The Polar Vantage V2 is Still the Sports Watch to Beat in 2024

I’ve been trying and testing the latest sports watches to hit the running scene since mid 2023 – of varying makes and models.

From the Garmin Forerunner 265 to the G-Shock GBD-H2000 with Coros, Suunto, Huawei, Fitbit and Polar somewhere in between.

And yes, I will admit some brands have perks others dont – we’re talking body battery from the Garmin or the Navigation assistance on the Coros Pace 3 all provide excellent competition for the Polar Vantage V2.

But here’s the reasons why I’m yet to trade in or be persuaded to 86 the 2020’s V2, and opt for a different model (and yes that includes its upgrade, the V3 released October 2023).

1. The upgraded V3 is a let down

Yes the V3 looks like the Polar design team stepped up their game but what it had in pizazz it unfortunately lacked in functionality and reliability. Forgive me but after three years I’d expect an upgrade on a lot of levels not just aesthetics – but clearly I was wrong.

The V2 outperforms the V3 on a number of factors that really matter to runners such as heart rate reading reliability, water resistance and battery life – the remaining metrics and performance (navigation, post-run data, recovery stats) were similar so there was no real need for the upgrade.

2. HR through tattoo

The V2 and the Coros Pace 3 are the only two watches who successfully and accurately read heart rate through a tattoo. The V3, Casio, Fitbit, Huawei and Garmin cannot compete in this area at all so i had to wear the other watches on the inner wrist whilst out running and sleeping. However on the Garmin 265 for eg, i had to wear it on the inner wrist 24/7 so my recovery metrics went unaffected.

3. Already good with navigation

V3 navigation assistance is fantastic (offering breadcrumb and turn-by-turn assistance with nack to start assistance too) and it doesn’t take long for the GPS sync with the watch pre-run (we’re talking max 20-seconds even in the most remote of areas). I have never needed an offline map option but that feature came with the V3 and honestly had zero effect – again even in the most remote of areas. So this watch is yet to let me down on the navigation front.

4. Recovery metrics

The Orthostatic test, Leg recovery tests, night recovery metrics mean you can have a clear understanding how your training is affecting your body with Heart Rate Variability as standard.

Yes Garmin comes close with their recovery metrics – but can they offer me a leg recovery test? No.
The V2 comes out on top again.

5. Battery life

The Coros Pace 3 does beat this watch for its battery life capabilities (30 days for Coros compared to about 10-14 days for the V2). Both models are miles ahead of their competitors in this department – could it be due to the lack in screen graphics? I have raced in an Ultra that took me 10 ½ hours to complete with constant HR measuring and GPS navigation and barely scratched the surface. In all the V2 has over 40 hours of battery life in full training mode.

6. Holding it’s value

You’d think that with the arrival of the updated V3, that the V2 would drop in price – but it hasn’t. To me that screams the value in which the V2 holds – how great of a watch it is at $499.99 from Polar’s Website.

7. Beginner to pro stats

Post run it also breaks down an array of data that is easily digestible for beginners but also helps you learn which metrics are important and why to help you along your fitness journey. Color coded details and bar charts are so simple yet effective to understand efforts and how much recovery is needed.

8. Effortless training

The Polar Brand do not allow you to import training plans from a third party platform however they make up for it for their thorough and tailored-to-you training plans that make training for 5k, 10, marathon effortless. The watch tells you what you need to do, when, how, and guides you through everyday.

It totally removes the pain of planning training and gets you outdoors. You can literally click go and let it guide you through the session be-it intervals, heart rate targets, pace or even drink reminders – you can absolutely rely on this piece of kit. – A fantastic training partner for any ability runner.

9. Size and weight

For a smaller wrist, the V2 doesn’t look ridiculously large whereas G-Shock, V3, Huawei GT3 all have. Its 52g (V3 is 57g, G-Shock H2000 is 63g yet the Coros Pace 3 was 30g) and has dimensions of 47 mm in width, 50.8mm in height and 14.5mm thick, with a 1.2” screen.

Its middle of the road when it comes to bezel weight and bulkiness but the sleek round design means sleeves don’t get caught on the watch – its easily covered if need be.

What I would improve on the V2

Obviously not everything can be perfect, but having tested a number of different brands, i would like to see some changes on the V2 such as:

  • Include Period/menstrual tracking
  • Better screen design (this did occur on the V3 but i’d like to see more design ideas as options were limited)
  • Different straps – like the CP3 had magnificent fast-drying, lightweight and well designed nylon straps
  • Morning reports – pulled from the Garmin 265, I really enjoyed knowing what kind of sleep I had and what was on my training diary that day right from the moment I woke up.
  • Training plans that go beyond marathon distance – with the popularity of 50k distances now… keep up with the times Polar!

All in all the V2 does have its drawbacks and there are close competitors out there such as the Garmin 265 and the Coros Pace 3, but for me, the V2 comes out on top because of its recovery metrics (CP3 doesn’t do this), ability to read HR through a tattoo (265 can’t do this), navigation and its ability to make training effortless for me as an avid trail and ultramarathon runner.

The Polar Vantage V2 is yet to leave my wrist.

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