Polar Vantage V HR Review Facts
The Polar Vantage V HR is the world’s first watch that features a wrist-based Running Power metric and is aimed at professional athletes (and anybody else that trains like one).
The lack of smartwatch options undoubtedly results in longer battery time, so it can be considered good or bad, depending on your preference. The watch is innovative, durable, and with the functionalities that are expected to these days.
The Polar vantage V HR is an activity tracker with a vast array of different activities you can log. To call it multisport would be an understatement, given that there are more than 130 activities that you can track, starting with different kinds of running (5k, 10k, half and full marathon) to some rarer sports such as cyclocross
and competitive swimming. Unlike the Polar M600, which is a combination of a fitness watch and a smartwatch, the Polar Vantage V lacks almost every smartwatch
feature, which clearly positions it as a product that serious and professional athletes will enjoy the most, as well as people who’re after an exclusively fitness-oriented tracker.
The Polar Vantage V HR features a set of the most sought-after and important sports functions, such as GPS tracking that works really well and is able to register sharp turns, as well as changes of direction. There are also Smart Calories, Training Benefit, and Sleep tracking features. Smart Calories feature uses your weight, height, age, gender and MHR to assess the number of calories
you’re burning doing a specific activity, and the Training benefit feature has a motivational purpose of showcasing and describing the effects your individual training session has had right after you’ve completed it. The Sleep Tracking feature might seem like overkill for casual and mid-level athletes, but for professional athletes who’re trying to optimize their results, this feature is exceptionally useful, given that it shows accurate data on your sleeping cycles, veering from the exact data by a maximum of 5-10 minutes. The sleep tracker will show the length and quality of your sleep, which is crucial to your recovery. Other than this fitness-oriented features, the Vantage V HR is able to show the time and date, and it has an alarm function as well, but there aren’t any phone notifications or music-playing options that would bring it nearer to a smartwatch.
The advanced features are where the Polar Vantage V HR really shines and proves itself innovative and fresh. The first one to discuss is the Running Power feature because it’s the first time a fitness watch, or any wrist-based device, for that matter, is able to track this metric on its own, without having to connect your device to the Stryd power meter. As the name suggests, Running Power measures the amount of power you’re putting into the run (this power is measured in watts), which helps runners pace their workout so that they achieve optimal performance.
The Optical HR Sensor is why the Polar Vantage V has the ‘HR’ in its name – the new and advanced Optical HR sensor fusion technology called the Precision Prime eliminates the need for using the brand’s own H10 chest strap for heart rate monitoring
. The watch itself is enough to give you a decent amount of precision in measuring your heart rate, compared to manual tracking as well as the Polar’s chest strap. The Vantage V HR utilizes a combination of 9 LEDs total – green and red, to increase the accuracy of the optical sensor, while the skin sensors improve the tracking accuracy during water sports.
Another advanced feature worth mentioning is the Training Load Pro, which offers feedback on how and in what ways an individuals training session has strained the body. This metric is measured by calculating the consumption of carbohydrates and proteins during an exercise, and it provides you with an option to monitor your progress long-term.
The Recovery Pro feature is especially useful for cardio lovers, because it measures your daily and long-term level of recovery, indicating if your body is recovered from the previous cardio session and ready for another one. Additionally, this feature offers training recommendations based on your short and long-term recovery balance. In essence, the Training Load Pro and Recovery Pro act as your personal coaches with constructive textual feedback and advice.
Lastly, the Swimming feature is aimed at helping athletes with analyzing and improving their swimming performance, pace, distance, and cardio load, basing this info on your swimming style, strike rate, pool length as well as the improved open water GPS.
Polar Precision Prime technology is widely considered to be one of the best in the business. Indeed, the heart rate accuracy of the Polar Vantage V HR is said to be reliable, especially seeing how wrist-based heart rate trackers tend to be significantly less reliable than the chest straps. A lot of fitness enthusiasts commented how they didn’t even require the chest strap in daily life and activities save for the Orthostatic test purposes, given that the Vantage V HR gave measuring results that were close to those that they got with manual and chest tracking. However, one unsatisfied user did say that the heart rate monitor in the Vantage V HR proved to be unreliable over time, providing significantly inaccurate results. While there are some disagreements on the level of accuracy of the watch itself, you can always opt to buy the watch together with the Polar H10 chest strap and eliminate the inaccuracy almost entirely.
