From Polar Pacer Pro and Vantage V2 to Vantage V3

It’s not a secret that I like the Polar ecosystem and some of their watches, being constantly tempted to use my Vantage V (more recently the V2) even if I had Garmin’s feature full temptation around all the time – I still exchange from time to time my Fenix to the Vantage.

Slim and nice, Vantage V2 is a great device

Polar isn’t perfect, but has some elements that I like – and their R&D efforts are highly appreciated. With the recent launch of Polar Pacer Pro, I spent a bit of time thinking how the Vantage V3 should look like or what needs to change in the Polar ecosystem to have the V3 as the main watch, so I created a wishlist:

  • I like very much the look of the Vantage V2 and Pacer Pro looks similar but smaller, with a different set of materials. I still prefer the larger size of the V2, after using Fenix 7X it’s hard to go to something less than 47mm in size .. so keep the size of the V2, use the same good materials but a larger screen with smaller bezels are really expected
  • “Resume later” function that I’ve learnt to love with Garmin is something that would really make a difference when recording walks or casual bike rides.
  • Better GNSS accuracy – Garmin proved with the recent Fenix/Epix that this is achievable, Coros also proved it – sure, it means more than just changing the chipset – but it does make a difference
  • Improve sync with the mobile app – it is so slow from time to time, it just begs me to go back to Garmin Connect which some may say is bloated and not intuitive and some more .. but it is clearly faster
  • Slimmer and accurate oHR sensor – I like the looks of the Pacer Pro one, if it delivers as well on the accuracy – the ”bump” from VV2 Precision Prime is not always a joy
  • Improve notifications management – I get it, Polar is not a smart watch, but in this day and age people expect at least to separate calls from other notifications, not to be forced to the all or nothing approach Polar has – it forces me for example (on iOS) not to have the smart notifications active even though I’d love the call notifications (and yes, during the workouts as well)
  • battery life – if we could get 7 days instead of 4, with the same training sessions, that would be great; I’m not asking for the 20+ days other watch makers offer, but 7 would be definitely better
  • The Flow ecosystem needs some additional focus
    • Integrations both ways with third party platforms would allow the users of Training Peaks to use the Polar watches as it would be easy to plan and execute workouts this way
    • Search improvements – filters with text is something to expect now, nobody would try to remember the exact date of some event, but they know something about the name of the city where they run their second marathon for example
    • Gear management – simple but useful
    • Running plans refresh – could we have some running power driven plans as long as power is supported and advertised?
    • Move more of the data from the watch to the Flow and display it – ANS data after sleep for example, Serene sessions ..
  • Extend support for Stryd, that would be nice .. Coros did it, Wahoo did it .. it might happen with Garmin
  • Support for ANT+, as so many sensors are using it and Bluetooth channels are limited

I’m not looking at maps, music storage, payments and other aspects that may take away the athlete focused approach, but some improvements could bring people from other brands to Polar to explore the capabilities of a nice ecosystem.

I’m not holding my breath, in the recent 2-3 years I haven’t seen a strong investment with Polar in terms of software development, but that’s why this is a wish list.

Be well and train, regardless of your watch of choice!

Author: Liviu Nastasa

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

2 thoughts

  1. Really like your suggestions for improvements to the Polar platform. Like you, I have a Fenix 7x and Polar devices. I do frequently switch from time to time to using my Polar Vantage V2. I appreciate the way that Polar attempts to provide a cohesive platform around fitness activities. It’s hard to put a finger on it, but Polar has a unique approach to integration of features. It feels less like another complex menu item as it does whether I’m using Connect with Garmin or a Garmin device’s own settings. Polar attempts to build a framework with research backing (white papers, etc.) for new features that they add. I enjoy the platform so much that when I first started using Training Peaks, I would create my purchased plans in Polar manually the day before the next workout.

    But as has been discussed and you illustrate above, it is the quality of life improvements and the refinements on top of their platform that seems the most lacking. Polar needs to consider things such as:

    a) When I create a phased workout, I want each split/phase to be exported and visible to Training Peaks, Today’s Plan, etc. Please don’t require me to manually hit lap each split. That’s redundant and annoying.

    b) When I create a phased workout, let me see the values of the zones rather than just the individual number as I move the slider.

    And so on… These are low hanging fruit that they could prioritize and have a real value add to customers in addition to the larger improvements such as third party structured workout support. Even in the larger feature requests, take a look at partners to collaborate with in meaningful ways. See Suunto’s recent work with Hammerhead’s Karoo 2 for sharing heat maps.

    Of course there are resource, time to market limitations. Just would like to see some improvements.


  2. I agree with you guys. I am a Polar Vantage V user for several years now. No other fitness watch for me. The quality of the sensors is excellent and, like you, I don’t care about other distractions on my watch.

    I would have liked to see the capability to measure blood pressure (as in the Samsung Galaxy 5) implemented (the Galaxy uses the optical sensor to measure it and the sensor is not as good as the Polar one).

    Better software with more and better connections would be a big plus.

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