11.11.2006

Polar S625X

I purchased this product a few months ago from my local running store. Prior to this model, I owned a basic Polar unit similar to the Polar FS1. The heart rate feature worked fine, but that was the only feature it offered. With my growing interest in triathlons and overall desire to perform at the highest level, I wanted a device that offered more. Based upon a plethora of online research and in-store conversations with employees, I decided to go with the Polar S625X

The Polar S625X is advertised as a multisport and running watch. Its "multisport" claim comes from the fact that you can buy accessories for your bike and your run to gather data. The device came with the foot pod which measures pace, speed and distance. In addition, I purchased the speed sensor and cadence sensor for my bike. With all of these components, I was equipped with a full running and cycling computer upon my wrist.
Heart Rate
This is the core function of the device. Its reason for being is to properly display accurate heart rate information. For the most part, the device performs this function very well. If it is very cold outside (below freezing) it tends to display double zeroes. To correct this, simply lick your fingers and rub the sensor on the chest strap. That has worked every time for me. 
Run Components
To begin using the foot pod you must calibrate the device to ensure accuracy and reliability. The best way to do so is to take it to a standard track. I went to my local high school to calibrate and did the exact 2 mile run specified by the unit. After the run, you are to input a calculation to correct for any hour. For example, if you ran 8 laps around the track (2 miles) and the device displayed a distance of 1.96 miles, you can refer to the owner's manual to find the proper calculation to input on the wrist unit to correct for the discrepancy. This seemed to fix the problem at first, however, it was not before long that I noticed the measurements were once again inaccurate. The further I ran, the further the gap between what my watch said versus the real distance. Frustrated, I stopped using the foot pod.
Bike Components
Unfortunately, the bike components were unreliable. Set-up and configuration was difficult, but the worst part was the lack of function and accuracy. By function I am referring to the sensors ability to sense movement and transmit data to the receiver - the wrist unit. It often time would transmit no data despite the fact that my device and accessories were assembled and configured to exact specifications. By accuracy I am referring to the sensors ability to accurately sense movement and transmit accurate data to the receiver - the wrist unit. It often time would transmit clearly inaccurate data. Soon after purchase, I had to send the speed and cadence sensors back to Polar USA for repair. After many weeks of waiting, the devices were returned to me but still failed to function. I ended up buying a Sigma bike computer.


Summary
Clearly the above description showcases my valid frustration with the product. It was quite expensive and the components did not function as they should. Yes, the heart rate function has been largely reliable. However, I could have kept my old model or purchased the Poloar FS1 if I just wanted heart rate. The reason you purchase the Polar S625X is to reap the benefits of the great features it offers in addition to the heart rate function.

Just recently I gave the foot pod a try. I did not calibrate it. Somehow, it has been returning perfectly accurate data for two weeks. I have no idea why it is suddenly working, and I don't know if it will last. Nevertheless, the inconsistency in performance and sheer unreliability of the product merit a "Don't Buy" from me. 

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