new Firmware – Polar Vantage v5

The last, pre-announced software update for the Polar Vantage is released today. This is version 5.0 which has been listed on the Polar Vantage updates page for some time. There are no surprises here as such.

Despite the lack of surprises this new firmware release nevertheless adds some very significant features to the Vantage albeit features which are available elsewhere on other Polar products. These new features build on the recent slew of features in the Vantage v4 firmware as well as the announcement a few weeks ago of some modifications to the display and workings of FAVORITES in FLOW.

As a quick recap here are those changes to FLOW which you will need to be familiar with the get the best out of the new Vantage features.

Polar Favorites on FLOW – Notably Changed Functionality

I’ll add some updated images here later today and have included images that show the new functionality on older Polar watches.

Strava Live Segments – Vantage V only

Suitability: Fully paid-up Strava devotees

The Strava Live Segments only works for Strava Summit members and only for Vantage V owners. It can work in either cycling or running modes.

The start of your favourited Strava segments is automatically detected and then a special screen on the Vantage shows you your progress on that segment.

 

Make sure that you use Flow to assign specific Strava Segments to your Vantage V and then sync. Then the new main menu option on the Vantage shows what is on your watch (I’ve not tested this out any further yet).

But it will probably look something like this

FitSpark – Personalized, Adaptive Training

Suitability: casual to semi-serious athletes who self-train

Fitspark was first introduced on the Polar Ignite in mid-2019. For an entry-level, smart sports watch this was an awesome feature that I thought was well-implemented and well-suited to the target market. It brings together past performance, sleep and recovery and will DEFINITELY be useful as a training guide for many Vantage users; however, some of the more serious athletes MIGHT be looking for more suitable levels of training recommendations for their more extensive workouts.

FitSpark’s recommendations are based on the broad principle of a weekly target of 150 mins of moderate or 75 mins of vigorous training plus 2 resistance training sessions. So we’re talking 4 or 5 hours a week. If you train more than that then FitSpark might not be for you. Otherwise it’s pretty cool.

Here is the suggestion that Fitspark gives me today.

The primary suggestion is to ‘unlock my strength’, which, coincidentally, is what I’m doing in a few hours time. As you can also see, there are alternative suggestions that Polar’s model determines will work best for you today. Should you choose to follow Polar’s suggestion then, in this case, you are guided through each exercise in a bodyweight workout, complete with individual instructions on how to execute each exercise. It’s a very nice tool for those of you seeking guidance.

Race Pace

Suitability: More serious runners who target SPECIFIC time+distance combinations

Race pace feature helps you to keep a steady pace and achieve your target time for a set distance. Define a target time for the distance, for example, 45 minutes for a 10-kilometre run. During the training session, the target pace/speed is compared with progress. You can also check what is the required steady pace/speed in order to meet your set target. Race pace can be set on Vantage, or you can also set a scheduled race pace target in Flow.

There are some complications that Polar handle here like, for example, if you already have a Race PAce target set via Polar Flow then the Vantage checks if you want to try to override that. Similarly Fitspark, in the previous section, also recognises if you have a Race Pace target set for the day.

Then the physical execution of Race Pace takes place inside your workout where you get a new screen which will look something like this

Minor

 

  • Haptic feedback (vibration) when swiping, scrolling or tapping (can be set ON/OFF in General settings)
  • Vantage V can hold up to 100 favourites

 

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65 thoughts on “new Firmware – Polar Vantage v5

  1. Not 100% rolled out yet.
    Here’s hoping to enhancements to existing features! Couldn’t care less about the new stuff. Segments are a gimmick in and of itself, FitSpark is for casuals who train <5hrs/w and cannot be bothered to think for themselves, and RacePace is basically avg. pace. I know, Garmin is even more cluttered with gimmicks to satisfy men's ludic drive, but at least the basic stuff works, and if you ignore the fluff you get a nice sports watch that gets out of the way during training.
    With the Vantage V (sadly, the M is a nice barebones sports watch that works, but wears horribly!) if you remove all the fluff you are left with an inaccurate device that gets in the way of training instead of disappearing.

  2. Couple of things I noticed:
    – Haptic feedback is hardly noticeable, and only there for buttons despite the description’s stating for swiping
    – Percentage added to battery icon is nice for M users who don’t have the quick access swipe down like the V
    – pool length got a new icon as far as I can tell (could’ve been in 4 as well, hard to tell since I don’t swim)
    – HIIT was renamed to High Intensity Interval Training on the watch
    – Phased Target icon is in colour now

      • And gps accuracy and instant pace suck as they sucked before, so good continuity there 😉 Just tested, no surprises, as expected…

        • Font is definitely larger in the middle for both manual and auto lap.
          my HW model is 00766694.06 btw.
          Support already told me to send it in after a reset didn’t make things better. Also, since update 4 I have no % in zones in Flow App for my activities, which they can’t explain. Guess my Vantage goes back to Polar.

