Polar Vantage V2 Review 🥇 Pro Triathlon Watch – one of the best

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Polar Vantage V2 Review Specifications
Polar Vantage V2 Review

In this detailed Polar Vantage V2 Review, we take a deep look at Polar’s flagship multisport, performance GPS watch.  Is it a real upgrade from the original Vantage? and could this be your first high-end triathlon/running watch? Let’s see.

Here is a quick summary and if you’ve already got your latte, scroll further down for the detailed Polar Vantage V2 Review.

Polar Vantage V2 Verdict
  • Price - 85%
    85%
  • Apparent Accuracy - 85%
    85%
  • Build Quality & Design - 95%
    95%
  • Sports Features, Including App - 92%
    92%
  • Openness & Compatability - 85%
    85%
88%

Polar Vantage V2 Review

Polar Vantage V2 Review – A Great Pro Triathlon Watch

My sporting plans for watches in 2021 include the Polar Vantage V2 which I will definitely use for run training with STRYD and probably also for at least one triathlon race. It really is a good sports watch and I prefer its looks to any other.

On the outside, the hardware construction is very good and on the inside, there is the occasional quirky menu interface that I find endearing, although navigating through the menus to find what you want is quick and soon becomes second nature.

Start your workout and the Vantage V2 performs well and gives you the information you need to train and race. After you’ve finished, Polar delivers a nice blend of summary sports information and then the ability to explore it a little further on the watch. If that’s not enough for the data inquisitive, there is the fallback to much more detailed insights on the excellent FLOW platform (web and app).

At first, Polar FLOW appears straightforward but, dig deeper, and there are MANY gems covering the ability to set annual training plans and to create complex, structured workouts. Couple that with your recovery status and training load and you have some great information to fine-tune your training.

The sports profiles you can create for the V2 are generally good and can be nicely configured with the usual data and nicely-presented metrics. The full-screen gauge displays are unusual but fine once you get used to them, especially as those are the ones where you can access other features like the awesomely useful Zone Lock, compass and elevation calibration.

Existing Vantage Gen 1 users will be tempted to upgrade to the faster, lighter V2 model and to get several cool, new features which include weather, fuel source planning and reporting, hill rep functionality, performance & recovery tests, and breadcrumb route support with TBT.

For athletes who are new to the Polar platform, there is too much old ground to cover when looking at the impressive list of existing Polar features that are carried into the Vantage V2. Here’s a quick recap with links if you are new to Polar and need the full detail. Scroll down further for the FULL, detailed review.

  • 8/10 Extensive, customisable sports profiles and a good range of training metrics
  • 9/10 Excellent structured training support covering training plans and customisable workouts, supported by functions such as (auto)laps and audible+vibration alerts
  • 9/10 Sleep Stages Plus – has GOOD HRV-enabled sleep tracking platform although too much complexity is shown on the watch.
  • 9/10 Training Load Pro is a great feature to track and guide your progress over the weeks and feeds into the readiness-to-train support
  • 9/10 Adaptive training with Fitspark. Fitspark automatically suggests varied workouts that are suitable for you at any given time.
  • 7/10 Straightforward smart & health features like Serene breathing, steps, inactivity alerts & smartphone notifications.
  • 9/10 Polar Flow planning and analysis platform
  • 8/10 Strava Live Segments

Pros

  • BLE sensor support covering most relevant sensors
  • Onboard running power calculations or STRYD support with native running power support
  • A mostly comprehensive feature set for tri
  • Many novel features including for recovery, readiness, fuelling and hill work.
  • End-to-end training solution from creating annual plans, to structured workouts, to alert-based execution through to analysis
  • Fitspark adaptive training great for time-pressed athletes and good guided strength/core workouts even for more serious athletes.
  • Polar Flow

Cons

  • Minimal ‘smarts’ – you get notifications but not contactless payments. It’s intended as a sports watch.
  • Smartphone Audio Control – #Shrug.
  • Only supports oHR for swimming. No cached HR from the H10.
  • No custom multisport profiles eg RBRBR
  • No ANT+ (only affects Zwift when connected to a single-channel BLE PM)
  • Probably needs more data metrics to keep everyone happy (some have been added)
  • Synchronisation is slow

Polar Grit X Review Specifcations

Links to one or more stores in your local geo, buying there supports this site, thank you.

 

Polar Vantage V2 Review Specifications

Polar Vantage V2 Review – What’s NEW?

The V2 is a mostly-new watch, despite looking similar to the original Vantage.

The straps, buttons, case and screen have changed and the Vantage V2’s features include all those on the Vantage V1, Grit X and Ignite. Some of the new features unlock new analysis functionality in FLOW and there are also a few minor additions to FLOW which other Polar users will get access to. Further below, I’ll also touch on Polar’s planned updates for the coming months.

Totally New Features to Polar

  • Music control on your iOS/Android smartphone
  • New watch faces
  • HRV data export (via Flow)
  • New running and cycling tests for performance and recovery. Test Results Hub on Flow
  • New ‘last lap’ metrics
  • (Power target workouts and more to follow soon ie 2020)

New Features on Vantage from Grit X

  • Weather
  • Fuel Wise – fuel source planning and reporting
  • Hill Splitter – automatic treatment of hills as laps both live and in FLOW
  • Breadcrumb route support from KOMOOT/STRAVA with TBT.
  • Several subtle UI animation changes

Appearance, Build

The Vantage V2 looks similar to the Vantage V. I’d say it ‘feels’ slightly better.

