Polar Vantage M Accuracy | Polar Vantage Accuracy V

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Reading Time: 19 minutesHere we look at the most important aspects of the accuracy of the Polar Vantage M and the Polar Vantage V. Specifically we look at the performance of the Precision Prime optical HR and of the Sony GPS chip used by both Vantage models across different types of workouts in running, cycling and swimming; although other aspects of accuracy like steps, elevation and sleep are also at least briefly covered. This post specifically forms part of the main and detailed review of the Polar Vantage, it’s included as a separate post to aid the reading of the…


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Luís Pinto

Very nice review. Liked some particular observations. So, M more cheap for now is a more secure investment?

Krzysztof Gagat

I actually do care about gps and heart rate accuracy. Up until now I was using a spartan trainer wrist HR and I developed a good relationship with it. I think the gps accuracy on the spartan and vantage m (that I got recently) is very similar. However Real time pace and distance feedback on the spartan is way way better. Maybe Suunto makes a better use of the accelerometer or doing a better job smoothing things out. At first a was really disappointed with the watch. Why would I change my spartan for vantage m? Apparently Vitality life insurance doesn’t synchronise with Suunto. It was between polar and Garmin 245 and I chose polar. I went for a few runs with both watches, Suunto have me a better feedback in real time. Now this vantage is growing on me, the whole ecosystem appeal to me, much better than Suunto in my opinion. My question is if you use a strap and foot pod what do you need the watch for? Also Why would you release a product and then develop a firmware for it? Then when it’s fully developed you release a new product and so on and on… Read more »

tfk, the5krunner

lot of good questions there.
they release the watch and then develop the features as they need cashflow. Everyone does that. it’s only a problem if there are inadequate features on launch
strpa+footpod gives accuracy, the device records data and the device shows data and provides functionality. a sensor is just one of the inputs


I was looking a few days ago on your xls with GPS results and didn’t quite understood how M can be different from V – now i see it clearly. Hopefully there is no major hw/design issue. The HR strap which failed for 2hrs – was it h10? Never saw anything like that on my h10 or h7 with v800…


Where can we found the xls file with GPS resutls ?


oHR, what color watch were you using for both the V & M? Was the ‘Prime’ sensor color matched to the watch or black? It seems many of the pre-prod units were black, even if the back plate of the watch was a different color.

Given the experiences I’ve been having with the oHR–it’s been atrocious–I started poking around at this color thing. After quite a few responses from different places (DC Raimaker post, to facebook groups). Everyone that has a black watch generally likes the oHR results or have even compared it directly favorable to say a v800 + HR10.

All results for those with non-black precision prime sensors–like mine being white–have been crap….

Like I’m seeing a resistance by my ‘White’ Vantage V to ever want to go above 160bpm for steady state runs. I’ve have a smattering of direct-comparison data to V800 + HR10 & iPhone + Scosche Rhythm, it’s a huge discrepancy (not something lost in the noise/just missing peaks/failing where oHR typically struggles).

Do you have access to the different colors? Care to see any of the data? I really think Polar made this change last minute expecting things not to be impacted…


Interesting! Is your M’s ‘Precision Prime’ part white or black? I’ve seen on Instagram a lot of them were black, up till shortly after these ended up in the wild.

I’ve been trying to get in touch with Polar but I can’t reach them at all via any channel I’ve tried 🙁


So it seems all these LEDs haven’t really done much for accuracy…At this point the conclusion has to be that WoHR is just not worth the effort or the aggravation when you can get an oHR band (the RunAR) for 25 EUR with MUCH better performance, and that’s if you really can’t stand chest straos 😉 Actually I found the RunAR to work better than the HRM-run in the summer on the track when the sweat confused it.


Have you noticed any difference in the visibility of the screens given the different glass used? I find the V’s screen to be difficult to read even outside. I think it’s partly due to the lack-on-white text, and partly due to the thin fonts used. But I’m curious if the difference in glass comes into play also?