    • For my Vantage V Titan the haptic feedback is small, and swiping (using touch) between different views left/right does not always give feedback while it does using up/down buttons.

  3. This is a “final planned feature update” and there’s still no pace/distance from the footpod with GPS on. Of course, it was not listed in planned features… and of new features I dind’t care about any 🙁 Only the battery percentage is a nice touch. Very sad.

    • Indeed, just read it:
      “Thank you for all the feedback you’ve sent us during the past year. The Vantage products have received multiple excellent features and we hope that you’ll enjoy and make good use of them.

      The 5.0 is the final planned feature update and it includes the following:”

      OTOH this doesn’t mean that they stop releasing updates for the Vantage, just that their roadmap is complete with the release of Update 5. It does leave a bitter taste though, because it might be month until we see further “bug fixes and enhancements for existing features”, and COULD very well mean no more updates for the Vantage series.
      OTOH Polar doesn’t have the resources (just an educated guess) to already have the Vantage 2 or whatever its successor will be called in the pipeline. And tbh I (and many others who upgraded from a V800) simply cannot call the Vantage a finished product in its current state.

      • Cmon nobody has roadmaps anymore except Polar. There will be many updates coming for sure. Just please send all your requests to Polar via their facebook site or email. More people asking more chances they will listen.

      • I personally think this is Polar ‘Throwing in the towel’ regarding the current Vantage series (especially the V) as they cant resolve all the issues with the HW/SW especially the GNSS accuracy. which is IMO a total Joke ( Even my M400 was far better!).

        Im expecting maybe 12 months of ‘Updates’ now (mainly just Sony GNSS firmware updates and minor bug fixes that will probably just introduce new bugs in something else) while they move their R/D and Software teams fully on to finalizing the successor watches for release probably for Q4 of 2020/Q1 of 2021 and sell off the remaining inventory of current vantage watches as best they can. I think they are going to try and have

        Once its obvious there are no more ‘updates’ for my Vantage V Titan and its obvious Polar have discontinued the Current vantage series I be evaluating getting a replacement watch and one thing is certain if the above scenario comes to pass I wont even bother looking at any Polar Product.

        • Totally agree with the above. I waited more than a year before buying a Vantage V, hoping the issues would be resolved by then, but they aren’t.
          Their support tried to make me believe that this was all by design, that they intentionally built their watches with the emphasis on longer battery life, thereby sacrificing GPS accuracy.
          I doubt that, I think they just followed the rest with that Sony chip, convinced that they (or others) could bring it to an acceptable level. There were some “Gps upgrades” in the last year but apparently these didn’t bring the performance one could expect from a flagship device. But Polar either thinks it’s close enough or doesn’t have a clue anymore. It could be a matter of bad hardware design (case/antenna) and that’s something firmware upgrades can’t fix. I’v compared a lot of strava tracks in my region and have the impression that the recent Garmin and Suunto devices with the Sony chip do a much better GPS job than the VV.
          Too bad there’s a sales period coming up, where I expect pricedrops below 300 euro for the Vantage V. Bad period for trying to sell my one month old VV.

          • Or maybe Polar was naive enough to believe all the promises Sony made.
            https://www.sony-semicon.co.jp/e/products/lsi/gps/technology.html
            “Sony Semiconductor Solutions GPS/GNSS receiver/processor chips use a proprietary positioning algorithm to enable accurate positioning in a challenging environment, such as the skyscrapers of Shinjuku (i.e., multi-path environment) and/or when running on an athletics track (i.e., body effect, such as arms swinging and swimming).”
            Even on easy tracks positioning is frequently 10-20 meters or more off. That’s not what I would call “accurate positioning”.

    • Pace and distance do always come from a foot pod, if it’s correctly paired and in use. No matter if the gps is on or off.
      If that’s not the case, there’s something wrong with your individual setup. You could try to delete and rebuild your running profile, or try another running profile (like road running).
      Happy New Year,
      -jp

    • If you want pace/distance from the footpod with GPS on you need to use “road running” profile (or “trail running”), not the “running” profile. There is a problem with the basic “running” profile (and they don’t care when bug report/ideas comes from an average user).
      Stryd recently reported it to them too(because they weren’t aware before), so let’s hop it’ll be corrected in a future release.

  4. Unfortunately, that was never a case with my Vantage M. I have tried various “rain dances”, as you’ve described and even more. Also contacted Polar support several times. Their official response was: disable GPS and you will get consistent speed/distance from the footpod.

