Polar specialises in producing heart-rate monitors for all budgets, and its RS800 G3 sits at the top of the range. In this company, it goes up against the Suunto T6 because it’s solely focused on training – the separate GPS POD supplied with the system is there to record speed and distance data.
The Polar system doesn’t have the advanced analysis tools of the T6, but it’s a more comprehensive product. Where the T6 focuses mainly on exercise and analysis, the RS800G3 is more about planning.
You can choose to do this on your PC or on the watch itself. And there are all sorts of options available: you can set up multiple exercises and custom interval-training zones; use the watch in free exercise or preset interval-training modes; and there’s even a basic fitness test mode to establish your initial fitness level and set target heart-rate zones appropriately.
We’re not too keen on the connection method – it took a lot of fiddling to get the infrared dongle to transfer data successfully – but once set up it does work well and the training software is comprehensive. The GPS POD performed well: powered by a single AA battery, it took less than a minute to lock on to a satellite signal, and we didn’t have any problems with signal loss, either.
This is an expensive product aimed at elite athletes and serious amateurs. It’s also one of the products which is worth looking overseas for: it can be had for $300 less than in Australia. We found the T6 to be the easier product to use in free exercise. But if you want to structure your training, the comprehensive software, fitness test and flexibility of the Polar wins out.
This Review appeared in the August, 2008 issue of PC & Tech Authority Magazine
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