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oHR accuracy compared to Apple Watch
#1
 I want to state that I had ZERO bias to any watch. I so wanted to like the Polar and held out for it as it was my first oHR watch. I realize there is a vast majority that have zero issues with oHR and have acknowledged many times that I only wish I could see results like some have posted, but the fact is there are also a significant amount of users that have major issues, not just 1-5 beats off. And that was me. I see all the time people commenting how oHR does not work well on most watches, so use the strap but yet it works very very well for many Vantage users as well as other devices like the AW, which I am about to show.

This post is intended for those that specifically have issues with their oHR monitoring and are maybe on the fence with whether to keep their Vantage. I for one was not about to be complacent about an expensive watch where its main selling point(oHR) worked like crap for me.
Now I had relatively simple needs and what convinced me to originally purchase the Vantage was
1) Having a "next generation" wrist HR watch for daily HR monitoring and activity and not having to drag a strap with me everywhere I go.
2) Polar Flow.
Thats it, the rest were nice to haves.

I had no issue with the Vantages 24 hr heart monitoring and seemed to be pretty accurate. But any and I mean any activity, the oHR was a complete mess for me. Whether it was walking, biking or running, the HR spikes and inaccuracies (20-30 beats) made this watch completely unusable as an oHR. You will see in my pictures that being on a stationary bike with the wrist still, the spikes are not as dramatic as when running. Walking was a disaster as well. I read reviews and other users experiences and even some that tried exchanging the watch for another and still having the same issues, so decided to return the Vantage. Upon reading reviews from folks like DC Rainmaker that acknowledges the Apple oHR is superior, I thought Id give that watch a try. I initially never steered toward the AW as I didnt need all the other stuff that comes with it.

I will sum up my experience thus far.....the Apple oHR works flawlessly for me. I believe this is much more dramatic when comparing with users who have an issue with Polars. There are no crazy HR spikes and this thing tracks within 0-2 beats of my HR during activity. Every time I took a manual measurement, it was EXACT. The run was the exact same course, same pace and same conditions. You can see how nicely the AW HR responds to the grey Elevation profile in the background. Notice with how Polar, it actually responds oppositely! I have no doubt that the watch will also respond appropriately to interval training, weight training..everything. Its a thing of beauty to see a HR graph that is steady and doesnt have these wild spikes all over the show. Side Note I will tell you that after having that dim display, I have no issue having to charge it more often for the AW display.

Clearly, it seems as though Polars "next gen" oHR only works within a finer set of parameters and any persons body that doesnt fit within them, its not going to work well. Im wearing the AW no different than I wore my Polar and my skin tone or blood vessels have not changed Wink  I find this VERY disappointing from a company that really is touting a next gen oHR and really have to deal with so much less integration than what Apple has to in their watches. Apple is clearly in a league of their own when it comes to hardware and I realize its not quite the sportsmans watch but if accurate oHR is your main need, this was like a night and day comparison for me.


     
   
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#2
(12-30-2018, 08:26 PM)skibikenrun Wrote:  I want to state that I had ZERO bias to any watch. I so wanted to like the Polar and held out for it as it was my first oHR watch. I realize there is a vast majority that have zero issues with oHR and have acknowledged many times that I only wish I could see results like some have posted, but the fact is there are also a significant amount of users that have major issues, not just 1-5 beats off. And that was me. I see all the time people commenting how oHR does not work well on most watches, so use the strap and I say that is BS. It works very very well for many Vantage users as well as other devices like the AW, which I am about to show.

This post is intended for those that specifically have issues with their oHR monitoring and are maybe on the fence with whether to keep their Vantage. I for one was not about to be complacent about an expensive watch where its main selling point(oHR) worked like crap for me.
Now I had relatively simple needs and what convinced me to originally purchase the Vantage was
1) Having a "next generation" wrist HR watch for daily HR monitoring and activity and not having to drag a strap with me everywhere I go.
2) Polar Flow.
Thats it, the rest were nice to haves.

