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Polar releases today the Polar Vantage V2, its new top-of-the-range model that comes to replace the original Vantage. This is its new triathlon watch, and Polar had in fact booked this week for their announcement, in which the Ironman World Championship should have been held in Kona. But things are the way they are and it will not finally have the same level of impact as if they had made the presentation on the big island.
The new Vantage V2 is a slight renovation over the previous model that came to the market a couple of years ago. In those two years Polar has been regularly updating the watch with different functions, something necessary because some of the critics received at the beginning was precisely the absence of functions that were present in the V800.
The fact is that the Vantage V had a hard start, not only because of the absence of features but also because of the performance of its GPS on some occasions. But Polar has been releasing updates on a regular basis, both with features that should have been present from the start (ZoneLock, route navigation, mobile notifications, Strava segments or fitness test) and with new features (including Sleep Plus Stages, Nightly Recharge and Fitspark).
This post is the presentation of the new model and a few first impressions. I will publish the full review probably at the end of the month when the Vantage V2 and I have spent a little more time together.
- New features from the rest of the range, new exclusive tests, same price as the previous model
- It brings a lot of information about all our training
- Without discussion the best platform to analyze our sleep and recovery
- Polar Flow remains the platform that best displays information and makes it easier for the user
- Although it now has quick fit, the strap is still specific
- Although secondary, Polar has not advance in the field of external functions beyond allowing control of music from the phone
What's new in the Polar Vantage V2
The Polar Vantage V2 represents, today, the sum of performance and training metrics within the Polar range. Just over 5 months ago, a new Polar model came to the market, the Polar Grit X. Based on the Vantage V, the Grit X added new features with a clear focus on the mountain... but that can perfectly be appetizing to any other user.
All those new features brought by the Grit X also make their appearance in the Vantage V2. But the new model is not just a Vantage V to which the features of the Grit X have been added, we also have specific new features coming to this model. In short and compared to the original Polar Vantage V here's what's new on the V2:
- New tests to evaluate and control: Running Test, Cycling Test and Leg Recovery Test.
- Test Hub, a new section in Polar Flow where we will have all the data obtained from the new test and where we will be able to see our progression.
- Music control from the watch (the music is stored in the phone, the Vantage V2 has no music)
- Aluminum case (instead of steal as in the Vantage V) and 47mm circumference.
- 52 grams of weight (the Vantage V weighed 66 grams).
- New “widget” with summary of weekly training
- Possibility to customize the watch face (which offers 4 digital and analog options) with different colors for the seconds hand.
- It allows quick strap change, although it continues to be specific.
- Hill Splitter, automatic hill detection during training to separate that part and give specific information, both during training and for further analysis later in Polar Flow.
- FuelWise, an intelligent assistant that will give you hydration and nutrition recommendations during longer outings. Alerts may be automatic or manual.
- Information on the energy source used during training, which we can see at the completion of it (carbohydrates/proteins/fats).
- Possibility to create navigation routes with Komoot, including turn notifications.
- Current weather and weather forecast for the next two days.
- Magnetic compass.
- New metal buttons (such as the Polar Grit X)
- Battery saving options, allowing you to reach up to 100 hours of battery life by lowering the accuracy of the GPS or deactivating the sensor.
- Depending on the options we have selected for a specific sport profile, before starting the training we will have information about the maximum battery life for our activity.
- Modified optical heart rate sensor, now with 5 red, 4 orange and 1 green LEDs
As you can see, there are many new features that the new Polar Vantage V2 receives. It is true that the difference from the Polar Grit X is not that big because it is a more current model.
The totally new aspects are the new running, cycling and recovery tests that are what I will discuss in detail later. But I don't want to leave undetailed the latest features that come from the Polar Grit X, specifically Hill Splitter and FuelWise, as well as the general operation and the small innovations we have in this Vantage V2.