  • The strap is the same material as the Vantage V Titan and there is a new pin mechanism to remove it, thus the straps are not interchangeable between old and new Vantages
  • A weight change to 52g (64g Grit X, 66g Vantage V, 59g Vantage V Titan, 45g Vantage M)
  • Smoother and slightly more rounded full aluminium case that’s now waterproof to WR100
  • The new touchscreen seems slightly brighter, slightly more responsive and slightly more sensitive than the VV Titan.
  • The edge of the bezel has more subtle ‘seconds marks’
  • Buttons have a very slightly softer action than VV Titan.
  • New Precision Prime Gen 2 sensor from Grit X with one minor algorithm change, same Sony CXD5603GF GNSS chip, new magnetic compass
  • Battery modes that give 40 hours training time and up to 100 hours with battery saving features (GPS recording rate: 1 second, 1 minute and 2 minutes)

So, if you are comparing VV1 to VV2, then it’s actually quite a notable upgrade.

Let’s now turn to the new stuff in more detail

Watch Faces – Polar Vantage V2 Review

The ability to customise your watch outside of sport is important to a significant number of athletes. Polar has now introduced some completely new watch faces as well as the ability to hide other high-level screens. These are ‘nice enough’ changes but the only noteworthy new screen is the Training Summary which gives a visual indication of this week’s time-in-zone training and then the ability to drill down to a little more detail about the current week and previous week’s totals.

Music Controls – Polar Vantage V2 Review

The Vantage V2 allows you to control the volume and playlist of the active audio app on your iOS and Android smartphone. It works well but you must have your phone with you for this to work as there is no music stored on the watch.

Polar Vantage V2 Review Specifications

 

New Performance Tests, Readiness Tests & Zone Integrations – Polar Vantage V2 Review

These tests are a move in the right direction for Polar despite some reservations I initially had. Here’s why.

Polar sometimes has bad names for good things…like the Orthostatic test. What does that mean? Well, now they have the ‘jump test’ but..so what? What does it give me? You can guess I was sceptical about this until I tried it. There seems to be some good science behind a very simple test the results of which, when compared to your 28-day baseline, accurately show if you are ready now for a harder, more explosive workout. Personally, I would have called this a ‘readiness-to-train’ test and the great thing about it is that you can perform the 3 required jumps easily in less than a minute before your workout.

After a pretty dire weekend, the Leg Recovery Test correctly ascertained that I was clearly in no fit state to train.

Note: Accuracy here is 6%, benchmark MAT TEST is 5%

Next, we have 3 performance tests. One for cycling and two for running (maximal/sub-maximal – submaximal is an incomplete maximal test). They are structured tests that we should all use periodically to see how we are progressing one being an FTP test and the other being a running ramp-test.

  • Cycling – 20 to 60 minutes, guided maximal test whose results update VO2max and, optionally, POWER ZONES
  • Running test to determine HRmax (only from the maximal test), MAS and MAP (link to Polar white paper)
    • a maximal ramp test where you choose the starting pace, ideally on flat ground, and whose results optionally update the default zones for HR, PACE and POWER.
    • a sub-maximal ramp test where you choose the starting pace, ideally on flat ground, and whose results optionally update PACE ZONES and POWER ZONES.

After completing the test, you click on the test result in FLOW and are prompted to update your performance markers accordingly.

 

I didn’t complete any of the performance tests to the end, however they are well-made and seem to work fine. My initial reservations here were that it now seems more popular to have automatically-updated zones based on LTHR/LT2 and CP/FTP. The automation comes by interrogating ‘any’ workout for a breakthrough performance, notifying you about the breakthrough and then you authorize the change. Garmin has had that kind of feature for over a year but, that said, it still doesn’t work ‘thoroughly’ (multiple breakthrough points) and has bugs (LTHR reset)!

My hope here is that Polar plans to take this further and that this functionality is a stepping step toward a more dynamic approach.

HRV Data Export

This is a bit of a niche one. You can now export HRV data from FLOW if, of course, your workout was performed with a compatible sensor. The Polar H10 works for this and I would be interested to know if the same can be said of non-Polar straps which have not historically supported Polar’s HRV/Orthostatic test. A new option appears when you choose to export your workout from FLOW, like this:

 

 

Polar Vantage V2 Review – Key Features

Here’s a nice overview image for this review from Polar covering their key feature sets on the Vantage V2, add in STRAVA Live Segments and you have a great set of sports-focused tools. The tools cover an analysis of your training and your sleep and their impact on your readiness to train. Fitspark recommends the type of training and specific guided workouts and Fuelwise tells you how to plan and execute the fuelling of that training. Weather, navigation, STRAVA Live Segments and Hill Splitter all aid aspects of your workouts as you perform them. Some of these are longstanding Polar features, so I’ll just briefly cover those for those of you new to high-end Polar watches.

 

 

 

Nightly Recharge, Sleep Plus Stages, Recovery Pro, Training Load Pro

My headline daily stat is usually from Training Load Pro both as a recap of where my training volumes/intensities current are and as an input to what I need to do. Alongside that I might consult the recovery stats from either RECOVERY PRO or NIGHTLY RECHARGE, the former is more precise but requires you to regularly perform an Orthostatic Test (HRV) with a chest strap so I prefer the nightly recharge method (HRV) that is automatically calculated overnight on the wrist. The great thing with Nightly Recharge is that it flags up concerns the minute I wake up, I take that on board when planning my training for the day but tend not to delve any further into the details such as the sleep stages. We’re all different and I know that some of you are fascinated by Sleep Stages and Polar does a good job of summarising this on the watch and a great job of letting you analyse further on the app.

