Polar V800 Review

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The Polar V800 is elegant and has outstanding GPS Accuracy, but it's pricy and has less functionality compared with its competitors. The functionality of the V800 is steadily improving as Polar release newer versions of the firmware and the accompanying web site. For a simple evaluation of a GPS watch, I look at how well it can answer some basic questions:

  • How far did I run? This is the most basic question, and the V800 has outstanding GPS accuracy. If you really want to know how far you've run, this is the best option short of running on a track.
  • How fast am I running? Knowing how fast you're running can be a nice to know, or it can be vital for your training or race performance. Because of the nature of GPS, watches that rely on GPS signal alone tend to have serious problems with current pace. Without the ability to display current Pace From A Footpod while getting all other data from GPS, the V800 has a poor display of current pace. Even with the outstanding GPS accuracy, the current pace can be a long way out. (This is mostly due to the nature of GPS accuracy errors compared with Footpod errors.)
  • Where am I? The V800 has limited navigation features, providing only a "back to start" arrow.
  • What's my cadence? Cadence is one of the most critical and often overlooked aspects of running. If you get your Cadence right, many other things naturally fall into place. As of Feb 2016 the V800 supports Cadence measurement from the internal accelerometer, but no Cadence alerts.

The V800 is rated at 13 hours, but I managed to get nearly 24 hours in testing. To get that life, I didn't press buttons or have Bluetooth connected, but that's still an impressive figure. It also has a rated 50 hour battery life if you activate extended mode which reduces the GPS accuracy. In addition the V800 can be charge on the run. See Watches for Ultrarunning for more details.

1 Polar V800 Pros

  • The Polar V800 has considerably better GPS Accuracy than any other GPS watch I've tested. It's better than some of the older devices that have surprisingly good GPS Accuracy, and it's far better than most of the newer devices that have mediocre to appalling accuracy. (Note that even the V800 does not have sufficient GPS accuracy to give a good display of current pace.)
  • The V800 also has a more rapid initial satellite acquisition than earlier watches, though it's not as fast as the watches that use a satellite pre-cache download.
  • The Polar V800 has elegant styling and it's made from beautiful materials. It's so aesthetically pleasing that it makes me think it's an Apple product. The V800 is actually quite heavy, but this tends to convey a sense of quality rather than excess.
  • The elegant design continues into the user interface; the buttons, display, and the menu system combine aesthetics with usability. The V800 has five hard buttons, which I much prefer over a touchscreen interface, especially when wearing gloves or in the rain.
    • If you tap the V800 screen, that acts like an extra button. You can set the tap to take a lap, turn on the backlight or a few other things. (This tap does not seem to be a touchscreen and I found you have to whack the V800 pretty hard, even on the lightest setting. I think Polar is using the internal accelerometer to detect the impact.)
    • If you're wearing the heart rate monitor strap, you can touch the V800 to the transmitter for another action, such as activating the backlight.
  • The V800 supports Cadence from it's an internal accelerometer, something that was added in Feb 2016. You can also get a more accurate reading of Cadence via a Footpod, but the options are currently quite limited (see below). See Cadence for details of the internal accelerometer accuracy.
  • The V800 provides more information when you press the lap button than other watches, as well as far more useful data at the end of the run.
  • Like the Suunto Ambit2 and Suunto Ambit3, the V800 can be configured via the website, which is easier than fiddling with the watch itself. Most of the options can be also set on the watch, which means you're not stuck if you're away from the Internet.
  • With GPS recording set normally the battery life is 13 hours which is adequate for most runners, and I managed to get nearly 24 hours in my testing. However, ultrarunners may need to use the power save mode that extend the battery life up to 50 hours (I got just over 50 in my tests). While the documentation claims that the power save mode records GPS location once per minute, I've found that in practice it's a little more random than that (see below for details). The V800 can be charged on the run by plugging it into a portable USB battery. I have had instances where the V800 would reset on disconnect, but I suspect this might be an issue with the battery overall.
  • The V800 provides some interesting analysis of your training. This is similar to the Firstbeat Training Effect used by Garmin and Suunto, which is a simple number between 1.0 and 5.0. The V800 provides more detailed analysis with a text description of its evaluation. It has 17 different classifications including things like "maximum training", "tempo training", or "steady-state training". Each classification has a little congratulatory message associated with it that explains the benefit of that particular type of training. This is a nice feature, though it can be a little simplistic and it was far less accurate for me than the Firstbeat approach. If you're prepared to take it with a pinch of salt, it's a nice feature.
  • The V800 also provides some guidance on your recovery. Again this is a little more sophisticated than the Garmin and Suunto approach which give the number of hours until you are recovered.
    • The V800 will tell you how many hours of recovery are required for the latest workout, which gives a nice evaluation of that workout in isolation.
    • The V800 will give you your overall recovery/stress level as a bar graph.
      V800RecoveryBar.jpg
    • The V800 will then tell you when you will reach the next recovery level.
      V800RecoveryTime.jpg
    • I think this is rather more useful information than the Firstbeat systems used by Garmin and Suunto, but I'm not convinced it's as accurate.
    • The V800 can include stress/recovery information from general daily activity as well as exercise sessions, which is nice. However, because the V800 is a poor activity monitor (see below), this value is a little limited.
  • The V800 can display your Heart Rate Variability (HRV), something that is quite unusual. I really like having HRV displayed, as it gives another indication of how stressful my current training session is. The V800 can also record your HRV, but not during a normal training session.
  • There are a number of tests built into the V800.
    • The fitness test uses the Heart Rate Monitor to measure your Heart Rate Variability at rest to predict your V̇O2max (a measure of fitness).
    • The orthostatic test measures your Heart Rate and HRV lying down and when you stand up to evaluate your recovery status. This test takes six minutes and needs to be done on a regular basis in order to detect patterns of change. Looking at the scientific research, the reliability of this test is unclear.
    • There are jumping tests that use the Polar Stride Sensor to measure explosive strength.
  • The V800 includes a barometric altimeter, which is helpful given that GPS is notoriously poor at estimating altitude.
  • The V800 will only upload the data to the Polar website, but Polar has introduced the ability to export workouts in TCX format data. This is not as good as some other devices, but it's workable.
  • You can use the V800 as a simple activity monitor, something that's common to many new sports watches. However, when the V800 acts as an activity monitor it only has only an internal accelerometer, which provides poor accuracy. If you need an activity monitor, I'd recommend the Basis Activity Tracker which has sensors for heart rate, skin temperature and perspiration.
  • The V800 includes a thermometer, which I rather like, though obviously the accuracy suffers because it's attached to your arm.
  • You can use a Smartphone to upload your workouts to the Polar web site via Bluetooth.