Polar Vantage V2 Basics
Escucha el Episodio 15 del podcast Entre Umbrales, en el que te presentamos todas las novedades del nuevo Polar Vantage V2.
Before going too deep it is always interesting to give a general overview of what the watch brings, especially if there are some new things that need to be taken into account.
As I summarised a couple of paragraphs back, the Polar Vantage V2 is like the Polar Grit X to which specific performance tests have been added (and the Recovery Pro and Orthostatic Test functions are recovered). This is true overall, although when thin is threaded is when other differences come.
As with the rest of the previous range - Vantage V and Grit X -, the Polar Vantage V2 has a touchscreen and five control buttons. We can operate the watch in either of the two ways, the user interface is well resolved in that regard because the Vantage M, which lacks touchscreen, uses the same. And the truth is, in watches of this type I prefer the control through buttons.
The buttons are large and good to touch. They are also embossed so they are do not slip. Even if your hands are sweaty or with liquid, you can use them without any problems.
Aesthetically the Vantage V2 is very similar to the original Vantage V. The truth is that putting them next to each other is not easy to differentiate them.
The design is also kept on the strap, which is still specific to this model and does not allow us to use generic straps. Although on this occasion it includes a quick release system that greatly facilitates the replacement in case you want to change to another color.
Where there are changes is in the second buckle of the strap. The Vantage V had a metal piece with the Polar logo that was very easy to lose. The new model has replaced it.
We begin to see changes is in the watch faces and in the different widgets that it offers. These widgets are the screens with information about our rest or training that we can rotate while we stay on the time screen.
The Vantage V2 now has a menu that allows us to select whether we want to show them all or prefer to hide some.
That's interesting because as these information screens grow, it can become unconfortable to have to scroll through so many screens until we find the one that we want. The Vantage V2 actually premiers a new one with the weekly summary of workouts.
And it also includes the weather information widget that premiered the Polar Grit X.
Each of these screens allows us to access more information by pressing the screen or pressing the main button. For example, the weekly training widget allows us to have more data on the workouts of the current week, the previous week and the next week if we have workouts scheduled.
Almost all the watch settings have to be done through Polar Flow (either in the mobile app or on the web).
Yes, it says Polar V800, at the time of writing these lines the app had not yet been updated to reflect the new model.
In the watch we have the most basic settings, such as pairing sensors, turning notifications on or off, etc.
Another of the new features found in the Vantage V2 is the ability to control the phone's music from the watch.
The watch does not have the ability to play music on its own nor it has internal memory, it simply lets us operate on the music of the phone. At that time I was just controlling Spotify on my phone, but there is no Spotify app on the watch and there is no music sync of any kind.
This is available both on a screen that we can enable on the sport profile and on the main screen, by swiping your finger from the bottom up.
There is a new watch face (which can be analog or digital) and the possibility to change the color of the seconds hand with color themes, something that the brand released in the Polar Unite.
As for sport profiles and data pages there's nothing new to what we had previously on the platform, being able to configure different pages with the data that interest us (up to 4 per screen) as well as add different graphs of power, heart rate, etc.
We also have the possibility to show the magnetic compass, something that was not present in the original Vantage V and that came with the Polar Grit X.
As in the Grit X, now before starting an activity we will be able to see at the top the approximate battery life remaining, depending on the settings we have chosen.
In terms of battery life, the Vantage V2 is able to record up to 40 hours continuously with maximum GPS settings, which is more than enough for the vast majority of activities. But changing the GPS record rate (recording a point every 1 or 2 minutes) and other settings could reach up to 100 hours.
The battery life is the following, depending on what we choose:
- Up to 40 hours: GPS recording at 1 second, optical sensor on, screen protector off.
- Up to 60 hours: GPS recording at 1 minute, optical sensor on, screen protector off.
- Up to 65 hours: GPS recording in 2 minutes, optical sensor on, screen protector off.
- Up to 100 hours: GPS recording in 2 minutes, optical sensor off, screen protector on.