These are complex yet highly useful features. In my opinion, Polar presents the high-level guidance really well but uses too technical terminology when drilling down into the details both on the watch and app.

Fitspark

If you are not following a plan, Fitspark is your daily coach who gives tailored workouts and specific guidance that is suitable for your current readiness-to-train. Many middle-aged triathletes regularly fail to do enough strength work and enough core work. Fitspark will soon be on to you and you can choose to follow it’s animated graphics that take you through individual exercise. Instead, if you want advice on what kind of cardio workout would be best for you today, you get that option as well at any time.

As an occasional coach, I appreciate the complexity that Polar has overcome to present a training ‘solution’ that I’ve summarised in a few, short sentences. What they have done IS highly impressive, it’s limitation is that the advice is best tailored to those training under 6 hours a week (Source: Polar)

Weather & Navigation

If you’re looking for full onboard maps on a tri watch then you will only get that with Garmin. I suspect, however, that few triathletes need full-blown, maps to significantly add to the cost of their watches and so Polar’s routing that syncs breadcrumb routes in from STRAVA and KOMOOT will be good enough for most of us, the added positive twist is that TBT guidance is also synced from the source #Handy. There’s also a fullscreen magnetic compass for display during workouts.

I found the weather functionality useful, especially as it highlights the hourly wind strength and direction which are both important to me when planning a ride, whereas I’d run in most weather. Up to 2-days of weather is synced from your phone.

Polar Hill Splitter & STRAVA Live Segments

In a sense, these are both similar performance-focused features that give you more actionable information about your progress on parts of your outdoor training. If you are a STRAVA subscriber, I’m assuming you already know about STRAVA Live Segments.

Polar’s Hill Splitter was introduced for the Grit X  and automatically identifies and breaks out individual hills during your workouts. It shows live stats for the hill and stores each hill rep as a lap for you to analyze later in Flow. It works well for runners.

Here are two links to more detailed info on each of these topics.

Polar Hill Splitter – All you need to know and more

 

STRAVA Live Segments – Hammerhead Karoo vs Garmin vs Polar vs Wahoo vs Polar vs Sigma

 

Fuelwise

The final major feature for the Vantage V2 is Fuelwise which offers guidance and insight to fuel and hydration before, during and after your workout.

For any workout over an hour, you will consider hydration and fuel needs. Fuelwise can work on many levels ranging from a simple, time-based reminder to have a drink, through to automatically alerting you to take carbs at the appropriate point in a ride based on the intensity of your exertions to that point. Before the workout, you can use Fuelwise to determine exactly what fuel to take with you and after the workout, you can start to get an understanding of how you need carbs. Then, with the analyses in FLOW, you can see the stark change in how your body starts to use proportionately more carbs as you leave HR Zone 2 (ramp test image below).

 

Polar Vantage V2 Review – Accuracy

My Polar Vantage V2 Review unit performed fairly well in accuracy tests across the triathlon sports and accuracy is improved over the first generation Vantage. Its main weakness was shown in the last few open water swims I managed this year where both HR and GPS were lacking compared to Garmin who also seem to have stepped up a notch in OWS over the last year or so. Most GPS devices tend to do well at cycling and the Vantage V2 is no different. However, the hardest tests for accuracy are when running. The Polar Vantage V2 matched what typical Garmins deliver with running and, other than an occasional wobbly with oHR, there was little to separate a normal Garmin oHR/GLONASS performance to a normal V2 oHR/GLONASS performance. I repeat a GNSS test for every running-capable watch and the V2’s best score was an acceptable 75%.

Subscriber-Only Content: Here is a detailed accuracy analysis. This takes a LONG time to put together and most people are only interested in the summary…which you’ve just read.

https://the5krunner.com/2020/09/17/polar-vantage-v2-accuracy/

 

Polar Vantage V2 Review Specifications

Polar Vantage V2 Review – Future Firmware Additions

More power-based functionality is set to be delivered this year

  • Power-based training targets (see current: polar.com)
  • Zone pointer for power and speed

If these work for both running power and cycling power then they will be useful additions that I know some people want. It’s also likely that we will very soon see more swimming functionality for the VV2 as Polar inadvertently left a ‘swim drill mode’ option in the released version of their Polar Flow app.

 

Polar Vantage V2 Specifications

 

Here are the Polar Vantage V2 specifications which are mostly hardware-related, plus a link to the manual once it goes live.

  • Measurements: 47 x 47 x 13 mm
  • Weight: 52 g with the wristband.
  • Materials: Aluminium case.
  • Display: Always-on colour touch display. Laminated Gorilla glass lens with anti-fingerprint coating, protected with extruded stainless steel bezel with lugs. Option to have backlight always on during exercise.
  • Display Size 1.2”, resolution 240 x 240.
  • Battery: 346 mAh Li-pol battery. Battery life up to 40 h in training mode (GPS and wrist-based heart rate), up to 100 hours with battery-saving modes, or up to 7 days in watch mode with continuous heart rate tracking. Multiple power save options available.
  • Processor: Unknown, however, the Vantage V2 is faster and smoother to use than the Vantage V Titanium.
  • GPS & Barometer: Integrated GPS, GLONASS + Galileo. Assisted GPS for fast fix times, SBAS to increase GNSS accuracy from ground stations. Barometric altitude, incline, ascent and descent.
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth Low Energy. Custom USB cable for charging and data synchronization. No ANT+
  • Watch: Time and date. Alarm with snooze.
  • Sensors: Compatible with standard BLE heart rate sensors and running cadence and power sensors as well as cycling speed, cadence and dual-LR power bike sensors.
  • Silicone Wristband Sizing: S: wrist circumference 130-190 mm, M/L: wrist circumference 145-215 mm
  • Compatibility with Vantage V Gen 1: No
  • Durability: Operating temperature: from -20° to 50°C. Temperatures below -10°C may affect battery life and performance.
  • Onboard Body Temperature Sensor – Records data to Polar FLOW, influenced by body temperature. Not taken from the weather forecast.
  • Water resistance: officially now WR100, up to 100 m
  • Magnetic compass (only available during a workout, calibration during workout)
  • The barometric altimeter is automatically cross-calibrated by GPS within the first couple of minutes of a workout. Altitude can be manually calibrated from the fullscreen altitude training view. Altitude is corrected when reported in Polar Flow.

