New: Polar Vantage MAJOR Firmware Update

Polar Vantage V ReviewToday you will get the latest major firmware update (V4.0.11) to the Polar Vantage sports watches ie BOTH the M and V (V-Titan) models have new features but there are some differences between the models

This Version 4 release has been broadly publicised in advance for several months on Polar’s roadmap page. A quick look there will show you that Version 5 has plans to introduce STRAVA live segments (V), Fitspark (V+M) and Race Pace (V+M).

To me, version 4 represents the Vantage finally catching up and mostly surpassing the features on the much older Polar V800.

Generally, we are seeing a continuation of the theme to improve the accuracy of the onboard sensors, particularly with Galileo satellites (to be tested!). Then we are seeing sleep and relaxation related features from this year’s earlier Polar IGNITE release. Then there are the more ‘pro’ features including zone lock which supports variable-zone based pacing (unique to Polar), manual footpod calibration and Polar’s fitness test. The absence of many of these features has been mildly annoying some Polar users for over a year. Hopefully, now everyone will be happy and they certainly should be when v5 is released later this year.

Here’s what you get right now:

  • Sleep Plus Stages: Deeper information on sleep cycles and sleep score which was first released on the Polar Ignite in Jul 2019. This is a major piece of functionality in itself, covering many additions to both the Vantage and to the FLOW platform

Polar Ignite Review Specs Announcement

  • Nightly Recharge: A recovery measurement that shows how well you recover from stress and training during the night. Again this was introduced to the Polar Ignite earlier this year and Nightly Recharge also sets the stage for the introduction of Fit Spark adaptive training later this year.

 

  • Galileo/QZSS satellite system support. This update improves GPS functionality in specific areas GPS+GLONASS, GPS+GALILEO or GPS+QZSS. GPS+GLONASS remains the default setting. It remains to be seen if we will see further GNSS accuracy improvements

  • Fitness Test: You can do a VO2max test both with wrist-based heart rate and chest strap heart rate sensor.

  • Zone Lock: You can lock a training zone during your workout for HR, pace and power fro either running or cycling (yes it includes STRYD support)
    • To make this work press and hold the ENTER/middle-right key whilst on a full-screen page eg the power page. You’ll need to enable it (power, pace) for the sports profile on FLOW first.
    • HR Zone Lock works on most screens
    • If you have a dial metric on display eg a HR dial at the top of the screen then zone lock seems to zoom in on the dial to only display the target zone.
    • How to use ZoneLock (Vantage M/Vantage V)
  • Lap details: time, distance, average pace etc., in the training file on your Vantage watch.

  • Serene breathing exercise: Relax your body and calm down your mind with the new Serene breathing exercise – again, I covered this on the Ignite earlier.

  • Constant backlight setting for training: you can choose to have the backlight always on during training sessions. This setting doens’t seem to be permanent? ie for the enxt workout you might have to go and set it on again. grrr if true

  • Inactivity Alert: When you’ve been sedentary for an hour, you get an alert so that you know it’s time to get up and take a little walk.
  • There are minor enhancements for existing features as well as some new watch and strap colours
    • eg Quick Settings can be dragged down from the top of the Vantage V to reveal DND/Alarm/airplane mode.

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70 thoughts on “New: Polar Vantage MAJOR Firmware Update

  1. All fine, and dandy, however, we still don’t have a proper lap display with avg HR, cadence and the like the V800 and M430 had. Also, despite Polar Support’s confirming, last lap modifiers for training views is still missing. Such a basic view that all my other Polar watches had, and while not indispensable, a definite QoL feature for pyramid/progressive workouts, or even during racing!
    Will give Galileo a try as regular Glonass has been getting worse and worse.
    For all my bitching about auto calibration for my Stryd when the Vantages were released, it’s turned out to be pretty accurate and always matching my 935 (with manually set factor). Still, nice to have, if only for peace of mind, since you never know when auto calibration kicks in ruining your instant pace.

