We have tested the Polar V800 for 1.5 years now and it is still our favourite multisport GPS watch. During the last year and a half, we have gone through all the software improvements Polar have launched (open water swimming, smart notifications,.....) . The watch does everything and more, it even manages to deal with smart notifications from your phone, although we don't use this feature ourselves as it uses a good bit of battery power. And talking about battery life, you get approx. 25 to 30 days out of the battery. When you use the GPS function a lot, that will drastically lower, still we have always managed to cover our events. And although we had a bit of an issue during the test, Polar's customer service is probably the best we have ever dealt with.
Full test review
Where do we start? The polar V800 is some serious piece of kit and looks great as well. Polar has done a lot on making the GPS watches smaller, and it is amazing that this neat watch has such an astonishing amount of features. The polar V800 comes in different colours (black , blue/red or red) and you also have the Javier Gomez Noya special edition. The latter one comes with the H7 heartrate monitor, bike mount and CS bluetooth cadence sensor. Sport profiles: The sport profiles are probably the main feature of the watch. Within polarflow , you can select and set all your required sport profiles and load them onto the watch. You can even select what the main metrics are you want to track on the watch and if you want to see them on the primary screen.
The V800 is water resistant to 30 meters and even measures your heartrate in water. We have this feature tested in the swimming pool, but also during open water swimming, and we must say it works well. What also works remarkable well is the GPS tracking during open water swimming. It tracks perfectly your route in the water. You can also track your swimming strokes/min , heartrate, ...
The Polar V800 can link with bluetooth bike sensors (cadence / power,...)
The Polar V800 is the perfect running watch. it can monitor your running cadence without the need for any additional sensors. You can check regulary how your running index improves. When you use the running index feature, the Polar V800 will be capable to predict your event finish times for a 5km , 10km , half marathon and marathon runs.
This is only the smallest selection of sport profiles, there are so many in polar flow, ranging from indoor to outdoor sports.
Activity tracker: The first feature is today's activity. The watch tracks your activity against the target you set in Polar flow . If you own a polar scale (we will review this separate), it will change the activity requirement automatically based on your weight gain/loss. The activity feature shows you percentage of your daily activity achieved, active time, calories & steps.
It also shows how much you have to go until you reach your target. And it gives example who you can achieve 100% activity. For example, it tells you how long you have to walk, run or standup. And it works, we ended up ones going for a quick stationary jog just before bed because we were at 98%
Diary: It also has a diary. The diary shows all your historical workouts, daily activity,... . The next field is the settings. It is in the settings you can change your sport profiles, physical settings or change the watch face.
Tests: The next one is the tests screen. And Polar has always been a forerunner in this. Polar don't just watches, they invest a lot in the science behind fitness, heartrate based training,.... The tests available are orthostatic test, Fitness test, jump test & RR recording. For example, the Orthostatic test is a test which determines your current condition. It checks how your heartrate responds to training factors, stress or ilness. If you repeat this test, you will know when to give your body a rest when needed
Training load The training load shows you how your training affects your body. You can compare workloads. Training Load is based on the intensity and duration of a training session. The intensity of a session is measured mainly by using your heart rate. The calculation is further affected by your personal information, such as age, sex, weight, VO2max and training history. Your aerobic and anaerobic threshold values are used in the calculation
Recovery status: By tapping the screen, you get information regarding your recovery status. OK , what is the recovery status? It shows you graphically if you are very strained, strained, balanced or undertrained.
Touch screen: The screen, which is basically bulletproof because of the Gorilla glass, is touch sensitive. You can select the touch sensitivity as well. But in our opinion you don't really need this feature.
Charging the polar V800 is a little bit awkward. You have to lift the charging point cover and then connect the charging cable. B ut once that has been done, the watch automatically starts it's download. Once the download has been completed, Polar flow will open showing you all details.
Both IOS and Android are covered. You can link the watch to your phone by bluetooth. this allows the watch to receive messages or warn you that you are receiving a phone call. Although this as a great idea, we don't use this feature as we find that it drains the battery fast. And do you really need to get messages when you go out for a quiet run or an open water swim?
After 18 months of continuous wearing the Polar V800, a piece came lose of the watch it's armband. Although this piece wasn't critical to the watch it's performance, we decided to send it back to Polar for a repair. Within the week,we received the watch back with a brand new armband,.... On the note which was included, it stated that the watch case had expanded and that the charging point had signs of corrotion. This is what we call amazing customer service, Polar could have easily replaced the armband and left it at that, no they told us what they found and replaced all that was faulty.
When we inspected the watch further, we noticed that the charging point had now a cover and the size was reduced as well. The old armband (one of the first versions) didn't, and we believe this was the weakness which resulted in some corrosion. In all honesty, we have been swimming with this watch a lot along the Wild Atlantic Way exposing it to salty water. Polar gives 2 years guarantee on the V800 , and their customer service is probably the best we have ever dealt with. Although we have gone through multiple Polar watches in the past, this was the only time we ended up with an issue.
So we would highly recommend the Polar V800. We have probably given the Polar the longest review period ever and it has performed without any glitches.
How we tested it
We have been using the Polar V800 for 18 months. Withing those 18 months, we have been running, open water swimming, showering, sleeping, cycling,...with the V800 . We have tested it along the Wild Atlantic Way in co.Sligo in rain, sunshine, snow,..... we have taken it to Galicia and tested it under the sun,.