Sensor support – most BLE sports sensors, STRYD and these power meters. Polar’s own power calculations used if STRYD present. STRYD can accept a manual calibration value. Polar still always automatically pairs any Polar BLE sensors you’ve used before – even if you remove them it re-pairs them.

 

 

Polar Grit X Review

Polar Vantage V2 Review – My Thoughts

The Polar Vantage V2 is a proper triathlon tool. It’s probably the only proper triathlon tool that isn’t made by Garmin. I call it a ‘tool’ as it is designed almost entirely to match athletic needs. It simply doesn’t get too carried away with smart functionality (NFC, streaming music, maps) and the pursuit of ever-higher price tags. That said, it’s not cheap either.

I personally DO like the Polar Vantage V2 and it would rank as one of my favourite watches that I’d wear because I want to and not because I have to because of this blog. If I was just focussing on occasional casual wear, training for duathlons and triathlons, and I had the Vantage V2 then, from a personal perspective, I would NOT be tempted away to buy a Garmin 745/FR945/F6. Conversely, if I had one of those Garmins, I don’t think there’s much in the Vantage V2 that would tempt me to switch to Polar – I’ve got used to Apple/Garmin’s conveniences of WiFi, ANT+ and NFC. Garmin does every aspect of triathlon functionality well but the only stand-out aspect of that would be SWIMMING. The swimming piece is just better on a Garmin but then again in a triathlon, how often do you use the swimming stuff? And when you’re training in the pool do you really use all the fancy metrics…I don’t, I usually just want the cached HR and a timer! When on the bike, a Polar Vantage V2 on the wrist is not that different from any other watch…a bike computer format is simply better. So that just leaves running. High-end Garmins and the Vantage V2 have the right buttons in the right places and show me the right kind of screen with the right kind of metric, both support STRYD differently so all is good for me. Plus in some ways, I prefer Polar’s Zone Lock for running power that Garmin’s implementation.

I train fairly seriously but I know some of you train very seriously. You’re probably so good that you can accurately ‘feel’ how hard you are running/cycling/swimming and you only really need a tri watch for the sponsorship money. However, I bet you can’t tell how recovered you are. And even if you think you can, are you sure? So then we come to the whole training load, recovery and readiness-to-train piece. It’s probably important for all of us if we train more than 6 hours a week and it’s perhaps important it’s correct if we train more than 12 hours a week. Mostly all the recommendations in this area come from HR/HRV and you need to be sure that your HR sensor-of-choice is accurate for this to have a chance of working. I’m obviously aware that Garmin/Firstbeat has a massive budget here and that Polar has ALWAYS been heart-rate focussed, but I have this nagging doubt gnawing away at my sporting soul and telling me that Garmin/Firstbeat is not always sufficiently correct. I’d err towards Polar on this one.

Feel like a Pro? With the money that you will save by not buying a top-end Garmin, buy a STRYD, Polar H10 and the Vantage V2. Sorted. Pro sensors, Correct Data, Pro Recovery.

 

Buy Polar Vantage V2 Discounts, Price & Availability – Options

Until the end of October 2020, this will only be available to buy directly from Polar. The likes of Wiggle and PowerMeterCity then should get stock before it becoming more widely available for you to buy. The red POLAR banner should have the updated outlets where you can buy one now.

 

Bands Priced at 34.90€, $34.95

 

 

Order

You can buy the Polar Vantage V2 for US$/Eu499.95 or US$/Eu549.95 as the H10 bundle. General availability to purchase from Amazon, Wiggle, REI and many others from October 2020 onwards.

Polar Grit X Review Specifcations

Links to one or more stores in your local geo, buying there supports this site, thank you.

 

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Xave

How is the integration with Stryd? Is it as good as Apple watch or Garmin? Why is the power not calculated by Stryd?

Nick K

If you connect Stryd, the power comes from Stryd. You won’t get Stryd specific metrics like leg stiffness or form power though, like you would with COROS during run or Garmin post-run.

Polar does integrate with Stryd PowerCenter, so it automatically pushes the workouts in there and you can later merge in Stryd-specific part via the app.

ChrisTexan

Power Zone lock is available in the v800, so only unique in “current” models (I run exclusively with my v800 and Stryd with this feature on many training runs)

Nick K

I think he meant Zone Lock is unique to Polar, which it is. Suunto lets you setup intensity zone based on power, but it’s hardly an instant process. Neither Garmin, no COROS have ad-hoc running power based alerts, though COROS now has power based structured workouts.

ChrisTexan

Makes sense. Sorry, I’m still a little miffed about Polar’s marketing of the V2 as having “new/unique” features, when in reality, they are at best catching up with themselves. Sorry for any confusion on my part.