    It is true, I have tried that. But if I turn the GPS on in (any) running profile, the speed is almost always jaggy, especially, when changing pace (e.g. intervals). With no GPS speed is always more consistent and in par with my own feeling.

    I could run without GPS, as I have only several usual routes. However, I use phased workouts and it is simply a nice visual touch to see, if same type of workout was “better” on the same road: phases are further ahead, I did it better etc.

    So, in short conlusion: no, with GPS on displayed speed/distance is never consistent with the footpod. Maybe it is processed additionally.

    I have also disabled auto-calibration of the footpod in hope for better consistency, but that did not help.

    V800 had a simple option to choose speed/distance source, no matter if GPS is on, off or power-saving.

    GPS accuracy also turned much worse after upgrade to 4 and 5 firmwares. Version 3 was best in this regards.

  5. So, I went back and looked over my daily running route’s track from before Update 4 and the difference is quite striking. Not nearly as jaggy and the outages also didn’t happen.
    Another thing that I noticed now that I’ve used my VV again for the last two days is how laggy or rather unresponsive the touch screen has become. It’s as if there’s a grace period in place when you return to any of the watch faces before touch is registered. Swiping down to access the quick menu doesn’t work like before either. I need like 10 swipes to bring it up, or down rather.
    Add an increased battery consumption (wore it last night out of curiosity and it lost more than 30% over the course of 8hrs of sleep!), and the Vantage V is a very sad spot.

    • Yes noticed all that on my Vantage V Titan apart from the 30% battery drain overnight. in my case its usually about 8% which is bad enough. Lag on touch screen seems even worse with update 5.

      Even getting update 5 on the watch was a nightmare that took over 2 hours as I think they were having server issues again while I was doing it. Messed settings up etc .

      GNSS on watch seems even worse with this update 5. when I Tryed Galileo+GPS as experiment with race pace on first training session after update I had watch crash after about 1 mile requiring me to restart watch. Lost the session data and activity % data for it. Then when I synced watch kept getting sync error as there was evidently a corrupt data file from the crashed session on watch. So had to resort to a factory reset.

      Then this morning Fitness Test kept failing initially and server was down so I could’t sync with polar flow for several hours (Back now but for how long, been unstable for last few days)

      The whole situation with the Vantage V and Polar Flow etc is now degenerating IMHO into a total farce

        • Exactly they knew there would be a lot of users hitting the servers due to the update been released combined with all the people registering new Polar Products they got at Christmas etc

          They should have ensured they had the infrastructure in place to handle it. Every Christmas season there are sync issues which they have compounded this time by releasing the Update at this time. Would have been better releasing it mid Jan IMO.

      • It’s weird, indeed. I lost 45% in 24h. Even weirder is that during my 60′ treadmill run with paired Stryd it only dropped by 3%.
        No notification, no continuous HR, and I never play around in the menus.
        Anyhow, I only wore it the last two days because of the update. It didn’t improve the watch in any way, on the contrary, the watch handles worse now due to the input lag. They didn’t address any of its shortcomings, instead gave in to the very vocal Facebook crowd and wasted man-hours to bring a feature for the casual mass.
        Thing is, with Garmin I don’t have to use the fluff their devices are cluttered with, and can use them as barebones running watches. Polar, however, lacks the resources to work on multiple fronts. Alas, they channel their manpower on casual features, that market research found sales-driving, before getting the basics right.
        Back to my 935, again, which simply works even when ignoring all of its FirstBeat gimmicks and GCM. Polar does have such watches. They’re called V800, and M430.
        On another note: I have a feeling we’ll see new Vantages in fall, with Polar shortening their product cycles considerably.

        • Yes I agree I think Polar are going for approx 2 Year update cycle which I posted earlier in thread. I think the plan is 1 year of Current Vantage ‘updates’ while the R/D and software people concentrate on finalizing the next Generation of watches after the Vantage series for release Q4-2020/Q1-2021.

          Especially as I suspect the next gen watches will basically be the current units with a better GNSS antenna system ( Which I suspect is main problem with current Vantages especially the V) And/or newer Sony GNSS chipset with more sensitive GNSS receiver and better Algorithms . Plus I think mostly likely a few new gimmicky features ( Which will be buggy and inaccurate as hell and never finished properly ) so it looks ‘new and shiny’.

        • Hi @flokon

          I’ve seen this ‘lag and high battery consumption’ issue couple of times on earlier FWs, but not on 5.0. They have always been easily solved by just restarting the watch. After all, it is a computer, and every computer needs a restart every now and then… 🙂

          Give it a try!
          -jp

    • That’s exactly what happened on my first Vantage V (laggy touch screen, increased battery use).
      Polar exchanged it for me, the new one behaves as it should.