There are no differences in the use of external sensors from the rest of the range, and although Polar offers ANT+ compatibility on all its current sensors, Vantage V2 still does not support that type of communication, although we can use any sensor we connect via Bluetooth.
- Bluetooth Smart heart rate sensors
- Bluetooth Smart cycling powermeters
- Bluetooth Smart running powermeters (if we don't want to use the built in one)
- Bluetooth Smart speed and/or cadence sensors
- Running footpods
Running power was one of the star features in the first Vantage V which, as it could not be otherwise, also reaches Vantage V2. It was the first watch to offer this feature without using external accessories, and now COROS has also jumped on that wagon. I don't want to dwell too much on this function as I already commented a lot about it in the Vantage V review.
I just need to remind you that this is not a direct measurement but an estimation, in any case. At the moment there is no running powermeter that performs direct measurements outside of the lab.
In short, there are no changes in Polar's implementation with respect to Vantage V, everything remains the same. Thanks to GPS data, accelerometer and barometric altimeter, it allows you to estimate your running power.
As you see in the graph above we will find differences in the measured watts, since it all depends on the algorithm used by each brand. In the case of Polar it is with which I get the highest data. Does that mean your measurement is better or worse? Well, until there's a reliable way to measure and be able to contrast, I'll tell you it's just different. At the moment what we should worry about is that they are repeatable data and that they always indicate the same watts for the same pace and incline.
And is that thanks to the measurement of running power (and the Running Test that we will later see), the possibilities of training and intensity control open much more than before, especially on winding terrain.
It is not easy to do intervals workouts at the same intensity on a hill with an incline that is not constant. The pace will vary depending on the incline, and the heart rate is delayed until it reflects the actual intensity. However, the power, as in cycling, is an instant fact and demands the same effort to “move” 400W going up or running flat. But remember, the power is an estimation.
However, if you don't like the algorithm Polar uses and have a Stryd, you can pair it without any problems and benefit from the other platform specific features, including Running Test and MAP calculation.
Getting to understand Hill Splitter
Hill Splitter automatically detects when you are up/down or when you are running on flat terrain. It will provide you with relevant information for that climb or descent, as well as counting how many ups and downs we have traveled.
Depending on the profile you are using, it will understand that we are climbing a hill when we have climbed 5/10/15 meters at a certain distance. Logically it is not the same for all sports:
- 5 meters: Running, walking or other sports on foot
- 10 meters: Cycling and cross-country skiing
- 15 meters: Downhill profiles
Let's just say we're climbing a hill. That fragment will be marked in the activity file for further analysis (which we'll see below), but on the Hill Splitter screen it will show us the relevant information for that particular segment.
Here are the data that appears on the screen:
- Distance we've been going up or down. That is, the distance that has “that lap” until that moment.
- Total of meters we have been ascending on this climb. If it were a descent what we were doing, it would indicate the meters we were descending.
- Instant pace.
- The number of ups and downs we have been through. In the picture it indicates that we are on our first climb.
And what if we're running on flat ground, this is the screen we'll see.
As this is an additional training view and not a screen configured by us, it is not possible to define what data we want to see.
It is important to remember that this is an automatic function that depends on nothing but the detection of ascent or descent through the barometric altimeter. It is not necessary that we have loaded a route that tells you that we are going to climb a hill, but it also does not provide us with information on how much we have to climb and the profile because it doesn't know where we are going.
Once the workout is complete, the data of Hill Splitter will appear in the summary that we can see on the watch screen, indicating the total number of ups and downs and the distance traveled in each of them.
And this is how we would see it after synchronizing the workout.
In short, Hill Splitter is a very good function when it comes to analyzing, and something more basic during training. While we are doing a workout maybe it can be interesting if we are doing hill repeats because we can see how many we've done, paces, time and length. But in a standard workout or competition it does not provide such decisive information.
