New Polar Vantage Road Map & Firmware

Polar have just released an importantish firmware release for the Polar Vantage range as well as updating the 2019 roadmap. All good stuff.

I’ve added in the full details from Polar, below, and the main area of interest to me is the GNSS/GPS accuracy improvements.

Sometimes it takes a while to get an aGPS fix and the firmware is stated to improve that. That’s great. However I’m still more interested in seeing the precision and consistency of location measurement increased. I suspect that we shall see some improvement here even though it is not specifically stated in the release notes.

That improvement might come from silent fixes or from the SBAS which has just been supported by Sony. I broadly understand what SBAS is and how it works but don’t really know how it materially impacts on sports watches in the real-world. If any of you know…please share. For example who else uses it for sports on non-Sony chipsets? ie earlier watches from Garmin or Suunto?

Also announced today is the Roadmap for the rest of the year. I’m reasonably excited by the inclusion of ZONE LOCK for October, hopefully this will be enabled to work with RUNNING POWER which translates to us as all as providing a means to get clever ALERTS.

I know that STRAVA Live Segments and Race Pace have been often requested…well, you’ve been listened to.

You can see the other plans below and I think that the ‘lap details’ line, although ambiguous, might perhaps link in with some other wider changes that are being made.

 

Road Map

UPDATE 4.0

Timing: October 2019

What’s included:

  • Fitness Test: You can do it both with wrist-based heart rate and chest strap heart rate sensor.
  • Zone Lock: You can lock a training zone during your workout.
  • Lap details: time, distance, average pace etc., in the training file on your Vantage V.

UPDATE 5.0

Timing: December 2019

What’s included:

  • Strava Live Segments support (only for Vantage V).
  • Race Pace.

 

 

Polar Vantage M Review RunScribe Plus

 

 

New Firmware

POLAR VANTAGE V AND VANTAGE M 3.2.x FIRMWARE UPDATES – Activity tracking update and GPS enhancements

29.04.2019

There are new firmware updates available for both Polar Vantage V and Vantage M.

Activity tracking update

Even tough Vantage is a pro-level watch series, we’ve noticed that reaching the daily activity goal has been too hard at times. We’ve now tweaked the activity tracking algorithm, and you should notice your accumulated activity will better reflect how active you’ve been during your day and reaching your activity goal should be easier. The activity guidance given in the Flow web service and app is also more accurate so following it will now get you to your goal.

Check if your daily activity goal level needs to be updated from Flow web service or app. Open the Flow app, tap your name/profile photo in the menu view, and swipe down to Activity goal. Or go to flow.polar.com and sign in, then click your name/profile photo > Settings > Activity goal.

We recommend updating your watch as the daily activity guidance given in the Flow app and web service will not otherwise match with the calculation on your Vantage.

GPS enhancements

The new Vantage firmware also brings several updates that improve GPS performance. This is an important topic for us, and since the products’ release, we’ve made several updates to improve GPS performance and data accuracy, and the work continues to further enhance them. Here’s a list of the upgrades made so far:

3.2.2 release April 29th, 2019

  • GNSS chip firmware updated – Improves Vantage M altitude data accuracy and reduces the probability of large altitude variations.
  • AGPS data is now downloaded once a day to your Vantage (previously once a week) via the Flow app when connected to your phone which improves overall GNSS data accuracy and allows faster fix times.
  • SBAS (Egnos EU & WAAS US satellites) enabled by default – Provides ground station correction data to satellites (GPS, Glonass and SBAS) which improves overall GNSS data accuracy.

 

3.0.10 release February 11th, 2019

  • GNSS chip firmware updated which improved accuracy at the start of training sessions.
  • AGPS data validity improved meaning better overall GNSS data accuracy after firmware updates.

2.0.7 release December 12th, 2018

  • Speed data improved – Faster reaction to changes in speed, noticeable especially in interval training.
  • Slow movement detection improved in Hiking and Other outdoor sport profiles which meant more consistent route data, and that distance would accumulate correctly when the session contained a lot of stopping and slow movement (<2km/h).
  • Distance calculation improved – A rare bug was fixed that caused distance not to be calculated in the beginning of a session.

Update your watch on your computer via FlowSync or on your mobile via Flow app.

Version number: 3.2.x

Release date: April 29th, 2019

Improvements/fixes in this release:

  • Bug fixes and other improvements

Related products: VANTAGE MVANTAGE V

 

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Marathon Man
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Marathon Man

I guess it is good that they have published an updated roadmap…. But seriously, October and December to get what can only be classified as marginal updates? 5 months wait to get Fitness test, zone lock and lap details?

Carlos
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Carlos

I agree. That feature list looks pretty slim. I have sent some features request that apparently did not make the cut. I think they have a product which could be really competitive if they just made a decent push on the software.

Chrispy
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Chrispy

RE: SBAS

I use a Satmap Active 20 which uses a u-Blox M8 32 channel multi-GNSS receiver (https://satmap.com/docs/A20-EN-techspecs.pdf, https://satmap.com/docs/A20_FUG_v03.4_small.pdf) and which already supports SBAS (EGNOS/WAAS) by default. The Active 20 is, as you can see, a larger GPS unit and I use it for long distance walking/hiking. Its screen shows me when SBAS is active and its often but not always.

Given the criticism I’ve seen for GPS accuracy on the Vantage, I’ve run my Vantage V and Satmap together a few times and typically found there to be very little difference in distance measured – say 0.1 miles difference over 20 miles. This is more than good enough for me. I gave the GPX tracks a visual check and generally pretty good as I remember. I’ve tried different sampling rates on the Active 20 (1 sec, 4 sec) but left the other options as default.
For reference, all tests performed in the NE of England with generally a good few satellite locks (if that makes a difference). Walking speed averages ~3.5 mph but varies between 2.5 and 4.5.

Based on experiences to date, I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the accuracy of the Vantage and SBAS support is a nice to have.

Phil
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Phil

With the update all activities have been increased based on a new algorithm. But the activity calculation since the update seems to return lower values compared to the updated ones. I did not change my activity level in the personal settings. Did you make a similar experience? And has someone the algorithm for the activity calculation?