2 Polar V800 Cons

  • One of the big downsides to the V800 is its cost, which is far more expensive than the watches that I highly recommend. Given the V800's functionality, it's too expensive to be "highly recommended" at this price point.
  • The V800 uses Bluetooth sensors rather than the more common Ant+, which has some practical implications.
    • For Heart Rate Monitor, the Polar H7 works well.
    • The options for a Footpod are more limited (see below)
    • An Ant+ sensor will broadcast data to any device that's listening, so you could have two watches both receiving information. Bluetooth sensors are currently limited to sending data to a single paired listening device. So if you're wearing the Polar H7 Heart Rate Monitor, the data can go either to the V800 or to your iPhone, not both. (The V800 will rebroadcast the signals, but currently only the Polar App can receive them. Later revisions of the Bluetooth specification will allow for broadcasting of data.)
  • The V800 has no way of displaying your current Pace From A Footpod while using GPS for overall distance and course. If you select "speed from Footpod" the Footpod is used for distance as well.
  • The support for a Footpod is more limited than I'd like.
    • The Polar Stride Sensor is fully supported by the V800, with automatic calibration and it will display stride length as well as cadence. However, the Stride Sensor is huge when compared with modern Footpods, weighing over three times as much as a Garmin Footpod. Because of its size and weight, it requires lacing into the shoelaces, making it a real pain to move between shoes. Polar Stride Sensor
      $64.47 USD at Amazon.com
    • Some third party Bluetooth Footpods, like the "i-gotU" will pair with the V800, but then won't display cadence and will prevent the V800 from recording any distance travelled.
    • The Adidas miCoach Speed Cell will work with the V800, but it's not easy. By default it will pair with the V800, but you can't set the calibration factor nor can you set the V800 to use GPS for pace/distance. You have to pair the V800 with the Polar Speed Sensor to activate the menu items you need to configure the Adidas Footpod, which is far from ideal. However, once you've overcome these problems, the Adidas Footpod is a reasonable size and provides cadence (though not stride length). adidas miCoach Speed Cell
      $. (used) at Amazon.com
      .
    • Even though the V800 has an internal accelerometer, this is not used to display cadence.
  • The V800 uses some visual tricks to appear smaller than it is. If you look at the picture below, the watch body appears to be the silvered area, which is quite small. However, the first bit of the watch strap is really part of the watch body, with the strap starting much further out. The only problem is the watch body is inflexible, so on small wrists like mine it does not sit well, and I suspect it will dig into those with particularly large wrists. (I have no problem with watches that appear to be bigger, like the Garmin 310XT, but I have to wear the V800 over a sweat band.)
    V800 Size.jpg
  • A minor irritation with the otherwise excellent user interface is that the beeps and vibration are extremely weak and ineffectual.
  • The polar website has some basic functionality, but it has the feel of an unfinished beta release rather than a complete solution. This feeling of being unfinished extends to the watch itself, but at least Polar are giving a timeline for new functionality.
  • The V800 will predict your V̇O2max, but unlike the Garmin devices that used Firstbeat technology and give a good result, the V800 is wildly wrong for me. Obviously this is a sample of one and Your Mileage May Vary.
  • Another irritation is that the V800 will sometimes ask you a question when you press the start button, which is not the ideal time.
  • I have had some issues with the battery on my V800. When I allowed to fully discharge by not using it for weeks I had problems getting it to take or hold a charge. The V800 would claim it was fully charged, but then give a low battery warning almost immediately after disconnecting from the power. Leaving it on charge for a few days seemed to resolve the issue.

