Polar V800 Review

Polar V800 Review

Polar V800 Review

For a while now, Polar has been on a scaling down process. It is reducing on the physical size of its GPS watches in a bid to improve their overall look and feel. Their latest GPS watch, the V800 brings its A-game and threatens Gamins market hold with its cycling, swimming and running tracking abilities. In addition, its built-in GPS and heart rate monitoring is impeccable and a handy addition to the watch as a whole.

Judging from the specifications only, the V800 seems to have everything covered. The question is, with the many activity trackers and modern smartphones on the market, does the Polar V800 really hold its own? Below is detailed Polar V800 review covering this and more.

POLAR V800 Build and Design

It is worth pointing out that the build and design of the V800 is quite difficult to fault. The watch comes with metallic buttons on the side, has a scratch resistant glass for its screen and a comfortable rubberized strap that hugs the wrist perfectly. The watch features a long face and may probably not be the most attractive to all, though it does come with a large readout which makes it easy to glance at the activity tracking details during an activity.

Note that the Polar V800 Smart watch is also slim and light. Enough to have it on all day long and slip under sleeves if need be. It is subtle enough to pass for a normal watch (the digital kind). It has a red button sticking out on its side. This red button stands out more than the silver colored buttons. All these buttons are grooved and textured which makes it easy to use with gloved hands or sweaty hands.

The watch comes with preloaded metric screens including pace, distance, laps and heart rate. However, it is pretty shocking to note that the watch does not feature the option to make changes to these screens. The home screen displays the time and date as well as your name (weirdly) and does need to be tapped to display activity tracking.

To view data on the distance covered, pace, heart rate on the watch’s screen you will have to take the long route of setting them up through the Polar software. While setting up the pages ourselves, we took a considerable amount of time deciding on things we would like displayed on the screen. At first it was a tedious process especially because our goal was to land a more professionalized look and visual readout.

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Testing it on The Run

Polar V800 Running Review

Before embarking on your run, the first order of business is to set and activate the GPS signal. The connecting process to the GPS satellites does vary with regards to time. However, on our very first try we got it to connect in less than a minute. After this first time, the Polar V800 Running GPS  smart watch knows its position on the world and any other subsequent connections happen faster. The subsequent connections can even take 30 seconds or less.

While the Polar V800 GPS smartwatch comes with an inbuilt GPS tracking hardware, it opted to go with a separate chest strap for its heart rate monitoring. The price of the watch does vary depending on whether this chest strap comes included in the packaging or not. It is worth noting that chest strap heart rate monitor use is increasingly becoming a thing with most smart watches. The argument is that the lack of an inbuilt heart rate monitor contributes to a longer battery life. However, to many this argument might not hold water since the watch still has to be connected to the chest strap monitor via Bluetooth Technology which has the potential to drain the battery life even faster.

The beauty of the heart rate sensor strap is that you can use it in specific activities and trainings to keep you in certain zones in order to land desired results. For instance, when you are working out to burn fat, you can tweak the watch’s settings to help in keeping you in a particular time zone. A vibration or a chirp will notify you when you slip out of the zone. This will have you working harder to remain within the set limits. While this is a great feature, it is unfortunate that you cannot do the same for pace and cadence. It is strictly for distance and time.

To get more information about your run, you can get a Stride sensor. This piece of tech is attached to the running shoes. This hardware gives you the added ability of keeping track of cadence which allows you to gauge and determine just how much work your legs are doing over a specific distance. The stride sensor is best in helping to improve your technique and improving the overall output.

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Swimming and Cycling with the Polar V800

While cycling, the Polar V800 activity tracking smart watch can be worn on the wrist or strapped around the handlebars of your bike. Be warned though, wearing the unit on the wrist will make it harder for you to read the data especially if you can’t ride your bike with one hand free. Luckily, since the watch does not come with an inbuilt heart rate sensor, there is really no need to have it on your wrist. The V800 may not have complete and full mapping abilities but it does have a navigation mode to direct you with an arrow on the screen and help in measuring distance.

The V800 also comes with an altimeter which comes in handy for persons who are into rock and hill climbing.

Now Garmin, a top grossing company in the smart watch business offers Vector technology. This tech is useful in gauging the power used at the pedals. Polar on the other hand provides Look Keo Power Bluetooth pedals as a competing alternative. We did not get to use this tech for price reasons. The price tag on the unit only means that the tech is for serious individuals.

The V800 has waterproof abilities of up to 30 meters. It is not the best waterproof rating we have seen but we have to agree, it is better than nothing. It is enough for swimming. While in swimming mode, the watch can keep track of your heart rate, measure time, distance as well as analyze the strokes you make. It will do all this using the SWOLF score. Predecessors of the V800 model do not feature this metrics. The watch also features a multisport mode which is perfect for triathlon athletes. This mode allows for multiple sport recording linked together as one for training purposes. A simple press of a button will pause an activity and toggle to the next workout flawlessly.

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Polar Flow Smartphone App

While the face of the V800 might be limited, the Polar Flow software isn’t. The app connects via Bluetooth to both Android and iPhone phones. Syncing the watch to the phone is simply a matter of pressing and holding the back button.

The app displays daily activity tracking from number of steps through to the quality of sleep. Since the Polar V800 feels somewhat large, the app is a great support feature. Through the app, you can create workout sections including your cadence goals, rest and sprint and set them to repeat at intervals. The repeat option makes it easier to set up while adding the workouts to favorites enables easier access. Another helpful feature is the Race Pace Target where you get to enter the time and distance you feel you want to embark on and the watch will automatically help in ensuring you maintain the right pace to achieve the et goal.

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Battery Life

With wearables, longevity is key. Luckily, the V800 is well performing. Testing out the unit, we took about 5 runs about 45 minutes each and still used the watch for daily activity tracking and uploaded loads of data via Bluetooth and still had almost 25% of the battery left to work with at the end of the day.

Polar V800 claims the watch can provide about 13 hours of training time with the GPS full on and 50 hours in GPS low-power mode. For daily activity tracking, you can get almost 30 days without the need of recharging.

For cyclists, runners and triathletes, the battery life should and will not be an issue.

Review Verdict

Have the software additions made the Polar V800 a better wearable for runners? Well, Yes, and no. yes since the plans are easy to follow and easily accessible directly from the watch. The smart coaching features are integrated into the watch and no, because of the manner in which the information is fragmented. Some of the data is on the web app and the other resides in a mobile app. But this is something you get used to really quickly

8 Total Score

  • Strong and durable Design
  • Great addition to circuit workouts
  • Has easy to follow training plans
  • Mobile app lacks data contained in web app
  • Bulky watch to have on all day long
  • No built in HR Sensor
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