The Polar Vantage V Review
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The Polar Vantage V is at the higher end of the sports watch spectrum and represents a serious investment. But if you’re someone who cares a lot about performance then, based on what I’ve seen so far, this is a watch that’s got a great deal to offer. It’s certainly bringing new insights with power and its suite of training load and recovery tools, on paper at least, appear to be right up there as some of the most comprehensive you’ll get outside of a lab.
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Polar Vantage V Pro Multisport Watch
Polar is one of the most recognizable brands on the long course and short course triathlon circuits. Having recently released the Polar Vantage V Pro and M models, their new multisport watch line, Polar has integrated activity monitoring with high-performance training features into a sleek new look. The Polar Vantage V Pro has a circular contour and is incredibly comfortable. Its wristband is made up of silicone which adds durability and comfort to the straps. Weighing just 2.32oz/ 66g, the Polar Vantage V is one of the lighter all-purpose, high-performance GPS watches on the triathlon scene.
The Vantage V is a multi-sport and triathlon watch that also monitors activity 24 hours a day. It is intended for demanding athletes who are looking for advanced performance analysis functions and training tools. High-level athletes, professionals, amateurs looking to train like the pros or fans of statistics and analysis will find their happiness with this watch from the word go.
With its sleek profile, interactive interface and intuitive setup, I had the Polar Vantage V up and running in no time. In the 21st century, triathletes of all abilities are interested in data and gathering lots of it. The Polar Vantage V quite literally does it all, from sleep monitoring to 130 different activity profiles. I’ve always known sleep can have a significant impact on performance, but I never really knew how many hours I slept. After I synced my Vantage V to the Polar Flow App, my sleep from the previous night was quantified in numbers I could understand and analyse. I’m aware this technology is likely no different to what is seen in the newest activity monitoring watches but combined with the added features in the Polar Vantage V, I was pretty impressed.
Besides the expected swim, bike and run profiles, the Polar Vantage V is also able to record your inactivity. As more research in the health and fitness industry emerges, we are continually learning 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. When I first opened the Polar Flow App, I explored the sports profile page – a list of the specialized activities you can sync to your watch. With over 130 different profiles, you can make sure you are recording every piece of activity. And with 40 hours of battery life, you will have no excuse for missing a workout.
Easy accessibility, pairing capability and access to software updates is a must when it comes to GPS watches. 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. As part of our routine training, we played with a number of the features on the Polar Vantage V. After exploring some of the watch’s features, we only wished we had gotten my hands on the Vantage V earlier as it would have been a great training tool. Some of the exciting features of the Polar Vantage V are Training Load Pro, Running Index, Recovery Pro and continuous HR tracking.
After every training session, you are notified to quantify the training strain 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 Polar Vantage V Pro uses an Orthostatic test to provide you with recovery feedback. Three mornings of the week, you can pair your Polar HR monitor strap to your Vantage V and follow the prompts to get a full recovery analysis.
Ever wondered if you are truly an amateur or a pro? 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 running index for your runs. This can give you the motivation to adjust your cadence or even provide a nice confidence boost when you score an ‘elite’ rating.
Heart rate tracking is probably the easiest way you can track your recovery. Powered by Polar Precision Prime, the Polar Vantage V uses optical heart rate measurements with skin contact to give accurate readings. So, leave your heart rate strap at home because you won’t need it. I found this feature to be most beneficial when I woke up and wanted to measure my resting heart rate. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the opportunity to do any open water tests with the Polar Vantage V. However, if the results from our pool swims are any indication of the Vantage V’s performance, you can expect accurate recording metrics. Not once in our pool sessions did the Polar Vantage V miss a length. Not only did it record all the sets I did, but it also allowed me to adjust the length of the pool I swam in. The one hiccup I found when using the Vantage V, was that it did not record kick sets.
Cycling outdoors can be hit or miss with the fall, leaving many of us with late-season races training indoors. Despite this, the Polar Vantage V records all your numbers. With HR monitoring and easy pairing with other Bluetooth devices, you can make sure you get all the data you need for your training analysis. Plus, with Smart Calories, the Polar Vantage V accurately estimates the calories burned based on your HR. It also gives you a score of the percentage of fat you have burned in a session.
On the bike, the main metric of concern is power. Now, with the Polar Vantage V Pro, can track power when running. We did notice that the watch accurately quantified our efforts. Tempo runs averaged a higher power output than our long runs, and track intervals measured a higher output than recovery sets. What’s pretty 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.
Thanks to the power and HR monitoring, the Polar Vantage V scores the overall training load of a session, as well as the muscle and cardiovascular load. As you do more or fewer workouts, the Vantage V determines the overall effect your training sessions are having on your body, detraining, maintaining, productive or overtraining. The Polar V will give you an impressive 40 hours of battery life for use with GPS and recording every second! That is quite remarkable. The Vantage does not offer a power-saving mode, which is unfortunate for all those who make very long trips, especially since the watch cannot be charged in recording mode.
The Vantage V targets a very sporty public who love data and analysis and who are looking for concrete tools to get to know each other better, optimize their performance and progress. Fortunately, the wrist pulse measurement, Training load Pro and Recovery Pro functions, power measurement and activity monitoring give this watch a new lease of life that will interest a targeted audience.
Wondering how this sports watch compare to other similar high-end options? Read our Best Running Watch article for an interesting take on what alternatives you could consider.