3 What's Missing

While I don't consider these missing features as 'cons', it's worth understanding the features that are missing compared with other watches.

  • Navigation. Navigation capabilities are useful if there is a risk of getting lost, and the better watches will provide a display showing where you have run. I've made good use of this feature when running in an unfamiliar city, or when running remote trails. The V800 has a rudimentary "back to start" functionality that gives you an arrow pointing back, but that's a poor substitute.
  • Downloadable Apps. Smart watches have got is used to the idea of a device that can be extended with new functionality, and this concept is being introduced to running watches.
  • Graphs. Instead of simply displaying a numeric value for things like heart rate, some watches will display a graph of the value over time, giving you a sense of how things are progressing.
  • Running Dynamics. Some of the newer Garmin watches can show and record Vertical Oscillation (VO) and Ground Contact Time (GCT).
  • Alerts. Some watches will alert you when a metric is out of range. The alert for Cadence is really useful and one of my favorite features.

4 GPS Accuracy

The V800 has great GPS accuracy, the best of any device I've test so far. The V800 uses the SiRF chipset, which seems to have the capacity for great accuracy.

The Polar V800 is one of the most accurate devices I've tested, and you can see that the majority of the tracks are green indicating good accuracy. Notice the problems the V800 is having at the bridge. Rather strangely the lap markers are far more spread out than I would have expected on a device this accurate.
This is a detailed image of a small zigzag in my course, that shows up how well a device is tracking. The Polar V800 follows this small zigzag quite well. The overwhelming majority of the lines are green indicating a good accuracy, even though the lap markers are quite spread out.
Here is the zigzag with the tracks color-coded for direction, with green coming from the right, blue from the left. Typically GPS watches record tracks that have the green lines shifted slightly down and to the left, blue up and to the right. As you would expect from a device as accurate as the V 800, the tracks are close together and follow the line of the zigzag nicely.
The GPS track from the Polar V800 in power save mode. Each blue dot is a GPS point from an out and back run that, with the route covered twice at a steady pace. You can see areas where the V800 is recording the GPS location quite frequently, and other times the frequency is quite low.
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5 Visual Comparison

Polar V800 top
Polar V800 side
Polar M400 top
Polar M400 side
Suunto Ambit3 top
Suunto Ambit3 side
Suunto Ambit2 top
Suunto Ambit2 side
TomTom Cardio Runner top
TomTom Cardio Runner side
Garmin Epix top
Garmin Epix side
Garmin 920XT top
Garmin 920XT side
Garmin 620 top
Garmin 620 side
Leikr 1 top
Leikr 1 side

6 Comparison Table

I evaluate running watches in three distinct ways. Firstly, you can use a watch on its own, without any kind of Footpod. This is probably the most common way runners use their watch, but you miss out on a lot. The second rating is with a standard Footpod that is available quite cheaply. These Footpod's can be reasonably accurate once the calibrated, but calibration is a little tedious. The final evaluation is with the Stryd Footpod, which is vastly more accurate than any other type of Footpod, or and more accurate than GPS. The table below looks at the score, and the value for money of each watch for each of the three conditions.