Getting to know FuelWise
As with Hill Splitter, FuelWise also consists of two different parts: the one we have during training (Fueling in the menu), and the information that it provides us when the workout is terminated and synchronized (Energy Sources).
I'll start with the specific fueling part of FuelWise. This is the new hydration and nutrition assistant Polar developed for the Grit X and now is available on the Vantage V2 as well. They are alerts to remind you when to eat and drink. These alerts may be manual, programmed by you to remind you at a set time that you should eat or drink. For example, you can select to remind you to drink every 20 minutes and eat every 40 minutes.
These are the usual manual alerts that don't specifically bring anything new. Where the interesting function is found is in the automatic alerts, in which it is the watch itself that, depending on the values we have entered and how our training is going, it will tell us when we should eat.
This configuration will have to be done before starting the training, through the Fueling menu.
You need to define three values:
- Workout duration
- Intensity, depending on the heart rate zone (Z1 to Z5)
- Carbohydrates per serving, which should be obtained from the composition of the gel or bar that you use in your workouts.
After indicating these three values and putting it together with the data it knows about your physical condition and training history, it will indicate the total number of carbohydrates that we will have to consume and how many times we are going to be eating.
Next you can add hydration reminders.
This way before going out to train you will know in advance the number of gels or bars that you will have to take with you, as well as the approximate amount of liquid that you will consume.
What happens if the workout ends being longer than you initially thought, or you make it harder than planned? FuelWise will automatically change the number of reminders and frequency, constantly adapting to the energy consumption you are having.
The minimum time for the automatic function to work will be 90 minutes. Actually for shorter workouts it will not normally be necessary to supplement in addition to what you have eaten before.
As I was saying at the beginning, FuelWise is composed of two parts. The first one is the one I just explained to you, the next one is the one we can see at the end of the workout.
Right from the workout summary screen you can see how many calories you have needed to finish it, along with what has been the origin of that energy in carbohydrates, proteins and fats.
The watch estimates the percentage of each one, allowing you to know how the training has affected you nutritionally and how you can propose your recovery.
In addition, it is also present in Polar Flow for more detailed analysis. And in this case, unlike Hill Splitter, it is much more interesting to analyze it in the mobile app (rather than the web) because it gives access to a nice graphic that allows us to see the variation that has been existing depending on the intensity of the workout. For example, it is nice to visualize it for interval workouts.
It is simply an estimate that is intimately related to the intensity of exercise in terms of heart rate, it is not a lab test. However, it should be noted that this information will always be present, whether we are using FuelWise or not.
These are the main new features that came to the Polar Grit X a few months ago (in addition to navigation turn notifications). But of course we still have available training metrics that are already brand of the house:
- Training Load ProCumulative measurement of training load over time.
- Recovery Pro: Follow-up of recovery of the cardiovascular system.
- Sleep Plus Stages: Analysis of sleep phases and trend.
- Nightly Recharge: Recovery tracking through sleep data. It's incompatible with Recovery Pro, we have to choose one or the other.
- Fitspark: Based on the load and recovery data indicated above, provide suggestions for strength, cardio or supplemental training.
These were already present in the Vantage V and there is no change about it in the new model, they continue to be there for your use and enjoyment. Personally, I'm quite a fan of Training Load Pro and Nightly Recharge.
I don't want to go into more detail about these metrics, as they are already quite covered in the previous reviews of Polar Vantage V, Polar Igniteand Polar Grit X If you already know them all I can tell you is that there is nothing new in the Vantage V2 that wasn't in the previous ones. But if you want more information about it, click on any of the links above.
All this are just snacks. Let's move on to the main course of the Polar Vantage V2, which are the new tests that the watch allows us to do for running, cycling and evaluating recovery.
New tests in the Polar Vantage V2
Polar has always been very focused on science applied to sport. That is the primary objective that they have always set and around which their features almost always revolve. In Vantage V we had two tests available (orthostatic and fitness), but the new Vantage V2 incorporates more innovations in this section.
