The world of sports watches has witnessed a significant transformation in recent times. With the advent of AMOLED screens, many prominent brands have embraced this new technology.
Suunto and Polar, two renowned names in the industry, have launched their premium offerings – the Suunto Race and the Polar Vantage V3, both equipped with cutting-edge features. This article aims to provide an in-depth comparison of these two sports watches to help you make an informed decision.
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Design and Build Quality
The Polar Vantage V3 impresses with its user-friendly upgrades, such as the seamless transition to 22 mm straps and the inclusion of a USB-C charging cable. Its waterproofing capabilities up to 50 meters and the Gorilla Glass 3 with a slight curvature add to the device’s durability. While screen protectors should be considered, the overall design exudes elegance and practicality.
On the other hand, the Suunto Race maintains the sleek and robust design of its predecessor, the Vertical, with a balanced 49mm size that is slightly thinner. Its 100m water resistance rating and sapphire lens ensure durability, making it suitable for a variety of outdoor activities. The subtle modification to the bezel’s top edge offers a refined touch, merging form and function seamlessly. The band adjustment enhances comfort, showcasing Suunto’s commitment to user experience.
The Polar Vantage V3 introduces a commendable shift to a 1.39-inch AMOLED display with a peak brightness of 1,000 nits. This upgrade excels in both bright and dark conditions, offering significant improvements over previous models. The vibrant and bright screen ensures visibility even in direct sunlight, addressing past concerns about display readability. This shift to AMOLED represents a commendable leap in display technology for Polar.
The Suunto Race, on the other hand, heralds the introduction of a groundbreaking 1.43-inch AMOLED display, boasting vibrant colors and impressive resolution. This display excels in direct sunlight, ensuring readability even in challenging conditions. The optional always-on display mode provides quick access to essential information, while pixel shifting prevents burn-in issues.
User Interface and Navigation
Polar claims a 129% increase in processor speed, resulting in significantly improved user interface responsiveness. The Vantage V3 delivers on this promise, providing a smooth and fast user experience. The snappy responsiveness is a welcome upgrade for users.
The Suunto Race introduces a digital crown, a distinctive addition that vastly improves usability. It facilitates smoother navigation through menus, providing a more intuitive interaction. Swipes and touches on the AMOLED display are predictably responsive, offering a seamless interaction with the watch.
The standout feature of the Polar Vantage V3 is the introduction of offline mapping, a first for Polar wearables. Users can download maps directly to the watch, providing contextual awareness with topographic details. Basic maps for North America and Europe come pre-loaded, with seamless customization options.
The Suunto Race guarantees high accuracy with its dual-frequency satellite chipset, ensuring precision in challenging environments. The addition of offline topo maps enriches the navigational experience, offering crucial context to your location.
Training and Recovery Features
Polar introduces Elixir Biosensing Technology in the Vantage V3, encompassing key components like the Gen 4 Optical heart rate sensor, SP2 sensing feature, and skin temperature sensor. While the ECG functionality lacks medical certification, it provides valuable insights into heart rate, blood oxygenation, and skin temperature.
The Suunto Race introduces an assortment of new training widgets, including a recovery training widget, a training progress widget, and TSS metrics. These metrics furnish invaluable insights into your training load, progress, and readiness for peak performance. The incorporation of HRV tracking during sleep is a significant addition for understanding overall health and readiness for training.
Health & Activity Tracking
Both the Suunto Race and Polar Vantage V3 come equipped with advanced health and activity tracking features, but they have their own unique strengths. Suunto introduces a rope-skipping sport mode and an in-house algorithm, different from the FirstBeat algorithms commonly found in sports watches. It also includes sleep stage tracking, multiple alarms, a stand-up reminder, and offers over 95 sports modes.
On the other hand, the Polar Vantage V3 incorporates innovative features like ‘Elixir biosensing’ technology, an SpO2 sensor for blood oxygen levels, and an ECG capability, although it’s not certified as a medical device. Furthermore, it offers skin temperature tracking and provides a whopping 150 built-in sports profiles, making it a versatile sports watch suitable for a wide range of activities.
The Vantage V3 offers a range of battery life options, catering to different tracking needs. From an impressive 140 hours in a low-power GPS mode to a commendable 8 days in a gesture-based mode, the V3 strikes a balance between functionality and longevity.
The Suunto Race, despite the power demands of the AMOLED display, offers commendable battery life. Depending on usage patterns and the activation of the always-on display mode, it can last between 6 to 12 days. For outdoor activities, the Race truly excels, offering up to 40 hours of battery life in the highest performance mode with dual-frequency GPS. Prices, Pros and Cons, and more… on the NEXT PAGE…