Tom

Will Vantage V/M get the power-based structured workouts or is it a V2 only feature? Thanks

Nick K

I wouldn’t be personally surprised about the later. Though it would be a really nasty move on Polar’s part given that the actual sports profiles and workout builder are mostly watch agnostic and V/M had support for power from day one.

Tom

According to DCR, this is going to be a V2 only feature. Nasty, indeed.
Coros, here we come!

Zacharias

IMO Polar acts like Garmin. Different watches with similar hardware , only software differences and then always upgrade. If VV1 doesn’t get fuel source planning, hill rep functionality and power structured workouts then it’s a bye bye baby from me. I won’t follow stupid marketing tricks. Polar Flow is the best but I will find another lover. Power as an indication only and always inaccurate because GPS is inaccurate. It’s a pity to have trail marathons and ultras with the indication on the map (right top corner) Low accuracy GPS used”. Seriously? Once I run trail 100miler with Amazfit Pace and it literally nailed, GPS was spot on. Huawei watch gt2 is excelent. Coros same features across the board. There are plenty of solutions nowadays. Kisses

tfk, the5krunner

Well…I hear ya!
I think it is fair(ish) that Polar doesn’t include fuel and hill on VV1 as they are wholly new features.
however i agree with you that the structured power workouts complete a cohesive, existing product set and so should be updated retrospectively to previous versions. i hope they do that. they should do that.
power from polar DOES rely on GPS and so inevitably will be inaccurate, as you say. same is true of Garmin running power and coros (on the wrist version of power). STRYD is different, IMHO STRYD is better and seemingly more accurate.
yes there are plenty of solutions but you need to have as accurate data as possible fro the source sensors to make most of them meaningful.

Nick K

What do you make of the running test? More specifically, “max aerobic pace”? Is it a pace/HR for aerobic threshold? How’s the heart rate zone update handled afterwards?

Nick K

Never mind… Details of the test can be found at https://support.polar.com/en/running-performance-test

Jacob
  1. Is there a drill mode in pool swim?
  2. Can You input less than 1000 wheel size when pairing to smart trainer?
  3. How lap screen looks like? (automatic and manual)
Jacob

comment image?_nc_cat=106&_nc_sid=ae9488&_nc_ohc=o1lcwthtLHMAX8M1F2Y&_nc_ht=scontent-waw1-1.xx&oh=ca6c7f7f9768d596cf057963bf5b7ae4&oe=5FA4D5C5

Jacob
Jacob

Its screen from another tester, i dont have vv2, that was one of my concerns also with that wheel size im asking everyone and No one checks that

Jacob

what ? You decide what wheel size it will have ?

Jacob

so I can forget that VV2 will collect speed, distance and power from smart trainer direct drive

Jacob

by the end of 2020? or more than 1 year? this is clearly joke from polar

Nick K

@the5krunner

So, if you had a Grit X, would you upgrade?

My Grit w/COROS nylon strap is 53g, pretty much the weight of V2. Same screen, same battery, same GPS/OHR setup and accuracy. I haven’t cared for Orthostatic test in a long-long while. My headphones music controls are every bit as convenient.

So, apart from leg recovery and running tests, both of which I find of questionable utility at least for myself, the only improvements are ability to select the watch face widgets and a few more watch faces.

Hardly something worthy $100 price tag?

Justin

I am happy to see Polar put out a V2. I liked the V1, though the 24/7 metrics were awful. The only thing I have to add is Polar, if you’re reading this, your app is ugly as sin and desperately needs a visual overhaul.

Justin

I thought I was being nice.

To be clear, Polar’s app interface looks like it was developed in 2013 and never changed. There’s a bunch of numbers and metrics that look like they should be more interactable, but aren’t, while some metrics are buried underneath some other header or category that you wouldn’t think it should be.

The color tones in the app are stomach turning (for me) and it’s white. Introduce a dark mode at least! Some customizability for users to move a few things around would be nice.

flokon

All of that stuff could EASILY be implemented into the Vantage V. The V2 is a laughable update, definitely targeting newcomers to Polar. I cannot see a Vantage V (or V800 for that matter) owner in their right minds shelling out €500 for even more tests that become dead features after two or three times of using them when the novelty factor has worn off. Jump test, seriously? I can do three box jumps in short succession and get the exact same information, or, you know, like any experienced runner, feel into my legs during warm-up, and ABC/drills to get a feeling for their condition, and adapt my run accordingly. So many useless stuff that’s simply there to get paid reviewers rave about them.
The VV was a good looking watch, this thing has the aesthetics of a cheap smartwatch, how come the bezel looks even larger than on the Vantage V/M?
Glad I ordered a Pace2. Speaking of which, when do they actually ship to Europe?

flokon

Any updates on the shipping date? TBH, people who are sticking a lot of fatigue into their bodies very well know what fatigued legs feel like. So, a test is telling you that your feet are tired because your vertical jump isn’t as high as your baseline (aka avg.). There’s no actionable data gained other than what you already know by the lack of “springiness” or “pop” in your stride. Someone training seriously to (semi-)professionally (12+ hours a week according to most literature) will run on tired legs A LOT, that’s just the nature of training. Which renders the test irrelevant. There lies the crux of recent sports devices: You cannot quantify “readiness”. There are just too many variables that cannot be weighted properly in their influence. However, companies in their naive approach think the more metrics they keep track of, the more accurate their predictions are. Physiology doesn’t work that way. There will be days when you crush a PR despite being told not to overdo it, and other days when you feel like shit on an easy run despite a green light from your watch. How many Elites have a bad night before a big race, or even… Read more »

flokon

Reached out to them (NRG), and they said second half of Oct. (15-30th). Bummer.

