March 28, 2011

Polar Wind Link vs. Polar IR

On the weekend I promised picture of the two side by side. Here it is.

Note that the silver/gold USB stick is the IR interface that works with RS800 line and the black one is the Wind Link that Polar users for the new RCX5. There is no need for the Wind Link to have clear line to the WIND sensor or watch which should make the data transfers much easier.

March 26, 2011

What we know week after Polar RCX5 was announced

It has been about a week since we learned that Polar will be introducing RCX5 between May and September of 2011. Here is summary of what we already know from the correspondence with Polar, public announcements and responses to people on social networks and discussion boards. I'm hoping to get my hands on one as soon as Polar has one for me and give it a good review. Until then I'll post any news I learn on this space or my twitter account @musiljan.

  • The watch resembles the CS500 computer unit - very similar look of the face, oversize display with 4 lines of data.
  • The unit will be shipped first in black color (May-July depending on market) and then in red in September.
  • It will be compatible with existing WIND sensors with exception of power sensors.
  • It will allow fast switching between different sport profiles with just one button.
  • Unit has hybrid HR belt that will allow capture of HR during swim and also will work with Polar enabled exercise units
  • The unit will gauge your current state from your HR prior to exercise and adjust the HR zones accordingly - Polar calls this Zone Optimizer and it looks like a next generation of their Tests that are in RS800cx and other models. Only here it is not a test and it seems to be done automatically before starting workout.
  • The unit will be compatible with Windows and Mac.
  • The data transfer will no longer be IR, but the new Wind Link low power data transfer - I'll post how this looks like since I had one for about a year now.
  • The data transfer will be possible to site that will be updated to offer similar experience as PPT5 (including planning workouts and such).
  • With introduction of RCX5 Polar also introduce improved S3+ stride sensor with hard cradle that guarantees better accuracy and much smaller version of GPS sensor G5 that will be powered with rechargeable battery (charged through mini USB port).
  • The packages Polar will offer are similar to ones for RS800cx - basic unit (with HR belt, Wind Link), Run (same as basic + new S3+ sensor), Multi (same as basic with G5 sensor and pouch), Bike (basic plus bike speed WIND sensor).
  • Some Polar distributors are already taking pre-orders - I placed mine yesterday.
  • Polar indicated they will continue to sell RS800cx models even after introduction of RCX5 (heard on Slowtwitch). It looks as if this is additional unit in their line up not necessarily replacement of RS800cx line.

If you missed it Polar DK posted great overview video in addition to the Polar official tease video posted on their Facebook page and corporate site.

March 23, 2011

Polar DK posts more detailed video with RCX5

Thanks to the web users more details about RCX5 are emerging - user argmac posted this link on Polar discussion forums. It is another YouTube video that shows key RCX5 features as one triathlete uses them. Pretty neat.

Few more details on RCX5 revealed

Yesterday Polar posted few pictured of RCX5 on their US Facebook page (one enclosed below - thank to Polar). The unit has great design pretty much in line with the CS500 cycling computer. It looks very clean and with oversize display it looks like a great improvement.


Today Polar posted press release highlighting the key features of the RCX5 unit:

  • New Zone Optimizer feature to help fine tune the training to current level of stress/recovery status
  • Hybrid HR belt allowing to capture HR data in water (also should work with
  • Sport specific parameters and personal settings - I assume this will be HR zones, sensor selection per sport
  • One button switch between the sport profiles
  • Smaller GPS sensor (G5) with re-chargable battery - via mini USB
  • Improved S3+ sensor - new cradle to hold on the shoe laces, improved accuracy
  • Compatibility with existing WIND sensors (though no word on power capture)
  • Planned upgrades to the site including training load (is this TSS?) and support for personal training programs

Few things I hope to answer once I get my hands on this unit (which I hope will be in week or so):

  • Integration with 3rd party training sites and software like or FirstBeat Athlete
  • How easy / difficult it is to move from PPT5 to Polar site - what we gain/lose with this transition
  • Support for legacy sensors - e.g. older S3, G3 and cycling sensors
  • Ease of transition between sports - should not be a problem with weekly brick sessions or multiple brick sessions
  • Do we still have the strong planning functions we used to have in PPT5
  • How does the S3/S3+ work with G5
  • Any new features the watch offers we have not seen in RS800cx
  • Accuracy of G5 in real life training conditions - woods, tall buildings, etc.
  • Real life test of HR during swimming - well back to looking geeky in the pool
  • Data transfer with the new Polar Link technogy
  • Using PC and Mac with the unit

If you have additional questions let me know and I'll make sure to test them out. Well assuming I have access to all the pieces required. If you send me question like this: How easy is it to mount the unit on Vision tri-bars I'll have hard time answering that unless you send me your tri bars as well ;-).

March 21, 2011

RCX5 teaser on Youtube

Reader *Y* alerted me to this video that was posted by Polar Singapore and later announced by Polar USA on their Facebook page. It is not exactly great look at the watch, but you can catch how it looks like in better quality that what the leaked picture shows (see the previous post from Saturday).

March 19, 2011

New Polar RCX5 triathlon unit coming out soon

The internet has been buzzing with rumors about the new triathlon unit from Polar. First discussion appeared few weeks ago on Slowtwitch where users Chris and wvarta from Polar noted that new products are indeed going to be announced as soon as April. It seems that the news will be announced sooner since there is new thread on Polar forums linking to leaked picture of the new watch and to French Polar site that is promising announcement of new unit the Polar RCX5 on Monday March 21st.

Good source in Polar confirmed we can expect announcement on Monday through Polar USA Facebook page. So stay tuned until Monday. I certainly hope Polar listened to our feedback and added at least some of the highly requested functions to the watch.


From what you can see from the picture it looks as if the new unit has dual belt (e.g. belt that works with both W.I.N.D. sensor and the older 5kHz frequency which is great news for people going to gym often and missing their HR on the display of treadmill or stair master). It remains to be seen if the watch itself works on dual band as well which would make it able to record HR under water - common complaint to Polar, Suunto, Garmin and Times as none of these units does this so far. The next improvement seems to be with the GPS unit as Polar is introducing a new one with this line the G5 - it is hard to see what the sensor looks like, but I would expect longer battery life and better GPS sensor inside.

The next improvement is use of the new Polar WIND Link unit for data transfer which works similar to Bluetooth so there is no need to have line of sight between the unit and the USB sensor. S3 sensor seems to be slightly different shape, color and the fork that holds it in place seems to have different shape as well. So we will see what the improvement is there.

The unit itself looks like little bit of a come back to the original design of Polar watches from 70s (or it may be just the picture). And it seems that there will be different color models - orange and black are showing on the picture. The prices seem to be around the same level as for the RS800cx units today - from 299 EUR for watch with belt and WIND Link to 399 EUR for the multisport pack with GPS unit.

Well that is what I can glean from the picture. Rest is to be revealed I'm sure soon. By the way if the unit is any good on the paper I'm most likely going to upgrade - especially if the GPS works well I may prune my HRM stash and just stick with one or two instead of current running count of 5+.