Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Polar RS800sd/G3...

By Frank

I received my Polar RS800sd a week before KLIM08. The “sd” version meaning the one with the foot pod also known as stride sensor. The package came with the wrist unit, heart rate monitor, chest strap, foot pod, infra red communications link with cable and the Polar ProTrainer 5 software.
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The complete package...

Being a former user of the Polar RS200sd, switching to the Polar RS800sd is a major upgrade. Not only the wrist unit is way much sleeker and sexier in design, it sure tracks lots of data including altitude with a barometric altimeter built into it. The way the wrist unit is designed is very similar to the Polar RS400sd except for the difference in colour. It is light weight and very ergonomic it fits my wrist without any discomfort. I even felt that the built is tougher but yet lighter than my previous RS200sd.

The wrist unit...

The heart rate monitor is now built on a new technology call the WearLink W.I.N.D. transmitting at the 2.4GHz channel which is interference free. With it, it also solved the issue of crosstalk while running too close to other Polar users. The chest strap is now softer and instead of a clip on system, it uses a hook now, which allows the whole strap to be secure on the skin rather than one part being the transmitter back panel. This prevents irritation on the chest caused by the transmitter’s back panel which I suffered during my Polar RS200sd days. And not only that, the fabric is now lighter that I can hardly feel that I am wearing one.

The HR monitor with the chest strap...

The foot pod is now known as the S3 stride sensor and is also built using the W.I.N.D. technology. Currently, only the Polar RS800 is using the S3 stride sensor. Having switch from the S1 foot pod, it sure was a big difference, as it is the smallest and lightest Polar foot pod to date, just slightly bigger and thicker than a RM0.50 coin. It not only tracks distance and speed, but also strides rate and length. My first use with it was at the recent concluded KLIM08 running a full marathon. The S3 recorded a 42.95KM distance without calibration. I will say it is pretty accurate as I did run on the outer loops on a certain places and also going zig zag overtaking runners. After all, Polar did state that it offers 97% accuracy without calibration and up to 99% if calibrated. And these distance sensors are very subjective as the way each runner runs is different. One thing that annoyed me was the lithium battery. Although Polar claimed 50 hours of usage and is user changeable, I still find it a lot of hassle in buying those types of batteries and also changing it. Therefore, I will only use the S3 in my full and half marathon races.

The S3 stride sensor...

Now with all the basic units looked into at, here’s the final unit, the Polar G3 GPS sensor which I just got it last week. Bought separately as an add on accessories, the G3 sure is huge, about the size of typical notebook mouse. But luckily, it’s pretty light weight. It operates on a single AA battery which last around 10 hours according to Polar, and its hassle free unlike the S3. With this battery, I will use the G3 for my 10KM races and training. Also built upon the W.I.N.D. technology, there is a nifty feature as there is an option to use the full power or half power mode to save on battery life. Full power mode will use its highest signal strength to “lock” onto the satellites especially in shady areas. The half power mode can be used if we are running at an open area without any trees or tall buildings. But of course, it’s only for outdoor usage. Satellite detection was a breeze. Just power on the unit and wait for the connection. It should take an average of no longer than a minute or two (I was lucky that it did got connected in around 8 seconds once). Accuracy wise, I used the G3 for the first time at the BHP Orange Run 2008 3 days ago and it recorded a 9.98KM distance. Very accurate indeed as Jamie's Garmin Forerunner 305 recorded 9.89KM and my previous Polar RS200sd (now sold to a friend) recorded 10.1KM. The package came with an armband and storage pouch. I did not use the armband as I just don’t like the feeling of using one. Therefore, I slip through my race number belt and buckle it on my waist and it didn’t bounce at all. The only downside of the G3 is it doesn’t track any location information which I think the Garmin Forerunner does. Oh and yes, the G3 sensor only works alone as it can’t co-exist together with the S3.

The G3 GPS sensor...

As a conclusion, I love my new Polar RS800sd/G3 very much. I did not regret switching from my previous Polar RS200sd to this despite the price. Although it still uses the traditional chest strap (which some people find it uncomfortable) while some manufacturers are moving towards detecting the heart rate via the wrist unit sensing the radial artery and ulnar artery, I have no problems with it as some does say that it is still the most accurate. Yes, the Polar RS800sd/G3 may be the one or of the most expensive running computer to date, but the amount of technology built into it and also the information it tracks, made it a perfect training and race tool for me. I won’t give a rating value for the Polar RS800sd/G3, but I greatly recommend it should any of you doesn’t mind splashing the cash.

The retail selling price are:
Polar RS800sd - RM1969
Polar G3 GPS sensor - RM629

Video from Runner's World on setting up the Polar RS800sd/G3...

8 comments:

C-CUBE said...

wah u gotta wear so many things on your body...I am dedicating Mariah Carey song to you "TOUCH MY BODY"

Runnerz said...

Jangan simply touch touch. Haha... Well, the wrist unit and heart rate monitor is a must. As for distance, I can choose either GPS or footpod. Lucky they are very light.

haza said...

Frank the hi-tech runner!

Runnerz said...

haza, gotta add something more. Hi-tech but slow runner. Haha...

Anonymous said...

Whoa!
The polar RS800sd is so costly..
do u noe is there any other watch wid a cheaper price dat can count the timing n the distance of the route?
ur reply is appreciated.
aaron_manutd@msn.com

Runnerz said...

You can try the Polar RS200sd which retail at RM999. Else the Garmin Forerunner series though I do not know the price for those.

Anonymous said...

hi there! could you tell me where to buy the rs200sd in kuala lumpur? i've tried looking online but cant seem to find anybody who sells polar? would appreciate the help!! thanks!!!

Anonymous said...

Can you post a picture of the back G3 gps?
Many thanks.