Update

Nothing that warrants a full post at the moment, although I do have a few in the works coming soon.

The recent Polar firmware seems to be an improvement. The intervals function is weird to use but I guess that’s just an interface decision I don’t agree with. Others may like setting up their intervals while the clock is running. This morning on my run the Vantage took well over a minute to get satellite lock. Not sure what happened there but maybe travel confused it. It was a little interesting to be reminded of the old days though where we always used to stand around getting cold before a run. This wasn’t even that long ago, how times change! The GPS track on the Vantage (right wrist) was poor, the Fenix 5+ was also poor (right hand) and the Suunto 9 pretty much nailed it. I’m not going to blame any of them though, this was just one run and none of the tracks was really terrible just a few (30-40) yards off the path at times. 

Yesterday I added a Suunto 9 to the stable. First impressions are…it’s identical to the (WAY cheaper) Suunto Spartan Trainer. This is a good thing. I really respect Suunto for not copying Garmin and differentiating on features. Just like with a laptop you now get what you pay for in terms of hardware but the OS is the same. The Spartan Trainer is slower, that’s for sure. The 9 is extremely responsive. Obviously barometer features are missing and the battery life isn’t even comparable. GPS works differently and the older Spartan seems better in this regard right now. The large screen is beautiful on the 9, although the Trainer does well with what it has and is more comfortable to wear. Again though, huge kudos to Suunto for not artificially restricting features. People don’t like that. 

9 Comments

  1. The Suunto 9 is what I’ve been looking at. Was convinced I’d get the Vantage V (even pre-ordered but the order failed, took that as a sign) but now I’m not so sure. Have the V800 but I’m in no rush to upgrade it!

  2. Keep using the V800. I have the Vantage V for about 2 months now. What incredibly many bugs in the software. Outrageous that Polar has put this on the market. I am not happy about the last update either. The display is still difficult to read, especially during a training session in a dark room. The contrast of the colors on the screen is also worthless. While on the site of Polar the photos look beautiful with beautiful colors with a high contrast. With the last update, it is now finally possible to perform interval training. But you must first plan them in the Flow app. Totally awkward, how can they think of it. With the V800 you could simply select the interval training on your watch, without planning them first. I’m still waiting for the January update. If there are no major improvements then that thing goes back to Polar.

    • Workouts are through Flow. Intervals are now on the watch. You need to add the interval (full screen) page in Flow to a workout type. Once there, say in a run, you press and hold the red button on that page to determine your interval number and lengths. I don’t like this interface but it definitely is there.

    • With backlight disabled, are the displays from Suunto and Garmin watches more legible?
      I haven’t seen a new Vantage watch in the wild yet but assumed they used the same transflective display technology.

      • Yes. The displays are the same technology but Polar have made some font and design choices that make it hard to read quickly in low light. Original Fenix 3 was quite bad too when they used a thinner font. The polar looks nicer though in good conditions so I can see why they did what they did. Not enough real world testing of night running though 🙂

  3. I’m using Strava a lot to get an idea how good GPS works for certain devices in my region (because reviewers (biased or not) have their local things and those usually don’t match mine).
    One of them is a Salomon ambassador and I was surprised how much his Suunto 9 tracks improved in the last ~2 weeks. For sure they are now better than those of my Fenix 5+ (on my trails I usually get a sometimes quite huge drift to the left)

    I’m also spying a Vantage V owner (not that easy to find one on my region) but those tracks look not that good. Maybe they can catch up in the future.

    Just saying: thanks for keeping us updated! 🙂

    • I have 8 watches and 4 bike computers and can confirm that any apparent better/worse tracks are pure coincidence. Feel free to ask in these comments for local people using a Vantage, you may find someone near to ask. Also try The5krunner forum which is catching on for Polar enthusiasts and has a Vantage V and Vantage M section. Vantage V Forum

      • The 5krunner forum is great for Vantage information. Main source I used to guage opinion before deciding to hold off on buying it.

    • Did a run with Vantage V on my right hand, Suunto 9 on my left this past Saturday, both with the latest firmware. V took significantly longer to get a GPS fix (this may be to a change in geography) and its initial track — for about a quarter mile — was off, but it improved greatly afterward. Overall: the GPS accuracy was a wash. One device did better on some segments, the other — on others. Rumor has it, the watch usually does better GPS wise when worn on your non-dominant hand. This would slightly tilt things in favor of V, I suppose. Both are competent enough and neither will touch V800 or Ambit in terms of absolute accuracy.

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