First of all we have the Running Test. This is a guided test in which we will obtain the following data:
- VO2max: VO2max estimation, the maximum oxygen consumption that can be processed by the organism. The higher the data will indicate that we can offer better performance.
- Maximum heart rate: if it is lower than the one we have previously entered in the app we will be able to adjust it, if it is higher it will be updated with the new data.
- Maximum Aerobic Speed (MAS): The rate at which we reach the maximum oxygen consumption. It is the minimum intensity at which the body reaches its maximum capacity to consume oxygen (where we would be consuming what is indicated in VO2max). We won't be able to endure this pace for too long.
- Maximum Aerobic Power (MAP): Same as MAS but using watts instead of pace.
What do we get with this data? In the first place they will serve us to establish our training zones both by pace and power. Also, as we do more tests (which have to be spaced over time, there is no use doing it every day) we will be able to see our evolution and progression as we train. All these records will be stored in a new Polar Flow section called Test Hub.
When it comes to taking the test we choose when to finish it:
- Submaximal test, reaching only 85% of the maximum performance (i.e., your maximum FC)
- Maximal test in which we will have to reach total exhaustion (pain, a lot of pain)
It is always convenient to perform the test on a completely flat surface, and ideally always use the same path to perform it (so that the data can be comparable). If you can do it on the track, much better.
You should warm up about 10 minutes in zones 1 to 3, which will last as long as you see fit because the watch waits for the press of the button to start the test.
When you finish the warm-up and have started the test, the watch will wait until you reach the initial speed (which you can set from the Running Test menu). I have set 5:30 min/km as the initial speed, so until I reach that pace the test will not begin.
The test will last between 10 and 20 minutes, and you must progressively increase the pace always following the indications marked by the Vantage V2 on screen. Logically we will also have sound warnings if we go above or below the target pace.
On that screen we have all the data that we need to pay attention to. At the top we have our pace goal, with an indicator that places us whether we are above or below that pace.
At the time of that image my target pace was 4:29, and I should try to stay in the light blue zone without the indicator coming out of there. I'm running at 4:36, so the indicator is slightly below the target goal, but inside the light blue zone.
In case we go too slow or too fast, the watch will alert us with tones and vibrations so we can adjust the speed.
At the bottom of the screen we have three data:
- Current HR, in this case 145. The color of the number also represents the heart rate zone, in this case the green color is Z3.
- Submaximal heart rate. This is 85% of the maximum HR we have set on the watch. This is the first barrier that we must overcome in order to perform the test satisfactorily, which in my case would be 159 beats.
- Maximum heart rate. The one that we have entered manually, or the one that has been recorded as a maximum in a previous test. That would be the ideal goal for the test to be as faithful as possible.
What do we have to do? Run, nothing else. We have to keep an eye on the target pace and the watch will warn us of the first milestone, which is to overcome the submax HR. At that point we can stop running and finish the test.
Or instead of stop running... we can cross the doors of hell and go into rough areas, progressively looking for our maximum HR and keep running until the engine says enough in an all out effort.
I chose the least painful option, especially because after finishing the test I had to take pictures and my intention was to keep a stable pulse.
And after a cooling of about 10 minutes, we can say the test is over.
At that time you can continue training normally, or we can stop the workout and review the test data.
After syncing the activity we will also be able to see the data in Polar Flow, where we will also be able to update our profile with the new data we obtained in the test.
The cycling test is the usual FTP test we've done a lifetime. To perform it we must have a powermeter on the bike, because what we measure is the maximum power we can withstand in 60 minutes.
In addition, we have the possibility of carrying out tests of 20, 30 or 40 minutes, in case we do not want to suffer for so long. At the end of the test you will have your maximum FTP in both watts and W/kg and also an estimate of your VO2max. Once again, this data will go to the new section of test reports, so you can see the progression of all that data over time.
