Two decades ago, when heart-rate monitors were starting to show up on the wrists of serious athletes, Polar was what was worn. Back then, you needed a chest strap, and the functions on the watch were pretty basic, but when compared to the alternative of holding two fingers to your throat, they were pretty impressive. Now there's a crowded field of smartwatches with heart-rate monitors, but Polar is still commanding the respect of serious athletes. The new Vantage V features the most accurate optical heart-rate monitor that the company has produced, and the number of functions in the sleek and comfortable watch is astounding.
Start with a 40-hour battery life, even while using GPS. Some watches barely make it through a marathon; this one would get you through back-to-back Ironman triathlons. All your training data is easy to access through the Polar Flow platform, with charts to measure your progress and analyze the data. What's new here for any running watch is a built-in measure of power, which uses your speed, altitude and weight (among other information) to figure out your power outage in watts. Elite cyclists have come to use this measurement in training, and this may make it a part of the running universe as well. Even if you're not a trailblazer when it comes to training data, you'll appreciate the impact-resistant glass, easy-to-read-face, and accurate measurements of speed and distance. For those serious about tracking their performance, the Vantage V delivers the goods.
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