Polar OH1 (Verity Sense) – How can it be beaten?
I’ve used the Polar OH1 a lot since it was launched even though some of its initial innovations have been overtaken by sporting tech developments elsewhere. The OH1 was itself superseded by the Polar Verity Sense which is a silly name so I’ll refer to it here as the OH1 as well!
My Current Usage
I use OH1 on 80% of my weekly workouts. That means for pretty much everything except swimming, although it is the only heart rate monitor I use when using my indoor swim trainer, which I’m doing quite a lot even though it’s summer.
That said the main uses I get from OH1 are 1) an accurate optical HR track for comparison purposes in reviews and 2) a way to keep my Polar Flow stats updated well in advance of any new Polar Watch launch.
The underlying techy reasons it is good to use are that it supports both BLE and ANT+, and it internally caches a workout independently of a watch or smartphone. Oh, did I say it was accurate?…it’s accurate!
If you check images on other sports tech reviewers’ sites you will see that they also wear OH1 and I would assume for the same reasons as me eg DCR and DesFit. It really is a good product and it is better than similar products from Scosche, MIO and Wahoo.
Some Features & History
Verity Sense seemed to be released to coincide with the introduction of new features designed for swim usage. Initially, it supported pool metrics but then wowed me when it could be linked to the FORM Goggles to beam HR direct into my field of view when either pool swimming or in open water. However, that unique feature was diminished in importance when FORM supported HR and GPS from Apple Watch and Garmin watches a few months later.
Key Features that Make it a Winner
- Openness- support 2xBLE + unlimited ANT+ connections
- Battery life 30 hours
- Autonomous: Can independently cache workouts
- Can be worn on the upper arm (convenience for some women and linked to accuracy)
It’s also water resistant, lightweight(<20g) and has an excellent range of 150m.
How Polar OH1 Can be beaten
In order to replace OH1 on my upper arm a new model (OH3 or competitor) would need to do this
- Retain or better all the existing features
- Although the new band is alright and better than the original it probably still needs to be even wider to avoid flipping in the pool and flipping when changing clothes. Perhaps an option for a sleeve like WHOOP would be good?
- Automatically cache all workouts
- Make starting and automatically stopping a workout easier.
- Have a clear status LED
- Produce RR data (for HRV, like Scosche Rhythm 24)
We could then make various suggestions about how it could become a screenless lifestyle tracker and multi-sensor but that’s just describing WHOOP and, in reality, that’s a big leap on the software side and its focus for others to overcome.
The Next Armband
We are overdue for something new in this space, so let’s see what pans out this year.
I’ve already reported that Garmin DOES have a swim speed sensor in the advanced stages of development. Maybe there could be a launch from Garmin of a couple of new sensors rather than just a swim speed one?
We already saw that it’s probably patents that held back Garmin from copying STRYD, are there similar limitations set by whoop? A: Unlikely as Biostrap and others are still in business. So there sholdn’t be any legal reason to stop any new company making a better sports armband heart rate monitor.
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