Review With Stryd Score With Stryd Value for money With Footpod Score With Footpod Value for money Without Footpod Score Without Footpod Value for money Price at Amazon.com
Garmin Epix Review 47 4.5 31 3.9 23 3.4 Garmin Epix $365.66 USD at Amazon.com
(Referbished $189.95)
Garmin Fenix 5X Review 47 2.9 31 2.3 23 1.8 Garmin Fenix 5X Review
Garmin Fenix 3 Review 45 3.8 28 3.1 24 3 Fenix 3 $449.99 USD at Amazon.com
(Referbished $299.95)
Garmin Vivoactive HR Review 40 4.9 21 3.8 17 3.8 Garmin Vivoactive HR $. at Amazon.com
(Referbished $144.95)
Garmin 920XT Review 39 4.4 30 4.7 24 4.5 Garmin 920XT without HRM $259.99 USD at Amazon.com
(Referbished $289.00)
Garmin Vivoactive Review 34 5.1 14 3.4 10 3.3 Garmin Vivoactive $159.99 USD at Amazon.com
(Referbished $99.00)
Suunto Ambit2 Review 32 3.9 25 4.3 21 4.5 Suunto Ambit2 $289.99 USD (new) at Amazon.com
Suunto Ambit3 Peak Review 32 3.4 29 4.1 25 4.2 Suunto Ambit3 Peak $339.20 USD at Amazon.com
Suunto Ambit3 Run Review 30 4 27 5.5 23 5.9 Suunto Ambit3 Run $. (new) at Amazon.com
Suunto Ambit2 R Review 30 3.5 23 3.8 19 3.8 Suunto Ambit2 R without HRM $249.00 USD at Amazon.com
Garmin 235 Review 28 2.9 20 2.8 12 2 Garmin 235 $327.99 USD (new) at Amazon.com
(Referbished $349.98)
Garmin 620 Review 27 3.8 24 5.1 20 5.6 Garmin 620 without HRM price not listed at Amazon.com
Garmin 910XT Review 26 3.9 26 6.1 21 6.7 Garmin 910XT without HRM price not listed at Amazon.com
Garmin Fenix 2 Review 26 2.4 22 2.7 18 2.5 Garmin Fenix 2 without HRM price not listed at Amazon.com
Suunto Spartan Ultra Review 26 1.8 28 2.4 24 2.2 Suunto Spartan Ultra $528.56 USD at Amazon.com
Garmin 310XT Review 25 4.6 24 8.3 18 10 Garmin 310XT without HRM
price not listed at Amazon.com
Garmin 225 Review 25 3.8 13 3.1 9 2.9 Garmin 225 $119.32 USD (used) at Amazon.com
(Referbished $144.95)
TomTom Cardio Runner Review 25 3.3 14 2.8 10 2.5 TomTom Cardio Runner price not listed at Amazon.com
Polar V800 Review 25 2.1 26 2.8 22 2.7 Polar V800 without HRM $449.95 USD (new) at Amazon.com
Polar M400 Review 24 4.1 14 4.2 10 4.4 Polar M400 without HRM $126.59 USD at Amazon.com
(Referbished $99.99)
Garmin 610 Review 24 3.3 20 4.3 14 3.9 Garmin 610 without HRM price not listed at Amazon.com
Leikr Review 10 1 20 2.5 14 2 Leikr ($380)
Epson SF-510 Review 4 0.7 4 1.3 4 2 Epson SF-510 $88.95 USD at Amazon.com
Epson SF-810 Review 4 0.6 6 1.6 6 2.3 Epson SF-810 $119.99 USD at Amazon.com
Garmin 10 Review 2 0.3 2 0.6 2 0.9 Garmin 10 $89.99 USD at Amazon.com
(Referbished $45.33)

The score is the sum of how well each watch can answer the four basic questions (how far, how fast, where are you, what's your cadence), plus some bonus points.

  1. The "How far you've run" will be based on GPS only for "without Footpod" and "with Standard Footpod", but based on Stryd if supported in the "with Stryd Footpod" table..
  2. How fast you're running assumes you're using a Footpod if it's supported, otherwise the rating is 0-2 based on GPS accuracy.
  3. The "Where are you?" is based on various navigation features such as back to start, breadcrumbs, and preloaded maps. For some watches, you have to turn GPS off to get the benefit of Stryd, so those watches have worse "where are you scores" with Stryd than without.
  4. The cadence score uses 1 point for an internal cadence sensor, 2 points for footpod support, 1 point for support from chest strap cadence, and 1 point for cadence alerts.
  5. I give 1-2 bonus points for application support, 1-2 bonus points for data upload, 1-2 bonus points for Optical Heart Rate Monitoring, and 0-1 bonus points for battery life.
  6. Value for money is the score divided by the price (at the time I last updated the table.) Your needs may be different, so you might weight the different aspects of the watches differently, or be basing your decision on different criteria totally. Hopefully this table will give you a good starting point for your decision.

7 Score Breakdown without a Footpod

Review Score Value for money6 How far did
you run?1
How fast are
you running?2
Where are
you?3
What's your
cadence?4
Bonus Points5

