While most people opt for Garmin multi-sport watches there are still a few decent alternatives, with the Suunto 9 being a popular choice for ultra-endurance athletes.
Now Polar are throwing their hat in the ring with the new flagship Polar Vantage V. Similar to Suunto, Polar appears to have avoided trying to compete with the Fenix smartwatch features but instead focus on other performance areas.
Class-leading wrist-based heart rate tracking
The new Polar Vantage V introduces Polar’s Precision Prime wrist-based fusion heart rate technology which claims to deliver a new level of heart rate accuracy and reliability. Apparently, there are three sensor types to deliver the most accurate wrist-based sensor on the market.
Precision Prime uses nine optical channels that deploy two colours and wavelengths of light to extract data from different layers in the skin. In addition to the 3D accelerometer, they have also incorporated new electrode sensors that measure sensor-skin contact. These advancements mean a faster response time, more sensitivity for readings, and much higher accuracy and reliability for wrist-based heart rate.
If these claims of accuracy are true it will be a very impressive achievement as wrist-based heart rate tracking is notoriously inaccurate due to the issues with movement around the wrist.
Running pods that track your power appear to be gaining popularity, but devices like Stryd are very expensive. The new Polar Vantage V claims to be the world’s first running power from the wrist. Polar’s running power unifies several running metrics into one, easy-to-understand number that represents the power that the runner produces during running.
Training Load Pro and Recovery Pro
Polar has developed advanced Smart Coaching metrics for athletes in Polar Vantage V: Training Load Pro and Recovery Pro. For the first time in any consumer fitness product, Polar is bringing together muscular load, perceived load and cardiovascular load into one, holistic view of training load. The new features monitor training load from each session, measure balance between strain and tolerance in the long-term, and help athletes recognise personal limits by informing them when they’re overtraining, undertraining or are right on track.
Sophisticated Smart Coaching & Training Features
Vantage V has a variety of performance and Smart Coaching features, including:
- Running Index: A straightforward number that scores running performance. Running Index automatically provides an estimate of a runner’s Running Vo2max score based on their submaximal or typical runs.
- Running Program: Polar’s free, personalised and adaptive training program offers daily, tailored workouts for athletes of all levels targeting distances from 5k to marathon.
- Polar Sleep Plus™: Automatically detects the timing, amount, and quality of sleep and provides feedback for improvement.
- Daily Activity and Continuous Heart Rate: Intelligently combines activity and heart rate data to calculate daily calorie burn outside of training, and offers a comprehensive view on everyday life, accurate calorie consumption and activity data.
- Swim Metrics: Tracks indoor and outdoor swimming sessions with metrics such as stroke rate and distance.
Polar Vantage V is available now for pre-order at www.polar.com/vantage/v for £439. The heart rate set, which includes Polar Vantage V and Polar H10 heart rate monitor, is available for £479. The watch comes in a variety of colours including black, white, and orange in sizes medium and large. Small straps are also available.
Polar Vantage M
As well as the Vantage V, polar has launched a more affordable option with the Vantage M. This has many similar features as the Vantage V including Precision Prime heart rate monitoring, training load pro and the coaching features.
Vantage M is available for pre-order today at Polar.com for £249. Sizes S-M come with black or white straps and sizes M-L come with black, white, or red straps.
Overall, depending on how good the wrist-based HRM is and running power, I think Polar could be onto a winner here, though it is cautious optimism. I suspect that while the HRM is better than normal it will still have issues. I also am not sure how accurate the power meter will be, but I guess the exact power isnt that important as long as it consistantly relative to your effort.