    • hi
      coincidentally i asked that exact same question about the lap screen a couple of days ago. the response was (something like) that there we enough metrics to give the same info already eg lap power average, lap hr average. it’s kinda true i guess.
      i need to have a look to see if there are any new metrics on FLOW, with a quick glance (#busy) there might be.

      • I agree 1 million % with Flokon. It baffles me that Polar still can’t provide the same simple training views as I’ve had on past Polar watches e.g. LAST automatic lap whatever. Yes – there are some of us doing interval training that would like to see what our LAST manual or automatic lap data was…. It wouldn’t be so bad if you could customize what you see when an automatic lap is actually recorded, but unfortunately, Polar decide that for you.

    • Everybody? I don’t, and I know quite a few fellow athletes who could very well do without all the lifestyle crap. Polar should focus on how they announced and marketed the Vantage series over a year ago: They don’t wanna (because they can’t, truth be told) compete with lots and lots of features, but have a few fleshed out that are tailored towards (professional) athletes. Alas, to quote DCR: “I’m not sure they did that.”

      • I agree with flokon, many of us want a proper training tool. Something that Vantage V should be. Something that would be better than RS800cx and V800. Also, Polar Flow should be improved, so it would be a proper match for ProTrainer.
        I miss many things from RS800cx, like:
        – proper lap info (after finishing a lap),
        – running shoe distance tracking,
        – training plan view (where you can choose any training 1 week back and forward),
        – training log view (weekly, monthly, annual totals, I need to use Flow website at this point to get those numbers).
        Also, the Polar Flow is highly limited compared to ProTrainer. E.g. in ProTrainer I could create custom plots, choose almost any data for lines, bars..; I could easily add laps after the exercise. I could use more than 5 heart rate zones.

        • c’mon guys…it IS a proper training tool πŸ˜‰
          we all would like more features, of course
          Sure it can be improved. I’d like manual laps and autolaps on my garmin945, and i’d like something like zonelock on there too. i’d also like gps and oHR that worked accurately and i’d like Connect to be as good as Flow

          • The hardware of Vantage watches is more or less OK. The main issue is the software (UI & FW & Flow environment). I haven’t used Connect, thus the comparison to Polar ProTrainer, which I’ve used for over 10 years.

            I remember my disappointment when I saw that Polar Flow was unable to use historical data to come up with tolerance limits at the beginning (just after the purchase). True, I was stupid enough to directly sync from ProTrainer to Flow. The code was there (polarpersonaltrainer website is able to calculate TRIMP from hrm files), but there was probably no will from the Polar side to to make transition for long time customers smooth. To bypass that issue, I had to calculate strain & tolerance limits in Excel to see how that TRIMP based load evaluation logic works. Got the TRIMP values of old exercises from polarpersonaltrainer. Flow started showing somewhat reasonable numbers a month after the purchase, by that time I was already accustomed to using my Excel file, and the Flow/watch display had become rather useless (1 decimal, really?). Currently still use that Excel file to see how far I’m from detraining, overtraining etc.

            Training planning in Flow is ridiculous and rather time consuming. It should be possible to copy-paste exercises in calendar view (like appointments in MS Outlook, it is 2019 after all). In Pro Trainer it is even possible to save and load the training plan of a whole season without much effort. I’m also missing display of total distances, times & TRIMP efforts of planned exercises in weekly/monthly view. Yes, most of that is available in Polar Pro Trainer. In addition, there should be a forecasted strain and tolerance line based on planned exercises. Yes, currently I can see that in my Excel file.

            In conclusion, until the training plan construction and analysis features in Polar Flow are as they are, I wouldn’t consider Vantage V + Polar Flow combination a proper training tool. It is somewhat usable, but far from excellent. I’m actually rather annoyed by the constant need of workarounds, like using Strava to track running shoe mileage or having to use a separate Excel file for forecasting strain and tolerance.

  2. Do you know if Vantage M get Strava Live Segments later than Vantage V or never? I did the mistake and bought Vantage M trusting that Polar will deliver what they promised and now it looks like they quietly trying to implement it to more expensive model only. Hopefully it’s not truth.