Price at Amazon.com

Suunto Ambit3 Peak Review 25 4.2 8 3 6 2 6 Suunto Ambit3 Peak $339.20 USD at Amazon.com
Garmin 920XT Review 24 4.5 1 2 7 6 8 Garmin 920XT without HRM $259.99 USD at Amazon.com
(Referbished $289.00)
Garmin Fenix 3 Review 24 3 2 1 7 6 8 Fenix 3 $449.99 USD at Amazon.com
(Referbished $299.95)
Suunto Spartan Ultra Review 24 2.2 8 2 7 2 5 Suunto Spartan Ultra $528.56 USD at Amazon.com
Suunto Ambit3 Run Review 23 5.9 8 3 5 2 5 Suunto Ambit3 Run $. (new) at Amazon.com
Garmin Epix Review 23 3.4 0 0 9 6 8 Garmin Epix $365.66 USD at Amazon.com
(Referbished $189.95)
Garmin Fenix 5X Review 23 1.8 0 0 9 6 8 Garmin Fenix 5X Review
Polar V800 Review 22 2.7 9 4 3 2 4 Polar V800 without HRM $449.95 USD (new) at Amazon.com
Garmin 910XT Review 21 6.7 5 3 6 2 5 Garmin 910XT without HRM price not listed at Amazon.com
Suunto Ambit2 Review 21 4.5 4 3 6 2 6 Suunto Ambit2 $289.99 USD (new) at Amazon.com
Garmin 620 Review 20 5.6 3 2 2 6 7 Garmin 620 without HRM price not listed at Amazon.com
Suunto Ambit2 R Review 19 3.8 4 3 5 2 5 Suunto Ambit2 R without HRM $249.00 USD at Amazon.com
Garmin 310XT Review 18 10 7 2 4 0 5 Garmin 310XT without HRM
price not listed at Amazon.com
Garmin Fenix 2 Review 18 2.5 1 0 6 6 5 Garmin Fenix 2 without HRM price not listed at Amazon.com
Garmin Vivoactive HR Review 17 3.8 0 0 2 6 9 Garmin Vivoactive HR $. at Amazon.com
(Referbished $144.95)
Garmin 610 Review 14 3.9 3 2 3 2 4 Garmin 610 without HRM price not listed at Amazon.com
Leikr Review 14 2 5 2 4 0 3 Leikr ($380)
Garmin 235 Review 12 2 0 0 2 2 8 Garmin 235 $327.99 USD (new) at Amazon.com
(Referbished $349.98)
Polar M400 Review 10 4.4 3 1 1 2 3 Polar M400 without HRM $126.59 USD at Amazon.com
(Referbished $99.99)
Garmin Vivoactive Review 10 3.3 0 0 0 6 4 Garmin Vivoactive $159.99 USD at Amazon.com
(Referbished $99.00)
TomTom Cardio Runner Review 10 2.5 2 1 0 2 5 TomTom Cardio Runner price not listed at Amazon.com
Garmin 225 Review 9 2.9 1 1 0 2 5 Garmin 225 $119.32 USD (used) at Amazon.com
(Referbished $144.95)
Epson SF-810 Review 6 2.3 1 0 0 2 3 Epson SF-810 $119.99 USD at Amazon.com
Epson SF-510 Review 4 2 0 0 0 0 4 Epson SF-510 $88.95 USD at Amazon.com
Garmin 10 Review 2 0.9 0 0 0 0 2 Garmin 10 $89.99 USD at Amazon.com
(Referbished $45.33)

8 Score Breakdown with a Standard Footpod

Review Score Value for money6 How far did
you run?1
How fast are
you running?2
Where are
you?3
What's your
cadence?4
Bonus Points5

Price at Amazon.com

Garmin Epix Review 31 3.9 0 4 9 10 8 Garmin Epix $365.66 USD at Amazon.com
(Referbished $189.95)
Garmin Fenix 5X Review 31 2.3 0 4 9 10 8 Garmin Fenix 5X Review
Garmin 920XT Review 30 4.7 1 4 7 10 8 Garmin 920XT without HRM $259.99 USD at Amazon.com
(Referbished $289.00)
Suunto Ambit3 Peak Review 29 4.1 8 3 6 6 6 Suunto Ambit3 Peak $339.20 USD at Amazon.com
Garmin Fenix 3 Review 28 3.1 2 1 7 10 8 Fenix 3 $449.99 USD at Amazon.com
(Referbished $299.95)
Suunto Spartan Ultra Review 28 2.4 8 2 7 6 5 Suunto Spartan Ultra $528.56 USD at Amazon.com
Suunto Ambit3 Run Review 27 5.5 8 3 5 6 5 Suunto Ambit3 Run $. (new) at Amazon.com
Garmin 910XT Review 26 6.1 5 4 6 6 5 Garmin 910XT without HRM price not listed at Amazon.com
Polar V800 Review 26 2.8 9 4 3 6 4 Polar V800 without HRM $449.95 USD (new) at Amazon.com
Suunto Ambit2 Review 25 4.3 4 3 6 6 6 Suunto Ambit2 $289.99 USD (new) at Amazon.com
Garmin 310XT Review 24 8.3 7 4 4 4 5 Garmin 310XT without HRM
price not listed at Amazon.com
Garmin 620 Review 24 5.1 3 2 2 10 7 Garmin 620 without HRM price not listed at Amazon.com
Suunto Ambit2 R Review 23 3.8 4 3 5 6 5 Suunto Ambit2 R without HRM $249.00 USD at Amazon.com
Garmin Fenix 2 Review 22 2.7 1 0 6 10 5 Garmin Fenix 2 without HRM price not listed at Amazon.com
Garmin Vivoactive HR Review 21 3.8 0 0 2 10 9 Garmin Vivoactive HR $. at Amazon.com
(Referbished $144.95)
Garmin 610 Review 20 4.3 3 4 3 6 4 Garmin 610 without HRM price not listed at Amazon.com
Garmin 235 Review 20 2.8 0 4 2 6 8 Garmin 235 $327.99 USD (new) at Amazon.com
(Referbished $349.98)
Leikr Review 20 2.5 5 4 4 4 3 Leikr ($380)
Polar M400 Review 14 4.2 3 1 1 6 3 Polar M400 without HRM $126.59 USD at Amazon.com
(Referbished $99.99)
Garmin Vivoactive Review 14 3.4 0 0 0 10 4 Garmin Vivoactive $159.99 USD at Amazon.com
(Referbished $99.00)
TomTom Cardio Runner Review 14 2.8 2 1 0 6 5 TomTom Cardio Runner price not listed at Amazon.com
Garmin 225 Review 13 3.1 1 1 0 6 5 Garmin 225 $119.32 USD (used) at Amazon.com
(Referbished $144.95)
Epson SF-810 Review 6 1.6 1 0 0 2 3 Epson SF-810 $119.99 USD at Amazon.com
Epson SF-510 Review 4 1.3 0 0 0 0 4 Epson SF-510 $88.95 USD at Amazon.com
Garmin 10 Review 2 0.6 0 0 0 0 2 Garmin 10 $89.99 USD at Amazon.com
(Referbished $45.33)

