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.
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).
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.
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.