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V800 comes with GPS and tracks your recovery status between training sessions

Polar has announced that it’ll be launching what it calls ‘the world’s smartest training computer’, the V800, in April. The V800 comes with integrated GPS and is said to offer athletes a true picture of their recovery status.

The new computer combines your training load with data on the rest of the activity you do in everyday life to give your required recovery time between training sessions…. and recovery is what it’s all about when it comes to improving your fitness.

“Recovery. That's the name of the game in cycling. Whoever recovers the fastest wins.” Who said that? It was Lance, um, Armstrong. Okay, bad example. But he was right in this instance.

Polar list these key features (what follows in italics are Polar’s own words):

• Integrated GPS – fast, accurate speed, distance and route measurement.

• Smart and accurate monitoring of training sessions with an integrated activity tracker that automatically adjusts your recovery status to give a true account of how much rest you get in between hard sessions. Now every movement is registered, from your toughest workout to a walk up the stairs.

• Instant analysis and in-depth insights into all your training and recovery on the Polar V800 when used with the Polar Flow web service.

• Records your heart rate even while swimming – making it perfect for triathletes – and includes the most accurate altitude readings with a built-in barometric pressure sensor.

• Rechargeable battery which offers up to 14 hours of training time, 50 hours in low power GPS mode, or 30 days in time mode with 24/7 activity monitoring.

• Running Index data shows your aerobic fitness and running economy.

• Orthostatic Test to help you avoid over-training by gaining insight into recovery status over the long term. You can access four weeks of your training history at the touch of a button.

• Gorilla Glass face set in stainless steel with an aluminum core and soft, breathable polyurethane straps.

• Updatable software which will allow users to add new features from the comfort of their own home as they become available. The wireless connection to a smartphone creates the possibility for further features, such as SMS notification and music control, which will be added as updates later in 2014.

• Power monitoring function for serious cyclists, which will be available mid-2014 to be used in conjunction with new Bluetooth Smart power pedals.

Polar arguably used to lead the way in performance analysis tools although we’d say that they’ve never been as strong as Garmin, for example, when it comes to GPS instruments, so It’ll be interesting to try out the V800. We’ll ask to get one in for review here at road.cc. That recovery measurement feature sounds especially interesting.

The Polar V800 will be available around the world in April for a suggested retail price of €399.90 (€449.90 with heart rate sensor). UK prices have yet to be confirmed – a straight Euros to Sterling conversion would be £331 (£372 with heart rate sensor) at today's exchange rate. It will be available in black with a blue version added in June. An optional running stride sensor is available separately. Speed, cadence and power-measuring pedals will also be available separately.

All accessories are Bluetooth Smart compatible, including Polar’s heart rate sensor.

You can find out more about the Polar V800 at www.polarv800.com.

Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over the past 20 years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for seven years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a youthful 45-year-old Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.

13 comments

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bobbypuk [37 posts] 2 years ago
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Looks neat, a worthy alternative to Garmin for those of who sometimes forget the bike and end up running instead. But why use bluetooth when the rest of the world is on ANT+? I'll not consider it if I have to throw my powertap away as well.

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caaad10 [184 posts] 2 years ago
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Looks better than my rcx5 (and for that matter any Garmin I've ever seen), shame it isn't ant+ compatible just in case I go that way in the future... but happy to stick with what I have for now

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pwake [374 posts] 2 years ago
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Not sure about this statement: "and includes the most accurate altitude readings with a built-in barometric pressure sensor."
On a recent ride here in Texas, where we get very sudden weather changes when fronts come in, a friend of mine recorded an almost 1000ft elevation change on an almost flat route, due to the change in barometric pressure!
I guess as long as the GPS is accurate you can always correct this when you upload your data, but it was something that I had never considered before.

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Mat Brett [612 posts] 2 years ago
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bobbypuk wrote:

Looks neat, a worthy alternative to Garmin for those of who sometimes forget the bike and end up running instead. But why use bluetooth when the rest of the world is on ANT+? I'll not consider it if I have to throw my powertap away as well.

It's because ANT and ANT+ are designed and marketed by ANT Wireless which is ultimately owned by Garmin.

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Colin Peyresourde [1675 posts] 2 years ago
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There's something so 'old hat' about Polar as a brand. It may wash with the running brigade, but I just can get in to it. I prefer ANT+ to Bluetooth. Bluetooth seems to take longer and require more battery.

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paulrbarnard [182 posts] 2 years ago
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How do you measure speed from the pedals?

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richdirector [67 posts] 2 years ago
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they (and Suunto) should just licence ANT+ like everyone else - I preferred my Poalr to my Garmins but prefer the functionality and ability to use Strava and the like.
Timex have and so many others

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wellcoordinated [205 posts] 2 years ago
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Smart phone manufactures already including Bluetooth LE, +, 4.0 or whatever its called this week, in their hand sets. Bluetooth LE uses much less power that old fashioned Bluetooth, Hence in a few years ANT, ANT+ will be gone.

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wellcoordinated [205 posts] 2 years ago
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paulrbarnard wrote:

How do you measure speed from the pedals?

With a cadence sensor?

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Pierre [93 posts] 2 years ago
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wellcoordinated wrote:

Smart phone manufactures already including Bluetooth LE, +, 4.0 or whatever its called this week, in their hand sets. Bluetooth LE uses much less power that old fashioned Bluetooth, Hence in a few years ANT, ANT+ will be gone.

I'm not an authority, but as far as I know ANT+ is basically Bluetooth LE but with a couple of licensing problems. So, many Bluetooth LE devices can pick up ANT+ signals - my Garmin 810 has no problems reading my heart rate from my Polar Bluetooth LE strap, although I don't know if this is normal.

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jarredscycling [456 posts] 2 years ago
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I would have to agree that Bluetooth is the future, even power meters are shifting to support Bluetooth. But it does seem a bit premature to completely drop ANT+ at this point. Wonder how difficult it would have been to add both as some units can handle.

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JonD [393 posts] 2 years ago
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Mat Brett wrote:

It's because ANT and ANT+ are designed and marketed by ANT Wireless which is ultimately owned by Garmin.

And even they can't get it quite right - the only Ant+ cadence sensor you can use with an Etrex 30 (hrm, cadence) is Garmin's combined speed+cadence GSC-10. Cheaper cadence-only sensors are reported not to work  2

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unsliced [16 posts] 2 years ago
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Bluetooth LE is the future - or maybe a Bluetooth/ANT+ license-negotiated mashup - the ability for my watch, smartphone and various sensors to mesh together is a clear winner.

My current set up (iPhone with iSmoothRun (running) or Motion-X (cycling), Pebble, Wahoo speed/cadence sensor, Wahoo heart rate strap) is as close to perfect as I think I can get at the moment. If this watch offers better GPS and better battery life I would seriously consider it - especially if it can offer anything like the Pebble's notification framework.

It does look quite, erm, chunky, but it's not going to be bigger than the Pebble and that's quite a sizeable talking point at the moment ...