9 Score Breakdown with a Stryd Footpod

Review Score Value for money6 How far did
you run?1
How fast are
you running?2
Where are
you?3
What's your
cadence?4
Bonus Points5

Price at Amazon.com

Garmin Epix Review 47 4.5 10 10 9 10 8 Garmin Epix $365.66 USD at Amazon.com
(Referbished $189.95)
Garmin Fenix 5X Review 47 2.9 10 10 9 10 8 Garmin Fenix 5X Review
Garmin Fenix 3 Review 45 3.8 10 10 7 10 8 Fenix 3 $449.99 USD at Amazon.com
(Referbished $299.95)
Garmin Vivoactive HR Review 40 4.9 10 10 1 10 9 Garmin Vivoactive HR $. at Amazon.com
(Referbished $144.95)
Garmin 920XT Review 39 4.4 10 10 1 10 8 Garmin 920XT without HRM $259.99 USD at Amazon.com
(Referbished $289.00)
Garmin Vivoactive Review 34 5.1 10 10 0 10 4 Garmin Vivoactive $159.99 USD at Amazon.com
(Referbished $99.00)
Suunto Ambit2 Review 32 3.9 10 10 6 0 6 Suunto Ambit2 $289.99 USD (new) at Amazon.com
Suunto Ambit3 Peak Review 32 3.4 10 10 6 0 6 Suunto Ambit3 Peak $339.20 USD at Amazon.com
Suunto Ambit3 Run Review 30 4 10 10 5 0 5 Suunto Ambit3 Run $. (new) at Amazon.com
Suunto Ambit2 R Review 30 3.5 10 10 5 0 5 Suunto Ambit2 R without HRM $249.00 USD at Amazon.com
Garmin 235 Review 28 2.9 10 10 0 0 8 Garmin 235 $327.99 USD (new) at Amazon.com
(Referbished $349.98)
Garmin 620 Review 27 3.8 10 10 0 0 7 Garmin 620 without HRM price not listed at Amazon.com
Garmin 910XT Review 26 3.9 10 10 1 0 5 Garmin 910XT without HRM price not listed at Amazon.com
Garmin Fenix 2 Review 26 2.4 10 10 1 0 5 Garmin Fenix 2 without HRM price not listed at Amazon.com
Suunto Spartan Ultra Review 26 1.8 10 10 1 0 5 Suunto Spartan Ultra $528.56 USD at Amazon.com
Garmin 310XT Review 25 4.6 10 10 0 0 5 Garmin 310XT without HRM
price not listed at Amazon.com
Garmin 225 Review 25 3.8 10 10 0 0 5 Garmin 225 $119.32 USD (used) at Amazon.com
(Referbished $144.95)
TomTom Cardio Runner Review 25 3.3 10 10 0 0 5 TomTom Cardio Runner price not listed at Amazon.com
Polar V800 Review 25 2.1 10 10 1 0 4 Polar V800 without HRM $449.95 USD (new) at Amazon.com
Polar M400 Review 24 4.1 10 10 1 0 3 Polar M400 without HRM $126.59 USD at Amazon.com
(Referbished $99.99)
Garmin 610 Review 24 3.3 10 10 0 0 4 Garmin 610 without HRM price not listed at Amazon.com
Leikr Review 10 1 5 2 0 0 3 Leikr ($380)
Epson SF-510 Review 4 0.7 0 0 0 0 4 Epson SF-510 $88.95 USD at Amazon.com
Epson SF-810 Review 4 0.6 1 0 0 0 3 Epson SF-810 $119.99 USD at Amazon.com
Garmin 10 Review 2 0.3 0 0 0 0 2 Garmin 10 $89.99 USD at Amazon.com
(Referbished $45.33)