As for the GPS
, it’s proven to be accurate, despite some users having some minor issues with it. While the GPS can mistake the distance for a few meters, it’s nothing noteworthy, and most users have been more than satisfied with the GPS’s performance. One customer even stated that the GPS on the Vantage V HR was as good as on any Polar device and better than most Garmin ones.
The connectivity of the Polar Vantage V HR is considered lacking, given that the Vantage series doesn’t offer WiFi connectivity, as some cheaper fitness watches do, making the connectivity of the Vantage V HR subpar from the get-go. You can connect to your Android and iOS devices via Bluetooth connection and sync your training data with the Polar’s Flow app, as well as some other apps such as Strava and TrainingPeaks. However, it’s worth noting that the Vantage V HR still doesn’t have a continuous sync option – it has to be done manually, by long-pressing the lower left button. The updates to the firmware can be done via Bluetooth Smart.
The most important app that allows smooth functioning of the Polar Vantage V HR is the brand’s own Polar Flow app. In the app, you’ll be able to analyze your results in-depth, as well as track your sleeping patterns
. Aside from the app’s Inactivity stamp, which you’ll get if you spend too much time without moving, there is little in the Polar Flow’s interface that will keep you motivated to persevere in your training. This might not be a deal breaker, but it will probably surprise people who are used to the Google Fit’s interface. That being said, the Power Flow app is praised for its useful graphs and insightful data breakdown. The watch is also Strava compatible, meaning that you can use the free social fitness platform to track and share your fitness results.
The Polar Vantage V HR isn’t too big, which enables the watch to achieve a snug and secure fit, without feeling too bulky or uncomfortable. Most users are satisfied with the comfort levels provided by the Vantage V HR, with one user claiming that the watch doesn’t sit too high on the wrist, which prevents the wearer from hitting the watch on hard surfaces. However, not everyone agrees that this fitness tracker is comfortable; one customer wasn’t satisfied with the way the strap adhered to the hand and stated that it caused discomfort. This is a fairly subjective category and all in all, the watch was deemed comfortable by a vast majority of users.
The Vantage V series has taken a turn from the brand’s M series which featured boxy, rectangular shapes. The Vantage V HR boasts a more elegant and traditional, circular style that can be worn in casual settings without catching someone’s eye. The watch features a combination of silicone, sleek metal casing as well as bulky side buttons, which makes it look sporty and suitable for everyday use. The Vantage V HR comes in three colors: white, black and orange.
The Polar Vantage V HR is a fitness watch that is waterproof and built to last through triathlons, competitive swimming, open water swimming, running and biking
. The high-quality build and reliable software, along with its WR30 rating make this a really durable watch, especially when you take into account the resilient Gorilla Glass that protects the face of the Vantage V HR. You can expect up to three years of undeterred performance from the Vantage V HR before you have to start looking for another trusty fitness companion.
The face of the Polar Vantage V HR features a touchscreen display that measures 1.2in or 30.5mm and 240x240 pixel resolution. The face is covered by the Gorilla Glass lens
which is used for the top-tier flagship mobile phones as well and is known for its anti-abrasive nature and durability. The face also features 5 anti-slip buttons on the sides, with three buttons being on the right and two on the left side of the face. The touch display is an upgrade from the Vantage M series, and the screen offers satisfactory performance, although it’s not as glitch-free as, for example, a Galaxy Watch
. However, if you’re not constantly switching through the different sport profiles, the lagging of the screen won’t actually affect the watch’s performance. The lightness of the screen is somewhat dimmer than what would be considered optimal, but the direct sun visibility is still there, although lacking in crisp letters. The visual effect of the dim screen is improved by a backlight. One user has praised the screen size and the backlight for making the letters easily readable even for someone who’s in need of glasses, which makes the watch suitable for elderly athletes as well.