      • Thanks for info. I was checking back all my notes I gathered before I bought Vantage M and found this in DCR’s in-depth review:
        “Meanwhile, the following features are slated to be added, but no timeline has been specified:
        – Fitness test functionality
        – Strava Segments”
        My mistake I didn’t check that further 😭

        • bloggers make mistakes.
          companies make mistakes
          consumers buy the products πŸ˜‰

          I don’t recall ever being told the M was to have STRAVA (here’s where you check my reviews and prove me wrong πŸ˜‰ )

          • Of course I checked your review, let me quote:
            “There will be a vocal minority of you that will want the route guidance & STRAVA segments that you had before on the V800. They are only planned for the Vantage V.”

            You were right, I was wrong. But still very happy with the watch and it’s going to be even better after Christmas when I’ll pair it with Stryd 😁

  3. Thanks for the write-up.
    So I’ve had the Ignite since July mostly for sleep recovery to complement my trusty FR935+Stryd. With the lack of a Lap button the Ignite is pretty much useless for any kind of serious training but with my setup that’s OK. The WOHR is really impressive compared to the 935’s so it gives good cardio load data too. Some kind of backup I suppose. I can’t say I’ve used Fitspark much at all, hehe…
    Been toying with the idea of replacing it with a Vantage M but then the Ignite has a much better screen I understand, thoughts ? Thanks !

    • The M is a serious training tool. I like it.
      My partner likes the Ignite as a fitness tool.

      with the collapse of support for ST3.1 i might have to invest myself fully in the polar platform. let’s see. so i might end up using all the recovery stuff (currently this year i’ve been using the vantages for almost all of my races including last weekend’s debacle)

      • Yeah its really too bad Polar couldn’t be bothered to figure out how to add a LAP feature on the Ignite and have a half-decent battery life.
        The Ignite and M (at least on Amazon) are the same price now at 229€, seems a bit odd, would you still say the screen is a big bonus for the Ignite ?

          • ok well I suppose I’ll be sticking with the Ignite then as an “advanced fitness tracker” that I can use on top of my FR935 connected to Stryd. Having another watch to Lap on wouldn’t add much anyway and it would be a distraction.

            I might reconsider if (unlikely) Polar add HR broadcast to the Vantage M for use on my FR935 when racing since I don’t want to have to fiddle with my HRM-Run.

    • Ever since the latest update, I use a Vantage V, and a 935 at the same time again, because I cannot rely on the V to not reboot in the middle of a run, losing all data in the process (well, not exactly losing, as it’s definitely somewhere, but Polar won’t let us access the data directly like Garmin).
      Anywho, OHR on Vantage (and Ignite, which uses the same sensor) isn’t better than the 935. They return the exact same avg. HR after all my runs. You can ditch the strap with a 935 just fine, unless you do high intensity stuff, but that’s true for Polar’s sensor as well.

        • even my formal test takes several hours to plan, execute and analyse. couple that with real world usage and the fact that there are many watches out there and that I have a job and other time committments then…well..what can i say other than it’s ‘on the list’ of things to do πŸ˜‰

          Always happy to bump the requests higher on the to-do list from supporters of the blog πŸ˜‰

  4. This update has completely broke my VV. Tried updating and it got stuck in updating loop, both the device and phone were next to each other.

    After sometime it completely reset and my VV is trying to setup as a new device.

    However it fails to connect to my phone now, tried resetting BT connection in iphone settings and nothing works.

    This is the worst πŸ™

  5. Hi all,

    Anyone here ran with this new firmware ?
    I’m french, yesterday 2 friends of mine had a training after FW update, both saw their Vantage V rebooting while training with data loss !!! I reported it to Polar support. Now waiting for a fix.
    I will try myself this morning with this new FW 4.0.11, before i preventively reset my Vantage V and sync again, i choose GPS+Galileo setting… Hoping my VV will do the job and will save training data, a little bit afraid…

    However, happy to see again Zone Lock and other tips, but for me the bigger regress versus V800 is already GPS performance, speed accuracy is clearly lower under trees and near buildings.

    Regards.