      Send this one in, it’s broken!

  6. Wow! What a whiney bunch of disappointed ex-Polar users we can find in this comment section. Polars recovery feedback is outstanding and they are the first company to truly bring an adaptive HRV-guided training program (FitSparklez) to a wearable.

    But all you can moan about is GPS performance as if that is really the most important part of a sports watch.

    Sad!

    • They advertise the watch as serious training tool. They advertise training with power on wrist. They don`t advertise buying additional 230 EUR worth Stryd sensor to get above advertised features! GPS is most of the time bad and thus instant pace is crap = power training is not possible. That is a fact!

      • That’s wrong. It’s as good as other watches. I have a Suunto, a 945 and a Vantage. Alle of these watches have bad days. Especially the Garmin. Suunto and Polar are much reliable.
        The 945 has only Baby Features. Vantage has really Pro Features. Also the environment from Polar is more professional (Year planning).
        HRV and recommendations are much more professional on Vantage than 945.
        Suunto has no structured workouts.

    • On their products page they call it “GPS sport watches”. So it’s normal we have some expectations about that GPS. And what we can expect is further explained in their own manual: “Your watch has built-in GPS that provides accurate speed, distance and altitude measurement”. So Polar’s own words: “accurate”. I know that is subjective, but runners that had a previous quality (aka non-Sony) sportswatch have an idea of what they might expect. And that’s not what the Vantages deliver. And all their fancy metrics like Power, recovery, and so on rely heavily on input from GPS, so if that base is unreliable, the whole rest of your system collapses like a house of cards. And footpods may be cool tech, but if we need to buy these to correct GPS errors, then it feels customers have to pay for bugfixing an already expensive product.

      • I’m running more than 100k per week. Using the features without any footpod. I was running many races. My colleges with their Garmin watches have always problems with the distance and GPS on their devices. Me neither. That’s wrong and bullshit. Sorry.
        And yes. GPS can be bad…. on every watch. But Vantage is as least as good as other watches… a little bit worse that V800. But with the lashes two updates I never had any big problems. Sorry.

        • That’s exactly what I think. All the features are working. I‘m coming from Garmin and they promise many features. But nothing of that is reliable. Nothing. Especially the GPS.
          The vantage features ARE working.
          Other topic: If you are a pro you would use a footpod. GPS was never good to do interval training.

  7. I like the Vantage V. Especially all the ReCovery Pro / Fitspark / Sleep / Fitnesstest Features.

    GPS is bad for every watch. Garmin 935 has also a really bad GPS. Much worse than Polar. No-one cares :D…
    If want better results use a footpad. I’m using Stryd. It works perfectly for me. On every watch. The same result ;). I also like Polar Flow features. Much better than the unusable Garmin features.
    I’m happy. They fixed some crashes. Added some features.
    I also like Intervalltimer: I can’t know which will be the last interval. Why? It depends on the daily form.
    Polar should keep the good work.

  8. Amusing how many posts have now appeared (Many with Finish sounding nicknames) talking up Polar 🙂

    • Yes. There are not only complaining users. Should I shut up because you are complaining? In my sports club there is no: Polar is bad or something. There is training. It seems that the amateurs with 5 min/km care more about GPS than we do 😉

    • Indeed, looks like the Polar troll army has been released. You can’t argue with that, so this is my final post in this discussion. To all potential buyers seeking advise here: read all (pro and con) comments critically, draw your own conclusions and choose wisely.

  9. Our work here is done. The whiney insurgents have returned to the Smelly Moors. Now let the feast begin until the moon turns red!

    • I did a trailrun today through wood and lots of uphill sections. Works very nice with Stryd now. I like it. GPS was very good today. Very very good.

  10. Actually on my Vantage V the GPS is much better now, than it was before. The track is almost not wobbly at all and the instant pace seems to be way better. I like this update.

  11. I am using the Vantage V Titan now for a couple of weeks in combination with Stryd. I love it. I notice that the GPS track with GPS+Gallileo is very good after the 5.0 update (much less wobbly). I followed the curve and corners very well. It is also good enought to use the navigation feature.
    I also tested with GPS+Glonass, the fix is a bit faster, but the track a bit off.
    If I compare it with what I see on Strava comming from other watches it is same or better.

    I used a V800 before, GPS of the V800 is still better. For instant pacing I don’t care. I use Stryd and run by Power anyway.

    • Welcome to the STRYD+chest strap party…open invite. all welcome. it’s a nice party once you get in.

      I’ve only used the +GLONASS with the Vantage and its not so great for the GPS track. thank you for the heads up with galileo, that might be worth trying and having a look in more detail

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