From Polar Vantage M to Forerunner 245

Based on my pleasant experience with Polar Vantage V, I bought my wife a Polar Vantage M converting her from an aging Fitbit Charge 2.

The criteria (hers) for selecting the “perfect” watch were:

  • fashionable (aka changeable bands – and colorful)
  • not too big (she has a smaller wrist size)
  • battery should last 5-7 days
  • some smart functions – like phone notifications

Based on my assessment (not hers), I said that Vantage M might do the job (less the second criteria) as I was counting on various color bands to change a bit the perspective of seeing the watch as a fashionable device. I bought the black version, as it’s more suitable for changing the bands of different colors.

She used the device for 3 weeks and her conclusions were:

  • I really like the functions for activities – like having all the stats of your run in one screen (HR, pace, time and distance)
  • I discovered now the way I spent time in different HR zones when exercising
  • the web app is really nice – I can easily see my progress and activity details
  • the mobile app is nice – maybe not that “gamified” as Fitbit’s app, but definitely usable
  • the watch is too big (46mm) for daily use on small wrists – maybe a more colorful band (like the green one from Polar) could change this perception, but on black – it’s just too big

Based on that and also on the fact that the Forerunner 245 was just released on the market, adding the fact that the bands for Garmin are already available on the Romanian market unlike Polar’s accessories, I returned the Polar and bought the new FR245.

Based on the looks and the colorful bands, it was love at first sight – smaller in size and assorted with watch screen colors.

FR 245 – purple – my wife color for now

Below is the image for the Vantage M, in black and with the green band (it would have been nice to have it available in Romania..but by the time we got to Helsinki for a half marathon event, she already had switched to FR245).

Nice looking Vantage M with green band

After several runs, the conclusions are:

  • the Garmin device is nice, looking smaller (42.5 mm vs 46 mm) on the wrist and comfortable
  • the Polar platform is nicer and more intuitive for the people exercising while Garmin collects a lot of statistics but those are not that easy to use for improving your running performance (for example my wife doesn’t care about VO2max or LTH, she favors more the insights from Polar Training Load pro)

My wife is not that passionate about GPS accuracy or other fancy aspects of a sports watch so comparing GPS tracks wasn’t her thing (but mine) .. the devices are using the Sony chipset, the tracks look decent but not without flaws.

Vantage M .. she didn’t swim, but the track says so
FR 245 track, a bit better in the same are

So, basically the conclusions are that Polar Vantage M is a great device and Polar Flow is a great platform but for persons with smaller wrists it might be a challenge to adopt it for daily use.

Garmin wins here with a bit smaller and competent device, well accessorized. Maybe there is a niche market for smaller Polar Vantage V/M ? Hard to say, but looking at the fact that other vendors released devices smaller in size on the market (Garmin has several, including Fenix 5s, Coros Apex 42mm, Suunto 3), it might worth a look from Polar’s product management team.

Author: Liviu Nastasa

Passionate about software development, sociology, running...definitely a geek.

11 thoughts

  1. Hi, I am deciding whether to purchase Vantage M or FR245. Which one would you recommend considering the accuracy (GPS, HR) and the price (Polar for £150, Garmin £250)?

    1. If size doesn’t matter that much, personally I’d go with the Polar Vantage M because to me it seems a more complete device (you could use it for triathlon as well, unlike 245) and I enjoy more the Polar Flow web app. GPS wise I didn’t see a consistent difference between Vantage M and 245 and the HR works fine with both (with all the limitations of the oHR). So, if you enjoy the looks of Vantage M and don’t need music or a smaller size device, Vantage M would be my recommendation.

      1. Hello Liviu! Can you help me? What do you think about Suunto 5 vs Forerunner 245 vs Vantage M? I want buy one of that gadgets, but cant make a choice. Thx.

      2. Even though I appreciate Suunto’s devices, the lack of a strong web app and the fact that it’s missing some of the old app capabilities in terms of outdoor activity planning and structured workouts execution – that makes Suunto not an option for me. Between Garmin 245 and Vantage M, I would choose (personally) the Vantage because to me it is a bit more versatile and a bit bigger in terms of size, and I like more the Polar Flow platform than the Garmin Connect web. I hope that will help your decision … even the price for Vantage M is better than the 245, unless you find some serious discount for Garmin.

  2. Hi Liviu, would you be able to confirm if the final distance was similar? I realize the tracks may not look as great from the Polar but I’m more concerned about the actual distance at the end? Thanks for any help!

    1. The distance was similar, 13.90 vs 14.01 km – I didn’t get the feeling that Polar is not measuring the distance accurately. Actually, I was surprised to see that the track doesn’t look better than the Garmin one, based on my comparisons between Vantage V and Fenix 5X+. So, if you’re considering the Vantage M and you like the size, don’t need music or other fancy stats, this is a very good choice with a better price.

      1. Thanks for the response. I am replacing my aging Forerunner 225 and find the newer Garmins (645, 245) too small for me but the Fenix series is simply too much watch for me. Plus Polar Flow looks good….thanks for your help!

      2. If money are not an issue and you like the Garmin ecosystem, you may consider the 945 which is not huge, is light and has all the features you might think of … at this moment, I’m using a 945 coming from Fenix 5X+ and I’m fine with it, but still tempted by the Vantage V Titan.

      3. I ended up getting the 245 non-music. Yes, it is a little smaller than I like but I think I’m going to get used to it. It’s so light! So far I really like it in terms of training features, however I do find the GPS not as accurate compared to my older Forerunner 225. I have run three times with it and notice there’s some drop outs on my usual routes where my old watch had no problems. However, ultimately it’s a far better watch and I’m assuming Garmin will continue to update the firmware, hopefully improving the GPS. I have not tried the GPS+GALILEO settings yet.

  3. Hello Liviu! Can you help me? What do you think about Suunto 5 vs Forerunner 245 vs Vantage M? I want buy one of that gadgets, but cant make a choice. Thx.

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