    • I have had some other issues. With GNSS+GPS setting was unable to start training (both icons, HR and GPS were green, but neither red button nor screen touch would start training…simply nothing happened). Then switched to Galileo+GPS and was able to start the exercise. During the exercise somehow managed to exit the exercise, not sure if accidentally stop button was pressed by a sleeve or there was some bug in action. Restarted exercise and after that it recorded OK. GPS precision was rather bad, running a several km long straight road, the track bounced between the sides of the road.

        • The described issues took place the evening after FW upgrade. The next day was able to use GNSS+GPS positioning and the watch behaves OK (has not done any monkey business since that first evening).
          GPS accuracy with GNSS is not perfect, I can see one bounce on recorded training. Yesterday spent too little time on roads and too much on trails to see how frequent those bounces are or how turning points get recorded. Maybe next week will compare older and newer recording of some laps to see if GPS accuracy has improved.

    • I have the same problem.
      I have done a hardreset and it still happens. When the autolap shows when I’m running sometimes it froze and reset.
      This is very disappoint, tomorrow I have a race I have been trainning months ago and I’m not confident to run with my Polar

    • Same here. I haven’t had it rebooting during an activity but twice so far when calibrating my Stryd. As soon as I hit the lap button which brings up the calibration factor the watch came up with, the VV reboots, and loses the activity.
      Flow Sync shoes lost activities as “problems” and asks you to sync again, to no avail. They’re clearly there, time stamped and everything. I hope Polar let’s us access the activity files on the watch somehow.

    • Hello,
      after the update, my Vantage crashes workouts after going into autopause when going through underpasses (happens often in Tokyo). So switching off autopause might help. I will try that.
      Best

      Martin

  6. Hi Fred!

    Try to rotate watches on hand to 90 degrees – the watchface should “look” straight up to the sky.
    This way you can significantly increase GNSS precision, but you can forget about optical HRM in watch.

  7. I’ve been waiting for this update to hit, does zonelock now mean I can use flow to create an interval session based on power?

    • hmm. it depends on exactly how you were thinking of doing it.
      it doesn’t enable the functionality per se.
      you run/ride and get in the right power zone and then it beeps you if you go out of the zone. and you can change it again to another level. So you CAN use that for intervals I guess

      I looked at phased, interval training targets and they only seem to currently let you choose HR or pace zones or FREE. I’m assuming you were referring to that. So no…power is not there.

      • Thanks so much.. in that case the FR245 or FR735 (CIQ3) plus some of the stryd apps/fields that have come through would be closer. I can do Intervals right now by being canny with PowerRace.

        Sorry Polar, so close, but STILL no cigar!

  8. Some observations after the update:

    My Vantage V has been rock solid and stable with 4.011. Runs even smoother and faster (I wish I could, too πŸ™‚ ). I did the update process “old school” by connecting the usb cable and were patient enough to wait until the process finally ended, after several reboots.

    Some layout improvements have been made (sensor logos now blinking if not connected, no overlapping any more). Nice.

    More importantly: Mid-training automatic backlight (launcet by wrist turn) just works every time, as before, but is now markedly brighter! No need for constant backlight while running, but it’s nice to have when the watch is attached to handlebars. “Dim screen gate” is gone!

    Battery life seems better than before, albeit still little early to say for sure. Before the watch need to plug in after 4 days or at latest 5, now after 4.5 days it still has 29% left. Cool!

    An impressive update indeed! Thanks Polar!

    Happy training,
    jp

    • same here. Seems battery life is improve. nothing better or worse with Galileo (not yet fully ready anyhow). use to crash using “route” haven’t tried since.

  9. Long bike ride today with Galileo…it was the worst of 4 devices but only just. ie an OK GNSS performance but nothing to shout home about comapred to Rox, Bolt and 945 (Glonass). all 4 had issues at some point or other.

  10. Is it now possible to use the stryd as speed source (based on manual calibration) and have distance from GPS data ?
    It is possible on the FR945 and I am a bit confused regarding the Vantage …

    • No, you cannot record speed and distance from different means on a Vantage. As soon as you pair a Stryd, it takes over power, pace and distance. Only thing GPS is used then, is to draw a track, a very bad one in the case of the VV, I might add.