I had no issue with the Vantages 24 hr heart monitoring and seemed to be pretty accurate. But any and I mean any activity, the oHR was a complete mess for me. Whether it was walking, biking or running, the HR spikes and inaccuracies (20-30 beats) made this watch completely unusable as an oHR. You will see in my pictures that being on a stationary bike with the wrist still, the spikes are not as dramatic as when running. Walking was a disaster as well. I read reviews and other users experiences and even some that tried exchanging the watch for another and still having the same issues, so decided to return the Vantage. Upon reading reviews from folks like DC Rainmaker that acknowledges the Apple oHR is superior, I thought Id give that watch a try. I initially never steered toward the AW as I didnt need all the other stuff that comes with it.

I will sum up my experience thus far.....the Apple oHR absolutely CRUSHES Polars oHR. I believe this is much more dramatic when comparing with users who have an issue with Polars. There are zero HR spikes and this thing tracks within 0-2 beats of my HR during activity. Every time I took a manual measurement, it was EXACT. The run was the exact same course, same pace and same conditions. You can see how nicely the AW HR responds to the grey Elevation profile in the background. Notice with how Polar, it actually responds oppositely! I have no doubt that the watch will also respond appropriately to interval training, weight training..everything. Its a thing of beauty to see a HR graph that is steady and doesnt have these wild spikes all over the show. Side Note I will tell you that after having that dim display, I have no issue having to charge it more often for the AW display.

Clearly, it seems as though Polars "next gen" oHR only works within a fine set of parameters and any persons body that doesnt fit within them, its not going to work well. Im wearing the AW no different than I wore my Polar and my skin tone or blood vessels have not changed Wink For those users that are not getting good results with oHR, Ive been very surprised at so many and their complacency to a pretty flawed watch when it comes to oHR reliability IMO. I find this VERY disappointing from a company that really is touting a next gen oHR and really have to deal with so much less integration than what Apple has to in their watches. Apple is clearly in a league of their own when it comes to hardware and I realize its not quite the sportsmans watch but if accurate oHR is your main need, this is like a night and day comparison to Polar.


 
I've not used the Apple watch 4. so can't comment on that.
I have used LOTS of oHR devices from very many manufacturers.
I have posted representative oHR tracks of my PERSONAL experiences with Polar in the reviews.
It's perfectly fine to criticise Polar but...None of the manufacturers are accurate enough for me. (I've not tried Apple 4)
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#3
I think its possible that the vantage could still be the best ohr ever created however its gonna be likely several revisions before they get it right if they ever do . Shame on polar for releasing an unfinished product it may even be there demise. Im a polar fan i love my m430 but im not buying a vantage until they get shit figured out if they ever do
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#4
Hi

I've also noticed some poor results and concur with the odd spikes / dips and it being 20 or so off either side of the correct value.

I find almost everything I've tried this year - Fenix 5 Plus, Fitbit Surge and Amazfit Stratos has always nailed my resting heart rate - the Polar M has me 10 to 15 over all the time my actual resting.

Optical heart rate sensors usually work quite well for me, the Fenix 5 Plus can be about 5 over on an 'all out run', the Fitbit Surge is usually within 1 or 2, and sometimes matches the peaks recorded by my Wahoo Tickr. The Amazfit Stratos optical oHR is hopeless, even worse the the Vantage M, but that also does my resting perfectly, but little else, whereas the Vantage 'M' is off even with resting.

I really think they dropped the ball with this new in-house oHR. I can't compare with an Apple Watch as I've never used one.
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#5
I have the same encounter as well. In my setting, I put it as a right wrist wearer. However, I do switch from right to left dsometimes and I noticed that if I wear the PVM not the left wrist, the OHR will go haywire. Besides, if I wear it too loosely, the reading will be 20 BPM higher than my fitbit charge 2.
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#6
(12-31-2018, 06:55 PM)puddleduck Wrote: Hi

I've also noticed some poor results and concur with the odd spikes / dips and it being 20 or so off either side of the correct value.

I find almost everything I've tried this year - Fenix 5 Plus, Fitbit Surge and Amazfit Stratos has always nailed my resting heart rate - the Polar M has me 10 to 15 over all the time my actual resting.