10 Basic Features

Review

Released GPS
Accuracy
Weight (oz) Size (CM3) Display (mm) Resolution (Pixels) Waterproofing Pace from
FootPod with GPS Enabled
Heart Rate
Monitor
Cadence Data Upload
Garmin Epix Review 2015 6.2 3.0 48 29 x 21 (609mm2) 205 x 148 (30.3K total) Good (50m) Yes Yes Internal/Footpod/Heart Rate Monitor/Alert Yes
Garmin 910XT Review 2011 7.5 2.5 49 33 x 20 (660mm2) 160 x 100 (16K total) Good (50m) Yes Yes Footpod/Alert Yes
Suunto Ambit3 Run Review 2014 7.9 2.5 30 29 (round) (661mm2) 128 x 128 (16.4K total) Good (50m) No Yes Internal/Footpod Yes
Garmin 920XT Review 2014 6.6 2.2 35 29 x 21 (609mm2) 205 x 148 (30.3K total) Good (50m) Yes Yes Internal/Footpod/Heart Rate Monitor/Alert Yes
Suunto Ambit3 Peak Review 2014 7.9 2.9 30 29 (round) (661mm2) 128 x 128 (16.4K total) Good (100m) No Yes Internal/Footpod Yes
Leikr Review 2013 7.3 2.4 25 41 x 31 (1271mm2) 206 x 148 (76.8K total) Fair (IPX6) Yes Yes Footpod Limited
Garmin 310XT Review 2009 7.5 2.5 63 33 x 20 (660mm2) 160 x 100 (16K total) Good (50m) Yes Yes Footpod Yes
Garmin Fenix 3 Review 2015 6.2 2.9 33 30 (round) (726mm2) 218 diameter (37.3K total) Good (100m) Yes Yes Internal/Footpod/Heart Rate Monitor/Alert Yes
Garmin Fenix 5X Review 2017   3.5 36 30.5 (round) (731mm2) 240 diameter (45.2K total) Good (100m) Yes Yes Internal/Footpod/Heart Rate Monitor/Alert Yes
Garmin 610 Review 2011 7.3 2.5 41 25.4 (round) (507mm2) 128 diameter (12.9K total) Fair (IPX7) Yes Yes Footpod/Alert Yes
Suunto Ambit2 Review 2013 7.6 3.1 30 29 (round) (661mm2) 128 x 128 (16.4K total) Good (100m) No Yes Internal/Footpod Yes
Suunto Ambit2 R Review 2013 7.6 2.5 30 29 (round) (661mm2) 128 x 128 (16.4K total) Good (50m) No Yes Internal/Footpod Yes
Polar V800 Review 2014 8.0 2.8 31 23 x 23 (529mm2) 128 x 128 (16.4K total) Good (30m) No Yes Internal/Footpod Limited
Garmin 235 Review 2015 4.9 1.5 19 31 (round) (755mm2) 215 x 180 (38.7K total) Good (50m) Yes Yes (+OHRM) Internal/Footpod Yes
Garmin Vivoactive Review 2015 5.4 1.3 13 29 x 21 (592mm2) 205 x 148 (30.3K total) Good (50m) No Yes Internal/Footpod/Heart Rate Monitor/Alert Yes
Suunto Spartan Ultra Review 2016 7.1 2.7 38 32 (round) (804mm2) 56 x 32 (96K total) Good (100m) No Yes Internal (Limited Footpod) Yes
Garmin Vivoactive HR Review 2016 4.9 1.7 19 21 x 29 (609mm2) 148 x 205 (30.3K total) Good (50m) No Yes (+OHRM) Internal/Footpod/Heart Rate Monitor/Alert Yes
Garmin 225 Review 2015 6.2 1.5 24 25.4 (round) (507mm2) 180 diameter (25.4K total) Good (50m) No Yes (+OHRM) Internal/Footpod Yes
Garmin Fenix 2 Review 2014 5.7 3.2 32 31 (round) (755mm2) 70 diameter (3.8K total) Good (50m) No Yes Internal/Footpod/Heart Rate Monitor/Alert Yes
Garmin 620 Review 2013 7.1 1.5 20 25.4 (round) (507mm2) 180 diameter (25.4K total) Good (50m) No Yes Internal/Footpod/Heart Rate Monitor/Alert Yes
TomTom Cardio Runner Review 2015 6.0 2.2 30 22 x 25 (550mm2) 144 x 168 (24.2K total) Good (50m) No Yes (+OHRM) Internal/Footpod Yes
Polar M400 Review 2014 4.4 2.0 24 23 x 23 (529mm2) 128 x 128 (16.4K total) Good (30m) No Yes Internal/Footpod Limited
Epson SF-810 Review 2015 5.5 1.8 28 28 (round) (616mm2) 128 diameter (12.9K total) Good (50m) No OHRM Only) Limited Internal Limited
Epson SF-510 Review 2015 4.4 1.7 24 28 x 22 (616mm2) 128 x 96 (12.3K total) Good (50m) No Yes Limited Internal Limited
Garmin 10 Review 2012 3.8 1.3 33 25 x 24 (600mm2) 55 x 32 (1.8K total) Good (50m) No No No Yes