I was wondering specifically if the glass used on the V made the screen more difficult to see outside in the shade than the glass used on the M.


I have both in front of me right now, and it’s hard to say. I agree with the M being a little clearer, but the difference is minimal. Lighting conditions and the angle of the light source makes a bigger difference than V vs M.


Thanks, Fabian. How do you find readability outside while running? Inside under the lights the readability is fine, but I really struggle with it outside in less than full sun. It feels far less readable than a comparable Garmin to my eyes.


Thank you. It is interesting that there is a difference between the M and V’s GPS performance. Have you heard anything from Polar on why this might be? What an irony that the old V800 still comes out best.


So is there something that I don’t understand, in terms of the total distance there is no major difference between Vantages and 935, but when we compare the instant pace is where the polar watches present more problem, I’m correct?, maybe this can be corrected with a new firmware right?


Does live pace from the Stryd pod work / show on the Vantage? Never had much luck on the V800, and the difference is quite large when I have the Stryd synced to both Zwift and the V800 when running on the treadmill.


Awesome post again! I see on my own M some good signs but definitly has to be more constantly accurate in gps and oHR.
Other question. I just see the current actual pace but is there a ‘current avarage lap pace’ (I had on my G610). So am I still in my 4:00 min/km pace in the current km? Its more constant and so usefull than the actual pace.


We have a Polar Vantage M and V, they were pretty accurate the first weeks, but all of sudden most measurements are either absent, partial or off. Based on replies I know several other people have the same issues. Polar have replied they are looking into things, but no formal communication so far.

See https://www.reddit.com/r/PolarElectro/comments/9wnbc8/polar_vantage_v_m_known_issues/


I’m looking to replace my old M400 with a new watch. It still works but it looks like the dog just ate it. Currently I’m on the fence between a Vantage M and a Spartan Sport. Currently the Vantage is about 50 USD cheaper where I live. The hardware of the Suunto looks slightly better, and I noticed that you score them really well on GPS accuracy. I always use a chest strap, so oHR does not really interest me. Would you say that the accuracy difference between the sport and the M is big – and worth the step up? The downside of Suunto seems their software platform and multiple apps, while the ecosystem of Polar is pretty solid and easy to use. Main uses would be frequent half marathons, an occasional marathon, cycling in summer, and sporadic pool swims.

Thomas H Pate

I run regularly on the same courses and I know where the mile markers are. I have the Polar v800, the Polar Vantage V, and the Garmin 737xt. The Garmin 737xt is a very poor performer dropping regularly 1/4 mile over a 7 mile run. Over the same course the Polar Vantage V behaves similarly. WIth respect to GPS distance accuracy the Polar Vantage V is no better than the Garmin 737xt or any other recent Garmin. They are all highly inaccurate and unreliable. On the other, hand the Polar v800 nails the mile markers on my courses with amazing consistency. It is by far the best running watch I have ever had. Comparing the Polar Vantage V to the Polar v800 by wearing both on the same runs and then looking at the course plots it is easy to see why the Polar Vantage V is inferior to the Polar v800 as the Vantage V frequently wanders off course while the v800 hugs the course nicely. If you are concerned about accurate distance measurements then you should get the v800. There is no other GPS watch with comparable accuracy. I also have a Stryd footpod which I have been… Read more »


Which of the current suuntos would you say rival the m800 in regard to gps accuracy?

tfk, the5krunner

now that’s a good question that i’ll avoid answering by pointing you here: https://the5krunner.com/2016/11/05/test-route-for-gps-devices/

gps-only should be stable and those results generally indicative
if you mean gps+galileo or +glonass then i’m assuming that suunto are still working on those.

i’m a bit behind on testing the suunto 5 which looks good so far. my final test for gps migth be this week, the test is non-trivial and takes a good morning to organise out of work.

i think you mean the v800?