      • what about polar stride. Can it be used instead of STRYD so I can get more accurate pace/distance and eventually power?

  11. Hello, using the touchscreen is nice, but to leave the touchscreen mode with the back button
    is annoying. Is it not possible to change that, maybe with a double tap or something else? Then it would be great.

  12. My Vantage V has crashed 3 times since I updated it, twice in a 12km run, I then factory reset it and it did it again at about 28km into a long run on Sunday.
    It managed a 12km on Monday without crashing but it doesn’t fill me with confidence as I’m doing a marathon in a week and a half and will have to start Strava on my phone just in case.
    Hope we get an interim update to fix the issues don’t fancy waiting for December for a stable watch.

  13. Hi
    Same problem as Ged.
    Crash almost every autolap or manual lap.
    I contact the polar support => factory reset
    The problem is not solved.
    No solution proposed for the moment

    • Luckily, I don’t have the auto-lap bug. My VV only reboots when I calibrate my Stryd sensor, and not every time, at that. Since this is a one-time affair, I’ve been fine ever since dialling in the appropriate factor.
      However, it is not true, that Polsr doesn’t offer a solution. They stated that they were aware of the bug and advised users to switch off auto-lap, Auto-Pause, not take manual laps for the time being and use a different sports profile for GPS activities, like “other outdoor”.

  14. Hi,
    Has anyone tested how calibrating the Stryd on The Vantage affects the native autocalibration?
    Polar has confirmed, that the only way to get actual pace and distance from a footpod is to disable GPS entirely.

    • Sadly, Polar had no idea how GPS affected a Stryd, and “confirmed” conflicting information in the past.
      Since update 4 auto-calibration is off, when you set a calibration factor, regardless if using GPS or not.

      • Sadly, Polar has no idea whether altitude and cadence are measured by Stryd or the Vantage M.
        Asked them once: altitude and cadence are measured by the watch.
        Asked them again: altitude and cadence are measured by Stryd.

        • By comparing the raw data coming out of my Stryd sensor and the Polar data coming out from my watch (Vantage M) I’ve reached the conclusion that cadence is measured by the footpod and altitude is (unfortunately) measured by the watch.

  15. Q1: Which satellite should I choose: Glonass,Galileo or QZSS? (living in Denmark)
    Q2: Which recovery test should I choose: Recovery Pro or Nightly Recharge? (for triathlon training)
    Q3: Why should i choose to buy a Stryd power sensor when Polar has running watts?

    • Q1: Get an app like GPS Plan and check the number of satellites. In Europe GLONASS works generally best.
      Q2: For serious training neither, follow a training regimen and listen to your body on easy days. You can do the orthostatic test daily to have data but interpret it yourself and don’t submit to a consumer gadget’s recommendation, that will put out false positives as well as negatives. For weekend warrior styled casual training Recovery Pro is a nice gimmick. NR is dependent on the watch getting sleep tracking right, which needs A LOT of work still. Also, it needs you to wear that large and heavy watch overnight. Not something I’m keen on doing.
      Q3: Its not so much the power that Steyr offers but usable instant pace. The Vantage GPS is horrendous, outright unusable if you don’t train under a clear blue sky in the middle of nowhere. It suffers not only from bad shifting and jaggies but from lots of outages. Distance differs around 10%, therefore pace is off by at least 30seconds. It goes without saying that any metric (partly) derived from GPS (like power) cannot be trusted. Also, Polar uses gross metabolic expenditure, whereas Stryd uses NetME, resulting in about 25% higher values on the Vantage V. Since there is no gold standard for watts, this isn’t much of a problem as long as you stick to one method (Stryd or wrist based). Still, with the GPS as bad as in the VV, a Stryd is an invaluable training tool.

  16. After i decided not to use Nightly recharge but stayed with recovery pro, the Sleep score stopped appearing and is always 0/100.
    Any1 else with this issue?

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