Review

Battery
Life (hr)
Tested Battery
Life (hr)
Extended
Battery
Life (hr)
Charge on the run? Training
Effect
HRV GPS cache Sensors
Garmin Epix Review 24 17.6 50 Yes (with USB=Garmin) Yes Record Yes Ant+
Garmin 910XT Review 20   20 Yes, but no display Yes Record No Ant+
Suunto Ambit3 Run Review 10 10.5 100 Yes Yes Record Yes Bluetooth
Garmin 920XT Review 24 19 40 No (terminates) Yes Record Yes Ant+
Suunto Ambit3 Peak Review 20   100 Yes Yes Record Yes Bluetooth
Leikr Review 5 6.5 5 Yes, but can't be worn No No Yes (few hours) Ant+
Garmin 310XT Review 20   20 Yes, but no display No No No Ant+
Garmin Fenix 3 Review 20 22 50 Yes (with USB=Garmin) Yes No Yes Ant+
Garmin Fenix 5X Review 20 23 35 Yes, but can't be worn Yes   Yes Bluetooth/Ant+
Garmin 610 Review 8   8 Yes, but no display Yes Record No Ant+
Suunto Ambit2 Review 15   50 Yes Yes Record Yes Ant+
Suunto Ambit2 R Review 8 7.3 25 Yes Yes Record Yes Ant+
Polar V800 Review 13 24 50 No (terminates) Yes Display Predictive Bluetooth
Garmin 235 Review 11   11 Yes, but no optical HR Yes No Yes Ant+
Garmin Vivoactive Review 10 10 10 Yes (with USB=Garmin) No No Yes Ant+
Suunto Spartan Ultra Review 18 17 26 Yes, but can't be worn Yes Record Yes Bluetooth
Garmin Vivoactive HR Review 13   13 Yes (with USB=Garmin) No No Yes Ant+
Garmin 225 Review 10 11 10 No (resets) No No Yes Ant+
Garmin Fenix 2 Review 15   50 Yes (with USB=Garmin) Yes No Yes Ant+
Garmin 620 Review 10   10 No (resets) Yes Record Yes Ant+
TomTom Cardio Runner Review 8 6.3 8 No (resets) No No Yes Bluetooth HR
Polar M400 Review 8   8 Yes, but can't be worn No No No Bluetooth
Epson SF-810 Review 20 26 20 No No No Yes (few hours) None
Epson SF-510 Review 30 30 30 No No No Yes (few hours) Bluetooth HR
Garmin 10 Review 5   5 No No No No None

11 Navigation Features

Review

Color Maps Breadcrumbs Courses To Waypoint Compass Reverse course Beeline to start Connect IQ Altimeter
Garmin Epix Review Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Garmin 910XT Review No Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes No Yes
Suunto Ambit3 Run Review No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Garmin 920XT Review No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Suunto Ambit3 Peak Review No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Leikr Review Yes Yes Yes No No No No No No
Garmin 310XT Review No Yes Yes Yes No Yes No No No
Garmin Fenix 3 Review No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Garmin Fenix 5X Review Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No Yes
Garmin 610 Review No No Yes Yes No No Yes No No
Suunto Ambit2 Review No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Suunto Ambit2 R Review No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Polar V800 Review No No Yes No No No Yes No Yes
Garmin 235 Review No No No No No No Yes Yes No
Garmin Vivoactive Review No No No No No No Yes Yes No
Suunto Spartan Ultra Review No Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes
Garmin Vivoactive HR Review No No No No No No No Yes Yes
Garmin 225 Review No No No No No No No No No
Garmin Fenix 2 Review No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No Yes
Garmin 620 Review No No No No No No No No No
TomTom Cardio Runner Review No No No No No No No No No
Polar M400 Review No No No No No No Yes No No
Epson SF-810 Review No No No No No No No No No
Epson SF-510 Review No No No No No No No No No
Garmin 10 Review No No No No No No No No No

For "navigation":

  • Color Maps gives you full color maps, rather like a smart phone, with roads and paths marked out.
  • Track Outline is a display of where you've run, rather like a breadcrumb trail. If there are maps, the outline is superimposed otherwise this is just the outline on its own without any context.
  • Course Outline is an outline of a route that can be downloaded. I've found this useful during ultras or in unfamiliar cities where I've needed to know where to go.
  • Back To Start is a simple arrow point to your starting point, so it won't help you backtrack.
  • Back To Waypoint returns you to a previously marked location using a simple arrow to point.
  • Compass. A magnetic compass can help you orient yourself or the map. Without a magnetic compass you have to be moving for the GPS to give you a sense of direction.


(Older Reviews: Polar RC3 GPS, Soleus 1.0, Motorola Motoactv.)