Polar's New Vantage V

With a wrist-based heart-rate sensor that seems to really work, Polar, a long-time leader in the heart-rate monitor business, has a new sports watch that provides lots of useful training data. A first look at the Polar Vantage V.

| November 1, 2018 | GEAR

Polar was the first company to produce a wireless heart rate monitor and, for years, has been a leader when it comes to HR training. Once again the company has come up with a product that's ahead of the curve - this time a wrist-based monitor that, based on our first look, works really well.

We tested Polar's new flagship model, the Vantage V, in Hawaii in a variety of conditions and training sessions and came away with a very positive first impression. We were especially impressed with the promised improvement in heart rate measurement on the wrist - Polar seems to have come through on that front.

Most devices we've reviewed with a wrist-based heart rate sensor have been very inaccurate once the intensity starts to ramp up. However, the Vantage V responded immediately to mountain climbs on the bike and speed changes on runs, and heart rate data seemed both plausible and consistent in our post-workout analysis. We'll have to wait for a more detailed test to find out if this first impression holds true for longer and higher intensity efforts in a more detailed future review.

Operating the watch and figuring out the various menus is very easy thanks to the five five buttons on the watch, but you also can control things through the touchscreen, which works perfectly. We especially liked that the "tapping" feature, where you tap the screen to record a new lap or start a new interval, wasn't quite as sensitive as it was on the Polar V800. That's a good thing - it means a light touch doesn't inadvertently record a new lap

We were also impressed with the integrated watt measurement while running that doesn't require a sensor, especially when it came to getting some feedback from intervals or tempo efforts. In order to be able to assess how meaningful the data is and whether you can use it to plan your training (and possibly racing) intensities will require some detailed analysis of your training efforts, but it is certainly an interesting addition to your training arsenal, for sure.

It's been a long wait for Polar to come out with a new high-end watch, but the Vantage V seems to have been worth the wait. Stay tuned for a more detailed review.