Xave

What last lap metrics are included? Are last lap averages included?

fneu

wait, what??! Are these available in the normal training views or just the screens flashing up right after a lap is completed? VV2 only?

I don’t seem to have these available on my Vantage V and last lap speed/pace avg and time would be awesome for progressions and speed work.

fneu

Thanks for the quick answer. Let’s hope last lap metrics find their way to the VV1 eventually. I’ve not seen them being mentioned anywhere besides your review, so at least it doesn’t look like polar is trying to differentiate the VV2 by having those.

ChrisTexan

Hate to be overly analytical, but at least 3 of the “totally new to Polar” features listed, are NOT totally new, they were in the v800 (and arguably a few others are derivatives) Music control on your iOS/Android smartphone – v800 had this already New watch faces – v800 had several choices (“new” is aesthetic, not functional differences) New ‘last lap’ metrics – v800 had this already There is literally nothing new with any Vantage, that the v800 didn’t have, other than Fitspark and the “tests” being different (some of which are still the same since the v800 day, because they worked, the others are more “convenience” driven as far as I can tell) Yes, the Vantage have new features, but from a sport-tracking perspective, there is NOTHING new here for the 3rd generation in a row. And the activity tracking has been questionable as to whether it’s actually worse than was in the M4xx, 600, and v800 models. Still doesn’t support ANT+. Still has (permanently it appears) lost GymLink which allowed true, accurate, HR recording while swimming. STILL doesn’t have interchangeable “industry standard” watchbands (WHY????? The GritX has this, this is just FOOLISH!!!) This is NOT a “Vantage 2”… Read more »

flokon

So much this! With Polar since 1998 or 99, Vantage V was my last product. They keep selling old features under new labels. And at less or worse functionality, at that. The old “proper” orthostatic test after Heikki Rusko was ditched, Recovery Status was ditched in favour of the less actionable Cardio Load. What basically was Own Zone is now Running Test, Flow is a mere shadow of the powerhouse PPT5 was. They bought a new much less accurate GPS chip for battery life which is important to a tiny fraction of their user base. They ditched functions like data fields (last lap) for the og Vantages only to reintroduce them now. That’s what I meant when i said they target newcomers. The maiden user will be impressed by those spec sheets, loyal Polar users look right through their marketing shenanigans.
They had so many novel features back in the V800 and earlier days. To me it seems they replaced the whole software team, and lost old code. VantageV/M/V2, Ignite, Unite, GritX don’t feel like successors, building and improving on what’s already there, but like complete reboots of Polar’s line-up.

Nick K

I think there’s quite a difference between Own Zone test and the running performance test. Wasn’t Own Zone only estimating max HR and setting 1-2 zones for exercises based on HRV?

The running test actually gets the real max HR, MAS, MAP, and updates pace/power zones accordingly. OR you can get MAS/MAP and zones based on pre-set max HR and submax effort.

ChrisTexan

Yeah, OwnZone was pretty much a “get ya started easy, the first time out” feature from an accuracy perspective. Zones back then depended on the watch model (some had 3, some 5)… which was why I had a real fun time manually moving page after page of workouts from PPT to Flow, because they wouldn’t dynamically upgrade (due to zone mismatches on past models I determined from the export files). Fully agree with Flokon’s perspectives above, and that if this is an upgrade from “Fitbit/$100 models, to a “real” sportwatch, the “test suite” is potentially very useful. After 6 months though, that initial “getting into it” utility is 95% gone, and the basic feature/functionalities of sportwatch become the critical items, and those just aren’t improving even back to 5-years-ago standards. Compared to Coros, or Garmin, Suunto, etc, at these price points they all offer MUCH more than Polar, and wider compatibility by far (Polar is getting more into the corner, and the completely unreliable “KIckr Core/Kickr” pairing issues, makes them incompatible with what is likely the #1 selling “smart trainer” (not bike) on the market… so… where is the “new” market going to come from? I’d love to try out… Read more »

Dulko

Now, that you have tested V2, which one would you suggest FR745 or V2? Let’s say music and paying are not important, just sport features.

Dulko

Good point on the size. Can you please take a photo of both side by side? Thanks.

Dulko

Thanx for the photo, that was fast. Such evolution, style has really come a long way. And V2 in this combination with grey metal housing and red band really looks nice, better than original combinations. FR745 is not so stylish, too much plastic and thicker bezel.

Fred

Mmmm…coffee!!!

Hilly

I’ve got a V with H10 (oHR isn’t remotely accurate in my experience) and Stryd so the V2 isn’t that appealing as an upgrade. Apart from the new recovery tests the only item I’d really want to try out is the power-based structured workouts. If they’re anything like the HR based ones then they could be excellent for training.

My V800 is still going strong (and the battery is fine), hoping the V keeps going without any issues until the V3 is launched.

Evgeniy

If it works I’ll probably buy an old v800 – mine died 3 weeks before an IM race, so I had to urgently buy a Grit X (the only thing I like about it is the battery life). If power based workouts don’t come to Grit X, then I don’t see many reasons to keep it. You can still attach external power banks once a year to finish long races with v800.

Hilly

The V800 is my emergency backup, I love the fact that it just works even if it’s been sitting there unused for a couple of months. I make sure to keep the battery charged once a month and sync it at the same time.