Nice review. Thanks for it.
Maybe some of you can help? I had some issues with oHR of my new vantage V during my last two workouts when I made interval run (treadmill and outdoor). During WORK interval, when I have more than 170 (aprox.) bpm HR and my real HR should become higher, my V starting to show my HR decreased and shoving HR below 140 bpm (aprox.). During REST interval, HR is shown normally. When I started new WORK interval, HR is shown normally up to 170 bpm. After that, shown HR is below 140 bpm.
My wrist strap was tighten enough.

Thank you in advance


Many thanks


Do you have some result when doing HIIT (bootcamp) between the OH1 and vintage? At this point i have polar m430. When i`m doing 5min burpee the heartrate stucks at 130.

I would like to buy the vintage m for running, cycling and HIIT training.

tfk, the5krunner

that’s a very specific request!
oHR performance will vary from person to person for all oHR brands/devices


I understand. Other product compare the vintage will be fine to if thats possible? That wil be great

I have search the internet and i can only find review about running “heartrate” not other kind of sports like HIIT (Bootcamp)

tfk, the5krunner

your physiology and usage will affect accuracy.
if there are lots of motion artefacts (twisting wrist movements and large impacts) then accuracy will be further, negatively affected

my advice is to use a chest strap

Lee Edwards

Hi. Thanks for the review. I have bought the two vantages and a Garmin fenix 5 to test which one I prefer.

I love the polar apes so kind of want this to be the one I choose. Does anyone know if it’s possible to connect headphones to them so it gives me feedback? The quick user guides don’t give you much info.


Just wanted to ask about your comment on weight lifting and the vantage m. Was the problem inaccuracy or more the fact you feel they aren’t necessary? Only reason I ask is that I want to get this tracker for some outdoor use but primarily indoor gym use. Cheers.

tfk, the5krunner

can you say what exactly you want to use it for eg indoor running machine, zumba class, weights/reps eg for hr collection or rep collection


Indoor bike, hr collection on weights and HIIT. My exercise routine is for fat loss but whilst trying to build muscle too if that helps.

tfk, the5krunner

it’s pretty pointless colelcting hr on weights? it will be too low i would have thought.
indoor bike will be fine.
hiit may be alright. i woudl use an armband like the Polar OH1,
for fat loss i would suggest very extensive endurance training plus weights. HIIT will get you fitter quickly but you might get injured and HIIT is not the best way for you to get fat adapted. IMHO

Neil Browning

Observation regarding GPS and open water swimming with the M … it’s all over the place! Maybe I need to swim faster

tfk, the5krunner

no the manufacturer might have to crank up the gps reading frequency for one. possibly could be an issue if you are doing breast stroke and the watch is always underwater. or very very very slow crawl 😉
plus look at garmin last year with the 935…was fine for ages…they updated the firmware …then complete pants….eventually fixed


Does anyone know if the Vantage V has better GPS recently? (Compared to the Vantage M/Titan)

Bought the Vantage V(waiting for it to arrive) but not sure if I want to send it back and just get a Garmin Fenix.

tfk, the5krunner

After last update 4.0 nothing better, GPS inaccurate, unusable instant pace. I will sell Vantage and buy some Garmin or Suntoo. https://flow.polar.com/training/analysis/3972626776#

tfk, the5krunner

you will only get accurate instant pace in variable gnss conditions with a footpod. IMHO.

Krzysztof Gagat

After the update instant pace from my zwift pod is off by some way. I always used to compare it with strava as it uses gps to calculate distance and pace. Since the update the automatic upload on strava is exactly the same as polar flow in terms of distance and pace. I deleted automatic upload on strava and uploaded a gpx file. The difference was 0.5km. That’s 8.2km versus 8.7km on strava from gps.
Can I change it so it only uploads gpx file?

tfk, the5krunner

not sure i quite understand.
the watch will have to autocalibrate a factor for the pod
polar flow can manually export tcx files (or zip)

Krzysztof Gagat

Flow gives you three options, gpx tax and csv.
What I’m saying the calibration is wrong in my opinion as it’s way off the gps calculation from strava