4x Polar Watches

My partner either called me ‘cheap’ or a ‘cheap date’, I forget which. It’s definitely true, in the comments from a separate thread, KrisV committed to ‘Supporter’ status on this site in a sort-of-exchange for me producing an update on the current GPS of several Polar devices.

I aim to please (KrisV and my partner)

So, it looks like two 5k runs can be bought from me for GBP10 each – eesh. I ran 10k with a Vantage V, V Titan, Vantage M and Ignite broadly over two 5k loops. I’ve been trying out those loops recently in any case, one is through a small ‘wood’ near where I live and  the other is around a few streets in a grid. Both these route segments are fairly good examples of a ‘normal’ GPS challenge that many of us will often face and I might use them more in the future for more of my testing.

I expected the Vantage V Titan to be the best, as this thought seemed to tally with some recent experiences. And I expected the Ignite to ‘need a bit of work’.

The lines on the following charts represent: Vantage M (Blue), Ignite (Red), Vantage V (Green), Vantage V Titan (Yellow), actual route (white, on the last image). I went around one of the blocks of the grid clockwise and the other anticlockwise to demonstrate any body-shielding effect.

I’ll let you have a look yourself.

  • IGNITE: Clearly deviates from the route at times
  • Vantage M: Definitely the best around the grid.Probably the best through the trees (I don’t know exactly where I ran and all 4 tracks are different)
  • TITAN: Some deviation around the grid, cutting a corner and missing the track through the park near the grid but OK.
  • Vantage V: Some deviations

*MY* Vantage M is CLEARLY the best on the day. My thoughts that the Vantage V Titan has notably improved is not supported by this run.

The HR was cool though. No chest strap is worn at all. See this…

  • Question: Am I easily bought for GBP20 for future tests?
  • Answer: No, don’t get your hopes up. I was planning something similar anyway and ‘needed’ to go for a run. I just thought I should weigh myself down with the 4 watches

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20 thoughts on “4x Polar Watches

      1. What will it cost to have you do this wearing every new device across the market at the same time? I’m talking all the new Forerunners, all the new Polar’s, all the New Suunto’s, all Wrist Heart Rate running at the same time.

        This is assuming you’ll be using those funds to buy all the watches you don’t already own 😛 I would pay extra to see the faces of the people as you run by them wearing like 10+ watches on your arms.

      2. I could perhaps add an optional extra service for ‘testing them whilst naked’.
        I don’t need too much of an excuse for that in any case. My modesty from pre-OWS years has gone. I will gladly get naked in any car park
        before I hasten to add..WITH THE INTENTION OF THEN DONNING A WETSUIT 😉 …hey! towels exist too, I could use one as a wraparound I suppose.

  1. OK, in my household we have a Polar M430, Polar V-M, TomTom Runner, Suunto Spartan Trainer and a Garmin FR 645 nM (mine). Repeatable experience over a variety of courses – the TomTom & P-V-M are very very good, followed by the M430, SST and then in last place the horrible FR645.
    (IOW I am echoing your experience with the V-M, it keeps on surprising me! 🙂 )

  2. So does this invalidate your earlier observations of the Vantage V Titan accuracy?

  3. Maybe try again after Galileo Positioning support is added to the Vantage M / V / Titan later this year. This should hopefully give greater accuracy.

    1. yes i will probably have to.
      although, as Garmin users have found, simply adding the galileo support doesn’t mean it will be any better. Polar will probably then spend several months fine tuning the experience (based on user feedback) – well at least that’s how garmin seemed to have done it. ie i might wait until next year to do this

  4. Really don’t get it, the only difference between the V and Titan is the case!

  5. hmm… even with titan not showing the best, it somehow still beat regular V.. I wonder what did Polar change *inside* the titan

    1. Maybe it was just in the wrong wrist position. I think the Sony chip in general is not very good at handling the reflective signals, which is common among buildings. I had no such experience with SiRFstar-based watches (Suunto Ambit2, Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR and the Polar M430).

  6. I’m curious how you’re able to overlay the results of various devices for comparison. I’m returning my Polar Vantage V for a V-Titan.. hoping I just had a defective device because oHr was often not close to where it should have been. When I get the V-Titan, I want to do some tests and compare my old M430, Titan-V, and the H10.

  7. A test Ray would be proud of! 😉
    Seriously, happy to see that the Titan doesn’t bring much if any improvement to GPS. The premium is quite hefty over a regular V (€375 vs €599 in my country), and I would’ve hated to be lured into a purchase. Might get the band though, it looks quite elegant.
    After I saw what Polar has planned for their Fall update I shelved my 935, went back to my V, and finally brought myself to selling my M, that’s been gathering dust since December. Good to be back with Flow to say the least. Since I use a Stryd I don’t really care for accurate GPS, and have it off most of the time anyway – not interested in tracks. Also, where I live here in central Vienna, streets are quite narrow, with five-story houses left, and right, where any watch has a hard time drawing a tidy track. Out of my watches (M430,935,V,M) I couldn’t really make out a winner, it varied too much from day to day.

    Thanks for the work!

    1. we have an English saying about someone being “one sandwich short of a picnic”
      there’s got to be a watch/gps test equivalent 😉

      4 watches is quite unusual for me. although an OH1 and an HRM-TRI might also get in the mix with two properly worn watches and one in the back pocket to record HR.

      wearing two watyches is excusable. I’ve even seen ‘normal’ people doing it sometimes 😉

  8. Hi,
    I own Vantage M. I use it mostly for running but I also recently bought a bicycle. I’m observing that I’m definitely getting more precise GPS data when riding a bike than running (on same routes). Also, GPS has improved much since 3.2.10 fw.

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