Tom

And Vantage M please 🙂

Gioby

Nice watch but it’s pretty clear that polar has some problems to keep up with the bigger competitors. The economical difference between garmin ad polar it’s noticeable. I feel really bad for them because the were the best and some features are really good but at this price I feel more confident to buy a garmin watch and polar H10. Maybe coros will add some competition with a better version of Coros apex . Any news about version 2 of coros apex ?

Justin

Polar’s model has been to put out incremental watches over long periods of time while slowly refining those models software.

As for Coros, I think they’ve said there won’t be a Apex 2 (the Apex pro is kind of the Apex 2 in a fashion).

Coros, as a Pro owner, Seems to believe in a unifed update and upgrade across their watches with nearly in lock step. Take the Pace 2 and the Stryd integration. After that, every other model got that update.

Coros has a very high ceiling for growing their current devices, what they don’t have is any clue about how to really work with 3rd parties.

Justin

Polar sells more, because Polar is a long standing company with a long standing install base. If they were coming into the market fresh right now with this model, they’d be bought by Apple or Google within two fiscal years.

Coros has a lot of potential as I have said before. They just can’t figure out how to play nice with 3rd parties beyond Strava and everything under the sun is paired with Strava.

One other thing I want Coros to do and fix is uniformed time. Some things in the watch are exclusively on 24 hour time (the sunrise/set widget) and then in the app it is also in 24hr time. Just give us a option for one or the other, please. It’s not that I don’t understand 24hr time, but I don’t deal with it on a daily basis.

Oskars

How does it adjust HR zones after taking the test? Does it still uses 90 80 70 60 50% based on the max HR, or does it set zone 5 to the anaerobic threshold and zone 3 to aereobic threshold values?

Nick K

One million dollar question, and unfortunately there’s no answer anywhere. But based on thresholds not found anywhere in V2 support pages, I’d imagine the only thing it could do is to set pace zones based on MAS.

ChrisTexan

My understanding is it just gives you the results, then if you want, you manually update your zones. The defaults are always “default” based on your max HR that you put in (I could be wrong on this, but that’s my general understanding)… it doesn’t “dynamically” change any settings.

In their defense and contrary to a lot of perspectives saying it should be “automatic”, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, as you might do a lab test and work hard to customize your zones based on very scientific/expensive data, and then to have the watch change it when you aren’t noticing and your next training zone-based run is all out of whack, would be irritating at a minimum.

Nils

Hi, I’m looking into a new GPS watch for quite some time now. My Forerunner 935 developed some flaws over the last months – Elevation is to high in 95% of the time and sometimes totally off (up to 250% increase), heart rate readings are inaccurate especially in colder conditions (I had a intervall session this week and always when I picked up the pace for my 1200m reps the HR actually fell down for the time of the rep. Interestingly the watch seemed to catch the right HR again everytime I finished a rep and got into the rest phase). Both are things that bother me alot, but Garmin isn’t willing to offer a replacement as I’m out of the warranty period.  I initially planned to wait for the Forerunner 955 (especially the leaked LTE version – I hope for a possibility to send an emergency notification without needing a phone nearby). But as things get worse with my current Garmin, prices seem to creep up again with the new iterations. After releasing the 745 for 499€ I’m afraid the 955 will be 699€ at least. And no release date is on the horizon. Therefore I’m thinking of ditching Garmin… Read more »

Nick K

If by maps you mean offline maps, only premium Garmin watches and Suunto 7 have them. If you mean GPS route guidance in general, V2 has it including turn-by-turn navigation. You can use Komoot for automatic route sync, or you can import your route manually from anywhere — Strava and the like. It works perfectly fine for trail navigation: I did it last week with Grit X going off common trails deep in the forest.

COROS route guidance is not as good at the moment: it doesn’t have TBT, it doesn’t have automatic route import from anywhere, and to get a route on the watch, you have to export it as GPX file, get that file transferred to your watch, and opened in COROS app there. So, if you are used sitting in front of your desktop or laptop, setting up routes, and automatically pushing them to the watch, well… ain’t gonna be that easy with this iteration of COROS firmware.

Nils

I think TBT would totally do the trick for me. Maps would sure be helpful if they are really detailed. At some occasions I missed a turn in the past or had to search for it 1-2 mins. But we are speaking single trails that you easily miss if you don’t know that they are supposed to be there. In such cases some fixpoints on a map would be helpful. But are Garmin’s maps THAT detailed on the 945? I think Suunto 7 is a no-go for me because of it’s battery life.

Thanks for your help, Nick!

Nils
  1. I did that and it seemed to improve the barometer performance for normal runs. But then for a 7h hike it missed the mark by 1000m elevation (+40% of what I actually did).
  2. Unfortunately my watch is over 3 years old. Got it pretty close to the release. Garmin offered a refurbished 935 for ~140€, but I decided against that.
  3. Yeah and I would be willing to pay a premium for a safety feature that enables me to leave my phone at home. How high are the odds for that in your opinion?
  4. I think TBT would totally do the trick for me. Maps would sure be helpful if they are really detailed. At some occasions I missed a turn in the past or had to search for it 1-2 mins. But we are speaking single trails that you easily miss if you don’t know that they are supposed to be there. In such cases some fixpoints on a map would be helpful. But are Garmin’s maps THAT detailed on the 945?
  5. Haven’t known that this exists! Thanks! I’ll give it a shot!
  6. So this one is out for me.

Many thanks for your help!!!

Nick K

Looking through the comments on DCR site, Ray is implying the Running Performance Test gives you aerobic/anaerobic thresholds. Is this true?

