Polar RC3 Review – True MULTISPORT Watch?

AT A GLANCE: QUICK RATINGS

Heart Rate Functions

90%

Fitness / Sport Features

80%

Ease of Use

100%

Battery Life

90%

Where To Get It

A Deep Dive Into Polar RC3

The RC3 is Polar’s first integrated GPS and heart rate monitor (HRM) sports watch. It is not quite as technical as the Polar RCX5 being more similar to the RCX3, but with a convenient internal GPS sensor. The Polar RC3 is packed full of features that enable you to get more from your training. These include Sports Zones (5 x autoset heart rate zones based on age set or manually entered max heart rate)

The Sports Zones help you train at the right intensity and Training Benefit that gives you instant feedback after every session, so you can monitor your progress each and every time. If you want to save on GPS battery, then you can pair the RC3 with the WIND bike speed and pedal cadence sensors to give accurate speed, distance and pedal RPM data.

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Main Features and Functions

RC3 and Cycling:

You select between RUN, CYCLE or OTHER each time you train. When running it will display RUN specific data, similarly, when CYCLING it will provide bike specific data like SPEED in MPH instead of minutes per mile.  

It provides bike speed from either the integrated GPS within the unit or a wireless WIND bike speed sensor. If you want pedal cadence, then there is also an option to add a Polar WIND cadence sensor to the crank (magnet) and chainstay / seat tube  For people with more than one bike it can store setting for 2 bikes (wheel size, cadence on/off etc).

Other Sport

The RC3 is designed for all aerobic exercisers, not just running and cycling. In the “other sports” mode you still get the essential data views like, heart rate, calories, speed and distance (if enabled), training time etc.

In the “other sports” mode it will NOT pair for a bike speed sensor, nor a cadence sensor or a stride sensor – it will only pair with the heart rate belt and the G5 GPS unit. We found this “other sports” mode was useful for sports like swimming, gym training, walking etc.

Swimming

The Polar RC3 is IPX7 water resistant. This means it cannot be used for swimming. It is fine to get SPLASHED while running, biking etc, but it should NOT be swam in.

Training Benefit

The RC3 GPS multisport watch provides motivating feedback that’s delivered straight to you immediately after exercise is something we can all benefit from. If you want to know the trianing effect of different training sessions, this feature will tell you exactly what you need to know.

You get a quick overview after each session, and for more detailed feedback, you can either check your training file or you can get further in-depth analysis at polarpersonaltrainer.com.

Fitness Test

For anyone who is looking to improve their fitness and wants to keep up to date with how well you’re doing, the Smart Fitness Test will tell you exactly what you need to know in just five minutes. By regularly comparing your test results, you can see what progress you are making and how your fitness is improving.

Training Load

The Training Load helps you to find the perfect balance between rest and training. Find out your training load status at polarpersonaltrainer.com.

It shows you at a glance your cumulative training load for every day, advising if and when rest days are needed and when it’s best to train harder in order to maintain your performance improvement.

Zone Optimiser

The Polar Zone Optimiser feature ensures that you always train at the right intensity. Knowing how hard to train can be a challenge.

By using ZoneOptimizer, you can get the exact training effect you’re looking for as the feature adjusts your five heart rate training zones to perfectly match your body’s current physiological condition

Own Calories

This is the most accurate calorie counter on the market. It calculates the number of calories expended during a training session based on your weight, height, age, gender, your individual maximum heart rate (HRmax) and how hard you’re training.

More Features

Body Measurement Features

Data Transfer

Recording Features

Training Features

Watch Features

What’s In The box ??

REVIEW SUMMARY

During this review of the Polar RC3 we had to take it outside and put it through it’s paces. This way we get to learn about the watch as a genuine user. We always give ourselves two or three sessions during a test before we come to any conclusions. Our inability to operate a watch is not necessarily a negative.

The RC3 is however, one of the easiest GPS running watches that we have had the pleasure to test and review. When running with the Polar RC3 you can toggle between 7 data screens. It can be configured to give either 2 or 3 lines of data per screen, depending on your preference (and eyesight).

When in RUNNING MODE it displays speed as PACE, i.e. minutes per mile or min/km as required. The 7 data lines displayed cannot be changed, but between the 7 screens, there is pretty much everything we wanted to see at hand in a convenient format (we would like to see average lap pace, when autolapping during a race for example).

These data fields include all the essential fields like : lap time, lap distance, total time – total distance, live heart rate (displayed either as BPM or %MAX), HR zones, and running pace (or bike speed)

It also has an autolap feature which will automatically store the lap data every “x” miles. I normally set this to 1 mile when running and 3 miles while biking.

After the session you can review your auto saved mile times with associated heart rate data. At the end of the run session, you can check your Running Index.

Running Index score is calculated automatically after every run, based on your heart rate and from the speed data collected from your GPS or stride sensor. A higher reading indicates that you can run faster with less effort

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