to the code and the SoC load while in an activity…
      I’ve more or less decided to move to Garmin when UK gets the 945LTE or future 955

    • Kuifje777

      I think that the reason is basically limited development resources, which forces Polar to be super selective. It feels like they have chosen not to actively go after cyclists as they have not updated their bike computers for a really long time.

      In addition, if you look at their support for power meters and trainers via Bluetooth, this has also been spotty for a long time. My Kickr Core reported wrong power numbers for the Vantage V and Grit X. This has only been fixed in the V2 but this problem had been around for years. Also, there is very little in terms of cycling-specific analytics in Flow.

      This tells me that Polar does not see cyclists (nor triathletes for that matter) as their key demographic. Interestingly, the V2 was promoted by a race car driver during the launch event, which I thought was odd given the focus of the watch.

  7. Bob Loukos

    Thank you for the updates and the review on the grit x pro in previous post! Something I miss from your reviews though, is the “comparison” (if I may say) between the watches in certain categories. For instance, I am equally interested in vantage v2 and the forerunner 745 but I have no watch from neither garmin nor from polar. I just have several suunto watches.
    So, in terms of training perspective (as a “category”) how would you rate polar vantage v2 and garmin fr745? We know that you use fr 745 because it is your goto thing and it does what you want pretty good, but from a purely training perspective, for instance, according to your opinion, how would you rate those watches?
    Thank you sir!

  8. L.Janssens

    I like the “HR sensor” update for the Unite! Unfortunately, my Ignite still lacks this feature, which would be great for ie Indoor Rides (Zwift, Rouvy, etc). Anyone knows why?

  9. Cyrille

    For a long time I am a Polar aficionados and I was a very satisfied V800 owner (and early adopter with the Polar presentation tour in France).
    The Vantage v1 don’t push me to change but to analyse my use… Was it possible to have a tracker that could sync to my V800 data’s for rest of the day ?
    I asked Polar for a tool like this but it was not in their roadmap.
    Today I am still expecting to get one day a “day/night tool” that could analyse my rest/recovery time after sport without wearing a 47mm watch at work… Something like the Polar A370 but dedicated to recovery and sleep !
    Still waiting.

    I don’t understand why they don’t go on this kind of option.
    2 or more devices that could communicate, share and read data from PolarFlow would be great no ?

    A Grit X Pro when I go for sport and a A370 for calculating recovery the rest of the day… my hope one day

    • Tashi Sherpa

      That’s exactly what I want too. Itcs shame to hear they have no interest in it.

      I’d be in for both a top end watch and a companion device if they did release such a product. Most of the time I want to wear a full on smartwatch or a nice mechanical one (and some days no watch) and no watch while sleeping. Then have a fitness watch mainly for sport, but also for long weekends, etc.

      For a while I tried a few other companies, but having data in disparate places (even within the same company’s ecosystem) was just not that helpful. So I gave up and now am still on an M600 for exercise and a smartwatch/mechanical watch for day use.

  10. Matti

    I have a somewhat related comment…i own and love the Polar Vantage V2 and have wanted to buy a Polar cycling GPS computer similar to what Wahoo offer with the Roam. It looks Polar made and abandoned the V650 Does anyone know if they will offer anything similar again? The M460 doesn’t appeal to me – I’d rather got for the Roam/Bolt.

    Thank you!

  11. pantelis

    Hi,exist firmware update and for the polar ignite?if yes add energy sources?

  12. Mahdi

    Hi
    Very nice update 👍
    I use vantage v2 and love it ❤️
    But I and many other user have big problem with decimal numbers of distance. They’re not clearly visible while running. ( I’m not eagle-eyed! )
    Please and for God sake talk to Polar support team to change the size of the numbers to ordinary format via next software update.
    I don’t understand why Polar persist to keep them small.
    And also I missed the white screen in training view from Polar V800.
    Thanks 🙏

    • Kuifje777

      Agree! I wish that they would have a high contrast option with white background and bold fonts to make the metrics easier to read.

      What has helped me is turning on the backlight continuously via the small menu that you can invoke when starting an activity. Battery life is more than sufficient anyway!

  13. emilio

    cuando sale a la venta el modelo shift?

  14. Anthony

    My Vantage V2 is abysmal at tracking pool swimming. I have an old Garmin Swim that I wear on my other arm to compare. My Iast swim was 1500 yards. The Garmin read correctly at 1500, but the V2 read only 75 yards. I made sure the pool length is correct and updated to the new firmware. I also have a Vantage M, V and a Titan and the pool swimming is awful on those as well. I do not do flip turns, but I make sure to give a healthy push off the wall with every turn. Is it something with my mechanics? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated?

    • Kuifje777

      My experience is similar to yours in relation to pool swim accuracy. I do not have a solution unfortunately. This has been a problem since the original Vantage as you point out and I am also not hopeful that this will ever get fixed merely due to the fact that I suspect that not many people track their swims using a Polar device. I only see Garmins and Apple Watches in the pool.

    • MarcZ

      Same thing to me… sometimes it works well sometimes not, more not 🙁
      But another question – what would you do, if you want to go in a pool which is shorter then 20m??? 😉

      Regards from Germany
      Marc

    • Anthony

      I reached out to polar about the swim tracking issue and here is their response.

