Polar Vantage V – First Rides & Provisional Look At BETA Accuracy

Polar Vantage V Review, Polar Vantage M ReviewIt’s relatively early days yet for me with the new Polar Vantage V and Polar Vantage M.

REMEMBER: I have been using late beta hardware. I am also using firmware v0.35 – which is numbered as beta firmware.

These are a few charts to give you a flavour of what I’ve experienced when swimming, biking and running. The charts are absolutely NOT meant to be any kind of review or a statement of the quality of the sensors on the Vantage. That will be a few weeks away AND WILL BE BASED ON RETAIL HARDWARE NOT BETA HARDWARE.

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

The optical heart rate looks good, in places, so far. It also throws a few wobblies which is not unexpected at this stage.

Here is a maximal test on a trainer with a Garmin HRM-TRI alongside. There was also a Polar OH1 outputting to the Humon Hex app whilst performing a MOXY 515 test – but I have not yet got that data off the Hex. A turbo trainer can be an easy test for oHR as there are few motion artefacts that are produced. However the Vantage V handled the 175bpm heart rate nicely enough. 175bpm is not far off my cycling HRmax.

This was hard on the legs…

Polar Vantage V

Clickable

I then did the following ride which turned out being super slow BUT it was on bumpy ground and that is where the Vantage’s new algorithms are claimed to work wonders and hence why I embarked on this particular escapade. As you can see the HR looks fairly good and is certainly usable. But the real true test will be at higher intensities and comparing to a Garmin Elevate.

Clickable

This was my first and only run (limp). The Vantage’s HR tracking looks to generally not be quite as good as the Garmin Elevate. The blip at 4:45 was when I was just double-checking that the Vantage was using its oHR rather than the Polar OH1 I had on my other arm. It was. It shouldn’t have taken 4 minutes to sort itself out tho. Again this is BETA FIRMWARE/HARDWARE.

Polar Vantage V Review, Polar Vantage M Review

Finally a short road bike ride with some ‘sensible efforts’ on a reasonable road surface. I’d say that the Garmin Elevate was just about acceptable here but the Vantage is clearly not and more work needs to be done before it is released in 6ish weeks time.

Polar Vantage V Review, Polar Vantage M Review

We all love looking at GPS tracks (well I do) and trying to determine if that 50cm deviation here or there is good or not. The Polar Vantage has a low powered Sony GNSS chip that supports GLONASS and GPS. GLONASS and GPS are definitely both enabled and there is no option to turn off GLONASS.

Here is a section of a trail ride under moderate tree cover; comparing to the Garmin 935 with GPS-only. The Polar Vantage seems slightly off the track compared to the Garmin and, indeed, did cut a few corners elsewhere on the ride. But these are trivial variations and they have occurred on pre-production hardware – so do not draw any conclusions. The point of showing this is that the GPS track seems at least alright and is not doing anything crazy.

I’m assuming that this is exactly the same Sony GPS chip as in the Suunto 9. FWIW the initial GPS tracks from the production models of the Suunto 9 appeared to be NOT as good as the tracks from the Polar Vantage at this stage.

Here is another place that I once used to see which watches could correctly put my track on a narrow footbridge. the Polar does very well here – IIRC only the Microsoft Band managed anything better about 4 years ago (probably more luck than GPS-engineering)!!

Clickable, Red 935, Green Vantage V

The Polar also did well cycling down an avenue of ‘normal height’ trees, below. Much better than the Garmin. Some of you might be arguing that I should have used GLONASS with the Garmin (maybe) but I find GPS-only is generally the best.

Polar Vantage V

Clickable, Green Vantage V, Red 935.

This is on my regular GPS test route which some of you might be familiar with images from. This time I cycled a part of it almost by accident. This particular segment is impossible for GPS because of the long tunnel BUT the Polar handled: the tunnel; the tall buildings leading up to it; and the aftermath, as normality was restored, as well as any other device has. The Garmin 935, below in red, does look bad but it’s not too bad…that’s how hard this section is for GPS.

Polar Vantage V

Clickable, Green Vantage V, Red 935.

Staying on the bike, I tend to show this junction regularly on GPS tracks mainly because it is a tight turn on a course where I do multiple laps

Polar Vantage V Review, Polar Vantage M Review

From two wheels to two feet and here I am running again in Bushy Park. These all look ‘alright’ but only just…maybe it’s a bad satellite day?

Polar Vantage V Review, Polar Vantage M Review

Red 235, Green 935, Yellow Vantage

Further on in the same run the Garmin 935 is still performing well but the Vantage needs to do slightly better.

Red 235, Green 935, Yellow Vantage

GPS Summary: Just to be clear – I’ve shown mostly genuinely good GPS segments from the Vantage V, there are a few cut corners here and there and a few deviations here and there. I’ve not yet come to a view about how the whole GPS picture sits together yet however I know Polar are working with Sony on some improvements that will be implemented over the next month or so.

Similarly with the optical HR. It does look pretty awesome at times. But then less so at other times. Again, this is being worked on.

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

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. I’ve included the Amazon international link below but you will find a better deal at New Running Gear and Power Meter City. New Running Gear (NRG), below, were also bundling in GBP50 of running freebies. Help support this blog with the great deals below:

Polar Vantage 10 % off discount coupon promotion code

Click http://geni.us/PolarVantage to buy in UK/Eu/USA

Best Amazon price is linked to. Prices could fall below existing level from 2019 onwards £249/$259/Eu279. Buying from Amazon supports this site.

Best Amazon price is linked to. Prices could fall below existing level from 2019 onwards £439/$499/Eu499. Buying from Amazon supports this site.

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Webvan
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Webvan

I’ve found that Galileo helps a lot with the accuracy of the FR935, can you activate it for future comparisons ? Thanks !

Trimaster
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Trimaster

Very nice test, thanks! Would you mind to disclose what software you are using for your data comparison?

Paul
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Paul

Thank you for the honest appraisal of the optical HRM side of things.

Over the years I wasted far too much money on wrist based optical HRMs – always to be disappointed. In fact even though I have a Garmin Fenix 5 Plus I’ve disabled the optical HRM and just use the other features. I get the same sort of results you got in this article – a mix of great accuracy and times when its laughably out and takes a good few minutes to figure out the real heart rate.

And yet all the reviews of the various watches I’ve tried always seem to provide amazing results for the reviewers!

I’ve come to the conclusion I just have odd wrists with deep buried veins that stop accurate reading of blood flow at the wrists. I’d make the perfect optical HRM tester – if it works on my wrist it’ll work on any ones I suspect!

I was hoping the Polar Vantage would be “the one” that really works.

Look forward to your full review.