Sports Tech

The triathlete's ideal toolkit

The Polar V800 Javier Gomez Noya Special Edition V800 does not have a built-in heart-rate monitor (HRM). Users need to put on the H7 chest strap HRM (left) to get their heart rates displayed on the watch.
The Polar V800 Javier Gomez Noya Special Edition V800 does not have a built-in heart-rate monitor (HRM). Users need to put on the H7 chest strap HRM (left) to get their heart rates displayed on the watch.PHOTO: POLAR

The Polar V800 Javier Gomez Noya Special Edition is a solid GPS running watch

The Polar V800 Javier Gomez Noya Special Edition is an updated version of last year's premium GPS running watch, theV800, with more accessories for triathletes.

Named after the five-time world champion and Olympic silver medalist, this package is targeted at triathletes. It comes with Polar's V800 GPS running watch, the H7 chest strap heart-rate monitor (HRM), the CS cadence sensor Bluetooth Smart and a universal bike mount.

Unlike some of the latest GPS running watches, the V800 does not have a built-in HRM. You need to put on the H7 chest strap HRM to get your heart rates displayed on the watch while running.

The V800 has a square display with two buttons on the left and three on the right. At lower left is the Back button while the one above it is for Backlight.

The top and bottom right buttons are for Up and Down respectively, while the middle one is Select.

In terms of looks, the V800 screams running watch from a mile away. But while it may not be a looker, it is a solid GPS running watch.

Other than the usual running and cycling tracking modes, it has a triathlon mode and even a weight- training mode.

  • TECH SPECS

  • PRICE: $759

    CONNECTIVITY: Bluetooth

    WATER RESISTANCE: Down to depths of 30m

    WEIGHT: 79g (V800), 58g (H7), 8g (Cadence sensor)

  • RATING

  • FEATURES: 4/5

    DESIGN: 3/5

    PERFORMANCE: 4/5

    BATTERY LIFE: 5/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

For running workouts, I found that getting a GPS lock took only 30sec in a Housing Board estate with trees and buildings nearby. Its distance tracking was spot-on, with readings showing differences of mere metres compared with results of my calibrated TomTom Spark Cardio running watch. Heart-rate readings were also similar.

The updated V800 now allows running cadence - the number of foot strikes per minute - to be displayed without the need for additional sensors.

The V800 is also an activity tracker. My step readings did not differ much - only 3 per cent at most - from those of my calibrated Fitbit Charge HR.

Like other GPS running watches with swim tracking, you need to specify the length of the pool before you hit the water.

The unique selling point here is that the H7 chest strap HRM supports heart-rate monitoring during swims - a rare feature among fitness and GPS multi-sport watches.

Swim tracking was spot-on, in terms of laps swam and distance covered. It is also great to finally be able to see my heart rate during swims. However, a slight downer is that you need to really tighten the chest strap, or risk dislodging it while swimming.

The V800 also supports open water swimming. I did not test this, as I am not a strong swimmer.

To track your bicycle rides, you need to install the CS cadence sensor Bluetooth Smart on your bicycle and pair it with the V800.

Again, my rides were all tracked accurately, at least according to the distance markings on the park connector track.

Battery life is pretty impressive - a full charge is supposed to last up to a month if used as a fitness tracker, and around 50hr in GPS mode.

• Verdict: The Polar V800 Javier Gomez Noya Special Edition will provide triathletes with almost all the tools they need.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 27, 2016, with the headline 'The triathlete's ideal toolkit'. Print Edition | Subscribe