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Polar Heart Rate Watch Or Garmin - Which Is Better?

Polar RS200sd heart rate monitorGarmin is popular, with a range of heart monitors, many of which not only measure heart rate but also use global positioning system technology to track speed and distance covered. The Polar heart rate watch is also one of the leaders, for athletes and others. Both companies have their fans. But which is better?

The IndyStar.com website carried a comparison from road racer Josh Trisler (no longer online):

Polar is the most trusted name in heart-rate monitors. Polar has now released a line of running computers that use a foot-pod speed and distance sensor along with their heart-rate function. Foot pods use inertia devices known as accelerometers to calculate speed and distance.

Accelerometers can do 1,000 calculations per second. They measure momentum changes over time.

Polar claims that these sensors are 97% accurate straight out of the box, and after a small amount of calibration can be 99% accurate....Garmin is the king of GPS.

...The two main products from each company are the Polar RS200sd [pictured above] and the Garmin 205. Both are priced relatively close to one another, with the Polar at $220 and the Garmin at $250. The big difference between the two is that the Garmin 205 does not have heart rate capability, whereas the Polar RS200sd has heart rate and speed and distance.

Garmin does have a heart rate/speed and distance system, the 305, but its price jumps $100, to $350. The Polar RS200sd is the least expensive (don't say cheap) speed and distance/heart rate system on the market.

So, if you care at all about heart rate, the Polar is the way to go. But if you are a computer-savvy person, then the Garmin is probably for you. The Garmin comes computer ready, and software ready for anything your calculating mind can think of.

With the Garmin, you can download recorded courses and sync them up with Google Earth images. You can graph your speed changes, over your elevation changes, over time, and then store them in a folder so that you can compete against previous runs of the same courses. This little toy can do almost anything you can think of.

Polar does have two models that can compete with the Garmin's computer advancements, but they range from $350 to $500.

...In the end, it all comes down to whether you are a computer/running nerd or a practical person/running nerd. I know we are all a little bit of both, but you have to choose one.

* Get the Latest Prices on the Garmin and Polar Heart Rate Watch.

For further information, check out the Garmin store and the Polar Store at Amazon.com, where you can find special offers and promotions, as well as user reviews and details about new products.

See also my Guide to Buying the Best Heart Rate Monitor.

November 26th, 2009

 

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