New Route Features For the Top-End Polar Watches – Grit X Pro and Vantage V2
Last week’s announcement from Polar saw a new, super-premium outdoors GPS watch in the Grit X Pro and with that came new software features for several other Polar models plus the ability for Polar Vantage V2 owners to buy an adapter kit to enable them to use standard straps.
Must Read: Detailed Polar Grit X Review
Today is an image-packed, brief ‘how to’ post describing the newly extended route features which are now available on the Grit X Pro and Vantage V2.
Create a Route For Polar Flow
Your first option is to manually import a GPX or TCX route file into polar. It’s a slightly ‘old school’ process but it works and is adequate for many of us.
Otherwise, you can link your routes directly from your favourite online routing platform. No, not that one.
Polar Routes – How To Connect
Strava subscribers might initially be excited at the prospect of getting their routes into the Polar environment. However, they will be disappointed as, for them, nothing has changed and their premium Strava subscription just lets them sync their favourite live segments to the Polar environment.
Strangely, Polar only supports routes from Komoot at this time. Well, it seems strange from the UK or USA where Strava and Ride with GPS are popular but on mainland Europe, apparently, Komoot is widely used. It’s a sweet-looking platform too, so, hey, why not?
You can get a free Komoot account plus the ubiquitous premium option. Komoot’s signup process is somewhat sneaky and avoids clarity on pricing at an early stage. On that basis, I don’t recommend Komoot but if you want to use routes with Polar just go for the free option for starters, you get some free map tiles with the free account.
Open a Komoot account and link it to your Polar account here on flow.com.
Polar Routes – How to Sync from Komoot
Check out your favourites on flow.com or on the Flow app. If you’ve recently created some new routes in Komoot your can easily refresh them in Flow, like this
and these are all automatically synced to your watch each time you connect it to Flow.
Polar Routes – Select & View a Route to follow
After you have chosen your sport, press the top left button to choose from a list of routes on the watch. Once you’ve chosen the route you get brief summary information, an elevation profile and a breadcrumb route outline.
That’s pretty basic stuff. But you also get some advanced abilities whereby your Grit X Pro/Vantage V2 pops up a smart food reminder during your ride. The precise timing of those reminders depends on your effort levels and hence how many carbs you’ve burnt through. You can set a manual drink reminder too. (More detail see Polar Fuel Wise)
Polar – Follow the route
Polar has no inbuilt map intelligence so it can’t give you turn-by-turn instructions to navigate you to the route either at the start or if you make a wrong turn. However, you can start the route from the beginning, mid-point or end, with the ability to reverse the route at those points, plus you are directed in a straight line to your chosen start point of the route.
For the most part, the breadcrumb route you follow is not visually exciting. Typically it’s just a single wiggly or straight line indicating your upcoming path. If your route involves more serious elevations then there’s a useful screen that shows your vertical progress throughout the route, distance remaining, your total ascent/descent to date plus the slope gradients.
Turn-by-turn (TBT) guidance is supplied by Komoot and also should be shown if you have included TBT instructions in the route file that you upload to Flow. Couple the TBT instructions with a compass heading then you have some decent tools to help you on your way.
Polar – More Route Features
During your workout, the ‘map’ screen is zoomable and you can also stop the current route to start a new one or even to retrace your steps to the start.
As well as following your route in reverse you can head as the crow flies back to the start. I find that both of these methods have their uses from time to time.
- Grit X Pro – $/Eu499, £439
- Grit X Pro Titan – $/Eu599, £519
- Polar Vantage V2 EDITION – $/Eu549, £449
- Polar Unite is still $/EU149, £134.50
Polar’s Grit X Pro and Vantage V2 offer a fairly normal take on following a route with a GPS sports watch.
If you are a more serious adventurer following a detailed route or looking to navigate on a bike at high speeds then there are better options for you. That said, Polar has given us a solid set of route features with nice integration with Komoot.
I suspect that Polar will like to link to RwGPS or Strava ASAP however the next big step for them beyond that would be to introduce onboard map intelligence and a whole raft of related features. That, however, is a niche market need and detailed mapping is perhaps not best suited to a watch in any case for most people.
Thus Polar might choose one of these ways forward to beef up their routing options
- Add map tiles to the watch. From a service like Komoot, Polar would take a series of map images that surround your planned route. These images would be shown on your watch with a breadcrumb route traced above it. There would be no intelligence in this kind of map but it would look nice and would give the wearer a better sense of context whilst navigating
- A hybrid option that utilises more detailed features on an app like Kommot. The app would be on your smartphone in your pocket and intended only to be accessed infrequently.
- Full maps on the watch are unlikely in the near future from Polar.
The route feature is not one of Grit X Pro’s strengths and what Polar has given us today squarely sits in the ‘nice to have’ camp. Don’t forget, the Grit X Pro is a great sports watch with very many other powerful and market-leading sports features.
Must Read: Detailed Polar Grit X Review