First impressions with Polar Vantage V2

Being a gadget addicted, I couldn’t help myself not to test the new Vantage V2, to see if it is better than Vantage V and if so, by how much. I was generally happy with the Vantage V, it’s a decent watch, but recently I admit I only used the Vantage V because I like the representation Polar has for daily activity unlike Garmin step oriented approach. Since I work from home, seeing in some days when I ride my indoor bike that I only have some 2-3k steps made me feel bad .. Polar has a different approach which suits me better when I don’t run every day.

Anyway, first impressions after one run, wearing both Vantage V: VV2 on my left hand, VV on right hand, same settings, Vantage V using the Stryd connection to measure distance, power and pace, both of them using the oHR for measuring the heart rate.

In terms of looks, it’s nice and clean, though I admit that I like the Vantage V as well .. maybe I’d say that Vantage V looks more “manly” because of the sharper bezel – anyway, that’s up to everyone’s taste.

Nice strap pattern (VVT like), light and easy to wear
Side by side – V2 (right) has a brighter screen and better contrast

So far, I like the Vantage V2 more because:

  • it has better screen contrast – overall better screen
  • good (better?) GPS – but hard to tell after just one running session
  • very good distance measured – 6.51km (VV2) vs 6.50km (VV+Stryd)
  • easy to wear – better and more comfortable strap
  • oHR is very good (even with brisk changes of pace) – similar in use as Vantage V – not yet relevant because it wasn’t compared with H10 or even OH1

The weight difference is not noticeable (for me) – the Vantage V is still not a heavy watch by any means, at least not compared with my Fenix 6X.

I was impressed that distance measurement was so close to Stryd, the first two km marks were simultaneous, the final distance only differed by 10m (0.15%). I had cloudy sky, but no tall buildings around or tree coverage, so the conditions were close to ideal.

VV2 (blue) had a slightly better track than VV (orange)

The screen visibility is better with VV2, higher contrast and also the light is more powerful and more adapted to environment (because of the sensor .. we will see how that affects the battery life).

Better visibility for VV2, in different conditions (not only in dark environments)

I didn’t yet tested all the new features of the Vantage V2, but so far it looks nice, it wears nice and will stay on my wrist for the next weeks.

Is it a Fenix 6 killer ?! No, it serves different purposes, doesn’t have all the features Garmin has, but it’s still a very nice device, targeting athletes more than outdoor/adventure people.

Notice: for those who linked their Stryd account to Polar Flow and test Polar watches without being connected to their Stryd footpod (like I did this morning), delete the duplicate activity from Stryd Power Center as it will mess your Critical Power and load.

Until I will come with more details, enjoy your running and stay safe!

Author: Liviu Nastasa

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

5 thoughts

  1. I’ve been using Garmin for over 10 years and have never worn a Polar watch.
    Right now I’m looking at the Garmin 245. It seems to be a good transition from my current Garmin 610.
    One of my main reasons for staying with Garmin is that I have so many years of data in their system.

    1. Garmin 245 is a very competent watch, particularly if you’re running. If you plan triathlons, then you should know that it doesn’t have open water swim profile for example. Switching between brands comes with the full ecosystem and that’s complicated, especially if you have a lot of data in Garmin Connect. Polar watches have better sleep analysis than 245 has, but I imagine Garmin will eventually push the FirstBeat sleep algorithm on most of their watches, like they did with Fenix 6, making the difference not that visible compared with Polar’s capabilities.

    1. In terms of smart watch, Garmin is superior because it offers music, better notifications from phone and Garmin Pay. In terms of training, I would say they are close but also show different strengths: Polar is better when looking at recovery management, sleep tracking and has native power (until the end of this year they should release structured workouts support-finally); 745 has good (better?) GPS accuracy, track mode and all the goodies of the Garmin data (FirstBeat powered analysis) plus better integration with 3rd party platforms like TrainingPeaks, FinalSurge or others. In terms of looks, Polar Vantage V2 is nicer and more elegant (light aluminium vs plastic). Also, the platforms and your previous experience with them may play a role in making the decision. If I should (subjectively) choose one, I’d pick Vantage V2 because it looks nicer and offers what I need now in a good package. Otherwise, maybe you could find a discounted 945 or even Fenix 6 for a different set of features (maps for example) that may suit better your needs (not that much training, but adventure readiness).

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