I’ll dedicate this post to Polar Flow, since this is an important piece of the Polar ecosystem and one of the main reasons to stay, till Vantage series will convince that they are better than V800 (that’s still a debate, if you haven’t notice).
So, since Vantage V is the first Polar device that I use, now it’s the first time I’m using Polar Flow (both mobile and web). I’ll focus more on the web, even though the mobile app has also its importance.
My feeling, after years of Garmin Connect, is that Polar Flow is sports centric, focusing on your sport performance and less on other activities like hiking, adventure planning. You have also near the 24/7 activity monitoring, the sleep analysis (not very detailed compared with Fitbit or even Garmin, but obviously superior to Suunto).
The Feed area is similar to what you see in the mobile app, a chronologic presentation of your activities and workouts – it’s a starting point for analysis.
The Programs area is dedicated to your longer term planning, covering 5k/10k/HM and Marathon plans offered by Polar and an interesting feature – the season planner (the closest relative in this respect is TrainingPeaks season planner)
You have plenty of flexibility in defining complex workouts, even though there is not yet support for power based workouts (they will come, otherwise the advertised power feature in Vantage V is not well supported in real life training).
I like very much the workout analysis, with selectable areas to be compared – HR, pace, power, cadence, altitude, temperature – also correlated with workout phases and not (most of the time) useless auto-laps.
What I like for Polar Flow Web:
- simple and intuitive, modern components
- focus on sports, attention to details and trends perspective
- easy and flexible in creating workouts (less yet in using power driven workouts)
- very good (readily available) data analysis, especially workout analysis – allows you to compare actual vs planned in an intuitive manner (not like in Garmin Connect, where you have to guess if you did right or wrong)
What I don’t like (or would like to see improved) at Polar Flow Web:
- doesn’t get information from outside – no way to import another workout (like you can do in Garmin Connect)
- doesn’t import a running plan (that’s also true with Garmin Connect) but nevertheless, it would be great to allow packages to be imported in your favourite platform
- doesn’t import data from MyFitnessPal – for example, I couldn’t see the weight updated automatically from MyFitnessPal (where the data comes from my old Fitbit Aria); the workout data goes from Flow into MFP, but not the other way around
- ways to plan routes (other than import from other systems) or create routes interactively; in this respect, Garmin Connect is miles ahead, since even the mobile or watch capability include generating new routes or managing POI (I understand Polar is not dedicated to navigation, but still … that’s what I’m used to)
Polar Open AccessLink (https://www.polar.com/accesslink) is a well designed API for accessing information from Polar Flow – very important – it’s free – unlike Garmin Connect API, which costs 5000 USD. Hopefully, Polar’s API calls for adding information will be also added for allowing other systems to publish data, not only gather data.