WATCH REVIEW: Polar Vantage V

After five years without a major upgrade to Polar's GPS watch product line, the new Vantage V and M bring some notable features

January 8th, 2019 by | Posted in Running Gear | Tags: , , ,

With its new multiport watch line, Polar has integrated activity monitoring with high-performance training features in a sleek, modern package. Not only are the Polar Vantage V and M models no longer the boxy-looking Polar watches of the past, but the V in particular is now capable of giving you feedback on every detail of your training and recovery, something that runners who also do triathlons will especially love.

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Photo: Polar

Useability

The Polar Vantage V’s comfortable silicone wristband is both light and durable. At just 66g, the Polar Vantage V is one of the lighter all-purpose, high-performance GPS watches on the scene. With its sleek profile, interactive interface and intuitive setup, you’ll have the Polar Vantage V up and running in no time.

Sleep monitoring

The sleep monitoring feature in particular will appeal to many athletes, since it has such a significant impact on performance. Once you sync your Vantage V to the Polar Flow app, you’ll be amazed to see exactly how much and how deeply you slept. It will also record your inactivity, reminding us how detrimental sedentary behaviour is to our health, regardless of the number of hours we spend training.

The number of sport profiles on the Polar Vantage V is staggering. If you take a look at the sports profile page on the Polar Flow app, you’ll see the more than 130 specialized activities you can sync to your watch. And with 40 hours of battery life, you need never be without it. 

Polar Flow app

The Polar syncing platform and Flow app allows you to easily sync your sleep and activity files. You can also connect your Polar account to third-party training platforms to share with your followers.

Photo: Polar

Training Features

Some of the exciting features of the Polar Vantage V are Training Load Pro, Running Index, Recovery Pro and continuous HR tracking. (For triathlon-specific features, see our review here.)

Training Load and Recovery Pro: After every training session, you get a notification to quantify the training load on your body. Plus, based on your physical features and previous workouts, Polar quantifies the strain a session had on your muscles and cardiovascular system. Plus, the Vantage V uses an orthostatic test to provide you with recovery feedback. Three times a week, you can pair your Polar HR monitor strap to your Vantage V and follow the prompts to get a full recovery analysis.

Running index: With the running index, you can get feedback on your running form. Using HR, power tracking, cadence and pace, the Polar Vantage V calculates a custom running index. This can give you the motivation to adjust your cadence or even provide a nice confidence boost when you score an ‘elite’ rating.

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Continuous HR monitoring: Heartrate tracking is the easiest way to track your recovery. Powered by Polar Precision Prime, the Polar Vantage V uses optical heartrate measurements with skin contact to give accurate readings. (The chest strap is also an option.)

Run with power–power readings from your wrist: Tempo runs average a higher power output than long runs, and track intervals measure a higher output than recovery sets. This data can be incredibly helpful in learning from (and planning) your training and recovery.

What’s remarkable about the power reading on the Polar Vantage V is that you don’t need a pod. Gone is the frustration of setting up a foot pod on your shoe(s) or syncing a foot pod to your watch. All you have to do is run hard and watch the Polar Vantage V record your cadence and power.

Race director ALan Brooks (left) with top male and female finishers from the 2018 Race Roster Spring Run Off. Photo: Canada Running Series

However, urban runners should be aware that as with most brands, despite the impressive GPS + GLONASS tracking technology integrated into the watch, tracking among tall buildings in the city is difficult and therefore results do not always reflect your workout with complete accuracy. 

The roundup

After five years without a considerable upgrade to Polar’s GPS watch product line, the Polar Vantage V and M are going to get a lot of attention from the multisport community. Like any other training product, make sure you update your watch regularly when updates are available.

The Polar Vantage V is priced at $679.99, and the Vantage M is $389.99