Polar Vantage M, Polar Vantage V – First Impression

Polar Vantage V Review, Polar Vantage M ReviewMy first, quick impression of the Polar Vantage M and Polar Vantage V was hugely positive. There, I said it.

I met up with some Polar people and had a chat around the basic competencies of the Vantage which, sort of, strayed into aspects of some of the formal release Polar presentations. It’s always nice talking to people who truly understand the details behind the normally glossy marketing (sm@polar) – pretty much all my awkward questions were answered.

YES I asked the ANT+ question and YES I asked what M and V stand for.

Polar Vantage V Review, Polar Vantage M ReviewThis post is my first impressions written up within a couple of hours of when I first saw the Vantage models. My first impressions were based on a 1-hour dusk ride and a 1 hour hands-on in a relatively dim hotel lobby. This post is intentionally ‘specifications free’ and also free of ‘what’s new’ – that info will be released in several other, separate posts today. THOSE posts ARE based on much more than just a couple of hours of hands-on time #JuicyBits.

MORE  INFO: You can find all related posts listed in this tag as I add them https://the5krunner.com/tag/PolarVantage.

The Vantage looks the part. Polar have gone ‘all conventional’ with the round watch face that most of you will like. I like the looks of it and people I’ve shown it to also agree with my opinion. The always-on screen looks a tad dim, even when manually illuminated but certainly eminently usable. The resolution does seem good for that first impression. The resolution is fine for the activity screens but, perhaps, the interface does not make the watch appear as pretty as it might on several of the lesser-used menu options once you delve into the watch. Indeed the whole interface package is a little unusual and seems to be a different flavour/UI for: watch face; workout mode; and menus.

Polar Vantage V Review, Polar Vantage M ReviewFlicking through the menus, there is a distinct similarity with the screen layouts from the V800/M600 etc but subtle differences, for example, with new data fields. The post workout summaries are of the same ilk to those previous Polar models.The menu logic HAS been changed a little bit BUT if you are an existing Polar user then it will take you about 10 seconds to get up to speed with the changes.

The overall construction quality is GOOD. It’s better than most Garmins appear to me but probably a tad shy of the build quality you appear to get from a top-end Suunto.

It’s SUPER light, even lighter than some of the leaked info incorrectly suggested, and the buttons do what buttons should do. And there are 5 of them…kinda what a proper sports watch needs!! The buttons of the V feel a slightly nicer quality and responsiveness than the M. But that’s a minor point.

Polar Vantage V Review, Polar Vantage M ReviewThe Vantage V does have a touchscreen which was very nicely responsive and I was assured it was not used during an activity. Other than paging through screens on the main watchface, every touchscreen action can be performed by buttons and, in any case, in activity mode the touchscreen is disabled to avoid accidental presses – someone has done their market research!

The screen look good in these photos – at least in terms of brightness and readability. And that seems to ebthe case in most light condition. Sometimes, when inside a dimly lit room, it seems hard to read. That first experience is probably tempered with a known bug when the backlight always goes off after 10 seconds. So normally the display is clear and readable. Against that I would say that there are some of the advanced feedback texts (eg around Recovery Pro) where my fading eyesight needing to refer back to my trusty reading glasses. But when you are out there pounding the streets…all is good in PolarLand.

The optical sensor module on the reverse is striking in its design. Again, more of that will be discussed in related posts today on this blog. The logic behind what they have done sounds good and there are also novel algorithmic changes scheduled in a few weeks to improve quality. Polar specifically claim it is the most accurate optical HR sensor on a sports watch…i will hope to verify that over time but will post some provisional results in another post today based on the BETA hware/sware..

The app and Flow have new stuff, reflecting the new functionalities added to the watch. This includes, for example, a new screen building ‘look’ on FLOW. It is different but works in the same way. Again getting up to speed is super straightforward. There is also a new FLOW SYNC (v3) and new COACH functionality within FLOW.

Polar Vantage V Review, Polar Vantage M ReviewI think the beta app is only on iOS so I haven’t played with that and there is no Android syncing at all (for now).

MORE  INFO: You can find all related posts listed in this tag as I add them https://the5krunner.com/tag/PolarVantage.

Let’s take a step back

This is designed to be an athlete’s watch. There is some smartwatch stuff but that is incidental. It IS an athlete’s watch, right? So the new headline features reflect the things that such athletes might want mainly that means precision and battery (but other things too).

So the target is pretty much “Me” – either me the runner or me the triathlete. Which I am super excited about.

One final thing…

The ‘M’ and ‘V’ in the names do NOT stand for anything. V is carried over from the V800 and M from the M430/M200/M600. ie they ‘sort of’ signal a sub brand without there formally being a sub brand. Now you know.

A Polar Vantage Review will not follow until late October and that will be with a proper production model not this beta unit.

Price, Availability & Discount

The Polar Vantage M retails at $260/GBP250/Eur280,

The Polar Vantage V retails at $499/GBP439/Eur499

The Polar Vantage now has general availability. There do not seem to be widespread discount yet in the EU.

  • Power Meter City (USA) with the coupon code ‘the5krunner10’
  • New Running Gear in the EU/UK with the code ‘the5krunner10’
Polar Vantage 10 % off discount coupon promotion code
http://geni.us/PolarVantage to buy in UK/Eu/USA
Best REI/Wiggle/PMC price is linked to. Prices could fall below existing level from 2019 onwards £249/$259/Eu279. .
Best REI/Wiggle/PMC price is linked to. Prices could fall below existing level from 2019 onwards £439/$499/Eu499. .

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