'A GREAT TRAINING TOOL ESPECIALLY IN KEEPING TRACK AND MONITO'
Strengths: I have had my Polar for over a year and have found it to be an excellent gadget in helping me to monitor and review my training over a period of time. For me the strengths are; Foot pod is pretty accurate even just out of the box and can be used anywhere. I have used it in a marathon and it was only 200m out having calibrated it over a few 10K races. And with no loss of signal, gives it a big advantage over GPS systems in built up areas.
The Polar software gives a whole host of facts and figures to keep you busy and help analysis your training, giving you a comprehensive running dairy; for example the ability to review heart rate and split times in a graphical form and over a period of time.
Infra red link built into the watch makes connection to a PC or Laptop nice and easy.
Wide range of functionality and the additional online tools add even more methods to review the progress of your training. Feature such as VO2Max, the total calories, previous training runs, multiple heart training zones, total distance and total time add additional benefits not often found in other similar gadgets.
I have found the battery life of the foot pod and the heart rate monitor is good. And because the light on the foot pod changes colour you get a good early warning that you need to change the battery.
Heart rate monitor is a comfortable fit and because you can setup different heart rate training zones it becomes easy to train in a desirable heart rate zone and then having the ability to review in graphical form that training session and compare with previous training sessions over a period of time really helps you to see the improves in your fitness.
You can expand the functionality of your Polar with the polar bike and speed cadence sensors.
Weaknesses: With all the features and functionally you need to be pretty technically aware and have to read the manual from cover to cover to really figure out all the features.
The manual calibration may need to be done a couple of times over the same distance in order to get more accurate readings. I have found that sometimes over multi terrain that it can be a bit over and this is probably due to the fact that you stride pattern on such a surface is different than on a road.
The watch is a bit big but on the plus side it is packed with features. IR connection is great as long as you have a laptop otherwise you need to buy an additional piece of kit to connect to a desktop. Also the Polar software is only compatible with Microsoft Windows and not with Mac’s.
Really need to set the memory to 5sec in order to get more accurate readings but downside is it eats in the memory storage on the watch pretty quickly.
Sometimes when around others with heart rates or in a gym with lots of equipment the heart rate reading can get a bit screwed up and you get reading of 220plus and then a reading of 00.
Attitude functionally needs to be reset each time you want to use it and also have found this to be a bit inaccurate.
Overall: Once you get the hang of all the features this gadget will become a very valuable tool. It will help you analysis, compare and view your fitness progress over a period of time. This device has become an excellent tool in helping me train and during races helps me keep a check on my pace. The heart rate monitor and in particular the different training zones have helped me to more effectively train in the correct training zone for the training session I am doing. The fitness and VO2 give an added dimension to monitoring the progress of your training so that you can see improvements over time.
I have tried the Timex Ironman and the Garmin forerunner and especially in and around built up areas like London the Polar easily wins as there is no loss of signal which you get from the GPS on the other two. On top of that the software that comes with the Polar is superior to what Timex and Garmin provide. All in all a very good device to have despite the price tag.