Optical heart rate sensors usually work quite well for me, the Fenix 5 Plus can be about 5 over on an 'all out run', the Fitbit Surge is usually within 1 or 2, and sometimes matches the peaks recorded by my Wahoo Tickr. The Amazfit Stratos optical oHR is hopeless, even worse the the Vantage M, but that also does my resting perfectly, but little else, whereas the Vantage 'M' is off even with resting.

I really think they dropped the ball with this new in-house oHR. I can't compare with an Apple Watch as I've never used one.
All polars hr sensors are "in house" the hr sensor on the m430 is the best ive ever used it certainly crushes the competition imo. But even that sensor had its issues to start out.
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#7
i finally ordered a VV and i´ll do some oHR testing and comparing it to the M400 + H7.

I was really disappointed in oHR accuracy with the FR935 and as a consequence i sold it again.
I hope oHR on the VV have evolved and works better now (although test results seem to differ based on sports done and skin types).
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#8
(01-01-2019, 09:15 PM)Postaltwo Wrote:
(12-31-2018, 06:55 PM)puddleduck Wrote: Hi

I've also noticed some poor results and concur with the odd spikes / dips and it being 20 or so off either side of the correct value.

I find almost everything I've tried this year - Fenix 5 Plus, Fitbit Surge and Amazfit Stratos has always nailed my resting heart rate - the Polar M has me 10 to 15 over all the time my actual resting.

Optical heart rate sensors usually work quite well for me, the Fenix 5 Plus can be about 5 over on an 'all out run', the Fitbit Surge is usually within 1 or 2, and sometimes matches the peaks recorded by my Wahoo Tickr. The Amazfit Stratos optical oHR is hopeless, even worse the the Vantage M, but that also does my resting perfectly, but little else, whereas the Vantage 'M' is off even with resting.

I really think they dropped the ball with this new in-house oHR. I can't compare with an Apple Watch as I've never used one.
All polars hr sensors are "in house" the hr sensor on the m430 is the best ive ever used it certainly crushes the competition imo. But even that sensor had its issues to start out.

I think the M430 sensor is also used for an optical shoulder strap so it must be pretty good. 

Actually looking at all my dual runs with a watch on each wrist, I'm really surprised how well the Fitbit Surge works for me - I bought it earlier this year when it was 69.00 in Argos on clearance, and sort of assumed it wouldn't be great, but the oHR when I've compared results really is very impressive, on a recent 10 mile run, I'd say the first 7 miles map to the Wahoo Tickr almost perfectly.

I'm at the stage where I don't need a heart rate sensor as such, I know by 'feel' where am I but obviously decent tracking is pretty essential if you want to make use of Training Effect / VO2 metrics etc.

The Polar 'M' I think has some software artifacts trying to 'improve' it but I think in my case it makes things worse than a 'raw' feed.
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#9
DCR has an in-depth review of the AW4.
The way I see it is, that oHR, while available technology becomes better and better, is limited by the nature of the optical reading itself. There are just too many parameters (distance from skin, skin colour, skin's topography, temperature, vessels' location, et cet.) that I'd rely on it if I want accurate HR.
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#10
(01-03-2019, 09:25 AM)flokon Wrote: DCR has an in-depth review of the AW4.
The way I see it is, that oHR, while available technology becomes better and better, is limited by the nature of the optical reading itself. There are just too many parameters (distance from skin, skin colour, skin's topography, temperature, vessels' location, et cet.) that I'd rely on it if I want accurate HR.

i've seen DCR's review. DCR tends to get good readings from Garmin devices so maybe he is an easy ''guinea pig' for Apple too (in a physiological sense)

i've seen some of the raw tracks from Polar graphed.
the signal is MASSIVELY noisey and i imagine similar to everyone else's raw signal.
I'm amazed they (all of them) can clear up the signal as much as they do.

i'mwaiting until someone i know buys the AW4 as i'm not going to buy one myself. I'd be amazed if it's really as good as it is made out to be...but i hope i am wrong.
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