Right now I don't have any FTP test to show you, for the simple reason that this same Sunday my coach had prepared me a 60′ test (311W, 10W more than in the last test performed, woot!) and I'm still shaking... so later I'll give an example even if it's a 20 minute test.
But I repeat that it is nothing more than the FTP test we have done all our lives.
Leg Recovery Test
The last of the new tests we have available is the Leg Recovery Test. It is based on CMJ (Counter Movement Jump) jumps to indicate neuromuscular fatigue.
This is not something Polar just pulled out of the sleeve, it is an indicator that has been applied for a long time to control training.
In this test, we will have to place your hands on the waist and keep the back straight. We have to make a vertical jump flexing our knees 90º to get momentum, trying to get the only source of vertical energy to be the one provided by the legs.
In total it is necessary to perform three jumps with a time separation that the watch will indicate through tones. Thanks to the barometric altimeter, you can measure the height of each jump and the flight time. And thanks to the comparison with previous tests the watch will tell us the state of recovery and whether we are able to do an intense workout or not.
Logically, the first time you take the test will not give you any information. To have a reference value it is necessary to have done at least 3 tests in 28 days (and it is not recommended to do more than one test per day).
So at the moment I haven't had the opportunity to do enough tests to be able to create a trend, so I'll update this section later when I can see a progression and have more data about it.
GPS and optical heart rate sensor
This is not a full review of the Polar Vantage V2, mainly because I still need more days to be able to evaluate and compare the data obtained from both the GPS and the optical HR sensor.
Polar announces changes to the design of the case that in theory should serve to improve the GPS reception of the new watch. Likewise, the lower weight should also facilitate a more accurate HR record when running. All these things are what I would like to be able to analyze in depth.
As I said at the beginning, this more than a complete review is simply a few first impressions. I still need to do some more tests, different paces, changes in routes, different configurations... My experience with Polar is that it is quite delicate in terms of GPS configuration, and the one that comes by default configured (GPS+GLONASS) is not the one that has the best performance.
Still that is the configuration I left for these first tests, for the simple reason that is precisely what Polar has set up as a base, and my experience is that the vast majority of users are not going to change those settings.
For the initial tests I did a 1-hour workout. The first half dedicated to the running test, which consisted of warm up and cool down at a soft pace and a central work part at a progressive upward rate.
In this first image I highlight with the orange line which is the right place for which I joined the promenade. All three watches are away from that point (and in fact they already arrive, from the left side of the screen, away from the actual layout).
I wear the Polar on my left wrist, and the FR945 on my left hand. The FR745 goes on the right wrist. This is an important note when it comes to placing the order of the charts.
In that area I was still doing the warm-up at a really slow pace (slower than 6:00 min/km). It is true that those slow speeds do not help to get beautiful tracks, but not everyone runs at 4:00 min/km per system, and I want to show it all.
At this point I have already started the test itself, so the pace is higher. You can perfectly see how the paths are straighter. Both FR745 and Vantage V2 reach the turning point quite well on the real track I followed, while the FR945 goes too far to the right.
In both turns both the 745 and the Vantage V2 have a good behavior, without cutting the turn and doing it where it goes.
At this point I am already at a pace of approximately 4:40 min/km, making a rather steep turn. The FR945 is still somewhat unstable, while the Vantage V2 is shifted a couple of meters to the left of the actual track (which is indicated by the FR745 at this point).
That is a very typical Polar error in the GPS+GLONASS configuration, in which the watch enters the error and holds it, making tracks parallel to the actual plot for quite a distance. This is something that GPS+Galileo does not do, so in future tests it will be the configuration I'll use.
I repeat this turn in many of my tests because I like it to assess how watches behave when making quick changes of direction.
The FR745 does the turn perfectly, followed very closely by the Vantage V2 (although it is still dragging the scroll error).
You can see clearly that same mistake in this other image. The Polar strives to mark the track 2-3 meters to the left of the real track, which is the one that perfectly draw both 945 and 745.
