You've heard it before: the more things change the more they stay the same. It wasn't that long ago that the king of heart rate monitors released the Polar RCX3 watch. Just 7 months later, the first fully integrated GPS watch is the state of the art. A quick refresher on the past few series:
- Polar RC3- A simplified running watch with integrated GPS
- Polar RCX3- For recreational cyclists and runners who want smart guidance while preparing for an event. (not GPS integrated, but supports G5 GPS pod)
- Polar RCX5- Triathlon focused. For endurance athletes who want to train like the Tour de France pros. An advanced watch (not GPS integrated, but supports G5 GPS pod)
And now, the newly launched RC3 GPS is the pivotal device for sports and fitness enthusiasts, a power-pack technology goodness on the wrists.
What’s in the box:
- 1 unit of the RC3 GPS watch
- Heart rate sensor
- Chest strap
- USB cable
- User manual
(The Polar RC3 GPS is available in two packages, the items stated above are for the Polar RC3 GPS Heart Rate.)
As I started using it as a complete day-to-day watch, this nifty contraption seems to be a compact dedicated running accessory. Once out of the box, the watch prompted me to key my gender, age, height and weight. To expect an accurate feedback, you are required to enter your most accurate personal information, this means a more precise training summary at the end of your workout.
Monitoring my heart rate on the run
For the first time I strapped on my chest the transmitter and headed out for my usual training. I started to look at the watch regularly to monitor my heart rate. After the workout I was pleasantly surprised at how the watch was able to show me that my average heart rate was 140bpm (73%) and maximum heart rate was 185bpm (95%). As I continued to browse through the data file it was also able to show me the time I spent on what was introduced as the 5 sports zones.
There are commonly 5 sports zone categories:
90-100% 171-190bpm (example duration 5mins)
This zone develops maximum performance and speed. It can be very exhausting for breathing and muscles.
80-90% 152-171bpm (example duration 2-10mins)
This zone increases maximum performance capacity. You may feel muscular fatigue and heavy breathing.
70-80% 133-152bpm (example duration 10-40mins)
This zone improves aerobic fitness and you may feel light muscular strain, easy breathing, moderate sweating.
60-70% 114-133bpm (example duration 40-80mins)
This zone improves basic endurance and fat burning. You should feel comfortable, easy breathing, low muscle load, and light sweating.
50-60% 104-114bpm (example duration 20-40mins)
This zone improves overall health and helps recovery, it is very easy for breathing and muscles.
I run 3 to 5 times a week, so the interesting part of the Smart Coaching feature is that it will keep a record of your data after each run and there will be motivational text appearing on the watch to keep me encouraged and assured during the progress of each and every training session.
Like most smart phone devices, this watch has a plug and play micro USB connection at the back of the watch that also doubles up as a charger for the watch. The RC3 GPS is rated for up to 12 hours when the GPS is in operation without the need to charge. While testing, I haven’t had any unexpected battery issues yet, and I have re-charged it once so far.
While connected through the USB cable and logged on to the Polar Personal Trainer, the gadget allowed me to track pace and calories burned, while also keeping tabs on my coordinates, letting me download stats to review, plan and track workouts. The design of the USB cover seems to suggest that I should not swim with it even though the watch is waterproof.
- Easy to use while running, very responsive
- Good build quality, slim and lightweight
- Fully integrated GPS watch, and accurate.
- Not fully waterproof, thus not recommended for swimming
- USB dust cover feels brittle in the design of it’s function.
Having a svelte design is paramount to the success of any fitness accessory, and that’s why the Polar RC3 GPS watch is the all-in-one training computer to train for a running event. More good news? There are a wide range of sensors for cyclists to choose from to complete their training needs.