Polar OH1 vs Polar H10

I used the training session today to compare the two heart rate monitors I have (actually I have another Garmin HRM) in terms of accuracy and responsiveness – I always felt like I’m good with having the OH1 with me .. but never really focused on comparing (recently) with HRM or H10.

So, for the session today I had steady low intensity run combined with short 20 seconds sprints, that should show the responsiveness of OH1 compared with the H10 (common sense says that the H10 should adapt faster to the change, but we will see).

The H10 was connected to my Polar Vantage V, the OH1 was connected to my Garmin 945 (which also was supported for distance, pace, power, etc by my Stryd pod).

The results are nice – when compared head to head (on https://quantified-self.io) we can see that for the whole session (30 mins 12 seconds) the average heart rate is the same – 154 bpm, and there are no big differences in max/min.

HR comparison (OH1 left, H10 right)

From the responsiveness, as expected, H10 was faster, but the trends and evolution look similar

The OH1(blue) has a lag of 1-2 seconds compared with H10

So, basically, the easy to use and wear OH1 is good enough even for tough sessions, if you can accept that it has a bit of lag – I don’t mind and I’ll continue to prefer OH1’s convenience over H10 responsiveness, at least during summer sessions when wearing the chest strap is not the best experience in life (at least for me).

The only downside for OH1 is the battery life, you can’t expect at more than 12 hours of measurement (that’s not that much of an issue for me, since I always stay below 5-6 hours sessions) and the fact that you don’t know exactly how much juice you’ll have before the session (like knowing the percentage .. is it 21% or 79%?) – you’ll only know when you have low battery, which is not that much of an quantitative indication.

But if you want another comparison, let’s have a look at the lag HR measurement has against power measured by Stryd (it’s similar with Polar’s own power measurements) – there you’ll see that your rapid change of pace (or effort) is reflected in the load on the heart in 10-15 seconds, making HR kind of useless for short bursts of speed (under 2 minutes).

Zoom on the 10x speed repeats – the heart rate adjusts slower to effort (as expected)
It takes 15 seconds for HR to pick-up, when I was already slowing down
Correlation between pace (blue), power (yellow), heart rate (red) – Stryd graph

It’s something that a lot of people wrote about when considering power based training – power measurement is better than HR measurement in case of sudden changes of pace/effort.

Since a lot of people are looking at these details and ask about GPS accuracy for various devices, I’ll add some data on it … if you’ll see the GPS tracks for both watches, they are not in their best days let’s say … I’ve seen a lot better. Polar measured more: Vantage V measured 5.22km and FR 945 measured 5.10km (that’s 120m, which is a more than expected these days .. 2.4% deviation). Actually, the value from Garmin 945 comes from the calibrated Stryd, so we can’t really praise/judge Garmin – but since I used the same path I use most of the times, I’d say that Polar was overestimating the distance compared with other sessions the same Polar had.

945 (orange) vs Vantage V (blue) – both have errors, Vantage seems a bit more disorientated

With than, I wish you happy running sessions!

Polar Vantage V FW 5.0.10
Garmin 945 FW 4.10
Polar H10 FW 3.0.56
Polar OH1 FW 2.0.11
Stryd FW 1.2.0

Author: Liviu Nastasa

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

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