All these points are open air and with hardly any areas where there may be triangulation issues. Well, that's why I always have this area of Puerto Banus. The street is formed by a corridor between buildings. Not that it is narrow or with very tall buildings, but the whole route is done under a row of fairly leafy trees.
Both things make signal reception more difficult, both due to the reduction of visibility of the sky and the signal bounce. It results in somewhat erratic behavior, although in this area I have seen much uglier things. Given the conditions of this point is not so serious for any of the three members of the comparison.
That's the point where I finish the running test. It's time to come back and I'll do it at a comfy pace in Z2
The start is quite correct by the three members of the comparison, making the turns in the most open area perfectly.
When going through Granados street the same thing happens as before passing through Puerto Banus, it is an area with many trees so the signal reception is more complicated. Still the behavior is reasonably good.
And later, despite the slow pace, things seem to still work well.
But hold on. That part I have pointed out in the picture is another point that I really like to take advantage of. It's a tunnel under the highway, so the watches lose reception. It is very interesting to be able to see how they recover the signal, how long they take and how they behave from that point.
The tunnel exit is not performed successfully by any of the three. The fastest to recover the signal correctly is the FR745, which does not take long to start the correct path. The FR945 marks the exit of the tunnel about 20 meters from the real place. And the Vantage V2 is not far from the actual starting point, but it comes out completely dizzy.
And what about the error recovery? Vantage V2 insists on the typical error of its GPS+GLONASS configuration, keeping a track parallel to the real one (which is the line marked by the FR745). The 945 does something similar to the Vantage V2, although with fewer meters apart.
The error remains constant, and only returns to the correct track when I make a turn forcing the watch to return to the correct track.
Throughout this stage, the Garmin FR745 is the only one to have followed the right track.
What about the distances? Here you can see how in both cases the differences are negligible, so despite Polar's typical error, it is something that is not noticed in the paces and distances recorded.
In short, Polar announced a “revolutionary” design for satellite signal reception. At the moment I have found similar performance to previous models. It does not mean that it is bad, as there are no major errors, but I do find it annoying that the GPS+GLONASS bug is still present. Let's see what behavior I find in the GPS+Galileo configuration (which is the one I recommend).
Let's move on to the optical HR sensor. The Vantage V2 receives the same sensor that Polar released with the Grit X. The design is the same, but now there is 1 more LED than before and the color scheme has changed. While the Vantage V had 9 LEDs (5 green, 4 red), in the Vantage V2 there are now 10 LEDs in total (5 red, 4 orange, 1 green).
Polar has not taken advantage of incorporating SpO2 estimation, which seems to be the last move all brands are making. However, there has not yet been any manufacturer that has given us clear reasons why we should opt for such a sensor, beyond making a punctual blood oxygen saturation estimation. So I don't think it's an important omission either.
Before I show you comparisons of different sensors, I would like to remind you of some basic aspects of optical sensors.
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How heart rate sensors work and differences between them
You have to keep in mind that a wrist pulsometer does not work the same way on every body. We are all different, and if we also put things like skin tone, tattoos, body hair into the equation... the difference from person to person can be quite big.
In my tests it is not that the spectrum of users is very broad: it is me, myself and I. So what works well for me might not do it for someone else, or it might be better.
But the most important thing to keep in mind is that you have to follow some guidelines to wear the sensor. It should be tight (but not cut off your circulation), enough to keep the watch from moving freely on your wrist, leaving a separation of approximately one finger from the wrist bone. By following these details you will ensure that you get the best results that your conditions can offer.
I'll start with the part where I did the running test, with a progressive increase in heart rate. Both the graphics of the Polar Vantage V2 and the Garmin Forerunner 745 correspond to their optical HR sensor.
However I had some initial issues with the FR945 because until well advanced the worktout it did not decide to connect with the HR sensor on the chest (a Garmin HRM-Tri), that is why the FC data until that point is so bad.