The band of the watch is comprised of durable and comfortable silicone, which consists of four compounds: 38% Polyamide, 29% Polyurethane, 20% Elastane, 13% Polyester, with silicone prints. Unlike the Vantage M series, the straps of the Vantage V series can’t be swapped, but on the other hand, this series features a texturized pattern which adds a dash of modernity to the watch, creating a typical win-some-lose-some situation.
The Polar Vantage V HR is lightweight, weighing only 66g, which is a significant decrease from its predecessor’s 79g. The dimensions of the watch are 46mm x 46mm in diameter and 13mm in thickness, which makes it just a little bit bigger than the Polar’s heart rate monitors, but not nearly as bulky as some Garmin
Ease of Use
For people who have used Polar fitness watches before, the Vantage V HR will be intuitive and easy to use from the start. The button functions are easy to grasp in just a few minutes, and the menus aren’t overly complicated. However, if this is your first Polar device to use, the interface could be overwhelming at first, with the vast number of options and a different user interface at hand. That being said, this watch is easier to use than the Suunto fitness watches
, especially for first-timers. Compared to Garmin’s interface, you’ll probably find the Polar’s to be less intuitive. As far as functionality goes, the Vantage V HR still doesn’t have all the options that the V800 had, but that’s expected to change in the near future. The main thing missing is the Polar Fitness Test functionality, which is expected to be incorporated into one of the updates.
The Polar Vantage V HR features a rechargeable 320 mAh lithium-polymer battery which gives you around 40 hours of battery life. Compared to other options on the market, this battery life is exceptional – one user even referred to it as brilliant, claiming that the watch lasted 3 days with constant use as well as daily workouts. You can recharge the battery via USB and the recharging takes only an hour and a half or so.
The price of the Polar Vantage V HR skews a bit on the expensive side of the spectrum. If you’re used to using Polar devices and your fitness tracker is aging and in need of a worthy replacement, we’d definitely recommend you consider purchasing the Vantage V HR, given that it’s Polar’s fitness tracker available. The high price of the tracker stems both from its flagship position, as well as the Running Power and HRM options that don’t require any additional devices to be tracked. However, if you’re not a professional and competitive athlete, we don’t really see the need to splash the cash on the Vantage V when there are other more affordable options available.
The Polar Vantage V HR can be purchased with the brand’s H10 chest strap or without it – while having the chest strap isn't necessary for the watch to function and measure all the metrics, some users still prefer having it for more accurate Recovery Pro feature and HR monitoring. Unlike the M series
, the Vantage V doesn’t come with interchangeable bands, which is more of a fashion downside than a real-life issue.
Another great Polar product we reviewed is the Vantage M2
, so make sure to check it out as well.
● More than 130 activities to track
● GPS, Smart Calories, Training Benefit, and Sleep tracking
● Comes with Running Power, Training Load Pro, Recovery Pro, and Swimming features
● Optical HR Sensor
● Accurate GPS, fairly accurate HRM
● Polar Flow, Strava, TrainingPeaks sync
● Bluetooth connectivity, no WiFi
● 1.2in or 30.5mm and 240x240 pixel resolution Gorilla Glass face
● 66g, 46mm x 46mm x 13mm
● Comfortable silicone strap
● 320 mAh lithium-polymer battery, 40h battery time
The Polar Vantage V HR is the brand’s flagship fitness tracker aimed primarily at runners, although the extensive training profiles also support swimming, cycling, triathlon
, and other sports. While there are some new, innovative features, such as Running Power, and wrist-based heart rate monitoring without the need of a chest strap, the Vantage V HR lacks some basic functionality, as well as some smartwatch features. This makes some users hesitant to pay the (pretty expensive) price, while also having the feeling that they’re getting a beta version of the tracker, given that the brand has announced updates to the software. However, the battery life is amazing and one of the best on the market, and the durability and quality build are enough for most people to make the purchase and wait for the full functionality to come at a later date.