      Hi Anthony,

      Thank you for contacting Polar Customer Care. I am sorry to hear about this issue. Just like all of our features, swimming metrics are based on an algorithm, which always requires carefully set specifications and limits. This is why the algorithm cannot always be applied correctly, so please read the following carefully to learn what the prerequisites for successful swimming metrics calculation are.

      We also recommend that you read the swimming metrics feature description included in the user manual of your Polar product. As an example, here is a link to the Polar Vantage V2 user manual: link to support.polar.com

      These instructions apply to all Polar watches that support pool swimming metrics calculation from the wrist.

      How does the watch recognize swimming?
      Pool swimming metrics are based on the fact that the watch recognizes hand movements using the built-in accelerometer.

      Settings
      A successful swimming metrics calculation requires the following information: pool length and handedness (whether the watch is worn on the left or right wrist).

      Wearing the watch
      Wear the watch so that the display is on the same side as the back of your hand. Make sure that the wristband is tight enough to stop the watch from moving during the swim.

      Which sport profile should I select?
      You can select either the Pool swimming or Swimming sport profile.

      Whichever profile you choose, we recommend that you set the distance-based automatic laps off in the sport profile settings because they do not work reliably in pool swimming. Instead, you should utilize manual laps for this purpose.

      Logic behind the swimming metrics calculation
      The logic behind the swimming metrics calculation is based on two factors: Firstly, the watch has to recognize the swimming style as one of the four supported swimming styles mentioned in the user manual. Secondly, the watch has to recognize your turns. Turns will not be taken into account in the calculation before the swimming style has been successfully recognized.

      To sum up, both the swimming style and turns need to be recognized correctly in order for the distance to be measured correctly. Every time you turn, one pool length gets added to the total distance swam.

      If the watch does not recognize the swimming style correctly, it is unable to save the style or calculate the distance.

      The swimming metrics calculation utilizes the time data available from correctly measured pool lengths to correct any possible mistakes in the distance calculation.

      Rest time
      Note that when you stop, there is a small delay before the rest time appears on the watch display.

      What does the calculation not recognize?
      The calculation does not recognize drills (for example, mere kicks without hands movements, or swimming with a pull buoy).

      Which factors are involved if the calculation is unsuccessful?
      Any deviations while you are swimming, such as dodging other swimmers or taking a look the watch display might mess up the style recognition and thereby cause unreliable readings.

      You should not turn by swimming as the watch cannot recognize the turn in that case. Remember this for example when you have two lanes at your disposal or otherwise would like to turn by swimming.

      The important thing about the turn is that you clearly change direction back to where you came from. Otherwise it is less relevant how you actually turn.

      The swimming metrics calculation has been developed and tested based on the extensive and diverse data that we have collected, however, despite all this, the calculation is unfortunately unable to recognize every swimmer’s swimming style. We acknowledge this issue and are working hard to improve the calculation.

      Tips
      Make sure you have the latest firmware update installed on your watch. Check your firmware version by going to Settings > General settings > About your product > find the firmware version. Whenever there is a new firmware version available for your watch, you will be prompted to install the update either by the FlowSync software on your computer or by the Flow mobile app.

      Do not start the training session recording until you are in the pool, however, do avoid pushing the buttons under water.

      When you finish your training session, do not stop the session recording on your watch straight away but instead wait a while so that very last pool length will be included in the calculation and appears on the display.

      If you see faulty measurements after swimming the first couple of hundred meters, we recommend that you stop the recording and start a fresh recording at the end of the pool.

      Switching wrists might also help recognize your swimming style. For example, in freestyle your breathing might affect your hand movements.

      You can also restart your watch or do a factory reset if you suspect that the firmware is not working correctly for some reason.
      Thank you for choosing Polar!

    • Kuifje777

      Thanks for sharing this. This is greatly appreciated. I have been sent a similar note by support a long time ago. These tips are useful for all swimmers with all watches and will help you to get more accurate readings in general.

      When go sent a similar response from Polar after sharing data that showed that the watch did not pick up the majority of my swim (it showed 45 min of my my 60 min continuous swim as resting time), I was very disappointed that they basically attributed what is clearly a bug to user error.

      I think that the elephant in the room is that the pool swim tracking in Polar watches is not very robust AND that it is not a priority for Polar to fix this. For example, I have never had any major inaccuracies with my 945, while this has been an recurring problem with Polar. Sometimes the Poar data is OK but other times, the data does not even remotely resemble what I did.

    • Anthony

      It’s really a shame. I like the polar watch for running, but their swim tracking is useless. Looks like I’ll be wearing 2 watches for swimming for the foreseeable future.

  15. Oliolijanko

    After update for VV2 3.0.16 INSTANT PACE and INSTANT POWER IS WORST then previous firmware version. Mainly in forrest. It is bad like with VV1. Do you have the same issue?

  16. Jason Day

    With these updates, how much closer does that put the Vantage V2 to the Garmin 745?

    Minus the Garmin ecosystem, is this now a comparable feature set?