Top positive review
Apple Watch? No thanks, I'll take the Polar
27 October 2016
Just buy one.
If you're looking at this on Amazon, chances are you have a reasonably active fitness regime that involves running, cycling and / or swimming but which doesn't necessarily stop there. Chances are, also, that you're in two minds about buying it because it usually costs over £250 and it doesn't have a wrist-based heart rate monitor. In my view, if you're the active type then ignore the lack of wrist-based HR.
Good points? Build quality is awesome and it isn't even that bulky for a fitness watch.The stainless steel shoulders stand proud of and do a great job of protecting the glass front, which I've found to be surprisingly resistant to bangs and scrapes. The strap is tough, as are the buttons on the side that are big and tactile enough to press with gloves on. That black and white screen? It's readable in all conditions and tells you everything you need to know. GPS? I'm pretty confident you will not get a more accurate track on another consumer grade device. I run along hilly coastal trails through some wooded areas and this holds a solid lock in summer months when the tree cover is at its most dense. In contrast, a Fitbit Surge, an iPhone 6S and a Garmin all dropped the GPS signal in the tougher spots(the Fitbit lost it for the longest period while the Garmin track was the most erratic). And that HR strap? It's very comfortable and massively, massively more accurate in my view than any Fitbit, Apple or other wrist-based monitor for tracking any exercise where your heart rate is going to rise above 140 beats per minute. All those devices are quite good at tracking a resting heart rate but simply cannot track intense workouts. This can. Briliantly. Check out the pro previews on the net to see just what it can track. Even the heart rate tracking in water works well.
No it doesn't have apps. What it does have, though, is the ability to show all the iMessages, WhatsApp messages or Facebook and text messages you get on your iPhone or Android or - if you don't want folks in a meeting to read your watch screen before you do, it'll just tell you a message has arrived. Or if someone's calling. That's good enough for me. And it counts steps on the days you're not training. And it'll keep on tracking, because (unlike an Apple Watch) the battery on this thing lasts for an age. If you kill the battery in a week then boy are you training hard. And the one in the chest strap is now into its 5th month with no problems.
Got a Wahoo bluetooth chest strap? No worries there. My Tickr X syncs with the V800 every time.
Negative points? The only one I can think of now the software is mature is that the bluetooth implementation isn't entirely conventional. If your phone syncs to important things like your car then there's a possibility that syncing the phone to this Polar as well may cause some erratic syncing behaviour or may make the car link go a bit flakey, depending on which make and model you've got. I've heard of problems that iPhone owners seem to have had with BMW and Mini systems.