Polar Pro – new functionality for the V800 replacement?

Polar PRO

I was looking at Polar’s TEAM solutions and stumbled across some new (to me) heart rate monitors. In themselves they are probably not too relevant to most people who read this blog BUT the capabilities of the team solution’s HRM might suggest some of the functionality that Polar might introduce within the next 6 months or so IF they introduce a new run/ti watch.

Background

Polar introduced the current top-end H10 HRM back in early 2017. At the same time there were announcements around Polar’s team solutions products.

Polar announce H10 HRM and a Shirt

The H10 is a great product. Yet it can do ‘stuff’ that’s not fully exploited by, for example, the V800. Its caching only works with the Polar BEAT app and the onboard motion sensor isn’t used AFAIK.

▷ Polar H10 Review (2019 update) & Comparisons, Polar’s Greatest HRM

Polar H1

Then I stumbled across the Polar H1 (not the H7 misspelt). The H1 is the same as the H10 but without Bluetooth. So it’s good for some gym users wanting to link to some gym equipment.

Polar also do hard strap chest straps for gym and non-gym use as wel as, of course, the optical arm band HRM ie the OH1. I actually use the OH1 quite a lot for providing an extra set of HR data to comapre against other devices. I deliberately NEVER pair it to any watch to avoid its BLE-only being incorrectly picked up and duplicated. It syncs nicely enough to FLOW and is as accurate as the Scosche equivalent. They only issues I have with the OH1 is the strap, which could do with being a bit wider, and the battery which seems to discharge over ‘N’ days, when not in use.

Polar OH1 Review (2019 Update) | Optical HR Sensor, Arm-Worn

The existence of the H1 tells me that Polar must be (obviously) very carefully looking at precise HR needs of different segments of the ‘sports’ market. Heart Rate has always been Polar’s ‘thing’.

Polar Team Pro Sensor

You’ve already seen a picture of the Team Pro sensor, above. Here are the specs and then some commentary on the highlighted sections which I’ve pulled from the Polar Team section on the site (link to: Polar.com)

  • Integrated GPS, 10Hz
  • MEMS motion sensor, 200Hz (Accelerometer, gyroscope, digital compass)
  • Memory up to 65 hours
  • Rechargeable 390 mAh lithium polymer battery
  • Battery duration up to 10 hours
  • Recharging (from empty to full) 3 hours
  • Sensor dimensions: 36 mm (1.42 in) x 68 mm (2.68 in) x 13 mm (0.51 in)
  • Weight: 39 grams (1.38 oz)
  • Water resistant: up to 30 m
  • Operating temperature: -10 °C to +45 °C (14 °F to 113 °F)
  • Sensor materials: ABS, ABS + 30% GF, PC, stainless steel
  • LED display with information of player number, data sync and battery
  • Bluetooth Smart
  • Range Up to 200 meters
  • Polar Team Pro red soft strap compatible
  • Polar Team Pro Shirt compatible
  • Updatable firmware

Hopefully you can see where the product is headed for team sports?

  • It’s not too safe to wear a wrist watch in (semi-) contact sports (hence HRM)
  • Yet motion data is required including accelerations and total distances travelled (GPS, accelerometer)
  • The players are not going to be interested in their data but the coach will be. So a means of collating every members data is required (via BLE to a central store)
  • Longer battery durations are not required (probably usually only 2-3 hours, but the battery will need to cover the power consumption demands of a GPS chip)
  • The coach will keep the HRMs (where they can be recharged at lunchtime or overnight, quick recharge time)
  • The coach needs to quickly and easily give the right HRM to the right player (LED display)
  • Polar has good training load/recovery algorithms and my understanding from separate conversation with Firstbeat on the same subject (Firstbeat is a competitor in this sphere) is that in Team sports the normal training load algorithms for endurance atheltes need modifying to take into account the sprints that team players frequently perform (hence I imagine the Polar device will use the gps and/or accelerometer)
  • Coaches may need to review field positions throughout matches or training (hence the GPS…but will it have the accuracy???)

Polar H10

The innards of the Team Pro solution are likely to be very similar to the H10 and it’s likely that the H10 has the accelerometer, although probably not the GPS. The strap of the Team PRO HRM looks identical to the one on the H10.

 

A New V800 ?

I’ve covered this elsewhere, so I’m not going to dwell in too much detail on the speculation/knowledge surrounding any new V800.

But the key issue for how the V800 currently handles HR to me is to look at what is missing and what doesn’t quite work.

