Multiplying sensors and software innovations, the Vantage V2 aims to concentrate the best of Polar in a single case. A focus on sports technology that should distinguish it from the competition.
Released two years after the first Vantage V, the Vantage V2 focuses on its software evolutions. In addition to the new sports functions that Polar customers have been waiting for, this sports watch is now equipped with lifestyle features that the Vantage V lacks. Access to notifications and control of smartphone music has been added. This makes it a clever mix between the Vantage V, the Vantage M and the Grit X. The winning combo?
Ergonomics and design
At first glance, this Vantage V2 looks like a clone of the Vantage V. The only change is in the weight, since this model now weighs 52 g, 14 g less than its predecessor, while keeping strictly identical dimensions. We find a very solid aluminum case of 46 x 46 x 13 mm, adorned with a 1.2-inch screen. The modest 240 x 240 pixel screen is content to be readable and its colorimetric palette is limited. The Vantage V2 benefits from an automatic backlight that activates with the movement of the wrist or via a dedicated button to force it when it does not activate.
On the back, the heart rate monitor is surrounded by a pulse oximeter and magnetic attachments needed for the proprietary charging of the watch. A little rough, but very solid, the strap of this Vantage V2 is not soft enough for the watch to lay flat on a table.
Until then, Polar was content with the bare minimum regarding resistance to immersion. The manufacturer has revised its copy with the Vantage V2 which displays a 10 ATM certification (waterproof to 100 m depth). In fact, it is quite possible to wear his Vantage V2 during his swimming trips, even the most intense. However, the watch will not resist the brutal immersions common in surfing or jet-skiing.
Let's not beat about the bush: the interface of this Vantage V2 is a real ode to sobriety. The menus are airy, the fonts imposing and the readability maximum, even if they lack fantasy. However, it's hard to blame Polar, as this sobriety is common in the sports watch segment.
If it is possible to navigate via the touch screen, it suffers from a long response time. We advise you to use the five buttons on the case instead. Two of them allow you to navigate through the menus. The third one allows you to go back to the previous screen, while the fourth one activates the backlight. Finally, the last one, central and tinted with red, validates the various choices of the user.
Focused on sports, the Vantage V2 offers only a limited number of features. The main menu is divided into a dozen or so alternatives. All of them are designed for sports practice with the watch as the only companion, without having to use a smartphone as a complement. Thus, in addition to being able to start your physical activity or set your watch, it is possible to plan refueling, select your favorite segments in Strava or launch Serene, a relaxation exercise. The watch also offers the possibility to set the different home screens and to start one of the capacity tests developed by Polar.
Sometimes frustrating, this limited range of features has the advantage of making navigation very fluid. Three clicks are enough to start an activity, and finally, that's what you want from a sports watch. During your outings, the screen stays on and is unstoppably legible. The few complications are written large enough for us to understand them at a glance, even when the intensity of our effort blurs our vision. A real comfort granted by this Vantage V2.
Finally, those who want to wear their watch with their street clothes will have to make do with reading notifications and controlling their music, the only lifestyle functions of the Vantage V2. The notification display, for starters, is true to the rest of the watch's interface: sober and readable. If it is regrettable not to be able to store its music on its watch, the control of sounds coming from the smartphone is successful and fluid.
This Vantage V2 syncs with the Polar Beat and Polar Flow apps, both available on Android and iOS. While the first one focuses on the sports sessions themselves, the second one offers a broader view of the user's activity. Two complementary applications offering a relevant overview, in short.
On a black background, Polar Beat displays all the trips made by the user and recorded with a Polar device. For each of them, all the information necessary for a good understanding of the session is present. We find the distance, average and maximum heart rate, duration, calories burned, average and maximum pace. Heart rate and pace curves are also available. As with Garmin Connect, it is possible to superimpose several curves to correlate certain elements.
Polar Beat is also a real nest of information for runners. The Blog and News tabs are full of articles on running and sports in general. Tutorials on how to get the most out of your device and the application are available. With the Upgrade tab, the user can launch one of the tests developed by the manufacturer. Finally, Polar Beat presents some basic settings, such as the choice of units used (metric or imperial) or the association with a heart rate transmitter or a stride sensor.
Polar Flow, on the other hand, is much more generalized. The app first presents an assessment of the user's physical activity. It shows your progress towards your activity goals and indicates whether you are training too hard or not hard enough. Of course, the number of steps you've taken while wearing the watch and the number of calories burned daily are also indicated.
The Vantage V2 synchronizes with your cell phone and updates itself via Polar Flow. This is also where you can find the essential parameters for optimal use of the watch. For example, it is possible to configure the Do Not Disturb mode, the display of notifications, an alarm or the language. Polar Flow also allows you to create personalized sessions that can be transferred to the watch. Very practical.
Uses and accuracy
The Vantage V2 is packed with sensors. In addition to the traditional heart rate monitor and GPS, we identify a compass, an accelerometer, a barometric altimeter and a pulse oximeter. An equipment dedicated to the collection of data, but this one unfortunately proves to be in half-tone.
The GPS, at first, suffers sometimes from regrettable errancy. If it is globally very accurate, it sometimes displays, over a hundred meters, an inconsistent route and adding a few meters to the actual performance. Not enough to make the calculation of distances unrealistic, but enough to frustrate.
On the other hand, the heart rate monitor offers near-perfect tracking. Whatever the type of effort, the Vantage V2 manages to faithfully reproduce the evolution of the heart rate. Thus, compared with a Polar H10 chest belt, which serves as a reference, the manufacturer's watch offers very similar results, although a little less precise on the small variations, which results in a slight smoothing of the curve. The only artefact of measurement, an errancy during the first five minutes of the outing is felt. A problem which will be smoothed out easily over time.
Finally, the sleep tracking is consistent with the user experience. It rarely makes mistakes and gives realistic wake-up and bedtimes.
With its 346 mAh battery and its very efficient interface, the autonomy of the Vantage V2 should be very high. In fact, the watch discharges rather quickly. An intense use, combining daily physical activity, heart rate monitoring and sleep, of two days is enough to take away a third of its autonomy. Count therefore a small week of use with a regular physical activity. On the other hand, one hour is enough to completely recharge this wearable.
Robust and imposing, the Polar Vantage V2 is a very convincing sports watch. Despite a few glitches here and there, the heart rate tracking is of very good quality. Alongside it, Polar's expertise extends the user experience to make it a real companion for runners or even triathletes. This makes it an excellent alternative for Garmin regulars. In the end, owners of the original Vantage V might be the most disappointed, as the timid new features do not justify a renewal.