And another note I want to make is that, in this area that I have pointed out below where there are differences in the record is because I was standing taking pictures of the watch, before starting the running test.
Once the test has started, everything is going pretty well, except for two points where the Garmin FR745 graph stands out.
I'm gonna zoom in on that point. In general, the measurement of the two optical sensors is correct (Vantage V2 and FR745), but the Garmin has two strange peaks that should not be there. On top of that, at the time of stopping the workout the Polar behaves quite well and there is not too much delay in lowering the beats. However, the Garmin does take a long time to recover the rest HR.
Next I leave you the graph of the lap, made mostly in Z2. This time the tables are reversed, and the one that has a slightly more erratic behavior is the Vantage V2.
There is a strange peak of HR (which is not long to recover), and it is also the one that generally reacts later to changes in intensity. This time it is the FR745 that has a behavior almost similar to that of the Garmin pectoral sensor.
My opinion of this first approach is very similar to that left me by the Polar Grit X in its test. I'm still waiting for notable differences from the previous generation Precision Prime sensor (which was dominated by green light). It's true that, if we put aside those strange peaks that occur on some occasion, the rest of the workout goes on almost smoothly.
But I would like that to be polished over time (because it's not a sensor but a software error), and I would like to see some tangible difference in the latest version of the Polar Precision Prime sensor.
Comprar Polar Vantage V2
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Polar Vantage V2 opinion
I remember I said that, in the Polar Grit X analysis a few months ago, I had no doubt that it was the best Polar watch ever. The Polar Vantage V2 continues to go on the same dynamic and offers reasons to dethrone the Grit X from that place.
What is clear is that Polar continues to bet on what is already a brand of the house, tools to improve performance. I think it's the right way because it's what brings you to be unique and different, even though much of the market continues to ask for music playback on the watch, wireless payments or maps for navigation.
All these are features that Garmin has long had. But Polar doesn't want to be Garmin, and I don't think it should be Garmin. Of course I would like to see a Polar with all those features, but given that its resources are limited, I prefer them to be invested in continuing to incorporate sport science into its products rather than those other features (which, don't doubt it, I do use as well).
However, one thing Polar continues to do quite well is to set the price of its products. Unlike Garmin, the Polar Vantage V2 costs exactly the same as the Vantage V when it went on the market: €499 (€549 if we include the Polar H10 sensor). Interestingly, it's the same price that Garmin asks for its new Forerunner 745 just was just released to the market.
Both are focused on triathlon but offer very different performances. It is true that the Garmin does have those features that are not specific to training but that most of us like to have (music and wireless payments). But the Polar is superior in terms of quantity and quality of information it provides, it has much more battery life (16 hours of the Garmin vs 40 in the Polar), and the materials are of higher quality. The good thing about that rivalry is that it will force both brands to continue working to offer good products at more competitive prices than their direct rival.
What Polar continues to do very well is to provide a lot of data, but that it can be used by all kinds of people. If you want to do a detailed analysis, you have access to all the information. You're not interested in all those numbers? Just focus on key data (recovery, training load, etc) and, without having to understand what the data behind it means, have a clear idea of how you are doing.
As for the new tests Polar proposes, I think they are interesting. Starting with the running test, it offers a fairly affordable way to monitor the progression of MAS and MAP without having to die every time we want to do a test.
Leg Recovery Test, as Jose has said in the podcast, is also a very interesting proposition to be able to estimate our recovery status (along with Nightly Recharge metrics and heart rate variability). As is the case with the Running Test, it is a very simple test to perform and that can provide a lot of information on how our legs are before performing a strong workout.
Finally, I want to remind you that more than a complete review this article is an initial analysis and first hands-on impressions. Later I will complete it with the different GPS and optical HR sensor tests that are missing, as well as the progression that I will have when it comes to carrying out more tests than are now included. In the meantime, if you have any doubts, remember that you have the comments below to leave any questions you may have.
Thanks for reading!