  • Polar’s 5KHz transmission DOES work when underwater. However it can and does have dropouts from time-to-time. Garmin’s HRM-RUN/TRI/SWIM solution is slightly better in the respect that cached data can be retrieved at the end of the workout. I think even in non-swim sessions the supported Garmin watches will query the HRM’s cache to fill any periods where no HR data is found.
  • So Polar have the potential of a multi-band solution that can both display live HRM underwater (Garmin can’t) and retrieve data at the end of the workout (Garmin can, Polar only can on the Polar BEAT app)
  • Polar does not currently provide any running dynamics data other than cadence. Running Dynamics data may well be possible with the existing accelerometer in the H10. I would assume this is probably being worked on, it’s probably a big job if you think of all the new on-watch display metrics and metrics on FLOW that need to be integrated into the overall solution. I’m NOT convinced that Polar NEED to add this functionality – it’s one of those ‘nice to have’ set of data that people quite like the sounds of but eventually never really use in any great numbers (in my opinion). BUT it is one of those sets of features whose omission may well sway a potential purchaser to another, competing product.

In a nutshell: Polar probably have the hardware capability NOW (or even in 2017) to introduce running dynamics and improved HR caching.

 

 

 

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9 thoughts on “Polar Pro – new functionality for the V800 replacement?

  1. “to introduce running dynamics.”

    But that is a huge IF here. Just on your post alone, the theme and method here from Polar is to focus on the training athlete and not the person that runs. These always seem to be ubiquitous terms, but I have never seen these to be mutually exclusive. When the weather allows it I go running/cycling to supplement cardio and endurance work because sunlight is good. Neither is the goal of my fitness, yet every sports watch seems to think that’s all we are.

    In Polar’s case, the person that has a gym routine, whether that be at a gym or in-home or is a sports athlete that needs the metrics (like you state) is the focus. I honestly don’t care at all if they include running dynamics, unless they just are passively adding to the mix and NOT making it the centerpiece of their device (Hi every GARMIN WATCH!!). Same goes for cycling. And if there are going to be firstbeat-like metrics…let them be based on total activity and not just around running.

    We’re more than just running beings, I’d like to have a watch not using it as a crutch all the time.

    • “the training athelte”
      yes the v800 is aimed at that sort of person
      polar do very well with the m430 in europe apparently.
      apparently people really like things like VO2max stats. even ‘just runners’

  2. Have you perhaps more information about the gps chip of the polar team pro sensor? I can’t find any technical details.
    It’s interesting that the watch Polar V800 receives the gps signal every second (1 Hz), that I think that is the standard now for sport watches.
    You write that this new sensor has a frequency of 10Hz, so it should receive 10 gps signals every second (so a lot more signals in a second).
    This could improve accuracy of GPS.
    Do you think that the V800 successor in the same way will have a reception frequency of ten times in a second like this sensor?

    • The other thing that should increase accuracy is that you can put it in the shirt and the reception of the gps signal is not disturbed by the movement of the arm, and the antenna should face always towards the sky.
      Maybe there is an option that the user can choose to connect his polar watch to this gps sensor instead of the gps of the watch? (of the V800 or the successor of the V800?)

        • good observation, the body could stop some signals:
          1- if we put the gps sensors in the position that we see in the pocket of the polar shirt of the video (behind the neck), probably we have clear view of 3/4 of the sky, so we could see fewer satellites
          2- if we put the gps sensor behind the neck there could be also problems of the transmissions of the bluetooth of ant+ signal from the gps sensor to the watch on the wrist (maybe it depends on the strenght of the signal, and maybe this problem can be easy eliminated
          3- if we put the gps sensor near the bicep (same position of the scosche heart rate sensor), the body should hide half of the sky
          4- maybe the best position could be on the top of the head: when I run I usually have a hat (or a sort of hat, the bandana or headband), we could put the sensor in a pocket of the hat. But it would be better to avoid this position.

          The best way to find a solutions would be to do some tests on field and see if changing the position of the gps receiver and moving it away from the wrist would give some advantages in gps reception. If the advantages are big, maybe the idea to give the possibility to link the sport watch in some special occasions to an external gps sensor would come back to market (Polar had a arm gps sensor in 2011, I don’t know why they stopped the production). It seems that external gps sensors are more powerful, also the Garmin Glo sensor (GPS+Glonass) that must be used with a smartphone and has a battery life of 12 hours (with a battery of 1100 mAh , I think that it’s bigger than the battery of the fenix that should be circa 500 mAh if I remember well) receives the signal 10 times in a second (update rate 10 Hz). Maybe this update rate could give also some advantages in instant pace. I read some reviews of users in amazon of the Garmin Glo and everyone was happy and they said it was very accurate (they usually used it in the car).

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