Will Garmin release a competitor to Polar OH1 (Verity Sense) – How can OH1 be beaten?

Polar Verity Sense Review SpecificationsPolar 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 The OH1 was itself superseded by the Polar Verity Sense which is a silly name so I’ll refer to it here as the OH1 as well!

Polar Verity Sense Review | the best, in detail

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.

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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
  • Accuracy
  • 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

  1. Retain or better all the existing features
  2. 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?
  3. Automatically cache all workouts
  4. Make starting and automatically stopping a workout easier.
  5. Have a clear status LED
  6. 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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21 thoughts on “Will Garmin release a competitor to Polar OH1 (Verity Sense) – How can OH1 be beaten?

  1. Could you pls elaborate on why you believe OH1 is better than Scosche Rhythm24? These seem completely identical products to me!

    1. doesn’t (didn’t) have the ‘just works’ level of operation. some software and connectivity glitches. from memory battery life and storage not as good.
      as accurate tho.

      [rhythm/rhythm+, rhythm24, rhythm 2.0]

  2. The accuracy seems to be all about placement rather than superior tech in the OH1. If I wear a Garmin on my forearm (even an old FR245) I get OHR results better than my chest strap as I don’t get the warm up hic-cups I occasionally get from my HRM-Pro. For most of the workout, the OHR matches the HRM-Pro perfectly. I can’t say that about any OHR sensor on the wrist. So seems like if Garmin wanted to, it would be easy to create a competitor here by removing all the watch stuff. I would guess it’s for marketing reasons they don’t, as they don’t want to imply their wrist based OHR isn’t good enough.

  3. I owned a rhythm24, lasted 3 years then started acting funny then died a month later. Thought it was a great device but i thought something like that should last longer especially since i paid quite a bit for it. Anyways, used my garmin ohr for a bit but have missed the upper arm optical so bought a coospo one they just released for half the price of the rhythm24, so I’ll take my chances.

  4. I use the Polar OH1 with my newly acquired Form goggle, the HR measurement is flawless, I also record my swimming activities with the Epix 2 and the optical HR, but that’s a disaster, the measurements are way too high, although I strapped the watch tight.
    Can I also connect the OH1 to the Epix to get this under control, will it then be fetched from the OH1 when the activity is saved?

    1. you can connect it BUT the two devices will almost certainly lose connection on each stroke when submerged. the data will thus be pants.

      the solution is a Garmin-branded caching chest strap. (I do this for open water)
      otherwise just accept that wrist ohr will be inaccurate (i tend to do this for pool). perhaps experiment with underarm positioning if you are not too bothered about some of the other stats being accurate and/or wear further away from the wrist bone although then you will find the watch slips and you will revert back to bad readings as a result

    2. To your specific question, no the OH1 won’t cache then sync to a Garmin. That’s a unique feature to Garmin watch/HRM combos* (*swim compatible, not all Garmin chest straps have this functionality either). OH1 will pair fine to the Garmin otherwise, but unless they stay within about 5cm or less apart in water, the Garmin won’t receive the signal when swimming (in theory you could make this happen, but you’d have to move them close together, which would certainly be awkward and probably worse reliability/accuracy (due to signal issues and related locations) than just letting the Garmin record OHR from the wrist at that point).
      Both BTLE and ANT+ use similar frequency band transmissions, which at the power output of the sensors, literally travel no more than a few cm in water before becoming un-receivable by watches.

  5. Oh dear, unfortunately that’s not a pleasant answer, I kind of hoped that it would work, primarily I only go indoor swimming,
    but I don’t want to swim with a chest strap, I wouldn’t care, but then people think, what kind of crazy guy is that 🙂

    One thing, during a change on you site i couldn’t use my old name “fl33tStA”, it is not allowed anymore:
    forbidden – number in author name not allowed = fl33tStA

    1. sorry about the answer 😉

      thank you for highlighting this problem. i moved my spam filter software a while back as the old one became significantly expensive. the new one is generally ok but has some quirks. this is a new one and as i use “5” in my username I guess I am motivated to fix it!!!!

  6. I’ve been using the verity sense for almost two years now, it’s a great device I have to say. The wrish based OHR mostly works for me but goes crazy the odd time whereas the Polar device always looks reasonable.

  7. What has happened to Scosche? They used to be the leader in this segment but the last few I have had (from a Rhythm24, to the Rhythm 2.0) developed this odd software bug where the device wouldn’t power on but a green light was present in the sensor.

    I would get the Polar but I lose HRV readings as you describe. I guess that is not a big loss?

    1. That’s exactly what happened to mine I think. Last i looked they dropped their price on it but i figured I’d take a chance on another brand. It’s too bad, I really liked the rhythm24.

  8. Hey, Do you think it is worth it to use OH1 with Apple Watch or optical HR sensors close to each other?

    I have chest HR but it is not very comfortable, so I stopped using it.

    Thanks a lot!

  9. I have had every version of Scosche and the OH1+.

    The polar just sucked for me. The HR was fine, but unless I keep it constantly on the charger the batter dies fast. Plus, I hate the little button you have to press to turn it on. Battery life isn’t great either and seemed to degrade quick.

    The scosche rhythm + is what I use now. The band sucks, but the device works. The rhythm 24 worked, but then developed some weird thing where it would just turn off mid ride. Scosche support is flat out garbage. I emailed them and they ghosted me. So I through that in the trash.

    I can’t recommend schoshe.

    This segment is wide open for someone to make a decent arm band. Make it reliable, accurate, last at least 20 hours, and have some form of battery indication = take my money.

    1. yeah the button is fiddly.
      as i say above the battery life usually seems fine for me and I’ve been using verity sense a lot over the last 1-2 years.
      i have it on charge quite a lot which cant be good for the battery life either.

  10. After trying several OHR and chest straps, I found the Verity Sense to be the most accurate, consistent, and responsive. 30 hour battery life is great. Chest straps just don’t work for me-cadence lock, completely missing heart rate increase with sprints, randomly recording very high heart rates when doing low impact slow activities or even resting (when I can measure a slow pulse at my wrist). Garmin HRM PRO, though well reviewed, is too inconsistent and unreliable for me.
    Perhaps it boils down to body shape and skin tone, which is why some people are so enthusiastic about one HR sensor over another.

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