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