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Darren McNeely
Reviewed: 10 March 2006

A GREAT TRAINING TOOL ESPECIALLY IN KEEPING TRACK AND MONITO

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.
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.
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.
Score breakdown



Performance:
5.0
Ease of use:
4.0
Value:
4.0

hyper nikg
Reviewed: 10 March 2006

WOULD BUY AGAIN: PERFECT FOR STATS GEEKS/COMPETITIVE RUNNERS

You don't notice you're wearing it, which is a huge plus. I was concerned wearing a strap around my chest would either restrict my breathing or irritate my skin, but it's been perfectly designed. I have no problems with any of the footpod, wrist unit or chest strap. Would be interesting to hear whether women have issues with the chest strap though.

More information than I can use. I'm a statistics geek, so i love comparing all the numbers and measuring my enjoyment through a weighted index of speed and distance ;-)

The crazy sounds when you attempt the Sonic-Link with your PC. No idea if it works (IR works fine for me) but very cool concept and impresses the ladies. Probably.

Despite the data-blips mentioned below, really it's very accurate and whenever I've been able to test it against known distances or measured heart rates it's been on the money. Do make sure you calibrate it first though, mine came with default settings around 15% different to actual.

Extremely easy to use, even whilst running. The ability to change the two displayed sets of information while in motion with simple button pushes is great. Quite simply I wouldn't change the in-action functionality if I could.

Alarm warning when you drop outside your desired intensity levels are very useful. It is often a sensible mother-figure telling me to stick to the plan and slow-down when I'm running near girls and get the strange urge to double my pace and overtake them before inevitably collapsing in a heap when just out of sight.
I had some initial trouble with the autolap feature and, more annoyingly, with the upload of data to my PC when I'd be all pleased with myself after a 10km run only to find it said 9.4km on my PC. BUT after some great technical support and a painless software upgrade they have both worked perfectly since.

You do get the occasional blip in the data, which makes you momentarily feel like a superhero when you see your fastest pace on a long run was 30km/h with a heart rate of 260. Oh and you can smooth out any errors in the software very easily, which after all is where your going to store all your data long term, so don't worry - your once-in-a-lifetime FLM stats won't be corrupted for eternity by an overhead power line or a fellow runner's HRM!

Battery life on the footpod (which measures distance) is not too great. Very annoying to get all prepared for a long run, go to turn on the footpod and see no little flashing light. Especially if you have no batteries and its 5.30 in the morning... However, get yourself some rechargeables and an emergency supply of batteries and you'll not feel the same despair as me.

Unless I'm missing some feature (as there are many I don't use or haven't fully explored), it would have been nice to have overall statistics solely for the running section and not the warm-up and cool down. I want to be able to record my heart rate following the run, but I don't want to see my averages for the entire exercise session drop, especially my running pace, which is my prime interest. Pedantic I know, but you get that way with great products!

I can run 1:45 half-marathons in training and yet the proprietary fitness index put me in the severely unfit category the first three times I tried it. Will have to give it another shot as it was only the first fortnight I owned it that I did these tests. Not surprising that I didn't continue using it really when you're trying to track improvement and your HRM is suggesting a walk to the fridge could be your physical limit...
I love this product despite the few issues mentioned above and I wouldn't get nearly as much enjoyment from a HRM that didn't measure distance and speed. If you have a competitive streak this will be your best purchase for performance-improving raining. Anything that increases your interest levels in the sport is beneficial and this gives you that little bit extra.

To be honest if you don't care about racing or personal milestones and just want to lose some weight without overexerting yourself, you could probably save about 150 pounds and buy a simple model HRM. However, if you want accurate distance measurement (even amongst the
buildings of the City unlike some GPS models) this was the best model my research in late 2005 discovered and it's lived up to what it claims to do.

Knowing what I know now, I'd buy it again.

It's hard to call this either a strength or a weakness, but one strange side-effect of owning this is that I love the information so much that I now find it extremely demotivational if I have to run without it. I rely on it to keep my speed and intensity at the levels I want and need to train effectively.

A couple of occasions where I haven't had it with me or I've been out of batteries for my footpod I've actually given up on planned runs.

One time I was standing outside my door in my finest running gear and bent down to turn on the footpod to find I'd exhausted the battery on the last run. I was back in bed in two minutes. Beware!
Score breakdown



Performance:
4.0
Ease of use:
5.0
Value:
3.0

sarahmoo
Reviewed: 09 March 2006

OK,...WOULDN'T BUY IT NOW..OTHER BETTERPRODUCTS AVAILABLE.

Fascinating info which can be very useful. Time needs to be spent to get to grips with all its facilities
Want to be able to acces all the tools more easily...brand new garmin looks clearer
Good gadget which I just don't use. Don't like the footpod idea really and find the screen a bit basic....
I am sure later types will be improved versions. Hang on and do your research on other makes...
Score breakdown



Performance:
3.0
Ease of use:
3.0
Value:
3.0

paul sperrin
Reviewed: 09 March 2006

GET THE FOOTPOD MEASURING ACCURATELY YOU'VE A GREAT TOOL

Once the FootPod is set correctly the simple fact is that you have a reasonably easy to use training tool which gives you all the aspects of any kind of run Heart Rate, Speed, Distance and Altitude. The more you're willing to experiment the more you can get information out of it via the PP software.
Purchase the slightly expensive add ons and its just as useful for cycling.
Life of Battery (costs a little more but I use a Lithium AAA).
Lack of flexibility in setting up interval sessions. Occasionaly the incosistency of some of the recordings (watch and software can differ)
When used in partnership with the PPP Software you have a tool which gives a good indepth guide to each run whether the hard interval track session (giving HR and splits), the long run (speed, HR,altitude and mile splits) or the recovery run (set maximum HR limits forcing you to slow down on the beeps). When setup correctly it is a valuable guide into showing improvement or monitoring your training plan. Really a very good tool when you understand what it can give you.
My favourite as long as you keep the name of your runs consistent is the filtering tool to show that run you do again and again just looking for that slight improvement to know your training is haeding in the right direction.
Score breakdown



Performance:
4.0
Ease of use:
3.0
Value:
4.0

Stu pot
Reviewed: 09 March 2006

A LOT OF MONEY FOR INACCURATE SPEED AND DISTANCE DATA

Does not rely on GPS signals, so distance measurement always 'works'.
Has to be calibrated, and accuracy degrades the more you deviate from the calibration conditions (speed, shoes, surface).
Poor accuracy on really steep hills.
Extensive testing has shown errors when using the autolap feature, see http://users.telenet.be/wy/sport/S625X/S625X%20Accurate%20Speed-Distance%20Measuremnt.htm
Good alternative if you want to measure distance run in an environment which has poor GPS reception (however the new Forerunner 205/305 may challenge this).
Worries about distance accuracy mean I'd hesitate to recommend it otherwise (you're paying a lot extra over a heart-rate-only monitor).
Score breakdown



Performance:
2.0
Ease of use:
3.0
Value:
2.0

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