I’ve searched all Polar docs and watched frame-by-frame the test results in a couple of videos about the test, but I fail to see anything other than VO2 Max, MAS, and MAP. Nor the thresholds are mentioned in the reports.

Nick K

So, the test *will* update the HR zones in running profiles, i.e. use AnT and AeT to set 5 zones setup but not explicitly state those values? What about AnT and AeT in user settings?

Nick K

In Polar Flow web, in upper right corner name/avatar -> Settings

There are two fields for AeT and AnT as well as VO2Max, MAS, MAP and all that jazz. I’d imagine the running test should be updating these values in addition to HR zones.

The reason I’m asking is because if the test indeed provides a stable, repeatable values on submax effort for AeT and AnT, this is huge. The alternative for me currently would be either to rely on guesstimates, or buy an LT blood monitor and perform the test myself, or head to the lab.

Nick K

Yeah, that’s what I thought. Emailed Polar support with explicit questions about AeT and AnT. It would be tricky to do AeT, though I feel Adidas SmartRun did get it in their assessment test years back, but AnT should be relatively straightforward. Not sure why they aren’t doing it.

Oskars

Let us know on their answer

Nick K

3 days later, no reply from Polar. But reading closely through Polar support docs, it appears that heart rate zones are only updated after max HR test (not sub-max), and I have a feeling they are updated off the max HR achieved, i.e. it will be a standard issue 90/80/70%… setup Polar is doing by default.

https://www.reddit.com/r/Polarfitness/comments/j7g88d/will_v2_running_performance_test_provide_ant_and/

Dulko

This was provided by Polar?

tfk, the5krunner

yes

Dulko

Thanx. Just curios, which way to define heart rate zones is better, from max hr and then divide heart rate zones according to percentages or from lthr?

tfk, the5krunner

good question
answer:
1. monthly lab test for LTHR, tested each time in similar, caffeine-free conditions
2. perhaps also a half-way test between those monthly tests where you find your LTHR when dosed-up with your race supplements like caffeine, as they will elevate your HR and hence change your zones.
3. even then your zones could be wrong. if you’re even just an average athlete you should be able to use RPE to validate the Z2/Z3 boundary that your LTHR test predicts (lthr is Z4/Z5)

years ago, I used to write LOTS of stuff on that topic on this blog. so there are various spreadsheets and calculators and charts if you search. I got distracted from all of that by gadgets.

power zones are the way to go. with your zones automatically calculated from maximal efforts at different durations

Dulko

Thank you for explanation. I am asking from a point of recreational runner, not focused on lab tests, races but rather on improving running performance and fitness thru running plans. Is it enough to run fast for 30 min, then use average HR during last 20 min as LTHR and calculate zones in TP? Or buy Garmin watch which does it automatically for you? Regarding power I assume you are referring to Stryd. It means extra $$$ besides sports watch. OK, Polar and Garmin also work on power field. I mean, do you see benefit in power running for people who barely find time for running among job, family, kids etc?

tfk, the5krunner

ah, you asked for the best way 😉
yes go hard for 30 mins and take the best (last) 20.
there are various platforms which will automatically calculate stuff for you for free (eg golden cheetah,runalyze…many more)
coros/suunto/polar/garmin all have flavours of run power
I guess bannister broke the 4-minute mile with a stopwatch and running shoes. none of this tech is a requirement.

Dulko

Cheers. 🙂

Jacob

Do You think vv2 will receive ANT connection ??

Heard that even vv1 was capable

eierbaerli

Ha, a no gimmick, pure bread sports watch. Eat it G-brand. I don’t get why a con is the price tho, don’t buy it now. Simpel. Wait a year and by doing so, you also aren’t a beta tester for Polar. No one in their right mind would be a Garmin upon it’s release, right?. 😉 The “old” V is currently sold for around 350€ and the average price for over a year now, according to some price comparing website, has been 390€. Since the V is from 2018 and the price for it was around 390€ in 2019, wait a year and all the kinks will be ironed out and you’ll get it for a fair price. If you are in need for a new sports watch right now, why not buy a 2nd hand one of ebuy as an inbetween? That’s even a great opportunity to test out a different brand imho. Here in my country the Suuntos are sold pretty cheap on ebuy for example. What I don’t like about the new V2 is how the buttons are integrated into the case. I find the way it was done on the “old” V more appealing. Even moreso… Read more »

Phil

I have the Vantage M and I don’t like the sync-time (BT) for uploading trainings.
Question: Is the upload with the vantage v2 faster now?

Jiri

Excellent review!
I think it is very good to have nice GPS tracks, however using Stryd it is not necessary to have the best one for correct distance and pace reasons. It is also very good to have accurate WHR on your whatch, however it is always better to have chest strap or at least good  OHR (Polar OH1+, Scosche..) for exact monitoring of HR during activity.
However, accurate WHR is crucial for sleep and recovery monitoring and all 24/7 associated metrics. Does any comparison dealing with 24/7 metrics monitoring and interpretation exist or what is your feeling (opinion) about it, if you compare different Polar, Garmin, Suunto or Coros sport whatches.
Thank you

tfk, the5krunner

exactly so. Welcome to the H10 + STRYD club)

Most oHR/WHR is relatively accurate at resting levels.

Jiri

thanks. And as for these 24/7 metrics interpretation, do you favorize Polar, Garmin or another app. (ecosystem) ?

tfk, the5krunner

garmin is the most extensive, for sure.
polar gives me what i need