The following post is sponsored by Fitfluential LLC on behalf of Polar.
Runners really only need one item to participate in their sport – shoes of course. As we all know, want and need are two very different things. Once you get into some long distance running, you tend to want to be able to track how far you are running, along with the pace, and better yet, your heart rate.
Enter the Polar RC3 GPS and Heart Rate Monitor.
I’ve used a few GPS running watches over the years, and I have to admit, I’ve never strayed away from my beloved Garmin. I’ve had 3 other Garmin GPS watches, and I was pretty critical when first receiving the Polar RC3. Well, nice job Polar – the watch is pretty wonderful. From a purely aesthetic standpoint, it may not be the cutest or brightest watch out there (although there is a bright red version), but it is functional. There are two points that secure the band from flopping around when you wear it. It is also extremely light weight. Given the capabilities it has, the weight is pretty shocking. It isn’t bulky and doesn’t get in the way if you wear it for something other than running. This is the only GPS watch that I will wear just hanging out. I don’t feel like I need to take it off right after running.
For me, a HUGE plus to this watch is the amazing battery life! I have had problems in the past where I get out for my run, and I see the awful low battery notification flashing – aka, the worst omen for a run. Check out the battery operating time below.
Yep, you see that right -1700 hours of continuous use with the GPS function off, 12 hours of continuous use with GPS on, and 4 months if the time view is what you use a lot. This is definitely the most efficient watch I have used so far in regard to the battery, hands down.
When you do need to plug it in, you are forced to use the USB provided. This can be convenient for some, but not for others. When I travel, there are plenty of times where I don’t feel like bringing my computer with me. Quick weekend and overnight trips just don’t require a computer for me. I have an old Droid phone charger that I can plug a USB cable into, and then plug into the wall. It is a pretty easy way to get around the USB cable only charging method, but still isn’t ideal.
When out for a run, not everyone wants to see they same data when they look down at their watch. The RC3 has 10 different screens to relay the information to you, depending on what you are looking for. While the 10 screens are pretty great, a negative to this feature is the screens can not be customized. If you want one piece of data from one screen that isn’t on any others, paired with a piece of data of your choice, you are out of luck. You will have to toggle between the two screens. Given that there are 10 separate screens, you are pretty likely to find what you are looking for. I have had just a couple of times where I would have liked to be able to customize the space.
I will say I have had no issues with the GPS – at all. It registers quickly (in less than a minute) and I have yet to lose signal. Now, I haven’t used it on any crazy cloudy days yet, but regardless, it has been working great. It is nice and accurate, and the travelled distance is very easy to read. I haven’t done any biking with the watch yet (only running) so I really can’t speak for the cycling component of the GPS (or the settings). The GPS can easily be turned off to conserve battery if you are using the watch for cross training or solely for the heart rate monitor.
Heart Rate Monitor
Now, this is Polar’s claim to fame. They are known for the capabilities they have with monitoring heart rate while exercising. Heart rate training really deserves an entire post (coming soon!), but if you are looking for a little more information, check out this article. It goes more in-depth and can help you to understand a bit more on the benefits and possible drawbacks of training with a heart rate monitor.
On some of the screens, your heart rate is constantly measured and showed for you to easily view. At any point, you can access your heart rate and make sure you are on track. After you have finished your exercise, you can access many different summary screens, including your sport zones. This is where your heart rate is shown in the time that you were in the zone. I know there is so much more to this watch that I haven’t even discovered yet, and I am very excited to explore it a little more!
If you are looking for a new GPS heart rate monitor watch, check out the Polar RC3. With the code fitfluential, you will receive 25% off MSRP on the Polar website. This code is good through August 31, 2013, so hop to it!